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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Flop Singles

What's your all-time favorite?   The Kinks had a bunch in late-60s, here's the greatest (along with "Days").  Below that, a Dylan single shortly after "Like a Rolling Stone" that I bought--and few others did.  Here done by Mr. Hendrix.

Annie Lennox Slams Beyonce's 'Twerking' Feminism

In interview, one legendary singer, long known for feminist views and activism, critiques another who claims maybe a different form of feminism.  Last month Annie Lennox called Beyonce's type "feminism lite"--and now, specifically hitting her highly-sexualized and booty-exposing performances (over and over)  says "twerking is not feminism.  That's what I'm referring to. It's not—it's not liberating, it's not empowering. It's a sexual thing that you're doing on a stage; it doesn't empower you. That's my feeling about it.""
The reason why I've commented is because I think that this overt sexuality thrust—literally—at particular audiences, when very often performers have a very, very young audience, like 7 years older, I find it disturbing and I think its exploitative. It's troubling. I'm coming from a perspective of a woman that's had children.
In the previous interview she said referring to the trend beyond Beyonce:
I see a lot of it as them taking the word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don't think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism - no, I don't. I think for many it's very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it. I have issues with it. Of course I do. I think it's a cheap shot. I think what they do with it is cheap and ... yeah. What can I tell you? Sex always sell. And there's nothing wrong with sex selling, but it depends on your audience. If they're 7-year-old kids, I have issues with it. 

Gunfire in Ottawa

Here's brief new vid from Globe and Mail  showing intense gunfire inside Parliament building today.  Police now say 2 or 3 gunmen, still in lockdown, one soldier shot.

My Photo Blog

Haven't posted link for awhile, so here you go. Check back for daily additions.

When Brown Was the New Black

50 years ago this month, the fabled T.A.M.I. show produced conflict when James Brown objected to the Stones closing the show.  Mick has been interviewed this month around his new James Brown doc that he's co-produced and he claims he smoothed things over with King James before the show.  Hut! Good God! Here's Brown's set and then the Stones (including of the greatest rock n roll songs ever, Bobby Womack's "It's All Over Now").  The recent Brown bio-pic from Hollywood had him coming off stage and saying to the Stones, "Welcome to America, boys." Mick denies he said that. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

15 Hits, No Errors?

My son, the hotshot young maker of game trailers for top companies, with latest teaser for upcoming hot game--with baseball theme to mark World Series.   First Person Batter?

Shearer Genius

First episode of Harry's Nixon "tribute" up today at YouTube.  I posted the preview awhile back.  My own acclaimed "Tricky Dick" book here.

Jill Feels Ill Over Ebola Coverage

I'm not a big Jill Abramson fan but I'm happy to link to her here as the former NYT editor uses the exact word I used earlier this week to describe media scare mongering over the Ebola un-crisis: "disgraceful."
Jill Abramson: It’s been, I think, disgraceful in many respects. I have to roll my eyes when, like today, I’m reading all these stories about “the panic.” Well, who helped cause the panic? I mean, please!
David Carr: When you say that, are you saying there is an overreaction, or there should be an overreaction?
JA: No, there is an overreaction.
DC: But people are scared.
JA: People are scared in part because of the ceaseless, ominous cable and other coverage, which stokes their fears. Two people are sick and one person has died. That’s what’s happened – in the United States. Obviously I’m not talking about coverage of the disease in West Africa. ….I’m talking about the coverage about, IT’S COMING HERE!

Kubrick's First Film

A 15-minute short on boxer...Shot, directed, edited. 


Guac's Up, Doc

Just coming across this amazing video from a year ago.  I love the extra touch at end--the poker chip/nacho chip breaks in half as he dips...

'So Wrong' Again?

New relevance, perhaps, for my book on how Bush--and the media--got us into Iraq and kept us there (for years), "So Wrong for So Long."  Preface by Bruce Springsteen.

The First Attack Ads on the Screen: Courtesy Irving Thalberg!

The election season uproar over negative campaign ads return this month for sure.  But it may surprise most people to learn that the first attack ads on the screen date back well before TVs were in any homes.  Yes, it happened in 1934,  with faux newsreels produced by MGM's saintly Irving Thalberg to defeat the Democratic nominee for governor of California--none other than ex-socialist writer Upton Sinclair (who swept the Democratic primary on August 28 leading one of the great mass movements,  End Poverty in California).

The leftwing Sinclair threat inspired GOPers and business interests to invent the modern political campaign as we know it today--run by a new breed of "campaign consultant" and advertising experts and with all sorts of dirty tricks and creative national fundraising.   It's all detailed in my award-winning Random House book (and now ebook) "The Campaign of the Century" and you can watch some of the Thalberg newsreels in video below:

When JFK Backed Nixon Against a Famous (Female) Democrat

Sixty-four years ago this summer, a young congressman, who needed no introduction or invitation, visited the Capitol Hill office of another young representative in Washington, DC. Like Richard Nixon of California, John F. Kennedy had come to Congress three and a half years earlier and had served on the Education and Labor Committee. Their offices were not far apart in the back of the House Office Building, an area known as the attic, and they maintained cordial relations.

Each recognized that the other was a hot prospect in his party. Though both were ex-Navy men (the sinking of Kennedy’s PT boat in 1943 had occurred not far from where Nixon was stationed in the South Pacific), the two had little of substance in common socially or culturally. Nixon both envied and resented Kennedy’s wealth and connections.

Politically, however, they were not continents apart. They agreed, for example, on the threat of communism. Kennedy had voted to continue funding the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and favored the latest version of the Mundt-Nixon internal-security bill. Like Nixon, he strongly hinted that Truman’s policy of vacillation had led to “losing” China and inviting Communist advances in Korea. He favored aid to Franco’s Spain and vast increases in the Pentagon budget.
Both congressmen felt that organized labor had grown too powerful. Earlier that year, upon receiving an honorary degree at Notre Dame, Kennedy had warned of the “ever expanding power of the Federal government” and “putting all major problems” into the all-absorbing hands of the great Leviathan the state. Each man craved higher office, but Nixon’s ambition burned even brighter than Kennedy’s, if that was possible.

Like Nixon, Kennedy had ambivalent feelings about Joseph McCarthy. His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, the former ambassador to Great Britain, had placed him in a difficult position by striking up a close relationship with the Roman Catholic senator from Wisconsin. Always more conservative than his son, Joe Kennedy had turned rabidly anti-Communist, donating money to McCarthy for his investigations and introducing the senator to such friends as Francis Cardinal Spellman. Shortly after the California primary, McCarthy flew to Cape Cod for a weekend at the Kennedy compound. Jack Kennedy knew McCarthy well; his sister Pat even dated him. Jack liked Joe personally but distrusted him politically.

On his visit to Nixon’s office, Kennedy presented his colleague with a personal check from his father for $1,000. It was for Nixon’s campaign to defeat Kennedy’s fellow Democratic congressmember Helen Gahagan Douglas of Los Angeles (a former stage and film actress, now strong liberal activist), in a closely watched US Senate contest in California. Nixon and Douglas had recently easily won their June primaries out there and the race was then considered a toss-up.

A former movie executive, Joseph Kennedy was no stranger to California politics, and despised the brand of liberal activism embraced by Hollywood actors and writers. He had no use for Helen Douglas and a great deal of adiniration for Richard Nixon. “Dick, I know you’re in for a pretty rough campaign,” Kennedy observed, “and my father wanted to help out.” But what did the young Kennedy think? “I obviously can’t endorse you,” he explained, “but it isn’t going to break my heart if you can turn the Senate’s loss [that is, Helen Douglas] into Hollywood’s gain.”
Describing the visit to friend and aide Pat Hillings, Nixon exclaimed, “Isn’t this something?”

It is uncertain whether this gift marked the elder Kennedy’s only contribution to the Nixon cause. Nixon aide Bill Arnold deposited the one thousand-dollar check into the campaign account, but neither it nor any further Joseph P. Kennedy donation would be listed in financial records of the campaign. These records show, however—as I discovered in researching my book on the campaign, Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady—that another of Joe’s sons, Robert F. Kennedy, then attending law school at the University of Virginia, contributed an unspecified sum.

Decades later, in his memoirs, longtime Massachusetts congressman Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill claimed that Joe Kennedy once told him that he had contributed $150,000 to Nixon’s campaign in 1950, “because he believed she [Douglas] was a Communist.” In the same conversation, Kennedy reportedly said he donated nearly the same amount not much earlier to George Smathers’s crusade to defeat Claude Pepper in a notorious Florida race for the Senate.

Speaking to a group of students at Harvard three days after the election that autumn, Congressman Kennedy remarked that he was “personally very happy” that Nixon had defeated Helen Douglas. He reportedly explained that Douglas was “not the sort of person I like working with on committees,” but he did not make clear whether this was because of her manner, her politics, or her gender. On November 14, Kennedy wrote his friend Paul Fay, “I was glad to…see Nixon win by a big vote,” and he predicted that the winner would go far in national GOP politics, for he was “an outstanding guy.”

In 1956, on a visit to California—and looking ahead to a presidential race—Senator John F. Kennedy admitted to Paul Ziffren, now one of the state’s Democratic leaders, that he had supported Nixon in the 1950 race. He apparently wanted to “come clean” and “clear the decks,” according to Ziffren’s wife, Mickey.

Then, in 1960, Helen Douglas went to Wisconsin to campaign in the presidential primary on behalf of Hubert Humphrey (who had stumped for her in 1950). He was facing John F. Kennedy. That fall, Kennedy’s opponent was Richard Nixon, and Douglas felt compelled to endorse the Democrat. Kennedy again admitted that he had supported Nixon against Douglas, calling it “the biggest damnfool mistake I ever made.”

Greg Mitchell’s Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady was recently published in a new print edition and for the first time as an ebook.  His other books on great American campaigns include "Why Obama Won" and "The Campaign of the Century" (Upton Sinclair's EPIC race). 

Monday, October 20, 2014

John Lennon With Cosell

Monday Night Football, 40 years ago.  Scrum me to you.

Lost in Translation

John Oliver's HBO thing last night.  And below that he has posted video of Supreme Court animals and suggested you use and provide your own dialogue.

'NYT' Fans Panic, Then Criticizes It

The NYT, after fanning outsized Ebola fears all month, comes out today with a piece bemoaning the panic caused by such a focus from nearly all of what we used to call the MSM.   Oh, by the way, did you note that the 21-day quarantine period has passed in Texas and not a single new Ebola case has turned up?   Yes, the Times has included in many of its stories level-headed information that might reduce panic--but then fan the flames by carrying one story after another, usually at or near the top of its site or front page. 

From today's Times:
In the month since a Liberian man infected with Ebola traveled to Dallas, where he later died, the nation has marinated in a murky soup of understandable concern, wild misinformation, political opportunism and garden-variety panic.
Within the escalating debate over how to manage potential threats to public health — muddled by what is widely viewed as a bungled effort by government officials and the Dallas hospital that managed the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States — the line between vigilance and hysteria can be as blurry as the edges of a watercolor painting.
A crowd of parents last week pulled their children out of a Mississippi middle school after learning that its principal had traveled to Zambia, an African nation untouched by the disease....
Also last week, a teacher at an elementary school in Strong, Me., was placed on a 21-day paid leave when parents told the school board that they were worried he had been exposed to Ebola during a trip to Dallas for an educational conference.
Now where would they get that idea?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Night Music Pick

It's Richard Thompson--fine songwriter and singer (and funnyman) and one of greatest guitarists ever--with one of his best, "When the Spell Is Broken." First, live and electric (from years ago), then acoustic (very recently).  Bonus:  go here for song with ex-wife Linda.

Fake Punt (Return)

Ever done before in the pros?  Rams today set up punt return on one side of field, Seahawks fall for it, Rams guy catches on other side and dashes to TD.  Pete Carroll protested, to no avail.  Read about it and see more. Wild:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

THE Saturday Night Song

Hung out on a couple such nights with Tom 35 years ago, and he's still lookin' for the heart of Saturday night. 

Here's to You, Ms. Robinson

Bill Moyers this week with full show with rarely interviewed at length Marilynne Robinson, the great novelist (who has a new one).  Full transcript here.