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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Morning in the Church of Beethoven

This week Rudolf Serkin "preaches" with the conclusion of late great piano sonata op. 109. And a reminder to check out new trailer for my friend Kerry Candaele's film project Following the Ninth. I'll be helping with fundraising, and if interested contact me at epic1934@aol.com.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama's Education Chief Says Katrina Best Thing to Happen to New Orleans' Schools

Education Secretary Arne Duncan may not have meant it quite that way but he did say that today, in an interview with CNN's Roland Martin to be aired this weekend, according to an Education Week blog:

In an interview to be broadcast this weekend on Washington Watch With Roland Martin, Arne Duncan says, "I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster, and it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that 'we have to do better.'"

Arne Duncan does speak frankly when it comes to the shortcomings of urban school districts, but this comment seems unusually callous, even though we know what the secretary is trying to say. The public schools were a wreck before the storm, no real debate there. And, yes, the schooling options for many students are better in the city now, and student achievement is slowly, but surely on the rise.

But to the thousands of teachers, students, and school employees who lost colleagues, jobs, classrooms, school records, and the like, a remark like that from the nation's top education official is beyond insensitive.

J.D. Salinger Liked His Privacy--But Oh Those Church Suppers

Interesting and lengthy Rutland Herald piece on how neighbors of J.D. Salinger in Cornish, N.H. helped protect his privacy over the years. Plus his widow wrote a letter to the local paper, the Valley News, declaring: "Cornish is a truly remarkable place. This beautiful spot afforded my husband a place of awayness from the world. The people of this town protected him and his right to his privacy for many years. I hope, and believe, they will do the same for me." Love this detail:
Until last year, Salinger was a regular at the Hartland Congregational Church's roast beef suppers, arriving more than two hours early for the first seating.

He would bring along back issues of the Times and sit with other, mostly older, early birds waiting for the doors to open so he could claim the same seat at the head of the table nearest the pie rack.

CNN vs. Twitter, Chris Matthew and Ron Burgundy

And Chris Matthews "one scotch away from being Ron Burgundy."
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dutch Treat

I take it this is for the Dutch Comedy Central version of the "Daily Show": Bush and Clinton screw up their Haiti message. Or so it seems. Check out what's going on behind, too.

Attack, Man

Dem adviser and media pundit Paul Begala on Colbert has just three words for his party: Attack, attack, attack.
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A Paul Over Obama

For the second straight day, Paul Krugman, on a day off from his NYT column, has taken to his blog at the paper's site to blast President Obama, following his announcement of a partial "spending freeze." The title? "Same As He Ever War." Krugman, the Nobel winning economist, had been a big supporter of much of Obama's economic plan (though a backer of Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary season). Here's an excerpt:
There was a lot of delusion among progressives who convinced themselves, in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, that Obama was a strong champion of their values. He wasn’t and isn’t.

That doesn’t mean that there’s no difference between the parties, that everything would have been the same if McCain had won. But progressives are in the process of losing a big chance to change the narrative, and that’s largely because they have a leader who never had any inclination to do so.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hitler Squad Adopts a Highway

A Denver area, Hitler-loving, National Socialist Party group gets its name on a road sign in an adopt-a-highway drive. It only had six members but is now gaining more. A church group is its partner in promising to pick up trash. Mainstream paper now covering, including Wash Post. USA Today blog has a good update here.

When the Nazi's first applied for the stretch of highway just south of Bromley lane in Brighton, the Colorado Department of Transportation called to say thanks, but no thanks.

But the law, it turns out, was on the Nazi's side.

"Courts around the country have allowed white supremacists to sponsor highway signs," says Anti-Defamation League Director Bruce DeBoskey. So although the Anti-Defamation League couldn't be more opposed to the Nazi movement, it advised the state to put the application through.

No Blues on Bourbon Street

We're sure you've wondered what it was like on the fabled NOLA party street last night after the Saints made the Super Bowl. Well: no cars turned over or burned. The headline at the Times-Picayune declares that local police found NO violence "before, during or after the game"-- and this after all the trashing for years of NOLA citizens. Here's Times-Picayune video. Only NFL victory celebration ever led by a tuba?

PLUS: Go to Time-Pic main page for dozens of other features, including song tributes. (Photo by G.M.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't Miss: 3D Exploration of 'Guernica'

Sunday Morning in the Church of Beethoven

Our weekly visit, this time (below)with a "sermon" by Glenn Gould with excerpt from the late, great Piano Sonata op. 110. PLUS: A great new film is in the works by my friend and veteran filmmaker Kerry Candaele on the global phenomenon that is the Ninth Symphony. Check out current web site here, new trailer in the works and a distribution deal has been signed. Fundraising to complete it still going on and I'll be keeping tabs on it here and elsewhere. Write to me at epic1934@aol.com

Serpico on 'Serpico'

Ever wonder whatever happened to Frank Serpico of NYC cop corruption and Serpico fame? There have been rare sightings and reports over the years, after he fled, lived abroad, journeyed around USA in a camper. NYT tracked him to a one-room cabin in upstate New York for fascinating story today, with photos. Best bit: Frank says he had never watched the classic Al Pacino movie all the way through, so reporter took him to local library where they watched did on his laptop. NYT site has a video. Don't miss that--shows real Serpico watching film and commenting. Trailer for film below:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Best for Last

Never a Conan fan but had to love finale with Will Farrell, Beck, ZZ Top guy, Ben Harper, Mighty Max, doing "Free Bird."

Friday, January 22, 2010

You, Sir!

The Daily Show host has finally had enough with Olbermann. He also hit Maddow last week. Gets to model a bunch of glasses this time, though.
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Is This the Greatest Wedding Trailer Ever?

Watch before it goes viral. An Odd Couple, indeed. "In another world...."

'Exile' On Main Street

Don't forget to check out blog I'm doing with fellow longtime, and now ex-E&P writer/editor Joe Strupp, E&P In Exile. Great original reporting by Joe today, other exclusives yesterday and updated often, with video. Some overlap with this blog but plenty original. We've been swamping the E&P blog all week in traffic and off the charts today. Thanks!

Velvet Underground Meets Gospel

I recently caught the Blind Boys of Alabama in New York and last night they appeared with Lou Reed on Letterman. It was only the best music I've seen on TV in awhile:

Isle of Right

NYT today reviews new documentary on Leonard Cohen's performance in the wee hours (he was awakened at 2 a.m. and followed Jimi Hendrix) at the legendary Isle of Wight festival in 1970. Trailer:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Barenboim/Beethoven

Hottest ticket in London right now is the famed pianist (and human rights activist) doing all of the piano concertos starting later this month.

Big Mac, Hold the Buns

Former big league Doug Glanville, who now writes regularly for NYT, comes through with a very personal, and telling, look -- from centerfield, as it were -- at Mark McGwire and steroids. Excerpt:
That weekend in Philadelphia, a day before the “Godzilla” opening, Mark McGwire hit three home runs in one game against us, including a mammoth shot that landed in the unpopulated upper deck at Veterans Stadium. It was Godzilla in the flesh, instilling awe in other professionals who were themselves playing at the highest level of the same game. Too bad that McGwire’s achievement, as it turned out, wasn’t too far from the toy-cars-and-fake-explosions world of his on-screen equivalent. Entertaining, but contrived.

I'll Drink to That!

Will Bunch of Philly Daily News with post at his Attytood blog on man who is said to be key guy keeping the Web up on Haiti and the help he now needs in this quest. Will also notes of photo, "Cool t-shirt too."

Welcome to the Club, Pal

Folio reports that Greg Farrar, the CEO who jettisoned E&P at Nielsen last month, is now out of a job, too. Just two years ago he handed me an award and a nice check after they picked me as the top editorial leader for the entire company.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Senator Shoplifted, But Here's Embarrassing Part

The NYT, perhaps belatedly, has a full profile of Sen.-elect Brown tomorrow, which probes his difficult childhood, e.g. each of his parents married four times, etc. But here's an excerpt that really take us (way) back -- check out the groups he liked and what he stole.
He grew his hair long, listened to Aerosmith and Kiss and, at 12, was arrested for shoplifting a bunch of albums (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Grand Funk Railroad) at a local mall.

He went before a judge, Samuel Zoll, who invited him into his chambers and asked him about his life. Mr. Brown responded by saying he loved basketball and had younger half siblings who looked up to him. “How do you think they would like to watch you play basketball in jail?” the judge asked, according to Mr. Brown’s telling. Judge Zoll demanded that Mr. Brown write a 1,500-word essay about the episode and eventually let him go.

Mr. Brown said that experience was a pivot point in his life, leading him to be more serious about school and sports. His long-range shooting skill at Wakefield High School and, eventually, Tufts University, earned him the nickname Downtown Scotty Brown.

He May Be Guv But He's No 'Boss'

New GOP governor Christie in NJ took office this week and is famous as one of the biggest fans of native son Springsteen -- even more so than his unlikely conservative bro David Brooks. Apparently he asked Bruce to perform at his inaugural but was, uh, refused, so he took to the stage with a "B Street Band." The Star-Ledger in Newark aired the results:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sings "Born to Run" with Bruce Springsteen tribute band.

Beck Hits "Creepy' Brown on Offering Up Daughters

However you may feel about the new Mass. Sen-elect Brown, everyone should agree that he went way over the line last night in victory speech in proclaiming that his two daughters are "available." It was even too much for Glenn Beck, who really went off on him on the radio, even suggesting that a "dead intern" might be in Brown's future.

'NYT' Goes Pay for Play

Just happened, read it here. Much of it vague, including number of "free" visits before meter kicks in. And won't happen for awhile. Print subscribers get it free. Excerpt:

The New York Times announced Wednesday that it intended to charge frequent readers for access to its Web site, a step being debated across the industry that nearly every major newspaper has so far feared to take.

Starting in early 2011, visitors to NYTimes.com will get a certain number of articles free every month before being asked to pay a flat fee for unlimited access. Subscribers to the newspaper’s print edition will receive full access to the site.

But executives of The New York Times Company said they could not yet answer fundamental questions about the plan, like how much it would cost or what the limit would be on free reading. They stressed that the amount of free access could change with time, in response to economic conditions and reader demand.

“This announcement allows us to begin the thought process that’s going to answer so many of the questions that we all care about,” Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the company chairman and publisher of the newspaper, said in an interview. “We can’t get this halfway right or three-quarters of the way right. We have to get this really, really right.”


High School Quizzical

A blog post at KoldcastTV related to my son's hit Web series "blew up" via Digg last night. It's here, along with link to the series.

From 'Avatar' to Hiroshima to 'NYT'

Times today with major review of fine new Charles Pellegrino book "Last Train from Hiroshima." I wrote column last week about it and James Cameron optioning it for film at Huff Post. Hope to talk with Pellegrino in a few days. You'll see link to my book "Hiroshima in America" on left rail of this blog.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wacky Animated Jay vs. Conan

From the same people who scored with that Tiger Woods' epic in November. Unfortunately, Jay looks like Bill Clinton and Conan's hair is not big or red enough.

GOP Candidate in Mass 'Looks Like An American'

So says Peggy Noonan on MSNBC and the rest of the all-white crew seemed to agree. Video finally available from this morning:

Exiting 'E&P'

My new piece up at Huff Post on how I left, what happens now, and the shuttering today of the publication's most popular blog-- the newsroom-oriented E&P Pub.

Kate McGarrigle Dies at 63.

The great Canadian singer/songwriter claimed by cancer. Here with sister Anna, son Rufus, Emmylou Harris and others, she performs one of my favorite alltime American songs (and especially relevant these days), Stephen Foster's "Hard Times."

Mass Delusion

Jon Stewart last night ripped "the nude guy who drives a truck" and fumbling, bumbling Democrats in segment last night on Massachusetts Senate race.
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'Post' Apocalypse?

Gabriel Sheman's lengthy and much-anticipated New Republic piece titled "Post Apocalypse" arrives online. Two excerpts:
Over the past year, the Post has folded its business section into the A-section, killed its book review, revamped its Sunday magazine, and redesigned the entire paper and website, while organizationally merging the print and online editions. Hundreds of staffers have left the Post since 2003, thanks to four rounds of buyouts. In 2008, the Post began losing money; in 2009, its advertising revenue dropped by $100 million. All of this while the paper was under siege from new competitors, national and local. “The common storyline is the Post is flailing,” a senior reporter says. “To me, it’s slightly different. It’s throwing everything up there to see what sticks.” “Everybody feels like we’re lurching,” says another reporter. “A company in chaos” is how a third Post staffer describes the state of the paper....

His [Editor Marcus Brauchli] appointment took many by surprise. He was the first outsider to run the paper, and he had virtually no experience in domestic politics or metro coverage, the Post’s core franchises. A few months after Brauchli arrived, some staffers took to calling him “Count Brauchula” and circulated an e-mail containing a photo of Brauchli with red eyes and fangs. In addition, a story spread among Post staff about how he had impressed Weymouth: After Brauchli interviewed with the publisher over breakfast near her home, she offered to give him a ride to the newsroom in her convertible BMW. On the drive downtown, Weymouth supposedly freaked out when a spider jumped into the car. Brauchli calmly removed the bug. As one former senior Post staffer says, “It was the you’re-my-hero moment.” Well, not exactly, Weymouth explains. “It was not relevant on my radar screen,” she told me. “But since you ask, it is true there was a spider.”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Curt Remarks

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is even stupider than you think, as revealed in this interview with Hannity in backing Brown in Mass.

Fun Commercial on Print vs. Web

Bizarre, funny, creative, almost touching TV commercial on the internet/print divide.

Best Hollywood Satire Ever

So says NYT's A.O. Scott in his latest film video tribute at the Times' site: It's Robert Altman's 1992 flick The Player. Click above for 3 minute great Scott and more below--the famous 8-minute opening (one?) shot:

Right Out of 'The Hurt Locker'

Reuters captures vehicle explosion in Kabul today during massive insurgent attacks.

New Apple Falling from Tree Finally?

Email arrives today inviting them to "special event" next Wednesday in San Fran. From NYT blog:

Unless you’ve been living on another, Internet-deprived planet for the last year or so, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea what this is likely to be: the unveiling of Apple’s long-awaited, breathlessly hyped tablet computer. The device promises to hasten the extinction of paper, solidify Apple’s advantages in the mobile computing market, cure hunger and finally broker a peace between Jay and Conan.

Gitmo Bad News

We've hit this topic for awhile, and today Scott Horton for Harper's reveals military whistleblower on coverup of "suicides" at Gitmo.

It's 'Lonesome' at the Top


WSJ conservative James Taranto with long sympathetic interview with Glenn Beck today. Plenty of movie talk on Beck as Network's Howard Beale and A Face in the Crowd's "Lonesome Rhodes." Here's an excerpt on the latter:

Some of Mr. Beck's detractors on the left, including MSNBC ranter Keith Olbermann, draw a more sinister cinematic analogy. Mr. Olbermann calls Mr. Beck "Lonesome Rhodes," the cynical TV demagogue played by Andy Griffith in 1957's "A Face in the Crowd."

"I had never heard of Lonesome Rhodes," Mr. Beck says. "I had never seen the movie. . . . As soon as I heard that, I watched it. . . . Lonesome Rhodes and I, I guess, had a few things in common. He was a drunk. I'm in AA; he wasn't. He, at the very beginning, said things that he believed—I think. I'm not really even sure on that. I used to not say the things I believe. . . . Now I've made a vow to myself—it actually comes from Immanuel Kant, the philosopher: 'There are many things that I believe that I shall never say. But I shall never say the things that I do not believe.' . . . The minute I violate that, I'm back to the old drunk Glenn."

Jets Tu, Brute?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Exile on Main Street

If you haven't, go on over to E&P In Exile blog where Joe Strupp and I are posting. As the "new" E&P slept over the weekend, we've posted 15 stories and items.

Auletta Bleed: On Obama and Media

Excerpts from upcoming piece by Ken Auletta. One bit: due to news cycle and demands "we're all wire service reporters now" says one top TV correspondent.

'NYT' Set to Go Pay for Play?

New York magazine report this morning claims that paper is ready to adopt SOME kind of pay system for its site, with various options possible, including a "meter." Here is the lede:

New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of sometimes fraught debate inside the paper, the choice for some time has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system adopted by the Financial Times, in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system.

One personal friend of Sulzberger said a final decision could come within days, and a senior newsroom source agreed, adding that the plan could be announced in a matter of weeks. (Apple's tablet computer is rumored to launch on January 27, and sources speculate that Sulzberger will strike a content partnership for the new device, which could dovetail with the paid strategy.) It will likely be months before the Times actually begins to charge for content, perhaps sometime this spring.

Sunday Morning in the Church of Beethoven

Continuing our weekly "service": Leonard Bernstein once said that of all of his hundreds of recordings the one he most treasured was an obscure and quirky one: when he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in a 60-string orchestra performance of Beethoven's late quartet, opus 131 (which many consider his greatest). It had been tried before, despite attacks from critics who were alarmed by the massive enlargement, but Bernstein brought it to perfection in a staggering creation. YouTube has a bit of it including the first movement, one of Beethoven's summits:

Most Disturbing Photo Yet?


From Haiti? TIME magazine has put up a new gallery with this one kicking it off: Dump truck picking up bodies for a hasty burial. And see post below for report on debate over photos as graphic as this. (TIMOTHY FADEK/Time)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Photo Graphic Evidence


Good AP piece today on the range of photos this week and how some have broken "tradition." Interesting debate on how far is too far -- especially with so much available on the Web. Meanwhile, some terrific "graphic" editorial cartoons as well.

'Bin' There, Not Done That

In incredible story, the FBI seems to have taken a photo off Google of a Spanish lawmaker and used it, with some digital manipulation, to show what Osama bin Laden might look like today--and distributed to media, where it was widely used. The lawmaker, of course, not exactly happy about it. That's him as "bin Laden" at left.

See Ya Later, Bobby Charles

The great songwriter--"See You Later Alligator" and so much more -- finally dies after a very long illness. Saw him at JazzFest awhile back. One of his greats below--Fats Domino doing "Walkin' to New Orleans."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bob Dylan Comments on My 'E&P' Exit!

Subterranean, all right. Better learn to dance, get dressed, get blessed, try to be a success. Vandals took the handles?

'NYT' on 'E&P'

Nice little piece online now for tomorrow's "arts" (?) column on two "stalwarts" gone at E&P--that would be yours truly and the "famous" Joe Strupp.

AP Bureau Wrecked in Haiti

Reporter in video walks around destroyed work place and home. And while they are not suffering nearly as much as Haitians, photo journos trying to cover the tragedy also meeting severe shortages.

Young Drops 'Pants'

Jimmy Fallon reprises his role as Neil Young in rendition last night of the new cult classic "Pants on the Ground."

Mark McGwire Confesses That He Bowed Down to Higher Power!

He finally comes clean about...the joy of hitting a ball twice as far as thought possible. Not those dinky Olerudy groundballs. Or so claims The Onion.

Haiti Entering Post-9/11 Phase?

As focus shifts to digging out, searching for, seeking info on missing loved ones, NYT launches new site where photos can be posted -- reminiscent of the thousands of leaflets posted around NYC right after 9/11.

Gates Cites Failures in Ft. Hood Case

The defense chief talks to the media today about report that found much fault in handling of deadly shootings.

UPDATED : 'E&P' Is Back -- But I Am Out

Got call from new buyer of Editor & Publisher, Duncan McIntosh, who publishes Boating World magazine and Fish Rap News in Irvine, Ca., late Thursday, telling me that I am out as editor after eight years (and 10 years with magazine). The great Joe "Scoop" Strupp, senior editor, also out, after 12 years -- a truly great loss. Only four editors/writers are left. One week ago in a meeting new owner told me flatly, repeating what he'd said twice previously, "Extremely impressed with your great work and definitely will retain you."

Much more later. My email remains: epic1934@aol.com. Twitter here. Contact Joe Strupp here. Thanks.

UPDATE:
Thanks for more than a thousand messages of outrage and support via Twitter and emails so far. Huff Post covers here. Forbes covers here with fun "crew set adrift" by boating publisher hed. Much more to come, I hear. New owner tells Folio: "In terms of editorial direction, Duncan said E&P is and has been right on course." And oddly, after announcing it was back and going full speed ahead yesterday, E&P site has been updated today with....three short items. -- Greg Mitchell

Jon Stewart vs Robertson, Limbaugh and -- Maddow

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Media Struggle to Cover Haiti

There's been a mass deployment but then the problems start. New NYT report tonight. Just now, as in post-Katrina, social order starts to break down.

From Haiti to Hiroshima

Amazing, creepy and haunting coincidence: I was reading Dave Eggers post-Katrina book Zeitoun, then got in mail and started reading upcoming book Last Train from Hiroshima -- and then the Haiti quake hit. Eerie similarities (and differences) in the immediate post-disaster aftermath. More later.

"Haiti" -- Arcade Fire

And band posts today on how to help.

A Ford, Not A Lincoln

NYT wraps up liberal groups going after Harold Ford and possible Senate race in NY. Harold, don't call me, they say. Video adds to it:

Obama in Mass Appeal

The president tapes spot for Coakley re: next week's big Senate showdown in Massachusetts, allegedly a tight race. But White House still refuses to rule out a quick trip by him, despite Haiti crisis. One new poll shows her ahead by 8% and another has him 4% in front.

Conan the Contrarian

Leaked: Jeff Zucker's phone messages for Conan. Of course, it's at Funny or Die -- so consider the source....

Response to Haiti's "Pact With the Devil"

During the 1970s, I knew Ray Joseph, the current Haitian ambassador to the U.S., when he was founding and running an important Haitian community, anti-Duvalier, newspaper in New York (he also worked for the Wall Street Journal). He's been featured often and well on TV this week, and last night he replied to Pat Robertson's claim that Haiti was suffering partly because it had made a "pact with the devil" related to how it got its independence.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Roger Not Out

Fox chief Roger Ailes takes to the LA Times to dispute slams at him in this week's NYT article on him by a Murdoch family member. Excerpt:

We were curious about the brouhaha and reached out to Ailes. He said Freud's remarks "didn't make sense to me," and added that stories that "I'm a dead man" are "being manufactured." Ailes said he's sure he has met Freud but, "I couldn't pick him out of a lineup ... most people who have a problem at least walk up to me and talk to me about it." (But Ailes has cameras around his office and a driver, so the casual approach might be difficult.)

Can You Stand Pat Robertson?

Biden: His Time as Booze Pusher Ends

Amid uproar over ads featuring Michelle and Barack Obama, the Veep has to give up his Hennessy spots. Or so says The Onion.

Biden Criticized For Appearing In Hennessy Ads

Jon Stewart Apologizes for Not Nailing Yoo

If only non-faux news anchors would do this: Jon Stewart actually said he was sorry last night for not doing a better job in interviewing "torture memo" author John Yoo.
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My Rock and Roll Series Rolls On

While directing the new blog for former E&P staffers E&P In Exile, I've started work on the new Web series that goes back to my pre-journalism roots: "An Incompleat History of Rock 'n Roll," featuring everyone from Roy Orbison to Springsteen, Dylan and Neil Young. David Wild of Rolling Stone calls it the most promising upcoming Web music series. First full episode coming soon. Subscribe now! We've already got about 7500 views at YouTube and now will launch elsewhere. I've also finished 150 pages for a "companion volume." See excerpts here. Trailer below:

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Cooke's Tour

Rare film on the great Sam Cooke tonight on PBS, blocked for while, now airing. His gospel work among greatest American music of century. Small sample:

Big Mac Was Whopper of Steroids User

Mark McGwire finally fesses up. Well, I have to give this much to him: He made a full accounting of it, not like A-rod and so many others.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

From "Avatar" to the A-Bomb

I have a new Huff Post piece up on James Cameron buying rights to new book on the aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, a subject I know a thing or two about. Includes link to his "nuclear nightmare" sequence in Terminator 2.

Brit Journo Killed in Afghan

The second in two weeks by roadside bomb as dangers increase. U.S. Marine also killed.

What Ailes Us

NYT front page story today by David Carr and Tim Arango on Roger Ailes naturally focuses on his Fox News and political work, but also has a few grafs on his ownership of upstate NY newspapers (which his wife runs) and some local confrontations over zoning and the environment.

Sunday Morning in the Church of Beethoven

Our weekly feature. Today, Ed Harris and Diane Kruger pay a visit as LvB composes one of the greatest pieces ever written.

Abuse: In Yemen and in Lawsuits?

Clips all over the Web today of segments from last night's SNL open with commercials for FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org. You can see that and mockery of response to Yemen below.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Colbert Schools Obama on Connecting Dots

Failure to Connect the Dots
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After 'Avatar': The A-Bomb?

I noted earlier this week, when Japanese man who survived both Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, died that James Cameron had journeyed to meet him just last month for a possible film project. Now, amazingly, comes word from Variety that Cameron has bought film rights to upcoming book on the survivors, possibly to direct himself.

Not exactly a commercial, Hollywood subject but one I have covered for, oh, nearly 30 years, including going to Japan to interview dozens of survivors -- and write book with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America (see left rail on this blog). Amazing if this goes forward.

Mr. 9/11 Forgets....9/11

The effort by GOPers to blame Obama for everything reached climax today with Rudy Giuliani actually saying that there were no domestic terror attacks under Bush and now there's has been one under Obama.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Amazing Grace, Indeed

Just back from double bill of Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Blind Boys of Alabama in Tarrytown. The latter did "Amazing Grace" sung to "House of the Rising Son"--what a twist! Here is the great recorded version:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tough Work But Someone's Gotta Do It

A new ranking of desirable jobs in USA places reporters way down at #184, just ahead of stevedores -- and well behind maids, janitors and bus drivers. But what do they know?

Weatherproofing Obama

Fascinating piece just up at NYT on the Weatherproof clothing company putting up billboard with Obama in one of its winter coats (in China). White House not pleased and several newspapers have turned down ad with same image -- an AP photo. Don't miss it here. The Obama administration had not approved the use of the image, spokesman Ben LaBolt said in an e-mail message to the Times. “The White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the President’s name and likeness for commercial purposes,” he said.

Doubly Unlucky--Or Lucky?

The only officially recognized survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs has passed away in Japan at age 93. But several others have been confirmed, and I interviewed one of them in Hiroshima in 1984, an amazing experience. According to press reports, the deceased said he had written to President Obama about banning nuclear arms. And he said he had recently been visited by director James Cameron to discuss a film project on atomic bombs.

On the left rail of this blog you will the book I wrote with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America, which covers all of this and much more.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

3rd WH Gate Crasher Denies It...So Far

Carlos Allen, said to be the 3rd person to crash that White House bash back in November denies it to Politico, but seems to be evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, that's fun's photo of him with another crashee, Ms. Salahi, and another woman at left.

Roll Over, Beethoven?

Odd day. Within half an hour submitted half of my manuscript for rock and roll book to my agent-- and ordered tickets for Beethoven at Alice Tully for February 7 for three string quartets, including the astounding "Harp" (see below). The book, of course, is companion to my new Web series, watch trailer here. And now Ludwig Van:

Seeing Red Over Tweets

Returning to Comedy Central -- in HD and with a new set, no less -- Stephen Colbert went curling but also curled up with Red State chief Erick Erickson to discuss some of his controversial tweets. Erickson would not disavow calling Obama an "affirmative action" pick or describing one of his appointees as a Nazi, but did say he regretted calling a Supreme Court justice a goat-fucker.
Erick Erickson
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Food for Thought--and Health

My old buddy Michael Pollan--we worked together at a NYC magazine three decades ago and I wrote for him when he was at Channels--with a good piece at Huff Post on "Food Rules" for health, doctors, and his new book.

Now It Can Be Told: Terror Threat for Obama on Inauguration Day 2009

In the past two years, The New York Times Magazine has increasingly scooped itself by posting its cover story online a day or two or five before the Sunday when it actually came out. Today it goes much further, putting up at its Web site the planned cover story for its January 17 issue. Apparently the terrorist concerns or the past week, and President Obama's actions, sparked the push. When you read the opening grafs of the Peter Baker piece, a scoop in itself, you may understand:

The evening before he was sworn into office, Barack Obama stepped out of Blair House, the government residence where he was staying across from the White House, and climbed into an armored limousine for the ride to a bipartisan dinner. Joining him in the back seat were John Brennan, his new counterterrorism adviser, and two foreign-policy advisers, Denis McDonough and Mark Lippert. The three men with the president-elect were out of breath, having rushed more than a mile from transition headquarters on foot after failing to find a taxi in Washington’s preinaugural madness. As the motorcade moved out, they updated Obama on gathering evidence of a major terrorist plot to attack his inauguration. After a weekend of round-the-clock analysis, the nation’s intelligence agencies were concerned that the threat was real, the men told him. A group of Somali extremists was reported to be coming across the border from Canada to detonate explosives as the new president took the oath of office. With more than a million onlookers viewing the ceremony from the National Mall and hundreds of millions more watching on television around the world, what could be a more devastating target?

“All the data points suggested there was a real threat evolving quickly that had an overseas component,” Juan Carlos Zarate, President George W. Bush’s deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, told me in November. As the inauguration approached, signs of a plot “seemed to be growing in credibility and relevance."

My anti-death penalty e-book

My anti-death penalty e-book
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