Civility?! But rhetoric had nothing to do with Arizona! Wingnuts following their Paul Wellstone script. Way to look petty and small, there, Quitter. The wages of fiscal conservatism. But...but...it snowed in New York last month. Teabaggers: still not[...]
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With 99% of precincts reporting, John Caldwell, Mike Tagert, and Warner McBride are separated by 677 votes in the race for Northern District Transportation Commissioner. With only 390 votes separating McBride and Tagert, McBride?s team is pledging to keep working until all votes are counted.
In reviewing the AP?s numbers, one figure stands out?7,603. That?s how many more votes Democrats got in this election than Republicans. Caldwell and Tagert pulled in 21,033 collectively while McBride, Grisham, Hood, and Minor garnered 28,636. (You?ll note that we excluded perennial candidate Larry Lee from this tally.) This number is significant considering the Northern District encompasses the first congressional district plus parts of the second and third.
There doesn?t seem to be a rush to fill the vacancy left by Senator Johnnie Walls (D-Greenville) who was elected Circuit Court Judge for the 11th District in 2010. Walls who had served in the Mississippi Senate since 1993, resigned from the Senate on January 3.
State law gives the Governor 30 days to call a legislative special election to fill a vacancy. After that, the Governor must give 40 days notice of the election date.
If an election isn?t set quickly, there is a very good chance that thousands of Mississippians in Washington and Bolivar counties will go without a state senator for the 2011 legislative session. After all, the 2011 session's already off and running.
Esquire Politics Blog: Political violence in America always has been a matter of great convenience to the people who actually own the country. They don't have to inspire it, or finance it. They can even deplore it. All they really have to do is control the reaction to it.
War Is A Crime: Who is in Gitmo now
Prose Before Hos: The police are not your friend
A truly memorable speech:
During an interview on MSNBC's Hardball, Media Matters President and CEO David Brock accused Glenn Beck of being "responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year." Indeed, in each of the three examples Brock cited -- Gregory Giusti, Charles Wilson, and Byron Williams -- the incendiary and often violent rhetoric spewed by the Fox News host and elsewhere on the network was said to be a motivating factor, if not the inspiring factor, in the men's actions.
David Brock: "Glenn Beck Himself Has Been Responsible For Three Thwarted Assassination Attempts This Year." On January 12, Brock appeared on Hardball to discuss whether the violent rhetoric on cable news shows may have led to the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). During the exchange with host Chris Matthews, Brock alleged that "Glenn Beck himself has been responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year":
MATTHEWS: I think we used to say, maybe back in the Churchillian age, your voice was your power, your ability to speak up. That's certainly Norman Rockwell's notion, the man, you know -- the standing up at a meeting, at a public meeting and saying, "Here's what I believe." But, now, it's standing up with your arms, standing up with your ammo, your gun sites, your bull's eye.
Why do you have -- this is a problem I have with the tea party. Why so many guns at these events? Why constantly referring to guns? What is it? Is it a throwback to the revolutionary age? They think they're in an armed revolution?
BROCK: Right. What does the tea party moniker stand for? Armed rebellion, right? This has been a theme of the Republican candidates and of Sarah Palin all year.
MATTHEWS: Excuse me. History lesson: The Boston tea party was a nonviolent economic statement against the Stamp Act, I believe. They threw the tea in the water. No guns.
BROCK: That's right.
MATTHEWS: They dressed up like Indians. It was a demonstration. It was street theater, OK? No guns.
BROCK: But this is not street theater, as you know. I mean, Glenn Beck himself has been responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year, and Sarah Palin hasn't condemned that.
MATTHEWS: How is he responsible for them?
BROCK: Well, you want to know what they are?
MATTHEWS: You said it.
BROCK: Yeah, sure. So, he burned Nancy Pelosi in effigy on his set. He tried to poison her with a chalice, OK? Some weeks later, somebody tried to firebomb Nancy Pelosi's house. That guy's mother went on television and said he gets all of his ideas from Fox News. Do you know about Senator Patty Murray and the death threat that she got?
MATTHEWS: No, go ahead.
BROCK: OK. It's recorded -- the guy says after the health care vote. He says you have a target on your back and I can accomplish what I want to accomplish with one bullet. Now he's tried, convicted, and in the sentencing phase, his cousin writes in for leniency, and she describes in a very chilling memo -- it's on our website -- that he was slowly drawn into Glenn Beck's world. And she portrays the guy, the attempted assassin, Charlie Wilson, as a victim of Beck.
And number three, which you probably do know about, this liberal foundation in San Francisco was targeted by a gunman, Byron Williams, in June. The shooter gave jailhouse interviews, and we published them, and he says Glenn Beck is this schoolteacher on television and points to specific episodes of the Glenn Beck show that inspired him do it. [MSNBC, Hardball with Chris Matthews, 1/12/11]
On July 18, 2010, Byron Williams was stopped by California Highway Patrol and engaged in a shootout with law enforcement. He later said he was on his way to murder individuals at the Tides Foundation and ACLU.
Williams Wanted To "Start A Revolution" By "Killing People Of Importance At The Tides Foundation." On July 18, 2010, Byron Williams, a convicted felon, engaged in a shootout with police after being pulled over on I-580 in California. Williams was heavily armed, wearing body armor and wielding "a 9mm handgun, a .308-caliber rifle and a shotgun." After being taken into custody, Williams reportedly told investigators that "his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU." [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/21/10]
Williams' Mother: Son "Was Upset" With "The Way Congress Was Railroading Through All These Left-Wing Agenda Items." The San Francisco Chronicle further reported that Williams' mother, Janice Williams, described her son as "angry at left-wing politicians" and at "what's happening to our country." The Chronicle further reported: "Williams watched the news on television and was upset by 'the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items,' his mother said." [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/19/10]
Williams: "The Things" Beck Exposed "Blew My Mind." During an interview with reporter John Hamilton after his arrest, Williams said: "I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind. I said, well, nobody does this." Williams continued: "You need to go back to June -- June of this year, 2010 -- and look at all his programs from June. And you'll see he's been breaking open some of the most hideous corruption. ... A year ago, I was watching him, and it was OK, he was all right, you know? ... But now he's getting it." [Media Matters, 10/11/10]
Williams Was Driven By Belief In Conspiracy Theories That Have Been Pushed By Beck. Hamilton wrote that in one letter to him, Williams "repeatedly cites Beck when discussing the Soros-Obama-Petrobras story and insists I check out Beck's 'June' shows." Hamilton continued:
In his letter to me, Byron writes: "I have been praying for a media advocate; one, to make people aware of why I'm in here (public opinion could help me), and two, to make people realize that corrupt killers are in power, and want re-election! I was also fearful that this issue would be 'burried.' "
Byron writes, "You want to know about Soros and Tides, yes, Glenn Beck is doing very well uncovering his wickedness, check his 'June' programs for 'Petrobraz', also look into 'DiscoverTheNetworks.com.' "
Byron also writes that "very good information regarding 'Petrobraz' can be found in Glenn Beck's 'June' shows, where he accurately covered the Obama-Soros-Petrobraz-Chicago (Crime Inc.) connections for several days. It's all true."
Byron adds that he "found allusions to the Horizon disaster as a 'false-flag' operation in Alex Jones 'Info.Wars.com' and 'PrisonPlanet.com.' "
"Think like a conspiracy theorist," Byron tells me during the interview. "Except don't use the word 'theory.' Because the conspiracies are not theories. The official report is the lie; the conspiracy is the truth."
Byron says he thinks Beck has improved in recent months. "I don't think he's a natural newscaster, you know what I mean?" he says. "I look at it more like a schoolteacher on TV, you know? He's got that big chalkboard and those little stickers, the decals. I like the way he does it." [Media Matters, 10/11/10]
Williams On Beck: He Denies "Violent Approach" and "Conspiracies" To "Protect Himself. ... I Understand What He's Doing." In his interview with Hamilton, Williams also said that "Beck is gonna deny everything about violent approach and deny everything about conspiracies, but he'll give you every reason to believe it. He's protecting himself, and you can't blame him for that. So, I understand what he's doing." Williams continued:
"And I'd say, well, you know, that's the thing. It's that anything you do is going to be considered promoting terror attacks or promoting violence. So now they've got Beck labeled as this guy that is trying to incite violence. And what I say is that if the truth incites violence, it means that we've been living too long in the lies.
"Because it's gonna be too many -- it's gonna be more and more people that are, you know -- when you become unemployed, desperate, you can no longer pay your bills, when your society has come to a standstill, and cannot grow anymore, you're becoming socialized, everything, you know -- companies are moving overseas, what do you think is gonna happen? You know, for crying out loud. It's gonna get worse. And more and more people are gonna get desperate." [Media Matters, 10/11/10]
In October 2010, Charles Murray was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for threatening Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with "violence" in phone calls to her office.
Wilson Said He "Want[ed] To [Expletive] Kill" Murray Because Of The Passage Of Health Care Legislation. In an April 6 article, Politico reported that Wilson "allegedly called Murray's office on numerous occasions" saying that she " 'had a target on her back,' and 'I want to [expletive] kill you,' according to court documents." Politico also reported that Wilson "allegedly told undercover FBI agents that he carries a concealed firearm with a permit, and said he was 'extremely angry' with the passage of health care legislation." The article continued:
On March 23, the day President Barack Obama signed the health care reform bill into law, the caller said, "I hope somebody kills you, and I hope somebody kills [the president]. Yes, die, dead."
"Not only do I say, 'Kill the Bill' I say: Kill the [expletive] senator," the caller said.
When the FBI reviewed phone records for Murray's office, it found Wilson's number appearing several times, with some calls made as early as 4:34 in the morning, according to court papers.
On April 1, an agent called Wilson's home number posing as a representative of "Patients United Now," a group that was "ostensibly" attempting to have the health care reform law repealed.
In the course of the phone call, Wilson allegedly told the officer that he regularly called Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
According to the documents, two other phrases in that conversation convinced the FBI that Wilson was man who had left the stream of threatening voicemails: He called Murray and Cantwell "Pike Street whores" and called Murray "sneaker shoes Murray" -- both phrases captured when he allegedly called the senator's office from a blocked number. The man who made the phone calls also said "they need to be strung up, and I mean put [in] the gallows" adding that "they want to come throw me in jail, they can go ahead and do that. that's fine."
The caller also mentioned that he was registered to carry a concealed weapon.
"I do pack," court documents say Wilson told the FBI agent -- a term that refers to carrying a gun. "And I will not blink...when I'm confronted, and that is a guarantee. It's not a threat, it's a guarantee." [Politico, 4/6/10]
Wilson To Murray: "Kill The Fucking Senator! ... Now That You've Passed Your Health-Care Bill, Let The Violence Begin." In court documents, federal prosecutors pointed to several voicemail messages Wilson left for Murray that raised "serious concerns," including:
"Just remember that as you are politicing for your reelection. It only takes one piece of lead. ... Kill the fucking Senator! Kill the fucking Senator! I'll donate the lead. ... Now that you've passed your health-care bill, let the violence begin. Let the violence begin."
"By your attempts to overtake this country with socialism, somebody's gonna get to you one way or another and blow your fucking brains out, and I hope it does happen. If I have the chance, I would do it."
"Kill the fucking Senator! Hang the fucking Senator! I hope somebody puts a fucking bullet between your fucking eyes. Far left liberal socialist democratic bitch. You mother-fucker. You sold the fucking people of the country out for socialism. I hope somebody fucking erasers your fucking life. Yes, I hope somebody assassinates you, you fucking bitch."
"We are going to fuck you up. We are going to fuck you up as bad as we can. Yes, the independents. The real people of this country, not you spineless fucking socialists. You better watch your fucking back, baby, because there's people gonna come after you with fucking both fucking barrels, bitch." [Media Matters, 10/28/10]
Relative: Wilson's Threats Occurred Because He "Was Under The Spell That Glenn Beck Cast." A relative of Wilson said in publicly available documents filed in federal court that Wilson's "fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck's persuasive personality" and that Wilson's actions occurred because he "was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast." In a September 17 letter, Wilson's cousin wrote:
What happened later with Charlie is something I think I can understand. He became basically housebound due to illness and his small world became even smaller. His brother got him a computer and he was able to stay connected with family. And he watched television and found Glenn Beck... I found Glenn Beck about the same time Charlie did. I understand how his fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck's persuasive personality. The same thing happened to me but I went in a different direction with what I was seeing. Rather than blame politicians for the current issues, I simply got prepared for what Glenn said was coming. I slowly filled our pantry as Glenn fed fear into me. I did not miss watching his show and could not understand why the rest of the world didn't get it -- Glenn became a pariah to me. But I was finally able to step away and realize the error of my ways. The media lost its grip on me. But it still held very tightly to Charlie.
While his actions were undeniably wrong and his choices were terrible, in part they were the actions of others played out by a very gullible Charlie. He was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast, aided by the turbulent times in our economy. I don't believe that Charlie even had the ability to actually carry out his threats. [Media Matters, 10/28/10]
In December 2010, Gregory Lee Giusti was sentenced to a year and nine months in federal prison for threatening to destroy former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's home if she voted in support of the health care reform law.
Giusti Admitted To Making "More Than 30 Phone Calls" Threatening Pelosi Not To Support Health Care Reform. The Associated Press reported in April 2010 that in one recorded call, "Giusti said, 'if you pass this freaking health care plan don't bother coming back to California cause you ain't gonna have a place to live,' according to a transcript of the message included in an amended complaint." The AP added: "Officials said the caller often recited Pelosi's home address and said if she wanted to see it again, she should not support the health care overhaul bill that since has been enacted. Giusti left at least two recorded messages containing threats involving one of Pelosi's residences in Northern California, according to the complaint." [The Associated Press, 4/8/10]
Giusti Called Pelosi "A Witch" And Said He Didn't Like Her Pushing Health Care Bill "Down The People's Throats." The AP further reported that Giusti "told investigators he had phoned Pelosi about a half-dozen times, called her a witch and said he did not like her 'pushing the health care bill down the people's throats,' the complaint stated." [The Associated Press, 4/8/10]
Giusti's Mother Blamed Fox News For Son's Actions. During an interview with the local San Francisco ABC affiliate, Giusti's mother, Eleanor Giusti, stated that Fox News was a factor in her son's actions. She stated:
ELEANOR GIUSTI: Greg has -- frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas and that are not consistent with myself or the rest of the family and -- which gets him into problems. And apparently I would say this must be another one that somehow he's gotten onto either by -- I'd say Fox News or all of those that are really radical, and he -- that's where he comes from. [ABC's San Francisco affiliate, KGO-TV, 4/7/10]
It is a president’s responsibility to salve a national wound. President Obama did that on Wednesday evening at the memorial service in Tucson for the six people who died in last weekend’s terrible shooting. It was one of his most powerful and uplifting speeches.
Mr. Obama called on ideological campaigners to stop vilifying their opponents. The only way to move forward after such a tragedy, he said, is to cast aside "point-scoring and pettiness." He rightly focused primarily on the lives of those who died and the heroism of those who tried to stop the shooter and save the victims. He urged prayers for the 14 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the target of the rampage. Their stories needed to be told, their lives celebrated and mourned.
It was important that Mr. Obama transcend the debate about whose partisanship has been excessive and whose words have sown the most division and dread. This page and many others have identified those voices and called on them to stop demonizing their political opponents. The president’s role in Tucson was to comfort and honor, and instill hope.
Eugene Robinson also praised the president for rising above partisan pettiness:
In Tucson tonight, President Obama played the role that all presidents must play at times of great tragedy: consoler in chief. His speech at the memorial service for the victims of Saturday's massacre seemed not to come from a speechwriter's pen, but from the heart.
Asking whether it "helped" or "hurt" the president politically seems petty. After he described how Rep. Gabriel Giffords' husband, Mark, had just visited her and announced that "Gabby opened her eyes for the first time," politics vanished. At a moment of great sorrow, there was a glimpse of the kinder, gentler America that Obama described -- an America in which "we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."
Naturally, not everyone heard the president's speech as non-partisan. Marc Thiessen, former Bush speechwriter, said the president actually gave two speeches: the first one, brilliant, and the second one, courageous.
In the first, Obama delivered a traditional memorial address, and did so with elegance and eloquence.
And the courageous part?
The president could have ended there. But instead he pivoted to a second speech on our political discourse -- and delivered a clear rebuke to those on the left who were so quick to politicize this tragedy and assign blame to their political opponents[.]
Of course it was a rebuke to the left because only the left politicizes tragedy. No one on the right has ever used tragedy to score political points. Ever.
Maybe President Obama was saving the magic for a time when we really needed it.
We’ve been complaining for two years about the lack of music and passion in his big speeches. But if he’d moved the country when he was talking about health care or bailing out the auto industry, perhaps his words wouldn’t have been as powerful as they were when he was trying to lift the country up after the tragedy in Tucson.
"Our hearts are broken, and yet our hearts also have reason for fullness," he said, in a call to action that finally moved the nation’s focus forward.
The days after the shootings had a depressing political rhythm. There was the call for civility, followed by the rapidly escalating rhetoric over whose fault the incivility was, which climbed ever upward until Wednesday when you had a congressman from Texas claiming that the F.B.I. was hiding information on the gunman’s political beliefs because the truth would embarrass the White House.
For me, Obama’s best moment came when he warned that "what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another." In his honor, I am not saying a word about Sarah Palin’s video.
Doyle McManus, however, makes no such promise:
Still, the Arizona shootings and their aftermath will probably be remembered as the end of Palin's chances of being taken seriously as a Republican presidential candidate. She had an opportunity to rise to an occasion, and she whiffed.
Palin had a chance with her statement on the Tucson tragedy to show voters she's equal to the demands of the presidency. Instead, the eight-minute video she released Wednesday reflected her chosen role as lightning rod of the right. Rather than rise to the occasion, she continued the partisan slugfest.
Dana Milbank says some nice things about Congress:
As it happened, the best and worst of American politics was on display Wednesday morning. The ugly side emerged a few hours before the debate in the form of a Facebook posting by Sarah Palin. Rather than soften her own excesses (in this case, the map showing bull's-eyes over Giffords' and other districts with accompanying instructions to "RELOAD") Palin defended her actions and inflamed the debate further by accusing her opponents of a "blood libel" - a reference to centuries of anti-Semitism.
Happily, the lawmakers did not fall for Palin's provocations. Speaker John Boehner, who distinguished himself with his original response to the shooting - "an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve" - began Wednesday's session with an admonition that "we gather here without distinction of party."
The notoriously weepy speaker, sitting alone in the front row of the chamber, wiped a tear from his eye as the clerk read the resolution and choked up as he spoke. But this time, he had company in his tears.
And now for your weekly Mark Morford:
Every tragedy births a supplication. Every assault, violent attack, assassination attempt and murderous spree begets the same series of questions, a palms-open appeal to the gods of law, society, humanity.
It goes like this: What will we learn? What will change? Will any solutions emerge? Who can fix this? Is it even possible? And finally, what the hell is wrong with us?
So it is that, in the wake of the Tucson rampage wrought by a deranged monster named Jared Loughner, a man with far too easy access to firearms and a brain far too full of tortured rhetoric, comes the collective wail from the right, the left, the president himself: Something must be done. We will get to the bottom of this. We will examine from every angle, figure this out, heal the wound.
Right. What wound would that be, exactly? The bottom of what? What, really, can or will be done? No one seems to know. Or rather, they sort of do, but no one has the nerve to do it. Ain't that America.
Regardless, some have already taken action. Already, two political creeps have decided to reduce themselves to, well, almost the same level as Loughner himself. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) have declared that they will start packing heat, carrying their own handguns around D.C. like twitchy thugs, because gosh, it just makes sense. More guns will somehow equal less guns, and violence never begets more violence. Well done, boys. You're a couple of goddamn geniuses. Now shut up.
Finally, in some non-Tucscon-related news, Ann Jones has a novel proposal for peace in Afghanistan:
Looking for a way out of Afghanistan? Maybe it's time to try something totally different, like putting into action, for the first time in history, the most enlightened edict ever passed by the United Nations Security Council: Resolution 1325.
Passed on Oct. 31, 2000, the resolution was hailed worldwide as a great victory for both women and international peace. In a nutshell, it calls for women to participate equally in all processes of conflict resolution, peacemaking and reconstruction.
The resolution grew out of a recognition that while men at the negotiating table still jockey for power and wealth, women who are included commonly advocate for interests that coincide perfectly with those of civil society. They are concerned about their children and consequently about shelter, clean water, sanitation, jobs, healthcare, education — the things that make life livable for peaceable people.
Letting women participate in their own political process? Nah, that'll never work.
But Global Warming Has Nothing To With It Queensland premier Anna Bligh said the crisis was the worst natural disaster the state had experienced Australian floods: rebuilding task will reach 'post-war proportions' The task of rebuilding [...]
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Watching TV can lead to seeing doppelgangers ... when you least expect them ...
FATHER-SON? - Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Center, and pundit Dave Wiegel.
Keep this crazy train rolling - and stop in for a look at news items outside the headlines, in the arts and sciences; foreign news that generates little notice in the US media and ....well, just plain whimsy.....
ART NOTES - traditional Mexican nativity scenes called El Nacimiento are - hopefully - a source of comfort at the Tucson, Arizona Museum of Art through March 27th.
WORLD SPORTS WEEK ITEM #1 - the 2011 Cricket World Cup takes place from February 20th to April 2nd, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and ..... Bangladesh, after Pakistan was stripped of its role in the wake of a 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka national team.
POLITICAL NOTES - with an upcoming March election, the voters of Ireland may be asked if they wish to abolish the Senate, and go to a unicameral Parliament.
MONDAY's CHILD is Lucy the Cat - a Welsh grey tiger, believed to be the world's oldest .... at age 39.
ECONOMIC NOTES #1a - the economic theories used by bankers at the heart of the sub-prime crisis are the focus of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) founded last year.
This group holds its next conference in April at New Hampshire's Mt. Washington Hotel - where the famous 1944 Bretton Woods economic conference was held.
ECONOMIC NOTES #1b - given that INET received its initial stipend from none other than George Soros - why, if you come to New Hampshire, this must be where the Soros Money is distributed!
ARCHITECTURE NOTES - the US architect Daniel Libeskind - chosen for the design of the new Ground Zero - is to design the starting-off point for a planned bridge connecting mainland Italy to Sicily.
ART NOTES - over 200 pins from the unique collection of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is at the Indianapolis, Indiana Museum of Art through January 30th.
MEMORY LANE - although the basketball team he played for and coached (the Washington Generals) has become a tag-line for losers everywhere: here is a nice story about the 89 year-old Red Klotz - he of the ancient two-hand set shot era - and the last time the Generals defeated the Harlem Globetrotters, forty years ago.
TUESDAY's CHILDREN want you to know that stressed kittehs are more susceptible to illness.
WORLD SPORTS WEEK ITEM #2 - the 2011 Women's World Cup takes place from late June - mid July in Germany.
POLITICAL NOTES - perhaps the most unpopular politician in Germany is the foreign minister Guido Westerwelle - unable to deliver promised tax cuts (due to the recession), seen as ineffective both as leader of his fiscal conservative Free Democrats and as part of the center-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Yet one criticism that no one (not even the clergy) has raised is that ... he is gay (which my friends there confirm nobody cares about).
BUSINESS NOTES - spearheading the latest drive for electric cars are China and ... Israel.
ART NOTES - an exhibit of post WW-II prints by various artists such as Romare Bearden, Alice Neel and Pablo Picasso entitled Transforming the Figure is at the the El Paso, Texas Museum of Art through March 20th.
WOTTA SURPRISE - the racist National Front party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen supports his daughter Martine's bid to take over Le Front National in France.
WEDNESDAY's CHILD is Mimi the Cat - returned to a Russian-speaking Canadian woman after Amtrak refused to allow a non-service animal on the second leg of a trip from North Carolina to Canada.
WORLD SPORTS WEEK ITEM #3 - the 2011 World Badminton Championships takes place in London, England in August.
FILM NOTES - having appeared in the film "Hereafter" directed by Clint Eastwood, co-star Bryce Dallas Howard is trying to walk a tightrope between not distancing herself completely from her famous father Ron Howard (abandoning her use of the stage name Bryce Dallas after it caused a rift) yet not wanting to coast on his name, either.
ART NOTES - an exhibit examining the tension between nature, culture, technology and the built environment entitled The Last Frontier is at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax through April 26th.
WORLD SPORTS WEEK ITEM #4 - the 2011 Rugby World Cup takes place from early September - late October in New Zealand.
POLITICAL NOTES - the London-based essayist Agn?s Poirier writes that "Britain may be outraged, but Barack Obama has good grounds for saying that the US has no 'stronger ally' than France". She goes on to say "Nicolas Sarkozy wishes he was American. But that's another story..."
THURSDAY's CHILD is Adelaide the Cat - one of the adoptable pets recently driven on an ASPCA mobile adoption van around NYC streets.
TIME MARCHES ON - taking office this week was Susana Villaran - the first popularly elected female mayor of Lima, Peru after winning a close election defeating the conservative candidate Lourdes Flores.
FRIDAY's CHILD is Sassy the Cat - a Minneota kitteh up for adoption.
SIGN of the APOCALYPSE - Zambia's president Rupiah Banda has told his party members to "take bribes ... but vote with your conscience". Whatever happened to politicians staying bought?
SEPARATED at BIRTH - TV stars Stana Katic (Detective Kate Beckett in ABC's "Castle") and Mischa Barton ("The O.C.")
......and finally, for a song of the week ............... this past December 29th marked the 30th anniversary of the death of the singer/songwriter Tim Hardin - someone who achieved prominence in the 1960's, only to have an old heroin habit dog him for much of his life, with little output in the decade before his death at only age 39. It's a "what could have been?" question, as his material appealed to performers and fans across the musical spectrum. But his blend of old-time blues, performing with jazz musicians and folk music left a body of work that endures in the voices of others, and helped pave the way for the modern singer-songwriter.
The Eugene, Oregon native dropped out of high school to join the Marine Corps, spending part of 1959 as a military adviser in Vietnam and this is where he first used heroin. After his discharge in 1961, he dropped out of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began performing at the burgeoning Greenwich Village coffeehouse scene, before moving to Boston in 1963.
His early style was more blues-oriented (think Mose Allison) than some of his contemporaries, but he had influences from country musician Lefty Frizzel to fellow folksinger Karen Dalton - also, alas, a junkie.
He was noticed by producer Erik Jacobsen (who went on to produce the Lovin' Spoonful and Chris Isaak later on). Jacobsen arranged a recording session in New York for Columbia Records, but the label wasn't happy with the tapes and so he was let go. He relocated to Los Angeles where he met his future wife Susan Moore (who had appeared in the "Young Marrieds" TV series. He did have a good eye for talent: using vibist Gary Burton (soon to be a jazz star and future dean of the Berklee School of Music in Boston) as well as John Sebastian (before he formed the Lovin' Spoonful) on his recordings.
Returning to New York, he received a recording deal from Verve Records, having now developed a confessional-style way of singing - and they liked his tapes enough to release his 1966 debut album Tim Hardin 1 ...
... with only Misty Roses - covered by Sonny & Cher, Peggy Lee and Johnny Mathis - receiving much radio airplay.
But several others spawned cover versions by others, including How Can We Hang On to a Dream? (by Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Echo & the Bunnymen) ...
... plus Don't Make Promises (by Marianne Faithfull, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, Ricky Nelson and the Kingston Trio) ...
... and finally Reason to Believe - performed by many but always associated with Rod Stewart.
About this time, his earliest studio recordings (1964) were purchased and released on Atco Records; entitled This is Tim Hardin - this featured less original writings, and delved back into his Dave Van Ronk-style blues, such as "Stagger Lee", "House of the Rising Sun" and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man".
1967 saw the release of Tim Hardin 2 which proved to be the apex of his career. It had some other popular songs, such as "Red Balloon" (performed by Ricky Nelson and the Small Faces) as well as a tribute to his wife Susan, "Lady Came from Baltimore" (recorded by Joan Baez and Bobby Darin and performed by Bob Dylan, although never recorded it).
Yet the demons inside him began to take over Tim Hardin by the end of the decade. He suffered not only from his drug abuse, but also by a case of pleurisy (inflammation of the lungs) as well as stage fright. He had difficulty making his shows, and had bouts of violence with his wife, who eventually left him with their son.
He released a live album with jazzers such as bassist Eddie Gomez ...
... and appeared at Woodstock ...
...with future members of the jazz band Oregon - Ralph Towner (guitar and piano) and Glen Moore (bass) - although Hardin needed a dose of methadone to get over his stage fright.
His last American recording was 1971's Bird on a Wire - with a fine rendition of the title track classic from Leonard Cohen, as well as Georgia On My Mind from Hoagy Carmichael.
He moved between the US and England over the next few years - in England, he could legally obtain methadone as a registered heroin addict. And he did one interesting 1973 release there called Nine ...
... and once again chose interesting sidemen such as Peter Frampton and members of The Strawbs ...
... and included a cover of Fire & Rain by James Taylor.
But he could never shake his drug habit; even selling the rights to his music in a desperate way to feed his habit. Tim Hardin died on December 29, 1980 in Los Angeles of a heroin overdose, and was buried in his native Oregon.
The Essential, Classic Hardin is as good a retrospective album as there is.
Though Tim Hardin only had one Top 40 hit (to be mentioned later) he had several songs loved by others - and besides "Reason to Believe", his other best-loved song was 1967's If I Were a Carpenter - a tune with somewhat hokey lyrics that I nonetheless came to love.
Hardin sang it as a solo piece, and it proved to be an immense hit for Bobby Darin ....
... and perhaps in a sense of justice, Hardin's only Top 40 success came with a cover of Simple Song of Freedom by ... Bobby Darin.
Some other popular solo voice covers came from the likes of Neil Diamond, Dan Fogelberg and Harry Belafonte - and some you can listen to by Robert Plant ...
... plus a rock version by the Small Faces singer Steve Marriott.
But Johnny & June Cash turned the song into a call-and-response duet version.
Which was also how Willie Nelson & Sheryl Crow performed it.
At these links are examples of both: the original Tim Hardin solo version ...
... and an interesting duet featuring the French rock star Johnny Hallyday & Emmylou Harris - sang partly in French - from 1984.
If I were a carpenter
and you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway?
would you have my baby?
If a miller were my trade
at a mill wheel grinding
Would you miss your color box?
your soft shoes shining?
Save my love through loneliness
save my love through sorrow
I give you my only-ness
come give me your tomorrow
Wouldn't it be interesting to know what is in those files?
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, claimed today he was in possession of "insurance" files on Rupert Murdoch and his global media company, News Corporation.
Assange also claimed that WikiLeaks holds more than 500 confidential US diplomatic cables on one broadcasting organisation.
Speaking to journalist John Pilger for an interview to be published tomorrow in the latest edition of the New Statesman, Assange said: "There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp."