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Monday, November 30, 2009

Sing Low, Sweet Charlotte

Yes, I love Ms. Gainsbourg but I loved her mom, too, 40 years ago. This video is a worldwide sensation, now in USA too. With Beck -- not the Glenn one.

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Heaven Can Wait from Charlotte Gainsbourg on Vimeo.

Box Thrown at Kennedy Over Abortion Dispute

(AP) Rep. Patrick Kennedy says all people deserve health care because they are "children of God" in his first public appearance since escalating a public feud with Rhode Island's Roman Catholic bishop over abortion and health care. The Democratic lawmaker spoke Monday at a panel discussion at Brown University.

Kennedy has not addressed an ongoing feud with Bishop Thomas Tobin over the issue of publicly funded abortion in legislation expanding the nation's health insurance system.

Kennedy earlier this month said Tobin banned him from receiving Holy Communion because of his support for abortion rights. Tobin said he asked Kennedy to stop receiving the sacrament in 2007.

Police removed perennial Rhode Island political candidate Christopher Young from the discussion after he shouted at Kennedy and tossed a boxed movie at the congressman. The item landed harmlessly on a table.

U.S. Abortion Data Proves Revealing

The Guardian DataBlog has performed a real service pulling together the latest numbers on the number of abortions state-by-state in the USA, which both confirm certain things you might expect (they happen more often in blue states) but also prove surprising (the large number of red states where the procedure is popular). The chart reveals the rather high overall number nationally that may shock some -- 233 abortions per 1,000 live births. These states have numbers just under the national average, but not by much: Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas. Right at or above the norm: Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, N. Carolina, Virginia.

The Guardian also has story today on "the religious right" mounting new assault on abortion rights in U.S. And below: a report today on new law in Baltimore which makes so-called "pro-life" counseling centers display signs informing visitors that they do NOT provide info on birth control or referrals for abortions.

How 'Daily Show' Hurt 'Newsweek' Journo in Iranian Jail

He'll be re-appearing on The Daily Show tonite so time to recall amazing piece by Maziar Bahari a couple weeks back in Newsweek. He's the well-known journalist for that magazine locked up in an Iranian prison for so long after the June crackdown. He writes that when the authorities saw this Daily Show segment (below) they charged that Jason Jones was a spy. Bahari pointed out this was a comedy show to no avail, as they wrung his ears and said he would rot in prison. Also: Behari said the lyrics of the great Leonard Cohen brought him comfort in jail.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil - Persians of Interest
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Big Head Chris

Family Guy last night mocked Hardball host for big noggin and talking over guests. Comes very near beginning of clip:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Interview with Neighbor of Cop Killing Suspect

Police have named a suspect, on the run, in slaying for 4 cops near Tacoma, WA today, and guess what the guy had his sentence commuted by Gov. Mike Huckabee--he'd allegedly found god.

Stayin' Alive

If you somehow missed this morning's surprising NYT editorial on the weighty subject of ...the 50th anniversary of the Brothers Gibb, aka The Bee Gees, it's not too late to catch up. It's a fun read, so go at it. I will only add that I once interviewed them for Crawdaddy back in 1978. The Saturday Night Live soundtrack and numerous hit singles from it were at their peak and the lads were the hottest thing in show biz--so hot that they only available interview time was on an airliner carrying them home to Miami from NYC after taping a network show. So that's where we did it.

Nice guys. Their families, complete with toddlers and large dogs, greeted us all at the airport. I went to an airport hotel, hung out at the pool in the a.m., and flew home. How deep was my love? Not very, but I got a fun article out of it. The brothers at their peak:

Taking the Bart Train

Aren't you glad someone else did it so you didn't have to? Herewith, a selection of the best opening chalkboard jokes from 21, count 'em, 21 years of the Simpsons. Don't worry, "Facebook is not Assbook" makes the list.

The Vice Squad

Fun listing of popular Web habits in the form of drinks and drugs. Twitter, e.g., is cocaine, because "anyone is your friend. Yuppies do it on their iPhone. Cheap. Short. Fruitless." Facebook is vodka cranberry: "Social lubricant used to enhance still developing social etiquette. You're aware of your uninhibited actions, but comforted by the built in safety net of excuses."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Best of Possible Worlds

A journey through our solar system, using stunning NASA photos--with a Beethoven soundtrack.

Oh, "Brothers"

Big NYT piece coming tomorrow on the upcoming Jim Sheridan flick Brothers, starring Jake G and Tobey M and Natalie P. It's about an Afghan war vet, presumed dead, who comes home to find his no-good brother maybe shacking up with his wife. I've heard good things about it but first -- rent DVD of the original that is based on, starring Connie Nielsen. I watched it again tonight: One of best films in recent memory. Wonder (worry) about changes in the new one. One thing for sure: younger cast. Trailer of the original:

Jeff Buckley Cries "Hallelujah"

Most people seem to consider this the best cover of the Leonard Cohen classic:

It's Geek to Us

KoldcastTV, which has been airing my son's popular Web series "MacAwesome," has just put up a "History of Geek Movie Directors," and linking it to that series. I'm sure they mean directors of geek movies--not that the directors are geeks! Anyway, here is link to it which in turns links to "MacAwesome" (now with 7 episodes).

A New Wrinkle for Jesus

We've enjoyed the return of the Messiah in recent years on everything from a front door to an Eggo waffle and now we have the lady who lives near Boston who is getting national publicity after finding Him while ironing. But she says she has no plans to sell her holy object on Ebay like the people who got a bid of $28,000 for Christ on grilled cheese sandwich. Here's a look:

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Favorite Film of Past Decade

Re-watching tonight on DVD The Lives of Others, which won the best foreign film Oscar about three years back. It still holds up. One more thing: It inspired my current Beethoven obsession. Trailer:

New Photo of Obama W/ Gatecrashers

Other shoe drops. Well at least they didn't stay for dinner or a sleep over in the Lincoln bedroom.

Gatecrashers' Back Story

Well, these guys got around. A video has surfaced of the White House gate-crashing duo interviewing will.i.am.

Find more videos like this on Luxury Dossier

"When Black Friday Comes"

Courtesy of Steely Dan, of course. "Gonna let the world pass me by." Good advice.

40 Years on, Still THE Band

Forty years ago this week I attended what was then the greatest rock concert I'd seen -- The Band in Buffalo. I'd seen them, sort of, almost exactly four years before that, backing up Dylan as The Hawks. They were at their speak, with the great second album, "The Weight" in Easy Rider, and just then becoming the first American group to make the cover of Time. Here's some rare footage of them at that time, doing "Cripple Creek." Of course, Rick is now dead and Richard a suicide, but Robbie still Robbie and Levon still up in Woodstock doing his Midnight Ramble shows which I swear I will make some day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Woody Guthrie for Thanksgiving in a New Recession

"Believe it or not, you won't find it so hot, if you ain't got the do-re-mi."

Thanks....from My Home Town

Tonight "The Office" repeats the Pam and Jim wedding, at new time 8 pm ET -- it's set in my old hometown where I celebrated more than 20 Thanksgivings. I remember the old Red Coach Inn well, not to mention the Maid of the Mist. Anyway, if you are still turkeying or watching the NY Giants at that hour tonight, here's the now famous wedding dance:

For the Holiday: Beethoven's "Hymn of Thanksgiving"

Written to give thanks after surviving a near-fatal illness. Still, he was completely deaf by this time, making the composition all the more remarkable: The third movement of his string quartet opus 132, the "Heiliger Dangesang." Perhaps the greatest single short piece of music (17 minutes) ever written. Next week in NYC I'll be attending a performance of it along with a reading (by a well-known British actor) of another masterpiece it inspired: T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets."
My new Huff Post piece on all this is here.

Below is the third movement in two parts at YouTube, part I, and below that Part II. And following that, as it figures in the final scene of recent movie Copying Beethoven:




Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Gate-gate Scandal

If you haven't caught up to the gatecrashers, from a reality show (no, not the Balloon Boy's parents this time), here is your chance. Plus, photo of Biden with the woman and fella at left. Secret Service security screwup.

"Close Encounters" Meets "Deliverance"

Close Encounters of the Redneck Kind from Marc Bullard on Vimeo.

Dylan Meets Tom Waits, Popeye--and Muhammad Ali?

Backstage via the mind of Seth MacFarlane. Not too tasteful with Ali at least -- he can't help his speech problems.

White House Turkey Pardon Spoof

It could be from the Daily Show with Jason Jones narration, but actually from the WH.

Have Another 'Mac" Attack

Episode 7 of Andy Mitchell's hit Web series "MacAwesome" just out at Koldcast, amid word that it just may get bought for a second season. All seven episodes can be viewed here. Here's that latest:

A Little Cucumber on the Side


Sea cucumber captured deep, deep underwater.

To Welles and Back

When I saw the film a couple of months back I wasn't sure how reviews would go but it seems like Me and Orson Welles, based on a book by my friend Robert Kaplow, is getting a lot of raves -- from the New Yorker this week and the NYT today and more. The Times has also carried several pieces recently (such as this one about my friend here) related to the Richard Linklater film, which stars Zac Efron and Claire Danes. Newcomer Christian McKay as the ego genius 22-year-old Welles is already getting mentions as sure Oscar supporting actor nominee. He is indeed great. Trailer follows.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

9/11 Did Not Happen

Or so you'd think from former White House flackperson Dana Perino who tells Fox, "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."

'NYT' Reviews New Bio of Satchmo--and Some Cash

What sounds like a great new bio (I've read most of them) of the most important musician--and singer--for the 20th century, Louis Armstrong. Here's an incredible clip of Louis guesting with Johnny Cash re-creating Armstrong playing on country great Jimmie Rodgers' side in 1930.

Something About Mary, Indeed

Never a big fan of the movie of that name so didn't quite get what people were excited about today at first, then realized. Sen. Mary Landrieu has been getting a beating from the right since unenthusiastically backing the Obama health plan going forward last weekend--with Limbaugh and Beck suggesting she is a kind of hooker. Today, Mark Halperin at his TIME blog put up a photoshopped image of Landrieu with her blonde hair slicked up, like Cameron Diaz after the infamous Stiller semen shot. He later took it down but critiques lives on.

Putting the Cartman Before the Horse: Local TV Covers "Kick A Ginger" Day

Googles Explains/Apologizes for "Offensive" Michelle Obama Image

In an unusual step, Google has explained why what it calls an "offensive" image of the First Lady keeps appearing high up in its search -- even taking out ads to do this.  It had the photoshopped image -- with her morphing into a gorilla -- removed from its search previously but it has been reposted on sites and so now it is merely apologizing for it.

Jimmy Fallon Does Neil Young Doing Fresh Prince

Turkey Day Turkey Ad Banned

NBC refuses to run new pro-vegan  PETA ad on Thanksgiving, even though it is one of its most restrained/tasteful ever.  You can judge below:

Season Gets (Even) Worse for One Jet


Wide received David CLowney hasn't had much of a year, and his team, the New York Jets have flopped - so how could it get worse for him? Tonight his Twitter account was hacked and it still has not been dealt with, despite a tip from Mashable. "Clowney" basically is telling fans where to get off, usually referring to them as "bitch," all the more embarrasing since the real Clowney at the top of the page professes his love for God. Most recently the invader tweeted, "I am not a rogue hackker! I am a professional muthfucka. So get it right." UPDATE Clowney has now tweeted: "Everybody this is David!! I am so sorry, these comments ARE NOT me." No new rogue tweets now for 10 hours.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Truthiness of Bobsledding

Stephen Colbert, obsessed with the winter Olympics, has now gone bobsledding with a winning U.S. team and proclaimed it just like being in the worst snowball war of your life. He says this means he's now on the team for good.

Saint Louis

Ben Ratliff at a NYT blog uses review of new Louis Armstrong bio to discuss briefly this rare 1933 video. Whatever you think of this, keep in mind: He was the most influential musician--and singer--of the 20th century. If you care to argue, leave a comment!

Seeing Red Over "South Park"

In what may be the biggest reach of the year, "South Park" is blamed yet again for something bad-- in this case, an attack on a redhaired school kid. Don't worry, Facebook also gets blamed. Here's the actual audio from the original, offending "ginger kid" South Park segment from three years ago, brilliantly mashed together with, uh, familiar examples. It's not the first time this segment has been blamed for harassment of "gingers."

AP, Thank God, Covers Big Brit Scoop

I guess this confirms the Downing Street Memo, as if it needed it. I tweeted the breaking story last night, and now AP has covered it. What it leaves out is Brit press linking it more to Bush and suggestions that officials in both government's deserve war crimes consideration. Here's full AP story, opening below:

Leaked British government documents call into question ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair's public statements on the buildup to the Iraq war and show plans for the U.S.-led 2003 invasion were being made more than a year earlier, a newspaper says.

Britain's Sunday Telegraph published details of private statements made by senior British military figures claiming plans were in place months before the March 2003 invasion, but were so badly drafted they left troops poorly equipped and ill-prepared for the conflict.

The documents — transcripts of interviews from an internal defense ministry review of the conflict — disclose that some planning for the Iraq war had begun in February 2002. Maj. Gen. Graeme Lamb, then head of Britain's special forces, was quoted as saying he had been "working the war up since early 2002," according to the newspaper.

In July 2002, Blair told lawmakers at a House of Commons committee session that there were no preparations to invade Iraq.

'WSJ': Jump in Suicides In Recession

It's not exactly a shocker, but a good thing to quantify: The Wall Street Journal reports Monday that its study of available data on suicides from many states suggests a rise in suicides since the economy went bad in 2008. Details here. The photo at left, from AP last January, shows a van, driven over a cliff in Colorado, in a suicide attempt. The driver survived. The van?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coming: New Period for AOL

AOL announced tonight it is changing its logo name to "Aol." Yes, that's upper and lower case with a period at end. And they also just sent me six of their logo "reveals" as they call them, with more to come.

From their press release tonight: "The new AOL brand identity is a simple, confident logotype, revealed by ever changing images. It’s one consistent logo with countless ways to reveal. The new brand identity will be fully unveiled on December 10, when AOL common stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange...."

My First Rock Idol

I was a little young for Elvis, and was already a huge Ricky Nelson fan from his pre-rocking days on Ozzie and Harriet (Buddy Holly did not have a weekly sit-com), so when he started making records he was the guy for me. He doubled up with film performances shown at the end of Ozzie and Harriet--in some ways a precursor to the music video. In this hit he is backed on guitar by the one and only James Burton, a constant ally before he jumped to Elvis and Vegas.

'SNL' Presents a REAL Disaster Movie: Palin in '2012'

Saturday, November 21, 2009

When Beethoven Reached Critical 'Mass'

Wife and I will be attending performance on Sunday in Westchester of the greatest "religious" musical piece ever, Beethoven's Mass in C Major. This is saying something for yours truly, what with my budding atheism. But the mass is so incredible it trumps everything and must shake any non-believers non-beliefs. Beethoven's Missa Solemnis gets most of the props, but to these ears that later work seems somewhat bloated and formless, though spectacular at times. Here is a version of the "Gloria" from the C Major mass.

Stiff Competition

Forget the Emmys, Grammys, Oscars or even the Cy Young awards. What really captures my attention is the annual worst-sex-writing in fiction prize put on by Literary Review. Well, this year's finalists have just been announced. As usual there are some distinguished writers there, such as Paul Theroux and Amos Oz, and the rocker Nick Cave -- but only one woman. Getting the most attention is the legendary Philip Roth, whose new novel, The Humbling (indeed) focuses on an older man who gets a lesbian to "turn" for him. Here is an excerpt that helped get him on the, so to speak, short list. The geezer and the former lesbo pick up another woman for a threesome:

"This was not soft porn. This was no longer two unclothed women caressing and kissing on a bed. There was something primitive about it now, this woman-on-woman violence, as though in the room filled with shadows, Pegeen were a magical composite of shaman, acrobat, and animal. It was as if she were wearing a mask on her genitals, a weird totem mask, that made her into what she was not and was not supposed to be. There was something dangerous about it. His heart thumped with excitement – the god Pan looking on from a distance with his spying, lascivious gaze."

'E&P' Nabs Joe the Plumber Scoop

About the last person we expected my magazine to interview out in the heartland was Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher. But the intrepid former E&P intern and reporter (he covered both the 2004 and 2008 political conventions and Obama's inauguration for us, and also was part of MTV's political team) Charles Geraci caught up with Joe during an appearance in Logan, Utah. Both Joe and Charles are in my book on the campaign, Why Obama Won (see cover to the left). Charles works for a daily paper out there.

Among other things, Joe calls President Obama's ideology "UnAmerican," but that's to be expected. We have the whole thing up at the E&P site--and that's Charles with Joe pictured above--but here is the surprising quote in which Joe, despite admiring his pal Sarah Palin, comes out AGAINST her running for president in 2012.

Regarding Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate now making her rounds across the country on a book tour, Wurzelbacher told E&P he hopes she is not a candidate for president in 2012.

"I hope she doesn't (run) because I think she could do a lot for America outside of office," Wurzelbacher said. "And I think she could rally Americans to get together and make some changes from the grassroots level. I think she could be an incredible rallying point, and I think that's where she could serve America best."

To those who charge Wurzelbacher has "capitalized on my 15 minutes of fame," he disagrees, telling E&P, "I'm a year into this, and I am not rich by no means. My book is out of print. I'm selling the last remaining copies. I did not expect enormous dollars from it. It's just what it is. I haven't gotten behind any merchandise. I haven't sold out."

Beck As In Wreck?

NYT just out with big piece on Glenn Beck announcing today that he is going "activist" in an even bigger way: "Mr. Beck is styling himself as a political organizer. He says he will promote voter registration drives and sponsor a series of conventions across the country featuring conservative speakers, all leading up to a rally in Washington in August to coincide with the release of his book on conservative proposals for the country.

"In an interview, Mr. Beck chose his words carefully about his plans and would not say how directly he might support particular candidates. But he made clear that he intends to help elect politicians aligned with his limited-government world view. On Saturday he was to hold a campaign-style rally in The Villages in Florida, north of Orlando, and announce his plans." Mediaite with long summary and excerpts from his "plan" here. He previews it in video below:


Wrestling with Sarah Palin

No one goes off quite like Matt Taibbi and now he has gone off on poor Sarah Palin. He does give her her due as a "gifted" politicians who leaves a Rush Limbaugh "in the dust." His conclusion:

She is the country’s first WWE politician — a cartoon combatant who inspires stadiums full of frustrated middle American followers who will cheer for her against whichever villain they trot out, be it Newsweek, Barack Obama, Katie Couric, Steve Schmidt, the Mad Russian, Randy Orton or whoever. Her followers will not know that she is the perfect patsy for our system, designed as it is to channel popular anger in any direction but a useful one, and to keep the public tied up endlessly in pointless media melees over meaningless nonsense (melees of the sort that develop organically around Palin everywhere she goes). Like George W. Bush, even Palin herself doesn’t know this, another reason she’s such a perfect political tool.

Mary, Mary, Not Contrary

Sen. Landrieu just came out for allowing the Democrats' health reform bill to come to a vote (without committing to actually voting for it). That left Sen. Lincoln of Arkansas to possibly cast the deciding vote. And, at about 2:30 pm, she said, yes, she would back the Dems tonite but NEVER back a public option, even after Harry Reid gave her $50 million for abstinence ed.

Meanwhile, the Senate debate has proved nowhere near as entertaining as the House debate two weeks ago, when it took about half the slots on Twitter's trending topics with even CSPAN getting a shout out as one of them. Unlike the House debate, this one features long speeches and the people making them are not quite as wacky (usually) as some of their House colleagues. Still waiting for first senator to bring baby to the floor. Too bad John Edwards no longer there.

A Mad Man's Greatest Hits

The Best of Roger Sterling's one-liners.

The Boss and Me: Springsteen, 37 Years Ago

Almost exactly 37 years ago my first writing about Bruce Springsteen appeared. I had first read about him in a one-liner in, I believe, Billboard. He had played a brief, overlooked, set at Max's Kansas City in August 1972 not long after signing as a solo act, at Columbia, thanks to the great John Hammond. First record had not yet come out. I think the mention in Billboard spelled his name Springstein, and when I wrote a little item for Crawdaddy, where I was senior editor, in November I spelled it that way too.

About a month later, my friend and editor Peter Knobler and I were the only two journos to accept a press junket invite to tag along with Bruce and his band when they made their debut -- playing for the cons at Sing Sing prison, up in Don Draper's hometown of Ossining. The date was December 7, 1972 -- my birthday as it happened. Peter and I were so knocked out we then caught Bruce in a club that weekend (with about a dozen other attendees) and decided to feature him in Crawdaddy, it what became a landmark 10,000-word piece, the first magazine article on the boy.

And the rest, as they say, is history. We became friends and, in 2008, he wrote a brief preface for my book on Iraq and the media. Here's a clip from that Max's gig (sometimes wrongly attributed to the Gaslight). Growing Up, then and now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Couple of Turkeys

Re-living the day one year ago Sarah Palin pardoned a turkey--and then answered questions while the slaughter went on behind her, as she touted the "fun" day. Here's how it was reported as news broke via MSNBC.

Cartman As Tea-Bagger?

Following up his hit impression of a junior Glenn Beck, Cartman returns with a lament that his America is gone--there are too many "minorities at my water park." And "even the authorities are minorities."

But Does He Spike the Ball?

Now have Drew Brees passing to Obama football PSA video, coming on Thanksgiving, here:

"Tea" for Thanksgiving

The movie you've been waiting for arriving: "Sneak peeks" this weekend, they say, web cast on Monday.  Official site here.  Debut in D.C. on Dec. 2 at, natch, the Reagan Building.   Trailer--this is not a parody-- for the "Tea Party Movie" follows.

That Lone Republican

Coming this Sunday in the NYT Magazine, a Q & A with that lone House Republican who voted for the Democrats' health reform plan two weeks ago. Of course, this is Rep. Joseph Cao of Lousiana.   He tells Deborah Solomon that he has been scolded “by Republicans all over the United States…But not at all from the party’s leadership.”  In fact, he says he’d just had lunch with party leder Rep. Eric Cantor down in NOLA and “he was very supportive of who I am and what I have to do to represent the district.”

But Cao claims he voted not to curry favor with his mostly black constituents but on principle, following “the politics of the Gospel.  You have to take care of the poor…help those who can’t help themselves.” He became a Republican only because of their “strong pro-life stance.” 

Cao admits that there is only one other Asian-American among the 177 House Republicans, but doesn't think that's why Cantor and others support him.  He also admits he is only 5-foot-2,  which makes him “look 18, even though I’m 42.”   He also claims that Louisiana might have been a den of corruption in the past but now “we are squeaky clean.”

Dilbert Gets It

Colbert on Letterman: Iraq, Obama, Comedy, Too

Results Are Zinn: Springsteen/Dylan/Vedder CD Coming

It's a long-awaited film/music project, finally coming in December, based on work of Howard Zinn (who I have met, swell guy) with help from Matt Damon. Here's part of the PR Newswire release:

Only genuine passion for an extraordinary and powerful project could bring together artists ranging from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman and Eddie Vedder to John Legend, Jackson Browne and Lupe Fiasco for exclusive live performances. They and others are heard on The People Speak (Verve/UMe), the soundtrack of the documentary being released December 8, 2009, in conjunction with the December 13 broadcast of the film set to air on History.

The film celebrates democracy, based on the lives and experiences of ordinary Americans who, through their words and actions, changed the course of history, from the founding of this country to the civil rights movement and beyond. ...The People Speak features some of the world's most renowned artists, like Springsteen, who performs with just a guitar and harmonica in his New Jersey home recording studio, and Legend who sings solo backed by a piano at a Boston theatre, as well as others (including Taj Mahal, Allison Moorer, The Black Crowes' Rich Robinson and X's Exene Cervenka and John Doe) at the Malibu Performing Arts Center, where they perform both vintage and recent protest-music classics for The People Speak.

With a sense of timelessness, Springsteen reprises the John Steinbeck/Woody Guthrie-inspired "The Ghost of Tom Joad" from his 1995 album of the same name; Dylan sings Guthrie's "Do Re Mi"; and Dylan's early '60s gems "Masters Of War" and "Only A Pawn In Their Game" are performed by Vedder and Robinson, respectively.

One of the best-known songs of the Great Depression, "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?," is sung by Moorer; Newman is at his piano for one of his finest works, "Sail Away," the title track from his 1972 album; Legend performs Marvin Gaye's '70s anthem "What's Going On"; Mahal lays down the immortal "Blues With A Feeling"; and Cervenka and Doe revive X's roots rocker "See How We Are" from 1987. Bringing protest music up to date are Fiasco's "American Terrorist," first heard on his 2006 debut album; Pink's "Dear Mr. President," heard on her album of that same year; and Browne's "The Drums Of War," which debuted on his 2008 album.

The People Speak documentary is inspired by co-executive producer Howard Zinn's 1980 book, A People's History Of The United States, which has sold more than two million copies, and 2004's Voices Of A People's History Of The United States, which Zinn co-wrote with co-executive producer Anthony Arnove. The film, narrated by Howard Zinn, features dramatic performances chronicling this country's history -- including charter documents, letters, diaries and more -- by such celebrities as Damon, Brolin, Marisa Tomei, Don Cheadle, and Sandra Oh, woven together with archival footage. A DVD of the film and a separate DVD of music performances will be issued in 2010.

Photos That Helped Turn a War

Everybody remembers Seymour Hersh's detective work for print but who took the now famous photos of the My Lai massacre, which first appeared 40 years ago today? The combat photographer whose pictures of a massacre of Vietnamese civilians were published in Cleveland's Plain Dealer 40 years ago recalls it was hard for people to believe what U.S. troops had done. The Plain Dealer of Cleveland helped expose the killings at My Lai when photos taken by Sgt. Ron Haeberle appeared in the newspaper on Nov. 20, 1969. The AP reports: "Haeberle had been honorably discharged by the military the previous year and decided to share his pictures with his hometown newspaper. Haeberle, who's now 68, says he's glad if his action helped bring a turning point in the Vietnam War."

The Greatest Recording of Chamber Music Ever?

This gets my vote for now: Beethoven's opus 97, "Archduke" trio, 3rd movment, with Jacqueline DuPre, Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman. Eight minutes here, hit link for part II on the YouTube page when you finish Part I.

My Book "Why Obama Won" Wins Wide Attention

My book, Why Obama Won, was the first to explore the historic 2008 campaign -- and its aftermath -- from a "progressive" perspective. The book, my ninth, focuses on new media vs. old media, grassroots vs. mainstream, and all of the controversies, from Jeremiah the Preacher to Joe the Plumber. It's also a window on the future. There's no book like it out there.

You can purchase Why Obama Won (Sinclair Books) online. Order it for $16 via Amazon by clicking the book cover to the left, or go right to Amazon, or through other online outlets. See below for a list.

To watch my appearance on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show, go here. Susan Gardner, a top editor at DailyKos, has a very favorable review here. A weeklong discussion about the book and the issues it raises for the future began at Talking Points Memo.

One reason the book is different: I wrote about the campaign almost daily from a rare position, as a blogger at three of the most popular political sites (Huff Post, TPM and DailyKos), and as the editor of "mainstream" Editor & Publisher magazine. My Twitter feed here.

"A great early snapshot....It really raises the question of how the 2008 campaign might have played out in an earlier era, before private citizens and small publications had the ability to get video and soundbites out to millions of people." -- Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News, author of Tear Down This Myth.

In chronicling the entire race, Why Obama Won shows how politics and campaigns in America will never be the same. To get a flavor of the book, check out my current article on how the old media screwed up at Mother Jones. An excerpt from the book on the "new media" revolution is up at Alternet. Here's my piece on Stephen Colbert's brief candidacy -- plus some of the most wacky quotes from the campaign. Return to the days when we still had Bill Kristol and Sarah Palin to kick around.

My previous books on classic American campaigns, both for Random House, are Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady and The Campaign of the Century, winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize. Among other books, I co-authored two with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America and, on capital punishment, Who Owns Death?

"Future investigators are going to have to pay attention to both the content and the argument presented in Why Obama Won." -- Paul Street, author, Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics.

Contact me for interviews or some such at: epic1934@aol.com. From the Amazon description of the book:

In the first book of its kind, Greg Mitchell, award-winning author and editor of Editor & Publisher, probes the historic 2008 race for president, from the first primary to the aftermath of the election -- from the "netroots" to the national media....Mitchell is the author of nine books for major publishers, most recently, "So Wrong for So Long," on Iraq and the media, acclaimed by Bill Moyers, Glenn Greenwald, Arianna Huffington and Bruce Springsteen, among many others.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brees-to-Obama on Thanksgiving

Don't miss new PSA coming on Thanksgiving to promote child fitness and fight obesity, featuring pro footballers such as Troy P playing on White House lawn -- and a slow mo Drew Brees to Obama post pattern (the prez in Bears uniform, of course). It's just up here.

Fox has Only Apologized Once Today But It's Still Early

The latest mea culpa on misused pro-GOP footage. 


UPDATED: Most Republicans Believe ACORN Stole Election for Obama--Sets Off Twitter Craze!

This is for those who think you can actually reason with "the other side": This is a legit survey from Public Policy Polling.  It's so wacky it set off a Twitter craze of other fanciful ACORN conspiracy theories.   I did a Huff Post roundup here.   Now that poll:  

The poll asked this question: "Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately won the Presidential election last year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for him?" The overall top-line is legitimately won 62%, ACORN stole it 26%.

Among Republicans, however, only 27% say Obama actually won the race, with 52% -- an outright majority -- saying that ACORN stole it, and 21% are undecided. Among McCain voters, the breakdown is 31%-49%-20%. By comparison, independents weigh in at 72%-18%-10%, and Democrats are 86%-9%-4%.

Talk of Killing Obama Circulated One Year Ago

The latest on good Christian wingers seemingly calling for Obama's death by citing Psalms on bumper stickers and t-shirts (see post below) made me go back exactly one year to the chilling threats along these lines that my magazine, Editor & Publisher, helped bring to light. I wrote a column detailing some of it -- please go back red-- but beyond the "lynching" incidents, most chilling were the many incidents of school kids chatting about "assassinating" Obama. They could have only heard that talk at home. One can only imagine that it continues today.

Good Christians Pray for Obama's Death?


NYT today catches up to new craze: plastering a quote from, or reference to, lines from Psalm 109 which hopes for Obama's end of days, and it goes on from there. Started on bumper stickers, now t-shirts and more. After hoping for end of his days, it continues: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.// Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places."

UPDATE: Fox Admits Using Wrong Footage Again--More Fodder for 'Daily Show'

First it was the fake crowd shots at that recent tea bag rally in Washington, which Sean Hannity had to apologize for (after Jon Stewart caught it). Then Think Progress on Wednesday found Fox trumpeting "new video" of crowds turning out for Palin on current tour--which seem to be from 2008 campaign (look for the McCain-Palin signs). After silence, Fox has now admitted error and says it is taking "disciplinary" action. Odd that the mistakes always favor a rightwing side......

Dobbs Gets 'Daily' Rub Down

Lou was greeted by Jon Stewart last night with a mariachi band and then it got worse for him from there on out. Jon was on the attack so much that Dobbs barely got a few words in--hence, the show has put an additional ten minutes or so on line. You can watch the whole thing starting below, then click thru for rest.
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Colbert Has a 'Word' for Palin

Classic fun bit from last night. Palin won't accept blame for anything in her book, he complains. Then who named her kids?
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oscars Not Grouchy, Or: What's Up, Docs?

I don't recall this being done before but I guess anything goes in the Oscar races now that they have extended the best picture nominees to 10 (can they even find that many?). Just out are the 15 finalists for the best documentary Oscar. I think they still will cut that to 5 nominees. Included are my faves The Cove (which also inspired a classic South Park episode) and Food, Inc., plus film about my friend Dan Ellsberg, and the Doctors Without Borders flick and more. The Cove trailer:

'Wash Post' Provides Index of People in Palin Book--And Some Denials


The Sarah Palin book has no index, so people she might have praised or slammed have to either stand up in a bookstore and skim the whole thing or actually buy it. Now the Washington Post has provided a handy people index, which is searchable, or you can read all the remarks--PLUS comments from some of the people.

Who knew that she was upset that Kid Rock would not show up at a rally just for her--would do it only if McCain there? Also, she calls him the fine type of "common sense conservative." Kid Rock?

And her revelation re: pastor Rick Warren: "Palin mentions talking to and praying with Warren while in the shower, 'in a few inches of water with a shower curtain for a wardrobe.'"

A couple of days ago, when an excerpt related to her SNL appearance surfaced, I wrote that I hope Alec Baldwin would fact-check. Now he has. Here is the Wash Post bit. It relates to Palin's claim that the show unfairly cut her line reminding Baldwin that he had promised to leave the country if John Kerry lost in 2004.

According to EW, Baldwin’s rep says the reason that line was turned down was because the actor never made that claim. "'They nixed the joke because the underlying premise just wasn’t true," Baldwin’s rep, Matt Hiltzik, tells EW on behalf of Baldwin. . . . But once Palin knew that, after telling her [it wasn't true], she said, "Well, let’s say it anyway," like she needed it to be true.'”

A Thrilla from Wasilla

In her book, Sarah Palin talks about putting her put down on certain things suggested for her infamous SNL appearance--and complaining that some ideas she had were rejected. Somehow she left out the dirty joke that got axed. Seth Meyers recalled it last night on Letterman. It was a lyric in that rap she experienced during the show, something about back in bed with Todd in Wasilla she really believed in "drill, baby, drilla."

From One Fake News Outfit to Another?

Former Fox News host Suzanne Sena now working for Onion News Network. You will recall CNN's Bobbie Batista taking a gig there a year or two ago. Here Sena presents segment on Obama's teleprompter -- still an obsession over at her old network.

And What About Salary Caps in Football and B-ball?

Velvet Goldmine

NYT in blog post reveals big upcoming NY Public Library event with Lou Reed and two other Velvet Undergrounders. Truly great and most influential American band--their live '69 album one of my all-time faves. Here is cool video from 1966 (yes, that early), shot by Warhol apparently, of rehearsal.

Going Very Rogue

We know Palin believes in gun rights to the max but is shooting Rachel Maddow in bad taste? And what about humping a rival book at the end?

How Did 'Newsweek' Miss This Pic?

Really, the magazine -- now roundly criticized for its cover choice from left, right and Palin -- had so many other options to have fun with, such as this one. We cna imagine the cover lines: "Palin as President--A Stretch?" "Palin: Over Her Head?" "Yoga Bare Next Time?" Offer your own.

When 'NYT' Gets Taped

News emerged yesterday about a guy with an HBO deal wanting to shoot at the NYT focusing on their media coders and decoders. Our friend David Carr tweeted about it, the New York Observer covered etc. Reminded me of this year's Daily Show visit which some at the Times later criticized or proclaimed, Never Again. Good Times?
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Bowing Out

Karl Rove tweets again today that Obama way out of line because U.S. is a republic and does not bow down. But it's okay to smooch on Rove's watch, I guess.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'Newsweek' Did Not 'Run' This One

Newsweek continuing to get heat for its Palin in shorts cover, both from her, the right and left. Editor Jon Meacham says they just picked most interesting shot to illustrate their theme which was...what? The photo, we now know, was plucked from a shoot for Runner's World so bad form there, to start. In any case, Meacham had other shots from that shoot that were a trifle more demure, such as the one we show at left.

Biden Returns to "Daily Show"

And the gaffe-prone veep produces more gasps even before the show--as his Secret Service entourage gets involved in a car accident in midtown NYC, just a couple blocks from Jon Stewart's studio, injuring four. Biden's crew actually hit and killed a pedestrian just last week.

On a lighter note: Who can forget that day in January 2007 when Sen. Biden offered his infamous quip about "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." He was referring to the man who is now his new boss, Barack Obama. But by now, you have surely forgotten that this took place on the very day Biden announced his race for president -- and that he happened to appear that night on "The Daily Show."

There he said (as I reported at the time) that he was simply trying to be "complimentary" toward Obama, but wasn't "artful" in doing so. He told Stewart that the "word that really got me in trouble" was calling Obama "clean....I should have said fresh. What I meant was he's got new ideas."

He said he had already called Obama, to which Stewart quipped, "I bet you did." Biden then said he also called former candidates Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, to which Stewart added: "And Michael Jordan?"

When Biden first appeared on stage, Stewart teased, "How's your day been?" Biden said, "It's a tough game," and crossed himself (he is Catholic).

Stewart reminded him that just yesterday he had told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he had learned from previous campaigns to be careful, since "words matter." Stewart said, "And then you came out with this one," quoting the lines about Obama.

Stewart advised in a whisper, "When you are about to say one of those things, take a deep breath and count to 10."

Baba Wawa Asks Palin Big Question: Does She Want To Be Talk Show Host

'Death in Tehran' Tonite on PBS

A full hour on martyr Neda--but (accoridng to reviews) also mourning that activists have had to retreat and disappeared from headlines.

Beck Hails Cartman, Jon Stewart Impressions

Glenn took time out to praise (did he have any choice?) the recent parodies starring him on South Park and The Daily Show. Here is link to that, plus part of the Cartman classic below.

Colbert On Aerosmith: Steve Perry? Tyler Perry?

Alpha Dog of the Week - Joe Perry
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