Sunday, August 06, 2017

Sunday Night Music Club v.50

Friday night I saw Donald Fagan and the Nightflyers at the Cap Theater in Port Chester NY.

Fagan put together an insanely talented group of musicians to back him, and they were amazing. They played a mix of solo stuff along with some classic Steely Dan songs, and a few memorable covers, such as the Grateful Dead's hit Shakedown Street.

Fagan's 1982 album "The Nightfly" is one of my absolute favorites, and I was thrilled when they opened the show with "Green Flower Street", and later performed "The Nightfly", "I.G.Y." and "New Frontier".

Of course, songs like "Green Earring", "Black Friday", and "Josie" were enthusiastically received, and a high point was the early Dan hit "Dirty Work", sung by the lead guitarist rather than Donald Fagan. I think that's a classy move, to not try and take ownership of a song featuring a towering vocal performance by David Palmer back in an early incarnation of Steely Dan.

Nightfly was clearly the solo album Fagan likes best, as he only played one track each from Kamakiriad and Sunken Condos (Countermoon, a funky tune; and Weather in my Head, not my fave track from the album).

So here may be a rare repeat performance of a track that I think I featured a while ago. I'm not really sure, and I'm not interested in searching for it right now, but anyway, it's still one of my favorite Donald Fagan videos.

From The Nightfly, this is New Frontier:





Saturday, July 29, 2017

Senate gives Trump another YUUUUUGE loss

Last night I watched as late as I could, seeing as how I had to work today, so I missed the final vote by about 1/2 hour.

I woke up this morning expecting to be all rage-filled and angsty, and I deliberately avoided looking at my phone (I pretty much don't ever turn on the TV anymore) until after I poured Joyce & me a cup of coffee.

Imagine my surprise when Joyce said they defeated the bill, as she'd checked her phone while I was downstairs!

This is a GIANT kick in the balls to Donald J. Trump, but that pales in comparison to the importance of preserving the most vital sections of the ACA.

Today John McCain received a lot of deserved accolades. But let's not forget for even one second the 48 Democrats who stood together against this abomination, and the two Republican senators who fought it from DAY ONE, Sens. Collins and Murkowski.

There was a lot of courage on display last night. Along with 49 examples of the very worst that the American political system has barfed up and put in positions of too much power.

The chickens are coming home to roost. 2018 will see the power dynamic in this nation undergo a dramatic shift. And with it, possibly see the death of the hard-line GOP majority.

Friday, June 23, 2017

This bill will do you harm

President Barack Obama just delivered a blistering retort to the Trump efforts to destroy our healthcare protections. In a 1000-word Facebook post, Obama detailed exactly what the Republicans are attempting to do to middle-class Americans, and how it will basically put everyone except the wealthiest Americans at serious risk.

Read this reasoned discussion of the issue, and decide if the Trump plan is what's best for Americans.

------------------------------

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rosa DeLauro lauds selection of Mueller as Special Council


Robert Mueller served as the head of the FBI for several presidents, and he is praised by members of both parties. I'm fine with him being selected as a Special Council by the DOJ to investigate the Trump-Russia links and other issues.

But I'm kind of bothered by the term "Special Council". Shouldn't he be considered a "Special Prosecutor"? Can someone explain to me the legal definitions of both phrases?

In 1973, Archibald Cox was asked to be Special Prosecutor by Elliot Richardson, who was up for Secretary of Defense, and the Democratic Senate pressured him to get Cox to accept the appointment or Richardson wouldn't get SecDef.

Well, we're living in a very different time...one where we don't have an opposition party in charge of either the House or the Senate as we did back in '73. So in response to the growing media outcry over Trump's dubious deals, the Republican-owned DOJ has made this appointment to Mueller.

And he accepted.

It makes we wonder if this was another terrible decision by a president who makes six terrible decisions before breakfast!

Mueller is the kind of guy who will likely be guided by neither politics nor special interests. He'll hopefully seek only the truth.

And this will make the next several months very interesting! There are several ways it will play out.

1) Mueller will investigate all those areas Donald dreads, and will be blocked from getting any cooperation. And it will look terrible for the president.

2) Mueller will find some damning evidence that Donald did indeed break the law. And it will look terrible for the president.

3) Mueller's investigation will bring about serious impeachment talk, and Donald will fire Mueller. And a modern-day Saturday Night Massacre will look fucking TERRIBLE for the president!

So, that's some of what may transpire. We'll see. Anyway, here's my awesome Congresswoman's statement in favor of Mueller's appointment:

DeLauro Statement on Appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel:

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement regarding the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“From day one, the Trump Administration has been mired in scandal. The appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to oversee the investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. election is a critical step in a long process. Director Mueller has a long history of distinguished service and integrity.

“We still need an independent commission to investigate Russia’s involvement in our electoral processes, to educate the American public on this assault on our democracy, and to work to develop ways to protect our country in the future.”

delauro.house.gov

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Night Music Club v.49

David Bowie's 1997 song "I'm Afraid Of Americans" has a certain resonance during today's political climate. Much of the world agrees with Bowie on this point, although he was aiming for a more sardonic tone here.

The video, featuring Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails, is full of violent and aggressive symbolism. Bowie and Reznor collaborated on several projects, and I was lucky to see David Bowie and NIN perform together during a late '90s tour. I had a general admission ticket to the venue, but I crafted some fake wristbands from a promotional magazine that roughly matched the color of the bands given to people who could access the floor directly in front of the stage, and it fooled the bouncers enough that I was able to get it. So I got to see Bowie perform some classics from his past from about 20 feet away, along with a few duets with Reznor and NIN.



Tuesday, May 09, 2017

So, today Trump fired the head of the FBI

I'm trying to wrap my brain around this 21st century version of a president who is desperate to keep the dogs at bay.

I can't come up with anything salient or cutting edge because all I can think of are parallels to Richard Nixon.

Nixon, on his worst day, never had less class than Donald Trump on most days.

The bar for being a terrible president has been obliterated by Trump. Nixon was a politician who got caught up in some dumb antics mostly cooked up by his over-zealous group of advisors, and then he doubled down and denied ever being involved. That was bad.

But Trump is profiting from his office in the sleaziest ways possible, and the only reason he's getting away with it so far is that Congress has a majority of impotent yes-men who would gladly surrender their wives and daughters to the president if asked nicely.

Nixon's awfulness has been lessened by comparison.

I have to agree that I'd rather have zombie Nixon's reanimated corpse occupying the Oval Office than that orange weasel we got now!

And this is considering that Nixon is capable of saying stuff like this:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Can Kevin be governor?

Today Dan Malloy made an announcement that I was not surprised to hear.

He decided to NOT run again for governor.

Which pretty much leaves a wide open field for both parties to run next year.

I've been quietly hoping that Comptroller Kevin Lembo will be up for a run, and now is the time to put that into motion.

So far there hasn't been even a whisper of what he's going to do, obviously out of respect for the Governor. But now Lembo has a golden opportunity to step up and be the person to take over.

I produced a campaign video for Kevin Lembo when he announced he was running for State Comptroller back in 2010. Previously he was the Connecticut Healthcare Advocate, and he helped people who were fighting the big insurance companies. Here's a look at the kind of person he was before he took on the second toughest job in Connecticut!


Friday, March 31, 2017

The first domino


Retired General Michael Flynn, who served as Donald Trump's Security Advisor for about 15 minutes before the Trump brain trust (yes, it's a contradiction of terms) decided that Flynn was too radioactive to be handled by anyone close to the administration, has asked for immunity from prosecution in exchange for possibly testifying about Trump's ties with Russia.

This may be an elaborate "catfish" situation, where what you're promised does NOT turn out to be what you get.

Or, it may the the first domino to fall in the inevitable crash of the Trump presidency.

Just a reminder, we're only TEN WEEKS IN so far!

Good ol' Dick Nixon took nearly four years before fucking his presidency by being overly paranoid and listening to bad advice from his own "brain trust" (who, from what I've seen so far, were WAY fucking smarter than the rancid collection of blathering sociopaths and incompetent sycophants that Trump has surrounded himself with) but The Donald is obviously WAY more terrific than Nixon and will be the most perfect president you've ever seen!

Remember the "Summer of Watergate"? The year that the Watergate hearings were televised live on every channel (pretty much all five of them) as nervous Senators were desperately trying to get to the bottom of a scandal which if they landed on the WRONG side of would spell the end of their political lives. Politicians had equally as much to lose if Nixon survived as if he was removed. It was a terribly stressful time for most of the people who populated the halls of Congress.

But the bipartisan support for impeachment became too much for Nixon, who resigned from office on August 9, 1974 after the articles of impeachment were passed by the House, and the Senate looked at a 77-0 straw vote for conviction that made Nixon's decision inevitable. He would have gone to jail had he not resigned and somehow got a miraculous pardon from new President Ford for any crimes he "committed or may have committed or taken part in" as president.

I'm not a legal scholar or anything, but it seems funny that someone can be pardoned for crimes not even known about at the time of the pardon. Who knows what terrible deviant crimes Nixon might have gotten away with? There might be dozens of dead hookers buried in the Rose Garden because Nixon just couldn't resist his urge to slice them up when the blood lust came upon him! But hey, he's pardoned! It doesn't matter anymore!

Anyway, I digress. I seriously doubt that Trump has had enough time to murder DC hookers in the last ten weeks; although, once he's dragged away to prison, I would strongly recommend to the authorities that it might prove fruitful to till the soil on Mar-a-Lago.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Trumpcare failure to launch


Today Paul Stupidhead Ryan pulled the horrendous "Trumpcare" bill before it came up for what was obviously going to be a losing vote.

Ryan didn't even give the ridiculous bill a vote because SO many Republicans actually have listened to their constituents and decided that political suicide wasn't exactly their cup of green tea!

That is known in engineering parlance as a "failure to launch".

I can only imagine the 3AM Twitter rant the Orange Cheeto will indulge in later this evening!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

What the shit did he just say?

Lately I have to see if the source for bizarre stuff I read on Facebook is from The Onion! 'Cause this sure looks like it!

Nope.

It's real.

He really said this!

Update: Shit. There should be a law preventing videos of public servants being removed from Youtube. It's our right to see a horribly ignorant person make a total ass of himself. Just Google "Ben Carson slaves" and click on the videos link. There will probably still be some of them there. For the record, Carson basically said that slaves who were kidnapped and shipped to America were immigrants who were seeking a better life for their families.



This is Trump's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.
This joke is so fucking awful it should end with "Ta-da! The Aristocrats!"



Oh, and thank god for Samuel L Jackson!