Monday, March 30, 2015

Fools Gold

John Oliver off this week but posted an anti-April Fools' Day blast.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Back on the 'Streets'

Van Morrison on new album re-visits one of his greatest songs off his greatest cult album, Veedon Fleece--with Mick Hucknall dueting.  The atmosphere of the original still tops this, but still.   Live from 1974 below that, and full concert (opening with "Ballerina").

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lessig Backs Warren

The well-known Harvard prof and activist Lawrence Lessig just sent an email to MoveOn members declaring that he was "in" on backing Run, Liz, Run.  And calling for dough, of course.
I'm Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard professor and the founder of MAYDAY Super PAC—the "SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs"—which many MoveOn members helped launch. I'm writing to you because I want Elizabeth Warren to run for President, and I'm asking you to join me.

The biggest problems we face—a rigged economy, climate change, the engulfing corruption of our political system by big money—have something in common: If we don't tackle them soon, we won't get another chance.

It keeps me up at night.

But what wakes me up in the morning is another thought: We really do have a chance to win in 2016. If we can elect leaders with the courage and independence to tackle the hard stuff—and build the mega-movement necessary to make sure they actually do it—we could see the kind of progressive sea change that brought the Gilded Age to an end more than a century ago.

But honestly? The only way I see this working is if Senator Elizabeth Warren runs for president.

That's why—as my next big project—I've joined the Run Warren Run campaign. I'll be giving a major speech in New York on April 20 to lay out the case. But right now, today, I'm asking for your help to supercharge this effort—before conventional wisdom congeals and everyone decides that the 2016 primaries are already over.

Can you chip in $3 to help fund the Run Warren Run campaign?

Yes, I'll chip in and help convince Elizabeth Warren to run for president.

Look: From everything I know, running for president is really, really hard. Most sane people would hate doing it. So I completely understand why my friend and former colleague has, to date, not shown any interest in doing so.

It's just that the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that she should reconsider.

We're now facing the prospect of no vigorous Democratic primary, potentially a primary season without even a single debate, generating a nominee who has not had to enlist the support of a genuine grassroots base. That's dangerous—not just for Democrats, but for our democracy.

Elizabeth Warren would change all of that. Not just because she'd guarantee a primary where every candidate has to take a stand. But because she (and, I believe, she alone) would galvanize the kind of movement that we'll need if the next President of the United States is to have a prayer of tackling the hardest, most urgent crises of our time.

The Run Warren Run campaign is doing something extraordinary: By organizing on the ground in the early primary states, it's keeping open the possibility of a Warren candidacy, in a moment when the primary is supposedly sewn up—and in the process forcing issues like economic inequality and political corruption to the center of the debate. But it can only keep going with our support.

Can you chip in $3?

Yes, I'll chip in, and help the campaign to draft Elizabeth Warren keep going and growing.

I don't pretend to know whether Elizabeth Warren will ultimately decide to run. But I do know this: There's always been one thing, and one thing only, that could convince her to take on a challenge. Not money. Not power. Just one thing: the realization that her jumping into the fray was necessary to make a difference.

This is one of those moments. And the more of us that raise our hands and say we're ready to fight by her side, the more clear it will become to her that she has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fight the central battles of our nation. Not alone. With a movement. That's our role: to show her how much energy is waiting to be unleashed if she enters the race.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Real Crime of Municipal Violations

John Oliver's main segment last night on how local towns and cities--even beyond Ferguson--use ticketing to pay for government, and how so many people wind up with massive bills or even end up in jail.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Best of Townes

I've wanted to do this for awhile, so why not now?  Some of us--a few of us--consider the late great Townes Van Zandt one of the great American songwriters ever (and great American fuck-up).  You may have heard of him, or not.  You may have heard one or more of his songs, or not (or more likely heard them, even in True Detective, and not known it was by him).  So here's what I consider his greatest, in no order, both his versions or great covers of his songs by others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Greatest Song Inspired by Civil Rights Struggle and Dylan--and "Ol' Man River"?

Update:  Great new article at The New Yorker covers what I wrote last year (below) and much more. 

As I've posted before, I consider Sam Cooke's "Change Is Gonna Come" the greatest song of our era.   It's still little known that Sam's response to Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" becoming the new anthem of the civil rights movement--as it was enshrined at the March on Washington in 1963, via Peter, Paul and Mary--was to 1) record that song himself  2) determine that a black writer should pen such an anthem.  So he wrote "Change Is Gonna Come," inspired you might say by Dylan and Martin Luther King Jr.   Here's Sam and below that the Peter, Paul and Mary performance at the march.  -- G.M.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Durst 'Confession'--The Extended Cut

From Funny or Die...

Recalling "Bloody Sunday"

Something happened to remind me that one of my favorite movies since 2000 is Paul Greengrass's early film Bloody Sunday.  James Nesbit got an Oscar nomination and yes, the U2 song closes the film.  I followed the official inquiry and legal cases--which the film sparked--ad read the excellent book by (and chatted with) witness Don Mullen, and more.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Life is a Beach

First trailer for the Brian Wilson bio-pic coming in June--w/ Paul Dano as young Bri and John Cusack as older version...

March Sadness

Post up: John Oliver last night with main segment vs. NCAA financials--and unveils his own video game that captures where the riches go and don't go.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Lego Version of "Dr. Strangelove"

A truly amazing version of Stanley Kubrick's greatest movie (released 51 years ago this year)--via Legos.   Part II features the good doctor and the "mineshaft gap" scene. Yes, that's the actual dialogue (and voices of actors) from the film. (Also, see wild, original trailer for the film, which was axed by the studio.)-- G.M.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Did You Ever Go Clear?

Trailer for Alex Gibney's Scientology doc opening this week (and coming to HBO).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Leonard Rings Belz

Great find by Dangerous Minds:  Leonard Cohen on Richard Belzer's short-lived talk show back in 1985 at the lowest point of his popularity.  The album they talk about at the beginning, rejected by Columbia, included..."Hallelujah."  Whoops.  Famous line by Columbia exec to Leonard: "We know you're great but we don't know if you are any good."  (h/t Stu Levitan)


Monday, March 9, 2015

Oliver's Army

Last night John tackled elections ads in Israel, asked how Daylight Savings Time could still be a thing, and in major segment hit lack of voting rights of U.S. territories such as Guam...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mixing up the Medicine

Fifty year ago today the song that would change (nearly) everything was released--Dylan's first electric single, "Subterranean Homesick Blues."  Not a giant hit but every single rocker and folkie was listening (including Bob).  Also, you might say, the first "rap" single.  Also sparked what some call the first true "music video" precursor, the opening of D.A. Pennebaker's "Don't Look Back" doc.   Bob was turning rather "apolitical" then but the song lyric even lent the name for the radical group The Weathermen.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bill Keller, Bully

March 7, 2014:  Lisa Adams has finally lost her gallant struggle with cancer.  See below for my reporting one year ago when Bill Keller and wife went after her. 

Thursday UPDATE:  Lengthy explanation by a top editor at  The Guardian on why he took down the Emma Keller piece, and her response.  Must-reading. 

Wednesday UPDATE:  The NYT carries several letters, including one from Lisa Adams' brother, roasting Keller.  On Twitter she says she is pleased.

Tuesday UPDATE:   Not much new overnight.  Just a lot more coverage from news outlets and bloggers.  Guardian "investigation" continues.   Wash Post here.   Wired here.   Digby here.

And don't miss Meghan O'Rourke at The New Yorker, probing why some of the Kellers' points were very good but their overall tone very bad.  "While many of the questions addressed in each column could have led to a worthwhile discussion, their approaches were ad hominem and, at best, insensitive to the lived realities of Adams’s life. She may be allowing us to overhear her decisions, but she is not asking us to callously debate them as if she were not still here."

UPDATE #4:  The NYT posts a news story tonight on The Guardian deleting Emma Keller's column--and gets new comments from her husband on his own horrid Times piece.  B. Keller continues to defend his piece, blaming criticism on "political correctness" and citing "perverse" complaints about his wife's opus.   The Times reporter, in citing complaint about killing Guardian column, seems unaware that likely reason was not stifling opinion but E. Keller's unethical use of quotes from patient Adams. 

UPDATE #3: As I suggested below (and fully expected a positive response) the NYT's fine public ed. has now weighed in, breaking her usual policy of not commenting on the views expressed in opinion columns by critiquing Keller.  She also asked for and got Keller's response to the wide criticism of what he wrote (as in his replies to criticism of his war hawk views he is largely dismissive) and the fact that his wife had taken up the subject just a bit earlierKeller claims critics "misread" or "missed the point" of the column when the reality is we have recognized what he's getting at all too easily.  Right down to the therapy dogs.

And as Sullivan writes:  "Mr. Keller’s views here fall within what journalists would call 'fair comment' only to the extent that they are based on facts."  His column suggests Keller "didn’t make a full effort to understand the point of view of the person he’s writing about."

UPDATE #2:  Intrigue? Now The Guardian says the E. Keller piece was pulled "pending investigation." Wonder if the Kellers protested...

UPDATE:  The Guardian just deleted the offensive Emma Keller piece that kicked this off, saying it is (now judged) "inconsistent" with their "editorial code."  It's cached here.  Your move, Bill--and NYT public ed. Margaret Sullivan.

Earlier:  Bill Keller, the now-laughable NYT columnist who, as executive editor defended Judy Miller and mocked critics of the Times' Iraq WMD coverage (and, learning nothing, recentlh called for bombing Syria and aiding the al-Qaeda rebels), now hits a cancer victim when she's down--after Bill's wife Emma Keller did the same over at The Guardian).  Basic message, between the lines:  Just die, woman, though with dignity.  Papa Bill knows best.  Much more from me on this at The Nation.

For now:  follow @Xeni (that would be Jardin), quoted by B. Keller out-of-context, she sahs.  The woman in question, Lisa Adams @adamslisa points out errors of fact and other issues.  And Ruben Bolling tweets:  "Bill Keller is against women fighting cancer, unless anonymous Bush administration sources say Cancer has WMDs -- then: TO WAR!"  Sidelight: New York magazine profile of Bill Keller mentions Emma.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

To Kingdom Come

On anniversary of tragic death (by hanging) of The Band's great Richard Manuel, Mojo carried this tribute last year, and now it's come along along.   We all know that Music from Big Pink changed the course of rock, and the life of many musicians, such as Eric Clapton, and here's Eric:  "For me he [Richard] was the true light of The Band. The other guys were fantastic talents, of course, but there was something of the holy madman about Richard. He was raw. When he sang in that high falsetto the hair on my neck would stand on end.”  I've posted this before, but here's a true highlight below, famously shot in Sammy Davis Jr.'s pool house in L.A.  Plus his immortal "Whispering Pines."  And Lucinda's recent version of it.  And "Tears of Rage" at Woodstock--yes, Richard co-wrote one of the greatest songs of the century.  I always liked Levon's explanation for why he thought The Band could go out on their own in 1967: "Well, we had the best singer."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Infrastructure Not Boring

Great John Oliver full segment last night...  Plus: celebrating Net Neutrality win (which John had helped promote).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gaza Tourism

Powerful new two-minute film, allegedly by Banksy, exposing conditions in Gaza today (as tongue-in-cheek tourist destination).   Yes, there's a little Banksy on a wall or two, also.

Foxed Up

Jon Stewart, after getting hit by Fox, can't resist a highlight reel--but with a very serious edge.