Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fair Elections.......still THE issue

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I have told anyone who would listen that the first priority of Democrats should be the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004. Some Democrats are doing exactly that I commend Rep. John Conyers for the outstanding work he continues to do along with a few colleagues in Congress. But among the "major" Democratic candidates for the presidency in 2008 I hear nothing or next to nothing. Today's USA Today headine says "Democrats Are Slipping In Race For Statehouses" I don't know if this is true or not, it could be wishful thinking on the part of a publication that is more inclined to be on the right, but what if it IS true? then what? For the past three months Democrats have been in a state of euphoria with countless Republican scandals and Bush's poll numbers in the toilet. But it looks as if Democrats are very close to controlling the Senate and possibly the House too.......if the elections were held today. But we have to look at a few things carefully....1) Busby lost in California. I know there are those who say that Duke Cunningham's district was heavily Republican and that it is a miracle the Busby did as well as she did...BUT once again there were allegations of foul play....and once again Democrats were silent. It looksas if Karl Rove is going to get off scott-free. He will have plenty of time to create chicanery for Republicans. What the morally challenged Republicans hope for is that the polls narrow so that they can steal it again. We are going to be told in '08 that Bill Frist is not George Bush, or thatJohn McCain in not George Bush, or that Rudy Giuliani is not George Bush.... and it's true theyaren't but what major Bush policy did they oppose......NONE. Only 38% of the people of the United States vote and of the 38% more than half of them can be fooled into voting against their own interest by the media so the political waters are not as rosy as some Democrats would have us believe. The heart of the matter is that if we want an end to Republican cronyism, racism and classism we are going to have to fight with the same bulldog tenacity of Karl Rove. This president believes he is above the law and there are very few Democrats who have the intestinal fortitude to challenge him. At a time when Howard Dean is trying his best to increase the number of Democratic voters in traditionally Republican states Senators Schumer and Emmanuel are advocates of following the same losing stragedy by preaching to the choir in spending heavily in Democratic states. This is a prescription for failure. Senator Schumer also played a pivotal role in discouraging the candidacy of a vocally Anti-Bush Democrat (Paul Hackett) who just happened to be an Iraq war veteran for running in Arkansas. It is the common people who must determine who is the real progressive Democrat and who is the DLC stooge. Here we find really the only bright spot. Democratic funding raising is surpassing Republican fundraising because the common man and woman's small donations are surpassing the huge fat cat donations to the Republicans. But this too will mean nothing if we don't have the guarantee of fair elections.
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Billy Preston 1947-2006

It is mind-boggling...the frequency in which we are losing bona-fide R&B legends. We must now add the name of Billy Preston to the evergrowing list of entertainers who have recently lost their lives. Billy Preston was a child prodigy. His career began as the pianist/organist for gospel legend Mahalia Jackson while in his early teens. Preston then was signed to Sam Cooke's SAR/Derby label but shortly after the signing Cooke was killed. Preston was a fixture on the ABC teen-oriented dance show "Shindig", where he became known as the fifth Beatle. Preston's ties with the Beatles became even stronger towards the end of the sixties when Preston played the organ on the Beatles' classic "Get Back". Billy Preston was the only artist American or otherwise to share label credit with the fab four. The single "Get Back/Don't Let Me Down" read "The Beatles With Billy Preston" George Harrison recorded the original version of "My Sweet Lord" for Billy Preston. After the Beatle break up in 1970 Preston began to tour with the Rolling Stones.
Billy Preston's solo career took off with the Quincy Jones' produced "I Wrote A Simple Song"
I was living in Spain at the time and I remember how frequently you would hear this song on the radio. When I got back to the United States I was suprised to see that "I Wrote A Simple Song" was the B-side in the States and that the hit was the rousing instrumental "Outa-Space" which won Preston a Grammy Award in 1973. After "Outa-Space" there was a succession of vocal and instrumental hits making Preston among the most versatile entertainers of the era. Both "Will It Go "Round In Circles" and "Nothing From Nothing" went to #1 nationally, more instrumental hits came with "Space Race" and "Struttin" Then Joe Cocker had a huge hit (#4) with Billy Preston's composition "You Are So Beautiful" After some troubles with drugs and the law Preston resurfaces in a somewhat unusual pairing with Syreeta Wright to produce the beautiful ballad "With You I'm Born Again" (#4 in 1980). Before the kidney problems began to challenge his mobility Preston made sporadic appearances touring with Ringo Starr's Hall Of Fame Band, but through most of the late 90s Preston was encarcerated or fighting kidney disease. One of Billy Preston's last appearances on CD was on the late Ray Charles multi-platinum recording "Genius Loves Company" Preston was the consummate entertainer, outstanding singer and instrumentalist. He will surely be missed.