Friday, December 31, 2010

Dougie MacLean - Auld Lang Syne

A Scottish singer performs what is, after all, a Scottish song. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nina Simone - I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free

Billy Taylor's death was announced yesterday. He was eighty-nine, and had a long and distinguished career as a jazz pianist and educator. (He took education extremely seriously, not only teaching for many years but also earning a Ph.D. when he was in his fifties.) But to pay him tribute, instead of featuring one of his own performances, I've picked what is probably his best-known composition in its best-known performance.

Co-written with Dick Dallas, "I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free" is a civil rights anthem written in the style of the kind of hymns found in the black church when Taylor was growing up. Nina Simone, as usual, nails it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guitar Slim - The Things That I Used To Do

A true blues classic. Like a lot of people I came to it through the SRV version, but this is the original.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Captain Beefheart - Lick My Decals Off Baby

Still got the Captain on my mind. This may have been the first Beefheart song I ever heard.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Frank Rich on the Dream of Egalitarianism

At what should be a happy time of year, two grim posts in a row. But the perspicacity of Frank Rich will not be denied. Read it and weep.

This month our own neo-Kennedy president — handed the torch by J.F.K.’s last brother and soon to face the first Congress without a Kennedy since 1947 — identified a new “Sputnik moment” for America. This time the jolt was provided by the mediocre performance of American high school students, who underperformed not just the Chinese but dozens of other countries in standardized tests of science, math and reading. In his speech on the subject, President Obama called for more spending on research and infrastructure, more educational reform and more clean energy technology. (All while reducing the deficit, mind you.) Worthy goals, but if you watch “Disneyland Dream,” you realize something more fundamental is missing from America now: the bedrock faith in the American way that J.F.K. could tap into during his era’s Sputnik moment.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Krugman on Humbug Ascendant

I'd love to post something cheerful today, but what Krugman has to say is too good to ignore.

When discussing the alleged huge expansion of government under Mr. Obama, I’ve repeatedly found that people just won’t believe me when I try to point out that it never happened. They assume that I’m lying, or somehow cherry-picking the data. After all, they’ve heard over and over again about that surge in government spending and employment, and they don’t realize that everything they’ve heard was a special delivery from the Humbug Express.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Judy Garland - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

The original version, seen here in its original context, as part of the movie Meet Me in St Louis.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gail Collins on Achievements of the Lame Duck Congress

I think this is the first time I've linked to Gail Collins, who's been a columnist for the New York Times for a relatively short period of time. But she's pretty good, and getting better.

“When it’s all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who called the hard-charging lame duck “a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions.” This is the rapidly evolving new hyperpartisan Lindsey Graham, who was so ticked off at the fact that the Senate was devoting a mere eight days to the treaty that he told the antitreaty obstructionist Jon Kyl of Arizona: “I want to apologize to you for the way you’ve been treated by your colleagues.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Krugman on a Newborn Zombie Lie

Prof Krugman does this weird thing where he, you know, does actual research and stuff. What's that all about?

If you read what right-wingers say about the economy — and even alleged moderate conservatives, like Tim Pawlenty — you see, over and over again, the assertion that under Obama, government employment has risen sharply even as private employment has fallen. And you even get numbers, like Pawlenty’s assertion that 590,000 public sector jobs have been added. Yet the data say otherwise. What’s going on?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ricky Nelson - Fools Rush In

From his folks' TV show. Master of the Telecaster James Burton plays lead.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

John Lee Hooker - Hobo Blues (1965)

The backdrop is a little weird -- there's no way to make something "authentic" by using a backdrop -- but it's still John Lee Hooker, and that's what counts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jimi Hendrix - Little Drummer Boy

The music and the video don't match, but what the hell, 'tis the season.

about yesterday

No electricity in the morning, then busy all day long, so no post yesterday. Sorry.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Frank Rich on the Smithsonian Furor and Gay Rights

Mr Rich points out the obvious that no one else quite seems to see.

It still seems an unwritten rule in establishment Washington that homophobia is at most a misdemeanor. By this code, the Smithsonian’s surrender is no big deal; let the art world do its little protests. This attitude explains why the ever more absurd excuses concocted by John McCain for almost single-handedly thwarting the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are rarely called out for what they are — “bigotry disguised as prudence,” in the apt phrase of Slate’s military affairs columnist, Fred Kaplan. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has been granted serious and sometimes unchallenged credence as a moral arbiter not just by Rupert Murdoch’s outlets but by CNN, MSNBC and The Post’s “On Faith” Web site even as he cites junk science to declare that “homosexuality poses a risk to children” and that being gay leads to being a child molester.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Krugman on the Recent Tax Deal

In Krugman's opinion, it's not a good deal. As usual, he's almost certainly right.

You may say that economic policy shouldn’t be affected by partisan considerations. But even if you believe that — how’s the weather on your planet? — you have to consider the situation likely to prevail a year from now, as the good parts of the Obama-McConnell deal are about to expire. Wouldn’t there be pressure on Democrats to offer Republicans something, anything, to improve economic prospects for 2012? And wouldn’t that be a recipe for another bad deal?

Surely the answer to both questions is yes. And that means that Mr. Obama is, as I said, paying for the release of some hostages — getting an extension of unemployment benefits and some more stimulus — by giving Republicans new hostages, which they may well use to make new, destructive demands a year from now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Lennon - Oh My Love

With George Harrison and Nicky Hopkins. Phil Spector and Yoko are seen at the beginning. From the Imagine album.

Friday, December 3, 2010