good-bye to josh duhamel

when josh duhamel was on 'all my children' and the nudes he posed for started surfacing, it didn't bother me. yes, he had a very small penis, but i thought it was cute.

when he thought he could act and film after film proved he couldn't, i just enjoyed him on t.v. where he didn't act but just posed for the camera.

when he got pudgy and then stocky and then fat, i didn't say a word against him.

so some may be surprised that i have turned against josh.  finally.


he endorsed a raging homophobe for president. he's endorsed doug burgum.  for the republican presidential nomination and for every thing.  doug, he wants you to know, is his friend.

then josh, you and your micro penis need to go somewhere else because i don't support homophobie.  bye. 

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, September 14, 2023.  Efforts to ban books increase, the family of a woman with dual citizenship (she's a citizen of Russia and of Israel) wants the US to play "cops of the world," and much more.

Let's start with this from AP:

The United States should use its influence to help win the freedom of a Russian-Israeli academic at Princeton University who went missing in Iraq nearly six months ago and is believed to be held by an Iran-backed militia regarded by Washington as a terrorist group, her sister said Wednesday.

No, we shouldn't.  The woman is most likely a spy and, if not, she's an idiot.  Regardless, she had no business being in Iraq and she's not an American citizen.  She created her own little international incident and if she needs help now, she can turn to Russia or to Israel -- those her countries.  Stop pushing your problems off on others.  Deal with your stupidity -- and it's stupidity either way, actually.  She was stupid to have gone to Iraq as an 'academic' or she was stupid as a spy for being so obvious.

I don't know which and I don't care.  

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s."  Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London).  The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released.  This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq.  Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners.  So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages.  And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it.  At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject.  Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise.  What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did.  A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama."  Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of.  Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them?  The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

There was no reason for the US to be involved in that issue.  Five American servicemembers were killed.  Their killers were in custody.  Four mercenaries from the UK and one computer consultant had been kidnapped two years prior.  Going in the chances were strong that every one of them was dead.  Turns out Peter Moore was alive (the computer guy).  (The four contractors were all killed: Jason Swindlehurst, Jason Creswell, Alec Maclachlan and Alan McMenemy.)  

Killers of five US troops in US custody -- one of which was the ringleader of the League of Righteous -- a terrorist organization.  The handover was beyond stupid and had no benefits for the US or for Iraq.  It was a huge mistake which is why so few people talk about today -- we must protect Barack at all costs.  

What he did was outrageous.  Not only was he making a deal with terrorists -- and letting them set the terms -- he was releasing the killers of Americans which was bad for the US.  And bad for Iraq was letting these killers out so that they could terrorize the Iraqi people -- which is what they continue to do.

And on top of everything, Barack looked like an idiot on the world stage and that's when the US media lost interest in the topic.  He gave the terrorists what they wanted: the release of all killers in custody.  And?  They released some.  Some.  Not all five.  A few months later, in August of that year, they were talking big to the press about how they'd do what they wanted and they didn't trust Barack.  Big talk was easy because Barack had released the killers.  Not handed them over to Iraqi courts and jails, mind you, just released them, like turning a turtle back into the wild.

They mocked him, the Arabic press was all over that story.

There was no great win in that.  And those five British citizens should have been the focus of their own government.

The Israeli-Russia woman and her family need to appeal to the countries she's a citizen of.  She's not an American citizen and US interests do not need to be wasted on her in Iraq.

Iraq has enough issues and enough problems that the US government could help with -- such as bringing people to the table to implement the Constitutional article to determine the status of Kirkuk.  When Bully Boy Bush was in the White House, the Iraqi Constitution called for that to be implemented.  Then prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki refused to do so.  Brookings warned that the failure to implement it presented real risks to Iraq's future.  

We've now seen that even more so.  

That's what our diplomatic mission should be.

And if the governments of Israel and Russia want to use their diplomatic resources to rescue the stupid woman, that's their business.  But she is not a US priority and she is not an Iraqi priority.  

And I'm not seeing any history of that woman or her sister advocating for the release of Julian Assange or any other political prisoner so apparently they only believe in themselves.  Not going to rush to help selfish people.

JEWISH NEWS SYNDICATE notes, "While Tsurkov is not a U.S. citizen, Emma is pressing Washington to use its financial support to Iraq as leverage to secure her sister’s freedom."  The US government is not and should not be the cops of the world.  Your sister has two countries who can help her due to her citizenship: Russia and Israel.  

Elizabeth Tsurkov is not a US citizen, limiting the tools at the American government's disposal and the direct ability of Washington officials to secure her release. But Emma Tsurkov contends that the US government still has substantial influence given that her sister has significant US ties as a “graduate student in an American institution that is approved and funded for research."

No that does not create a legal obligation and instead of fighting windmills, her sister should be using the resources she does have to appeal to the governments of  Russia and Israel.

Let's move over to the topic of books.  At THE NEW YORK TIMES, Naomi Klein writes:

Though doppelgängers reliably elicit feelings of vertigo, I find the sudden prevalence of doubles oddly comforting. For years I struggled privately with a problem I considered rather niche: being perennially confused and conflated with another writer and outspoken political analyst named Naomi, Naomi Wolf, even though I bear only a passing resemblance to her. (And I would see the same thing happening to her.) Once best known for best-selling feminist books like “The Beauty Myth” and for a controversial role advising Al Gore’s presidential run, Ms. Wolf has more recently distinguished herself as an industrial-scale disseminator of vaccine-related medical misinformation, as well as a fixture on pro-Trump shows like the one hosted daily by Steve Bannon.

I sometimes wondered what I had done to deserve my doppelgänger woes. With popular culture feeling increasingly like a house of mirrors with duplicated and simulated and similar selves endlessly refracted, many more of us may soon be dealing with versions of doppelgänger confusion. What role is this proliferation of doubles, twins and clones playing? Doppelgängers, which combine the German words for doppel (double) with gänger (goer), are often regarded as warnings, or omens.

In an attempt to better understand the warnings carried by my doppelgänger experience, I spent many evenings immersing myself in the rich repertory of doppelgänger films. One that proved particularly helpful was Jordan Peele’s “Us.” This 2019 horror film imagines a society much like our own, only sitting on top of a shadowy underworld, inhabited by warped doubles of everyone living aboveground. Every move above is mirrored below in darkness and misery. Until the underground doppelgängers get tired of the arrangement and wreak havoc.

Who are these underground people? one terrified character asks.

“We’re Americans,” comes the gut punch of an answer.

The film has been interpreted as an allegory for capitalism’s entanglements with racial and other forms of oppression, with the comforts of the few requiring the exploitation of a shadow world. That understanding landed particularly hard during the pandemic, when I watched the film. Those of us who were part of the lockdown class were able to shelter in place because we were being served by “essential workers,” many of whom did not have the ability to call in sick. Doubles often play this role, offering viewers and readers uncomfortable ways into their own story. By showing us a character facing her doppelgänger, we are exposed to parts of ourselves we can least bear to see, but at a slight angle, and through a warped mirror.

[. . .]

We are, once again, at a historical juncture where our physical and political worlds are changing too quickly and too consequentially for our minds to easily comprehend. This is why I decided to start regarding my own doppelgänger as a narrow aperture through which to look at forces I consider dangerous, and that can be hard to confront directly.

Rather than worrying about people thinking that she and I were one and the same, I got interested in the ways she seems to have become a doppelgänger of her former self. Because I have been getting confused with Ms. Wolf for close to a decade and half, I knew that she had been dabbling in conspiracy culture for years. (I would periodically get harangued online for positions she had taken.)

Before the pandemic, her underlying values seemed somewhat stable: feminism, sexual freedom, democracy, basic liberalism. Then, rather suddenly, they appeared less so. In a matter of months, I watched her go from questioning masks in schools to questioning election results alongside Mr. Bannon. Next she was engaging in Jan. 6 revisionism, condoning the Supreme Court’s assault on abortion rights, posting about her firearms and also warning that “war is being waged upon us.”

This is a phenomenon far larger than Ms. Wolf, of course. A great many of us have witnessed it in people we know, once respected and even still love. We tell one another that they have disappeared “down the rabbit hole,” lost to conspiratorial fantasies, embracing apocalyptic language, seemingly unreachable by affection or reason.

Naomi's book came out this week.  My apologies because I wrongly stated last week that it had come out.  I was reading a few weeks ago and thought it was coming out Tuesday of last week.  I strongly recommend the book and it's entitled DOPPLEGANGER: A TRIP INTO THE MIRROR WORLD.  That's by Naomi Klein -- Klein.

Let's note how far Naomi Wolf has fallen: She's now reTweeting Jordan Peterson.  If you're not getting it, Jordan Peterson is infamous for insisting that women's studies programs should be defunded.

I've said this many times before but I'm saying it again, should crazy get off the drugs and try to return to the left, you're an idiot if you let her.  It's not just that Naomi Wolf is bat s**t crazy, it's that she's done real harm to women and feminists do not need to be masochists.  She chose her side.  There is no return from the dark side for her..  She is not to be trusted.  She's a right winger who wants to vote for Donald Trump.  She hangs out with homophobes and transphobes.  Moms For Bigotry have the Naomi Wolf stamp of approval.  There is no forgiveness, there is no salvation.  She has stabbed feminism in the back and that's where it should stop.  We would be idiots to ever let her back in.  

The right-wing?  They're fools to embrace her.  Ava and I long ago -- back in the '00s -- exposed how she stole the work of Judith N. Shklar for her piece of garbage THE BEAUTY MYTH -- Shklar had given lectures Naomi attended and cribbed for without doing any attribution.  We've noted how, in FIRE WITH FIRE (her second book), she praises the 'beauty' of Victoria Woodhull while immediately then insulting the looks of Madam CJ Walker.  It was racist.  And, point of fact, Walker was cute, Woodhull had to be photographed from certain angles.  Then came PROMISCUITIES where she brunches the morning after with rapists and feels no concern for the woman who was raped the night before.  Hey, it's a frat house, Naomi's down with the bros.  MISCONCEPTIONS?  A book on motherhood which reads, naturally and obviously, like a book by someone who didn't raise children.  (Those kids were so lucky to have their father and step-mother.)  Crazy most recently took her dissertation -- which goes to how lousy Oxford has become -- and turned it into OUTRAGES: SEX, CENSORSHIP, AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF LOVE.

Want to read it?

You can't.  

It was pulped.  Her central thesis was based on her misunderstanding of historical records.

The publisher pulped all copies.  

But, explain this, Oxford didn't immediately pull her doctorate.  Her research -- that Oxford waived through -- was all wrong. Well, her conclusions from her research.  In the real world, that happens and you get your dissertation pulled and the university involved issues a statement if this was a public matter.  (It was a public matter.  Her turning her dissertation into a book made it a public matter.)  

She's nuts.  She's always been a huge question mark and we should be a closed community to her at this point.  She is not a feminist.  She has used feminism to grift and now she tries to use it to pretend she's not the idiotic reactionary, tin-foil hat wearer that she is.

As insane as she is, I haven't called for her book to be banned or burned.  And never would.  We don't ban books, we don't burn them -- even badly written ones.

But the other Naomi, Klein, has a good book worth reading.

During a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about book bans, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) read sexually explicit passages from two LGBTQ+ memoirs in order to justify censorship as a necessary way to protect children from pornography and sexual grooming.

However, other experts during the hearing pointed out book bans are also being used to ban non-sexual LGBTQ+ children’s books and other books about the anti-Semitic Nazi Holocaust, Native American genocide, and Black and Latino civil rights experiences.

The hearing, entitled “Book Bans: Examining How Censorship Limits Liberty and Literature,” featured testimony from five witnesses: two who claimed that the upset around book bans is over-exaggerated, and three who consider book bans an attack on democratic free-thinking.

[. . .]

However, Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) called the Republicans’ focus on overly sexual passages “a distraction from the real challenge,” adding, “No one is advocating for sexually explicit content to be available in an elementary school library or in [the] children’s section of the library.”

“I understand and respect that parents may choose to limit what their children read, especially at younger ages. My wife and I did. Others do, too,” Durbin said. “But no parent should have the right to tell another parent’s child what they can and cannot read in school or at home. Every student deserves access to books that reflect their experiences and help them better understand who they are.”

During her testimony, Emily Knox, president of the National Coalition Against Censorship, noted that the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom counted 2,571 unique titles targeted for in-school censorship in 2022 — a 38% increase from the number of titles targeted in 2021.

“Almost all of the books can be categorized as ‘diverse’ or books by and about ‘LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities,’” Knox said. “These attacks on our freedom to read, our libraries, and our schools are unconstitutional and unpopular. Seventy-one percent of Americans oppose book bans in public libraries, and 67% oppose book bans in school libraries,” she added, citing a March 2022 ALA survey.

The National Education Association (NEA) noted that recent book bans have targeted such titles as Art Speigelman’s Holocaust graphic novel Maus and numerous titles about the struggle for civil rights by people of color, including Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, and Duncan Tonatiuh’s Separate is Never Equal.

Sam Seder addresses the hearing in the video below.

 The League of Women Voters hosted a discussion on the topic of book banning this week.

NBC 5 CHICAGO notes:

As bomb threats earlier this week forced nearly half a dozen libraries in Chicago and the suburbs to evacuate, Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias testified at a U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing on the state's first-in-the-nation ban against book bans.

“…What I am concerned with is political attempts to ban books that are driving libraries to close their doors, stifle creativity, make librarians quit their jobs," Giannoulias said during Tuesday's hearing. "And just a few weeks ago, literally have to evacuate due to numerous bomb threats at multiple locations.”

The first-of-its-kind law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 12, states that Illinois public libraries that restrict or ban materials because of “partisan or doctrinal” disapproval will be ineligible for state funding as of Jan. 1, 2024, when the new law goes into effect.

Layne Ray (THE POST) provides context:

The American Library Association began observing Banned Books Week in 1982. According to its website, it “celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.” Teachers, authors, students, librarians and supporters of the First Amendment can all come together this Oct. 1-7 to bring awareness to this harmful form of censorship that affects our nation as a whole. 

Now more than ever, education is being censored. Topics like racism and sexism as well as LGBTQIA+ themes being put to a halt in certain places are disregarding all students’ First Amendment rights. Florida laws like the Stop WOKE Act and the “Don’t Say Gay” bill don’t directly prohibit any titles from being incorporated into the curriculum, but they freely open the opportunity for books to be challenged and removed from school libraries and lesson plans. Evidently, many have done so as Pen America named Florida as having the second-highest number of banned books between July and December of 2022 at 357 books. 

In a similar, but not as severe situation is Ohio. There have been 79 titles challenged in total, but House Bills 322 and 327 that prohibit teachings of “divisive concepts” being passed could increase that number quickly. The bills haven’t been dismissed but have been in the House committee since 2021. With the growing popularity and turmoil of such censorship, Ohio may follow the trend. 

Bookshop.org, a popular online bookstore, has an entry titled, “We Don’t Ban Books Over Here” in which readers can purchase books that are typically challenged or banned in some schools or libraries. It includes works such as “Lord of the Flies,” “The Hate U Give” and “The 1619 Project.” One of the more ironic ones found on this list, which has been read by a large number of students who attended public high schools, is “Fahrenheit 451.” While its significance went over my head as a 15-year-old, it is certainly one of the most crucial books for readers today. Banning a book about banning books is a terrifying level of censorship that is inexcusable. 

Banned Books Week is a week that highlights the undemocratic effort to ban books and celebrates our right to read.  This year, it will be October 1st through 7th.  ALA notes:

“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs.”
- Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom 

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For more than 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community — librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, writers, journalists, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom ALA documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. Of the record 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, most were by or about LGBTQIA+ persons and Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

The theme for Banned Books Week 2023 is "Let Freedom Read." When we ban books, we're closing off readers to people, places, and perspectives. But when we stand up for stories, we unleash the power that lies inside every book. We liberate the array of voices that need to be heard and the scenes that need to be seen. Let freedom read!


The following sites updated: