25 February, 2008

A Simple Truth

After winning the Oscar for Best Song (for "Falling Slowly" from Once), Markéta Irglová closed her acceptance with the following statement:

"Hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are..."

How awesome is that? That will stick in my conscience for some time to come...

24 February, 2008

If I were Tim Russert...

Just a comment on Ralph Nader's throwing his hat into the ring on GMA this morning.

If I were Tim Russert, after an announcement like that, I would have asked these questions:

1. Isn't it a bit late to be starting now?
2. Haven't you done enough damage to this country?
3. You say that Obama doesn't have "substance." What leadership positions have you held lately, and where have you been for the last seven years?
4. Do you really think you have a snowball's chance in hell of winning? Or even making a respectable showing?

Good thing I'm not a television host.

14 February, 2008

Lawsuit Nation Strikes Again!

If Best Buy lost my laptop, I would certainly be upset. If they tried to cover it up, I would also be upset. But suing Best Buy for $54 Million is probably something I would not do.

Look, I understand this person got completely jerked around, lied to, and could possibly be serious exposed to identity theft issues. I understand that when you feel you haven't been properly compensated or that a company has not been contrite or forthcoming in their explanation that ultimatley your only recourse may be to take legal action. I also understand that such recourse may be constructed in such a way to "get their attention", and as such likely wouldn't be just a small claims court matter (less than $5,000).

But, honestly now. Honestly. $54 Million?

Hang on while I look up frivolous in the dictionary.

More than you ever wanted to know

Project Vote Smart - Lee L. 'Pat' Mercer Jr. - Fun Facts

The "Issue Positions (Political Courage Test) link on the right side is especially...what's the opposite of enlightening?

13 February, 2008

Post Potomac Tuesday Reaction

While I am, of course, excited that Obama had a very good day yesterday, I must also admit to some dismay over how the Clinton campaign has strategized since what must have been a disappointing Super Tuesday.

This complete dismissal of the relevancy of the primaries and caucuses between Super Tuesday and March 4, the date of the Ohio and Texas primaries (along with Rhode Island and Vermont), seems to be a huge mistake, yet the ego and confidence associated with this decision is troubling. Beyond just marginalizing the voters in those states (“Sorry, you just aren’t worth enough delegates...”), it strikes me as bad strategy. Why on earth would you want to give so much momentum to your opponent?

I know that with the proportional system for delegates “winning a state” may be hard to get terribly excited about, BUT we are not talking about close victories here. We are talking about dominant, open-up-a-can-of-primary-whoopass kind of victories. REAL victories. Victories that allow a gain in BOTH delegates and momentum. Wouldn’t you want to dig in your heels somewhere sooner than March 4 and try and flex some muscle to demonstrate to your base that you are not “slipping” and are still indeed a viable candidate?

So why as an unabashed Obama supporter would I be troubled by these seemingly obvious guffaws by the Clintons? Because I fear that the legacy-minded ego - dare I call it hubris - of the Clintons is so strong that not only might this Democratic Party nomination process devolve into a civil war, but they just might engage in some kind of political slash and burn policy that would be far more damaging to this country, not just in race relations which have come a long way but need to come further (and don’t need any setbacks), but also to the general attitude towards politics and governance in this country.

If the ultimate backlash is an increase in a disenfranchised and disinterested, and more importantly disengaged citizenry, behavior such as this will only become more acceptable in the future.

11 February, 2008

Thoughts on the Grammys -Parts One and Deux

So I have never been a big Grammy Awards viewer - nothing personal, just never understood the spectacle for like 500 awards that all sound the same. I mean honestly do we really need Album/Song/Record/Female Pop Vocal Performance/Male Pop Vocal Performance/Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals/Pop Collaboration With Vocals/Pop Instrumental Album/Pop Instrumental Performance/Traditional Pop Vocal Album/Alternative Music Album/Rock Album of the Year?

OK, now that I have ripped the Grammy's a bit, let me add one positive and one interesting reaction I had to the list of the Grammy winners.

The late Michael Brecker was awarded, posthumosly, his 14th and 15th Grammy awards for his work on his final album, "Pilgramage". Truly, in my eyes, the greatest saxophonist ever, and arguably one of the greatest jazz instrumentalists of all time as well. Congratulations Mr. Brecker, and rest in peace. You certainly left us too early.

Please enjoy one of my favorites:

On the interesting side, could Barack Obama become the first Grammy winner to become President of the United States? His win? Spoken Word: "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream,"

07 February, 2008

Musical genius it is; a precedent, hopefully, it is not.

Released in October of 2006, but only recently acquired by myself, Ray Sings, Basie Swings has really caught my attention as an album of absolute musical genius. If you are not familiar with the project, Steve Futterman (bn.com) aptly describes it as a “...technological masterwork, [where] tapes of Charles’ vocals from 1970s-era live performances have been digitally married to contemporary studio performances by the [current] Basie band.”

The late great Ray Charles is obviously at the height of his vocal prowess, growlin’ and testifyin’ like never before. The seamless fusion of the arrangements of the Count Basie Orchestra with this vocal master class make this album an absolute sensation. And the congregation said, "Amen".

However, my concern for a project like this is that others are not tempted to follow. Or at least not without extreme caution. I mean do we really want Bing Crosby meets John Tesh - A Synthetic White Christmas? I am aware that this is not the first project like this - think Nat & Natalie Cole - yet it certainly is a first for something of this magnitude and integration of historical and comtemporary recordings/arrangements.

Maybe I am overreacting, and if so please tell me.

06 February, 2008

Careful, you must be. Strong in the whackjob, this one is.

Back in the election years of our youth, anybody could claim that they were running for president. Serious, not-so-serious, outright deranged.

The only difference between then and now is that these people can get websites.

Case in point: Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your perusal the website "Mercer For President 2008".

(and yes, I meant to post this one here. Enjoy.)

Post-Super Tuesday Thoughts

I can proudly say I caucesed in Minnesota and I'll bet you can never guess who I voted for...

I won't take too much credit in amateurly predicting the outcome for yesterday, since I may have been only stating the obvious, albeit a day or two earlier than most...

I must say that I loved the old-school backdoor politics of West Virginia, with McCain supporters giving Huckabee the win, or more accurately giving Romney a defeat... Classic stuff - I thought those tactics died with LBJ...

And the award for Most Awkwardly Inserted Soundbite into a Super Tuesday Interview goes to Mike Huckabee, who when asked about the cash-flow problems of his campaign replied,

"I may not be a Wall Street Republican, but I am a Walmart Republican."

05 February, 2008

When politicians go pop

Stephen King has written a very intresting artile for EW.com on the Celeb-ing of the President 2008.

A Super Tuesday (and beyond) must read.

01 February, 2008

Pre-Super Tuesday Thoughts

Very briefly, here are my predictions for Super Tuesday:

Democratic Party Nomination
Obama shows up surprisingly well by stealing former Edwards supporters and undecideds away from Hillary, proving that this is going to be a tough two candiate race to the finish...

Republican Party Nomination
McCain continues to ride his hot streak, and all but seals the deal as the party nominee. All he has to do now is start his short list for VP...