Sunday, November 29, 2009

Patricia Estelle McCall introduces "Love, Or The Singularity of Gary"

by Claude Chaney

On November 22, 2009 I had the pleasure of seeing a reading of "Love....Or The Singularity of Gary" by Patricia Estelle McCall (a.k.a. "Trish"), who is the daughter of Omar McCall Sr. This full length reading which took place at the Paris Health Club on West End Avenue in New York City had three characters, "Trish" as the survivor at age 45, Chandra Thomas as the survivor at 25 and Brian Schneider as the infamous Gary. Here we have an affluent Caucasian religious fanatic who pictures himself as a "Bishop" who has managed to imprison several young African-American females. He commits unspeakable acts on them, in some cases even murder. One of his victims has a relentless desire to stay alive and she uses every trick in her arsenal to do so.
I will not divulge any more information about the play because I want you to see it for yourself. You could hear a pin drop during this performance and thunderous applause from a full house at its completion. Everyone was surprised to find that this was based on a TRUE story. This was the second of three works by Patricia Estelle McCall, I wasn't able to see the first one "A Funeral" but if it was anything
like "Love...Or The Singularity of Gary" then it must have been a gem too.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Obama Presidency.....so far

by Claude Chaney
I voted for Barack Obama for president and if a new presidential election were held today with the same candidates I would still vote for Barack Obama. There is still an Obama sticker on my car. I believe that in his heart he is a good man, but I also believe that he is the best choice that we will be given. The media is leading us to believe that Obama's precipitious fall in popularity is due to his stand on health care. The truth is that he has abandoned many of the issues that he championed during his campaign. Guantanamo is still operational, in fact to my understanding there are even more prisoners there. We have more mercenaries (a.k.a. contractors) working abroad now than we had during the George W. Bush era. President Obama did not end US troop presence in Iraq, of course we have fewer troops but the US presence is still there. Several of the onorous Bush policies like unwarranted surveillance and rendition still exist. The Afghanistan war is not going well for the United States and President Obama is now seriously considering escalation. I can't help but draw parallels between Barack Obama and Lyndon Johnson, who also was a good man. President Johnson did more to advance the cause of civil rights than any other president in United States history, yet it was his support for the Viet-Nam war that brought him down. It seems as if Barack Obama is following the same tragic path. President Obama has done nothing to punish the scoundrels of the preceding administration and he always seems to be bending over backwards to get Republican approval for his policies. These actions do not endear him to the masses of people who elected him. Progressives are starting to ask questions because of his contradictory actions compared to campaign promises. This is the REAL reason for the decline in popularity. President Zelaya, the choice of the people of Honduras was unceremoniously removed from office. The Obama Administration voiced tepid disapproval at first but now seems to enthusiastically support the dictator Micheletti. In spite of these totally justifiable complaints President Obama has done several good things while in office, first and foremost is the selection of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Our courts are filled with right wing judges at all levels thanks to George W. Bush if McCain or a McCainlike candidate were elected civil rights gains and the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion would be gone.
Unfortunately there is a lot that goes on concerning the running of these United States that we don't know about. I am certain that President Obama is on the receiving end of enormous pressure from those who REALLY run this country (and its NOT the "people").
The bulk of the financial support for the Obama presidency came from the banks, not from the "people" in spite of the fact that President Obama had tremendous grassroots support. That is why the banks received billions of our tax dollars yet at the same time are reluctant to give loans or diminish the exorbitant salaries of their CEOs. Once elected you have to do the will of those who sent you to the presidency, no ifs, ands or buts. Please listen carefully to the comments of BC's Glen Ford.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy (1932 - 2009)

The loss of the third longest serving member of the Senate, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is a painful loss for liberals everywhere. Kennedy was in the middle of all progressive legislation for the past four decades. Just the loss of his seniority alone weakens the stature of Democrats in the Senate. It is believed that
Rose Kennedy told all of her children that since they were blessed it is their responsibility to do what they can to help others in accordance with a dictate from
the Bible (St. Luke). Ted Kennedy showed his belief in this concept by his actions, a leader in the battle of civil rights, gay rights and the right of the handicapped.
Ted Kennedy could have been president were it not for the Chappaquidic incident in which a supporter Mary Jo Kopeckni drowned in his car. Although this incident cost him his marriage as well as the presidency the voters of Massachusetts continued to return him to the Senate in increasingly large numbers.
It will take at least five months to find a replacement for Ted Kennedy, giving the Republicans another golden opportunity because now once again the philibuster becomes their potent weapon.
Ted Kennedy made universal health care his life's work, being one of it's earliest advocates going as far back as 1978 when he mentioned his broken back, the painful last days of his father and the debilitated state of his sister. He said that his family was able of weather these storms but if any of these catasthrophes had happened to the average American they would have gone bankrupt.
Those of us who feel that we deserve universal comprehensive health care should be inspired by Ted Kennedy's example. The time has come to get up off your duff and do something. So often liberals and/or progressives feel that just because they are right they will win. In this world being right means absolutely nothing, when you have a media that is more than willing to present the opposite perspective to the people in an ever expanding variety of soundbites. Let's get Healthcare for ALL! Do it for your families and DO IT FOR TED!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

ATTENTION ALL CONGRESS MEMBERS, WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH CARE IF YOUR NAME IS NOT ON THIS LIST....YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM

Albio Sires (NJ-13)
Alcee Hastings (FL-23)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Barney Frank (MA-14)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Bill Delahunt (MA-10)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-08)
Bob Filner (CA-51)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13)
Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)

Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Chellie Pingree (MN-01)
Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
Diane Watson (CA-33)
Donald Payne (NJ-10)
Donna Edwards (MD-04)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Ed Towns (NY-10)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Elijah Cummings (MD-07)
Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Eric Massa (NY-29)

Pete Stark (CA-13)
Grace Napolitano (CA-38)
Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Jackie Spier (CA-12)
Jerry Nadler (NY-08)
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02)
Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Jim McGovern (MA-03)
John Conyers (MI-14)
John Olver (MA-01)
John Tierney (MA-06)
J! ohn Yarmuth (KY-03)
Jose Serrano (NY-16)
Judy Chu (CA-32)

Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Linda Sanchez (CA-39)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-25)
Lucille Roybal-Alard (CA-34)
Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)
Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)
Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
Mel Watts (NC-12)
Michael Honda (CA-15)

Mike Capuano (MA-08)
Nydia Valezquez (NY-12)
Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Phil Hare (IL-17)
Raul Grijalva (AZ-07)
Robert Wexler (FL-19)
Rush Holt (NJ-12)
Sam Farr (CA-17)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
William Lacy Clay (M0-01)
Yvette Clarke (NY-11)

....and we the people will remember on election day. A VIGOROUS national campaign will be initiated to replace you with a true progressive DEMOCRAT. You will have more to fear from the people than the insurance and pharmaceutical companies that have YOU in THEIR pockets.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

MoveOn.org remains positive on health care (1)

by Claude Chaney

It is now common knowledge that the rowdy mobs that are appearing at town hall meetings are bought and paid for by the insurance industry. We are not hearing that story being told on mainstream media. These manipulative vultures have convinced large numbers of senior citizens that President Obama is going to put them on death
panels and that their health care dollars will be given to younger people and they will die. In most other countries if you said that to someone you would probably get laughed at, not here. Many Americans have become so indoctrinated by right wing scare tactics that they seem incapable of thinking for themselves. Rightwingers also
told gunowners that the President was going to take their guns away and this lead to unprecedented gun sales in the south. The lie has become a very potent weapon for these conservatives and unfortunately most Americans still don't realize it.
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck is responsable for spreading this fear. He
calls the President a racist without on scintilla of evidence, not giving his veiwers one example to verify his claim. I am pleased that an organized effort is already underway to contact Glenn Beck's sponsors and find out if they endorse this
ominous deception. Two of the sponsors we can start with are Wal-Mart and Travelocity. Progressives are far too polite, because many of them think that you can reason with the Rush Limbaughs of the country. You can not be "nice" or "rational" with these people. You have to be strong and if necessary get in their face and if they are loud, you be louder. The time has come for a massive March on Washington to raise awareness for the public option and then the single payer. Many of us make the mistake of laughing at those poor manipulated people who follow the likes of Beck and Limbaugh. Two people who make millions, yet most of their followers are people who don't have adequate healthcare themselves. There is nothing more pathetic than a person who heads a family earning $13,000 a year talking about being conservative and voting Republican. The right has been very successful in convincing low to moderate income people to vote against their own interests.
Once again MoveOn.org is taking the initiative. Please read the article that follows this one and conduct yourselves accordingly.

MoveOn.org remains positive on Health Care (2)

Did you see today's breaking news? A former health insurance executive just went on record saying that right-wing mobs at town halls are the result of "stealth efforts by health insurance companies."1 And The Huffington Post reports that dirty energy companies are helping bankroll the mobs.2

It's infuriating—but the good news is that everyday folks are fighting back. And the great news is that we're making strides. In city after city, MoveOn Councils are proving to the media that the vast majority of Americans support the change agenda that President Obama ran on.

As we ramp up our "Real Voices for Change" campaign, here are some recent inspiring stories from MoveOn Councils around the country:


We're keeping it positive. At a town hall in Charlottesville, Virginia, national media were expecting a hostile and extremist crowd—but Rep. Tom Perriello was met by a large and very friendly group. NBC reported, "for the most part the crowd was subdued and in support of reforming the system."3 An event with Rep. Joe Sestak in Philadelphia, where the local MoveOn Council helped to turn people out, was "overwhelmingly civil."4 In Denver, at a high-profile event with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a few right-wing protesters compared President Obama to Hitler—but progressive protesters vastly outnumbered them.5
We're making direct contact with decision-makers. At a Jobs Fair in northwest Indiana, Council Coordinator David Lambeth handed a flyer supporting a REAL public option directly to Senator Evan Bayh—a key vote on health care reform—and had a quick conversation with him. The Council had organized a flyering event at that Jobs Fair precisely to create such a face-to-face opportunity.

The media is taking notice. Our signs and footage from MoveOn events are all over the news, including several national spots on MSNBC and NBC Nightly News (one of the most-watched shows on TV). And in one wild moment, conservative Tom Tancredo—a former Colorado congressman—actually waved a MoveOn health care sign on MSNBC!

We're getting good responses from members of Congress—even in "red" states. In Johnson County, KS, the Council organized a "honk and wave" outside of Rep. Dennis Moore's office. (Rep. Moore is a "blue dog" who supports the public option.) As Organizer Ian Rogers reported:

Despite some right-wing protesters who showed up and tried to disrupt the event, the members stayed strong and their efforts paid off. About twenty minutes after the right-wing protesters showed, Rep. Moore himself drove by the honk and wave. He honked, the tea-baggers booed, and Moore gave the thumbs up to our people and honked again.
Thank you so much for all you're doing to push back against the misconception that right-wing extremists speak for all of us. And there's much more to do in the weeks ahead—keep it up.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Noami Sims (1948 -2009)

by Bee-Shuyan Huang

While the fashion industry continues to struggle with diversity on the runways,
supermodel Naomi Sims passed away at the age of 61 in Newark, NJ.

Known as the "first black supermodel," Sims lost her battle with cancer, reports the New York Times.

Sims grew up in a poor, mostly white neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA and at 18 moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

She started modeling to support herself, but it wasn't smooth sailing at first: She was told by every agency that her "skin was too dark," reports the newspaper.

So, she struck out on her own and started approaching photographers directly (talk about pro-active!).

Sims went on to model for designers including Halston, who in a 1974 New York Times article, said the following of the long-limbed beauty, "Naomi was the first. She was the great ambassador for all black people. She broke down all social barriers."

She soon landed campaigns for AT&T and was modeling for Bill Blass, then Sims made history when she appeared as the first-ever black model to grace the cover of Ladies' Home Journal. It was November of 1968 -- the middle of the Civil Rights Movement.

But after five years, Sims grew bored of the industry and decided to start a wig-making business, designing styles for black women. It eventually turned into a multi-million dollar company.

Ever the forward-thinking pioneer, the supermodel told The NY Times in 1969, "There is nothing sadder than an old, broke model, and there are many models who have nothing at the end of their career." Sims definitely was not one of them!

R.I.P.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Walter Cronkite 1917 - 2009

Walter Cronkite, the CBS anchorman known as "Uncle Walter" for his easygoing, measured delivery and "the most trusted man in America" for his rectitude and gravitas, died Friday night in his New York home, CBS reported.

Buzz/CNN

Cronkite was 92.

"Walter was always more than just an anchor. He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world," President Obama said in a statement Friday.

"He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed."

His career spanned much of the 20th century, as well as the first decade of the 21st

The native of St. Joseph, Missouri, broke in as a newspaper journalist while in college, switched over to radio announcing in 1935, joined the United Press wire service by the end of the decade and jumped to CBS and its nascent television news division in 1950. iReport.com: Share your memories of Cronkite

He also made his mark as an Internet contributor in his later years with a handful of columns for the Huffington Post.

"He was the consummate television newsman," Don Hewitt, the onetime executive producer of the "CBS Evening News," told CNN. "He had all the credentials to be a writer, an editor, a broadcaster. There was only one Walter Cronkite, and there may never be another one." Watch colleagues explain why Cronkite was "the most trusted man in America" »

Cronkite covered World War II's Battle of the Bulge, the Nuremberg trials, several presidential elections, moon landings, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon's administration.

At times he even made news: A 1977 question to then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat about Sadat's intent to go to Israel -- at the time considered a nonstarter because of the lack of a treaty between the two countries -- received a surprising "yes" from the Egyptian leader.

Soon after, Sadat traveled to Jerusalem, a trip that eventually led to the Camp David Accords, which included a peace deal between Israel and Egypt.

At his height of influence as CBS anchorman, Cronkite's judgment was believed so important it could affect even presidents. In early 1968, after the Tet Offensive, Cronkite traveled to Vietnam and gave a critical editorial calling the Vietnam War "mired in stalemate." Watch an overview of Cronkite's life »

Noting Cronkite's commentary, President Lyndon Johnson reportedly said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." Johnson announced he would not seek re-election less than two months later.

Don't Miss
Statement from CBS
Special report: Life of Walter Cronkite
TIME.com: The Man with America's Trust
Life.com: Remembering Walter Cronkite
Cronkite's own name was often floated as a presidential possibility -- wishful thinking on the part of some pundits, because Cronkite had little desire to enter politics once he'd become a successful anchorman.

He became, however, an outspoken critic of what he saw as flaws in government and broadcast journalism. He disliked the current war in Iraq, telling Esquire magazine, "Indeed, we are in another Vietnam. Almost play by play. It's a terrible mistake that we're in Iraq, and it's a terrible mistake to insist on staying there."

And he disliked the corporatization of news.

"The nation whose population depends on the explosively compressed headline service of television news can expect to be exploited by the demagogues and dictators who prey upon the semi-informed," he wrote in his 1996 memoir, "A Reporter's Life."

In a 2005 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, he observed, "The misfortune with broadcasting today is that all -- even including your network, which is dedicated to the news -- do not take enough time to give us all of the facts and the background." Watch CNN's John King reflect on Cronkite's career »

"Walter was truly the father of television news. The trust that viewers placed in him was based on the recognition of his fairness, honesty and strict objectivity," said "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer in a statement.

"And of course, his long experience as a shoe-leather reporter covering everything from local politics to World War II and its aftermath in the Soviet Union."

Mike Wallace, "60 Minutes" correspondent emeritus, said simply: "We were proud to work with him -- for him -- we loved him."

Premiere journalist of 20th century is born

Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, on November 4, 1916. His father was a dentist, and Cronkite, who admired the man greatly, grew his famous mustache in emulation of his father.

The family moved to Kansas City soon after, and when he was 10, moved again to Houston, Texas. He remembered being attached to news at an early age, from delivering newspapers to starting a high school publication. Cronkite attended the University of Texas in Austin, but dropped out of college in 1935 after gaining a full-time job as a newspaper reporter.

He moved to Kansas City for a radio job at KCMO, where he was famed for his broadcasts of football game recreations. He would use wire reports about football games to broadcast what sounded like live, play-by-play commentary on the match.

It was in Kansas City that he also met his future wife, Betsy Maxwell, in the summer of 1936. The two married in 1940 and enjoyed almost 65 years of marriage. Betsy Cronkite died in 2005.

"She was one of the most beautiful people I ever saw in my life," he said in a PBS special. "I saw her for the first time ... coming down the hall ... and I fell in love before I ever knew her name, or what she did, or if I whether I would ever see her again in life."

Cronkite had a short stint with the United Press in 1937 -- "the KCMO experience," he wrote in "A Reporter's Life," "had cooled any thought I had that radio might be an interesting medium in which to practice journalism" -- but nevertheless, he joined an Oklahoma City station within a year to broadcast University of Oklahoma football games. After a detour with Braniff Airlines, he went back to the UP and the newspaper reporting he loved.

In 1942, after the United States' entry into World War II, he became a war correspondent, part of an elite corps of correspondents dubbed "the Writing 69th." As part of that unit, he accompanied a bomber on D-Day (the mission was thwarted by cloud cover) and flew on a number of dangerous sorties. After the war, he became the chief UP correspondent at the Nuremberg Trials for war crimes. He was widely admired; CBS tried to lure him into its Edward R. Murrow-led fold during the war, but Cronkite preferred being a newspaperman. Watch Cronkite remember WWII heroes »

Cronkite opened UP's Moscow, Russia, bureau after the war, but when the wire service tightened up on his salary in 1948, he decided to go back to radio at the urging of a friend who owned a radio station. He was the Washington correspondent for a radio group. Two years later, CBS came calling again, and this time Cronkite took the network up on its offer.

Into television news

But now the medium was television. Cronkite became the anchor of WTOP-TV, armed with little more than wire reports and his own skills, he recalled in his memoir.

Two years later, he broke into the national consciousness with his work at the 1952 political conventions, serving as CBS' "anchorman" -- a word coined to describe Cronkite's role as point person for the network's correspondents. Though there's some dispute as to who coined the word, Cronkite's influence was noted: in Sweden at the time, he recalled, anchormen were called "cronkiters."

But CBS News had a deep bench. The division was led by Murrow throughout the 1950s, and a number of other famous names -- Eric Sevareid, Douglas Edwards, Howard K. Smith -- were part of the team. Cronkite distinguished himself as CBS' lead space reporter as the United States and Soviet Union launched the space race. He never lost his taste for the beat, working with CNN on shuttle launches as recently as John Glenn's return mission in 1998.

In 1962, Cronkite took over as anchor of CBS' "Evening News" from Edwards. Television news was still in its infancy; the broadcast Cronkite delivered was 15 minutes long, dependent on sometimes day-old film, and in black and white. But with the Cold War, civil rights movement and the increasing rapidity of communications, the news business was changing. On September 2, 1963 -- Labor Day -- Cronkite's broadcast became a half-hour; the centerpiece was an extended interview with President John F. Kennedy. Watch Cronkite relive the day Kennedy was shot »

A little less than three months later, Kennedy was assassinated. Cronkite's coverage of that event, including a rare display of emotion on camera -- as he broadcast the news of Kennedy's death from the CBS newsroom -- helped cement his status.

However, for the first half of the 1960s, Cronkite's broadcast was No. 2 to NBC's "Huntley-Brinkley Report," hosted by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. It wasn't until later in the decade that Cronkite and CBS overtook the NBC team for the No. 1 position, a mark it would hold for the rest of Cronkite's 19-year tenure.

"Uncle Walter" increasingly became the most-admired figure in the news media. His sign-off, "And that's the way it is," became a national catch-phrase. His coverage of moon missions was legendary, with his ability to anchor, unperturbed, for hour upon hour, earning him the affectionate nickname "Old Iron Pants." Read reaction to his death »

Another rare example of Cronkite showing emotion on air was the joy he expressed at Apollo 11's 1969 moon landing: "Man on the moon!" he exulted, rubbing his hands in delight.

'Most trusted man in America'

In 1972, a poll named him "the most trusted man in America." The anchorman had been one of the few TV journalists to note the import of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's reporting on Watergate and helped prompt CBS into following the story aggressively.

The network broadcast two extended segments on the affair just before the 1972 election. Cronkite was helped immensely by CBS' then White House correspondent, Dan Rather, who became one of Nixon's least favorite reporters with his determined questioning at White House press conferences.

Rather's and Cronkite's lives would cross again several years later. By the end of the 1970s, television news had become news itself, with Barbara Walters' million-dollar ABC contract in 1976 making headlines. The race to succeed Cronkite, who was nearing 65 and announced his forthcoming retirement in 1980, became a national focus. Watch CNN's John Roberts talk about Cronkite's influence on him »

In the end, Rather won the battle to succeed Cronkite over Roger Mudd, who was Cronkite's regular fill-in. Cronkite gave his last "Evening News" broadcast on March 6, 1981. His successor had a number of up-and-down years, which Cronkite watched from a distance. The two anchors were not "especially chummy," Cronkite once said.

In his later years, Cronkite -- who became a CBS board member -- distinguished himself with various news specials, but was disappointed he wasn't allowed to take a greater role at CBS.

"I want to say that probably 24 hours after I told CBS that I was stepping down at my 65th birthday, I was already regretting it. And I regretted it every day since," he once said.

He had planned to do documentaries for the network, as well as continue his summer science series "Walter Cronkite's Universe," but the series was canceled in 1982, and CBS was devoting fewer resources to documentaries. He also stayed physically active, an energetic tennis player and sailor.

Cronkite received dozens of awards during his life, including a number of Emmys and Peabodys. In 1981, he was awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by Jimmy Carter.

He also played himself in movies and on TV, including memorable episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Murphy Brown."

But he never lost his zest for reporting, nor his opinions about the news media. His daughter, Kathy, played a Patty Hearst-like character in the scabrous 1976 movie "Network," a film Cronkite said "was all comedy" to him, though he shared beliefs in its message. He disparaged what he called "fluff" and constantly exhorted news departments to focus on hard news -- without opinion.


"Our job is only to hold up the mirror -- to tell and show the public what has happened," he once said.

Cronkite is survived by his three children, Nancy, Kathy and Walter III "Chip"; and four grandchildren.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)

I did not like the way Berry Gordy Jr. was portrayed in the movie "Dreamgirls". Of course he is not perfect, but who among us is? To me Mr. Gordy is a role model in spite of his perceived shortcomings. In the early days of Rock 'n' Roll most African-American performers were ripped off. They didn't receive just compensation for their work and also had stolen royalties. Two early pioneers who attempted to right this wrong were Berry Gordy Jr. and Sam Cooke, the first successful African-American owners of record companies with national (and later world-wide) distribution. Cooke understood the meaning of entrepeneurship. He wrote, produced and performed most of his songs and through his record company S.A.R he had many entertainers who became stars after his death(Bobby Womack, Billy Preston, Johnnie Taylor, Mel Carter). Cooke's death was very suspicious. He was disliked by many in the business because he was perceived as too "uppity" for a Black man of his time. After Cooke's demise Berry Gordy came to the forefront. Gordy went to the assembly line approach he saw while working for GM and applied it to making records. Just as the car companies had assembly lines for various parts of the cars that in the end all came together to have the finished product, Gordy did the same with his artists. There were teams of producers that worked with specific songwriters and performers who collectively came up with the finished product.
The most prominent songwriter/producer teams in the early days of Motown were
William "Mickey" Stevenson, William "Smokey" Robinson, Brian Holland-Lamont Dozier-Edward Holland, Nicholas Ashford-Valerie Simpson, Harvey Fuqua, Norman Whitfield-Barrett Strong, Pam Sawyer and Ronald Miller. They created and produced music for some of the most successful acts of all time.....Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Miracles, Diana Ross, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Jr. Walker & The All Stars, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Martha & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes, Jimmy Ruffin, Shorty Long, Marv Johnson, Kim Weston, The Isley Brothers, Brenda Holloway and a group of teenagers from Gary, Indiana...The Jackson 5, lead by this little 10 year old afro clad dynamo named Micheal Jackson. It is not clear who should get credit for discovering Michael and his brothers...Bobby Taylor?, Diana Ross?, Gladys Knight? but Michael was a rare find and Gordy knew just what to do to bring these very young men to absolute stardom.
Berry Gordy found the major portion of his talent coming from residents of a Detroit housing project. Motown was so successful that when The Temptations peaked at
#29 with the Smokey Robinson penned "Get Ready" Motown top brass decided that this was unacceptable. At that time if any black entertainer was able to crossover and get a tune in the top 40 of the pop chart that was considered a major accomplishment but that wasn't good enough for Motown, so Temptations production went from Smokey Robinson to Norman Whitfield. In the case of the Jackson Five, Gordy decided that he will handle this one himself. He chose his collaborators to form "The Corporation" and then went on to give The Jackson 5 four straight pop and R&B #1 songs(I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, I'll Be There) and two #2 pop songs( Mama's Pearl, Never Can Say Goodbye). The Jackson 5 had now reached world wide acceptance and acclaim.
At this time Motown was at the top of the music world but that in itself caused problems. It became harder and harder to keep everyone happy. Once you made a name for yourself at Motown it was considered a risk to leave, a risk that most Motown performers were not willing to take. Mary Wells, was Motown's first lady. She left and never regained the popularity she once had: eleven top 40 hits (including #1 My Guy, but only one away from Motown (Use Your Head #34). This all changed in 1969 when the Isley Brothers left Motown to form their own T-Neck label and immediately had smash hit "It's Your Thing" (#2 Pop, #1 R&B) and later went on to have twelve other top forty hits on the pop chart. This no doubt went on to embolden other Motown stars to make that move. The assembly line that was responsible for so many Motown hits had disintegrated. Major producer/writer teams like Holland-Dozier-Holland not only left but sued Berry Gordy over royalties. Both Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye wanted more creative control. Gladys Knight & The Pips went to Buddah Records and had even more success with Buddah than they had at Motown.The Spinners left to find stardom at Atlantic records. The Temptations went to Atlantic Records also for a brief stint but Berry Gordy was successful in wooing them back. Even Diana Ross left to sign with RCA records. Fortunately for Motown they were able to keep Stevie Wonder by offering him a huge long term contract. Marvin Gaye, like Stevie Wonder was granted creative control and stayed for several years, but in the early 80s he also left. The Commodores, Rick James, Lionel Richie and a resurgeant Smokey Robinson (with four big hits in the eighties (Cruisin', Being With You, Just To See Her,One Heartbeat)also kept Motown alive and kicking.
The Jackson 5 were also unhappy with the material they were given. It appeared as if their requests to perform their own songs or at minimum have someone else write better songs for them fell on deaf ears. Michael and his brothers left Motown to sign with CBS/Columbia/Sony. Legendary R&B songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff took over production. During this period The Jackson 5 became The Jacksons and they found success with songs like Enjoy Yourself(#6 pop), Shake Your Body(Down To The Ground)(#7 pop) but there were still more moves in the making. Michael decides to go solo. He had performed and recorded by himself previously with Motown with great success ( Ben (#1 pop) Got To Be There (#4 pop), Rockin' Robin (#2 pop), I Wanna Be Where You Are (#16 pop). But this time Michael wanted to be a solo act on a permanent basis. Michael made a historic appearance on the televised Motown Special. We saw a totally different Michael tall and thin with the sequined black jacket as he introduced the platinum selling Billy Jean (#1 pop) and showed some startling choreography (The moonwalk) this was the moment Michael made the transition from "star" to "mega superstar" The hits were seemingly endless...Don't Stop ('til You Get Enough)(#1 pop), Rock With You (#1 pop), Off The Wall (#10 pop), She's Out Of My Life (#10 pop), The Girl Is Mine (with Paul McCartney)(#2 pop), Beat It (#1 pop), Wanna Be Startin' Something (#5 pop), Human Nature (#7 pop), Say, Say, Say (with Paul McCartney)(#1 pop), PYT(Pretty Young Thing)(#10 pop), Thriller (#4 pop), I Just Can't Stop Loving You(with Siedah Garrett) (#1 pop), Bad (#1 pop), The Way You Make Me Feel (#1 pop),Man In The Mirror (#1 pop), Dirty Diana (#1 pop), Another Part Of Me (#11 pop), Smooth Criminal (#7 pop), Black Or White (#1 pop), Remember The Time (#3 pop), In The Closet (#6 pop), Jam (#26 pop), Heal The World (#27 pop), Who Is it? (#14 pop), Will You Be There (#7 pop), Scream (with Janet Jackson)/Childhood(#5 pop),You Are Not Alone (#1 pop), They Don't Care About Us (#30 pop), You Rock My World (#10 pop), Butterflies (#14 pop).
Prior to this enormous popularity and record breaking sales Michael went through some growing pains. There are very few child stars who successfully make the trasition to successful adult star. Sammy Davis Jr., Robert Blake and Jackie Coogan are the exceptions not the rule. The public is in general very fickle, but at the same time they have an image of you and they want to keep that image. Michael was no longer that cute little boy who lead the Jackson 5, he was becoming an adult. The look was changing, the voice was changing. As a result people around him began to criticize him in a playful manner, even going so far as to say he looked like a monkey. This accounts for the numerous plastic surgeries that continued to alter his appearance. Michael apparently took this personally. This coupled with Michael declaring that he suffered from vitiligo, a disease that causes unnatural lightening of the skin made Michael an object of criticism. Many people now felt that Michael was ashamed of being what he was.....black.
As if these problems weren't enough Michael was burned badly while shooting a commercial for Pepsi. The soft drink giant dropped Michael as a spokesman when Michael was accused of improper behavior with minors. I was a big fan of Michael's but at the time I was saying if he is actually guilty of this then he deserves to serve time. I also remember Phil Collins saying that he knew Michael and that he knew that Michael would never do anything to hurt a child. Michael may be a bit too trusting and too naive, but never would he do anything to morally damage a child. Collins' statement was very convincing to me since he was someone who was in the entertainment business and was also getting world-wide attention. The papparazzi and
sensationalist newspapers like the New York Post were having a field day at Jackson's
expense referring to him as "Jacko", "Wacko" and "Child Molester".
Michael was accused of child molestation on more than one occasion. He didn't help himself by admitting on national television that he slept with little boys at night.Some members of the press took this as a golden opportunity to sink Michael's career. Jackson meant exactly what he said "SLEEPING and that's all" Several of these young boys testified in his behalf. Of course this wasn't a good thing to do and it did show poor judgment but it was not criminal. Michael's other problem was to believe that money can solve everything. More money to silence accusers only led to even more money being requested. Michael was found innocent in both trials, but the tabloids continued to bother him. The first Michael Jackson song that came to my head after hearing about his untimely death was "Leave Me Allow" which he composed specifically to strike back at the press. Now that he is gone these same newspapers write glowing articles but while he was alive they tormented him. This is exactly the same thing that happened to Martin Luther King.
With all the hundreds of millions that he earned for himself and others Michael to the end was politically aware. He labelled former RCA and current Columbia/Sony record executive Tommy Mattola a racist because of his refusal to promote his African-American artists. Many of Michael's songs were political and showed a genuine concern for the have-nots of the world...."Heal The World", "We Are The World", "Man In The Mirror" and especially the last song he ever sang "They Don't Care About Us".
On that fateful last day Michael, who had just signed on to do an extensive 50 city tour date in England that was to be titled the "This is it" farewell tour was in need of some rest. He wanted to be the best he could be for his fans. He was warned against taking drugs that would induce long periods of sleep but he didn't listen because he trusted those people who were supposed to be watching him in the event of any irregularity. So at the age of 50, the world loses it's greatest entertainer/philanthropist.
In 1975, The Miracles made their first ever concept album "City of Angels", the title song was one of the finalists to become the official song of Los Angeles while another song "Love Machine (Pt. 1)" made it to the top of the charts. Also on the lp was the song "My Name Is Michael" which has some paralells to Michael Jackson, but that was not the intent. Listening to that song now gives one an erie feeling.
Christine Yarian wrote in the liner notes 'Any similarity or resemblance to persons either living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional and should not be construed otherwise" This was twenty-four years ago, what a coincidence. Yarian also writes (speaking of the character Michael in the song). "He left quietly, as he had come, returning to the land he had left behind and the memories of another time. On that day, one of the darkest in L.A., only his legacy remained: one angel more in heaven, one angel less in the "City of Angels"
Like Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Rick Nelson, Sammy Davis Jr. and many others his music will always be with us. Rest in peace Michael.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2008 The Year in Review (Sports)

The 2008 Superbowl was one of the best I've ever seen. Here was a true case of David vs. Goliath. The heavily favored New England Patriots were humbled by the underdog New York Giants. The former New Orleans Saints quarterback can now say that he has TWO sons with Superbowl rings after Eli Manning's courageous effort.
In baseball my favorite team in the senior circuit and my favorite team....period, The New York Mets had their third consecutive collapse in the final stages of the season. Although once again even though they had a heartbreak season it did have it's bright spots. The amazing resurgence of Carlos Delgado at the bat and on the field. Mike Pelfry had an incredible winning streak as he established himself as a bona-fide starter. For 2009 it appears as if The Mets have done something about the inefficient bullpen with the acquisition of baseball's most successful relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and the Mariners set up man J.J. Putz.
My favorite team in the junior circuit (and the only team I root for outside of the New York area) The Cleveland Indians made a surprising 3rd place finish after spending a substantial part of the season near the bottom. The power just disappeared, no 300 hitters. Cliff Lee picked up the slack after Cy Young award winner C.C. Sabathia sought greener pastures in Milwaukee and eventually with the Yankees. Lee was the only 20 game winner and he had the lowest E.R.A.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2008 The Year in Review (Music)

In 2008 the music industry on the whole experienced a noticeable decrease in overall sales. Some artists had tremendous sales but most did not. Retail stores offering CDs have virtually disappeared. Sam Goody is gone, Virgin is gone, Circuit City is gone, Tower Records is disappearing. Barnes & Nobles and to a lesser degree Borders seem to be the only megastores left that actively promote their CD sales. The MP3 is replacing the CD. The record buying public now prefers to purchase its music online for as little as 99 cents per song. I know that there was some beautiful music made in 2008. Unfortunately I wasn't able to hear most of it because I was too busy creating my own (I Will Be Here For You - Claude Chaney & Friends - www.cdbaby.com/Claude Chaney3), but I did notice the year's biggest comeback.....Neil Diamond.
The smooth jazz outlets are disappearing with the loss of WJZZ in Philadelphia and WQCD in New York City. Clear Channel moves closer and closer to becoming a media monopoly. They own most of the radio stations and practically all of the outdoor advertisement. In most cases if you don't play ball with Clear Channel you don't play. This is just one more thing for which we can all thank George W. Bush. Minority ownership of radio stations has reached a new low. WCBS-FM returned this year, but not exactly the same as we remember it. The new format only features songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Monday, January 19, 2009

PNAC: What informed American hasn't heard of the treacherous Project for a New American Century by now?

PNAC is a small off-shoot, occupying the 5th floor, of the American Enterprise Institute which has been around since 1943. The AEI has 12 very busy floors where its operative have had plenty of time to send their operatives over to infiltrate the Democratic Party, or leave them in to be more accurate since the PNACers & AEIers are ORIGINALLY DEMOCRATS. To this day Richard Perle, Fieth and Wolfowitz are still Democrats. The day the Republican party, which they hijacked also, no longer suits their needs, they'll follow other PNAC neo-cons like Marshall Wittman back to the Democratic Party where the neoliberal Democratic Leadership Council is laying out the welcome mat for them.

The AEI, the PNAC & the DLC were founded by Scoop Jackson democrats who follow the philosophy of Leo Strauss. To this day the DLC is stacked with neo-conservative ideologues, who maintain deep personal ties to the war-mongers in the Bush Administration.


The DLC is following the footsteps of its neo-conservative, war-mongering predecessor organizations of the 1970s: the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM)((also see www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Coalition_for_a_D... )), founded in 1972 by the likes of Richard Perle, Midge Decter, Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, among others; the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) ((also see www.rightweb.irc-online.org/groupwatch/cpd.php )), founded in 1976 by Richard Perle, Midge Decter, Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, et al; and the Committee for the Free World (CFW) (( also see www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Committee_for_the... )), founded in 1981 by exactly the same crew. Rounding out the picture, CFW's chairman was none other than Donald Rumsfeld.

The "missing link" between the "Democratic" DLC and the now "Republican" CDM/CPD/CFW neo-cons, is the Social Democrats-USA, (SDUSA), whose chairman, Penn Kemble, was the Executive Director of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority in 1972, until he brought in Richard Perle's underling Stephen Bryen to take his place. Bryen, who created the hawkish Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) in the early 1980s, when he served as Perle's aide at the Department of Defense, is another leading member of the neo-conservative gang that wants to go to war against the entire Arab world in the name of anti-terrorism. Providing daily coordination between Perle and Bryen would be Joshua Muravchik, a fixture at nearly every American Enterprise Institute event--but also a leader of SDUSA since its creation.

The DLC and SDUSA both maintain extremely close links to Tony Blair's British "New Labour" party faction, and in parallel, are out to recreate a new version of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority in time for the 2004 elections. The battle cry for this effort is to follow the "strong defense" lead of the original CDM's heroes: the late Dem Senators Henry "Scoop" Jackson, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

The CDM's two leading lights in Congress were the Democratic Senators Jackson and Moynihan. The Cold Warrior and fanatically pro-Israel
Jackson remains the model for the DLC crowd today. Former DLC president Joe Lieberman declares he is proud to be identified as a
"'Scoop' Jackson Democrat." It was these two Senators' offices that housed the Straussians behind the no-exit Iraq War.
http://forums.alternet.org/guest/motet?show+-ui13dz+-il... -

From Jackson's office:
Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Frank Gaffney

From Moynihan's office:
Elliott Abrams
Abram Shulsky
Gary Schmitt

In 1999, Norman Podhoretz, known as the "father" of neo-conservatism, wrote that the CDM was created to destroy the policies of 1972 Dem nominee George McGovern in the Democratic Party, especially because of McGovern's opposition the CDM was a flop that "never got off the ground." But in the mid-80s, the DLC certainly did get off the ground, and controls the Democratic Party today. http://forums.alternet.org/guest/motet?show+-ui13dz+-il... -

"...In the 1970s, under the leadership of Carl Gershman, SD/USA ((Social Democrats-USA)) became a supporter of Sen. Henry Jackson and his contingent of conservative, hawkish "defenders of democracy." As such, they gained a great deal of political experience and savvy, but little political power. It was not until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, that the SD/USA achieved positions of power and influence in both the labor movement and the government. (2)..."

"http://rightweb.irc-online.org/groupwatch/sd-usa.php "

Some SD-USA members:

"Carl Gershman, chair of SD/USA from 1974 to 1980, was an aide to Jeane Kirkpatrick when she was the U.S. ambassador to the United
Nations. In 1984, he served as an adviser to the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (the Kissinger Commission) established
by President Reagan. (2) Penn Kemble was on the advisory committee of the U.S. Information Agency's (USIA) Voice of America. (34) Arch
Puddington worked for USIA's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (35) Elliott Abrams was Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican
Affairs in the Reagan administration. Prior to that he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and as a staffer for
Sen. Henry Jackson. (40) Abrams was a major figure in the Iran-Contra Affair. (41) Bruce McColm served as a consultant to the U.S. Senate's
Central American Monitoring Group and has taken congressional representatives on fact-finding tours in Central America. (11) Jeane
Kirkpatrick was the U.S. delegate to the United Nations during the Reagan administration. (53) Max Kampleman was a legislative counsel
for Sen. Hubert Humphrey and a chief U.S. negotiator to the Geneva arms talks with the Soviet Union. (40)

The anti-communist, anti-left fervor of SD-USA is no second to PNAC (or the DLC, for that matter). Members were leaders in the AFL-CIO's efforts in overthrowing Allende in Chile, and later in anti-left action in Central America; they have been in the leadership of the
CIA's subversion wing -- the NED -- since its inception; they have been on the board of the terrorist Mas Canosa's Cuban-American
National Foundation; they supported the 2002 coup against Chavez in Venezuela and continue to support opposition terrorists, purging
unions in Venezuela (just as everywhere else) of any "left" leadership or influence by whatever means necessary.

http://forums.alternet.org/guest/motet?show+-ui13dz+-il... -

Michael Lind for instance traced their roots back to the right wing Shactmanite faction of the American Trotskyite movement who entered the Democratic Party in the 1960s and then split with the Left over the Vietnam War. Many members of this group continued their rightward itinerary by rallying to Senator Scoop Jackson’s campaign against the New Democrats. Some finished with the Democratic Leadership Council, while others found a home in the Reagan and now the Bush fils administrations. Other critics who promote an “Iran-Contra bis” scenario for the current flap over intelligence trace the group back to the policy cabal that had promoted the Contra war against the Sandinistas and who had lost their power and influence in the second Reagan Administration as a result of the Iran-Contra hearings of the late 1980s.
http://www.logosjournal.com/mason.htm
Let me point out, that another committee spawned from the same hellish cancer was the Balkan Action Committee which brought us step one of the PNAC wars, the one against Yugoslavia, and was staffed by the same neo-Cons. Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Abramowitz, Carlucci were all on its executive Committee.

They're pretty much the same. Both the same cancer, coming from the same place & destroying both parties.

If I were a Republican, I'd be pissed as hell at the Democrats from whom this stuff spawned. But as such I'm just a Progressive Democrat determined to keep that vermin out and toss out the ones they left behind warming their butts in my party. Lieberman, Feinstein, Kerry- ever wonder why they really went along with the war? It had nothing to do with being fooled! These wars were planned long ago with full complicity of the Democratic Leadership Council which firmly endorsed this war and has endorsed every scheme against the people that the Bush Administration has wanted.


Progressive Independent, LLC.
Home | Forums | Latest Threads | Multimedia | Reference | Links | Donate

About Progressive Independent || Contact Us || Privacy Policy

2008 The Year in Review (Movies)

There were several movies I saw in 2008 that I thought were quite good. One of the best would have to be Tyler Perry's "The Family That Preys" This poignant tale of a friendship that transcends time, race and greed showed that Perry can not only do comedy but he can do drama too. The performances by Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates were outstanding.
"Soul Men" gave us the final look at two legendary performers, the late Isaac Hayes and the late Bernie Mac. This film which, I believe to be loosely based on the lives of Sam Moore and David Prater (a.k.a. Sam & Dave) shows us another side of Samuel L. Jackson not previously seen.....the dancer.
Meryl Streep was convincing in the role of the determined nun fighting injustice against overwhelming odds in "Doubt" which deals with a very touchy subject that most people would rather avoid.....sexual advances on youth by people of authority within the church.
I was surprised that the late Heath Ledger was not given Oscar consideration for his role in "Batman: The Dark Knight" This was the first time that I've seen a villain so diabolical that he attacks not only his adversaries but his accomplices too. This is a stark contrast to Cesar Romero who played the role of the Joker on the Batman television series in the sixties.
My favorite movie of 2008 would have to be "Cadillac Records" primarily because it focuses on a era that I lived through and fondly remember. This was the music that my father and my uncle listened to. It's the music that I remember as a child. Chess Records had a roster that could rival Motown; Chuck Berry, Etta James, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, The Dells, The Moonglows, Ramsey Lewis, Fontella Bass, Billy Stewart, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Pigmeat Markham, Little Milton etc. The triumphant, yet tragic life of Leonard Chess left its mark on American popular music in the 50s and 60s at a time when Blues was making that transition to Rhythm and Blues. Although many critics downplayed Beyonce's portrayal of Etta James I felt she was quite good in the role of the young biracial singer with the famous white father who didn't want anything to do with her. Although he didn't have much screen time Mos Def was both believable and hilarious in the role of Chuck Berry. This was unquestionably one of the year's best.....especially if you lived through the era.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

2008 The Year In Review (Politics)

The Bush Administration will always be remembered for its campaign against terrorism. We must have heard the phrase "Weapons Of Mass Destruction" a million times or more. It appears as if we actually do have a problem with weapons of mass destruction, but it doesn't come from Iraq, it comes from right here in the good old USA. McDonald-Douglas and Boeing have created the most devastating weapons ever and most US citizens don't know anything about them. Illegal White phospherous bombs penetrate flesh straight to the bone. Water and Oxgyen only enhance the destruction of these merciless weapons which may be used by Israeli forces in Gaza due to the unusually high numbers of amputations reported. There are also deadly Tungsten weapons designed to kill huge numbers of people quickly. Polls indicate that a majority of the Israeli people do NOT approve of the carnage perpetrated by the Israeli government, but they are helpless in their attempts to stop it.
In 2008 we were able to see the bloodlust of our own government with the events of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo yet the Bush Administration points a finger at Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Our hypocrisy knows no bounds. Technological advances have been made in crowd control to the extent that massive demonstrations are no longer a concern for right wing elements within the state and Federal government who have perfected the art of crowd control. With the media barrage of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'reilly, Michelle Malkin and Anne Coulter the US viewing and listening public became overwhelmed with right wing rhetoric. Crucial events continue to remain unreported or underreported. Progressive outlets like "Air America" and "Pacifica" are drowned out by the far right. This resulted in millions of people being uninformed or misinformed. Many of us had to read the Observer or The Guardian to find out what was really happening in the US in 2008. Even after all of this I am still cautiously optimistic. I have nothing but goodwill towards the incoming President Barack Obama. I am glad I voted for him, but I am even happier that so many white people voted for him because it shows that for once "content" triumphed over "race". I did not vote for Obama because he is Black and I am Black. Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly and
J. Kenneth Blackwell are all political figures of my race. I have an intense dislike for all three of them and their ilk. I wouldn't vote for them to be dogcatchers. My original choice for president was a white man....Dennis Kucinich. When he dropped out of the race he advised his supporters to vote for Obama.
Barack Obama comes into to office with great expectation. At the same time we must be keep in mind that he is only human. No one man can undo the damage George Bush has done to this country. It will take decades to achieve that miracle, but I do believe we will see an end to the Iraq war by 2011 and I also believe (based on his own statements) that Barack Obama is committed to putting people back to work and protecting the middle class. I am not pleased with many of Mr. Obama's cabinent choices and I have to admit that besides Iraq, I really don't see much signicant "change" in foreign policy under an Obama administration. Let's face it, in the past three decades when it comes to foreign policy there's not a dime's worth
of difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. But when we look at the whole picture Barack Obama is a welcomed improvement from George W. Bush. William Rivers Pitt put it best when he accessed the George W. Bush reign of terror by telling Mr. Bush "Something like you must never again be allowed to happen to this country, and if we save ourselves by preventing you from ever happening again, your greatness is assured. You are the tallest of all possible warnings, and a promise all of us must solemnly and stalwartly keep. If we can damn you to the past, we will save our own future.

May you live forever, you son of a bitch."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2008 The Year In Review (Person of The Year) Barack Obama

Barack Obama is Person of the Year for the second consecutive year. He has surprised everyone by running a campaign centered around the issues and the people of the United States listened, making him the first African-American president in the history of the United States. After a rigorous campaign against Hillary Clinton the battle against John McCain was a cakewalk.
Mr. McCain continued to shoot himself in the foot by making statements like "The economy is fundamentally sound" and "I voted with George W. Bush 90% of the time." When McCain's campaign manager stated that the McCain camp would run on personality rather than the issues it sealed the doom of the G.O.P. In a quiet eloquent fashion Barack Obama told the US citizen that a vote for McCain would be a vote for the third term of George W. Bush, a president whose poll numbers are below 30% The media and the US public agreed that Obama had won all presidential debates. Mr. Obama appears to be just what the country needs. Someone genuinely concerned with the well being of ALL the people and someone who will make the rich pay their fair share of taxes.
When McCain tried to get the country to feel sorry for "Joe The Plumber" who would see part of his anticipated $250,000 salary being taxed all the Obama had to do was point out that "Joe The Plumber" wasn't even a plumber. He didn't even have a license. For the G.O.P the 2008 Presidential campaign was a perfect storm that sank them. If Barack Obama can put people back to work the same way that Franklin Roosevelt did in another turbulent era then next year, for a unprecented third time he could be chosen Person of The Year.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Freddie Hubbard ( 1938 - 2008 )

Jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard died of complications from a November 26, 2008 heart attack. Hubbard died on December 29, 2008. The Indianapolis Indiana native began his career with two other jazz standouts, Wes and Monk Montgomery. Freddie was part of a small cadre of jazz musicians who successfully recorded for Creed Taylor's CTI label. Many of these artists (George Benson, Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine, Eumir Deodato) recorded and performed with each other and gave jazz a new younger audience. After CTI folded Hubbard went on to Columbia where his album "Super Blue" which contained a stunning rendition of Ross Vanelli's "The Surest Things Can Change" actually cracked Billboard's top 200. It peaked at #131, which is very unusual for a jazz artist. Some critics were quick to unreasonably pounce on Hubbard for becoming "too commercial" In my opinion this was garbage. Hubbard, like any other musician was in the business to make money. This was his livelihood. No one could say that Freddie Hubbard compromised the music. Freddie Hubbard was one of my favorite trumpeters. I will always remember him for the tune "First Light"

2008 The Year In Review (Census)

Levi Stubbs Jr.(The Four Tops), Al Wilson, Paul Newman, Pervis Jackson (The Spinners), Freddie Hubbard, Odetta, Miriam Makeba, Eartha Kitt, Dock Ellis, Suzanne Pleshette, Heath Ledger, Roy Scheider, Norman Whitfield, Rudy Ray Moore, Sean Levert, Paul Davis, Eddy Arnold, Dick Martin, Jerry Wexler, Bo Diddley, Yves Saint Laurent, Cyd Charisse, Bernie Mac, George Carlin, Estelle Getty, Lou Teicher, Jerry Reed, Bill Melendez, Lloyd Thaxton, Studs Turkel, Michael Crichton, Dee Dee Warwick, Clive Barnes, Robert Prosky, Beverly Garland, Van Johnson, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Harold Pinter, Barry Morse

Eartha Kitt (1927 - 2008)

2008 does not end without the passing of yet another performing legend. Singer/Actress Eartha Kitt left us on December 25, 2008, the victim of colon cancer. The South Carolinian of biracial parentage defied the odds to become one of the most sought after icons in the industry. She co-starred with such legends as Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis Jr. and Orson Welles. Ms. Kitt (along with Julie Newmar)
popularized the role of catwoman on the 60's tv show Batman. As a singer Ms. Kitt
will be remembered for the songs "Love For Sale", "C'est Si Bon" and her biggest hit of all "Santa Baby". She spoke four languages fluently and was able to sing in seven.