Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day 2016

All Is Not Lost

"You say 'white supremacist' like that's a BAD thing."
So asshat Donald Trump's clown show continued on the Sunday morning talking heads shows, and as he usually does during interviews he managed to get his entire wingtip-shod foot into his mouth.

Asked by Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union show if he would disavow the recently-announced support of David Duke (a former
Ku Klux Klan bigwig), he repeatedly refused to do so.

When the crap hit the fan about that, Trump's first line of defense was that he didn't know who David Duke is, or what the Ku Klux Klan is, for that matter. That was a preposterous lie, of course, and when he was called out for it his shifted gears. His latest defense is that he had a faulty earpiece and couldn't understand what Tapper was asking him. This is also a preposterous lie, since he was able to repeat "David Duke" and "white supremacist" and "Ku Klux Klan" multiple times as he stammered out his answer. Trump heard Tapper just fine, and he knew exactly what he was being asked.

When voters go to the polls tomorrow in the Super Tuesday primaries, we'll see if this latest disgraceful performance makes any difference. None of Trump's missteps on the campaign trail have seemed to matter thus far, so I'm not optimistic they'll have any effect this time, either.

Despite that, there does appear to be a glimmer of hope. More and more people are publicly expressing the view that a Trump nomination simply means that conservatives should find another place to hang our hats instead of sticking around as the Republican party destroys itself. That movement got a big boost yesterday, from one of conservatism's rising stars.

"#Never Trump."
Senator Ben Sasse, my neighbor from Nebraska, posted a heartfelt Facebook message yesterday explaining why he will not support Trump if Trump should win the Republican party's presidential nomination.

He also spent a good part of the evening broadcasting the same message via Twitter.

It was a remarkable display of courage for the freshman senator, and I hope it inspires conservatives everywhere. It certainly inspired me. There may no longer be a place for me in the Republican party if it nominates Trump, but I will gladly give my vote and support to conservatives of character like Senator Sasse.

"You know he's a HUGE Cornhusker fan, right?"

I'm willing to overlook that...

Leap Day

Today is the quadrennial "extra" day we call Leap Day. I am completely indifferent to the astrophysical reasons for it. All I know is that Lent is an extra day longer during Leap Years. My response to that is unprintable in a PG-13 blog...

Oscar Night

Original 2015 "one sheet" poster
I didn't watch the Academy Awards telecast last night, and in fact haven't watched it in years. I get my fill of celebrities striking uninformed political poses on a daily basis, and feel no need to subject myself to several hours of Hollywood sanctimony. (Leonardo DiCaprio, for instance, used the occasion of his long-awaited Best Actor Oscar win to lecture us about climate change.)

The winner for Best Picture was something of a surprise: Spotlight, actor/director Tom McCarthy's film about the Boston Globe breaking the sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston, had only won a single award the entire evening (for Best Original Screenplay) when it was announced as the winner of the evening's most coveted prize.

And, in an entirely predictable development, the same press who haven't put a question to Hillary Clinton for three months and seem perfectly willing to publish her self-serving spin about her illegal email server and other scandals, the same press who never challenge Donald Trump on his ridiculous claims and give him ten times the free airtime as the rest of the GOP field combined practically dislocated their shoulders patting themselves on the back about how "proud" they were to be reporters. Right.

In a World Where Reporters Really Did Their Jobs

From the pen of Henry Payne, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

Every once in a great while a cover version of a popular song surpasses the original, and not just in sales. One of the best examples of this sort of thing is "Respect," a great R&B song written by the legendary Otis Redding.

Redding's version was a modest hit in 1965 (No. 4 on the Billboard R&B chart, No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100), but in 1967 a new arrangement (with modified lyrics as well) was recorded by powerhouse soul songstress Aretha Franklin for her eleventh album  
I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You. Aretha's version rocketed to No. 1 on both Billboard's R&B chart and it's Hot 100 Singles chart. It held the No. 1 spot on the latter for two weeks. It became Aretha's signature song, an unusual outcome for a cover version of someone else's material.

Redding's own unforgettable signature song "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" would spend four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart less than a year later, although Redding did not live to see it.

Original 1967 45 rpm single
On February 29, 1968 Aretha's recording of "Respect" won the Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal R&B Performance, making her the first winner in that new Grammy category. She would go on to win the award for the next seven consecutive years.

The recording was selected for the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987, and in 2002 it was selected for the National Recording Registry curated by the Library of Congress. It was also included in the Songs of the Century collection prepared by the RIAA and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Redding's recording of "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" also made the 25-song
Songs of the Century collection, making Redding the only songwriter represented twice.

As for Aretha's cover of "Respect," it became something of an anthem for the feminist movement, but that aside it is one of the best R&B songs ever, and that's good enough for me to overlook the political crap.

Today's send-off is the original 1967 version of the song paired with images of the Queen of Soul. Enjoy...

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