Saturday Song: Il Divo “Amazing Grace”

Seems the most fitting song to close out the year.

“Rick Perry Does Not Have The Brains To Be President”

Words just uttered live on MSNBC by Chris Matthews.  The coffee shop in Iowa where “Hardball” is being staged burst into applause.

Words that needed to have been said a long time ago.

My only additional thought is how in heck did the people of Texas ever think Perry was capable to be elected Governor.  Might that be a reflection on Texans?

Tom Barrett Should Not Run For Governor In Recall Election

This could get messy.

I do not want Tom Barrett in this race.  There were some serious limitations to his campaign in 2010, and we can not expect things to have improved in his abilities as a candidate since then.  It is imperative that we have a dynamic and smart candidate to tackle the out-of-control-partisan Scott Walker.  The stakes are too high to settle for anything less than a winner.  While Barrett is very bright and capable on the issues, the first goal must be to win the election.  On that score I find Barrett lacking.  The whole state does.

The gambit by two large Wisconsin unions to force Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett out of a possible recall election appears to have backfired.

Two sources close to the Democratic mayor said this week that Barrett now is “seriously considering” running in a potential recall election of Gov. Scott Walker and will make an announcement in early January.

Both sources emphasized that Barrett has not yet made a final decision.

But nearly everything else they said suggested the mayor will seek a rematch with Walker.

The pair of Barrett sources said he might jump in even if the leaders of the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Wisconsin State Employees Union put up another Democratic candidate. The unions are said to be supporting former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

“We don’t want a primary, but we’re not intimidated by it,” said one of the sources close to Barrett. “Tom’s decision will not be influenced by that. He’s not running to be governor of WEAC or AFSCME.”

Last week, two top WEAC officials – President Mary Bell and Executive Director Dan Burkhalter – had a face-to-face meeting with Barrett to discuss the potential Walker recall race. Also attending the meeting was Marty Beil, executive director of the state employees union and an open criticof Barrett.

In an email obtained by No Quarter, Bell told her senior staff that the group was unsuccessful in convincing Barrett to sit out the recall contest. Walker beat Barrett by 52%-47% in late 2010.

“In our judgment, the meeting did not convince Mayor Barrett that he should not run in a potential recall election,” Bell wrote to her board members and UniServ presidents.

Samoa Lost A Day

What is even more strange is that they once gained a day!

Residents of Samoa are going back to the future, the Polynesian nation skipping December 30 in a shift to a trade-friendly timezone.

On Thursday night, it will be December 29 when they go to bed and Saturday Dec 31 when they wake up – meaning they’ll skip Friday forever.

This neat bit of time travel is the result of a very contemporary concern: trade and economic relations with Pacific neighbors Australia and New Zealand, who are currently nearly a day ahead on the clock.

Now, with the disappearance of Friday, Samoa will shift west of the international dateline and share the same date and time as its two key partners.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi explained: “In doing business (now) with New Zealand and Australia we’re losing out on two working days a week,” The London Times reported. 

“While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand and when we’re at church Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.”

Actually, this won’t be the first time switch for Samoa, a nation of 180,000 located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii and once the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Kidnapped and Treasure Island.

Samoa and neighboring American Samoa laid west of the dateline until 1892, when an American trader lobbied to switch to the east on the grounds it would be more convenient for trading ships. The result was two July 4’s that year.

Chuck Berry Performing Two New Year’s Eve Shows–$98.00 A Ticket

There was a newspaper article this morning about some big shows that are planned around the nation to usher in the New Year.  There were the regulars listed naturally, and then there was this.

B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill; New York–At age 85, the great-grandfather of the rock guitar will play two shows here backed by a band that includes his son Charles Jr. on rhythm guitar and daughter Ingrid on blues harp and vocals. Last New Year’s Eve, Mr. Berry invited female audience members to come up on stage and dance. Just don’t ask for an autograph. He’s been touchy about that for half a century.

At age 85 the Rock-and-Roll legend still takes the stage and makes musical memories.  I find this truly remarkable, and so impressive that he gets a special notice today on CP.

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll
CHUCK BERRY
New Year’s Eve
With DJ Delphine Blue
December 31, 2011
Showtimes @ 8:00PM & 11:00PM
Doors Open @ 6:00PM & 10:00PM
Tickets $98.00 in advance, $100.00 day of show

What Happens When We Stop Writing Letters?

There is a debate among some educators over the merits of teaching cursive writing.  In an age of computers and gadgets is there still a place for something as ‘old-fashioned’ as knowing how to write legibly?  (I think there is.)

There might also be a debate about something equally important–the art of writing a letter.  This week The New Yorker had a column that is worthy of pondering.

As you read the paragraph below ponder the loss of the letters from John and Abigail Adams. 

If we stop writing letters, who will keep our history or dare venture upon a biography? George Washington, Oscar Wilde, T. E. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, E. B. White, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Vera Nabokov, J. P. Morgan—if any of these vivid predecessors still belong to us in some fragmented private way, it’s because of their letters or diaries (which are letters to ourselves) or thanks to some strong biography built on a ledge of letters. Twenty years ago, many of us got a whole new sense of the Civil War while watching and listening to Ken Burns’s nine-part television documentary, which took its poignant tone from the recital of Union and Confederate soldiers’ letters home. G.I.s in the Second World War wrote home on fold-over V-Mail sheets. Troops in Afghanistan and, until lately, Iraq keep up by Skype and Facebook, and in some sense are not away at all.

Writers can’t stop writing, and it’s cheering to think which of them would have switched over to electronics had it been around. The poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop conducted an enormous correspondence—four hundred and fifty-nine letters, between 1947 and 1977 (“What a block of life,” Lowell said), spanning three continents and, between them, six or eight different lovers or partners—but one need read only a few pages of these melancholic literary exchanges to know that the latest BlackBerry or iPhone never would have penetrated their consciousness.

Rick Perry Forgets Sodomy Case From His Own State Of Texas!

Rick Perry is not ready for prime time.

Rick Perry is no legal scholar, and he’ll be the first one to tell you.

“I wish I could tell you I knew every Supreme Court case. I don’t. I’m not a lawyer,” Perry said on Thursday in response to an audience question about Lawrence v. Texas, a landmark 2003 Supreme Court case cheered by gay rights advocates because it struck down sodomy laws in Texas and invalidated them in other states across the country. The case began shortly before Perry became Texas’ lieutenant governor and was heard and decided by the Supreme Court after he had become governor.

He clarified to a reporter after the event that he didn’t know what the case was. “I’m not taking the bar exam,” he said. In his book, Fed Up!, Perry slammed the decision, citing it among a handful of big cases in which “Texans have a different view of the world than do the nine oligarchs in robes.”

Nearly 100,000 People Shot Or Killed With A Gun In Nation This Year

 

None of these have been enacted as the nation heads toward the end of another year of almost 100,000 people shot or killed with a gun. There’s been a hearing for a worthy Senate bill that strengthens the background check and applies it to all gun sales, but the House is poised to swat it down. The gun lobby, fairly crowing, claims the spike in gun sales is because more people are feeling the need to protect themselves — even though the latest F.B.I. data show a 6 percent drop in violent crimes. A raft of studies have found that the presence of guns greatly increased the likelihood of homicide and suicide in households.

Instead of cowering before the gun lobby, political leaders in both parties should be treating the annual gun death toll as a serious public health and moral problem. Polls show the public is wiser than many politicians on the gun issue. Protest candlelight vigils organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence are being planned nationally for Jan. 8, the anniversary of the Tucson rampage. Nearly 30 cities and towns have signed up, proof that sensible voters are demanding stronger protection from gun violence.