Saturday, July 22, 2023

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett has passed away.  The crooner was 96 years old.  He was most famous for singing "I Left My Heart In San Francisco." The incredible Judy Garland found Tony's singing to be equally incredible.  Along with having chart success, he was also an influence upon other artists. 


Born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in Long Island City in Queens, New York, he was the youngest of two siblings growing up during the Great Depression. He was drafted into World War II during the final stages of the war; he helped liberate a Nazi concentration camp, and the experience resulted in his decision to become a pacifist. After the war, he met Bob Hope in New York City in 1949, who took him on tour and gave him the stage name Tony Bennett. His albums The Beat of My Heart and Basie Swings, Bennett Sings in the 1950s redefined nightclub jazz. Bennett’s signature song, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2017.

,

After a cocaine overdone in 1979, Bennett enlisted his son for a career comeback. Danny Bennett helped introduce his father to young audiences in the 1990s, scoring him appearances on Late Night with Conan O’BrienThe Simpsonsand MTV Unplugged. Bennett went on to collaborate with artists such as Amy WinehouseJohn MayerJames Taylor, and John Legend for his Duets series, Duets: An American Classic and Duets II, for which he earned his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 at 85-years-oldHe further bridged the gap between generations with his Lady Gaga duet record Cheek to Cheek in 2015. Bennett performed one last concert before he announced his retirement due to his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2021, joining Gaga in “One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.”


It's interesting how VULTURE -- and others -- leave out Elvis Costello and kd lang.  From WIKIDPEDIA:

The new audience reached its height with Bennett's appearance in 1994 on MTV Unplugged.[62] (He quipped on the show, "I've been unplugged my whole career.") Featuring guest appearances by rock and country stars Elvis Costello and k.d. lang (both of whom had an affinity for the standards genre), the show attracted a considerable audience and much media attention.[64] The resulting MTV Unplugged: Tony Bennett album went platinum and, besides taking the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance Grammy award for the third straight year, also won the top Grammy prize of Album of the Year.[12][67]



He became known as the torchbearer for the Great American Songbook with hits including The Way You Look Tonight, Body and Soul, and (I Left My Heart) In San Francisco.

Over a career spanning decades, he released more than 70 albums and won 20 Grammy Awards.

His artistic life was defined by its longevity as well as his stubborn refusal to sing songs he felt were beneath his talents.

He collaborated with stars including Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra, and was still performing duets with Lady Gaga in his 80s.


The three Tony Bennett albums I have in my collection?

First, I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANSICO.  This 1962 album for the COLUMBIA label remains one of his best selling albums.  Along with the title track, you should check out "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" and "The Best Is Yet To Come."

Second, the 2002 album A WONDERFUL WORLD.  This is a gold album.  It's Tony singing with kd lang. It won the Grammy for traditional pop vocal.  12 tracks of perfection.  Especially check out "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" and "What A Wonderful World."


Third, 1970's TONY SINGS THE GREAT HITS OF TODAY.  Tony hated this album.  Too bad.  He should have gotten over himself.  It's a good album -- as I've noted before.  In real time, critics tried to destroy the album.  In the years since, no one's apparently bothered to actually listen to it.  Best track?  His cover of "Here, There and Everywhere."

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Friday, July 21, 2023.  Some crazies in Iraq attack Sweden's embassy, Marjorie Taylor Greene takes her porn addiction public and distributes her favorite photos to Congress, Republicans in Congress support every veteran and service member . . . up until the point they turn out to be gay or transgender or they want to have an abortion or pretty much anything, Jason Aldean's racism continues to find a defender in Jonathan The Turd Turley who refuses to allow his own ignorance to silence him, and much more.



Iraq has expelled Sweden's ambassador and recalled its top diplomatic representative from Sweden over the desecration of the Quran in the Nordic country.

The move came hours after protesters attacked the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad earlier Thursday, setting fire to part of the building.

The tensions between Iraq and Sweden began when an Iraqi national set fire to a copy of the Quran in the Swedish capital of Stockholm last month.

Yes, the Baghdad chapter of Moms For Liberty remains active.  






REUTERS adds, "Seconded staff and operations at the Swedish embassy in Baghdad have been relocated temporarily to Stockholm for security reasons after it was stormed by protesters, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said on Friday."  CNN notes:

 Eyewitnesses told CNN that the protesters withdrew from the perimeter of the Swedish Embassy after setting part of it on fire “after delivering their message of protest against the act of burning the Holy Book of God.”

Several journalists covering the protests were detained by security forces, and at least one was beaten, according to multiple organizations.

“Journalists should be free to report the news without fear of harassment or harm, wherever they are,” Reuters Iraq Bureau Chief Timour Azhari tweeted Thursday. Two detained Reuters journalists were released after several hours, the agency said.

Ziyad Al-Ajili, the head of the Iraq-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) told CNN that three photojournalists working with international news agencies were arrested and another was beaten by security forces and his camera destroyed.   

These crazed loons deserve no respect and they shouldn't be coddled and 'understood.'  Their behavior is unacceptable and since others are outraged outside of Iraq?  Then those crazies should aim their own anger at Iraq.  Not Sweden.

It's not a Swede that's done this.  AP notes:

Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah also called for a demonstration Friday afternoon. Khamenei and Iran's theocracy serve as Hezbollah's main sponsor.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the events in Sweden. He called on the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation to play a “historic role in expressing the sentiments of Muslims and stopping this demonization.” Meanwhile, Islamists in his country have been pushing Sharif, who faces an upcoming election, to cut diplomatic ties with Sweden. 

So in your poor pathetic minds this is outrageous and must be addressed?  Then turn that anger at Iraq.  It's an Iraqi that's doing it.  Hold Iraq accountable for their own people.

I can't imagine anything more lunatic than the attack on the embassy because a holy book was stepped on.  But if that's your last straw and sends you to crazy land, you damn well better grasp that it was an Iraqi person protesting Iraq in Sweden who's done this.

So Lebanon, Pakistan whomever, take that anger to Iraq. 

THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED!  OH, WE MUST DESTROY EVERYTHING!

Okay.  If that's your feeling, take it to Iraq.  Take it the country where it belongs. It's an Iraqi citizen doing it.  You're attacking the country of Sweden.  They didn't raise the person, Iraq did.  Condemn Iraq. 

Salwan Momika is not a Swede.  He's an Iraqi citizen. 


The US State Dept issued the following:



The United States strongly condemns the attack on the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad in the early hours of July 20.  Freedom of peaceful assembly is an essential hallmark of democracy, but what occurred last night was an unlawful act of violence.  It is unacceptable that Iraqi Security Forces did not act to prevent protestors from breaching the Swedish Embassy compound for a second time and damaging it.  We are in contact with our Swedish partners and have offered our support.  Foreign missions should not be targets of violence.  We call on the Government of Iraq to honor its international obligations to protect all diplomatic missions in Iraq against any intrusion or damage, as required by international law.


Turning to US crazy, what's happened to Congress? You've got members of the House using swear words in hearings and Marjorie Taylor Greene passing around porn during a hearing.  On the latter, here's SECULAR TALK.





And Paul Rudnick notes.


Lindsey Graham really has become the Beverly Leslie of the Senate, have you noticed?



Staying with the ridiculous, the idiot Jonathan Turley took a moment out from flaunting his transphobia to again weigh in on music in his own uninformed manner:


Advocacy groups are now taking credit for CMT canceling Jason Aldean's song. https://foxnews.com/media/fans-fume-cmt-pulls-jason-aldean-music-video-shameful These critics are tone deaf to the implications of such censorship given our long history of protest songs, as I discuss in today's column.

Protest songs have long played a critical part of our political dialogue, from “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to “War.” This controversy only helps highlight how the corporate effort to control what people hear or consume is backfiring.


Again, does this man know the English language?  A protest song?  

Aldean recorded a reactionary song.  That he didn't write.  This is not Bob Dylan's "Blowing In The Wind."  Does Turdley not grasp basic concepts?  It he just culturally illiterate?  We know he's a sexist.  He tried to quote Carly Simon and couldn't get the lyric right but, even worse, didn't give her credit for the song she actually wrote ("Anticipation"), refused to name her because that's just what a piece of filth he is.  




Bob Roberts takes place in Pennsylvania in 1990. It depicts a fictitious senatorial race between a conservative Republican folk singer, Bob Roberts, and the incumbent Democrat, Brickley Paiste. The film is shot through the perspective of Terry Manchester, a British documentary filmmaker who is following the Roberts campaign. Through Manchester's lens we see Roberts travel across the state and sing about drug users, lazy people and the triumph of traditional family values and laissez-faire capitalism over the rebelliousness and social justice causes of the 1960s. Even though the Roberts campaign team officially avoids manifestations of open bigotry, their songs, speech and mannerisms are rife with snobbish dog whistles and racist and sexist innuendos, and Manchester's footage reveals casual use of homophobic slurs.


For those who weren't paying attention in real time, Turd was egging on a boycott of Bud Light the same way he's currently egging on one against CMT with one tweet after another predicting bad things to come. 


I do not have time to educate him on the long history of the lyrics to "Yankee Doodle" -- I don't feel like wasting my time.  This is an idiot who calls the song -- which is the state song of Connecticut   -- "Yankee Doodle Dandy" when its title is "Yankee Doodle."

As we noted here recently, he ends up writing papers -- such as the one for Harvard -- where he later footnotes false claims by citing his own Tweets and blog posts.  So, yes, it does matter.  It also matters because he's supposed to be a learned person and yet he continues to write about things he knows nothing about and never bothers to correct his errors.  

The song is "Yankee Doodle." 

Jonathan Turley is a moron who couldn't pass AP English let alone a law course.  Here are two responses to his online stupidity:

"MAGA academic, Jonathan Turley, is now apparently an expert on country music. Is there nothing this Renaissance man can't do?" -- East Coaster Tweeted that in reply.

"Usually protest the government, not other citizens, but you be you." -- that's Yonko Broman's Tweeted reply.


George Washington University, your raving lunatic is wandering around in traffic.  How about you get him back in the home, in front of the TV for WHEEL OF FORTUNE, and on his meds?


Does anyone else remembering him defending Dylan Mulvaney when her free speech rights were at stake?  Nope.  Because he wasn't interested.  He's a fright-winger -- and, to his credit, as we noted a little while ago, he did inadvertently come out on that in a Tweet.  He's such garbage.  The fright-wing targets Dylan and he's not at all bothered.  But go after his boy singer and he's losing it.  That's all Aldean is a little boy singer.  A fake ass who can't write a song.  A fake ass who isn't allowed to play guitar on his albums -- not real guitar, not lead guitar.  Because he can't write songs and he can't really play an instrument.  He's a fake ass singing the words someone else wrote because he's that inauthentic.  


(For more on racist Aldean, see Ann's ".That racist Jason Aldean and that racist Jonathn Turley")


Jonathan Turley does not believe in free speech.  He believes in all speech spoken by right-wingers.

He's like the hypocrites on the right who try to hide behind US troops and veterans.  They support them, they insist.  But the reality is that they only support them if they follow right-wing edicts. 

You're applauded by the fright wing for serving your country . . . until you need an abortion, for example, or until you're gay or trans.



We all know of the hypocrite Senator Tommy Tuberville who spent his life spewing one homophobic comment at students after another.  Disclosure: There's one that I've encouraged to sue Tuberville.  What would come of it?  Exposure of what a lousy piece of garbage Tuberville is and put current educators on notice that you're not going to get away with this anymore.  You are not there to  harm the children.  Your bigotry is not what you're paid for, it's not academic, it's not acceptable and you will be held accountable.  It's been a year now, I just realized, since this issue was raised when we were speaking.  There are many gay men across the country (and I'm sure many lesbians as well) whose lives were severely harmed and damaged by 'educators' (coaches with no education and no brains but plenty of hate) who set out to destroy kids on campus, who egged on other students to torment students.

And don't say, "Those were different times," because it is never -- NEVER -- acceptable for an adult employed by a school to scapegoat a student or encourage other students to harm a student.  Never.  Full stop.

There's no excuse for that for any reason and "those were different times" is unacceptable.  Tuberville, for example, was not hired by a school system so he could attack a student or to encourage others to attack a student.


If you're not getting how awful and disgusting Tuberville is, look at Lt Jnr Grade Audrey Knutson serves in the US Navy and is a member of the JAG Corps.  Supposedly, that's a great thing to Bubba Tuberville.  Supposedly.  But Knutson is non-binary.  So Tuberville trashes Knutson.  As we noted earlier this week, he's blocking Defense Dept nominees from getting a vote.  Why?  Because he does not want service members or their families to have abortions.  So Tuberville 'respects' service members and veterans . . . as long as they parrot his own beliefs.  Talk about censoring free speech -- which means Jonathan Turd Turley will never speak of it.



Tuberville and Turley -- talk about the double date from hell -- won't defend Brian Femminella either.  At NEWSWEEK, Femminella explains:

"Raise your right hand, and repeat after me," an authoritative voice commanded.

I was 17 years old, in a room beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, and my parents had agreed to support my unwavering commitment to serve as a fresh recruit in the United States Army.

While a gleaming sense of honor enveloped me, there was an undeniable fear lingering in my eyes, stemming from the daunting task of standing tall as a queer soldier.

This fear was not new, but from past trauma from the experiences I had growing up. During my childhood, I was constantly reminded that being queer was not something to be proud of.

Being overcome with feelings of loneliness and abandonment was normal, especially when I heard the quiet whispers behind my back. I didn't feel like a man, but rather a complete outcast for one simple reason: I liked boys. I never could comprehend how something that seemed so small led to so much hate.

That was until I saw hate turn to murder.

I enlisted in the Army in 2017, shortly after the devastating Pulse nightclub shooting. During this moment, I couldn't help but be consumed by its harrowing aftermath. The thought relentlessly played over and over again in my mind.

A profound realization struck me: Love should be inconsequential, for we all wear the same uniform.

As a proud Army Officer, I have dedicated years of my life serving to protect the precious freedoms we hold so dear. But as a gay man, I have been fighting my whole life to enjoy the very privileges I am entitled to as both a beholder and protector of them.

[. . .]


According to CBS News, figures reveal there were 35,801 individuals discharged due to their sexual orientation from 1980 to 2011, and 81 percent of these soldiers were denied honorable discharges.

These soldiers were stripped of support systems that should have helped reintegrate them into society. Instead, these LGBTQ+ veterans have been abandoned by the very institutions they swore to protect.



Tuberville's a member of the US Senate and he's not defending those veterans.  Nor is 'legal' 'expert' Turley.


I've meant to weigh in on the issue of the Texas judge all week.  Let's do it now.  Elurus Nanon (LAW AND CRIME) reports:


The fallout from a Christian web-designer’s victory in the Supreme Court continued as a Texas judge attempted to use the ruling to deny marriage to gay couples.

Dianne Hensley, a justice of the peace in Waco, Texas, refused to perform same-sex marriages in 2019 on the grounds that officiating the ceremonies would conflict with her sincerely-held religious belief as a Christian. Hensley was formally warned by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that she should recuse herself in such matters if she refused to follow the law.

Hensley responded by suing the commission for burdening her free exercise of religion and asking for $10,000 in damages. After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Lorrie Smith in late June, Hensley’s lawyer submitted a letter brief that argued his client should prevail just as Smith had.

Hensley’s attorney, Jonathan Mitchell, acknowledged in the letter that the Court’s holding in 303 Creative v. Elenis had been grounded in First Amendment law, but argued that the ruling should still be “instructive,” because it stands for the idea that wedding vendors should not be compelled to participate in “same-sex and opposite-sex marriage ceremonies on equal terms.”

[. . .]

By contrast, Hensley’s objection is more closely analogous to the case of Kim Davis, the former Kentucky county clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples even after the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was a constitutionally-protected right in 2015.

Like Hensley, Davis cited her personal religious objections to same-sex marriage as grounds for refusing to follow the law. When a federal court ordered Davis to start issuing marriage licenses, Davis appealed, lost, and was ultimately jailed for contempt of court.





You're not being 'creative' -- even by Jonathan Turdley's definition -- you're fulfilling the duties of the public office that you campaigned for.


You don't like it?  Too bad.  Retire.  If it's against your religious beliefs, retire.  And if you're arguing that you can't do your elected duties -- something as basic as marrying two adults -- because of religious beliefs then you really shouldn't be on the bench.  You're confessing to everyone -- including those who might come before your bench -- that you don't believe in equality and that you feel you have a right to discriminate against gay men and lesbians.  I don't understand how this doesn't require you to be removed from the bench.

Your religious freedom allows you to worship where you want.  It does not allow you to discriminate -- not even that idiotic verdict in Liar Lori Smith's case allows public officials to determine what elected job duties that they will and will not carry out.

You ran for office, you got elected, you do your job or you step down. 

It's not that complicated.  And if she's too prejudiced to hear LGBTQ+ issues, then we should also remove from her court any case involving a child who was born out of wedlock or to people in high school since her 'religious' 'beliefs' also include preaching abstinence -- that's why she was a director at the McClennan County Abstinence Project for almost a year in 2004, after all, and a trainer there for the year prior. 

And let's note some comments from her FACEBOOK page:

Jason Tudor
"What is the judge of the peace?
justice of the peace, in Anglo-American legal systems, a local magistrate empowered chiefly to administer criminal or civil justice in minor cases. A justice of the peace may, in some jurisdictions, also administer oaths and perform marriages"
YOU SHALL NEVER PRESIDE IN A COURT OF LAW BASED ON YOUR POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
YOU CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO BE IMPARTIAL IN CERTAIN CASES.


Kathy Asher
She doesn’t have a problem taking the LGBTQ money each month. She’s a hypocrite on the taxpayers dime. Nothing like taxation without representation. Sound familiar you bigot.




She doesn't have a lot of comments on her FACEBOOK page but people don't seem to like her.  Crackpot Don Dyer of Austin with a "classical Christian school" tries to run interference for her but when you spell bigot "boigot," maybe you should stick to cleaning toilets?




According to the Texas judicial commission’s 2019 warning, Hensley referred gay couples who wanted her to preside over their marriage ceremony to other people who would officiate. The state’s judicial code requires judges to conduct “extra-judicial activities” in ways that don’t cast doubt on their impartiality on the bench. The commission issued a public warning, saying she cast doubt “on her capacity to act impartially to persons appearing before her as a judge due to the person’s sexual orientation.”

According to Dale Carpenter, chair of constitutional law at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, the U.S. Supreme Court case has little to do with Hensley’s case, since one is dealing with private businesses, and Hensley is a government official acting in an official capacity. 

[. . .]

Johnathan Gooch, a spokesperson for Equality Texas and a University of Texas at Austin School of Law graduate reiterated Carpenter’s points on the differences between the two cases, and pointed to Hensley’s position as a purveyor of the law.

“The law of the land is marriage equality. It’s as simple as that,” Gooch said. “If judges and justices of the peace were empowered to only enforce the laws that they agreed with, we would quickly descend into anarchy.”

[. . .]

“I have nothing to say anymore,” said Verniss McFarland, founder and executive director of the Mahogany Project, which advocates for LGBTQ+ communities of color. “As a Black trans femme person, we are already on the margins. When something like this happens, it’s just like: ‘Oh, this again.’”




With the Supreme Court decision on Creative LLC vs. Elenis, businesses could now be permitted to refuse service to same-sex couples.

In writing that "our Nation's answer" to "ideas we consider 'unattractive'" is "tolerance, not coercion" in the majority opinion, I believe Supreme Court Justice Niel Gorsuch essentially enables and empowers Jim-Crow-era systems of segregation against the LGBTQ+ community on the basis of the First Amendment.

We cannot sit idly as our hard-fought progress erodes and our fundamental rights are trampled upon. While exercising our right to vote holds profound significance, it alone is insufficient.

As a society, if we do not fight back and demand change, we will continue to move backward.

We must boldly challenge our leaders, celebrate queer jobs, and affirm to every American that inclusivity knows no bounds. This belief is what fuels the spirit of our soldiers, including myself, who fight to safeguard this very freedom that is entitled to all.

We'll wind down with this from Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH):


+ Under the Florida Board of Education’s newly approved Black history standards students will be taught that slavery was a kind of apprenticeship for Western Civilization, where enslaved Black people developed life and trade skills that “could be applied for their personal benefit.”

+ Jason Aldean–the country singer who was on-stage during the mass shooting at a 2017 Las Vegas concert that killed 60 people and wounded over 400 more–has recorded a song called “Try That In A Small Town” about how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns. The video for this tribute to the righteous vigilantism of Sundown towns features Aldean singing in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where in 1927 a lynch mob of 300 white men strung up the body of Henry Coat from the second story window, after dragging his body through the streets of the town behind a car. According to historian Elizabeth Queene, around 20 Black men and boys were lynched, killed by other methods or “disappeared” by White mobs or the Ku Klux Klan in Maury County. In 1946, the town of Columbia was the site of a post-WW II “race riot,” where Thurgood Marshall, who was in town defending two of the black suspects, narrowly escaped being lynched himself.

+ Jason Aldean: “Try That in a Small Town, for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up.” Aldean grew up in Macon, Georgia population 157,000.

+ This is something a reversal for Aldean, who just a couple of years ago released a song called “Rearview Town” about how he left a small town because it was so dull: “I could tough it out, but what’s the use? / A place that small, it’s hard to do.”

+ South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem: “I am shocked by what I’m seeing in this country, with people attempting to cancel the song and cancel Jason and his beliefs.” Uh, the Coup and the Dixie Chicks would like a word, Governor…

[. . .]

+ Aldean’s lynching “song” is now No. 1 on the charts. I wish someone would “cancel” one of my books.

+ Jason Isbell: “Dare Aldean to write his next single himself. That’s what we try in my small town.”




The following sites updated:






Thursday, July 20, 2023

AMAZON screws me over again

I ordered Nina Simone's HERE COMES THE SUN from AMAZON on Saturday.  It was a vinyl copy, it was brand new and sold by them, not a third-party vendor.  As such, my being a PRIME member meant I would get it on Monday.  Monday came and went and I didn't get it.


Tuesday, it arrived.  Or it arrived until I opened it. As I explained in "Nest time AMAZON gets my order wrong . . .," they sent a costly box set of another artist.  I should have kept it.  But I returned it -- I went out of my way and had to use my time to fix THEIR DAMN mistake.


Then it arrived yesterday.  Until I opened it.  It's something by Kero KEro Bonito entitled FLAMINGO -- looks like a children's record.  


This is the second time they've screwed this order -- this same order.  I had to again use my time to fix their mistake.  There has been no apology, there has been no ownership of their mistake.


And not only that, they've upped the price.  And now they've said I've cancelled the order.


I'm waiting as I type this to speak to a customer associate.

 


Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, July 20, 2023.  Noted transphboe Jonathan Turley just makes s**t up and publishes it these days (that's what happens when bigotry seizes the brain) and he's also struggling with the English language and numbers, thief Shelby White has enough money to keep her out of prison so it's incumbent upon society to make it clear to her that she's fooled on one, a right-wing outlet thinks -- like Turley -- that they can say something's true when it's not (and when you're lying about Barbie, I mean how low an disgusting are you), and much more.


Hefty, hefty, hefty.  I'm so sick of garbage.  Let's deal with garbage at the top.

First off, Jonathan Turley of The Federalist Society -- or are we still trying to pretend that connection does not exist?  He's not a liberal but he plays one to the media.


And the media let's him get away with it as he dumbs us all down.

Jonathan the transphobe has his crotchless panties in a wad -- which means he feels some conservative has yet again been victimized.  Who this time?  Human troll Jason Aldean.  Is there a requirement that male singers who are fat and ugly have to go into country music?  Someone needs to ask the obvious.

So Jonny Turley Tweets:  "Country music singer Jason Aldean's hit single 'Try That In A Small Town' secured two distinctions this week.  It hit number on the country charts and was pulled by the Country Music Television (CMT)."

Are you brain dead, Turley? 

There is no "the Country Music Television."  What language are you trying to speak because it's not English.   The year is 2023 and the channel is CMT.  At their website you will find what they've dubbed popular articles such as "Where can I watch CMT programming?" and "How do I gt back to CMT?"  Not one of the titles includes "Call us the Country Music Television."


What an idiot. 

Second, idiot, it did not "hit number one on the country charts."  CASHBOX is no more.  BILLBOARD is the only game in town in the US.  The song has thus far made it to number 35 on BILLBOARD's hot country songs.  That chart is based on airplay, streams and sales.  BILLBOARD's country airplay chart is based solely on airplay on country music  stations -- and only coutnry music stations.  On that chart, the song has made it to number 24.

We already know you can't handle the English language but apparently numbers are also confusing to you.   Neither 35 nor 24 are number one.   And don't come up with, "It's number 19 on the bubbling under chart!"  Yes, bubbling under . . . the hot 100.  Which means it's number 119.  Get it?


You really need to STFU.  Weren't we just talking about this?  About how you never know what you're talking about when you try to wade in on some pop culture issue.

Number one?  That's a basic fact you f**king idiot.  I can't believe George Washington University continues to employ such an incompetent fool.


If country music used to pride itself on being about “three chords and the truth,” the increasingly belligerent superstar Jason Aldean has a different idea of what the genre should represent: two chords and a beating, or maybe a shotgun blast.

Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” is close to being the most cynical song ever written about the implicit moral superiority of having a limited number of neighbors, which is saying something, given how many attempts to write the Great American Small Town Anthem are generated in a single year. At least most of the others at least put up the appearance of celebrating local pride, not prejudice. But for Aldean, it’s about how tiny burgs are under the imminent threat of attack from lawless urban marauders who will have to be kept at bay by any means necessary — meaning, pretty explicitly, vigilantism.

You can just see Aldean speaking up at a town council meeting to keep the interlopers out: First, the outsiders visit your charming off-the-interstate vintage stores, then they’ll be back with their BLM protests and Molotov cocktails. Ban antique shops now, before it’s too late.

“Try That in a Small Town” was risible enough as a single, but in case anything about its lunkheaded songwriting felt like it was left as subtext and not made explicit, Aldean has released a music video for the rising hit. It, too, is in the business of handing out black eyes… to country music, that is, much more than any imagined invaders.

The setting, outside the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, has proven upsetting for some who know or learn the history of the building. It’s where, in 1927, a white lynch mob dragged a young man named Henry Choate through the streets behind a car before finally hanging him from a second-story courthouse window. Let’s give Aldean and video director Shaun Silva the benefit of the doubt and assume they had not indulged in a history lesson when they decided the same frontage where a Black man was murdered in front of a crowd would be a good place to alternate projected footage of protesters being put down with a draped American flag. (Hard to blame anyone for thinking that this history did show up in Aldean’s or the filmmakers’ web search on the location, but imagining that they knew that and proceeded anyway, as a known dog whistle, is… just tough to contemplate.)



Do you get it now, you piece of garbage?

It's past time that the country got it: Jonathan Turley is a member of the fright-wing.  He's been helping  build test cases to destroy the rights and liberties of American citizens.  Then he writes about these cases while failing to disclose the advice he's offered, the moves he's encouraged.  

So now he's attacking CMT and trying to encourage a boycott against it with his Tweets (there are two, we only quoted one) while screaming 'Free speech!' about Aldean.  Aldean is a transphobe like Turley.  But he's made a disgusting video -- 

Let's stop right there.

Jason Aldean is a little nothing.  I knew he was.  He just gives off that vibe of lying fake ass.

I've had more songs stolen then he's written.

It's not his song.  Real artists -- pay attention micro Jason -- write their own damn songs.  He's had 39 singles (not counting featured artist) and he didn't write one of them -- or, for that matter -- co-write.  He's all product.  He's hollow and fake. He didn't direct the video, he didn't write the song.  He's product that stands where he's told and does what he's told. He's not an artist and he never will be.  As Cass Elliot long ago said about garbage like Aldean, "They have the money, but we'll have the legacy."

Oh, my goodness.  He doesn't even play guitar on his albums.  They let him play on a few tracks, not lead guitar.  Oh, my goodness.  He is such a fake.  

He's not a musical artist.  He's pure product, fake ass. Candy.  A little sweet.  No substance.  No integrity.  

Before we move on -- his 2021 album only sold 19,000 copies.  His 2022 album only sold 13,000 copies. 

So anyway, he didn't write the song and that may explain why he doesn't understand what he's singing.  He didn't direct the video which may explain why he doesn't understand what the video's promoting.  He's a candy ass, a little piece of sugar, product, no depth, no reality.  

His song and video are offensive.  Sheryl Crow has rightly called it out.  That would be Sheryl Crow who has written or co-written over 20 of her own hit singles.  That would be Sheryl Crow who wrote a song so good that Prince covered it.  


See that's what real musical artists do, they write their own material -- been true since the Beatles.  They're the ones who sent the sugar candy acts packing -- the 'boy' singers and the 'girl' singers.  Real musical artists like Carly Simon, Valerie Simpson, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder,  Janet Jackson, Tracy Chapman, Nanci Griffith, Smokey Robinson, Maxwell, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Lauryn Hill, Sting, Mary J. Blige, Jodi Watley, Dolly Parton, Brenda Russell, Chrissie Hynde, Neil Young, Anita Baker, Bob Dylan, Sade, Debbie Harry, D'Angelo, Chase Rice, Lionel Richie, Brian Wilson, George Ezra, Usher, Tori Amos, Van Hunt, Willie Nelson, Janelle Monae, Van Morrison, Billy Joel, etc write their own material.  Diana Ross is an artist with real singing talent and she could get away with not writing her own material but even she's been writing songs since 1981.  And she co-wrote nine of the 13 songs on her latest album, the Grammy nominated THANK YOU, which also features "Count On Me," written by Rhonda Ross -- the daughter of Diana and Berry Gordy.  Let's include "Count On Me" here.  





Great job, Rhonda.  But little flabby Jason Aldean can't write a song.  Good thing other people can write for him.  He's product or, as he would have been called back in the day, plastic.  He's little Mister Connie Francis.  Go try to impress someone else, boy singer, your kind is a dime a dozen.

Jonathan Turley frets over Jason Aldean who must be the Fabian of his heart or at least the Rick Astley.  Remember kids, when you're not an artist and can't write your own songs, you hire others to write them for you.  

CMT has pulled (at least for now) a video.  It is not the end of the world.  Videos have been pulled for far less and The Bill of Rights does not include: "All of your videos shall be and will be played on MTV, CMT and BET in perpetuity." 

Let's also remember this video.



I love that video, I love that song, I love Cher, I've known her for years.  Decades, actually.  And you know what?  MTV would only air that video after midnight.  Yes, it's mild today but apparently it was just too much at the time.  You know what else?  Unlike candy ass Jason Aldean, Cher never whined publicly about it.  Not once.  Again, there are artists and then there is product.

Previous coverage in this community of the idiot product Jason Aldean includes:

 

And Ann's:



Staying with garbage,  I'm not a Matt Gaetz fan.  He and his wife went to the BARBIE movie. 




Apparently, I've now got to buy a ticket.  Don't have to see it and won't.  Team Jennifer Jason Leigh here.  But I will buy the ticket to show support at a time when books and films are under attack by crazy bigots.  In the article noting Matt seeing the film -- and the marital discord the film has apparently created -- this shows up:



Movieguide, a nonprofit Christian movie review website, has warned readers not to watch the film, as it "forgets its core audience of families and children while catering to nostalgic adults and pushing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender character stories." The website issues family-friendly movie ratings based on various content concerns, including language, violence, and sex.

“Millions of families would have turned out to the theaters and purchased tickets, but instead, Mattel chose to cater to a small percentage of the population who has proven over and over to abandon the box office," one of its many articles dedicated to the film reads. "Movieguide’s 40 years of research indicate this just isn’t true, and Mattel has made a grievous mistake.”


Sorry you hagged out piece of trash, MOVIE GUIDE (FOR BIGOTS AND IDIOTS), but you don't know Barbie's core audience.  

Not every boy who played with Barbie was gay but a lot of them were and, yes, a lot of boys played with Barbie growing up and continue to.  

When Betty transferred to California for her company, she and her kids moved in here.  Though her daughter is now in college, she wasn't back then and we played Barbies constantly.  I had Barbie toys from when my daughter was little.  We worked a whole room over, Betty's daughter and I, so that it was Barbie Village (as she called it).  That was the toys that were my daughters and the toys that Betty's daughter and I shopped for.  And I never need an excuse to shop for Barbie toys -- dolls, dresses, cars, houses.  If anyone I know mentions that their child is into Barbie, I immediately ask what they have and start suggesting things to purchase. The 1970s Barbie Dream House, for example, is the best.  It's sturdy and no paper backdrops.  You can split it into two halves while you're playing, just great.  If someone tells me their child is into Barbie, I immediately start hard selling that item.  And if they're doubtful, I'll get on eBay myself and buy it.  And I can drop to the floor and play Barbies with kids for hours.  As someone who is forever buying Barbie things for the kids of people I know, and hunting down things that are really hard to find (Trina wanted Tuesday Taylor's Penthouse Apartment for one of her grandchildren and locating one of those in good condition was a real joy), I know a great deal about people who collect or have collected Barbie items.

Women?  Yes.  And some are straight and some are lesbian -- I'm sure some are bi.  Drag queens?  Yes.  Gay men.  Yes. Transgender people?  Yes.

MOVIE GUIDE is a bigot with no brains at all.  They have no idea who plays with dolls and who doesn't.  Barbie, the toy and the company, know their audience is much more than prigs like MOVIE GUIDE families.  I know those prigs.  You meet these women and you say, "Which Ken did you have growing up?"
 
And they say, with their pale faces with sallow skin due to their dead and sad lives, "My mother wouldn't let us have a boy doll."

Yeah, I can see that, your life's pathetic.  

And those are the MOVIE GUIDE people.  

They buy their poor daughter a Barbie or two over a three year period, cut some holes in a sock and call it a 'dress' for the doll.  Those are not the people that have made Barbie the huge toy and huge money maker.  It's the people who love the doll that have made it so big.  Again, that's straight women, that's lesbians, that's drag queens, that's gay men, straight men, transgender persons and  non-binary as well.    I've come across them repeatedly.  And the only thing more fun than playing Barbie is talking Barbie with others who love the doll.  

So I'll buy a ticket.  If I hear it's good, I'll even go see it.  


Still on garbage, Shelby White.  We last noted that trash June 4th:


Meanwhile, back in April, Adel Fakhir (ALJAZEERA) wondered whee Iraq's antiquities were?  A few more of them have returned home.  May 19th, the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced:


Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., announced today the return of two ancient stone antiquities, a Mesopotamian limestone elephant and a Sumerian alabaster bull, to the people of Iraq. Collectively valued at $275,000, these artifacts were looted from the ancient city of Uruk, now known as Warka, one of the oldest civilizations in human history.

The figures were stolen from Iraq during the Gulf War and smuggled into New York in the late 1990s. The alabaster bull was seized from the private collection of Shelby White and the limestone elephant from a storage unit that belonged to the convicted trafficker Robin Symes, where it had been hidden since at least 1999. The items were returned during a repatriation ceremony attended by Thomas Acocella, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of Homeland Security Investigations New York and Dhafer Abdulrazaq Jalil, Counselor at the Embassy of the Government of the Republic of Iraq in Washington D.C.

“Once again, we see historic and priceless antiquities hidden from the public and sitting in the possession of traffickers and looters. We will not allow New Yok City to be a safe harbor for stolen cultural artifacts,” said District Attorney Bragg.

“I’m grateful for the work by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its efforts to repatriate these precious, historic antiquities to Iraq,” said Dr. Salwan Sinjari, Iraqi ChargĂ© d’Affairs to the United States. “These pieces belong to Iraq—and belong in Iraq—and now they will help the Iraqi people better understand and appreciate our own history and culture with this connection to the past. This is another example of the longstanding cooperation, friendship, and partnership between Iraq and United States.”

“It is a great privilege and honor to return to the people of Iraq these two rare and ancient artifacts that reflect their nation’s rich history and heritage,” said HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo. “Investigating the theft of cultural property, and illicit international trade of art and antiquities, is a unique part of our mission at Homeland Security Investigations, and every repatriation brings us closer to our goal to remove the incentive of those who pilfer a nation’s cultural history for profit.

The Sumerian bull was originally given as a religious offering to the goddess Inanna at her temple at Uruk. This statuette was probably left together with or in substitution for the living sacrificial animals that it represents. Although elephants were known to have existed in Mesopotamia and have appeared in excavations dating to the 4th millennium, they were rarely represented in art, making this limestone figure one of the very few examples to have survived to the modern day.

During District Attorney Bragg’s tenure, the ATU has recovered over 800 antiquities stolen from 24 countries and valued at nearly $160 million. Since its creation, the ATU has recovered nearly 4,500 antiquities stolen from 29 countries and valued at more than $375 million. Under District Attorney Bragg, the ATU has also repatriated more than 950 antiquities stolen from 19 countries and valued at more than $165 million. Since its creation, the ATU has returned more than 2,450 antiquities to 24 countries and valued at more than $230 million.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, Chief of the Antiquities Trafficking Unit and Senior Trial Counsel, supervised the investigation, which was conducted by Assistant District Attorneys Taylor Holland and Christine DiDomenico; Supervising Investigative Analyst Apsara Iyer, Investigative Analysts Daniel Healey and Hilary Chasse; and Special Agents Robert Mancene, John Paul Labbat, and Robert Fromkin of Homeland Security Investigations. The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank Shelby White for her assistance and cooperation with our investigation.

###


Let's put a spotlight on one of the crooks.  Torey Akers (THE ART NEWSPAPER) notes:



Authorities seized the bull figurine from Shelby White, the investor, art collector and board member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The expansive collection she accrued with her late husband, Leon Levy, has come under scrutiny for including many artefacts with uncertain provenance. The district attorney's investigation into the collection has already resulted in the seizure of 89 stolen antiquities valued at over $69m and originating from ten different countries. White cooperated with investigators, according to the district attorney's announcement.


Shelby White is not a poor widow.  She's 84 years old and sitting on millions.  She's used that money to try to buy herself a life in the last two decades. That money bought her a seat on a government committee that was supposed to be figuring out the illegal artifact trade and how to stop it.  Yes, Bill Clinton put the fox in the henhouse.  This latest revelation is not a shock.  She and her dead husband profited from looting and illegal trade.   Sarah Cascone (ART NET) notes:


One, a Sumerian alabaster bull, belonged to philanthropist Shelby White, a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s board of trustees. It joins a significant number of other objects from her collection that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has seized in the past two years.

[. . .]

Works from the couple’s holdings were among a group of Greek antiquities restituted in March. And earlier this month, the DA returned two seventh-century stone carvings to China that belonged to White and were on loan to the Met—part of a growing cache of antiquities either in the museum’s collection, or on view at the institution, that have been seized and/or repatriated due to looting in recent months. Reports suggest there is more where that came from. 


I'm sure there are many more items to be found in 'their' collection.  WIKIPEDIA notes:


The Levy-White collection has been scrutinised for looted objects: in a 2000 article, archaeologists David Gill and Christopher Chippindale stated that 93 percent of the works at the exhibition Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection had no known provenance.[15]

Upon search warrants issued by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on 28 June, 2021, and April 27, 2022, objects were seized from White's Manhattan home and were returned to Turkey and Italy, these objets constituting "evidence of criminal possession of stolen property in the first, second, third, and fourth degrees, as well as of a conspiracy to commit those crimes"[16]

The Office of Manhattan District Attorney General seized 89 stolen antiquities, valued at $69 million and originating from 10 different countries, and returned some of them to Turkey[17] and Yemen.[18]

In May 2023, Chinese antiquities loaned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Shelby White were seized and returned to the Chinese Consulate.[19]

 

Now that we're all on the same page, the dumpster fire is back in the news.  Divya Kishore (MEAWW) reports:



A prominent trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) has come under fire after cops recovered numerous stolen artifacts from her house. According to reports, the confiscated items are worth $69 million and were collected by Shelby White and her late husband Leon Levy over several years.

89 artifacts have reportedly been removed from White's possession by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office Special Antiquities Trafficking Unit in the last two years. An April statement by Manhattan DA Alvin L Bragg, Jr said, "Our investigation into the collector Shelby White has allowed dozens of antiquities that were ripped from their countries of origin to finally return home."

Following the shocking revelation, The New York Post reported that the 85-year-old woman's attorney Peter Chavkin has asserted that his client bought artifacts "in good faith, at public auction and from dealers they believed to be reputable." Philippe de Montebello, the Met's former director, defended Shelby by saying she "is a scholar who bought antiquities in good faith out of a real love and knowledge of the art."

[. . .]


However, there were many who were not convinced by White's apparent innocence as Elizabeth Marlowe, the director of the museum studies program at Colgate University, reportedly said, "There is no way that someone at her level of the market and her depth of collecting and her prominence at the Met - there is no way someone at that level did not know they should be asking for things like export licenses."

Patty Gerstenblith, an expert on cultural heritage issues and a professor at DePaul University College of Law, added, "Her collecting practices do not fit the model of how a museum should be pursuing knowledge and preserving the historical record. I don't think the good works, the support of archaeological work, outweigh the harm that she caused."

She's a thief and she needs to be called out every day of however many years she has left on this earth.  Crooks like her don't go to prison, so public scorn's all we can mete out. 

Meanwhile in Baghdad, their local chapter of Moms For Liberty has been very active.  Ali Jabar and Abby Sewell (AP) report:


Protesters angered by the planned burning of a copy of the Quran stormed the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad early Thursday, breaking into the compound and lighting a small fire and setting off a diplomatic furor.

Online videos showed demonstrators at the diplomatic post waving flags and signs showing the influential Iraqi Shiite cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr ahead of a planned burning of the Islamic holy book Thursday in Stockholm by an Iraqi asylum-seeker who burned a copy of the Quran in a previous demonstration last month.

Following the incident, the Swedish Embassy announced it had closed to visitors without specifying when it would reopen. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani convened a meeting with security officials and said in a statement afterwards that Iraqi authorities will prosecute those responsible for the arson as well referring “negligent security officials” for investigation.

No word yet on whether other Moms For Liberty like 'Dr' Naomi Wolf and Tulsi Gabbard would be rushing to Iraq to assist mother Moqtada in the mission.   AFP notes:

 "What has happened is completely unacceptable and the government condemns these attacks in the strongest terms. Iraqi authorities have an unequivocal obligation to protect diplomatic missions and personnel under the Vienna Convention," Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said in a statement, adding that Iraq's charge d'affaires would be summoned to the foreign ministry.

REUTERS offers this quote:


“It is clear that the Iraqi authorities have seriously failed in their responsibility to protect diplomatic missions and personnel,” Billstrom said in a statement. 


Dropping back to Tuesday's snapshot:


Cardinal Louis Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, announced Saturday that he is withdrawing from his seat in Baghdad after Iraqi President Abdul Rashid revoked a decree recognizing him as head of the Christian Church in Iraq.

Sako said he will be taking up residence in a monastery in Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq, where he will continue to lead the Chaldean Church.  

In a statement issued July 15, Sako called the president’s action — which calls into question his ability to control Church assets in the country — “unprecedented” and “unfair.”

“It is unfortunate that we in Iraq live in the midst of a wide network of self-interest, narrow factionalism, and hypocrisy that has produced an unprecedented political, national, and moral chaos, which is rooted by now more and more,” Sako wrote. “Therefore, I have decided to withdraw from the patriarchal headquarters in Baghdad.”

What's going on?  A number of things, actually.  AFP noted a few days ago a political conflict:

Cardinal Louis Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, announced Saturday that he is withdrawing from his seat in Baghdad after Iraqi President Abdul Rashid revoked a decree recognizing him as head of the Christian Church in Iraq.

Sako said he will be taking up residence in a monastery in Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq, where he will continue to lead the Chaldean Church.  

In a statement issued July 15, Sako called the president’s action — which calls into question his ability to control Church assets in the country — “unprecedented” and “unfair.”

“It is unfortunate that we in Iraq live in the midst of a wide network of self-interest, narrow factionalism, and hypocrisy that has produced an unprecedented political, national, and moral chaos, which is rooted by now more and more,” Sako wrote. “Therefore, I have decided to withdraw from the patriarchal headquarters in Baghdad."

 [. . .]


Now comes Abdul to further disgrace the Talabani family and the PUK.  FARS MEDIA CORPORATION notes:

A source at Asianews points out that the whole affair turns on this point: “Someone wants to take control over the assets and properties held by Christians and the Church.” President Abdul Latif Rashid has intervened in recent days with the intention of “clarifying” his decision.

His office issues a statement saying: “Withdrawing  the republican decree does not prejudice the religious or legal status of Cardinal Louis Sako, as he is appointed by the Apostolic See.” According to the Kurdish Muslim leader, “the abolition of the Presidential Decree is intended to correct the situation,” while the patriarch continues to enjoy “the respect and appreciation of the presidency of the Republic as Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq and the world.”

“However, the president’s decision strips the Chaldean leader – the Patriarch – of the right to administer church assets, which are the target of Ryan 'the Chaldean' and his Babylonian Brigades. ‘It’s no coincidence that the president’s decision came a few days after he met with Ryan,’” a source told AsiaNews.

“For over 100 years, the patriarch, after his papal appointment, had his office recognized by decree by the king and then the president, upholding his status as head of the Church and custodian of its properties.” With the withdrawal of the decree, the primate “will likely lose control over the [Church’s] assets and properties,” the source concludes, but Cardinal Sako “is determined to fight and is already studying ways to appeal in court so that law prevails and justice is done.”

The controversy surrounding the withdrawal of the presidential decree is the latest chapter in a series of attacks that have affected the most respected figure of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, to the point that in recent weeks there has arisen a backlash among Christians in response to the “lies”: an attack against the patriarch and the leadership of the Church by the leader of the Babylonian Movement, Rayan.otes:



Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) updates the ongoing story:

The US ambassador to Iraq will be summoned by Baghdad over remarks made by a US official about the removal of the head of the Christian Church in Iraq, the government said on Thursday.

Ambassador Alina Romanowski is to be called in after State Department spokesman Matthew Miller described the treatment of Cardinal Louis Sako as harassment.

He said he was troubled by Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Rashid's decision to revoke a decree recognising the patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, as head of the country's Christian Church.

“I will say we are disturbed by the harassment of Cardinal Sako ... and troubled by the news that he has left Baghdad,” Mr Miller said on Tuesday.

“We look forward to his safe return. The Iraqi Christian community is a vital part of Iraq’s identity and a central part of Iraq’s history of diversity and tolerance.”

Mr Rashid's office said the president was "disappointed by accusations levelled against the Iraqi government" by Mr Miller and would summon the ambassador.


 The following sites updated: