Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2022

Comics Review: "GOOD ON BOTH SIDES" is Good Cover to Cover

KEITH KNIGHT PRESS/Microcosm Publishing

CARTOONIST: Keith Knight
ISBN: 978-0-9788053-5-7; paperback; 6" x 7.5" x 0.4" (June 2022)
128pp, Color, $20.00 U.S.

Good on Both Sides is a new collection of the socio-political, single-panel comic strip, (th)ink.  Debuting in 2000 on the now defunct website,, (th)ink is the creation of Keith Knight, a cartoonist, comics creator, and musician.  Knight is also the creator and an executive producer on the recent Hulu series, “Woke.”  (th)ink currently appears in several outlets, including the Nib, Daily KOS, Antigravity, and The Funny Times.

Good on Both Sides, the fifth (th)ink paperback collection, takes its title by paraphrasing Donald Trump's moral equivalency after the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  It covers (th)ink episodes published during the early years of Donald Trump's masquerade as the 45th President of the United States.  Knight captures the absurdity of the time under an absurd leader and chronicles and depicts everything that made non-white supremacists cringe.

THE LOWDOWN:  In a sense political cartoonists are a dime a dozen.  The truth is that I have a hard time finding many that are really bad at their chosen professions.  What makes Keith Knight different?

I first became acquainted with Knight's work in late 2006 when I received a copy of Are We Feeling Safer Yet? (2007), the second (th)ink collection.  Sadly, I lost touch with him and had not thought of him until I heard about his Hulu TV series, “Woke,” last year.  I recently reconnected with him to request a copy-for-review of Good on Both Sides.  On the back cover of this book is a quote from Dawn Tol, part of which reads, “Keith Knight has never been more overtly Black.”

That is what makes Knight different from other political cartoonists.  He is Black.  Yes, there are other African-American political cartoonists (Walt Carr, David G. Brown), but for now, we are talking about Keith Knight, who is from a particular tradition.  That tradition involves Coloreds, Negroes, Afro-Americans, African-American, etc. who do not bite their tongues, metaphorically or otherwise, for the sake of propriety and for the feelings of good White folk and cautious, fretting Black folk.

I had forgotten just how screwed up the first half of Trump's occupation was … because the second half turned into … well,you know.  Knight's commentary via political cartoons is both incisive and relentless.  I won't say that he is “unapologetic” because apologizing is irrelevant in the context of what Knight does.  It isn't just Trump that is wrong with this country; it is also the rotten culture and society.  Honestly, much of that rot comes from White racism, supremacy, and privilege:  those that perpetuate it; those that enjoy the advantages while letting someone else do the dirty work; and those who benefit and give nominal lip service in criticizing it.

In Good on Both Sides, nothing and no one is spared.  Warts and all, Klan robes and hoods:  Knight reveals the stains without a thought for decorum.  Political commentary, words, pictures, or cartoons need that, especially when so many commentators want us to “turn down the temperature.”  Knight is the triple truth, Ruth.

Good on Both Sides isn't all about Trump.  As I said, there were plenty of awful people during that time who deserve Knight's punches.  Knight also offers several nice memorials and tributes to such luminaries as W.E.B. Du Bois, Dick Gregory, and Josephine Baker, to name a few.  I am not crazy about everything in Good on Both Sides, but it's close.  I could have read another hundred pages just to see what Knight has to say about the time period this collection covers.

Keith Knight's political cartoons are timely, and many are timeless.  The timeless ones will always have bite, but the timely will cut like a knife for years to come.  And Good on Both Sides is just plain funny.  I laughed a lot, and I practically always need that from political cartoons.  I encourage you, dear readers, to get a copy of Good on Both Sides.  Maybe if enough of you read it, someone will get the notion to shortlist Mr. Knight for a Pulitzer Prize.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of great political cartoons and of Keith Knight's work will want to read Good on Both Sides.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can buy copies of Good on Both Sides at indie book stores or at the following online shops: here or and here or

Find Keith Knight on the Internet:

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Review: "HEARTS AND MINDS" Still Condemns with Power

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 61 of 2021 (No. 1799) by Leroy Douresseaux

Hearts and Minds (1974)
Running time:  112 minutes (1 hour, 52 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Peter Davis
PRODUCERS:  Peter Davis and Bert Schneider
EDITORS:  Lynzee Klingman and Susan Martin
Academy Award winner

DOCUMENTARY – War, Politics

[The recent ignominious end of the “War in Afghanistan” (October 7, 2001 to August 30, 2021) got me to thinking about America's involvement in Vietnam decades ago because … you know … people never learn and they never change.  In military conflicts, if you run on up in there, you gonna eventually run on up outta there.  So anyway, I remembered the gold standard in theatrical Vietnam documentary films, Hearts and Minds, and it was time to see it again.]

Starring:  Captain Randy Floyd, Sgt. William Marshall, Lt. George Coker, George Bidault, Father Chan Tin, Daniel Ellsberg, David Emerson, Mary Cochran Emerson, Senator J.W. Fulbright, Sec. Clark Gifford, Corporal Stan Holder, Mui Duc Giang, Walt Rostow, Vu Duc Vinh, Vu Thi Hue, Vu Thri To, Gen. William Westmoreland, and Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson

Hearts and Minds is a 1974 documentary film directed by Peter Davis.  It is an antiwar movie that examines the Vietnam War (1955 to 1975) and confronts the United States' involvement in the civil war within the Southeast Asian nation of Vietnam.  The film's title, Hearts and Minds, is based on the following quote from U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson:  “the ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there.”  Hearts and Minds won the Oscar for “Best Documentary, Features” at the 47th Academy Awards, which were presented in 1975.

During the time of its release, critics of Hearts and Minds complained that the film was two one-sided, but from the beginning, the film's stated and obvious premise was that the United States should not have been involved Vietnam and in the strife between the governments of North Vietnam and South Vietnam.  Director Peter Davis recounts the history of the Vietnam War by examining the history and attitudes of the opposing sides of the war, and he does this by interviewing government officials and military leadership and personnel from both sides of conflict.  He also uses archival news footage, specifically featuring the U.S. Presidents whose actions started, sustained, and/or exacerbated the conflict and violence that marked the Vietnam War.

It is in that way that Davis presents what I see as the film's key theme:  American attitudes and goals were the reason that a Vietnamese civil war became an American-driven Vietnam War.  After World War II, the leadership of the U.S., both government and military, decided to make the world in its image.  American's imperial ambitions had been long-simmering, seeing a number of nations as rivals or obstacles, especially the Soviet Union and China, the faces of “international communism.”  Such imperialism found a proxy war in the struggle between communist North Vietnamese and its South Vietnamese allies, the Viet Cong,against South Vietnam (or the State of Vietnam).

Hearts and Minds emphasizes how the the United States helped to create the bloody conflict with Vietnam and how it ultimately prolonged the struggle.  In interviews with such people as General William Westmoreland, the American commander of military operations in the Vietnam War during its peak period from 1964 to 1968, not only does the self-righteous militarism of the U.S. reveal itself, but also American' racist attitudes about the Vietnamese people.

This militarism and racism is also exemplified in another one of the film's interview subjects, American prison of war (POW), U.S. Navy pilot, Lt. George Coker.  The film includes footage of Coker making public speeches after his release from six-and-a-half years in North Vietnamese captivity.  Coker's racism and jingoism are repulsive, which, to me, are obviously the result of his upbringing (brainwashing) and military training.  However, I'm not sure that it was a good choice to include him in Hearts and Minds, as the film's detractors have used Coker's status as a POW to criticize the film as being “too one-sided” and anti-war propaganda.  One could always say that the attitudes Coker reveals in his return to the U.S. are, to some extent, the result of the degradation he experienced as a POW.

That aside, what makes Hearts and Minds one of the greatest American documentary films of all time (if not the greatest) is director Peter Davis' willingness to give voice to the Vietnamese people through interviews and film footage.  One of Hearts and Minds' most shocking and controversial sequences shows the funeral of a South Vietnamese soldier.  His grieving family includes a sobbing woman (his mother?) who has to be restrained from climbing into the grave after his coffin is lowered into the ground.  The cries of a grieving boy, perhaps his son, are like that of a wounded animal.  I first saw Hearts and Minds a few years ago on TV, and that scene stays with me, even as I write this.

Americans sometimes remember how many Americans died in the Vietnam War (over 58,000), but almost three-and-a-half million Vietnamese civilians and soldiers died during the war (according to numbers provided by Vietnam in 1995).  An example of the wanton death and destruction is personified in a North Vietnamese farmer who loses his eight-year-old daughter and his three-year-old son because of an American bombing campaign.  His anger and grief, especially at the death of his daughter who was killed while feeding pigs (all of which apparently lived), encapsulates the wrongness of American involvement in Vietnam.

Two other interviews of American servicemen stand out to me.  First, Sgt. William Marshall, an African-American from Detroit, offers a bit of levity in the film by the way in which he describes his experiences.  However, he also condemns Americans, demanding that they witness in his war injuries a guilt from which we may not turn away.

The other is Hearts and Minds' concluding interview, which features US Vietnam veteran, U.S. Navy pilot, Captain Randy Floyd.  One of his statements summons up the feckless relationship that Americans have with their militarist and imperialist government.  Floyd says, “We've all tried very hard to escape what we have learned in Vietnam.  I think Americans have worked extremely hard not to see the criminality that their officials and their policy makers exhibited.”

With those words, Hearts and Minds makes itself both timely and timeless, although the American “Global War on Terror” of the twenty-first century also helped to keep this film timely.  It is left up to academics, film historians, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) “Academy Film Archive,” and the “National Film Registry” to save Hearts and Minds from being entirely forgotten.  Still, we movie fans, or at least some us, must make an effort to bring Hearts and Minds back into prominence.  America has need of this work of art and of this lesson in history.

10 of 10

Sunday, October 17, 2021

1975 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win for “Best Documentary, Features” (Peter Davis and Bert Schneider)

1975 Golden Globes, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Documentary Film”

2018 National Film Preservation Board, USA:  “National Film Registry”

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Amazon wants me to inform you that the link below is a PAID AD, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on the ad below AND buy something(s).

Monday, January 18, 2021

BET News Announces "Inauguration 2021"

BET Announces Its Multiplatform Programming Strategy for Inauguration 2021

“BET NEWS Presents: Inauguration 2021” January 20th Starting At 11am/10c – an Exclusive News Special Co-Hosted by Soledad O’Brien and Marc Lamont Hill will Broadcast LIVE Extended Coverage of Presidential Inauguration and Feature Special Interviews with Representative James Clyburn, Representative Maxine Waters, National Action Network Founder Reverend Al Sharpton, NAACP President Derrick John, National Urban League President Marc Morial, Black Voters Matter Fund Co-Founder LaTosha Brown and Others

BET Digital to Launch Dedicated Website that Celebrates Black Women’s Achievement with Special Highlight on Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BET announces coverage plans of the historic Biden/Harris inauguration with “BET NEWS Presents: Inauguration 2021.” Co-anchored by Soledad O’Brien and Marc Lamont Hill, this news special will feature exclusive commentary and analysis provided by live guests, on-site reports and special interviews. Live coverage is scheduled to begin Wednesday, January 20 at 11:00 am ET/10c on BET.

    “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All”

“BET NEWS Presents: Inauguration 2021” will feature live coverage of the Inauguration Day events including the official swearing-in and inauguration speech of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden. This BET News broadcast special will also feature on-the-ground reports and taped packages spotlighting Kamala Harris and the powerful and undeniable impact of Black voters in the 2020 election.

Hosts Soledad O’Brien and Marc Lamont Hill will be joined by special guest commentators Presidential historian, Professor Martha Jones (author of “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All”), noted activist, author and Black Lives Matter co-founder, Alicia Garza and CBS News political analyst Jamal Simmons.

In addition, “BET NEWS Presents: Inauguration 2021” will feature interviews with notable Black activists and political figures, including Congressman James Clyburn, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, National Action Network Founder Reverend Al Sharpton, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, National Urban League President Marc Morial, Black Voters Matter Fund Co-Founder LaTosha Brown and others, all of whom discuss the historic 2020 election and the challenges facing the incoming Biden/Harris administration.

BET Digital will commemorate the inauguration by launching a microsite,, that honors Black women’s achievement starting with our ground-breaking new Vice President Kamala Harris. The microsite will pay tribute to Vice President Harris’ accomplishments while celebrating other change agents and achievers. BET Digital is proud to collaborate with Unilever/Dove as the launch partner on this new initiative.

For more information visit and follow @bet and @betnews to engage across social media platforms.

BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Review: "Chi-raq" Dares to Be Truly Different

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 17 (of 2020) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Chi-Raq (2015)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong sexual content including dialogue, nudity, language, some violence and drug use
WRITERS:  Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott (based on the play by Aristophanes)
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Matthew Libatique
EDITOR:  Ryan Denmark and Hye Mee Na
COMPOSER:  Terence Blanchard


Starring:  Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Jennifer Hudson, David Patrick Kelly, D.B. Sweeney, Dave Chappelle, Steve Harris, Harry Lennix, Irma P. Hall, Thomas J. Byrd, Roger Guenveur Smith, and La La Anthony

Chi-Raq is satirical political drama and musical from director Spike Lee.  Set in Chicago, Chi-Raq uses the classical Greek comedy play, Lysistrata (written by Aristophanes), as the basis for a story about the gang violence that is plagues real-world Chicago.  In Chi-Raq, a woman leads a group of like-minded females to challenge the on-going violence in Chicago's Southside.

Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) dates Demetrius “Chi-Raq” Dupree (Nick Cannon), leader of the Spartans gang (who wear purple).  He is in the middle of an on-going war against the rival gang, the Trojans (who wear orange), lead by Cyclops (Wesley Snipes), who orders a hit on Chi-Raq during a Spartan music concert.

After Chi-Raq (presumably) kills a child with a stray bullet during a shootout, Lysistrata finds herself having to examine her part in the ongoing violence in Chicago's Southside.  Lysistrata organizes a group of women who are associated with male gang members and encourages them to withhold sex from their men until they stop the violence.  Lysistrata's movement challenges the nature of race, sex, and violence in the United States of America, and it begins to spread around the world.  However, as more people go without sex, the movement raises tensions in all of Chicago.

Chi-Raq is another bold stroke of idiosyncratic Spike Lee art.  Lee was Kanye West before Kanye West.  Stubborn and independent from the beginning, Lee remains that way.  Chi-Raq is everything it seems:  political satire, social satire, farce, comedy, Negro spiritual, racial drama, soulful musical, and even a cry in the wilderness to Black folks in America.  “Stop killing ourselves!” Lee screams via his art.  If only it were that simple.

Chi-Raq is film art, beautiful, poignant, brash, colorful – all of it embodied by the full-throated, shameless narration of Samuel L. Jackson's refreshing Dolmedes.  In the end, hopefully, Chi-Raq can be more than art.  Can it initiate social change.  Well, the problems that it depicts and tackles are complicated and ingrained in ways that would have us throw up our hands in surrender if we took time to really think about those problems.

I can hope for the best, but in the meantime, I can appreciate a filmmaker who really deserves to be called a “visionary,” Spike Lee.  Chi-Raq is a testament to his imagination.

9 of 10

Friday, September 2, 2016

2016 Black Reel Awards:  1 win: “Outstanding Actress, Motion Picture” (Teyonah Parris); 6 nominations: “Outstanding Motion Picture” (Spike Lee), “Outstanding Supporting Actress, Motion Picture” (Angela Bassett), “Outstanding Director, Motion Picture” (Spike Lee), “Outstanding Ensemble” (Kim Coleman-Casting Director), “Outstanding Score” (Terence Blanchard), and “Outstanding Original or Adapted Screenplay, Motion Picture” (Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott)

2016 Image Awards:  4 nominations: “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” (Teyonah Parris), “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture” (Angela Bassett), “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture” (Jennifer Hudson), and “Outstanding Independent Motion Picture”

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Monday, July 27, 2020

BET Joins Black Leaders in Declaring Sept. 18th "National Black Voter Day"

100 Days Out From Election Day Black Leaders Declare September 18, 2020 National Black Voter Day

BET, National Urban League and Key Impact Partners, Including National Action Network, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Color of Change, Higher Heights, When We All Vote, Black Voters Matter, The Collective Pac, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Election Protection, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Black Economic Alliance Set National Day to Galvanize Black Voters

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In partnership with the National Urban League and other key civil rights organizations, BET has announced the next phase of its #ReclaimYourVote campaign, which declares the first-ever National Black Voter Day to be recognized on September 18, 2020. The announcement comes 100 days out from Election Day and aims to energize and galvanize Black voters nationwide to take collective action toward civic engagement. The date coincides with the country’s first early voting day, in South Dakota and Minnesota – the latter being ground zero of the fight for racial justice since the killing of George Floyd.

    “We will use the momentum of the fight against systemic racism to galvanize those marching in protest to march to the polls in November.”

“With 100 days until Election Day—it is critical for BET to utilize all of our resources and partnerships to drive Black civic engagement across the country, and the National Black Voter Day is a key part of this effort,” said Scott Mills, President, BET. “We will use the momentum of the fight against systemic racism to galvanize those marching in protest to march to the polls in November.”

“We have witnessed attempts to exclude Black Americans from the voting process through the purging of registration rolls, restrictive voter ID laws and other forms of voter suppression – a legacy of Jim Crow,” added Jeanine Liburd, Chief Social Impact & Communications Officer. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the National Urban League and an incredible group of impact partners to declare September 18 National Black Voter Day to energize our audience to reclaim their vote during this upcoming election and beyond.”

In addition to the National Urban League, key impact partners signed on, including the National Action Network, NAACP, When We All Vote, Black Voters Matter, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Collective PAC, Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, Election Protection, The Leadership Conference On Civil And Human Rights and The Black Economic Alliance. This list is in formation.

“The pandemic and racial justice protests have shone a bright light on the stark racial disparities that exist in health care, the economy and our criminal justice system,” National Urban League President Marc H. Morial said. “If we are to repair these gaps, we must commit ourselves to making sure every Black American has the tools they need to register and cast an informed vote, whether by mail or in-person, early or on Election Day.”

"It has become clear that voter suppression is an integral part of the electoral strategy of some partisan political groups—there’s no end in sight to their ruthless disenfranchisement tactics,” added Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and President of National Action Network (NAN). “We must not allow these efforts to prevent us from exercising our Constitutional right to vote. 2016 proved in the most dangerous ways that elections have consequences, which is why 2020 is shaping up to be the most important election of our lifetime. I, along with the National Action Network, wholeheartedly stand with BET's voter registration efforts through National Black Voter Day. The last few months have shown us that we are literally fighting for our lives."

Demystifying the process of voting for Black citizens in a COVID-19 world, #ReclaimYourVote will break down the necessary steps to make our voices heard. From securing and checking your voter registration to making a plan for how to vote and what to vote for to gathering your friends and family to vote with you, #ReclaimYourVote is committed to ensuring every step of the process is clear and accessible for Black voters.

#ReclaimYourVote launched earlier this year to identify significant electoral issues, demystify confusing civic processes, share ways to remain protected while voting in a COVID-19 environment, and highlight specific opportunities for Black Americans to reclaim our collective power through civic engagement. To date, #ReclaimYourVote has leveraged activations, talent, civil rights partnerships and television spots to urge the Black community to be counted in the census and to take a stand and vote.

In the days leading up to National Black Voter Day, BET and its impact partners will launch a array of initiatives and provide content to inform, empower and mobilize Black Americans’ participation in the November elections. The resources will ensure voters have access to voter registration information, provide guidance on voting rights restoration for eligible voters and engage the candidates on the issues that matter most within our community.

For more information, please visit

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET’s multiple social media platforms and using the hashtags: #ReclaimYourVote and #BETVote and following us @BET, @BETVote, and @BETNews.

About BET:
BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

About The National Urban League:
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Review: "Bush's Brain" Also a Karl Rove Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 51 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bush’s Brain (2004)
Running time:  80 minutes (1 hour, 10 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for brief strong language
PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS:  Joseph Mealey and Michael Shoob
WRITERS:  James C. Moore and Wayne Slater (based upon their book Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential)
EDITOR:  Tom Siiter


Starring:  Jacques Vroom (narrator), James C. Moore, Wayne Slater, Max Cleland, Richard Edgeworth, Bill Miller, Molly Ivins, Richard Leiby, Dave McNeely, and Glenn Smith

Bush's Brain is a 2004 political documentary film from writer-directors, Joseph Mealey and Michael Shoob.  The film is based on the 2003 nonfiction book, Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, from writers James C. Moore and Wayne Slater, who adapted their book for this film.  The film received a limited theatrical release on December 31, 2004, before becoming available on DVD in 2005.

Joseph Mealey and Michael Shoob's 2004 documentary, Bush’s Brain, takes a hard look at Karl RovePresident George W. Bush’s closest advisor, Rove has almost single-handedly shaped the policies of our nation under President Bush.  Rove has perhaps been the leading mind behind the “Republican revolution” since the mid-1990’s, and he has certainly changed the way the Republican Party runs its campaigns both nationally and locally.

However, Rove’s extremely close relationship to President Bush (who has called Rove his “boy genius”) has raised a question that disturbs some Americans, particularly those on the left of the political spectrum: Who really runs this country?  Is Bush an hand puppet and Rove the hand, or to put it nicely, is Bush a not too bright a mouthpiece for Rove’s political agenda?

Bush’s Brain features interviews with a number of journalists, reporters, and political pundits – many from Rove’s former base of operations, Texas.   A few of Rove’s former colleagues and opponents also weigh in on the man, and the directors also include much archival footage and material of Rove – who declined to be part of this film.

While Bush’s Brain does explore Rove’s political journey to the top of the heap as the presidential advisor (mostly through interviews of people who have worked for and against him), the film is soft on coverage of Rove’s part in the rise of George W. Bush from a man who frequently bankrupted the companies he began as a young businessman to a two-term governor of Texas and a two-term President of the United States.

This film, at 80 minutes, is probably about 40 minutes too short.  In order for Bush’s Brain to really explore Rove and his influence on President Bush, the film not only had to talk about the controversial 2000 Presidential elections, but also Rove’s influence on policy during Bush’s first term.  The film actually spends a little time on the Iraq War – not enough, but there is a lot more to Bush’s first term than a war.  Quite a bit of domestic policy changed – some of it at the behest of Bush’s religious supporters, some of it for corporate donors, and others for individual wealthy supporters.  Much of that likely had Rove’s fingerprints on it.

This film’s obsession with Iraq (which it shares with other film and TV about Bush) overshadows the social and political changes that the country has undergone since George W. Bush became President.  Rove’s fingerprints are also all over that.  Perhaps, the next Bush’s Brain could turn away from war and Rove’s alleged dirty tricks election campaigning and take a deeper look at national policy – post election scandal.  Still, what is here is quite good.  The talking heads that directors Mealy and Shoob parade before us are intelligent, engaging, and have some damn good Rove stories to tell – some sad and others quite pitiful and tragic.

7 of 10

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Re-edited: Friday, June 21, 2019

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

President Obama Presents 21 Recipients the Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Obama Names Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama named 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The awards were presented at the White House on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016.

President Obama said, "The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor - it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better.  From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."

This event was streamed live at:

The following individuals were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships and the Milwaukee Bucks to another. During his career, Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 19-time NBA All-Star. Before joining the NBA, he was a star player at UCLA, leading the Bruins to three consecutive championships. In addition to his legendary basketball career, Abdul-Jabbar has been an outspoken advocate for social justice.

Elouise Cobell (posthumous)

Elouise Cobell was a Blackfeet Tribal community leader and an advocate for Native American self-determination and financial independence.  She used her expertise in accounting to champion a lawsuit that resulted in a historic settlement, restoring tribal homelands to her beloved Blackfeet Nation and many other tribes, and in so doing, inspired a new generation of Native Americans to fight for the rights of others.  Cobell helped found the Native American Bank, served as director of the Native American Community Development Corporation, and inspired Native American women to seek leadership roles in their communities.

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres is an award-winning comedian who has hosted her popular daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003 with her trademarked humor, humility, and optimism. In 2003 Ellen lent her voice to a forgetful but unforgettable little fish named Dory in Finding Nemo. She reprised her role again in 2016 with the hugely successful Finding Dory. Ellen also hosted the Academy Awards twice, in 2007 and 2014. In 1997, after coming out herself, DeGeneres made TV history when her character on Ellen revealed she was a lesbian. In her work and in her life, she has been a passionate advocate for equality and fairness.

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro has brought to life some of the most memorable roles in American film during a career that spans five decades. His first major film roles were in the sports drama Bang the Drum Slowly and Martin Scorsese's crime film Mean Streets.  He is a seven-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Oscar winner, and is also a Kennedy Center honoree.

Richard Garwin

Richard Garwin is a polymath physicist who earned a Ph.D. under Enrico Fermi at age 21 and subsequently made pioneering contributions to U.S. defense and intelligence technologies, low-temperature and nuclear physics, detection of gravitational radiation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer systems, laser printing, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation. He directed Applied Research at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Harvard University. The author of 500 technical papers and a winner of the National Medal of Science, Garwin holds 47 U.S. patents, and has advised numerous administrations.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, the mission is to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. The Gates Foundation has provided more than $36 billion in grants since its inception.

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is one of the world’s leading architects, whose works have helped define contemporary architecture. His best-known buildings include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague, and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain.

Margaret H. Hamilton

Margaret H. Hamilton led the team that created the on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo command modules and lunar modules. A mathematician and computer scientist who started her own software company, Hamilton contributed to concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling and priority displays, and human-in-the-loop decision capability, which set the foundation for modern, ultra-reliable software design and engineering.

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks is one of the Nation’s finest actors and filmmakers. He has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role five times, and received the award for his work in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.  Those roles and countless others, including in Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, and Cast Away, have left an indelible mark on American film. Off screen, as an advocate, Hanks has advocated for social and environmental justice, and for our veterans and their families.

Grace Hopper (posthumous)

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, known as “Amazing Grace” and “the first lady of software,” was at the forefront of computers and programming development from the 1940s through the 1980s. Hopper’s work helped make coding languages more practical and accessible, and she created the first compiler, which translates source code from one language into another.  She taught mathematics as an associate professor at Vassar College before joining the United States Naval Reserve as a lieutenant (junior grade) during World War II, where she became one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and began her lifelong leadership role in the field of computer science.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes of all time. Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards; he is currently a principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.  During his career, he won six championships, five Most Valuable Player awards, and appeared in 14 All-Star games.

Maya Lin

Maya Lin is an artist and designer who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art. She designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and since then has pursued a celebrated career in both art and architecture.  A committed environmentalist, Lin is currently working on a multi-sited artwork/memorial, What is Missing? bringing awareness to the planet's loss of habitat and biodiversity.

Lorne Michaels

Lorne Michaels is a producer and screenwriter, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live, which has run continuously for more than 40 years. In addition, Michaels has also produced The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and 30 Rock, among other popular, award-winning shows. He has won 13 Emmy Awards over the course of his lengthy career.

Newt Minow

Newt Minow is an attorney with a long and distinguished career in public life. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Minow served as a Supreme Court clerk and counsel to the Governor of Illinois. In 1961, President Kennedy selected Minow, then 34, to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Committee (FCC), where he helped shape the future of American television and was a vigorous advocate for broadcasting that promoted the public interest. In the five decades since leaving the FCC, Minow has maintained a prominent private law practice while devoting himself to numerous public and charitable causes.

Eduardo Padrón

Eduardo Padrón is the President of Miami Dade College (MDC), one of the largest institutions of higher education in the United States. During his more than four decade career, President Padrón has been a national voice for access and inclusion. He has worked to ensure all students have access to high quality, affordable education. He has championed innovative teaching and learning strategies making MDC a national model of excellence.

Robert Redford

Robert Redford is an actor, director, producer, businessman, and environmentalist. In 1981, he founded the Sundance Institute to advance the work of independent filmmakers and storytellers throughout the world, including through its annual Sundance Film Festival. He has received an Academy Award for Best Director and for Lifetime Achievement.  Redford has directed or starred in numerous motion pictures, including The Candidate, All the President's Men, Quiz Show, and A River Runs Through It. 

Diana Ross

Diana Ross has had an iconic career spanning more than 50 years within the entertainment industry in music, film, television, theater, and fashion. Diana Ross is an Academy Award nominee, inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Grammy Awards highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross was a recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors.  Diana Ross’s greatest legacy is her five wonderful children.

Vin Scully

Vin Scully is a broadcaster who, for 67 seasons, was the voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.  In Southern California, where generations of fans have grown up listening to Dodger baseball, Scully's voice is known as the "soundtrack to summer."  In 1988, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Scully's signature voice brought to life key moments in baseball history, including perfect games by Sandy Koufax and Don Larsen, Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series, and Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run.

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen is a singer, songwriter, and bandleader.  More than five decades ago, he bought a guitar and learned how to make it talk.  Since then, the stories he has told, in lyrics and epic live concert performances, have helped shape American music and have challenged us to realize the American dream.  Springsteen is a Kennedy Center honoree and he and the E Street Band he leads have each been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson has performed on the stage, on television, and on the silver screen.  She has won two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, and is known for her performances in Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and The Help.  In 2013, she returned to the stage with The Trip to the Bountiful, and was awarded the Tony Award for best leading actress.  Tyson received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Free "Pepe the Frog" from Klan Bitches and Alt-Racists

The Truth About Pepe the Frog

SEATTLE, WA—Fantagraphics Books and Matt Furie, the creator of the eternally chill comic book character Pepe the Frog, condemn the illegal and repulsive appropriations of the character by racist fringe groups linked to the alt-right movement and the Donald Trump presidential campaign. Furie’s character has been categorized as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League as a result of these uses, creating significant emotional and financial harm for the creator.

Most media reports now routinely default to a narrow description of Pepe as a representation of white supremacy, ignoring the mellow, positive-vibed frog that he is in the hands of his creator, Matt Furie, within the pages of Furie’s Boy’s Club comics (as collected by Fantagraphics Books). Yet the myriad copyright violations of recent weeks have resulted in Furie’s name now turning up in Anti-Defamation League database search results.

Having your creation appropriated without consent is never something an artist wants to suffer, but having it done in the service of such repellent hatred — and thereby dragging your name into the conversation, as well — makes it considerably more troubling.

Fantagraphics Books wants to state for the record that the one, true Pepe the frog, as created by the human being and artist Matt Furie, is a peaceful cartoon amphibian who represents love, acceptance, and fun. (And getting stoned.) Both creator and creation reject the nihilism fueling Pepe’s alt-right appropriators, and all of us at Fantagraphics encourage you to help us reclaim Pepe as a symbol of positivity and togetherness, and to stand by Matt Furie.

We encourage reporters and others citing Furie as the character’s creator to also note that he condemns these illegal representations of his character. Matt is available for interviews through Fantagraphics. We encourage fans and others who support Furie to block, report, and denounce the illegal uses of the character by individuals and groups pirating him to foment hatred.

Boy's Club by Matt Furie


Friday, July 22, 2016

Accused of Sexual Harassment, Fox News Chairman, Roger Ailes, Resigns Effective Immediately

Roger Ailes Resigns as Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman Fox Television Stations

Rupert Murdoch to Assume Role of Chairman and Acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) today announced that Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately.

    “Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country. Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.”

Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.

Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, 21st Century Fox, said: “Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country. Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.

Fox News has given voice to those who were ignored by the traditional networks and has been one of the great commercial success stories of modern media.

It is always difficult to create a channel or a publication from the ground up and against seemingly entrenched monopolies. To lead a flourishing news channel, and to build Fox Business, Roger has defied the odds.

His grasp of policy and his ability to make profoundly important issues accessible to a broader audience stand in stark contrast to the self-serving elitism that characterizes far too much of the media.

I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice. Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country.

To ensure continuity of all that is best about Fox News and what it stands for, I will take over as Chairman and acting CEO, with the support of our existing management team under Bill Shine, Jay Wallace and Mark Kranz.”

Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s Executive Chairman, and CEO, respectively, said:  “We join our father in recognizing Roger’s remarkable contributions to our company. Our talented Fox News and Fox Business colleagues, up and down the organization and on both sides of the camera, have built something that continues to redefine the cable news experience for millions of viewers. We are enormously proud of their accomplishments. For them, as well as for our colleagues across our entire organization, we continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.”

About 21st Century Fox
21st Century Fox is the world's premier portfolio of cable, broadcast, film, pay TV and satellite assets spanning six continents across the globe. Reaching more than 1.8 billion subscribers in approximately 50 local languages every day, 21st Century Fox is home to a global portfolio of cable and broadcasting networks and properties, including FOX, FX, FXX, FXM, FS1, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FOX Sports, Fox Sports Network, National Geographic Channels, STAR India, 28 local television stations in the U.S. and more than 300 international channels; film studio Twentieth Century Fox Film; and television production studios Twentieth Century Fox Television and a 50% ownership interest in Endemol Shine Group. The Company also holds a 39.1% ownership interest in Sky, Europe’s leading entertainment company, which serves 21 million customers across five countries. For more information about 21st Century Fox, please visit


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Valiant's "Faith" Joins Hillary Clinton on November 2nd in the Comic Book, "Faith"

Faith #5 Cover by Paolo Rivera (Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment)

Hillary Clinton Joins Valiant's High-Flying Heroine for FAITH #5 – A History-Making Election Milestone Coming in November!

Comics Legend Louise Simonson Officiates a Historic Election Special Featuring the Breakout Comic Book Hero of 2016 Alongside the First Female Democratic Presidential Nominee

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In advance of San Diego Comic-Con International 2016, Valiant Entertainment is proud to announce that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee for President of the United States, will join forces with Faith "Zephyr" Herbert on November 2nd, 2016 in FAITH #5 – a history-making, 48-page election special teaming the leading female hero in comics today with the first female nominee from a major political party for a special tale written by comics legend Louise Simonson with art by FAITH's own Pere Perez.

    “I wrote Superman for a while and — she’s almost in her soul, she is like the female Superman. [Writer Jody Houser]’s work is wonderful on this book, but I was glad they would let me play just a little bit in this particular sandbox.”

On November 2nd, just days before Election Day 2016, legendary writer Louise Simonson and Harvey Award-nominated artist Pere Perez present history in the making with a presidential milestone like no other! Faith Herbert, star of the highest selling independent superhero debut of 2016, is a shining beacon of optimism in a challenging world. Her day job as a blogger and journalist is about to bring Faith face to face with Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton…but it's her daring alter ego as Los Angeles' leading superhero that will have to save the day when a new threat emerges to imperil a pivotal moment that has all of America watching!

“[Faith] is so positive and she’s very much what I think a hero should be,” writer Louise Simonson told The Washington Post. “I wrote Superman for a while and — she’s almost in her soul, she is like the female Superman. [Writer Jody Houser]’s work is wonderful on this book, but I was glad they would let me play just a little bit in this particular sandbox.”

"There is no other character in comics quite like Faith, and it's no surprise that she has captured imaginations worldwide to become the leading superhero of 2016," said Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce. "Valiant's mission has always been to reflect the reality around us through the lens of comic book storytelling. Faith is the perfect embodiment of a comic book character that dares to defy the traditional norms of who or what a hero can be. That's a message that can resonate with anyone, anywhere, at any time and has taken on even greater significance as America prepares for a historic election this November."

Plus, also coming in the oversized, 48-page FAITH #5 election special: Faith's adventures continue with an all-new lead story by the ongoing creative team of writer Jody Houser (Orphan Black) and new series artist Meghan Hetrick (Red Thorn), as well an exclusive prelude to HARBINGER RENEGADES #1 – featuring the long-awaited return of Faith's beloved superteam – by writer Rafer Roberts (A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER & ARMSTRONG) and Eisner Award-winning artist Colleen Doran (The Sandman)!

With covers by Eisner Award-winning superstar Paolo Rivera (THE VALIANT, Daredevil), Harvey Award nominee Clayton Henry (SAVAGE), new ongoing FAITH interior artist Meghan Hetrick (Uncanny Avengers), and more, join an all-star cast of Valiant's greatest talents on November 2nd in FAITH #5 as the leading heroine in comics today joins forces with Hillary Clinton for a landmark comics event!

Created by former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter (Secret Wars) and Eisner Award-winning writer and artist David Lapham (Stray Bullets) in Valiant’s acclaimed HARBINGER series in 1992, Faith has long been a central icon of Valiant’s award-winning publishing line. Then, in January 2016, Faith took her long-awaited, much-demanded first step toward solo stardom with FAITH #1 (of 4) – a groundbreaking debut that quickly became the first and biggest breakout hit of the New Year from any major comics publisher. In the months since, Faith’s first solo adventure has garnered near-universal critical acclaim; generated attention from a host of international media outlets, including The Atlantic, The A.V. Club, Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, The Hollywood Reporter, The Huffington Post, The Independent, MTV, The New York Times, NPR, PBS Newshour, People, Seventeen, Today, Vox, The Washington Post, and dozens more; and become the first series of 2016 to reach a much-vaunted fifth printing – making it one of only a handful of hit series in the past decade to achieve that pivotal benchmark of fan and commercial demand.

Faith's unprecedented streak of history-making achievements continues this Wednesday, July 20th with the release of her first ongoing series in the all-new FAITH #1 – a first issue that has already rocketed onward to become the highest selling superhero debut of the year from any independent publisher in the industry today.

An award-winning writer and editor with more than 40 years of experience, Louise Simonson is one of the most respected and tenured female creators in comics history. With lengthy and acclaimed runs on some of comics' most influential series, including New Mutants, Superman: The Man of Steel, and X-Factor, Simonson has co-created a host of enduring characters, including Apocalypse, Cable, and Power Pack for Marvel Entertainment and Doomsday and Steel for DC Entertainment. FAITH #5 will be her first work for Valiant Entertainment.

For more information, visit Valiant on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit

About Valiant Entertainment
Valiant Entertainment is a leading character-based entertainment company that owns and controls the largest independent superhero universe in comics. With more than 81 million issues sold and a library of over 2,000 characters, including X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, Archer & Armstrong, and many more, Valiant is one of the most successful publishers in the history of the comic book medium. Today, the company’s characters continue to be forged in publishing, licensing, film, video games, and beyond. Valiant consistently produces some of the most critically acclaimed comics in the industry and has received numerous industry awards and accolades, including a Diamond Gem Award for Comic Book Publisher of the Year. In 2015, Valiant announced a multi-picture deal to bring Bloodshot and Harbinger to the big screen as feature films.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu" Debuts

First Look Media Launches Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu

With the Political Circus of the 2016 presidential election heating up, you can laugh or you can cry. Choose to laugh

To Be Distributed By The Panoply Podcast Network, This Weekly Podcast Will Feature a Discussion On The Political Process With Rotating Expert Guests

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First Look Media ( announced the launch of Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu, a weekly political podcast hosted by W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu. Comedians and friends, Bell and Kondabolu will discuss, dissect and question today’s politics, the 2016 Election and relevant issues alongside rotating expert guests. Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu debuted Episode One on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, and will be distributed by the Panoply podcast network. A teaser is available now.

    First Look Media announces #PoliticallyReactive political podcast with friends/comedians Kamau Bell & Hari Kondabolu

Each 20-25 minute podcast of Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu will include a deep dive on a specific topic or theme with a guest who is an expert on the spotlighted topic. The episodes will include comedic signature segments and occasional guests from the stand-up comedy world.

Lisa Leingang, Senior Vice President, Programming for First Look Media said, “W. Kamau Bell is a gifted comedian with a unique brand of political and social humor who brings a highly engaged and diverse audience with him to Politically Re-Active. We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Kamau and Hari, a true comedic dream team and our first and only picks for First Look Media’s inaugural podcast.”

W. Kamau Bell commented, "I couldn't be more excited that an incredible genre busting group of lefty hippies like First Look Media would allow me to live my dream of podcasting with one of my best friends and favorite comedians, Hari Kondabolu. Politically Re-Active is the result of many hours and hours of phone conversations, innumerable green room hangouts, and millions of calories of desserts eaten far too late at night after comedy shows that didn't start the revolution like me and Hari thought they would. The revolution will be podcasted and it will be hilarious."

W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian who is the host of the TCA Award nominated CNN docu-series, United Shades of America. Before United Shades, Kamau was best known for his critically acclaimed, but criminally short-lived FX comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. The New York Times called Kamau “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.” Kamau is also proud to be the ACLU’s Ambassador of Racial Justice, although he’s also pretty upset that they didn’t give him a badge. Kamau is also the host of Kamau Right Now!, a public radio talk show that airs on KALW in San Francisco. The SF Weekly called Kamau “smart, stylish, and very much in the mold of politically outspoken comedians like Dave Chappelle,” though he was more excited that they called him “handsome."

Hari Kondabolu is a Brooklyn-based, Queens-raised comic who the NY Times has called “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today.” In March 2014, he released his debut standup album “Waiting for 2042” on indie-label Kill Rock Stars. He was NYU’s APA Institute’s “Artist in Residence” for the 2014-2015 Academic Year. Hari has done standup on the Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Live at Gotham and John Oliver’s New York Standup Show. His Comedy Central Presents half-hour television special debuted on the network in February 2011. He was also a writer and correspondent for the Chris Rock-produced Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on FX.

This podcast joins an array of exclusive First Look Media projects including: RISK, director Laura Poitras’ most recent film, which debuted last month in Cannes; Field of Vision’s The Journey, a six-part series published on The New Yorker website that follows the migration of a Syrian refugee; and NomiNation, director AJ Schnack’s docu-series on the Presidential campaign, published on First Look Media co-financed Spotlight, the Academy Award-winning Best Picture of 2016.

Panoply, launched in 2015, is an innovative, full-service podcast network for premier media brands, authors, personalities and organizations. As the audio arm of The Slate Group, Panoply provides production, audience development, sales, and technology services for its expanding number of partners. With the launch of its content management system, Megaphone, in January 2016, Panoply became a full-service podcasting platform, making it possible for a wider range of new and existing podcasters to partner with the network. To learn more about Panoply’s new technology or to submit your podcast for consideration, please visit: To find out more about current Panoply programs or to subscribe to the network, please visit or search Panoply on iTunes.

First Look Media is a new-model media company devoted to supporting independent voices across all platforms, from investigative journalism and documentary filmmaking to smart, provocative entertainment. Launched in 2013 by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar with the belief that independent perspectives are vital to a vibrant culture and thriving democracy. First Look operates as both a studio and digital media company.


Friday, April 1, 2016

"GRAMMYS on the Hill" Honors Zac Brown Band and Congressmen Crowley and Rooney

The Recording Academy® to Honor Three-Time GRAMMY Winners Zac Brown Band and Reps. Joseph Crowley, Thomas J. Rooney at GRAMMYS on the Hill® Awards on April 13

More Than 200 Music Creators to Lobby on Capitol Hill During Advocacy Day on April 14

WASHINGTON, D.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Representatives of the worlds of music and politics will come together at The Recording Academy®'s 2016 GRAMMYs on the Hill® Awards to honor three-time GRAMMY® winners Zac Brown Band, who will receive the Recording Artists' Coalition® Award for their musical achievements and commitment to philanthropic causes, including Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground, the Boot Campaign, City of Hope, MusiCares, and the USO. And the Recording Academy will honor Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.), co-sponsors of the Allocation For Music Producers Act (H.R. 1457), also known as the AMP Act, a bill that would streamline how producers receive performance royalties. Both legislators are being recognized for their support and understanding of vital issues impacting music creators.

    “Washington's most interesting mix of music and politics”

Known as "Washington's most interesting mix of music and politics," the awards presentation takes place on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at the Hamilton Live in Washington D.C., and will feature unique live performances and musical surprises. The sold-out celebration will begin with a cocktail reception and dinner, followed by the awards presentation.

Attending is a who’s who of music luminaries, including GRAMMY-winning gospel artist Yolanda Adams, country singer/guitarist Josh Abbott, Robert "Kool" Bell of GRAMMY winners Kool & the Gang, songwriter/producer Evan Bogart, David Bromberg, GRAMMY winning songwriter/producer Bryan Michael Cox, R&B artist Raheem DeVaughn, GRAMMY winner Kendra Foster, Ginuwine, singer/songwriter/guitarist Warren Haynes of GRAMMY winners the Allman Brothers, songwriter/producer Rodney Jerkins, contemporary Christian artist Matt Maher, singer/songwriter and San Francisco Chapter Board Advisor Ledisi, GRAMMY winner Ramsey Lewis, songwriter/producer and The Academy's National Advocacy Committee co-chair Harvey Mason Jr., singer/songwriter Eddie Money, singer/songwriter Anna Nalick, GRAMMY winner Smokey Robinson, Ed Roland of Collective Soul, GRAMMY winner Jon Secada, Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge, gospel artist Richard Smallwood, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, hip-hop artist and Texas Chapter Trustee Paul Wall, and rapper Wale. The event will be hosted by country and bluegrass singer/songwriter and radio host Jim Lauderdale.

"Zac Brown Band is an excellent example of creative artists making a difference not only in music, but in the world of philanthropy at large," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "It's our pleasure to recognize their dedication at our 2016 GRAMMYs on the Hill event."

"The Academy is pleased to honor Congressmen Crowley and Rooney, whose sponsorship of the AMP Act and the Fair Play Fair Pay Act demonstrates their understanding and support of crucial parity issues for music professionals at a pivotal time for music legislation in Washington," Portnow continued.

On April 14, the day after the awards ceremony, The Recording Academy will bring hundreds of music professionals from across the country to visit with lawmakers to advance policies for American music as part of The Academy's annual GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day. The program is the music community's largest annual advocacy day in Washington, D.C.

The GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards are sponsored by performance rights organization SESAC. Event proceeds benefit the GRAMMY Foundation®'s GRAMMY Signature Schools initiative, which provides support for underserved music programs throughout the country. A GRAMMY Signature Schools Enterprise Award recipient, the Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy in Brighton, Mich., will also be honored during the celebration.

For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's Advocacy social networks on Twitter (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) and Facebook.

About Zac Brown Band
Three-time GRAMMY winners and multi-platinum artists Zac Brown Band have become one of music's most heralded acts. Their latest gold-certified album JEKYLL + HYDE, out now on Southern Ground Artists/John Varvatos Records/Big Machine Label Group/Republic Records, marks the band’s third consecutive #1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart. Together with their three platinum-selling albums, Uncaged, You Get What You Give, and The Foundation, and their 2013 project The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1, the band has sold over eight million albums to date. The band has earned a historic series of fifteen #1 hit radio singles and became only the second artist to top both the country and active rock formats. "Homegrown," the band's first single off of JEKYLL + HYDE, earned the title of the "No. 1 most-heard song of 2015" according to Mediabase.

Zac Brown Band is set to kick-off the "BLACK OUT THE SUN" tour this May 19th at Hartford’s XFINITY Theatre. The band's sixth headlining US concert tour follows on the heels of their largest North American Stadium Tour to date, which included two history making performances - a first ever sold-out, three-night run at Fenway Park, and the first-ever concert at Coors Field along with performances at Wrigley Field, Nationals Park, Citi Field, Comerica Park and Citizen's Bank Park. Zac Brown Band is managed by ROAR, a Beverly Hills-based artist and brand management company. The band is also represented by CAA, public relations firm Shore Fire Media and strategic digital marketing agency Girlilla Marketing.

In addition to their musical endeavors, members of Zac Brown Band have worked diligently to contribute time and money to philanthropic causes, particularly for children. The band has helped raise funds to benefit Brown's nonprofit Camp Southern Ground in Peachtree City, Ga., for kids with academic, social, and emotional difficulties.

About Rep. Joseph Crowley
Crowley served in the New York State Assembly before being elected to Congress in 1998 to represent the 14th congressional district of New York, encompassing parts of the Bronx and Queens. Currently he is vice chair of the Democratic Caucus, the fifth-highest ranking position in House Democratic Leadership. Called a "rising star" in the Democratic Caucus by National Journal, Crowley’s efforts in Congress are focused on building strong communities, expanding opportunities for hardworking American families, and leading on human rights and social justice issues.

In 2014, the congressman was a featured speaker at a first-of-its kind GRAMMY Week Town Hall, held Jan. 25 in Los Angeles, where Recording Academy leadership met with leadership from the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss the legislative outlook and music issues such as music royalties, online theft, performance rights, and visas for traveling artists. Congressman Crowley also plays guitar and served as featured instrumentalist during GRAMMYs on The Hill 2015 as part of a demonstration of the importance of musical sidemen to classic recordings.

A member of Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus, Crowley introduced the Allocation For Music Producers Act on March 19, 2015, and is a champion for music in education.

About Rep. Thomas J. Rooney
Rooney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Florida's 17th district in 2008. A native of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Congressman Rooney sits on the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee's on Agriculture, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and State and Foreign Operations. He is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and serves as Chairman of the Intelligence Subcommittee on Emerging Threats. He also serves as a Deputy Whip for the Majority.

Congressman Rooney is also a drummer and has supported his interest in music at previous Capitol Hill events. In 2011 he joined fellow 2016 GRAMMYs on the Hill honoree Crowley as well as Reps. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) to record a song at Washington, D.C.'s SiriusXM studios with producers who have worked with artists such as Guns N' Roses, LeAnn Rimes and Raheem DeVaughn. The resulting song debuted at the 2011 GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards. The previous year, Rooney joined Crowley on guitar and Deutch on keyboards to back the Monkees' Micky Dolenz at a Capitol Hill performance after Dolenz lobbied Congress in favor of performance rights for music creators.

Rooney is also a member of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus, and joined with Congressman Crowley to introduce the Allocation for Music Producers Act. The AMP Act has since become a key part of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act Of 2015, a comprehensive bill that addresses a number of pay equity issues for creators.

About The Recording Academy
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, and recording professionals dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards® — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education, and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.

The Academy’s Advocacy & Public Policy office in Washington, D.C., partners with Academy members from across the country to present a powerful lobbying corps for music creators' rights.

For more information about The Academy, please visit For more about The Academy's Advocacy & Public Policy initiatives, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGRAMMYs and @GRAMMYAdvocacy on Twitter, "like" The GRAMMYs and GRAMMY Advocacy on Facebook, and join The GRAMMYs' social communities on, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from January 1st to 9th, 2016 - Update #47

Support Leroy on Patreon.


From YahooMovies:  The site offers their Golden Globe predictions.  Ceremony is on Sunday night, Jan. 10th.

From YahooMovies:  Thanks to the boffo box office of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Harrison Ford is now the top grossing actor in domestic box office history with his films grossing $4.699 billion.  He pasted Samuel L. Jackson who films have grossed $4.626 million in domestic box office.

From TheWrap:  2016 BAFTA nominations (for films released in 2015) have been announced, with Todd Haynes' "Carol" and Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies" leading with nine nominations each.

From TheWrap:  "Game of Throne" Season Six premiere date has been set, April 24, 2016.

From BleedingCool:  Guillermo del Toro is planning to remake the 1966 sci-fi film, Fantastic Voyage.  Sounds like the del Toro golden age is over.

From EW:  M. Night Shyamalan to reboot "Tales from the Crypt" for TNT.

From Variety:  Universal Pictures wants to shoot at least some of "Fast and Furious 8" in Cuba.

From YahooSports:  Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza are elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

From LatinoReview:  Photos from "The Conjuring 2" and word that a teaser trailer drops Jan. 7th.

From SlashFilm:  First "Star War: Rogue One" rumors roll out, including character names and bit-part actors.

From YahooMusic:  Steely Dan frontman, Donald Fagen, in trouble for assaulting his wife.

From People:  The Olsen twins just to busy for "Fuller House," man!

From WeGotThisCovered:  Guillermo del Toro preps "Trollhunters" and a "Voltron" reboot for DreamWorks and Netflix.

From DarkHorizons:  Sylvester Stallone has retired Rambo, but will bring Rocky back for "Creed 2."

From DarkHorizons:  Sylvain Chomet announced that he has begun production on his next animated feature, "A Thousand Miles."  He is an Oscar nominee for his previous animated films, "The Triplets of Bellville" and "The Illusionist."

From TheWrap:  Michael Bay confirms that he will direct "Transformers 5," which will be his last one.

From BoxOfficeMojo:  Disney is estimating that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has made $88.3 million for the 1/1 to 1/3/2016 weekend box office.  This would make the Star Wars sequel the winner of the first weekend box office of 2016.

From YahooBeauty:  Dakota Johnson blasts Hollywood ageism, which affects her mother, Melanie Griffith, and grandmother, Tippi Hedren.

From TheWrap:  Raiders of the lost Gene Roddenberry floppy drive data.

From EW:  A crew member died from injuries sustained while making "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter."

From YahooSports:  Lakers may retire both of Kobe Bryant's numbers, #8 and #24.

From TheVillageVoice:  Quentin Tarantino on Quentin Tarantino.

From BleedingCool:  As Neil Gaiman said, "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch."

From Vulture:  Beyonce is apparently working on the kind of movie that might attract Oscar notice.

From YahooMovies:  40 movies in 2016 that excite the "Yahoo Movies" staff.

From Esquire:  6 degress from Iran-Contra to Peyton Manning.

From YahooNews:  Bill Cosby commits a Twitter fail.

From TheWrap:  Five theories about Steven Avery's innocence in "Making a Murderer."

From TheWrap:  First photo of former NBA star Lamar Odom since his October 2015 overdose.

From ThePlaylist:  "Alien: Covenant" set 10 years after "Prometheus."

From Variety:  The U.S. Postal Service will release "Star Trek" postage stamps to celebrate the series 50th anniversary.

From YahooNews:  Disney plots a return of Indiana Jones.


From TIME:   Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offers some New Year's resolutions for America.

From YahooNews:  A NYPD officer is stripped of her badge and gun in relation to the choking death of Eric Garner.  But it is a Black female officer...

From Jacobin:  Why we shouldn't demand police violence against the Oregon militia/racists/gunmen.

From RSN:  Michael Moore tells Donald Trump "We are all Muslims."

From BuzzFlash:  Return of the Chicken Hawks.

From YahooNews:  Cartoon by Carlos Latuff sums up double standard used to excuse white violence - Re: Tamir Rice.

From YahooNews:  Cliven Bundy's son occupy federal building.  Will their fate be better than Tamir Rice's?

From RSN:  California's tech-hungry cities go after the homeless and poor.

From TheDailyBeast:  Bill Cosby, Tamir Rice, and the power of the prosecutor.

From the WashPost:  2015 will go down as one of the safest years for police officers.  On-the job deaths down 14 percent from 2014.  One-third of those were due to traffic accidents.

COMICS - Books and Movies:

From THR:  Apparently, "Titans," the proposed TNT series based on the Teen Titans comic books, is not going to happen.

From THR:  5 comic book creators to watch out for in 2016.

From THR:  Top 10 best selling comics of 2015 - by estimates - which Marvel Comics dominates.

From THR:  6 comics to look out for in 2016.

From ShonenJumpBlog:  Naruto's son, Boruto, will be back in new manga starting Spring 2016 and it will run simultaneously in Shonen Jump in Japan and the U.S.

From ComicBookBin:  The CBB newsletter is back!

From ComicBookBin:  There is a reader survey for the hot comic strip, Johnny Bullet.

From YahooNews:  The runtime for Deadpool may be 1 hour and 46 minutes.

From YahooNews:  Olivia Munn shares set photo from "X-Men: Apocalypse."

From Moviefone:  Kevin Feige announces Ryan Coogler officially as the director of their "Black Panther" movie.

From YahooNews:  A peek inside the new Batcave.

From MangaBlog:  Best and worst in manga of 2015.


From Variety:  The cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmos, has died at the age of 85 (Fri., Jan. 1st, 2016).  He won an Oscar for shooting "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."  He was nominated three other times, most recently for "The Black Dahlia" (2006), which was a terrible movie.  He also shot "Deliverance" and "Blow Out."

From THR:  The singer-songwriter Natalie Cole has died at the age of 65 (Thurs., Dec. 31st., 2015).  The Grammy Award-winning singer and recording artist was the daughter of the late singing legend, Nat "King" Cole.

From People:  Producer David Foster remembers Natalie Cole.

From Variety:  The actor Wayne Rogers has died at the age of 83 (Thursday, Dec. 31st, 2015).  He is best known for playing "Trapper" John McIntyre during the first three seasons of "M.A.S.H."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: "Citizenfour" Records the Revolution

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 44 (of 2015) by Leroy Douresseaux

[A version of the review first appeared on Patreon.]

Citizenfour (2014)
Running time:  114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Laura Poitras
PRODUCERS:  Mathilde Bonnefoy, Laura Poitras, and Dirk Wilutzky
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Kirsten Johnson, Trevor Paglen, Laura Poitras, and Katy Scoggin
EDITOR:  Mathilde Bonnefoy
Academy Award winner

DOCUMENTARY – Politics, Society

Starring:  Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, William Binney, Ewan MacAskill, Jeremy Scahill, Jonathan Man, and Julian Assange with Laura Poitras and Barack Obama (archive)

Citizenfour (stylized as CITIZENFOUR) is a 2014 documentary film from director Laura Poitras.  The film focuses on Edward Snowden, who provided the information that revealed the illegal wiretapping of American citizens' communications by American intelligence agencies.  Citizenfour won the Oscar for “Best Documentary Feature” at the 87th Academy Awards (February 22, 2015).  Oscar-winning director, Steven Soderbergh, is one of this film's executive producers.

Citizenfour's narrative begins in January 2013 when documentarian Laura Poitras receives an encrypted email from an unknown person who calls himself “Citizenfour.”  He offers her inside information about the illegal wiretapping practices of the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies.  The NSA was recording and observing the phone calls of American citizens beyond the scope of what the U.S. Congress had authorized.

In June 2013, accompanied by investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian intelligence reporter, Ewen MacAskill, Poitras travels to Hong Kong for the first meeting with Citizenfour, who identifies himself as Edward Snowden.  Edward Joseph Snowden works for the CIA via his employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, a job that gives him access to highly sensitive and classified information about the wiretapping practices of the NSA, both in the U.S. and abroad.

On Monday, June 3, 2013, Poitras uses her camera to begin filming what would be a four-day interview, in which Snowden reveals to Greenwald and MacAskill the details of domestic surveillance of American citizens.  When Snowden's information becomes “breaking news” around the world, however, none of the participants in this interview feel safe in The Mira, the Hong Kong hotel where Snowden is staying.

Although it chronicles a momentous time in American history, Citizenfour is strangely quiet, even intimate.  This movie is not an all-encompassing survey of domestic surveillance and spying; it is the story of the first quiet days and then, frantic weeks when Snowden whispered the sour nothings that fully revealed the deceitful face of the American government.  It is as if Snowden, Poitras, and Greenwald said to us that we, the people of the United States, should finally, finally and really pay attention to that man behind the curtain.

Even if one is familiar with Edward Snowden and the furious sound of his whistle-blowing, Citizenfour still feels shocking.  Perhaps, this is because Poitras is recording the revelations and the resulting media and political fallout in real time.  This immediacy makes paranoia seem like a more than sensible and reasonable state of mind for any American and even for the rest of the world.

Citizenfour is one of the best films of the year (2014), and it is probably the most important film of the year.  Poitras proves that the documentary and the non-fiction film narrative are more important than ever.

9 of 10

2015 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win “Best Documentary, Feature” (Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky)

2015 BAFTA Awards:  1 win “Best Documentary” (Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky)

Monday, September 7, 2015

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