Friday, May 22, 2020

Bad news (Elizabeth Warren) and good news (Valerie Bertinelli)

If you never got how awful Senator Elizabeth Warren really was, maybe this Tweet from David Sirota will help you see reality:

Tens of millions of Americans are losing their health care during a lethal pandemic — this seems like a *particularly* odd time to “pivot” away from Medicare for All

Sorry.  I warned you.  When she ran for the Senate and I told you what was what, it was hard for people outside of my state to grasp reality.  Sorry.  It was not a secret that she was a Republican and only became a Democrat to get elected.  (The way a Democrat in Texas might switch over to Republican if they ran for office.)

She was never the real deal.  I was hoping she would prove me wrong but instead she's made everything I've said for years be true.

Let's move to good news.  C.I. asked me if I was happy?  About?  The nominations -- the daytime Emmy nominations?

My reply: Huh?

C.I. said check out the nominees for Outstanding Culinary Host.  I did.  Here they are:

Valerie Bertinelli
Valerie’s Home Cooking
Food Network
Frankie Celenza
Struggle Meals
Giada De Laurentiis
Giada Entertains
Food Network
Ina Garten
Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro
Food Network
Rachael Ray
30 Minute Meals
Food Network

Oh, my goodness!!! I am so happy.  I love Valerie's Home Cooking and think Valerie Bertinelli is the best cooking show host there is.  She's real and she keeps it real.  She makes you want to watch and she makes you want to try out her recipes.

I doubt this is her first nomination for her cooking show, but it's the first I'm aware of and she really deserves it.  Congratulations to her.

It's good when someone really deserving gets recognized.

Back in September of 2018, I noted:

Lynda e-mails upset because she was knocked by some friends over her scrambled eggs.  What did they knock?  She doesn't use milk.

I'm sorry Lynda got knocked.  But, first off, not everyone uses milk in scrambled eggs.  My father's mother, for example, never did.  She used milk for many things but not for scrambled eggs.  My mother's mother doesn't to this day.  Ask her why?  Eight kids?  That milk needed to be used in other things.  And, Lynda, I don't use milk when I make scrambled eggs either.

Second, we all adapt.

I will use red onions in place of yellow onions always -- and often in place of white onions.

Valerie Bertinelli is my favorite host of a cooking show on The Food Network for many reasons including she shares earlier stories -- by that I mean, she'll talk about how something went wrong the first time she cooked a dish.  She shares what she learned and she makes it about learning.  I love her show.  But even though I love her show?  There are things she does that I don't in making the same recipe.  And if I had a show and she caught an episode and liked a dish, she'd make it her way.

That's what cooking is.  There's no one way.  I'm sorry Lynda got knocked but I'm even sorrier that we live in a world -- at this late date -- where some still think there is only one way to do something.

And in July of 2019, I wrote:

Valerie Bertinelli hosts Valerie's Home Cooking on the Food Network.  I've noted before that I enjoy the show.

I caught an episode this week where she was doing Taco Tuesday on a Sunday with some friends.

And I like her recipes but what really stood out was Valerie.

Like a lot of people, I first saw Valerie as Barbara Cooper on One Day At A Time.

She's a talented actress, absolutely.  Hot In Cleveland was hilarious.

But, she's more than that.  She's also someone with a personality that makes you want to spend time with her.

Alyssa Milano was not a child star -- Valerie was.  But there's more differences -- primarily, can you imagine her doing a cooking show and anyone watching?

Alyssa is so pushy and so -- She's like nails on a chalkboard.

Now that's one example of someone who could not do a show like Valerie's Home Cooking.

There are others who are perfectly nice people but they still don't know have Valerie's warmth.

She makes you want to watch, she holds your interest.

Even if she's cooking something I have no interest in, I will watch the show once I start because she's warm and she's real.  And if you're someone who is trying to learn new recipes or learn how to cook for starters, she's someone who walks you through and keeps it entertaining and understandable.

If you haven't checked out her Food Network show, make a point to.

Just remembered, she also hosts Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network.  That's a show worth watching as well.

I know I reviewed her cookbook but I can't find that.  But the point is, Valerie has done high quality and important work on The Food Network for years.

She deserves the Emmy and I hope she wins it.

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

Thursday, May 21, 2020.  Attacking Tara Reade isn't feminism though it clearly helps some make a quick buck.

Cher performing Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth." Cher's version appears on her 1969 classif album 3614 JACKSON HIGHWAY.

There's battle lines being drawn 
And nobody's right if everybody's wrong 
Young people speaking their minds
Getting some much resistance from behind

As a friend with the Biden campaign gloated to me on the phone last night, "We knew what we were doing."  Yes, they did.  The campus papers are pretty much mute right now.  That was always the biggest block for Joe.  It's not just that young adults don't like him.  It's also that they're better educated on assault and harassment.

The generational divide that's been at the heart of Joe's lukewarm reception continues.  And you see it at THE NATION where the elderly write so many columns that 46-year-old Dave Zirin is the 'youngster' in the mix.

Joan Walsh? 61.  Katha Pollitt?  70.  Patricia J. Williams?  68.

I had to ask Jim to look into that 2007 e-mail from THE NATION.  Ava and I had been sick of the imbalance at THE NATION in terms of gender.  They were publishing far more men than women.  We'd started to track it.  Around July 4th, THE NATION had e-mailed frantically.  They wanted the story killed.  They would do anything.  They would publish Ava and myself (we had no interest, thank you), they were going to be hiring women columnists shortly -- and young women at that.  Could we please kill the story?

Do we look like whores?  Maybe.  But we're not.

We tracked it for a full year and served up "The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many female ones?" on December 23, 2007. 149, by the way, that's the answer.  They had 491 male bylines that year and only 149 female bylines.

And you don't see what women are up against?  Even on the so-called inclusive Democratic left (as opposed to genuine left).

Well they never did hire a young woman -- 46-year-old Melissa Lacewell Harris Perry was the closest they got.

They don't get it, like so many, they just don't get it.  They don't want to get it is probably the reason why they don't get it but it really doesn't matter.  What matters is we're in the 21st century and they're stuck in the 90s with their James Carville mindset.

They smear and attack Tara with rape culture because they must stop Tara and any other woman who might come out -- two have now hinted publicly about coming forward.

Katha Pollitt, you're the new Midge Decter!  To this generation coming up right now, that's what you are.  Embrace your descent into frivolity -- or further frivolity.

They don't get it.  They didn't get Anita Hill in real time either but we'll talk about that tomorrow.

Alexis Grenell (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) plans to vote for Joe but is dismayed by the attacks on Tara Reade:

Reade may be only the latest in a long line of inconvenient women to pipe up about a favorite son, but she’s the first to appear post-#MeToo in the middle of an election year where the sitting president has botched the response to a pandemic that’s killed more Americans than the Vietnam War. All of this leaves less bandwidth for her in the public imagination, as she asks us to weigh her individual pain against the agony of watching our whole world bleed out. It certainly doesn’t make her any easier to like.

The thing is, it’s not necessary to like or not like Reade, because either way we cannot know what happened. I’ve read through every shred of “evidence” and I still can’t make sense of the facts or my feelings about them. I have no qualms about supporting Biden — we can’t re-elect the titular head of the death cult formerly known as the Republican Party — but my ambivalence about Reade is what keeps me up at night. I want her, and anyone else who comes forward about alleged abuse, to be allowed to be unlikeable and legitimate. I want people to be able to separate feelings from facts, and when the facts don’t lead somewhere conclusive, not to fill in the blanks with feelings. I want us to learn that sexual abuse rarely comes with a certificate of origin and to sit with that discomfort.

Alexis bills herself as a feminist.  Is she?  I'd say no.  Xenophobia doesn't really belong in feminism.  Maybe she's a domestic (and domesticated) feminist (tabby)?  The Vietnam War?  If we're going to count deaths, we should include the Vietnamese.  It was their country.  Reducing a war to the deaths on only one side -- regardless of the war -- is not just short-sighted, it's xenophobic.

But Grenell is a writer and she's right to be concerned about what's taking place which puts her far ahead of Katha Pollitt the faux feminist that we addressed in yesterday's snapshot.  Others are addressing her nonsense as well.  Here's Sady Doyle:

Here, from Katha Pollit's latest piece on Reade, is a problem troubling me with this coverage: Pollit names four-count-em-four witnesses corroborating sexual harassment, three of them roughly contemporaneous to the event. Then she calls it merely "possible" Reade was harassed.

The evidence for the assault itself is much weaker. But every witness, even hostile ones (like the ex) corroborates the harassment at least. Why "possible?" Why not "likely?" In any other circumstance, feminists would likely say "can be relatively sure harassment occurred."

One element of Reade's claim - the most inflammatory, the rape - has the weakest evidence for it. But we DO have corroborating accounts for the harassment, more than are often required to take a claim seriously. If we're feminists, we should take that as our grounds for argument.

If the worst insinuation of Reade's critics is true -- that she inflated a sexual assault claim to a rape claim to get press attention she was missing -- that's a tragedy about a woman who went unheard so long she risked something desperate and destroyed her life in the process.

Another scenario is that a vulnerable woman, who struggled with money and an abusive marriage after being sexually harassed at work, was later preyed upon by bad political actors and convinced to escalate her claim. Again, that would be horrible, but it would also be tragic.

In no scenario does Biden emerge spotless. In no scenario does his track record with women become irrelevant. What makes Biden look worst, all this, is the rush to demolish Reade in the hopes of restoring some "feminist" reputation Biden does not appear to have ever deserved.

Katha Pollitt is an embarrassment.  She opened that hideous column attacking Tara with the reveal that she would vote for Joe even if were seen on the street eating a baby.  Is she trying to restart the spirit cooking nonsense?  Is that stupid?  I thought we agreed that nonsense was harmful, that people were wrongly being threatened because of it.  But here's Katha offering, like a good whore, where her line in the sand is.  The entire column is an embrace of and advancement of rape culture.  That's not feminism.

Candice Russell Tweets:

Watching the Tara Reade coverage has become like some sort of trauma induced version of Groundhogs Day so of COURSE “professional feminist” Katha Pollitt just HAD TO give her two cents on sexual assault again (hint: still just as problematic as when she wrote about mine)

By the way, when Katha attacked Candice, Katha wrote, "Why not say, 'These are serious allegations, and we're going to look into them'?"

Double standard?  Katha denies there's one with regards to Christine Blasey Ford and Tara Reade.  But there is one.  There's also a double standard to how Katha responded with Candice and with Tara.

The rank hypocrisy that wafts off Katha is something no FDS will ever send running.

COMMON DREAMS' Eoin Higgins offers:

Wow, Katha Pollit doesn't believe Tara Reade, what a shocking surprise, what's next, that she's a TERF?

It's left to Anthony Zenkus to provide the realities Katha avoids:

There is rarely "definitive proof" in rape cases. The reason so many victims never even come forward. And yet 1 in 6 women are victims of rape or attempted rape in their lives. Funny how that works.

Let's note two more from Zenkus:

After being called out by multiple women for nonconsensual, inappropriate touch which they viewed as harmful, Biden joked about consent multiple times. Mr. Biden: what is so funny about consent? #AskBidenAnything


We need nominee who doesnt think it's fair game to touch the thighs of sex assault victims after they talk about their assaults, and who then jokes about consent after being called out on his gross behavior. Biden needs to go. Consent is not a joke. #DropOutJoe #AskBidenAnything

Andrew Levine (COUNTERPUNCH) notes:

Let’s begin with the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, whose leadership decided to throw Reade to the curb because of the identity of her alleged assailant. According to Reade, she only realized after reading Ryan Grim’s reporting for The Intercept  that this happened owing, in all likelihood, to the nonprofit’s professional relationship to Anita Dunn, a Biden advisor who works for SKDKnickerbocker, the PR firm for Time’s Up. Leaving aside any other critiques one has of The Intercept and Joe Biden, it is a tremendous faux pas for Ryan Grim to let a journalistic bombshell like that be published without forewarning to his source. The Watergate conspirators were given more courtesy, as demonstrated by the classic exclamation “[Washington Post publisher] Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that’s ever published!” What was he thinking?
In 2019, both the Associated Press and the Washington Post worked the story but ultimately canned coverage. The AP had the story in April of that year, when, simultaneously, everyone was publishing about Biden being too touchy for people’s comfort case and point this particular column in Clinton lap dog Ezra Klein’s Vox. Even if there were inconsistencies within Reade’s story (purportedly the reason for squashing it), she deserved a fair hearing and a forum. These venues have given far more airtime to far more dubious actors over the years (cf. 2016 Donald Trump campaign) and have no shred of credibility here. Sexual trauma and memory are very messy things from top to bottom. There are plenty of women who have very public accounts of suppression and triggering that causes them to recall details sometimes years after the events.

We're living in a different century and what's going down will not have consequences.  In this century, a woman writes her own "For What It's Worth" and performs it.  Stevie Nicks:

In Iraq, REUTERS reports:

Royal Dutch Shell evacuated some 60 foreign staff from Iraq’s Basra Gas Company as a security measure following a protest over delayed pay, company officials said on Thursday, adding production was unaffected.
The staff were flown out of the country on Wednesday after workers protested at the headquarters of Basra Gas Company (BGC), a venture between state-owned South Gas Company, Shell and Mitsubishi, to demand payment of their delayed salaries, officials said.
“Shell confirms that as result of a security breach at the accommodation camp of Basra Gas Company, we have temporarily relocated Shell secondees,” Shell said in emailed comments.

The following sites updated: