Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hattie McDaniel and Bette Davis

One of the features we did at Third on Sunday was:

The ten best actresses of the first half of the 20th century

In films early years (up to 1950), a number of actresses became stars and many gave outstanding performances.  Myrna Loy, Rosalind Russell, Mae West, Jean Harlow, Lena Horne, Greta Garbo, Joan Fontaine, Olivia de Haviland, Vivien Leigh, Gene Tierney, Linda Darnell, Grace Kelly, Irene Dunne, Paulette Goddard, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Gloria Swanson, Ginger Rogers and Ingrid Bergman are just some of the screen's leading ladies.

Who were the best of the best?

Here's our ten.

1) Bette Davis

2) Judy Garland

3) Joan Crawford

4) Barbra Stanwyck

5) Hattie McDaniel

6) Carole Lombard

7) Loretta Young

8) Katharine Hepburn

9) Rita Hayworth

10) Jean Arthur

Erin e-mailed asking what I thought of the list?

I enjoyed it.  I think we made ten strong choices.

Erin asked about Hattie McDaniel.  She is a character actress and Erin did not feel she should have made the list.

I do understand where Erin is coming from.

Thelma Ritter was a great actress as well -- she was not eligible for the period we considered -- and she was also a character actress.

Would I put her on the list?


So why Ms. McDaniel?

Because she was an African-American character actress. 

She left an impression in every film she was in (including Alice Adams and Nothing Sacred -- not just in her Academy Award winning Gone With The Wind performance).

In another time, she could have been a lead.

But for her time, to be as prominent as she was in Hollywood films?

That was due to her talent and charisma, her star power.

C.I. and Betty were the ones who brought up Hattie McDaniel.

I had honestly not thought of her. 

But the minute they brought her up, it was like a dawning moment, an of course moment.

As for our top choice?

Bette Davis is probably the best actress films have ever had and she is certainly the best in the lead up to 1950 (which is where our timeline ended for the piece).

And to steal from C.I.'s October 11, 2013 snapshot:

 In 2009, at Third, we named Bette Davis "The Best Actress of the 20th Century" and this week's theme was favorite Bette Davis film.  These were the posts and picks:  Ann's "Old Acquaintance," Betty's "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?," Trina's "The Letter," Rebecca's "beyond the forest," Ruth's "Dark Victory," Kat's "All About Eve," Marcia's "Jezebel," Stan's "Dead Ringer," Elaine's "Now, Voyager," Mike's "The Little Foxes"  and Isaiah's "Working It For BP (Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte)."

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue,  Barack's 'plan' continues to fail, another helicopter is shot down in Iraq, Americans are unimpressed with the 'plan,' Jimmy Carter joins Leon Panetta in criticizing the 'plan,' the State Dept struggles to find success with the 'plan,' Brett McGurk ignores the lack of success by Tweeting about the US military, apple polisher Michael Cohen attacks Panetta, Save The Children calls for attention to the possibility of civilian casualties, A.N.S.W.E.R. organizes a protest for October 10th, and much more.

If you're a cross-eyed loser with a douche goatee, you learn to lie to yourself daily.  But that still doesn't excuse Michael Cohen lying to the rest of us.  In a column for The Daily Beast, Little Mikey attacks because that's what fat bitches do when the objects of their lust are in trouble.  That's how Michael came to blame not Barack but the American people for Barack's lie that "If you like your health care you can keep your health care."  I really don't like overgrown children who masturbate in public and pretend like they've made a logical argument.

Like an incontinent beast, Cohen just sprays all over the floor:

When Panetta became CIA director in 2009, he was demonstrably unqualified for the job. He had no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security. His most apparent and highly-touted skill was that he understood his way around bureaucratic Washington.

I'm sorry, a member of the US military has no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security?

A First Lieutenant in the Army has no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security?

I'm sorry what was Leon Panetta doing at Fort Ord?

Oh, that's right, intelligence.

Cohen's such a sad little man.

Panetta dared to criticize Barack Obama and that's too much for Cohen.

So he damns Panetta for . . . advocating for a big budget for the Defense Dept when he headed the Defense Dept and for advocating for a bigger budget for the CIA when he headed the CIA.

These are not shocking developments but the natural aspect of the job.

Cohen lies throughout and deliberately distorts Panetta's remarks and statements.

The reason for that is, Cohen's point is to ensure that no one explore what Panetta's arguing.

Cohen wants to shut him down, wants to destroy him.

People like Cohen do the world no good at all.

He can string together words but he can't actually write and his plodding prose is an embarrassment.

He can't present ideas or even repeat them.

His thinking is simplistic and infantile.

Panetta favors US troops in Iraq.

I don't.

Panetta believes that US troops on the ground will assist Barack's (thus far faltering) military operation.

I've seen this before, we all have, Bully Boy Bush did it with the 'surge.'

With the 'surge' -- as with Barack's 'plan' -- the focus was on the toys not on the work.  Both men see/saw the US military as toy soldiers to be played with.

Both men swore a political solution was the answer but couldn't stop playing war games and do the damn work required to get to a political solution.

Putting US troops on the ground in Iraq -- and, yes, they already are -- is putting their lives in danger.


For a political solution that the administration wants but can't define and refuses to work towards?

US troops will do their mission -- they did during the surge -- and it will be for naught because Barack's got no plan for how a political solution comes about.

Troops will be used, as they were by Bully Boy Bush, to defocus from the real issues.

That's misusing the military.

I'd argue it's grounds for impeachment.

Panetta would argue that US troops on the ground will make a difference because you'll not just be causing scattering by bombing but you'll have forces on the ground to fight, round up, capture, etc in the aftermath of bombing.

And I'll gladly allow Panetta's points may be accurate.

Yet none of that provides a political solution for Iraq.

And so why is the US military being (mis)used?

There is no military solution in Iraq -- even Barack admits to that.  Barack repeatedly states the situation requires a political answer.

So how about you figure out how that comes about?

Instead, Barack wastes time getting more nations to agree to bomb Iraq.

John Pilger (Independent of Australia) observes, "As Barack Obama ignites his seventh war against the Muslim world since being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty."

If bombing is the point, the US military can bomb Iraq over and over for years.  There's no need to round up other nations.

I can take on Leon's points.  (And can and have done so face to face -- I know and like Leon.)

Cohen can't.

And won't.

Because he exists solely to worship Barack Obama.

There is nothing more disgusting than a teacher's pet and that's only more true after the age of 20.

Tomorrow, Michael Cohen will probably work on attacking the American people (again) and attacking Jimmy Carter.  Justin Sink (The Hill) reveals the fairy tales are losing their luster with the American people:

Some 51 percent of respondents in the CBS News poll released Wednesday said they disapprove of the job the president is doing with the radical jihadist group, while just four in 10 approved. Those numbers are slightly worse than a month ago, when 48 percent disapproved of how Obama was approaching the situation.

Among those disapproving?  Former US President Jimmy Carter.  Cheryl K. Chumley (Washington Times) explains, "Former president Jimmy Carter took a harsh jab at President Obama this week, telling the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the commander-in-chief dragged his feet on confronting Islamic State terrorism."

Carter's disapproval appears to be primarily over dropping bombs on an inhabited land without having trained people on the ground to call in those strikes.  He and Panetta both argue, in different ways, that Barack is not properly using the military or engaging the military command.
Today at the Pentagon, spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby declared, "This afternoon, as you know, President Obama will also be coming to the Pentagon to meet with the senior DOD leadership, including the combatant commanders. I know Secretary Hagel is very much looking forward to hosting the Commander-in-Chief here in the building. There will also be a full meeting of the president's national security team here this afternoon to provide the president with an update on the campaign to degrade and destroy ISIL."
From that press briefing:
Q: Another question on the president's meetings today at the Pentagon. Do you think those meetings could result to a change in the strategy against ISIL? Can we see -- can we expect more U.S. advisers going to Iraq soon?

ADM. KIRBY: The purpose of today's meeting is to update the commander-in-chief on our progress across a wide variety of fronts. Yes, he'll be updated by General Austin on the campaign against ISIL. He'll get an update from General Rodriguez on what we're doing with Ebola. And the other combatant commanders will have a chance to speak, as well, for their regions and what they're doing.

It'll be a -- it'll be a global update. Clearly those two very hot topics will be discussed. I won't -- I can't speak for the president and what he will or won't decide as a result of the updates he's getting. We're not expecting any change to our strategy as a result of today's meetings.

Over two months after the start of bombing, it's news that Barack finally gets his ass to the Pentagon.

Carter has previously noted the possibility of civilian casualties.  It's a reality most refuse to acknowledge. Save The Children notes:

As Australian fighter jets drop their first bombs over Iraq, aid agency Save the Children stresses that military action by all must remain in line with humanitarian law and prioritise the protection of children and other civilians.
Aram Shakaram, Save the Children’s Program Director in Iraq said: “Children are already the innocent victims bearing the brunt of this war. Traumatised by the brutality of fighting even before the latest bombing, children are also at risk of being injured or killed as these air strikes are scaled up. It is the responsibility of all parties involved to make sure children and other civilians are kept safe.”
The children’s aid agency is particularly concerned about the on-going use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including Fallujah and Kirkuk, which have seen constant bombardment and fighting for weeks. This is the largest contributor to the killing and maiming of children in conflict.
“Air strikes, artillery fire, mortars and shelling are being used in towns and villages and risk killing innocent children. The impacts of these explosive weapons are indiscriminate: they kill and maim children and destroy hospitals and schools. The lethal nature of these deadly weapons prohibits our teams from delivering life-saving aid to children and families that need it,” Mr Shakaram added.
Save the Children has been working in Iraq for 23 years and was already supporting thousands of Syrian refugees in the country before the latest fighting erupted. The aid agency has launched a large-scale emergency response to support hundreds of thousands of the 1.8 million people who have been forced to flee their homes because of the conflict. More than 200,000 people have fled in recent months, many forced to live in abandoned or unfinished buildings, churches, mosques and schools.
“On the ground we’re seeing a dire situation – every day more people are forced from their homes fleeing brutal violence and fearing for their lives. Families are crammed into already-packed classrooms in schools being used as makeshift camps or living in unfinished buildings, completely unprotected from the elements. They are running out money and harsh winter weather is just around the corner. Yet, in some ways those that have escaped are the lucky ones – those left behind face even greater dangers as the fighting escalates.”
Save the Children is calling on the Australian Government to use all of its relevant diplomatic and advisory powers to ensure that all parties to the conflict and those considering military interventions to make the following commitments:
· Not to target civilians or civilian objects, including schools and hospitals
· Not to use explosive weapons in populated areas
· Not to use children in any role in armed groups or forces, including non-combat roles
· Not to use schools or hospitals as military assets
For interviews with Aram Shakaram call Olivia Zinzan on 0416 355 851

 Among many realities most refuse to acknowledge.   From this morning:

In other reality-based news, All Iraq News notes an Iraqi helicopter went down in Baiji. IANS adds:

Technical malfunctioning during landing apparently caused the chopper to crash while it was flying over al-Seiniyah area, just west of the refinery city of Baiji, some 200 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The crashed chopper was one of the three carrying food and ammunition to an army force stationed at the besieged oil refinery outside Baiji. The besieged troops have been fighting the Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State (IS), inside the vast refinery area for months.

Iraqi Spring MC notes rebels are saying they downed the helicopter -- and they were in the area bombing a Baiji refinery.

Downed by mechanical failure or by an attack, it's a possible outcome that really hasn't been addressed.  Last Friday an Iraqi helicopter was shot down.  If that happens to a US helicopter, I guess the media will finally be interested in exploring possible outcomes.

So what did happen to the helicopter?

This evening, Kirk Semple and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report:

Insurgents from the Islamic State militant group shot down an Iraqi military helicopter on Wednesday near a refinery town, Baiji, killing two onboard, Iraqi military officials said.
It was the second time in less than a week that the militants had shot down an Iraqi helicopter, raising the stakes for the Iraqi forces and the United States-led coalition fighting the group, which have dominated the sky during a campaign of airstrikes.

Barack's 'plan' is a failure.

Attacking Panetta won't change that.

At the State Dept today, spokesperson Jen Psaki made another attempt at defining success:

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry acknowledged today there were some setbacks and some successes with the Iraqi Security Forces. You were going to discuss yesterday some of the successes that --

MS. PSAKI: Sure, I talked about a few of them. And I think, obviously, there have been – as he said today, there have been some successes and there have been some areas where we know more work needs to be done. And we’re continuing to work with the Iraqi Security Forces to strengthen them. As you know from the assessment that we’ve done, we’ve assessed that there are certainly some that need more training, there are some that are fully prepared to fight. And so we’re working within those constraints. But let me just give you a few.
I think I mentioned these yesterday, but just in case you weren’t there for it, we’ve already seen Iraqi Security Forces retake and hold land at the Mosul Dam, Amirli, and push back ISIL forces around the Haditha Dam. They’ve also refortified around Baghdad. We’ve seen reports, as I mentioned yesterday, that Kurdish forces, with the support of Sunni tribes, retook the Iraq-Syria border crossing at Rabia last week, which fell to ISIL in June. This is an encouraging development as it will make it harder for ISIL to operate across the border.
And there were also reports within the last week that Iraqi Security Forces, working in conjunction with Sunni tribes, have pushed back ISIL in the town of Dhuliya. And so those are some of the areas where we’ve seen some successes. But obviously, we’re not naive of – about this and there’s much more work that needs to be done, which is why we’re working closely with them.

Well that's not impressive.

More to the point, what does any of that have to do with a political solution?

Not a damn thing.

For the State Dept, Brett McGurk is the lead on the diplomatic effort for Iraq.

But you'd never know it to follow him on Twitter.  Today's Tweets included:

What does any of that have to do with reaching a political solution in Iraq?

Not a damn thing.

But the State Dept, like the White House, can't point to any real accomplishments in Iraq.

In 2003, Barack's efforts -- done by Bully Boy Bush -- would have been called out loudly by the peace movement.  Today?  Not so much.   While so many are silent in the US, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition is calling for action:

At his fundraiser with SF’s “elite”, let’s tell President Obama: No War!

Date: October 10, 2014
Time: 4:00 - 7:00 pm
Location: "W" Hotel
3rd and Howard Sts.
San Francisco, California
Contact: ANSWER Coalition at or 415-821-6545              
Join us to demand:
• Stop bombing Syria and Iraq!
• U.S. out of the Middle East!
• End U.S. aid to Israel!
• Money for jobs, housing, healthcare,  education, not war and occupation!

President Barack Obama is coming to San Francisco to raise tens of millions of dollars for the Democratic Party’s “war chest” and upcoming elections, as the peoples of the Middle East suffer a new U.S. bombing war, this time expanding into Syria and deepening in Iraq. The Pentagon generals are demanding “boots on the ground” in Washington’s quest for total domination of the oil-rich region. Gaza is still under rubble and blockaded by Israel, due to both Democrats’ and Republicans’ military aid to Israel. We urge everyone to come and protest Obama’s visit, to say: Stop bombing the people of the Middle East, U.S. Out! Money for Jobs and Housing, Not War!