Manzarek founded The Doors after meeting then-poet Jim Morrison in California. The band went on to become one of the most successful rock ‘n’ roll acts to emerge from the 1960s and continues to resonate with fans decades after Morrison’s death brought an effective end to the band.
The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Manzarek is among the most notable keyboard players in rock history. His lead-instrument work with the band at a time when the guitar often dominated added a distinct end-times flavor that matched Morrison’s often out there imagery and persona.
The group is best known for hits like L.A.Woman, Break On Through to the Other Side, The End and Light My Fire — a song particularly coloured by his keyboard work — and came to symbolize the decadence of Los Angeles as the counterculture grew in the U.S.
By Richard K. Barry Ray Manzarek was the keyboardist for the The Doors. He was also a founding member of the group. He died earlier this afternoon after a long [...]
(Politico): “Clintons to stay out of N.Y.C. race”(CNN): “CNN Poll: Tea Party gets boost from IRS controversy”(Politico): “Senior W.H. staff knew of IRS investigation, did not tell Obama”(New York Times): [...]
By Richard K. Barry Today is Victoria Day in Canada (celebrated on the last Monday before May 25th). It is also considered the unofficial beginning of Summer and is not [...]
Today is Victoria Day in Canada (celebrated on the last Monday before May 25th). It is also considered the unofficial beginning of Summer and is not dissimilar to Memorial Day in the U.S. in that respect.
As a transplanted American it has taken me years to get used to these Canadian holidays, but I think I have the hang of it. This day is in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. There is still a lot of that royal stuff up here, which can be hard on my radical democratic sensibilities, so don’t get me started.
It is also a day away from blogging for the most part. See you tomorrow.
By Carl Here’s the thing: the best strategy for Republicans is to just let it go: WASHINGTON — The scandals dogging President Barack Obama are a political gift to Republicans, [...]
Here’s the thing: the best strategy for Republicans is to just let it go:
WASHINGTON — The scandals dogging President Barack Obama are a political gift to Republicans, who could use some good luck after recent election losses. It’s not clear, however, how Republicans can best capitalize on Democrats’ woes, legislatively or politically.
Last November’s election dynamics complicate the picture on both fronts. Republican leaders are urging a bit of restraint in exploiting the White House’s new weaknesses.
Taken together, Republicans say, these three controversies portray a rapaciously political and inept administration. That could be a powerful message in next year’s congressional and gubernatorial elections, and perhaps in the 2016 presidential race.
[Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla, a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner], however, said Boehner and other party leaders are keenly aware that Republicans can overdo their attacks, and even build sympathy for Obama, if their criticisms appear nakedly political or not supported by facts.
“We’ve actually had a lot of discussions about that,” Cole said.
Since the “scandals,” however factually based one of them actually is, are pretty much made up of spit and chewing gum, there’s not a lot of worry that Republicans, Inc won’t overplay their hands. They will and spectacularly.
Take the AP phone records “scandal”. The government has had the right for over 40 years, ever since Watergate, to target individual reporter’s notes and records (longer, really, but it was rarely used.) Ten years ago, Congress, a Republican Congress, expanded that right under the USA PATRIOT Act to obtain the cooperation of telecos in rooting out suspected terrorism in the nation. And don’t think for one minute the Bush administration didn’t use this power and frequently.
Now, I agree that what the Obama administration did was wrong, but then I protested when the PATRIOT Act was introduced, unlike, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, nearly every fucking right winger who’s up in arms about it now, and every single Republican, Inc. Congresscritter who voted for it. I was against government snooping before I was even more against it. It was wrong when a Republican could do it, and it’s still wrong now that a Democrat sits in the Oval Office.
But don’t whine to me, Bushites. You made the bed you’re sleeping in.
Likewise, the IRS/Teabagger “scandal.” First, there’s very little evidence either the White House or Treasury department knew or authorized the vetting of Teabaggers. S. E. “Sippy” Cupp of MSNBC (yuck, really guys? This was the best you could do?) and the NY Daily News whined on Bill Maher about a “he said this and so he had to know” chain of illogic that she has yet to verify in any way, shape, or form. This is tantamount to the 9/11 Truthers, Sippy.
Second, the IRS was tasked with vetting and vetting quickly a whole slew of 501(c)4 groups created in the wake of the Citizens United decision. Of course they were going to look for shortcuts!
Third, the only group that hasn’t survived that vetting process was a liberal group. This despite the fact that it is universally acknowledged that the Federal Election and tax laws are being raped by big money lobbyists.
Finally, there’s Benghazi. Already, Republicans, Inc. have been proven to have altered and even made up evidence somehow “proving” the administration had enough time to intervene, when the truth is, Ambassador Hayes was dead before Obama even knew about the situation. Claims of a cover-up hold no water. Period. This is precisely why no one is paying attention.
So there you have it: after a first term of crying “WOLF!,” Republicans, Inc. have had three legitimate scandals, and because they shot their credibility in the foot before 2012, with the birth certificate and the Muslim nonsense, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, they’ve had to already overplay their hands in order to keep their minions in line.
Meanwhile Democrats keep garnering more and more votes and more and more seats.
How’s that working out for ya, Weaker Boener?
(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind)
Newt Gingrich tells NPR, “a [House] subcommittee … should invite every single tea party, conservative, patriot group that was messed over by the IRS — every single one of them [...]
Newt Gingrich tells NPR, “a [House] subcommittee … should invite every single tea party, conservative, patriot group that was messed over by the IRS — every single one of them — to come in and testify, so that they build this deadening record of how many different people were having their rights abused by this administration.”
That would be interesting, wouldn’t it? It would show that the IRS used partisan search terms to identify organizations for scrutiny, which is deeply problematic. It would also reveal what all these applicants for tax-exempt status were really up to. We know they sought 501(c)4 status, which, under the Internal Revenue Code, is reserved for “civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.” Under IRS regulations, “The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.” So it would be very interesting to ask representatives of the Tea Party groups, under oath, whether they directly or indirectly participated in or intervened in any political campaigns. For example, it would be interesting to ask that question of former Senator Norm Coleman, head of American Action Network, a 501(c)4 that spent $30.6 million on elections, and of Karl Rove, head of American Crossroads GPS, also a 501(c)4, which spent $71 million. If they acknowledged that they were involved in elections (!), it would be interesting to follow up with a question about how they answered this question on their 501(c)4 application forms, which they signed “under the penalties of perjury”:
Has the organization spent or does it plan to spend any money attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any person to any Federal, state, or local public office or to an office in a political organizations? If “Yes,” explain in detail and list the amounts spent or to be spent in each case.
I fully acknowledge that the IRS regulations governing tax-exempt status are a tattered cloth, and left-leaning groups also take full advantage of the many holes. If I chaired the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, I would call progressive groups as well as Tea Partiers to testify. But if the Republicans in charge of the Committee want to call only the ostensible victims of IRS political bias, let’s indeed hear from Mssrs. Rove, Coleman, et al. about their “social welfare” activities.
In all, tax-exempt 501(c)4s spent $254,279,733 to influence the 2012 election. Members of Congress who were actually interested in oversight and legislation would be eager to find out how and why they did this, where they got their money, and how they presented themselves to the IRS as organizations that did not participate in or influence elections.
By Michael J.W. Stickings Okay, let’s head back through the mists of time… Say what you want about Styx, when they were good, like at the height of their powers [...]
By Michael J.W. Stickings
Okay, let’s head back through the mists of time…
Say what you want about Styx, when they were good, like at the height of their powers from 1977 to 1983, they were… really pretty good.
Oh, they’re still around, sadly minus Dennis DeYoung, but those were the glory years, culminating in 1983′s Kilroy Was Here, which featured “Mr. Roboto” and “Don’t Let It End.”
The Grand Illusion (1977), with “Don’t Sail Away,” was fine, as were Pieces of Eight (1978), with “Renegade” (played to much fanfare in the second half of Pittsburgh Steelers home games to rally the defense — always an amazing thing, as I can attest), and Cornerstone (1979), with “Babe,” but to me Styx hit its peak with 1981′s Paradise Theater, truly a great album, the band’s chemistry shining and each individual songwriter (DeYoung, Tommy Shaw, James Young) contributing his particular voice to the enterprise. It really is quite fantastic, even if it’s also very much a product of its time, mature, adult-oriented soft rock of the early ’80s.
To me — and this is one of the first albums I can remember liking, back when I was first becoming a fan of pop music as a pre-teen) — the best part of the album has always been the end of “Half-Penny, Two-Penny,” a potent critique of American capitalism, and “A.D. 1958,” the last two songs on the album before the short outro, “State Street Sadie,” but there’s no denying that the melancholy “The Best of Times,” the moving end of Side 1, is among the best songs of the band’s long career.
Seriously, go back and listen to this whole album. Discover, or rediscover, what Styx was all about. There’s a lot to like.
And watch this, the music video for “The Best of Times,” also very much a product of its time, for better and for worse:
By Frank Moraes (Ed. note: Frank’s second open letter to Sen. Boxer is here. — MJWS) At The Washington Post, two writers I admire, Greg Sargent and Jonathan Bernstein, are [...]
By Frank Moraes
(Ed. note: Frank’s second open letter to Sen. Boxer is here. — MJWS)
At The Washington Post, two writers I admire, Greg Sargent and Jonathan Bernstein, are excited about the prospect of filibuster reform. First, Sargent broke the news that Harry Reid plans to go for the “nuclear option” in July if the Republicans filibuster three upcoming nominees: “Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Thomas Perez as secretary of labor; and Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency.” And then Bernstein argued that Reid was playing this just right by giving the Republicans a warning and an opportunity to reform themselves.
The problem, of course, is: really?! Are we really supposed to believe that (1) Republicans will respond to what they should rightly assume is an empty threat? And is it at all credible that (2) Reid will in fact do anything this time other than shake hands with Mitch McConnell? However, it is possible that I’m being unfair to the Majority Leader. According to Bernstein, Reid is constrained because (he doesn’t put it this way) he is the leader of a bunch of wimps who wouldn’t go to the bathroom without asking permission from the Republicans. And there is likely something to that. But if it is the case that Reid doesn’t have the support of his caucus, then why is he saying anything at all?
Another problem is that we really don’t know what Reid means by his test case of three nominations. The truth is that the Republicans filibuster every nominee. I know that some nominees do get through, but that is only because some Republicans vote for cloture. Let’s be really clear here: Senate Republicans require 60 votes for every nominee. Requiring 60 senators before a vote can be cast is a filibuster. If they get the 60 senators, it was an unsuccessful filibuster; but it was still a filibuster.
So the question is, will Harry Reid launch the “nuclear option” if Republicans unsuccessfully filibuster these three nominees? Because they will filibuster them. And even worse, what if only one or two of the nominees are successfully filibustered? We don’t know. But I have a hunch: Reid will declare victory and slink away. I would love to be proven wrong.
Our only hope is to put pressure on our senators. I did so myself last night, writing to both Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. I’m not sure about Boxer, but Feinstein has often been mentioned as someone who didn’t want filibuster reform. Remember: writing to your senator is really easy. Just use the Senate’s Contacting the Senate form. Or just enter your senator’s name and “contact” into Google. If not for yourself or your country, do it for me! This stuff is really important. All you need to do is to say that you would like to see a stop to Republican abuse of the filibuster regarding nominations and that the senator should support Harry Reid’s filibuster reform using the “nuclear option.” It’s easy! And most of all: it’s effective.
One thing is for sure. If Harry Reid is ever going to do something about the filibuster, he’s going to need all of our help.
(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)
By Michael J.W. Stickings Virginia may be turning blue, but its Republican Party — the party of Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Ken Cuccinelli — is getting redder and [...]
Virginia may be turning blue, but its Republican Party — the party of Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Ken Cuccinelli — is getting redder and redder.
And crazier and crazier, perhaps because it knows deep down that it’s losing the state.
You’ll recall that McDonnell, among other things, reinstituted state discrimination against gays and lesbians as well as Confederate History Month in Virginia, while Cuccinelli, who is now running for governor, worries about exposed boobs and blow jobs and otherwise pushed an even more extremist agenda.
Well, apparently that’s not crazy enough for Virginia Republicans, who yesterday nominated E.W. Jackson, a far-right minister, to be Cuccinelli’s successor. And just how crazy is Jackson?
Jackson also maintained a now defunct blog on his site, where he argued in one post that President Obama saw the world “from a Muslim perspective.”
Obama clearly has Muslim sensibilities. He sees the world and Israel from a Muslim perspective. His construct of “The Muslim World” is unique in modern diplomacy. It is said that only The Muslim Brotherhood and other radical elements of the religion use that concept. It is a call to unify Muslims around the world…
Those who are paying attention and thinking about these issues do not find it unreasonable to consider that President Obama is influenced by a strain of anti-Semitism picked up from the black community, his leftist friends and colleagues, his Muslim associations and his long period of mentorship under Jeremiah Wright. If this conclusion is accurate, Israel has some dark days ahead. For the first time in her history, she may find the President of the United States siding with her enemies.
What is a Muslim “perspective”? What are Muslim “sensibilities”? Is there a Christian or Jewish perspective as well, Christian or Jewish sensibilities? There are a lot of Jews, in Israel and elsewhere, who would object to being lumped in with those on the extremist far right demanding more settlements and rejecting a two-state solution. And there are a lot of Christians who would object to being lumped in with Jackson and his ilk. But it’s okay to talk about a “Muslim” perspective, to lump all Muslims together?
And Obama is an anti-Semite? Why, for being something other than a bigot towards Muslims and for proposing something other than an extremist right-wing solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
It’s always hilarious to see Christians, and particularly American Christianists, take such a rabidly pro-Israel position, as if the Jews are their eternal friends, though of course we know that the Jews are just pawns in their little game of Rapture.
And it’s also always hilarious to see idiots like Jackson talk absolute shit about Obama, trying to tar him with every insult and smear their tiny minds can dredge up.
There are many on the right, all across the U.S., who think like this and hold views like this. The thing is, Jackson isn’t just some random bigot. He’s the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia. That should tell you a lot about the current state of the Republican Party in that state, and throughout the country.
By Michael J.W. Stickings Another fake scandal. It wasn’t really such a bad week for President Obama, just a bad week for President Obama according to a Beltway media establishment [...]
|Another fake scandal.|
It wasn’t really such a bad week for President Obama, just a bad week for President Obama according to a Beltway media establishment desperately looking for some excitement and more than willing to go right along with the ongoing Republican assault on everything the president does.
The point is, while it was a week of annoying scandalmongering, and surely incredibly annoying to the White House, what really happened is that the Republicans pushing the scandals along with their media enablers were finally exposed as a bunch of frauds. Consider:
Benghazi: This has long been over, but Republicans won’t let it rest. They thought they had a smoking gun in leaked White House e-mails that suggested political interference in post-attack talking points, but the story, after the White House released the full e-mails, is now rightly about how Republicans altered those e-mails and how ABC News was played and/or in on it. End result: Republicans look bad.
IRS: Conservatives freaked out and Republicans ultimately blew their load. The IRS could and should have handled their investigation of Tea Party groups with greater care, but there’s no scandal. Obama didn’t order any sort of Nixonian investigation of his enemies and the IRS invesigates the tax-exempt claims of groups across the spectrum. End result: Obama found a scapegoat in the IRS commissioner, which is a shame, but it’s clear the IRS did nothing fundamentally wrong. Republicans don’t look bad as much as they look hypocritical.
AP: The federal government’s subpoenaing of the media organization’s phone records may be the only real scandal here, and initially the Beltway media were up in arms, but there’s no one really driving this one other than Obama’s critics on the civil libertarian left (e.g., Glenn Greenwald, and I tend to agree with them). Everyone knows that this sort of thing has gone on for a long time (Patriot Act, anyone?) and everyone knows that Obama has maintained much of the Bush-Cheney national security state. And Republicans have no interest in defending the media from the left. They’re not saying anything because they agree with the Justice Department. End result: Obama and Holder deserve criticism, but this one’s done.
Oh, but Republicans are as desperate as ever to try to bring down the president (as well as the person they see as their likely nemesis in 2016, Hillary Clinton). Indeed, what this week proved is not that the president is being brought down by scandal (given that these are faux scandals pushed by Republicans and sensationalized by their media enablers) but that Republicans have nothing but obstructionism and outrage to hurl in his direction. His approval numbers are fine, Obamacare is becoming the law of the land, and while they’ve successfully blocked him in Congress (e.g., voting down the extremly popular Manchin-Toomey background check gun bill) their electoral prospects remain dim. They tried for four years to tear him down. This is just more of the same. It’s all they’ve got.
Just consider how the week ended, with conservatives freaking out over Obama’s request, at a Rose Garden news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, that a couple of Marines hold umbrellas for them. It’s like he asked them to sodomize each other while performing an abortion and setting fire to the American flag.
Now, it’s really no scandal at all:
“Marines are always out getting rained on. That’s sort of what we do,” said Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marines spokesman. A request from the president to a Marine who serves at the White House, however, would be an “extenuating circumstance,” he said.
Flanagan also pointed to Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which states that members of the Marine Corps shall “perform such other duties as the President may direct.”
But that isn’t stopping Republicans from going ballistic — because, again, they’re desperate, because they have nothing else but this relentless assault of (mostly faux) outrage. They’re losing so badly on the substance, on real issues, that they have to make shit up to try to bring him down. Like getting a Marine to hold a fucking umbrella.
The media, with their non-existent attention spans and myopic sense that the here and now is forever, kept telling us that it was a horrible, terrible, brutal week for President Obama. But was it?
It’s easy to get lost in the fog, but what this week revealed, again, is that his enemies are pathetic and dishonest, that the media (or at least some prominent parts of it) are stupid, and that the president has an agenda to move the country forward while Republicans are paralyzed by anger, fear, and outrage, because they just can’t stand the fact that he’s in the White House and one of their own isn’t, because they can’t just run roughshod over the country with their right-wing ideology.
Ultimately, these fake scandals too shall pass. Even Benghazi. But they’ll be replaced by others, all with the same mouth-frothing outrage on Fox News and throughout conservative media. Republicans failed this week, as they’ve failed miserably throughout Obama’s presidency, but it’s who they are and it’s all they’ve got, and failure isn’t about to stop them.
By Michael J.W. StickingsBack in January, I blogged about the great British post-prog band Anathema, writing that their most recent album, Weather Systems, was one of the very best (if [...]
By Michael J.W. Stickings
Back in January, I blogged about the great British post-prog band Anathema, writing that their most recent album, Weather Systems, was one of the very best (if not the best) of 2012.
Here they are performing “A Natural Disaster,” the title track off their 2003 album, at the Palladium in Cologne, Germany, on December 4, 2007.
(Yes, Lee Douglas, who sang the lead on this song on the album and has since become a full-fledged member of the band, is awesome.)
By Michael J.W. StickingsProgress is on the march. In countries like Portugal and, of course, France: France’s president has signed into law a controversial bill making the country the ninth [...]
France’s president has signed into law a controversial bill making the country the ninth in Europe, and 14th globally, to legalise gay marriage.
On Friday, the Constitutional Council rejected a challenge by the right-wing opposition, clearing the way for Francois Hollande to sign the bill.
He said: “I have taken [the decision]; now it is time to respect the law of the Republic.”
It wasn’t easy:
Mr Hollande and his ruling Socialist Party have made the legislation their flagship social reform since being elected a year ago.
After a tortured debate, the same-sex marriage and adoption bill was adopted by France’s Senate and National Assembly last month.
The bill was quickly challenged on constitutional grounds by the main right-wing opposition UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
But the Constitutional Council ruled on Friday that same-sex marriage “did not run contrary to any constitutional principles,” and that it did not infringe on “basic rights or liberties or national sovereignty”.
Indeed, while France is a generally progressive country (e.g., on health care), the right is still very strong, with conservatives well to the right of Sarkozy, and issues like gay rights and immigration prove to be deeply divisive.
Still, it’s done, a victory for liberty and equality (and, for that matter, fraternity), and that’s more than you can say about the U.S., which includes retrograde states like Texas:
A Republican Texas Judge has ordered a lesbian couple to live apart or give up custody of their children. According to Think Progress, Judge John Roach of McKinney, Texas has given Page Price 30 days to move out of the home she shares with Carolyn Compton and Compton’s two children from a previous marriage because he does not approve of Compton and Price’s “lifestyle.”
Roach has placed a “morality clause” in Compton’s divorce papers, which forbids Compton from having anyone she is not related to “by blood or marriage” in her home past 9:00 p.m. if the children are present. Same sex marriage is illegal in Texas, so by law, Compton cannot live with Price if she wishes to retain custody of her children.
That’s not Saudi Arabia, that’s Texas. And that’s right, this bigot of a judge, reinforcing the bigotry of that state, is denying this woman her liberty and her equality (and, for that matter, her fraternity).
Truly, utterly shameful.