Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lou Rawls 1934-2006

Velvet-voiced crooner Lou Rawls becomes the first casualty of the entertainment world in the new year 2006. Besides being a first rate entertainer Rawls was a great humanitarian, helping to raise over 200 million dollars for the United Negro College Fund, of which he was the principal telethon host over the past three decades. Among the many hits Rawls will eternally be remembered for are "Love Is A Hurting Thing", "Dead End Street", "A Natural Man", Your Good Thing" "Lady Love" and the biggest of all the Gamble and Huff written and produced "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" in 1976, but Rawls true appeal was as a seller of albums and CDs: he sold over 40 million records. His trademark of frequently speaking or "rapping"(not in today's sense of word) before a song was later adapted by other artists like Isaac Hayes and the late Barry White. Rawls would speak about the early days when many people would be in a crowded club or bar and he would be forced to do something to get their attention. Rawls succumbed to lung cancer and brain cancer. The fact that he had lung cancer came as a surprise since he had quit smoking over 35 years ago. Rawls was one of the many Sam Cooke proteges who reached stardom. This group of distinguished entertainers includes Bobby Womack, Mel Carter, the late Johnnie Taylor, Billy Preston and Jackie Ross, most of whom were gospel singers who frequently performed in churches in the Chicago area: The Pilgrim Travelers, The Soul Stirrers and the Highway Q.Cs.

Tom Delay Steps Down

It is an absolute delight to report in the very first post of 2006 that Tom Delay is stepping down and majority leader. Could it be that the singing of lobbyist Jack Abramoff has made Delay finally realize that if he didn't quit he would be an even bigger liabilty to his party than he already is? This does NOT mean the end of Conservative Republican influence in Congress and it would be a serious mistake to think that it is. It is just so good to see them on the defensive. For 2006 there should be two objectives for the true progressive in the United States: 1) End the war in Iraq and 2) Impeach George W. Bush. The third would would have been to remove Tom Delay from his position of leadership, but he has done that himself. This acid tongued extremist still doesn't admit to any wrongdoing even though facts claim otherwise. I still have the image of Delay's goons intimidating people in Florida who were trying feverishly to count votes during the Bush/Gore fiasco. I also remember the images of rage on the faces of elected Democrats in Texas when they saw their districts gerrymandered to favor Conservative Republican candidates. I remember reading of how Delay operatives demanded huge sums of money from major US corporations to Conservative Republican candidates or they would not be able to do business in those areas of Texas. In his feeble question for reelection Tom Delay was running at 36% when the unnamed generic Democratic candidate had 49%. Even if Delay is replaced by a like minded Republican or Democratic all those years of seniority will have vanished. The removal of Tom Delay from a position of power and influence is a great way to start off a new year.