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?

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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 Allaboutjazz.com.

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).

Roland Emmerich’s “2012” or “I Like ’em big and stupid”.

What's on YOUR bucket list?

What's on YOUR bucket list?

Oh my dear God, Roland Emmerich is destroying The White House again.   Does he hate America or is he just a teabagger birther Republican who hates Barack Obama and no, there’s really not a dime’s worth of difference between the two. 

Emmerich picked up the crown Irwin Allen held as the Master of the Disaster Flick  and in his latest “stuff-blows-up-real-good” piece of dog droppings, he’s through messing with the U.S.A.  Now he wants the whole world to bite it.

Emmerich, has come up with some apocalypse porn he hopes will make your nipples hard.  It’s called 2012 and stars John “When Did I Turn Into Nicholas Cage?”  Cusack, Amanda Peet and about a billion or so expendable human beings, including you if you’re not fortunate to be one of the only four White people in Los Angeles escaping global doom in the world’s fastest and most indestructible limousine.

Emmerich, is the genius/hack misdirector that brought us such sophisticated and intellectual fare as Independence Day,  Godzilla (not the original, but the even shittier remake with the tagline “Size Matters”) and The Day After Tomorrow.   Standing in for Nic Cage is Cusack who continues his retreat from being a formerly credible actor and hopefully was well paid for this crap. 

Armed with a millions of dollars of CGI and some really obvious  and surprisingly cheap looking models, Emmerich uses an ancient Mayan prophecy as the premise to solve California’s illegal immigration problem once and for all;  kill everybody and let God sort out their green card.

Emmerich likes his movies big and stupid and 2012looks to be his biggest and stupidest yet.  It may singlehandedly drive down SAT scores five points.   That’s quite an accomplishment for a guy who makes Michael Bay look like Martin Scorcese. 

Danny Glover plays the President of the United States just as it all goes to hell.   The tagline for 2012is “We Were Warned.”   Yep, Rush Limbaugh tried to tell you what would happen with those people  in charge.  

Yes,  you lost five minutes of your life watching that clip you’ll never get back.   On the bright though, it saved you nine dollars and losing two hours killing brain cells.   That is unless you’re as big a dummy and as stupid as Roland Emmerich is hoping you are.

Don’t Get Sick (but if you do, die quick)

Republicans care about America's health and will do something about it just as soon as American elects more Republicans.

Republicans care about America's health and will do something about it just as soon as American elects more Republicans.

The problem for liberals and progressives is our political vehicle, The Democratic Party, is often indifferent to liberalism and progressive politics. Too often the Dems take power and their first order of business is to figure out best to appease the Republicans they just beat.  

So when the GOP spits in the collective eyes of the Democrats in Congress and President Obama, their response seems to be, “Why are you guys so mean? Can’t we all just get along?”

 Representative Alan Grayson understands that, no, we can’t all get along and it’s a big waste of time trying to. Grayson, a first-term representative from Florida became the darling of the Left when he stood on the floor of the House to explain what the Republican plan for healthcare reform was.

 

 “It’s a very simple plan,” Grayson said, as he displayed visual signs. “Here it is, the Republicans’ healthcare plan for America: Don’t get sick …. I think the Republicans understand that that plan isn’t always going to work, it’s not a foolproof plan. So the Republicans have a backup plan in case you do get sick. If you get sick in America, this is what the Republicans want you to do — if you get sick, America, the Republican healthcare plan is this: Die quickly. That’s right, the Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.” 

The howls from the pigs feeding at the trough was loud and immediate. Republicans demanded an apology. Grayson gracefully provided one. Just not to the Republicans. 

“I would like to apologize — I would like to apologize to the dead.” Grayson cited a Harvard study report that 45,000 Americans die each year due to a lack of health insurance.

 I think we should do something about that, and the Democratic healthcare plan does do something about that — it makes healthcare affordable for those who can’t afford insurance, and it saves these people’s lives. Let’s remember that we should care about people even after they’re born. 

So I call upon the Democratic members of the House, I call upon the Republican members of the House, I call upon all of us to do our jobs for the sake of America, for the sake of those dying people and their families. I apologize that we haven’t voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.

 

Republicans threaten to demand a resolution condemning Grayson’s remarks. Yeah, good luck with that, sucker. The GOPissed off might have the balls to do so in the wake of Rep. Joe Wilson’s “you lie” heckling of President Obama, but they don’t have the votes and votes count more than self-righteous “outrage.” 

Normally, I would decry Grayson’s lack of civility and inflammatory rhetoric. Of course the Republicans have a plan other than “don’t get sick, but if you do, hurry up and die quickly,” but since this coming from the same politicians that were peddling the lie about “death panels” it’s hard to feel bad for the GOP. 

Rep. Grayson’s “apology” was just as insincere as Rep. Wilson’s. Big damn deal. The Republicans have mastered the low art of hyperbole, exaggeration and overheated rhetoric with their talk of “death panels” and Obama wants to kill granny and grandpa, so if they want to point fingers they can start by pointing them at themselves.

 
Grayson, who is Jewish, did apologize for invoking the holocaust, but not to the Republicans. Nor is there any reason he should.

I appreciate a Democrat with the balls to say out loud what should be obvious by now: The Republicans have no plan to reform health care. Their only plan is sticking it to Obama and the Dems every chance they get.

Grayson was just channeling his inner Adlai Stevenson when he said, “I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.” 

When you have a dick like Sen. DeMint (R-SC) whom from the beginning declared “If we’re able to stop Obama on this (health care), it will be his Waterloo, it will break him,” how in the hell do you turn around and then negotiate with him? When a man has made it clear from the onset he will measure his success by your failure, take him at his word. That’s one vote you know you’re never going to get and move on to someone whose mind isn’t already made up.

 

Sen.DeMint thanks you for dying quickly.

Sen.DeMint thanks you for dying quickly.

When there were statesmen in Washington who were willing to compromise, meet in the middle, and seal a deal with a handshake agreement, you could get things done in a civil and bipartisan manner. Bipartisanship is dead. Both parties took turns stabbing it and together they killed it off. 

Bipartisanship is a highly overrated concept. There are some things it’s not worth surrendering your principles for in order so everybody can hold hands and sing, “We Are the World.” Health care is one of those things and Grayson correctly pointed out the GOP has no plan other than hope the plans of the Democrats fail. If people die while both parties are having a dick-measuring contest, well,  unzip and flip. 

So, go ‘head on Rep. Grayson. You and Joe Wilson should hang out and discuss the virtues of civility and reasoned intellectual discourse.