Grand Ole Opry Star Jim Ed Brown Has Lung Cancer

Prayers and thoughts are heading to Grand Ole Opry Star Jim Ed Brown who has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The 80-year-old Arkansas native received the diagnosis two weeks ago.

“At that time, I was in shock and scared as I didn’t know what that really meant. After testing, the doctors have asked me to take the next four months off from touring and to focus on chemotherapy and radiation treatments to shrink the cancer cells. I will keep you all updated on the progress. I am forever grateful for the love, support and prayers during this time.”

Does “Madam Secretary” Resemble Hillary Clinton’s Time As Secretary Of State?


James and I have been watching CBS’ Madam Secretary and are mighty pleased.  The only drawback is that the show is placed on Sundays so it is necessary to watch it on the DVR as there is no telling when it will start due to football games never ending on time.  But since we hate to watch commercials I guess that everything works out just fine.

One of the topics that has popped up on radio and conversations since the premiere two weeks ago is how closely does Téa Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, the fictitious secretary of State, resemble the life and times of Hillary Clinton.


  • Bess’s college-professor husband, Henry McCord (Tim Daly), is charming, sexy, and totally worshipped by the female subordinates in his cult of personality. But similarities between him and Slick Willie end there; Henry is faithful. In fact, he has such a strong sense of character that in one episode, Bess, fearful her job will compromise her ethics, asks Henry if he will promise to be her moral “touchstone.” Bill Clinton’s stones touched a lot, but never in that way.
  • Another difference between the two marriages: Bess worries her masculine energy might be ruining Henry’s and her sex life. I’m not suggesting Hillary Clinton has no masculine energy, or that it didn’t affect her sex life, but I do doubt she ever worried about it.


  • Prior to her position as secretary of State, Clinton had been a U.S. Senator, the First Lady, and a lawyer. McCord’s résumé includes university professor and CIA operative. These CVs do have one thing in common, though, since, while First Lady, Clinton was essentially acting as a spy for her future run for president.
  • Both Clinton and McCord were also initially shocked by the secretary job offer. According to Clinton aide Philippe Reines, when he emailed Hillary that Obama was considering her for the position, she responded, “Not in a million years.” Similarly, when CBS’s fictional president (Keith Carradine, vaguely reminiscent of Rahm Emanuel — a nod to who was really in power back then?) asks McCord to take the position, she laughs in his face. As much as Clinton protested, however, and even tried to say no, many believe she was simply posturing and always planned to take the job. Similarly, when McCord was visited by her own president, she was in her stables, literally shoveling shit. 


  • Clinton famously claimed there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy” maneuvering against Bill and her. McCord appears to also face an interior conspiracy, which will be revealed over the course of the season, and looks to be its most compelling aspect.
  • McCord’s biggest adversary at this point is White House Chief of Staff Russell Jackson (Zeljko Ivanek). Clinton was also forced to work daily with her biggest enemy, Obama.



Madison City Council Working At Getting High Speed Internet To Low-Income Neighborhoods

Not for the first time do I call attention to, or applaud the work of the Madison City Council when it comes to improving the ability of families living in low-income neighborhoods to have access to high-speed internet service.  We all know the importance of computers and the way they connect us to information and allow for educational pursuits.

That is why I am profoundly pleased that two capital budget amendments are awaiting action for inclusion into the final document this fall.  They are both reminders of the importance at working to improve the lives of those who live in areas where real needs exist.

First Mayor Paul Soglin is proposing to provide fiber-optic connections to community and cultural centers. The connections will allow the centers to gain access to higher speeds of broadband for community member use. Many families, in the areas where these centers are located, do not have access to high-speed broadband. This project would provide a facility, in several low income neighborhoods, where citizens could go to get access to high-speed Internet service.

Second, Scott Resnick has long been a champion of making high-speed internet connections possible for low-income areas of the city so his amendment is not a new idea, but certainly is welcome.  Resnick is the main opponent to Soglin in the upcoming mayoral election

Resnick proposes a feasibility study for a Madison Co-op internet utility  to provide wireless internet services to low income neighborhoods and families.

These are the types of measures that makes Madison part of the solution when it comes to poverty.  Both Soglin and Resnick are to be applauded for their work in this matter.  Governmental action can help to lift those who live in areas where needs exist.  I am quite certain there will be much support for both of these amendments.

Which Is It, Kansas?

So much political coverage to review every day at we tick off the weeks to the mid-term elections.  But above all the reports and punditry there came this news story that caught my eye.

The sun is shining in Kansas,” Gov. Sam Brownback says in a television ad. “And don’t let anybody tell you any different.”

Sen. Pat Roberts has other ideas. “Kansans are struggling,” his early commercial says.

All eyes should be focused on independent Greg Orman come Election Night.



So What Is In A Name When It Comes To The Mid-Term Elections?

The magic family names this year when it comes to the mid-term elections were thought to be Begich, Pryor and Landrieu.  But the polls are showing that perhaps that is not enough for victory.

With five weeks to go Mark Begich, Mark Pryor and Mary L. Landrieu are more vulnerable then when this campaign started.

Landrieu’s message is based largely on three points which are her clout as chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, her work to help the coast recover from destructive storms, and her ability to deliver federal funds for the state’s various needs.  All these things are mighty important but there is a trend in the polling that shows she may not meet the percentage required in the state to prevail.  Democrat’s may have to concede that Louisiana is harder and harder of a place for a victory.    After all, if someone like Landrieu can not make it there—then perhaps no one can.

While President Clinton is planning a series of stops in Arkansas over the coming week to assist Pryor there is much concern about the loss of these three seats, and with them the control of the U.S. Senate.

But when it comes to names and the mid-terms there is a candidate who has no family name to fall back on, and yet her numbers looks more favorable.  That person is North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan.  What is Hagan’s secret to having better numbers in the polls for her re-election?

Of course, she gets to run for a second term in more competitive territory than her red-state colleagues. But Hagan’s race appears to show that having an overwhelming financial advantage and destroying the credibility of your opponent are more important than being part of a well-known political family.

State Speaker Thom Tillis, the GOP nominee in the Tar Heel State, has consistently been upside down (his unfavorable ratings are higher than his favorable ratings) on his image, except for the recent CNN survey.

This Is The Season For Politicos, And History-Makers

From referendums to all sorts of races across the nation this election cycle is most interesting.  If it is possible to just enjoy the drama of politics even in a cycle where the party we support is in trouble–and I think many politicos such as myself do that every election regardless of party–than this November has a whole array of races to watch unfold these last weeks of the campaign, along with a reason to stay up late and watch the votes be reported come Election Night.

As the leaves turn and the wind starts to have a distinctive chill our national thoughts gravitate towards the races that will decide who governs and controls power.  This is the season when die-hards turn in C-SPAN to watch debates from other states that they can not vote in but just really want to see the contenders go one-on-one in the field of ideas.

If it after all during many of the mid-term races that produce men and women who make up the pages of our history.

In 1946–another mid-term election–two young men would be elected to Congress. One from the eastern part of this nation and one from the western part.

One would be a Democrat.  The other a Republican.  Over the years they would rise to serve in the senate.

Both would also serve as President of the United States.

Jack Kennedy and Richard Nixon were both from the class of 1946, the products of tough and tumble campaigns, and watched by many in their states as the press reported on their races.

What happens in every election cycle matters.  The same is true this year as we are about to turn another page in the political story of our country.    Sometimes our candidates win, and at other times they lose.  But the larger narrative never ceases to unfold.

But what matters the most is how people sense their role in the whole story.

Some will never pick up a newspaper nor have a care to learn more about the candidates or the issues that are at stake in the election.    They will not vote, and not care to stay up until the coverage of Election Night is over.

Then there are those citizens who stay in touch with current events every day, know the candidates, and can speak to the issues that need to be dealt with in the country.  They vote and in so doing are a part of that history which future generations will read about.

I am not sure what the answer is to get more people tuned into the excitement that comes with red-white-and blue bunting flapping at a fall campaign rally or care about the men and women who take the time to become candidates for office.  Regardless of party those candidates are to be respected for the civic duty they feel so strongly about that they give up a great deal of personal time, resources, and  energy to make a bid for office.

The least we can do is play our part as citizens and vote.  And in so doing be a part of history in the making.

Today Is National Coffee Day–Get Freebies Across The Country

It is National Coffee Day!!  There is no way that Caffeinated Politics could not pay notice to one of the fun days of the year.

So if you are in need of something dark and rich to start your work week off with might I suggest a few deals on java from those national chains.

Try something new: Dunkin Donuts wants you to know it has a new blend — Dark Roast. It is serving up free medium cups on Monday.

Set an out of office message: How long is a coffee break, anyway? Krispy Kreme wants you to tell others that you’re temporarily away from your email because you’re sipping its free coffee.

“Did you know that the best way to be more productive at work is to take a break? It’s true! I found it on the Internet,” begins their suggested message.

The chain is offering a free 12oz regular coffee. For $1, you can get a mocha, latte or iced coffee.

Not just one day: Who says there’s enough free coffee to last only 24 hours? McDonald’s has been giving away free coffee for two weeks, an offer that ends after Monday.

The fast food chain has been pouring free small cups of coffee during its breakfast hours.

Charlie and the coffee factory: The offer of a $1 cup of coffee is a decent deal, but Tim Hortons is also hiding golden envelopes with “more than $9,000 in cash and gift cards.”

Meanwhile in honor of National Coffee Day here are pictures of a favorite mug from which I drink my cup of Joe.

c1 c2

Lets Save RCA Studio A On Music Row In Nashville

When it comes to country music my tastes run to the times when Connie Smith, Roy Acuff, or Bill Anderson were laying down tracks in the recording studio.    What passes for most country music today–minus the Vince Gill types–sound either far too red-neck for my tastes or have a sound that is far different from that which makes classic country such a joy to put on the sound system.

Today there was a front page story in The New York Times about the development craze that is slated to make the Nashville area–the 10-county metropolitan region of 1.7 million people–to grow to three million by 2040.  But to achieve that there are going to be some drastic changes.

140709_blog_photo_StudioA_Exterior_CarolynBrackett_NTHPRCA Studio A

One of the saddest changes is perhaps the destruction of RCA Studio A — one of those places where so much of country music–the sounds of Americana–was created.  To me–and thankfully many others–this is absolutely wrong.    But will there be enough sane ones with a sense of the past and the importance of the music that was created in this studio to make a difference?

As it stands now, unless there is some miracle at the last minute the 5,000-square-foot Studio A will be razed.  In its place Bravo Development desires to replace it with a five-story condo complex.  Within those walls the likes of Loretta Lynn,  George Strait, B. B. King, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees all recorded hits we still know as soon as they are played or music we still sing to in the shower.  The studio, which opened in 1965, was operated by the RCA record label through 1979.

Pure soulless greed is the only way to sum up this action by Bravo Development.  There must be more of an appreciation for the past magic that was recorded in Studio A and why that connection to our past is important.    Readers should know–if they are not already aware–that other sites on Music Row have been torn down to make room for new buildings that are not expected to meet the test of time.

Fireside, a studio once owned by Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton’s duet partner, was torn down recently to make room for the Artisan, a 153-unit apartment complex with a yoga studio.  Really?!!


Fireside, a studio once owned by Porter Wagoner

RCA Studio B where Elvis and others performed is under the protection of the Country Music Association which has a lease in perpetuity.  So there is a sense, when it can be employed, to make the past secure.

That type of care for our musical history needs to rise to the top.  Lets try to keep Studio A out of the hands of the greedy developers.

Ben Folds is leading the charge, and I urge others who wish to make a difference to connect with him–and soon.

Folds and other supporters for saving Studio A and Music Row are moving forward with their efforts. In a Facebook post on July 2, Folds emphasized his goals: “My aim is to make sure Studio A is standing and making music of future generations long after we are all gone. By drawing attention to this I also have the opportunity to cast a spotlight on those on Music Row who have been individually struggling with their versions of the same story as they watch bulldozers level acres of our rich music history every day.”