Jessy Dixon, Southern Gospel Dynamo, Dies At Age 73

The Homecoming Friends on the big stage up above got another voice today.

It is with sadness that I write Jessy Dixon died today at the age of 73.  To say that he was a singer that made the rafters move would be missing the mark by a mile.  He had the ability to roll the clouds of despair away and let the sun shine in. 

He was that good.

Jessy Dixon and your blogger.

I continue to be so happy to have had the chance to see Jessy Dixon perform with the Homecoming Friends in Milwaukee and again in Champaign, Illinois.  I was thrilled to get to chat with him for a few minutes prior to a concert and asked how he liked working with Vestal Goodman.  I will never forget how he told me it was hard to keep up with her when the Holy Spirit was on stage leading them in music.

That was Jessy Dixon.  So talented, and respected by many.  I loved the way he sang, moved on stage, and set a whole coliseum into a foot-stomping cadence.

Mr. Dixon wrote more than 200 songs in a career that spanned five decades. He was perhaps best known for his 1993 hit “I Am Redeemed,”which remained on the gospel and Christian charts for five years. He also composed songs for several pop singers, among them Randy Crawford, Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole and Amy Grant.

Though he was already well known in gospel circles, Mr. Dixon reached the mainstream pop-music audience in the 1970s, when he collaborated with Mr. Simon on the albums “Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin’ ” (a follow-up to Mr. Simon’s hit album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”) and “Still Crazy After All These Years.” The two musicians had met at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1972, and Mr. Simon was impressed with his vocals.

Letter From Home: “Standing Up” 9/26/11

While walking through my family home on Saturday (the first time I have been allowed to be there since my father passed away on April 11th) a series of memories flooded back.  Pleasant ones that I have not thought of for many years, and others that I have no reason to recall.

As I stood looking out the south window of my old bedroom one of those long-forgotten memories surfaced.  For whatever reason the image of a flying food tray came to mind.  I am sure that a therapist who ponders such things might suggest,  given the events of the past months, that my mind is actively wired to recall an event that made a very positive change in my life.  A change that is still working for me in these trying times.

It was in the opening days of my freshman year at high school when I was purposely tripped while entering the lunch room with a tray of food.  In a fraction of a second I was sprawled on the painted gray concrete floor with food everywhere.  As quickly as I landed the sound of laughing came from the source of a small group of upper classmen who thought the prank on the kid not yet weighing 100 pounds was uproariously funny.

During my teen years I could get angry very quickly as puberty and overall frustrations had combined.  So it was not hard to image me instantly standing with tray in hand and using it in frisbee fashion to sling it into the chest of one of the jerks.  It made an impact and a bit of chaos.

As one might imagine there was a phone call from the school to my parents, but there was never any serious admonishment from Mom or Dad about my action.   There was the implied underlying theme from Dad about standing up for oneself.   My Mom was more worried about me being safe.  It should be noted  that there was never another attempt at school to trip me with my lunch tray in hand.

I have never been a physical fighter since I am not bulky, but more important find the art of reasoning along with multiple resources that I can tap into to be a far more comfortable method for conflict resolution.  While I am not a brawler, I also am not known for lying down for a punching be it physical or otherwise.

Over the past thirty years of adulthood I have become a sure-footed, confident, determined man.  Some who have never allowed themselves to really get to know me may be under some other faulty assumptions.  The fact is I have had a wide array of experiences along with a background in media, politics, government, and life.  After 49 years I am proud of who I am.

But then there are a few who seem to view me as “weak-kneed” and one that can be easily pushed around.

That is when an old truism should be recalled.

Do not mess with someone who is smart and creative for the results might be the opposite of what was hoped for.

At the end of the day I would rather look for the hawk in the neighborhood and have good dinner conversation than deal with contemptible individuals.

But when the need arises I have no reticence about letting others know precisely where the bear needs to crap in the buckwheat.

David Frost vs. Richard Nixon Voted Best-Ever Broadcast Interview

Would it surprise my readers to know I own a full video copy of these interviews?  The interviews are illuminating and it is interesting how animated RN becomes in the discussions over foreign policy along  with the choices of characteristics he picks up on to describe foreign leaders he had met and worked with over the years. 

For anyone interested in more of the back story on the interviews might I suggest the book “Exile” by Robert Sam Anson that provides insight into this media event.  It was not an easy time for David Frost, and an even more emotional time for RN.

David Frost’s 1977 encounter with former US President Richard Nixon has been voted the greatest broadcast interview of all time by Radio Times readers.

In the poll, conducted to mark the BBC College of Journalism’s Art of the Interview season, Frost v Nixon garnered 19% of the total vote. This put it well ahead of the surprise second-place interview: Kirsty Young’s conversation with the singer Morrissey, on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2009, which was picked out by 12% of respondents.

Pope Benedict’s Confusing Political Priorities

I was reading some other blogs around the nation this evening and came across this paragraph that is right on the mark.

Yet while he (Pope Benedict XVI) continues to argue on the losing side of the (family and marriage) debate, the world is ravaged by suffering that one would assume a man in his position would focus more on. Every day, 16,000 children die due to hunger related causes. The United States is engaged in global conflict, is establishing military bases in Africa to launch deadly drones on civilians, governments around the world are imposing deadly austerity measures on the citizens, the gap between the wealthy and everyone else is widening, people are dying because they can’t pay for health insurance, and all the Pope can focus on is two gay people wanting to get married? This is what the Church is spending its time on?

Supreme Court Might Consider Health Care Law During Presidential Election Season

Allen Drury could not not have plotted this story line.

The issue of the constitutionality of the individual mandate has been widely expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The key question has been the timing. The Justice Department’s apparent decision to ask the Supreme Court to review the case greatly increases the chances the issue will be heard in the 2011-12 term, which begins Monday.

The Supreme Court now has several strong reasons to accept the case. The court rarely declines requests from the government to take a case, especially in situations in which a circuit court has struck down a piece of a high-profile law.

There is also a split between the appeals courts. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the mandate, the 11th Circuit has ruled it unconstitutional, and the 4th Circuit has ruled that a tax law prevents it from issuing a decision on the mandate until at least 2014.

“The odds are pretty significant the court will take the case now,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, which has filed briefs in support of the law.

Oral Roberts’ Gay Grandson, Randy Roberts Potts, Pushing Back Grandfather’s Spiritual Kingdom

Now this news is like having chocolate cake before breakfast.  Needless to say I was never a fan of Oral Roberts based on his anti-gay bigotry.  So hearing that the televangelist has an outspoken gay grandson is a perfect bookend to the images that so many have of the aging minister who ranted about all sorts of issues while urging cash to be sent at once for his church. 

I really think that having a leveling agent against homophobia in all families is a good thing, and so CP wishes Randy Roberts Potts all the best.  There is a lot of work to do around the country!

Now Potts wants to share his story of growing up on the Roberts compound under the banner of evangelical royalty, coming out, and his personal faith journey with audiences throughout the United States. This weekend he served as grand marshal for the AIDS Walk in Oklahoma, returning to the home state of his grandfather’s spiritual kingdom.

Randy’s grandfather, Oral Roberts, remained one of the most well-known and controversial leaders inside the American Pentecostal movement until his death in December 2009.

“I was not close to my grandfather, even though my family lived about 20 yards away on the Roberts compound in Tulsa,” he said.

“In everything I do, I ask myself if it will help make the world a better place for young gay men and women growing up in households that tell them being gay is wrong. This is always on my mind.”

Although Potts never imagined that he would work as a spokesman for gay rights — or identify as a gay man — he said now is the appropriate time to put his uniform on and declare which side he’s on.

Frank Rich: “Bipartisan Consensus In America Is As Unachievable Now As It Was After 1964”

This whole  article is rather long, but as we know from Frank Rich’s writing and analysis from the past, well worth the time.

Should Perry get the GOP nomination, he could capsize like Goldwater on Election Day. That’s the universal prediction of today’s Restons. But maybe he won’t. Perry would have a cratered economy to exploit, unlike Goldwater, who ran in a boom time when unemployment was under 6 percent and the GDP was up 5.8 percent from the previous year. Whatever Perry’s 2012 electoral fate, his lightning ascent is final proof, if any further is needed in the day of the tea-party GOP, that a bipartisan consensus in America is as unachievable now as it was after 1964. 

This is the harsh reality Obama has been way too slow to recognize. But in his post–Labor Day “Pass this jobs plan!” speech before Congress, the lip service he characteristically paid to both Republican and Democratic ideas gave way to an unmistakable preference for Democratic ideas. Soon to come were his “Buffett rule” for addressing the inequities of the Bush tax cuts and a threat to veto any budget without new tax revenues to go with spending cuts. When he tied it all up in a Rose Garden mini-tantrum pushing back against the usual cries of “class warfare,” it was enough to give one hope. No, not 2008 fired-up hope, but at least the trace memory of it. Should Obama not cave—always a big if with this president—he might have a serious shot at overcoming the huge burdens of a dark national mood and flatlined economy to win reelection.

###

For Obama to pull it out against a slick conservative populist like Perry—or some yet-undeclared Perry alternative who could still emerge to usurp him among the tea-party troops—he cannot revert to his usual ways. Yet as recently as Labor Day, the White House was sending the message, as the Times reported, that it would “rebrand the president as a pragmatic problem solver prepared to set aside ideology.” Rebrand? That is the Obama brand. Surely someone at even this White House must recognize that it is in danger of being recalled by voters because the country’s problems have not been solved.

Obama can’t change his DNA. He is by definition a conciliatory man of the middle: as a black man raised in white America, as a mediator among warring political factions at The Harvard Law Review, as a community organizer, as a child of divorce. But sometimes blacks and whites, liberals and conservatives, and moms and dads cannot reconcile their differences. Sometimes the negotiations and compromises that are the crux of politics are nonoperative. This is one of those times. The other side has no interest in striking grand bargains or even small ones. It wants not so much to reform government, a worthy goal, as to auction off its parts and distribute the proceeds to its corporate backers. It’s a revolution beyond the one even Goldwater or Reagan imagined. They didn’t talk about seceding from the union.

Will Mormon Religion Hurt Mitt Romney?

Within the presidential campaign for the Republican nomination it is coming down to two candidates about to fight it out.

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

The others (minus Jon Huntsman) are just adding humor for late night talk-show monologues.

While many topics such as immigration and job creation get tossed about in debates there is one topic that is under the radar, but it will be pivotal in deciding the nominee.  I have suggested before on CP that religion is going to play a major role for some conservatives in the nominating process in those places where Republicans find religion as comforting as their gun.

The fight over Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith is yet to register, and when it does I suspect it will take place quietly in churches and in mailings to certain demographics at primary time.  Nothing will be stated in bold flashy wording , but instead there will be pictures of Perry clutching a Bible in front of a church with quotes about his faith as a Christian.  The underlying message will be clear about his opponent.

The press has paid only a bit of attention to this matter, but I noted today that a story printed around the country speaks to the religious issue that Romney faces.

In June, a Gallup Poll found that 1 in 5 Republicans would simply refuse to vote for anyone of the Mormon faith, period.

If even half that many Republicans reject Romney or former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman over religion, they would start 10 points behind in primary states such as Iowa and South Carolina that Perry’s strategists consider launch pads to the nomination.

“Nobody’s talking about religion right now because everybody’s too busy talking about the tea party,” said Mark Silk, a religion professor at Trinity College in Connecticut. He co-wrote a study on how in 2008, evangelical opposition kept Romney stalled behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“I think if Romney is the nominee, evangelicals will support him,” Silk said.

“But if the primary matchup is Romney against an evangelical – given the way the Republican electorate is, that’s the way the vote will go.”