Saturday, October 13, 2007

A nightmare with no end

Gen. Ricardo Sanchez gave his assessment of the Iraq quagmire and didn't pull his punches:

In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top American commander called the Bush administration’s handling of the war incompetent and warned that the United States was “living a nightmare with no end in sight.”

In one of his first major public speeches since leaving the Army in late 2006, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez blamed the administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current “surge” strategy as a “desperate” move that will not achieve long-term stability.

“After more than fours years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism,” Mr. Sanchez said. “There was been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding later in his remarks that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore: Nobel Laureate

Congratulations to the man who should be president.

Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work to raise awareness about global warming.

Now let's just hope that the Supreme Court doesn't take his Nobel prize away and give it to George W. Bush.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Give ‘em hell, President Carter!

You’ve got to love the spunk of our former president and Nobel Laureate.

Carter: Cheney is a disaster for our country.

He’s a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military and he has been most forceful in the last 10 years or more in fulfilling some of his more ancient commitments that the United States has a right to inject its power through military means in other parts of the world. […]

You know he’s been a disaster for our country. I think he’s been overly persuasive on President George Bush and quite often he’s prevailed. It was one of his main commitments to go into Iraq under false pretenses, and he still maintains those false pretenses are accurate.

Recently, I’ve been reading Ron Suskind’s excellent book “The One Percent Doctrine” which details how the so-called Cheney Doctrine has derailed our nation’s efforts to hunt down al-Qaeda as our military and intelligence assets were diverted toward pursuing the neo-con fantasy of war in Iraq.
Based on this book, I would have to say that President Carter is being overly kind and diplomatic in his assessment of the noxious Dick Cheney.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

SCHIP defended

The Center for Public Policy Priorities makes the case for the bipartisan SCHIP legislation that Bush vetoed and details how the McConnell-Lott-Cornyn Alternative Hurts Texas.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More on the Rock Hall of Fame

It is inevitable that there will be lots of disagreements over who should and should not be in the Rock Hall of Fame. Just look at all the arguments every year about the Baseball Hall of Fame where you at least have some objective standards (stats) to go on. But unless you are looking strictly at album and record sales, the Rock HoF is almost entirely subjective.
When I look over the list of performers currently enshrined in the Rock Hall of Fame, I come across more than a dozen names of performers who I have never heard of and would have to google or wiki to find out who they are. That includes people like LaVerne Baker, Jimmy Reed, Clyde McPhatter, Lloyd Price, The Moonglows, The Flamingos, Solomon Burke, The Dells, Buddy Guy, Little Willie John and Gene Pitney.
That’s not to say that they don’t merit being in the Hall of Fame, just that if it were left up to me they probably would not have been included.
Then there are a few that I simply don’t like such as Patti Smith and the Sex Pistols. I’m not a big fan of punk music. But that’s just me. I’m not big on heavy metal and rap music either, although I have a better appreciation and higher tolerance level for those genres. Pretty soon, I imagine, the Rock HoF will start filling up with rap and hip-hop acts that I am only vaguely familiar with. It started last year with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and it is only a matter of time before we see Run DMC, LL Cool J and Dr. Dre take their turns at the induction podium.
In the meantime, it seems to me that a lot of really great rock performers have been left behind including some of my all-time favorites.
Here is a list of performers who I assume would be eligible - they have to have had a recording out at least 25 years ago - who have yet to be nominated for the HoF:

Cheap Trick
Deep Purple
Electric Light Orchestra
Bachman Turner Overdrive
REO Speedwagon
J. Geils Band
Peter Frampton
Alice Cooper
Steve Miller Band
KC and the Sunshine Band
Neil Diamond
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Rick Springfield
The Faces
Los Lobos
Moody Blues
Billy Squier
Gordon Lightfoot
Daryl Hall and John Oates
The Go-Go’s
The Cars
Def Leppard

And here are a few that I think will or should be shoe-ins when their time comes:

Pearl Jam
Public Enemy
Nine Inch Nails
Peter Gabriel
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Smashing Pumpkins
Guns N Roses
Rage Against the Machine
The Black Crowes
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Green Day
Stone Temple Pilots
White Stripes

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oops, They did it again

I can’t believe for the second year in a row the Express-News has published an editorial whining about the inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It mirrors the editorial they did last year. In that editorial, they dissed Billy Joel and Van Halen as unworthy inductees to the Rock Hall of Fame. I responded here. This year they are disparaging John Mellencamp and Donna Summers among others.
If their point was to simply say that the Hall of Fame should be reserved for huge talents like Elvis Presley and The Beatles, that would be fine. But they shoot themselves in the foot when they venture to say who they would like to see in the Hall of Fame instead. Last year it was The Stooges and the Ronettes. This year they laud Kurt Cobain, Liz Phair and The White Stripes.
They are especially down on the Dave Clark Five, one of the British invasion bands of the early-to-mid ‘60s. To be honest, I didn’t know much about DCF either and would have dismissed them as unworthy as well. But when you look at their history you see that they were the second most popular British band next to the Beatles in the early years and had a huge following back then. They sold more than 100 million records and had 30 hit singles. Compare that to The Stooges, The Ronettes, Liz Phair and even the White Stripes (who I happen to like). I don’t think combined they come close to the popular success that the Dave Clark Five had.
Somebody on the E-N editorial board is obviously a music snob. What surprises me is that they would allow them to write these pieces every year and submit them as the consensus view of the entire editorial board.