The Ongoing Awesomeness of Barack Obama.

Hey! Standing up for truth, justice and the American Way works!

Hey! Standing up for truth, justice and the American Way works!

Strolling through the living room, my wife chirped up to say, “Did you hear Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize?”

Without skipping a beat, I replied, “For what?”

You know what though?  I don’t care why Obama got the prize.  It’s enough for me that Obama winning it makes the heads of right-wingers explode.

It’s worth pointing out President Obama didn’t seek this award. As for those who suggest he shouldn’t accept it–GET REAL. It doesn’t matter who thinks Obama did or did not deserve the prize. The folks whose opinion does matter say he did and it’s his. Deal with it.  Then get over it.

Of course Obama didn’t win based on what he’s accomplished.  He won based on the hope that he will accomplish great things on a global stage.  It’s also a recognition that under Obama it’s okay to like America again.    After George Bush’s “go it alone” style of diplomacy,  people around the world see Obama’s extended hand as a welcome change.    Change they can believe in.

The President’s opponents wasted no time in wishing him well—as in “Well, you don’t deserve it.”

“The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the President’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”

~ RNC Chairman Michael “Playa Hata” Steele

“We are in need of actions, not sayings. If there is no fundamental and true change in American policies toward the acknowledgment of the rights of the Palestinian people, I think this prize won’t move us forward or backward.”

~ Hamas Prime Minister Ishmail Haniyeh

“We have seen no change in his strategy for peace. He has done nothing for peace in Afghanistan. We condemn the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for Obama.”

~ Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

It’s nice without even intending to, the president finds ways to bring the enemies of America together in agreement.

As to whether or not Obama “deserves” the award, of course he doesn’t for what he’s done. It’s for what the Nobel Prize commission thinks and hopes he will do. As Clint Eastwood said, “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

There are polls asking whether Obama deserved the award. Twitter and Facebook are going crazy with pro and con tweets and posts. The pundits will be spazzing out over this for the rest of the day and all weekend.

How ya like me now?

How ya like me now?

The thing is though, it doesn’t matter. The polls don’t matter. The pundits don’t matter. Your opinion–for, against or indifferent–doesn’t matter. NONE of it matters.

The Nobel Prize commission awarded Barack Obama the Nobel Peace prize. He said he will accept it. No recounts. No do over’s. It’s a done deal. Everything else is just background noise.

Besides, if Henry Kissinger can win a Nobel Peace Prize, the bar was lowered a long time ago.

The first sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 90 years is nothing to sneeze at (though it will be sneered at).

I only have one question for those whom are so bent out of shape by the president winning this award.

Why do you hate America?

Streisand can sing, but she’s no jazz singer.

If love is the answer, Babs should ask better questions.

If love is the answer, Babs should ask better questions.

My review of Barbra Streisand’s “jazz” album, Love Is the Answer, went up yesterday at

Love Is The Answer
Barbra Streisand | Columbia Records
By Jeff Winbush

On paper it must have seemed like a stroke of genius. Pair Barbra Streisand, the most successful vocalist in the world with Diana Krall, the critically acclaimed and commercially successful jazz stylist, turn them loose in the studio with selections from the Great American Songbook and wait for the magic.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic and little chemistry between Streisand and Krall on Love Is The Answer, as the results are more fizzle than sizzle.

Streisand is a woman of many talents. An incredible vocalist. An award-winning actress and film director. A political activist and philanthropist. What she is not is a jazz singer.

Love Is The Answer isn’t a radical departure from any of Streisand’s albums of the last 20 years. It’s polished, professional and often over-produced to the teeth, with Johnny Mandel’s string arrangements sapping any trace of spontaneity out of the project. Krall takes the producer’s chair and she’s assisted by co-producer Tommy LiPuma, but the only credit that matters is the executive producer–Barbra Joan Streisand–who really calls the shots.

That’s a shame, because while Streisand sounds perfectly fine, at 67 her range has diminished; she prefers low energy, undemanding material that can be delivered in a seductive whisper. Nobody ever confused Streisand with Tina Turner, but much of her upper range is gone and her drab, unexciting delivery of this material quickly becomes tedious.

Streisand delivers this ballad-heavy album professionally, but without a single up-tempo song among the 13 tracks, Love Is The Answer drags in the middle and seems longer than it is. The bland predictability of Krall’s production (who restricts herself to playing piano) never challenges or inspires Streisand to assert herself.

There’s not much memorable here, other than Streisand’s fumbling French on “If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” and noticeably off-key singing on “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.” She fares better with “In The Wee Small Hours,” “Love Dance” and “A Time for Love,” but never makes these songs uniquely her own.

The album really suffers from Mandel’s saccharine string arrangements which, since there’s no respite from them, quickly become cloying. Krall’s quartet briefly cuts through the clutter on “Make Someone Happy,” but against Mandel’s relentless orchestral onslaught they don’t stand a chance.

Columbia Records is releasing a “deluxe” two-CD edition of the album: the orchestral version on CD1; and Streisand, backed by Krall’s quartet minus the strings on CD2. Those who eagerly anticipated the advertised collaboration between Streisand and Krall will find themselves having to pay extra for it.

To promote the release, Streisand appeared for one night only at the legendary Village Vanguard, where she had opened for Miles Davis some 48 years earlier. But Streisand isn’t interested in fully embracing jazz; only dabbling lightly at it. Love Is The Answer is a deeply disappointing album that falls flat as smooth jazz, contemporary jazz, cocktail lounge jazz or, for that matter, anything remotely resembling jazz.

Track Listing: Here’s To Love; In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning; Gentle Rain; If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas); Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most; Make Someone Happy; Where Do You Start; A Time For Love; Here’s That Rainy Day; Love Dance; Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; Some Other Time; You Must Believe In Spring.

Personnel: Barbra Streisand: vocals; Diana Krall: piano; Jeff Hamilton: drums; John Clayton: bass; Anthony Wilson: guitar; Robert Hurst: bass (1, 2, 6, 11); Tamir Hendelman: piano (1, 2, 6, 11, 12); Alan Broadbent: piano (5, 7, 8, 9); Bill Charlap: piano (13); Paulinho DaCosta: percussion (3, 10).