Sunday, October 27, 2013

Plain Sense Enters Contest to Win Van Morrison's Moondance Deluxe Edition: Why Does a Lover of Americana and Roots Music Love Van Morrison’s Music?

Which track is my favorite  off of Moondance:  All of them. 

Moondance comes from the era of the long playing vinyl record.  Unlike today's compact disc or the mp3, which make it almost too easy to skip to the most accessible, and sadly, often most commercial tracks, vinyl records, more often than not, allowed artists the freedom and room  to tell a story. 
By story I do not mean a continuous plot line with the same characters, but rather a loosely based concept or theme that created and told if not a story, at least a mood.  

Although the best LPs did not necessarily have a formal beginning, middle and denouement, the best took you on a memorable trip where the journey was more important than the eventual destination.  Moondance is certainly such an album.  From the opening song “And it stoned Me” with its reference to  American Music forefathers (i.e. “Jelly Roll”)through several soul numbers that were written and performed with the authenticity of some of the great Northern Soul or Memphis  labels, Moondance is a tour de force. 
While I do not rank Moondance as my favorite Van song the sum of the parts that make up the album Moondance make for one of the greatest LPs of the 60’s-70’s rock era. 

That said, what is my favorite Van Morrison album?   The answer may surprise you but is the reason why Van Morrison is one of my favorite musicians. 
My favorite Van album is not Astral Weeks,  Moondance, or even  Into the Music , don’t get me wrong,  I love all of them, but my personal favorite is “A Night in San Francisco” .  The reason I love “A Night in San Francisco” so much because this is, in my estimation Van Morrison’s  love letter and thank you to American Music. 

Van is not only a lover , but a student of American Music.  The musicians Van assembled for the two nights of shows that were recorded live included several icons of American Blues and Jazz,  heroes and mentors of Van, who sadly were well past their prime.  Even sadder, some  had been compromised by the ravages of age and addiction and were being ignored  if not forgotten by the public and shunned by their colleagues.  Nevertheless Van incorporated these musicians into the immensely talented large band he assembled for the occasion and then gave them the support and encouragement to spotlight their talents and they rose to the occasion. 

And that is why a lover of Americana and Roots music loves Van Morrison’s music, because Van Morrison passionately loves American Music.  A beautiful vision indeed.

(Out of respect I am not mentioning  the great  musicians of whom I speak but it is apparent to anyone who reviews the liner notes and is familiar with the latter stages of these great musicians career.) 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Walker's Enemies List: Tea Party and Walkerites Exact Revenge In A Most UnAmerican Way

If I were to tell anyone over 50 years of age that a politician was keeping an enemies list, using his elected office and the power of the executive branch of government to exact revenge on not only political opponents but also upon anyone who has ever questioned a policy of that elected official and even those merely suspected of ever disagreeing with them, and you would say "Richard Nixon" and I would say good guess, but no.

"Tailgunner Joe?" you would say referring to infamous Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy whose self-aggrandizing witch hunt for communists in and outside government and resulting "blacklists" were among the lowest of low points in the history of civil and individual rights violations in this country, and I would say you are getting  colder.  McCarthyism was orchestrated from the legislative branch of government  and earlier in time.

I am referring to the practice of current Wisconsin Governor Scotty Walker and his cadre of ultra right wing Republicans and Tea Baggers that use the list of signatures on the petitions to recall Governor Walker from a few years ago as the ultimate enemies list.  In an excellent segment on this weeks episode of the radio documentary, WBEZ's "This American Life", entitled "There's a Signed Line Between Love and Hate."
contributor Ben Calhoun tells a riveting story of people like Josh Inglett and Judge Tom Wolfgram, just two of approximately 30 loyal Republicans who were vilified and thrown under the bus by the Republican's version of the Brownshirts.  Also on

Just another sorry chapter in the book of misdeeds for this sorry excuse for a politician named Scotty "I wet the bed" Walker.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Washington Weeks In Review: A Visual History

Senator Cruz Devises A Strategy:

The Tea Party Responds:

It becomes a world wide sensation:

Pakistani children play game called "House Republicans doing the Republican Shutdown"

Some even tried to take advantage of a seasonal angle:

But tried as they might, the conclusion was never in doubt:

And what have the arrogant, self defeating, mostly racist, fools, known as the Tea Party, accomplished for themselves (after all it's only about them) out of all this pain and misery?

Oh, and just one more thing Tea Baggers:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Now You're Messing with a Son of a Fitch

Just as John Ashcroft used every last bit of strength to  raise himself off his bed in the ICU at Georgetown Hospital, prop himself up on his elbows and tell the Bush/Cheney staffers sent to collect his sign off to illegal wiretapping an emphatic "NO!", so I leave my sick bed of the last three days to monitor the dire situation unfolding in the nation's capitol.

The hypocrisy of the so called party of the fiscal conservatives has always been well known to those who pay attention (e.g. prior to the the GWB Great Recession of 2007 the biggest deficit spenders in history were Reagan and GWB).  But hypocrisy has reached new heights in D.C. as the "New Republicans", the hostage taking, ransom demanding, spoilt little children known as the Tea Baggers have played chicken with a Democratic controlled Senate and a moderate President who has been publicly saying he was willing to have constructive discussions aimed at improving the Affordable Care Act for nearly 2 years now.

So how are the nattering nabobs of negativity doing saving us, the American people, money?  CBS News reported yesterday that the government shutdown has cost the economy some $22 Billion to date and the higher interest rate paid by the Government on just one small issuance of bonds amounted to another $20 million Dollars.  But the biggest repercussion of all, the announcement yesterday by the rating service Fitch that they were putting the U.S. AAA bond rating under review for a possible downgrade should send shivers up the spines of all rational actors.  Unfortunately, when discussing the "New Republicans" we are not dealing with rational actors which almost makes one yearn for the old days of two bit actors of the Reagan kind.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Even a Two-Bit Actor with Alzheimer's Knew the Consequences of a Government Default

"The full consequences of a default, or even the serious prospect of default by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate.  Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar and exchange markets."  President Ronald Reagan discussing the effects of a government default. 

Perhaps the current batch of Know Nothings aka Sen. Ted Cruz and the House Republicans should heed the words of Saint Ronnie and act responsibly.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Letter Questions MPR's Journalistic Ethics Over Its Coverage on Priest's Alleged Possession of Pornography

The following was submitted to Minnesota Public Radio.

Listening to the update about Father Jon Shelley wherein it was reported that a citizen has turned over to police something purporting to be a copy of his laptop's hard drive from nearly 10 years ago set off warning bells in this criminal defense attorney's mind.

In light of the emotionally charged nature of the allegations against Father Shelley, the prospects for someone"ginning up" the case against him are great.  This is one reason why in the law of evidence there is something called "chain of custody", something that the purported "copy of a hard drive" sorely lacks.

Furthermore the reporting yesterday seemed to imply that Father Shelley was somehow to blame that the purchaser's intended use for the used laptop was to give it to children six or 7 years of age.  This aspect was emphasized in bold print and a separate balloon in your article and it was ridiculous, created an unfair impression that this somehow involved child pornography and was plain bad journalism.

I would lastly submit that someone who was truly a pedophile would have more than one or two questionable images among thousands of adults engaging in sexual activities.  If the Catholic Church is going to adhere to its archaic sexual norms and mores, the media and the public should not be in a rush to engage in an electronic lynching of a human being's reputation and character before all admissible evidence is in.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Despite Shutting Down Federal Government the Republican's Childish and Desperate Attempt to Stop "Obamacare" Fails

Ha Ha Ha!  That's right all you money grubbing racists your mean spirited and hateful attempt to keep less fortunate Americans from something you take for granted, access to affordable health care, failed.  Now please go back under the rock you crawled out from!