Thursday, March 3, 2016

Patriot Games

Another Broadside

"What the actual fuck, Republican voters? Get it together!"
The latest development in the nascent "Never Trump" campaign was a speech this morning by former Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Speaking at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, Romney lit into asshat Donald Trump in no uncertain terms.

It was a stirring address, my favorite line of which was "His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University."

The purpose of such a speech, of course, it not to dissuade the militant backers of Trump, who seem impervious to all evidence or logic on the subject. Instead, Romney was talking to Republicans and independents who are still making up their minds, to supporters of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich who might be losing heart, and to GOP politicians who are currently trying to resist the gravitational pull of the media narrative that Trump is "inevitable."

No matter what else happens, Romney's speech today was a profile in courage, and genuinely patriotic. I shall pray that it was not in vain.

"Wow! He really peeled the hide off of Trump, didn't he?"

He really did, yes...and it was glorious!

Real Feminism

"My outfit? Res ipsa loquitur."

One of the cool things about being
on social media is learning interesting new things. Just today, for instance,
I learned about Belva Ann Lockwood, who ought to be viewed as a feminist pioneer.

On March 3, 1879 she became the first woman admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States bar. Less than a year later she would become the first female attorney to argue a case before the nation's highest court.

Pretty cool, and well worth a tip of my Kansas City Royals cap...

171 Candles

On March 3, 1845 Florida became the 27th state of the Union, the day before the end of John Tyler's term as the 10th President of the United States.

As with many states, Florida's path to statehood was bloody and politically complicated. Acquired through a treaty with Spain, from 1821 to its accession in 1845 it was a territory. It was admitted into the Union as a slave state, unfortunately.

Florida is the only state south of the Mason-Dixon Line which I have not visited, though I hope to some day.
It is one of the most geographically diverse states in the country, and I'd really enjoy seeing its scenic beauty
in person.

Now, if the folks who live there would do us all a favor and NOT vote for asshat Donald Trump on March 15, that'd be swell!

"You HAVE to take me with you down there. I hear the ants are HUGE!"

I don't know about that, but they certainly do have quite a variety of them...and of course I'll take you along, old friend...

Just Like All of His Other Big Projects

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

Until Next Time...

In November of 1929, a cartoon in the Ripley's Believe It or Not! series was published featuring the statement "Believe It or Not, America has no national anthem!" Odd as it seems now, it was true. Despite being more than 150 years old as a nation, the United States lacked an "official" song.

There were certainly many contenders for the honor: "Hail, Columbia" was the unofficial anthem for much of the 19th century, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" was taught in school to every kid in America, and "America the Beautiful" became so popular many people mistakenly assumed it was the official national anthem.

The conversation sparked by the cartoon included prominent musical figures like
John Philip Sousa arguing for an "official" national anthem, and before long the politicians in Washington were stirred to action.

Piano sheet music, 1862

On March 3, 1931 President Herbert Hoover signed legislation officially designating the already-popular  
The Star-Spangled Banner (lyrics by Francis Scott Key, music by John Stafford Smith) as our national anthem.

As baseball's regular season approaches, I've been looking forward to my first live ballgame of the season, and hoping as
I always do for a stirring rendition of the anthem. Because the song is so famously difficult to sing, I'm usually fine with instrumental renditions.

Every once in a great while, however,
a vocalist manages to do a really splendid job meeting the unique challenge.

In September of 1997 LeAnn Rimes, then just 15 years old, released her second album, a follow-up to her multi-platinum debut Blue. Consisting entirely of cover versions of songs Rimes found uplifting, You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs became the first album ever to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, the Top Country Albums chart, and the Contemporary Christian chart simultaneously. The feat has never been repeated.

Among the selections on the album is an a cappella version of "The Star Spangled Banner" that is a personal favorite of mine.

I spent the summer of 1999 as the stadium announcer for the local semi-pro baseball team in St. Joseph, and I always brought a CD with LeAnn's rendition on it with me to the ballpark just in case the regularly-scheduled live singer didn't show up. I got to use it on a couple of occasions, and it was enthusiastically received. I have loaned the CD to athletic directors at two high schools to use in a pinch for football and basketball games as well.

Today's send-off is the original album track (posted to YouTube by a fan who misspelled LeAnn's name). As you listen, keep reminding yourself that the young woman singing this famously-difficult song is just 15 years old. The best renditions are the ones that bring a lump to my throat, and this one more than fills the bill in that regard. Simply amazing. Enjoy...

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