Saturday, April 21, 2012

Being a proud liberal

By Richard K. Barry

I'm always surprised when I see Phyllis Schlafly's name pop up in a story. I associate her more with Goldwater-era Republicans or anti-Equal Rights Amendment conservatives of a time gone by. But she's still out there, still saying the kinds of things people like her have always said.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that she would make an appearance in light of the non-controversary generated by Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney's lack of experience with the financial pressures that many Americans feel raising a family.

Conservatives like Schlafly took this as an attack on women who choose to stay at home instead of what it was, a frank recognition that many women don't have a choice between working outside the home and being at home to raise their kids. They have to find a way to do both.

While it's universally recognized that Rosen could have found a different way to make her point, the main issue is still worth debating, which is the extent to which the Romney's can understand the kind of financial pressures most Americans feel.

Anyway, it wasn't my intention to go on about this. It's been widely covered. I only wanted to mention that, with this opening provided to Shlafly, she decided to get on her high horse to say that conservatives now have an opportunity to banish the word "feminist" just as, she claims, they were able to discredit the word "liberal" in modern political discourse.

It's a strange argument given that some conservative women are actually in the process of claiming for their own the word feminist instead of rejecting it, so I don't think the word is going anywhere.

As for the word "liberal," it is true that it has taken a beating going back at least as far as the 1988 Dukakis campaign. That fact is an irritant to those of us who proudly call ourselves liberal or even something further to the left on the political spectrum.

On this, I noticed that the terrific blog Simply Left Behind has a section on the banner of the site quoting the character Matt Santos from the West Wing, as he describes what the word liberal means to him. The quote is taken from a fictional presidential debate in which the Republican candidate is attempting to smear Santos, the Democrat, simply by calling him a liberal.

This is Santos' response:

Jimmy Smits as Matt Santos
Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things...every one! So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal,' as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.

It's a great quote. I remember watching the original when it aired. I wanted to stand up and cheer. It was amazing to me that a fictionalized account of the White House did a better job explaining the mission of the Democratic Party than the real people doing the job.

I'm not holding my breath that the word liberal will make a big comeback, but I wouldn't mind seeing it happen. Yet another rule in politics is that when you let the other guys define you, you're losing.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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My top 10 baseball movies

By Richard K. Barry

I happened to catch The Rookie the other night. It's a very sentimental baseball movie about a former minor league pitcher who is teaching high school, coaching the team there and then discovers he's developed a 98 mile-an-hour fastball, and makes it back to the big leagues at 38 years old. It's based on the true story of Jim Morris, who did in fact play for a couple of years with Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a relief pitcher.

The emphasis here is on "sentimental," so that should tell you what you need to know about my favourite baseball movies. It's not number one on my list, not really close, but it's up there.

Here's my top ten (if you are unfamiliar with any of them, follow the links):

1. Bull Durham
2. Field of Dreams
3. Eight Men Out
4. Bang the Drum Slowly
5. A League of Their Own
6. Pride of the Yankees
7. 61*
8. The Natural
9. The Rookie
10. Major League

As far as #1 goes, it's not even close for me. I love Bull Durham. A lot of people think the best part of the movie is "the speech" by Crash Davis about what he "believes in." My favourite is the very last scene when Davis returns from having played with another team other than the Bulls in order to break a minor league record. It's raining when he walks up to Annie's house to greet her and tell her that he's finished as a player. The cold rain, autumn in the air, the end a season, the end of one part of a person's life and the beginning of another - it's a great scene.

The only movie I really had a problem putting on the list is Major League because it's a pretty goofy movie and there are some older classics that probably belong, like Damn Yankees or The Stratton Story. What can I say, I like the film.

By the way, didn't love Money Ball. Didn't hate it. Didn't love it. And the Ken Burns documentary is great, but that doesn't fit the category. Now that I'm thinking about it, The Sandlot gets honourable mention.

That's my list.

Can't find the scene from Bull Durham I mentioned, so I'll post the "the speech" instead.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says he's undecided between Obama and Romney

By Richard K. Barry

Joe Manchin
, Democratic Senator from West Virginia, has locked horns with President Obama frequently. I get the fact that he has to maintain a respectful distance from the President in order to have any chance at re-election in his home state. He can do that on any number of issues, but when it comes to musing about voting for the Republican presidential nominee, that has to cross the line.

I understand that there are a lot of very conservative Democrats. They have a special name, Blue Dogs. There even used to be some liberal Republicans. For a while we called them things like Rockefeller Republicans, which meant they were fiscally conservative, and socially progressive. Of course, the GOP has purged their ranks of anyone who looks like that by now.

And I also understand that the Democrats want to hold onto the Senate in 2012 and have to put up with some shit in their ranks to try to make that happen. But actually saying, as a sitting Democratic Senator, that you could vote for the Republican nominee strikes me as too much.

Phil Ochs, at the height of the civil rights movement, had a song with a line, "Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of." Well, Senator Manchin, maybe you should find yourself another party to be part of.

Either political parties mean something or they don't. That ought to be non-negotiable.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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Your chance to have dinner with George and Barack

As a public service I just wanted people to know that if you donate any amount of money to the campaign to re-elect Barack Obama, you'll automatically be entered for a chance to be George Clooney's guest at a reception with the President.

The pitch goes like this:

George Clooney is doing his part to help re-elect the President, but he knows that it's grassroots supporters like you who will decide this election. Support the campaign with a donation, and throw your name in the hat today.

George is great. I'm a big fan. I'm not sure I'll be jumping at the chance to be his guest, but it sounds like fun. More fun is reading all the comments about "capitalist hating celebrities with all their money" and how "hypocritical they are to support Obama" that invariably accompany stories like this.

Trust me, you sanctimonious right-wing nut-jobs. I don't think a lot of wealthy Hollywood celebrities are opposed to capitalism. And I'm sure President Obama is a big fan of the capitalist system, much as that must confuse you in your simple, know-nothing "socialist vs. capitalist" view of the world.

At least this post gives me an opportunity to put up a big picture of George, which, for some reason, makes a lot of people happy.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry may run for President again in 2016

By Richard K. Barry

Rick Perry told a local CBS affiliate in Texas that he might be up for another attempt at the presidency in four years.

I don't know how good Perry's memory is (bad, as I recall), but he may want to review some of the tape - the game film, as it were. He may be reminded that he was a really bad candidate and that he got thumped in what was an historically weak Republican field. Dude, you got beat by Mitt Romney! Think that over.

I'll be shocked if the GOP ever puts up such a pathetic roster of contenders again.

Give it up, Rick. It's not there for you. Never going to be.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Jamie Moyer - the oldest pitcher to win a major league baseball game

By Richard K. Barry

At 49, Jamie Moyer becomes the oldest pitcher to notch a "W" in the bigs, doing it in a 5-3 victory by the Colorado Rockies over the San Diego Padres this past Tuesday.

Cooperstown has asked for some sort of memorabilia from Moyer to commemorate the event, so we know it's a big deal.

According to reports, the left-hander relied on a cutter the Padres couldn't get good wood on and a 78-mph fastball that "danced all over the place."

Good for Moyer and good for those of us who look back on 49 fondly.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he doesn't want to be VP

By Richard K. Barry

Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio told Major Garrett at the National Journal that he wasn't interested in being asked by Romney to be his running mate.

He did have a suggestion, though, which is that Romney consider Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

A lot of smart money is on Portman, as it should also be on former Minnesota Congressman Tim Pawlenty.

Romney isn't going to take any chances with his own game changer. The GOP will hope it can tough it out with a steady and boring team combined with voters continuing concerns about a weak economy.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Behind the Ad - Obama's first Spanish-language political ads

By Richard K. Barry

Who: The Obama/Biden Campaign

Where: Colorado, Nevada and Florida

What's going on: A short while after the Republican National Committee announced that it was going to do a push among Hispanic voters in six battleground states, the Obama campaign stepped up with its own effort featuring four new ads aimed at Hispanics, a key voting bloc in 2012.

According to Fox News Latino:

The four television spots each feature an Obama supporter talking about the president's education policies, including improving Head Start centers that serve over 362,000 Hispanic children and increasing funding for Pell Grants to help nearly 2 million Hispanic students pay for college.

No surprise that the Obama campaign indicated this is just the first in a series of Spanish-language ads.

Listen for President Obama saying at the end that he approves the message - in Spanish. Nice touch.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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John Boehner and Mitt Romney - made for each other

 By Richard K. Barry

On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was on CBS This Morning with his anti-Obama speaking points in tow. As Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog points out, Boehner was factually wrong on several counts.

Here is what Boehner had to say:

This election is going to be a referendum on the president's economic policies. They've not only not helped the economy, they've actually made it worse.  
When you look at his higher taxes, his refusal to deal with the debt, the regulatory regime here in Washington out of control, they've scared every businessperson and investor in America.

Here is Benen's response:

  • While Boehner talks about Obama's "higher taxes," Obama has actually cut taxes. 
  • While Boehner said Obama has refused to deal with the debt, Obama offered Boehner a $4 trillion debt-reduction plan that Republicans rejected. 
  • While Boehner frets over a "regulatory regime," Obama has actually created fewer regulations than his Republican predecessor.
And on the idea that Obama has made the economy "worse," Benen said this:
Look, Boehner is probably a busy guy, but it's not unreasonable to think he'd take some time to update his talking points from time to time. An economy that was shrinking when Obama took office is now growing, and an economy that was hemorrhaging jobs is now creating jobs. The Speaker thinks the administration has "scared every businessperson and investor in America," but corporate profits are up and the stock market has soared over the last three years
Mitt Romney, the man Boehner has endorsed, has acknowledged several times that the economy has improved since Obama became president, and members of Boehner's own far-right caucus agree (they want credit for the progress).

Now that Boehner has formally endorsed Romney, it appears he's also fully on-side with Mitt's approach to campaigning. Say anything. Ignore the facts. Hope no one notices.

It got Romney the nomination. Let's hope it doesn't get him the White House.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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The Day The Music Died

By Carl
What to say about Dick Clark that hasn't been echoed and amplified over the past 60 years.
If The Ed Sullivan Show was the major leagues of rock and roll, then Dick Clark's American Bandstand was the entry draft. And in many ways, his was the better show for musicphiles.
Not that his taste was perfect: in 1963, he was offered the American rights to The Beatles' music and turned it down, saying they'd never amount to much. In case you were wondering why the Beatles never appeared on AB except in videos and a solitary taped telephone interview, that's why. Heck, even She Loves You scored badly on his segment Rate-A-Record, but it was undanceable, to be sure.  
But the list of acts that did appear on Bandstand is pretty impressive (Public Image, Ltd????) For many, it was the first national exposure (I hesitate to say that just after mentioning PiL.)
Clark's influence spread well beyond music, too, with his game and bloopers shows, both of which spawned an entire subset of entertainment programming that had laid dormant for years.
For me, Clark "died" when he had his stroke in 2004. His subsequent appearances-- particularly at New Year's Eve-- took great courage, but ultimately it only served to point up his former preternaturally youthful appearance and in many ways, parody it. He probably should have been one-and-done with that show, and retired gracefully.
Still, 60-odd years is a long time to stick around and still be relevant and he managed to pull it off. Godspeed, Dick.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Andrew Love of the Memphis Horns (1941-2012)

Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson
By Richard K. Barry

I don't know if this is morbid, but part of my daily routine is to read the New York Times obituaries. I've been doing it for years. I'd like to think I am simply fascinated by the lives people have lived. Not that everyone's life isn't special, but some people manage to spend their time if not wisely at least interestingly.

I noticed this week that Andrew Love died. He was part of a music group called the Memphis Horns. Originally they were a sextet but gradually became a duo with Wayne Jackson on trumpet and Love on tenor sax.

As the entry says, they were "an American horn section made famous by their many appearances on Stax Records." They have been called "arguably the greatest soul horn section ever."

They appeared on very nearly every recording for Stax that required a horn section, which meant working with Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Sam and Dave and many others.

According to the Times:

The Memphis Horns helped shape classic records like Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Al Green’s "Let's Stay Together" and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.” They backed up Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, the Doobie Brothers, Joe Cocker, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Gabriel, U2, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, B. B. King and Robert Cray.

As a musician of sorts, the most interesting part of the obit for me was this:

They worked out their arrangements spontaneously. After listening to a few bars of a recording, Mr. Love might “hear” a saxophone lick, and Mr. Jackson might “hear” a trumpet lick, Mr. Love told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis in 1996. They would devise lines on the spot and hum them to each other, then practice them briefly and record their parts twice, effectively doubling the instruments. The third time through, Mr. Jackson would add a part on trombone.

Yeah, working musicians, mostly in the background, making everything and everyone sound better.

In 2008, the Memphis Horns were inducted into the Musicians' Hall of Fame. In 2012, they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding artistic significance in music.

Mr. Love was 70 years old and died from complication of Alzheimer's disease, according to his wife, Willie.

Here's the Memphis Horns backing up Robert Cray, sounding just like a horn section should sound.

( Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Eli Manning to host Saturday Night Live

Eli Manning
By Richard K. Barry

Mark this date on your calendar: May 5, New York Giants Super Bowl champion quarterback Eli Manning will be hosting Saturday Night Live. Apparently, he was offered the gig four years ago, the last time the Giants won the Super Bowl, but he wasn't interested. It might have been because brother Peyton did the show the year before (2007) and pretty much knocked it out of the park (sorry for the baseball metaphor).

But this time around Eli is going to do it.

The fact is that you can't really compare Eli's personality to Peyton's. Peyton seems to have been blessed with a lot of the family extraversion and all that. In fact, Archie, family patriarch, is trying to manage expectations a little bit, telling USA Today:

"I noticed they were already tearing him (in the news media) a little bit about it because of his (perceived lack of) personality ... that he won't do as well as Peyton. I don't think of it as a competition. 
"He told me he was going to do it and I said, 'Good, I'll be there.' As a parent, I don't look at it like, 'Will he be better than (New York Yankees shortstop) Derek Jeter?' It's an honor.''

Absolutely, it's an honour. It's what you get when you excel at your chosen profession on one of the biggest stages in the world.

He'll be fine. But even in this brief promo clip from 2007 we can see what Eli is up against, not that it's a competition.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Photo of the day - Herman Cain's 15 minutes are long over

I know I shouldn't continue to pick on Herman Cain, failed GOP presidential candidate, but I can't help myself. He's just such an idiot.

As David Weigel reported yesterday at Slate, Cain gave a rally in Washington and nobody came - almost nobody. Weigel writes:

Signing up for Herman Cain's "Revolution on the Hill" was easy. There were ads at the top of plenty of conservative news sites. The registration for three events -- a Sunday reception, Monday morning seminar, and Monday afternoon rally -- was free, and included a boxed lunch. Cainiacs had a full hour to get between the Virginia hotel where the seminar would be held and the Capitol lawn where they'd listen to speeches and music. Six free buses were available to move them. 
Only 283 people signed up for the indoor seminars, and only 620 signed up for the rally. By my count, less than half of the first number honored their Eventbrite pledges; only a little more than one-third of the rally-goers actually showed up.

Above is a picture taken at the start of the rally. Some revolution.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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Tim Tebow gets booed at Yankee Stadium (for sitting in the stands)

I have nothing against Tim Tebow. I'm not much for the God stuff myself, but it's a free country and he can do whatever he wants, including take a knee every time he impresses himself. Who am I to criticize?

I will say that I don't think Tebow is an NFL-level quarterback, though he might excel at another position if given the chance. Tight end, maybe.

I have to say that the joke is on me, though, because I wrote about how good it would be if Peyton Manning were to come to the New York Jets. Instead, Manning's move to the Denver Broncos made possible the Tebow trade to the Jets. That wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

It's probably good that Tebow got booed in New York, so he can get used to the distinctive sound of Big Apple raspberries, which is what he's going to hear every time he tries to throw the ball - rarely a good thing when it happens.

Yes, Tim was attending a Yankees game along with Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade as the Yankees took on the Angels, sitting in the stands, minding his own business. He was even wearing a Yankee cap and they booed him anyway. And, of course, he just smiled.

Nice kid. New York will eat him alive. 

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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Behind the Ad - Obama's third fact-check video on Romney

By Richard K. Barry

Who: The Obama/Biden Campaign

Where: Nationally

What's going on: The Obama/Biden campaign team have, in my estimation, hit on a great approach by simply comparing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's words to the facts. After his recent speech to the NRA, they put this ad together, the third in a series, designed to ensure that Romney won't just be able to make up shit, which seems to be his general approach.

I know a lot of people are cynical about politics, and simply assume that politicians will frequently bend the truth. But Romney takes that to a whole different level so it will be important to compare his words to reality as often as possible.

I don't know how effective theses ads will  be. One thing that is often said in politics is that negative characterizations of one's opponent only stick if a lot of people are predisposed to believe them, i.e., if a pattern has been established. I would say that a lot of people are predisposed to believe that Mitt Romney is unusually dishonest.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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Obama's Hypocratic Oath

By Carl

Obama turned his call for middle-income tax breaks into law within a month of taking office, incorporating a $400-a-person tax credit for workers into the 2009 stimulus law. In late 2010, with the economy still weak and Republicans gaining political clout, Obama agreed to an $858 billion tax cut that extended all of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for two years.

"The tax policy has been substantially in the conservative direction whereas the rhetoric has gone in the exact opposite direction," said Don Susswein, a tax aide to former Republican Senator Bob Dole who said he supported Obama in 2008.

[...] "The tax system is not hugely different from what it was in 2008," said Leonard Burman, a professor at Syracuse University in New York who worked in the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton. "The tax system is still too complicated, still unfair and still doesn't raise enough money to pay for the government."

The recession and Obama's tax cuts pushed federal revenue as a share of the economy to a 60-year low. Income tax rates haven't changed. The estate tax affects fewer people and at a lower rate than when Obama took office. Workers' payroll taxes were reduced during 2011 and 2012.

Many of the major tax provisions of the 2010 health law haven't taken effect. Tax credits to help people purchase health insurance begin in 2014 and tax increases on the wages and investment income of the highest earners start in 2013.

In fact, once Obama allows the Bush tax cuts to expire...and he will...the budget deficit miraculously becomes a fraction of what it was, even with healthcare reform. We'll have a fairer tax system, more revenue for the government to pay its bills and service the existing debt, and after Afghanistan concludes, we could conceivably run a surplus, something Bush never did even though he cheated by running two wars "off the books," a stunt Obama has been forthright enough not to try to pull.

Indeed, all we need is a little economic growth that provides jobs for the middle class again, and particularly our young. Employment levels for the 18-24 age group in America is about 54%, the lowest it has ever been, lower even than during the Vietnam era draft. College attendance probably accounts for another 5%, so the total percentage of our first time working pool that are currently un- or underemployed is about 40%.

And then people wonder why Occupy Wall Street is so pervasive and so angry.

(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Dick Cheney should know disaster when he sees it

Fox News reported recently that former Vice President Dick Cheney, just two weeks after undergoing a heart transplant, has plunged back into political theatre, praising presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney while slamming President Obama as an 'unmitigated disaster."

I suppose that must mean that Romney will be running on the record of the most recent Republican administration. What do you think, Dick? Do you think that's true? Or do you think it more likely he will do what every other GOP hopeful has been doing since the nomination process began, avoid mentioning your former boss and yourself like you're some sort of political disease?

The facts are a bitch, eh Dick?

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Talk About Body Men!

By Carl
Well, no surprise here. I bet Bush's White House hired most of these clowns:

President Barack Obama came to Colombia seeking to erase an image of the U.S. in Latin America as overassertive Yankees who exploit the region at will. He left with the stereotype reinforced.

The sixth Summit of the Americas that concluded yesterday in the Caribbean city of Cartagena was supposed to focus on trade in the Western Hemisphere. Instead, 11 U.S. Secret Service agents became the center of attention after they were sent home for allegations of misconduct involving a prostitute.

The agents’ behavior was an embarrassment for Obama, obscuring what should have been an opportunity to trumpet a free-trade agreement with host Colombia and expanding trade to fast-growing economies like Brazil, said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas in Washington. Leaders from Latin America also took aim at Obama for the U.S.’s refusal to invite Cuba to the next such regional gathering.

Way to fuck up foreign policy, asshats!

An already-tempestuous meeting-- personified by the absence of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (nominally for cancer treatments, but also because Raul Castro was not invited), Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa (also in support of Castro), Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega (yes, he's back), and the early departure of Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, humiliated by the lack of support for her appeal on a referendum asking Great Britain to return the Falkland Islands-- could have turned into a modified success with some of the work Obama did with Colombia and Brazil. 

But no. 

Indeed, that a US President could go to Cartagena with civilian protection instead at the head of an armed military incursion force speaks volumes about the progress the United States has made in the region, particularly Obama, trying to persuade South Americans that we aren't just about exploiting their resources and leaving a mess behind. 

Mind you, none of this rumoured mess happened with the agents on duty while President Obama was in the country insofar as anyone knows. The scandal occured prior to his arrival and involved members of his advance team.

A side note about the Falklands issue: I happened to watch The Iron Lady over the weekend and of course, the Falklands War took stage as an attempt to highlight Margaret Thatcher's iron will.
According to the film, her own advisors suggested letting the islands go: it was costly to defend them-- Thatcher herself had scaled down British defense forces on the islands out of budgetary concerns-- and they were so very far away.
It's rather surprising that cooler heads haven't prevailed in the decades since. They really ought to be returned to Argentina. Occupying them might have made sense in the days of a British empire as a staging ground for Africa, but now? They're rather supercilious as a possession.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

This day in history - Jackie Robinson breaks the colour barrier in Major League Baseball

Not much needs to be said about this. On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson made his debut at Ebbets Field, breaking the colour barrier in Major League Baseball. It was before a crowd of 26,623, including more than 14,000 black patrons.

The challenges faced by Robinson are well documented, as is his success.
Robinson finished the season having played in 151 games for the Dodgers, with a batting average of .297, an on-base percentage of .383, and a .427 slugging percentage. He had 175 hits (scoring 125 runs) including 31 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs, driving in 48 runs for the year. Robinson led the league in sacrifice hits, with 28, and in stolen bases, with 29. His cumulative performance earned him the inaugural Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award (separate National and American League Rookie of the Year honors were not awarded until 1949).

According to a poll conducted in 1947, Robinson was the second most popular man in the country, behind Bing Crosby. In 1999, he was named by Time on its list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Also in 1999, he ranked number 44 on the Sporting News list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team as the top vote-getter among second basemen.

Still, it's good to remind ourselves that 1947 is not that long ago, just in case anyone was inclined to be overly smug about how far things have come.

I often think it's unlikely anyone would not have seen classic footage like Robinson stealing home against the Yankees. But sometimes people, maybe younger people, haven't had the opportunity. No harm done to show it again.

Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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From My Collection - Dave Mason's Let It Flow

By Richard K. Barry

Let It Flow is a 1977 album by Dave Mason, English singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Some time ago I posted Joe Cocker doing a Mason composition, "Feelin' Alright," originally recorded by Traffic, which I would have to guess is Mason's best known song. In fact, Mason co-founded Traffic.

Let it Flow is Mason's best-selling and best-known album, containing, as it does, the hit "We Just Disagree," which I certainly rate as one of the best break-up songs of all time. It's a real "cry-in-your-beer" tune.

As one reviewer of the album put it:
It's a pinnacle of creamy-smooth, ultra-slick California soft rock on a par with the collected works of Linda Ronstadt. 
There's nothing here that rocks even as hard as his boogie classic "Feelin' Alright" from his days with Traffic, but that's no bad thing. Hear "Let it Flow" and know the meaning of mellow.

All true, but sometimes mellow is okay and there are some really great tunes on this album.

Side One:
So High (Rock Me Baby, Roll Me Away) - (M. Williams, J. Conrad)
We Just Disagree (J. Krueger)
Mystic Traveller (D. Mason)
Spend Your Life With Me (A. Gagliano)
Takin' The Time To Find (D. Mason)

Side Two:
Let It Go, Let It Flow (Dave Mason)
Then It's Alright (D. Mason)
Seasons (A. Gagliano)
We Just Have To Wait Now (D. Mason)
What Do We Got Here? (J. Krueger)

Another reviewer had this to say:

Let It Flow was the biggest selling album that Dave Mason had while on Columbia, as it contained his biggest hit, "We Just Disagree," as well as "Let It Go, Let It Flow." Everything here is similar in character to the latter song, though not all of it is as catchy or hook-driven. And there is a great deal else to recommend this record, including the horn-and-string ornamented "Mystic Traveler"; the soaring, soulful "Spend Your Life with Me"; the funky "Takin' the Time to Find"; and the soulful "What Do We Got Here?"

As I listen to the album again I recognize that it's definitely a period piece, though a good period for me. I remember it fondly.

Here's the biggest hit from Let it Flow, "We Just Disagree." It was written by Jim Krueger, was the second single released from the album, and reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977.

If the song sounds more recent than that to you, it may be because it was later covered in 1993 by country singer Billy Dean. It was released in November 1993 as the fourth and final single from his album Fire in the Dark and was a Top Ten hit on the country music charts, peaking at #9.

Here are both versions.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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