Friday, April 18, 2008

Danny Federici: Rest in Peace

We lost one beautiful and talented human being yesterday.

Danny Federici (on right) with Bruce Springsteen

Say a prayer for Danny Federici of the E-Street Band. After a three-year battle with melanoma, Danny died Thursday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Danny played accordion on the wistful 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) from Springsteen's second album, and his organ solo was a highlight of Springsteen's first top 10 hit, Hungry Heart. His organ coda on the 9/11-inspired Springsteen song You're Missing provided one of the more heart-wrenching moments on The Rising in 2002. [USAToday]

Oh No! Obama's Burning Flagpins!

Quote of the day: Paul Krugman

".. let’s hope that once Mr. Obama is no longer running against someone named Clinton, he’ll stop denigrating the very good economic record of the only Democratic administration most Americans remember."

- Paul Krugman, NY Times, April 18, 2008

John Edwards: What It'll Take to Get His Endorsement

(h/t to Amy and TomP)

ORBIS Saves Sight Around the World

I'd love my readers to take a moment of their time to view the video below from ORBIS is a nonprofit organization fighting blindness in developing countries, where 90 percent of the blind reside. The video features ORBIS' Executive Director Geoffrey Holland who is introducing many of the fine and caring volunteer doctors and health professonals who are supporting and carrying on the work of ORBIS. This video was filmed during a visit to Myanmar (was Burma).

What particularly struck me about the nation involved was a recollection I have of having gone to a lecture given by an anthropologist named Dr. Alan Rabinowitz who'd visited the remote parts of Myanmar and had stressed the need for better medical care for children with eye problems, particularly pink-eye,a viral eye infection that could lead to vision loss that had unnecessarily killed many children because, without modern available healthcare, infection was able to spread.

ORBIS recently announced it will replace its current DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital with a DC-10 Series 30 freighter, thanks to the generosity of United Airlines with the support of FedEx Corp who've donated the airplane to the organization.

You can help

As a nonprofit, every service ORBIS provides is entirely free of charge to both host countries and patients. Obtaining sufficient financial and gift-in-kind donations from individuals, corporations and foundations is a constant need. ORBIS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. In the time that it has taken you to read this, one more child somewhere in the world will have needlessly lost his or her sight. The scale of our challenge is enormous, so please help us by donating today.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fury Over Philly Debate: This is New??

I see some heavy criticism in the blogosphere of ABC's Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos for their debate-moderating last night in Philadelphia.

I have to say, most unfortunately, that I was not surprised by their line of questioning. I've come to expect it. What they did is nothing new. To give just one example of what I mean, consider my comments regarding a 2004 Presidential debate when now-DNC-chairman Howard Dean was treated the same way that Obama was treated last night:
[..] [NBC's Lester Holt] made a shooting target out of Howard Dean, coming out of the starting gate harping on the "gotcha-of-the-moment" (where Dean criticized the Iowa caucus system on a tape from many years past). I wonder if Holt's mission is to try to pull a "gotcha" on Kerry next? [..] In the same debate, Lester Holt was the one who raised from the near-dead the stench of the Confederate flag fiasco once again (after it had been already over-covered in prior debates).
It's all happened before. So why the shock over Gibson and Stephanopoulos doing the same thing now .. when those of us who've paid close attention know that these dirty media tricks have been played again and again throughout political history? Perhaps the public's tiredness of all the manufactured controversy and staged debate-drama has reached a tipping point? Can we hope? Will the Obama and Clinton campaigns respond to this recent complaint about debates by ceasing their own bitter behind-the-scene attacks on one another? Can we hope? Come August, will the Republicans cease their own attacks that will surely mimic the petty negativity that was couched none too carefully last night in Gibson and Stephanopoulos' questions? Can we hope?

Will Bunch of the Philadephia Daily News/Inquirer/ blog Attytood leads the new media, as citizens of his fair city have led American opinion in the past, in what seems to be a growing parade of protest worthy of 76 trombones about last night's questionable style of debate-moderating.

There's no doubt that new media is moving toward an intersection with a new brand of politics. Robert Reich recently proclaimed the death of old media and the death of old politics. In all reality, isn't that a premature albeit hopeful proclamation?

Reich put it out there as if it were already true:
"The old politics, and the old media that feeds it, are irrelevant now."
Jaded "me" replies: 'Are they dead..really dead..most sincerely dead?' I don't know about you, but I heard the old dogs breathing heavily last night.

Because of the undeniable and lingering existence of old media, the founder of Daily Kos is nodding in agreement after posting a statement from another blogger that Hillary's no longer a Democrat after last night. I feel like the Democratic party's going nuts and I only can sit helplessly and watch it happen.

By seeing the many complaints in the blogosphere today, perhaps the big networks can finally be convinced, at a historic political time when a woman and a person of African-American descent, both too ambitious to concern themselves with party unity just now, are fighting with everything they've got to nail down the Democratic nomination...... perhaps the networks will be convinced that this is surely no time for pressing every bit of juice out of the most delicate of political fruits.... for making hay while the sun shines .. squeezing out as many advertising dollars as possible...

Jaded Me says, "Nah."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Obama: Static "Cling"

Clinging to a Stereotypeby Paul Krugman, New York Times

Right Fight, Wrong Word
by Dan Schnur, April 15 Op-Ed, NY Times

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell

Disney Pioneer Animator Ollie Johnston Dies

May Ollie Johnston rest in peace. He brought dreams to children of many generations.

Veteran Disney animator Ollie Johnston dies at 95

Ollie Johnston, the last of the ''Nine Old Men'' who animated ''Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,'' ''Fantasia,'' ''Bambi'' and other classic Walt Disney films has died. He was 95.

Johnston died of natural causes Monday at a long-term care facility in Sequim, Wash., Walt Disney Studios Vice President Howard E. Green said Tuesday.

''Ollie was part of an amazing generation of artists, one of the real pioneers of our art, one of the major participants in the blossoming of animation into the art form we know today,'' Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney and director emeritus of the Walt Disney Co., said in a statement.

Walt Disney lightheartedly dubbed his team of crack animators his ''Nine Old Men,'' borrowing the phrase from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's description of the U.S. Supreme Court's members, who had angered the president by quashing many of his Depression-era New Deal programs.

- Associated Press

Photos by Jude Nagurney Camwell

Tim Robbins Surprises Broadcasters With Speech

Tim Robbins has delivered a brilliant speech that's been compared to Murrow's "wires and lights in a box" speech in 1958. He was spontaneously asked by David Bianculli and the crowd to give the pre-written keynote opening speech Monday at the 2008 National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas after some confusion about his giving the speech due to its controversial nature.

The audio version is here.

David Bianculli, who was there, reports on how the delivery of the speech came about:
"Robbins opened by mentioning the speech he'd written, but was asked not to read. He said its text would be available, eventually, elsewhere, in some other medium. Then, as a segue to the Q&A presentation, I pointed out that I had read the speech in the green room backstage, likened it in terms of content and setting to the Murrow and Minow speeches, and pointed out that a few years ago at the Oscars, Robbins had gotten a lot of heat for speaking out against the Iraq war.

At that point, many of the attendees applauded in support, and I looked over and saw a gleam in Robbins' eyes. Then somebody in the crowd yelled out "Speech!" (The guy who approached me afterward and said he was the culprit was Jim Sardar, assistant news director for WLNS in Lansing, MI -- but there may be as many claimants to this particular crowd shout as to the call of "Judas!" when Dylan went electric.)

Robbins reached into his pocket and pulled out the speech he had written, and asked if he should. The crowd applauded. I pointed out, jokingly but accurately, this would markedly reduce my role as moderator -- and that was that. Robbins left his chair, went to the podium, and was off."

I'm waiting and hoping to see this pop up on YouTube.

Gawker Sells Wonkette

WONKETTE is being spun off to the managing editor, Ken Layne, former founder of one of the web's very first news sites, The title will become part of the Blogads network of political sites, which includes Daily Kos, among others.

Why these three sites? To be blunt: they each had their editorial successes; but someone else will have better luck selling the advertising than we did.

- from an internal email from Nick Denton, owner of Gawker Media

Is the sale (or "spin-off" as it's been called) of the political blog Wonkette by Gawker Media due to its non-profitable nature at a shaky ecomomic time a harbinger of like-fate for other (more recent) professional political bloggers who've arrived on the scene since Wonkette? From Financial Times' chief business commentator and blogger John Gapper:
Wonkette was the closest thing [Denton] had to a general news site focusing on a traditional subject. That did not make it attractive to any particular group of advertisers, so Wonkette was not very profitable.

Nick has himself put the sale in the context of hunkering down for an advertising recession. It raises the broader point that a lot of “free” content on the internet ultimately depends on attracting advertising.

If there is none in the segment, then the future of blogs as businesses is suspect. I wonder what this means for the newer online politics publications such as the Huffington Post and Politico?"

I can't help but wonder....should we expect that the professional political blogosphere could implode in economic hard times and leave behind in their wake only the blogs that stemmed from and exist on pure passion - like my own - who began and continue to operate with no expectation of financial support? If and when the mainstream media focus is all but gone because of lack of advertising dollars, will the professionals continue to write blogs that aren't producing healthy profits...and will anyone still be out there interested in reading the product of those who've never made a dime from the process?

Ken Layne, the new owner of Wonkette, is interviewed in today's LA Times.
"Obviously, I like political news to be subsidized by fluff. This is why whatever half-naked tart of the month is on the cover of Vanity Fair, but inside you get these great news features and investigations and political rants. I don't mind that situation. But the truth is that fewer publishers/broadcasters in any medium are willing to subsidize news and politics. Tribune Co. doesn't want to do it, the TV networks don't want to do it."

The prolific writer Henry Miller once consciously separated himself from the fluff...from the convenient and casual lies that make people economically wealthy...from the concerns of the present with a courageous - or perhaps a desperate eye to a future that might look back upon his hard wisdom and see that he fought his way through the chaos of his time in a strikingly glorious and forthright manner...with no pretense about the revision of history. I'd like to think that this political blog of my own and that of many of my still-poor friends-in-blogging might be seen the same way...not for the money we made, but for the truth we saw and never failed to mention while money-makers edited and frivolously fluffed-up themselves in the pursuit of the almighty advertising dollar.

"For me the book [the blog] is the man woman and my book my blog is the man the woman I am, the confused man woman, the negligent man woman, the reckless man woman, the lusty, obscene, boisterous, thoughtful, scrupulous, lying, diabolically truthful man woman that I am. I am thinking that in that age to come I shall not be overlooked. Then my history will become important and the scar which I leave upon the face of the world will have significance. I can not forget that I am making history, a history on the side which, like a chancre, will eat away the other meaningless history. I regard myself not as a book a blog, a record, a document, but as a history of our time—a history of all time."

- Henry Miller, from "On Writing", edited for the blogger of today

...or maybe I should lower the bar .... post pictures of men stripped down to their skivvies and talk like I'm a bad girl rather than posting my naked honesty ... then I might finally make some good old-fashioned American dough.....

Monday, April 14, 2008

In the South at Sunset

Photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell

April 14, 1865

April 14, 1865
April 14, 1865: Lincoln fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending play at Ford's Theater, Washington, D.C.

A southern sympathizer loyal to Virginia, Booth was a twenty-six-year-old struggling actor at the time of the assassination. Shortly thereafter, after escaping to Maryland and then Virginia, he was apprehended and shot to death during a struggle with federal agents in a barn in rural Virginia.


A 19th-Century poster

"He dreamed at night of his death by the hand
Of a bitter world and a faceless man

And he saw his body in a ghastly dream
Draped in black while his widow screamed

Two silver dollars on his eyelids lay
"Abraham Lincoln has died today."

- From the song "John Wilkes Booth" by Mary Chapin Carpenter


"About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible.

I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise.

Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers, 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin.'

Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."

-- President Abraham Lincoln