Wednesday, June 30, 2004

News stories about Internet Explorer vulnerabilities have been so alarming that I switched to Mozilla Foxfire for about 90% of web use. Foxfire is past Beta stage but not in full official release form. It resembles IE in appearance but behaves more like Netscape Explorer - slower to load, some problems with java, & a less convenient bookmark system. But it's safe & works well enough, & Mozilla's still finding & fixing some bugs. I've used Netscape Composer for years for simple page-building. The evil minds at Microsoft can never stay a step of ahead of the evil minds not working for Gates.

Very angry monday. I did a WFMU filling last Wednesday 2-6am, had arranged to cover Kenny G this afternoon, & accepted a fillin for old friend Irene Monday 3-6 when several of her other usual suspects couldn't take it. Three fill ins in a week is a unique situation for me. I don't solicit them, did only 12 all of last year. But here there were very different kinds of programs, & I am perhaps uniquely qualfied to cover them all without stretching. The overnight was a "pure" Bob Rixon program. I know Irene's style & it's easy to shade my tastes into her's; in a way I may even be trying to please her husband, writer Peter Keepnews, as well; that show got excellent listener responses. Kenny G's "Anal Magic" is the most radical show on WFMU. Kenny likes me to fill in for him because I do the kind of show Kenny might do if he were forced at gunpoint to be conventional. I devoted one of his fill-ins to playing the complete Escalator Over the Hill. I've aired Bruckner, Mahler, Satie & Ives during his shows, all composers Kenny digs.

Well, on Monday, before Irene's show, without a howdy do or thank you or an I'm sorry the Program Director rudely yanks the Kenny G fill in because I'm on-the-air too much within one week. Now, I'm a 23 year veteran of WFMU who in some small way helped create the station one hears today, & I'm also a volunteer, & as I said, this was a unique situation. I had to rearrange my own schedule some. Of course, I remember doing double shifts because of sickouts, staying on an extra hour when bad weather or traffic delayed a DJ, sitting in a darkened studio during power failures, & accepting fill ins on a few hours notice & driving up to East Orange. It was pretty shabby treatment I received yesterday, & it felt punitive because the P/D needn't have wasted time finding a replacement, which he failed to do anyway. A simple, "in the future" would have sufficed.

Today I was going to play the Brecht/Weil Mahoganny songspiel they created together prior to Three Penny Opera, a 1970s recording without Lotte Lenya I've been saving for his program. Kenny was excited by that. Also going to play some 1920s Honegger & Antheil compositions, Federico Garcia Lorca songs, Ives' 4th of July, perhaps some selections from Messiaen's Quartet for the End of the World, & a recording of a British Orchestra rehearsing a Beethoven Symphony. It would've been a splendid show, a love it or hate it exercise in free form.

Add YOUR comments here

Friday, June 25, 2004

The Republican connect-the-dots strategy in a nutshell:
On June 24 Al Gore said:
"When you boil it all down to precisely what went wrong with the Bush Iraq policy, it is actually fairly simple: He adopted an ideologically driven view of Iraq that was tragically at odds with reality."

Jim Dyke of the Republican National Committee responded:
"Al Gore's history of denial of the threat of terrorism is no less dangerous today... than it was in the 1990s in his role as vice president, a time when Osama bin Laden was declaring war on the United States five... times."

Note that Albert was criticizing the Bush Iraq War, but the Republicans completely ignored this & countered with "terrorism" & "Osama bin Laden." Osama is, of course, responsible for the 9/11 attack, is a radical Islamic fundamentalist, is based in Afghanistan, is still at-large, & is from Saudi Arabia. Iraq was a secular dictatorship, committed no overt terrorist acts against the United States & never declared war on the United States during the Clinton/Gore administration. & the Clinton/Gore team did not deny the threat of terrorism, & effectively contained & isolated Saddam. They also led the way in stopping the slaughter of Bosnian Muslims.

Oh that Al had talked that tough in 2000!

Add YOUR comments here

Thursday, June 24, 2004

With typically nonsensical American reasoning, fifty-four percent of those polled recently said it was a mistake to send U.S. troops to Iraq; Fifty-five percent also said they don't believe the war has made the United States safer from terrorism. So, clear majorities are saying George W. Bush screwed up badly. But forty-seven percent said Bush would do a better job on Iraq, compared with forty-six percent who picked Kerry. "And while six in ten of those polled said they believe Kerry could handle the job of commander-in-chief, most Americans indicated that they trust Bush more in that role, fifty-one percent to forty-three percent."

This is like saying the incompetent surgeon who left a sponge & forceps inside you when he sewed you up is also best qualified & most trustworthy to remove them compared to a doctor with more education & experience.

When I had my first operation for a detached retina, my surgeon (Bush) sent a surrogate (Rumsfeld) to do the job. The operation failed. I regret not consulting a lawyer - I might have owned a shore house, but I at least dismissed those doctors & hired another (Kerry), who fixed the problem. Add YOUR comments here

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

A President's legacy is not decided by his funeral. Clearly, Reagan was well-liked by the majority of centrist white Americans, who are inclined to get sucked in by major choreographed events (Hands Across America; Janet Jackson's nipple). It lasted a week, it was impressive, even touching at the sunset finale in California. Now it's over except for an encore at the G.O.P. Convention. But the Republicans ought to be careful about this. I didn't want to be vitriolic about Ronnie's two terms because I was sure of one thing: George W. would not do well in the compare & contrast contest. He certainly wants to, but oh how short he falls of Reagan's posthumous projection. A dead Reagan topped a live Bush at the D Day ceremonies. His Challenger eulogy & 1993 farewell note were more moving than anything George had to say. All week Reagan was depicted as firm of belief yet able to compromise; as confident but not an egoist; as a man who did not view his political opponents as enemies; articulate & plain-spoken. I didn't care if these depictions were accurate; they all made Dubya look second rate. Reagan came to office following twenty years of aborted or failed presidencies, one of the most turbulent two decades in American history. He defeated Jimmy Carter, a good man who did good things but who didn't do enough. George W. followed a popular president (more popular on average than Reagan) who led the country through eight years of prosperity & relative peace & who could have done more if his own Congress & then the GOP's, & his own libido hadn't stymied him. But we didn't need George W. Bush. We didn't ask for what George W. Bush is doing. We didn't even elect George W. Bush. Anyone who says a Gore/Lieberman administration would've wussed out after 9/11 is talking hypothetical nonsense. & huge tax cuts for the rich combined with a contrived foreign war (fought by working class & minority kids) isn't the only way of getting a stalled economy in motion. It's just the worst way.

Ron Reagan Jr. made a pointed, not-so-veiled reference to George W. Bush in his touching eulogy: "Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage." None of the commentators I heard made note of this, although it is well known that Ron Jr. does not admire Little George. To my ears, it sounded like two eulogies. Add YOUR comments here

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Everything that needs to be said about Ray Charles will be said over the next few days. My two cents: He was an artist who was acknowledged as the tops by jazz musicians, blues players, rock & rollers, pop singers like Frank Sinatra, & the more enlightened country performers such as Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson. That indicates someone who was at the hub of American music, uncategorizable, his influence radiating out in all directions. His adaptation of gospel music, so simple in conception, created what became known as "soul music." Only a few years after "What'd I Say" revolutionized the pop scene, Ray did it again with "Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music," in which he reclaimed for everyone a genre that been largely taken over by rhinestone racists & which was no longer being honest about its roots in the blues or it's more progressive heritage from Appalachian Mountain music. Even Elvis wasn't considered "country" at that time. & of course there's "America the BeautifuI." I have some of Ray's early recordings when he wanted be like Nat King Cole. His first act of genius may have been to realize the futility of imitating Nat.

Add YOUR comments here

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

"Whether he was right or wrong, Ronald Reagan was exhilarating. Whether he is right or wrong, George W. Bush is a bummer."
Maureen Dowd

Add YOUR comments here

Monday, June 07, 2004

"66 Things to Think About When Flying Into Reagan National Airport" By David Corn

The firing of the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear war, recallable nuclear missiles, trees that cause pollution, Elliott Abrams lying to Congress, ketchup as a vegetable, colluding with Guatemalan thugs, pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers, voodoo economics, budget deficits, toasts to Ferdinand Marcos, public housing cutbacks, redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement, James Watt.

Getting cozy with Argentine fascist generals, tax credits for segregated schools, disinformation campaigns, “homeless by choice,” Manuel Noriega, falling wages, the HUD scandal, air raids on Libya, “constructive engagement” with apartheid South Africa, United States Information Agency blacklists of liberal speakers, attacks on OSHA and workplace safety, the invasion of Grenada, assassination manuals, Nancy’s astrologer.

Drug tests, lie detector tests, Fawn Hall, female appointees (8 percent), mining harbors, the S&L scandal, 239 dead U.S. troops in Beirut, Al Haig “in control,” silence on AIDS, food-stamp reductions, Debategate, White House shredding, Jonas Savimbi, tax cuts for the rich, “mistakes were made.”

Michael Deaver’s conviction for influence peddling, Lyn Nofziger’s conviction for influence peddling, Caspar Weinberger’s five-count indictment, Ed Meese ("You don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime"), Donald Regan (women don’t “understand throw-weights"), education cuts, massacres in El Salvador.

“The bombing begins in five minutes,” $640 Pentagon toilet seats, African- American judicial appointees (1.9 percent), Reader’s Digest, C.I.A.-sponsored car-bombing in Lebanon (more than eighty civilians killed), 200 officials accused of wrongdoing, William Casey, Iran/contra.

“Facts are stupid things,” three-by-five cards, the MX missile, Bitburg, S.D.I., Robert Bork, naps, Teflon.

Add YOUR comments here

Sunday, June 06, 2004

June 6, 2004 The 60th Anniversary of D-Day

Every soldier who made it off those terrible beaches tells a story with the same basic point: Death was one foot to the left or one to the right, one step ahead or one behind. Because someone else was killed in those places or at those times. He doesn't know why he lived.

Add YOUR comments here

Saturday, June 05, 2004

We knew Ronald Reagan was dying. Last month Nancy Reagan announced that he had gone "to a distant place where I can no longer reach him." & she went against Bush policy by vocally supporting stem cell research. Yesterday the announcement that Reagan's condition had worsened, we were being prepared.

It seemed to me that President Reagan could not possibly live much longer. The scenario that worried me was that he would die in the middle of October, his body in the Capitol Rotunda, & the spotlight falling upon Mrs. Reagan, the four surviving ex-presidents, & George W. Bush; John Kerry's campaign on hold for nearly a week (possibly with a canceled debate)while George W. got to act ceremonially presidential & bask in the warm affection most Americans have had for Reagan ever since he left office in 1989 with his popularity intact. Well, now it'll be over & done with long before the conventions. & George W. may not measure up all that well against "The Great Communicator," whose polished yet informal manner of speech & ability to tell a joke that really is a joke will live again for a short while, until Reagan's casket is flown back to California & interred near his library.

So enjoy the pomp & ceremony attending the funeral of the first popular former-president to die since Harry S. Truman in 1972. Truman, befitting his "common man" image, didn't have a Washington funeral.

Add YOUR comments here

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The direction of the Bush re-election campaign is obvious. It devotes enormous resources toward misrepresenting Kerry's voting record & positions. 75% of the Bush ads are "negative" compared to 27% of Kerry's. Bush has to do this to negate Kerry's military service & long experience as a Senator. In his speeches, Bush repeats the magic mantra, "War on Terrorism," over & over, as he attempts (with much success, I think) to plant a connection between Saddam & 9-11 in the minds of Americans. The truth is that Saddam engaged in terrorism against his own people, not against us, & we weren't fighting a "War Against Terrorism" that involved Iraq until we invaded & occupied it. Kerry will have a difficult time separating the Iraq war & the "War on Terrorism," & making a case that Iraq is draining resources not only from our battle against terrorism, but also from domestic programs, both of which are suffering from heavy cutbacks & indifference on the part of the Bush/Cheney Junta.

This election is more Bush's to lose than it is Kerry's to win. If Kerry can avoid the mistakes of the Dukakis & Gore campaigns, & not allow his patriotism to be questioned (as bomber pilot Mondale did by Operation Hollywood Reagan), he'll pick up every vote Bush can't keep. Maybe those will be enough for Kerry to win the White House. This election is a bit like how former Orioles manager Earl Weaver assessed a baseball season; every team wins 1/3 of the games & loses 1/3 of the games; it's that other 3rd you gotta worry about.

Add YOUR comments here

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?