Team One America

I read an article last night by Friedman supporting a gas tax. At the same moment that he recognized the need to support our economy and bail out the Big 3 auto-makers, he suggested that we need to act now on altering the basic geometry of our national energy strategy.

I think he’s right in many ways, but wonder how many priorities an administration can have. We do need to prop up the existing economy.  The United States has benefited from its acceptance of free market principles. Im actually uncertain how were getting around some parts of the WTO with giving aid to our auto industry. Isn’t giving aid to industry (be it agriculture, steel) illegal with the WTO?

senate_in_session(Anectdotally, I went to the Senate chamber in 1994 and witnessed the WTO vote. Shout out to Shifter and IAD.)

Would it be smart right now to raise the minimum wage? Or increase business contributions for health care? Friedman is correct that raising the gas tax would be a nifty way to encourage transition, but I’m not certain that it’s the efficient choice right now. I’m so pleased we (are about to) have a smart man in the White House who chooses for us.

Obama/Team One America did a few things lately I really respect.

Getting Clinton out of the Senate was really smart. You’re talking someone who still wants to run for president, and who REALLLLY does not agree with everthing on Obama’s domestic agenda.

She would have taken every opportunity to fight. I had the thought some time ago (about Pelosi) that this will be a real measure for her as a politician – her ability to evolve.

You lead a minority. A minority fights. You manage a majority.

And all of a sudden she has an administration she isn’t fighting with. That means she has to manage her majority. Wonder how she’ll do. Am pretty sure Obama made it easier for her by removing Clinton.

Another smart move by Team One America: inviting the schmuck Warren to speak at the inauguration. It guaratees a full, nationwide hearing on certain issues in a non-threatening way. (If you click here you’ll got warren’s site… check out number 8.)

No legislation is proposed at the inauguration. Nothing is really at stake. But the people who work the platform with the new president are gonna get a lot of profiles, and attention. Why would Obama give a major platform to someone who I’m sure he doesn’t agree much with? I think he trusts the judgment of the population. The more that U.S. citizens hear that the strongest critics of gay marriage are the people who think humans were kicking it with dinosaurs in the land of Cain and Abel a few years back, the more likely a coalition can be formed to create real change.

I’m pretty sure Clinton didn’t want don’t ask, don’t tell, but it was the best he could do. Politicans don’t get the luxury of having only one fight. Obama can’t lead where the country can’t follow. Part of the job is helping us – as a nation – follow. And I’m very encouraged with the management of issues that we’re seeing. Hope it continues once the live fire starts…

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day

[suggested usage: press play, read post]

This is excerpted from the Nina Simone wikipedia page.

Youth (1933-1954)
Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, one of eight children. She began playing piano at her local church and showed prodigious talent on this instrument. Her concert debut, a classical piano recital, was made at the age of ten. During her performance, her parents, who had taken seats in the front row, were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. Simone refused to play until her parents were moved back. This incident contributed to her later involvement in the civil rights movement.

Simone’s mother, Mary Kate Waymon (who lived into her late 90s) was a strict Methodist minister; her father, John Divine Waymon, was a handyman and sometime barber who suffered bouts of ill-health. Mrs. Waymon worked as a maid and her employer, hearing of Nina’s talent, provided funds for piano lessons. Subsequently, a local fund was set up to assist in Eunice’s continued education. At 17, Simone moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she taught piano and accompanied singers to fund her own studying as a classical music pianist at New York City’s Juilliard School of Music.

With the help of a private tutor she studied for an interview to further study piano at the Curtis Institute, but she was rejected. Simone believed that this rejection was directly related to her being black, as well as being a woman. It further fueled her hatred of the widespread and institutionalized racism present in the U.S. during the period.

Early success (1954-1959)

Simone played at the Midtown Bar & Grill on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City to fund her study. The owner said that she would have to sing as well as play the piano in order to get the job. She took on the stage name “Nina Simone” in 1954 because she did not want her mother to know that she was playing “the devil’s music”. “Nina” (from “niña”, meaning “little girl” in Spanish) was a nickname a boyfriend had given to her and “Simone” was after the French actress Simone Signoret, whom she had seen in the movie Casque d’or. Simone played and sang a mixture of jazz, blues and classical music at the bar, and by doing so she created a small but loyal fan base.

After playing in small clubs she recorded a rendition of George Gershwin’s “I Loves You Porgy” (from Porgy and Bess) in 1958, which was learned from a Billie Holiday album and performed as a favor to a friend. It became her only Billboard top 40 hit in the United States, and her debut album Little Girl Blue soon followed on Bethlehem Records. Simone would never benefit financially from the album; she sold the rights for $3000, missing out on more than $1 million of royalties (mainly because of the successful re-release of “My Baby Just Cares for Me” in the 1980s).

Becoming “popular” (1959-1964)
After the success of Little Girl Blue, Simone signed a contract with the bigger label Colpix Records, followed by a string of studio and live albums. Colpix relinquished all creative control, including the choice of material that would be recorded, to her in exchange for her signing with them. Simone, who at this point only performed pop music to make money to continue her classical music studies, was bold with her demand for control over her music because she was indifferent about having a recording contract. She would keep this attitude towards the record industry for most of her career.

I remember being amazed when I first read that ‘Nina’ had been a classical pianist at Julliard. And that she hadn’t even been a singer till her bar-manager made her sing with her piano-playing. Amazing woman, amazing song. Good day.

The Middle Fourty

They say in baseball that every team wins fourty games, and every team loses fourty games. It’s what you do with the other fourty games that matters.

The democrats have their fourty, and the republicans have theirs (in part due to Palin.)

How can the democrats get the other fourty? How can the republican’s get the other fourty?

Republican’s – from recent news – seem to be hitting at national security. Trying to get the middle fourty not to feel secure about Obama.

Democrat’s – from recent news – are trying to make people believe that the Republican’s vision isn’t good.

Unfortunately, the Republican message is much simpler. In mass media, it’s necessary to be able to find the point quickly. What is the Democrat’s point? I have a sense. But it’s a bit high-minded, I worry, to win the middle fourty.