Monday, March 31, 2008

Sarah McLachlan, Prayer Of Saint Francis

by Hector Diego

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

Ahmad Al-Jawadi, Sufi Violin

by Hector Diego

Exquisitely beautiful.

Zen Meditation Music

by Hector Diego

It just is.

Martina McBride, Concrete Angel

by Hector Diego

This one was requested by daughter # 3.

God U Takem

by Hector Diego

It's the marriage procession music from the excellent film The Thin Red Line. Very beautiful.

Pastor Jeremiah Wright -- Goddamn The New York Times!

by Jay Allbritton
The most crucial evidence I've seen yet debunking the notion that Barack Obama derived his views about race and religion from Pastor Jeremiah Wright comes in the form of a scathing letter written by Wright to the New York Times.

The letter, which was addressed to Times writer Jodi Kantor after Kantor wrote a piece Wright felt misrepresented his relationship with Obama, was written over a year ago, so it's not a political response to the controversy.

Here's some key passages:
I told you what a dreamer [Obama] was. I told you how idealistic he was. We talked about how refreshing it would be for someone who knew about Islam to be in the Oval Office. Your own question to me was, Didn't I think it would be incredible to have somebody in the Oval Office who not only knew about Muslims, but had living and breathing Muslims in his own family? I told you how important it would be to have a man who not only knew the difference between Shiites and Sunnis prior to 9/11/01 in the Oval Office, but also how important it would be to have a man who knew what Sufism was; a man who understood that there were different branches of Judaism; a man who knew the difference between Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews and Reformed Jews; and a man who was a devout Christian, but who did not prejudge others because they believed something other than what he believed.

I talked about how rare it was to meet a man whose Christianity was not just "in word only." I talked about Barack being a person who lived his faith and did not argue his faith. I talked about Barack as a person who did not draw doctrinal lines in the sand nor consign other people to hell if they did not believe what he believed.

So, in other words, no goddamning America for Barack.
Out of a two-hour conversation with you about Barack's spiritual journey and my protesting to you that I had not shaped him nor formed him, that I had not mentored him or made him the man he was, even though I would love to take that credit, you did not print any of that. When I told you, using one of your own Jewish stories from the Hebrew Bible as to how God asked Moses, "What is that in your hand?," that Barack was like that when I met him. Barack had it "in his hand." Barack had in his grasp a uniqueness in terms of his spiritual development that one is hard put to find in the 21st century, and you did not print that.

Holly Brook, Giving It Up For You

by Hector Diego

I've been looking for more stuff from Holly Brook following her great 2004 album Like Blood Like Honey.

Anyone reminded of Joni Mitchell?

Lily Allen, Smile

by Hector Diego

She's been big in England for a couple of years. I'm not sure how the US has received her. I guess this is her biggest hit so far?

I find her interesting. Hopefully, she will continue to develop as a song writer.

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Neil Young, Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere

by Hector Diego

Look who opened for who. There's a name for that.


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Hello Goodbye

by Hector Diego

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jenny Lewis, You Are What You Love

by Hector Diego

I Saw Her Standing There

by Hector Diego

Now, down the road from my house was a 13 year old kid named Hurley. His last name was also Hurley. And his middle name? Hurley, of course.

It just so happens that Hurley Hurley Hurley was bitten as badly as I was by a bug named Beatles. That's the only explanation for why a 13 year old wanted to hang out with an eight year old. Every day after school I was at the house of H.H.H. playing the Beatles. I had the Beatles' Second Album, he had all their singles, and my brother's girlfriend had the Beatles' first American album, Meet The Beatles.

By walking through the woods and to the end of the road I could hear all of the Beatles' recordings in a single day. I got a lot of exercise when I was eight years old...

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The Kinks, Sunny Afternoon

by Hector Diego

When I was a kid I couldn't stand their name, The Kinks. I still don't like it. I don't like the name, much less the concept, punk. Get out of my face with all of that.

That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the music of The Kinks, or that I never heard any punk I liked.

My wife agrees with me that some of The Kink's work sounds as if it were proto-punk. Not "Sunny Afternoon", of course.

We are going to spotlight the Kinks at KTWS Radio, because their contribution to music is substantial. And because my wife just brought home Kinks: The Ultimate Collection from our local library.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Moody Blues, Visions Of Paradise

by Hector Diego

East meets West in this piece by the Moody Blues. I believe "Visions Of Paradise" should be appreciated on its own terms. It's quite beautiful.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Paperback Writer

by Hector Diego

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Nice House, Karl

by Jay Allbritton
Former policy and campaign adviser to President Bush, Karl Rove, has undergone a tremendous amount of scrutiny for what many of his critics perceived to be dirty politics. That's because he's a very, very dirty practitioner of politics. As campaign guru and top political adviser, how could he not be? If you have a Presidential campaign going on, having the President advocate, or even enact, a particular policy that would help the campaign serves your self interest. Since you have most of the power in the policy realm, there's no need to get the policy people on board. Very little or no debate ensues. There's no chance for the policy people to say no. So the policy serves the campaign. This is not how it's worked in past administrations.

So, in 2002, with crucial midterm elections coming, campaign adviser Karl told policy adviser Karl to get those neocons and other hawks in the administration (who were always going to invade Iraq during the Bush presidency) to time the invasion so it would do the most political damage to the Democrats. The vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq took place on October 10 and 11, 2002, just three weeks before the midterm election. What a coincidence that geo-politics would line up with an important election that way.

Still deep in the post-9/11 haze, 29 Democrats including John Kerry, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton (text of her floor speech here) made the terrible mistake of voting for the resolution. To the extent that that decision to vote for the resolution was based on short term political gain--the survival of the Democratic Party in the face of a highly unfavorable cycle--blame for the passage of this resolution rests with the gaming of the system done by Karl Rove and the inability of Democratic leadership, especially on the parts of Senators Kerry and Clinton, to make the case against the invasion.

Bloodthirsty salivating by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld alone would not have allowed Shock and Awe to happen without consent of Congress. If Rove had allowed the resolution to come to vote in December of 2002 or anytime thereafter, it may not have passed, and it certainly would have received far more resistance.

Five years and five months later, how did all work out for Rove?

Take a look at his house. Not bad, eh?

Here Comes The Sun

by Hector Diego

Definitely one of my favorite songs.

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Anonymous Artist, Abbey Road Medley

by Hector Diego

I don't know who this dude is, but he has Harrison down.

The Kinks Live, Lola

by Hector Diego


Yoko Ono, Why

by Hector Diego

Why, indeed?

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Forbidden Colors

by Hector Diego

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Robbie Robertson, Peyote Healing

by Hector Diego

You will remember Robbie Robertson, from The Band. He's half Mohawk, from Canada.

Donovan, Atlantis

by Hector Diego

Click on this. What do you think?

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Moody Blues, The Balance

by Hector Diego

Heart Live, Crazy On You

by Hector Diego

Those outfits kill me.


Neil Young Live, Heart Of Gold

by Hector Diego

One of the best solo performers America has produced.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Governor's Getting Sprung

by Jay Allbritton
An appeals court ruled today that former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman will be released from prison pending appeal. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's a sick, sordid tale that leads right to Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzalez.

Ben Smith had a good line: "Wonder if any TV stations in Alabama will have, um, technical difficulties with this bulletin."

Oh, by the way something, Siegelman will be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Sleep well, KKKarl.

Papanasam Sivan, The Tamil Tyagarajar

by Hector Diego

Traditional South Indian music.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All You Need Is Love

by Hector Diego

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A Few Words About Andy Habsieger

by Jay Allbritton
Russ passed along a few words about the 4,000th member of the military to die in Iraq:
Andy Habsieger graduated high school 37 years after me. According to the local media, Andy was the 4000th solder killed in Iraq.

Festus, Missouri is a town of about 10,000 people just south of St. Louis. We're small town Americana where almost everyone knows everyone else. Residents of Festus are fanatical about our St. Louis Cardinals and we pack the local high school stadiums on Friday nights for football. From all accounts, Habsieger was a standout Festus Tiger football player. I remember seeing his name in the local paper many times.

According to his mother, Andy tried to enlist in the Marines after 9/11 but was denied because of an old problem with migraines. After a year of letter writing, Andy's tenacity paid off and he was accepted into the Army and eventually became a "gunner" infantry man in Iraq in October 2007. His brother Jacob is serving in Iraq also and will accompany Andy home.

Andy is the second soldier from Festus to die in Iraq. Funeral arrangements aren't finalized, but I know that this small town will rally around the Habsieger family. That's what we "country folks" do in times like these.

Neil Aspinall, 1941---2008

by Hector Diego

Neil with Paul in 1969.

If you know much about the Beatles you will remember that Neil Aspinall was their first roadie, then their personal assistant, and later took executive positions in Apple. He was a close friend and adviser to the Beatles, and even contributed to their music here and there.

He died way too young, of lung cancer, March 24. Damn those cigarettes! They took George Harrison, too.

George Harrison, Love You To

by Hector Diego

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crystal Blue Persuasion

by Hector Diego

Look to your soul, and open your mind.

What If God Smoked Cannabis

by Hector Diego

I have a few more posts to make about mind expanding substances, and then I'm going to explain why I don't recommend them. I still think they should be legal, though, and I believe an American has a Constitutional right to their use. I hope folks in other countries do too.

Now for the music. When I think of this song I don't think of an all pervading spirit or oneness, an old man with a beard, or Lord Visnu.

I think of a young Jesus with a beard, growing old. Or perhaps Jesus could be a woman. Just about anyone with much grace in spite of faults would do.

I could think of worse blasphemies. Like the one that says God sends people to hell forever.

Or even lets people do that to themselves. Because if God were one of us, he wouldn't.

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Al-Sadr Ceasefire Shaky

by Jay Allbritton
UPDATE: Apparently, "shaky" is an understatement (h/t Russ).

Ever hear the expression, "the success of the surge"? It's a powerful political phrase that has moved polls and relaxed pressure on the Bush administration and it's successor monkey, the McCain campaign.

It's also total nonsense. A variety of factors have contributed to the media phenom that is the perceived success of the surge. The biggest factor is a cease fire called by Muqtada al-Sadr that was recently extended for six more months.

Unfortunately, it looks like that truce is not going to hold.

From McClatchy (h/t Russ):
BAGHDAD — A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government.

Simultaneously, in the strategic southern port city of Basra, where Sadr's Mahdi militia is in control, the Iraqi government launched a crackdown in the face of warnings by Sadr's followers that they'll fight government forces if any Sadrists are detained. By 1 a.m. Arab satellite news channels reported clashes between the Mahdi Army and police in Basra.

Part one of the PBS Frontline documentary, Bush's War aired last night. You can watch the entire thing online right now, or later if you're out protesting or if you're on the phone with your congressional representatives.

Ray Stevens, Everything Is Beautiful [in it's own way]

by Hector Diego

All this time I thought that Ray Stevens was a black artist, but it turns out he's white.

Jesus loves the little children,
All the little children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Everything is beautiful in its own way.
Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter's day.
And everybody's beautiful in their own way.
Under God's heaven, the world's gonna find the way.

There is none so blind as he who will not see.
We must not close our minds; we must let our thoughts be free.
For every hour that passes by, we know the world gets a little bit older.
It's time to realize that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

And everything is beautiful in its own way.
Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter's day.
Oh, sing it children!
Everybody's beautiful in their own way.
Under God's heaven, the world's gonna find the way.

We shouldn't care about the length of his hair, or the color of his skin.
Don't worry about what shows from without, but the love that lives within.
And we're gonna get it all together now; everything gonna work out fine.
Just take a little time to look on the good side my friend,
And straighten it out in your mind.

And everything is beautiful in its own way.
Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter's day.
Ah, sing it children!
Everybody's beautiful in their own way,
Under God's heaven the world's gonna find a way.
One more time!
Everything is beautiful in its own way.
Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter's day...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Draconian Warden Punishes Dying Child

by Hector Diego

You read the headline of this post correctly.

A ten year old girl, Jayci Yaeger, is dying, and her family has requested that her imprisoned father be released so she can spend her last few days in his company. They are not requesting his permanent release, only a temporary one which is fairly common for cases involving extraordinary circumstances.

But the nitwit warden does not find these circumstances to be extraordinary. And guess why the father is in jail?

A non-violent meth charge. The warden should be fired immediately.

Read more.

And sign the petition!

George Harrison Live, Something

by Hector Diego

I don't know when or where this was recorded--but I wish I had been there.

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Anoushka Shankar, Your Eyes

by Hector Diego


by Jay Allbritton
It's a horrifying number--4,000 members of the American military have been killed in Iraq. It's not going to stop. More are going to die today, tomorrow, next week. No one will know who they were except their families and friends. It won't be news like this statistic today. It will all recede into the background obscured by the cacophonous, shrieking, shrill noise that is American discourse.

Jagjit Singh, Mann Mein Ram Basale

by Hector Diego

Very cute.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite

by Hector Diego

And of course, Henry the Horse dances the waltz...

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Albert Hofmann On Entheogens

by Hector Diego

Dr. Hofmann is 105 years old. Here he is at the
age of 87.

Albert Hofmann discovered LSD in April, 1943. He later synthesized psilocybin. Here is his preface to the World Psychedelic Forum held this weekend in Basel.

"Alienation from nature and the loss of the experience of being part of the living creation is the greatest tragedy of our materialistic era. It is the causative reason for ecological devastation and climate change.

Therefore I attribute absolute highest importance to consciousness change. I regard psychedelics as catalyzers for this. They are tools which are guiding our perception toward other deeper areas of our human existence, so that we again become aware of our spiritual essence. Psychedelic experiences in a safe setting can help our consciousness open up to this sensation of connection and of being one with nature.

LSD and related substances are not drugs in the usual sense, but are part of the sacred substances, which have been used for thousand of years in ritual settings. The classic psychedelics like LSD, Psilocybin and Mescaline are characterized by the fact that they are neither toxic nor addictive. It is my great concern to separate psychedelics from the ongoing debates about drugs, and to highlight the tremendous potential inherent to these substances for self-awareness, as an adjunct in therapy, and for fundamental research into the human mind.

It is my wish that a modern Eleusis will emerge, in which seeking humans can learn to have transcendent experiences with sacred substances in a safe setting.

I am convinced that this conference furthers the idea that these soul-opening, mind-revealing substances will find their appropriate place in our society and our culture."

Dr. Albert Hofmann
Thursday, 19th April 2007

Frank to Propose Decriminalization of Marijuana

by Jay Allbritton
At about the three and a half minute mark, Bill Maher asks Barney Frank to talk about the bill he plans to introduce. Frank calls it, "The Make Room for Serious Criminals Bill".

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Salvia Divinorum

by Hector Diego

Get it before Dr. Evil makes it illegal. But please be serious with this stuff. Respect Her awesome power, or leave Her alone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

China and Yahoo at it Again

by Jay Allbritton
Last October, I posted about the way Yahoo gave up the identity of Chinese pro-democracy journalist Shi Tao. Over at Les Enrag├ęs.Org today fellow unruly Quaker Dave posted about how Yahoo, MSN and China are working together against freedom and democracy yet again. Their Chinese sites posted the identities of 24 Tibetan protesters. Very nice.

It's Getting Ridiculous

by Jay Allbritton
Even some of Fox News's own anchors think they bash Obama too much. All swiftboats, please report to shore.

He's so lucky to be black.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


by Hector Diego

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McCain Wants To Run Against Hillary

by Hector Diego

I copied this from Yahoo News.

"My whole family actually voted for Hillary in the Texas primaries and we are all McCain supporters," said Cavey, 32, a Dallas resident who works for a medical software company. "We all thought it would be easier to beat Hillary in the fall. Also, we all agreed that if for some reason a Democrat won the election we would be better off with Hillary than Obama...scary thought!"

Everyone knows that Obama would be a much stronger candidate against McCain in the fall. Hillary knows this too, but she is a flat-out liar.

She would rather throw the election to McCain than see Obama win.

Time Analyzes Obama's Big Speech

by Hector Diego

"Politicians don't give speeches like the one Barack Obama delivered this morning at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Certainly presidential candidates facing the biggest crisis of their campaigns don't." Read more.

A politician who does something other politicians don't do? Give me some more of that!

I've waited all my life for this, haven't you?

Fear Not Obama Supporters, The Sky Is Not Falling

by Jay Allbritton
Andy Osteroy articulates the conventional wisdom of the day on the Democratic race. In short it goes like this: Obama's pastor of disaster scandal knocked Obama down in a number of polls, John McCain jumped into the role of clear front runner and the Democrats might have to reconsider nominating Obama because he's suddenly developed a major weakness that the mean old Republican spin machine is just salivating over.

Allow me to retort. Polls trail day to day events by days or even weeks. No one will know how well Obama's speech resonated with the voters for a while yet.

At TPM, one of their readers CB wrote this sharp analysis:
The conservative movement has laid into Obama hard on the Wright controversy, and the organized left (e.g., blogs, pundits, party leaders, activists) have not fought back in a collective sense. Obama and his partisans have fought back, of course, but those in the Hillary camp have not done so and the party leadership (probably in an effort not to appear biased one way or the other) has been relatively quiet as well. The effect is a pretty significant mismatch - it would be surprising if Obama did not lose ground under those circumstances.
The Republican spin machine is not what it used to be, but the entire snarling Voltron of evil aligned against just Obama and his supporters in a protracted battle that has gone on for weeks can hurt a campaign. But remember, Barack Obama built his own machine. If you're a supporter and all of this worries you, get your damn wallet out and give the man some more money.

Furthermore, I would like to reiterate that even if Obama limps across the finish line, he'll still finish well ahead of Hillary Clinton. When he does win the nomination, he'll get a bump from that, and then it's one on one. McCain and Obama. McCain is flying high now, but even if Obama only has two months to do it, he'll take McCain apart. Just because the media hasn't covered it doesn't mean that John McCain hasn't been laying the groundwork for a disastrous general election campaign. He's married to Bush on the war and the economy. Jeremiah Wright is supposed to negate that? Six months from now, Barack Obama is still going to have one of two tickets to the Oval Office and the other one is held by a doddering old clown who can't tell Shi'as from Sunnis, who thinks endless war is a good idea and who has admitted he doesn't know jack about the economy at a time when the American people think we're heading for a depression.

Anyone wanna make a bet?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Grateful Dead, Ripple

by Hector Diego

Damned hippies.

"Liberals Are The People Who Think That Cruelty Is The Worst Thing That Humans Do"

by Hector Diego

Richard Rorty, in Contingency, Irony, And Solidarity, begins his discussion by quoting Judith Shklar, responsible for the quote in our title to this post.

Conservatives have accused Senator John McCain of being a liberal. I think it is time that liberals started "accusing" certain Democrats of actually being conservative. Why not?

Anyway, by the definition of Judith Shklar, McCain could not be a liberal. Torture is the worst kind of cruelty, and McCain, who used to oppose the use of torture by the US, capitulated to W and now supports torture.

Hillary is torturing all of us by continuing her tortured run for the Presidency.

I'll bet Bill would like to campaign for Obama, if he could.

Don't you think building a better world begins with ending torture?

Beatles, Revolution

by Hector Diego

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The Iraq News

by Jay Allbritton
Fifth Anniversary Edition

Ten shy of four thousand members of the American military have lost their lives in Iraq. The first 3,990 of those did not have to die and the ten more that will soon die and bring this total to a mind blowing 4,000 do not have to die either. The ones that will likely die on the way to 5,000 and beyond do not have to die. The untold masses of Iraqis that will be killed, do not need to be. All it would take to end this is a few words spoken into a telephone by George W. Bush. Just a few words. But, instead, the words we hear from him are "it was worth it".

The Democratic majority in Congress ruthlessly squandered the opportunity to defund the OCCUPATION, so now, Congress can only end it with the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. These things sound impossible. They are not. They can happen right now. Today. It's a matter of will. Waiting another year is obviously a tragic mistake.

We continue to be told that a we just need to hold out for political reconciliation. It's never going to happen. Never was that more obvious than yesterday at a national reconciliation convention in Iraq that was boycotted by some of the most important political players in the country.

Here's the Iraq News:

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Hollies, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

by Hector Diego

This is the ultimate liberal song. Any conservative that appreciates these lyrics is not a true conservative.

Or maybe a conservative would claim that individuals could help their brothers without need of government supervision.

Well, they could, but do they? To the same extent that they would by paying their fair share of taxes?

I don't think so.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Youngbloods, Get Together

by Hector Diego

Sing along, now...

It's A Beautiful Day

by Hector Diego


Quicksilver Messenger Service, Fresh Air

by Hector Diego

It's pure California sunshine.

Moody Blues, Ride My Seesaw

by Hector Diego

Eddie Izzard Secret Stand Up

by Jay Allbritton
I like that MySpace featured Eddie Izzard, but man that site sucks. Anyway, here's Eddie Izzard.

Eddie Izzard - Secret Stand-Up

Harpist Plays Pachelbel's Canon In D

by Hector Diego

Life getting you down? Had a hard day? The wife ran off with your best friend?

Here's Pachelbel's Canon. It was written for you.

Reaction to Obama's Speech

by Jay Allbritton
Trey Ellis on Huffington Post:
Obama's willingness to cowboy up and face all the accusations at the same time has been breathtaking in its transparency. After he sat down with the Chicago Tribune to explain in detail his dealings with Rezko the once critical paper gushed, "Barack Obama now has spoken about his ties to Tony Rezko in uncommon detail. That's a standard for candor by which other presidential candidates facing serious inquiries now can be judged."

He did the same thing today in Philadelphia. Instead of running and hiding, slipping and sliding he not only confronted the problem head on but used it as a springboard to talk about his solutions for the real issues that devil this nation.

Oliver Willis:
One of my personal maxims has been that politicians will disappoint you. The ones you like will have personal failings, while the ones you detest will fail time and time again.

With Senator Obama, for the first time in my life, I have watched a political leader who I don’t worry if he’ll be up to the task. It’s like you had Michael Jordan in his prime or Joe Montana with 2 minutes to go. It’s that feeling where you say to yourself: Ok, breathe, he’s got it.

Chill, Barack’s got it.

Andrew Sullivan:
I do want to say that this searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was, in my view, unique in recent American history.

TPM Reader DW:

I think it's a great speech, but it's nuance. There are too many soundbytes that will be taken out of context, and Fox already got one.

"Obama: Rev. Wright is family to me"

That's all the wingers need, and all the Foxwatchers need, to perpetuate what they already believe.

Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog:
It was a powerful speech and he laid out to America who he is and where he wants to take us. Now, the punditry can dissect and examine every word. But, one thing is true -- no other candidate could give a speech like this.

This speech is amazingly honest and will hopefully spark a long overdue discussion on race in America. We'll see if it is enough to blunt to criticism of his relationship with Reverend Wright. I think he's done a spectacular job thus far of denouncing specific remarks by Reverend Wright, while still standing steadfastly by him and his community.
More to come...

Samantha Power on The Colbert Report

by Jay Allbritton
Here's former Obama national security adviser Samantha Power, who I dearly hope serves in his administration, on The Colbert Report.

Obama's Comprehensive, Inspired Speech on Race in America

by Jay Allbritton
Here's the speech.

I would like to thank KKZN of Denver, Colorado for carrying the feed of Barack Obama's speech today from Philadelphia. Huffington Post has a copy of the speech they obtained through clandestine means prior to its delivery. Apparently, they have veys.

It was a brilliant speech that will take a long time for observers to digest.

After a bit of time for reflection, the one passage of the speech that has kept repeating itself in my mind, perhaps the key to the speech, is this one:
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Beatles, 1963-1970

by Hector Diego


At Last, it's Over

by Jay Allbritton
A settlement has been reached in the divorce of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills. I guess when there's this much money involved, it's hard to say who won or lost, because tomorrow both of these people will still be dang rich. Of course, my sympathies will rest with Paul McCartney because, duh, he's Paul McCartney. Mills' comments about the settlement here (h/t SadButTrue).

Rilo Kiley, Sword

by Hector Diego

I've been to Eagle Rock. I wish Rilo Kiley would come to my neighborhood and give a free show.

But I would gladly pay.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Vathapi Ganapathim, Mandolin

by Hector Diego

Purandara Dasa, the father of Karnatic music.

This is just one type.

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Patrick Ball, The Fairy Queen

by Hector Diego

Patrick Ball is one of the world's great harpists.

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The Weavers, Follow The Drinking Gourd

by Hector Diego

In modern America, we refer to the constellation that points to the North Star--the only star that does not appear to move--as the Big Dipper. An old Bengali holy man referred to it as the Question Mark. In antebellum America, slaves, on their way north and to freedom, called it the Drinking Gourd.

Check out the picture of Pete Seeger, on the left, with the banjo. Rather harmless looking dude, right?

He was considered a dangerous Communist! And why did he sing slave songs?

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Rolling Stones, Paint It Black

by Hector Diego

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A Hard Day's Night

by Hector Diego

Good afternoon, Beatles people. Local time is 2.45 pm, and our local air temperature is a very pleasant 80 Beatle degrees.

That KTWS Radio, on your cyber radio dial.

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Johnny Cash Covers Heart Of Gold

by Hector Diego

Karen Carpenter

by Hector Diego

Cry Baby Cry

by Hector Diego

If you listen to the rough, unpolished version of "Cry Baby Cry" in the Beatles Anthology, it sounds like almost nothing at all. But the boys go to work on it and it comes out great.

I take the Beatles' work ethic as an example to us all. God helps those who help themselves.

Just do it.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Love Haight Festival

by Hector Diego

Whatever happened to all those freaky people who descended upon San Francisco's Haight District in the 60's, creating a media feeding frenzy and making the place world famous as the epicenter of "the counterculture"...but essentially ruining the neighborhood?

The unshod and unwashed hordes moved on by the end of the decade, and by the time I encountered the place in 1974 the only "street people" I saw were shod and unwashed winos and heroin addicts. The Diggers no longer exist, Wavy Gravy has a farm in Mendocino County where he continues teaching countercultural values, and Jerry Garcia is dead, along with all his keyboardists.

So what's left of the old Haight scene? Well, you can still get treated at the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, and if you are there at certain times of the year, you can still see and hear the Hare Krsnas.

Most of these will not be the Hare Krsnas who were in their late teens and early twenties in 1967. No, the present cohort of Hare Krsnas are the children of the first cohort, and they don't live there. They make the pilgrimage to the Haight to chant their mantra and dance because they consider the place sacred to their history. On the West coast, their religion got its start in San Francisco.

This religion, imported from India and at odds with the dominant culture, is truly countercultural. The culture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll is not at all countercultural, for they are the child of "the American dream" and disillusionment with the American dream, more or less. And now they are simply mainstream.

But if you want to see counterculture, watch this.


Antique walrus print courtesy of FineRarePrints.Com