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Archive for January, 2007

A Sad Day…

The Texas Observer, the home newspaper of the great Molly Ivins, is now reporting that she has lost her battle with breast cancer.

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Joe Biden’s verbal snafu has been blogged about quite extensively today. Bob and Pesky Fly both covered it quite well today.

I’m not Joe Biden’s biggest fan. But I would be quite interested to hear the recording the NY Observer reporter made (Surely he recorded, right?). Biden’t not the smoothest talker in the world, but even George W. Bush wouldn’t make so fundamental a mistake.

Which is why I want to hear the recording. I want to see where in that statement he paused.

Read the following two passages and tell me the difference between them. It’s subtle, but it’s huge if you spot it.

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American, who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

See the difference between them?

The first version, as reported by the Observer: It implies that Obama is the first African American that is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.

The second version says something a little different. The comma, or lack thereof, has changed the meaning of the sentence. It says Obama is the first mainstream African-American candidate (Not technically true, but the first with a real chance at the nomination), and goes on to describe him as “articulate, bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”.

I’m no fan of Joe Biden— But before we toss him under the bus, should we perhaps make some effort to ascertain whether or not this is simply sloppy punctuation by a reporter?

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Ha! And you thought John Kerry was a flip flopper…

My father always used to tell me when we discussed politics that he thought John McCain was “crazy as a shithouse bug”. Of course, Dad was a lifelong Republican voter that hated McCain for the few times he voted with Democrats.

But after seeing McCain’s little meltdown in Davos, I’m beginning to think Dear Old Dad was right.

Toward the end of the conversation, I raised my hand and asked McCain:

“Given that you’ve said that you are ‘scared to death that it’s going to be a very hot spring in Afghanistan,’ and given that you have also said, repeatedly, that only a substantial increase in troops in Iraq would make a real difference, why not send the 21,000 troops headed to Iraq, in what is clearly an act of desperation, to Afghanistan instead?”

During his response, McCain equated those opposing his position with “the far left.”

“Do you consider Sam Brownback part of the far left?” I jumped in.

The Senator flared and told me that if I’d only let him finish his answer instead of interrupting, we could have “a civil discussion.”

He then continued on about why he supports the escalation (see his speech to the AIE if you need a refresher). Along the way, he denied that he had used the phrase “the far left.”

Wow, I thought, the Straight Talk Express has run so far off the rails McCain is now denying things he’d said in front of close to two-dozen note-taking journalists not half-a-minute before.

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“She could sing anything . . . and make it sound like it was the only music that mattered.” — Richard Harrington, The Washington Post, Nov. 17, 1996

“A lot of people have covered my songs. And it’s a strange emotion, you know, because your own songs are like your own babies. I mean you might hear someone reinterpreting them and maybe you don’t agree with what they’ve done. But this version was just so pure, so excellent, that I was deeply moved by it, and so happy that she covered it. Eva’s is one of the best versions of my song I’ve ever heard…There is something about her voice – a quality – that you can’t really put into words. It’s a magical quality. People respond to its purity. It suggests something ethereal– something unattainable.” – Sting

Last night, I had a rare pleasure— I introduced someone very near and dear to me to the music of Eva Cassidy. Her haunting voice, silenced by cancer in 1996 just as the sun was beginning to rise on what I believe would have been a stellar career, lives on in a mere handful of recordings.

This isn’t an actual live video— The night of this live recording, her friend videotaped only the second set she played and not the first. No true video of her playing this song exists. But the audio is indeed recorded live at Blues Alley in Washington DC.

But this will do.

“Fields of Gold” by Eva Cassidy

Although the audio quality is sketchy, this video shows you why Cyndi Lauper should thank her stars every day for Eva Cassidy— Once Cassidy came along and showed her how “True Colours” should be performed, Lauper did an acoustic version based on it and became relevant again.

Enjoy. And check out some more of her work. A voice that beautiful deserves regular listening.

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Before anyone gets too angry about that headline, it was one recommended by Ms. Ivins herself.

But she is indeed gravely ill. A year ago, she was diagnosed with stage III inflammatory breast cancer for the third time (First in 1999, the second in 2003). She had taken some time off to receive chemotherapy, and returned to her column earlier this month. She vowed that her column would be dedicated to one cause and one cause alone— The end of the war in Iraq. Sadly, she only got onne column published before being hospitalized again.

We would all do well to remember her in our thoughts and prayers.

And if you don’t own any of her books, then there’s a very fun way to help her out financially as she fights this dreadful disease. I can personally vouch for the first two, as they are masterpieces.

Bushwhacked: Life In George W. Bush’s America by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose

Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose

Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I Have Known by Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? by Molly Ivins

You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You by Molly Ivins

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War? Nah.

State of the Union? Nah.

Hamas and Fatah going to war with one another? Nope.

Fox News took time to give us the really important news of the day.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Hat tip to Rachel Sklar at Eat the Press

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Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colorado) put forward an amendment to repeal the Federal Minimum Wage completely, which would have reverted some states back to their individual minimum wages set at $2.65 per hour. And these are the Senators that voted with him on it:

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lott (R-MS)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thomas (R-WY)

Some are no surprise at all. But anyone running for president this year should be smart enough to not alienate the entire working class, as McCain (A likely candidate) and Brownback (Already announced as a candidate) did with this vote.

I’ll link to Bob Geiger, who got the story up before I did and did a hell of a job here and here.

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