Monday, December 19, 2005

The in-depth post

As you can tell from the post below this, I got bit by the comedy bug and I got bit really hard. Harder than the bird flu.

Steve Greenfield, one of the primary candidates in the New York Senate race, has deemed the month beginning December 26th as a refund for peace. It's an interesting idea and I'd say is similar to that of Buy Blue. Basically, he is asking for people to take gifts back and donate to anti-war candidates.

John Mayer is changing directions from pop to blues. Never thought I'd see that one coming. John Mayer, Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino, members of the John Mayer Trio, performed a song, most likely a new single, from the CD, "Try!" I'm watching it right now. It's definitely unlike his prior songs that I've been forced to listen to. By forced, I mean having my brother put the Top Adult 40 radio station on when he knows I prefer classic rock or oldies.

Ron Kampeas writes about the reaction to the latest religious resolution. I'm a Jew. I'm a member of the tribe. Now why are religious conservatives not all-inclusive. There's a reason as to why I use "Happy Holidays" around non-Jews. I'd rather play it safe.
"Did something happen when I was not looking?" asked Ackerman, known as one of Congress’ quickest wits. "Did somebody mug Santa Claus? Is somebody engaging in elf tossing?"

More seriously, other Democrats accused Davis, a Virginian known for her closeness to the pro-Israel lobby, of trampling over the sensibilities of non-Christians.

"Our country has come simply to be tolerant of the fact that we are from many faiths, and we do not want to insult anybody," said Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). "And I say to you that, far from references to Christmas needing to be supported, they are glorified, and we all know it."

Norton chided Davis to "understand how ‘happy holidays’ developed. It developed out of a country, first and foremost, where there was rampant anti-Semitism."

Two New York Jewish Democrats, Reps. Anthony Weiner and Steve Israel, asked Davis to amend the resolution to include Chanukah, Kwanzaa and Ramadan.

She said no, and Weiner waxed almost Shakespearean. Or maybe Seussian.

"The symbols of Chanukah are not valuable?" Weiner said. "Sure, they are, I think. The symbols of Kwanzaa are not valuable to some? Sure, they are. I cannot imagine why the gentlewoman who is the sponsor of this, who says that she speaks from a sense of inclusion, would not want to include those. Are those not worthy of being protected? What is the message that is being sent?"[...]

Whatever the case, Davis said that adding other holidays was not the point — the threat was to Christmas, not the other holidays.

"Nothing says you have to call a menorah a holiday candle, like you call a Christmas tree a ‘friendship tree,’" she said. If Jews did feel Chanukah was under threat, she said, she would happily support a resolution.

Within two days, Rep. Israel was there for her: On Friday, he formally submitted H. Res. 615 which replicates Davis’ bill exactly, substituting Chanukah, Ramadan and Kwanzaa for Christmas. It has yet to come to the floor.

Davis seemed at a loss over the Jewish objections to the resolution — she said she had run the language by her close Jewish friend, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and he approved, with a small amendment, adding the phrase "those who celebrate Christmas" to the bill’s language to make it clear the intent was not to force the holiday on those who did not celebrate.[...]

That’s not quite how Engel remembered it, although he warmly reciprocated Davis’ friendship.

Instead, Engel said, he suggested the modification only after he realized he could not persuade Davis to back away from the resolution.

"It would be better if we didn’t have this bill to vote on, it would be better to keep Congress out of religion, it would be better if it were to go on a voice vote," Engel said, referring to Davis’ insistence on a roll call, a tactic used to embarrass lawmakers if they vote in the minority on a popular resolution.
Somone should tell Rep. Engel that it is the Republicans that started this phony war. Rep. Engel clearly knows that he is right and she was wrong to write the resolution. Now why did he vote for it? This resolution is clearly a violation of religion and state if you asked for my opinion. If there is anything we now know, it's a list of the Jewish members in the House of Representatives. I would have voted no on this amendment.

Jewish Representatives voting ‘Yea’ on H. Res. 579: Berman (D-Calif.), Davis (D-Calif.), Filner (D-Calif.), Lantos (D-Calif.), Schiff (D-Calif.), Sherman (D-Calif.), Waxman (D-Calif.), Cardin (D-Md.), Frank (D-Mass.), Levin (D-Mich.), Berkley (D-Nev.), Rothman (D-N.J.), Engel (D-N.Y.), Nadler (D-N.Y.), Weiner (D-N.Y.), Cantor (R-Va.), Sanders (I-Vt.).
Jewish Representatives voting ‘Nay’ on H. Res. 579: Harman (D-Calif.), Wexler (D-Fla.), Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Ackerman (D-N.Y.).
Jewish Representatives voting ‘Present’ on H. Res. 579: Israel (D-N.Y.), Lowey (D-N.Y.), Schwartz (D-Pa.).
Jewish Representatives who did not cast a vote on H. Res. 579: Emanuel (D-Ill.).

Senator Joseph Lieberman released the following statement when he voted against cloture on the USA Patriot Act reauthorization:
"I am deeply concerned that the Conference chose not to follow the Senate’s example and craft a bipartisan bill that was able to garner unanimous support. I believe that the government must have the tools it needs to fight the war on terror, but I am convinced that adequate protections for civil liberties will not dull the sharpness of those tools. I am hopeful that we will be able to reach a more bipartisan compromise."
Oh, crap. This cannot be good. I have an appreciation for classic rock and I'm only 21!
First, let's detail the Stones' decline: This week, Bang fell to No. 125 on Billboard's Top 200 after moving just over 390,000 copies. That means, unless something drastic happens, the album won't come near the sales level of the Stones' last two studio CDs — 1997's Bridges to Babylon (1.16 million) and 1994's Voodoo Lounge (1.8 million). Though Bang wipes the floor with those disks creatively, it's been selling more like one of those rote live albums the band churns out after every tour.

McCartney has a lower bar to measure himself against. He hasn't broken the gold (or 500,000) sales mark since 1997's Flaming Pie, which sold 674,000 platters. His last two CDs — 1999's Run Devil Run and 2001's Driving Rain — moved 232,000 and 400,0000, respectively. The new one has sold 357,000 discs in 12 weeks. With the new Grammy nod, it should nudge up to gold. But given its glowing notices, that's still a muted response.

Clapton has suffered a more severe fall. He started to slip with Riding With the King, the CD he did with B.B. King in 2000, which moved 2.1 million copies. Its followup, 2001's Reptile, sold only 620,000, and 2004's Me & Mr. Johnson dipped to 560,000.

The last figure was still strong, considering that Johnson was an all-blues affair. But Clapton's latest, Back Home, has no such excuse.

The pop CD has sold just over 223,000 copies in the last three months, and now gasps at No. 151 on Billboard's Top 200.

Raitt's last work to go platinum was 1994's Longing in Their Hearts (1.6 million); 1998's Fundamental moved 553,000 platters, while her 2002 disc, Silver Lining, pushed a paltry 140,000. This week, the new Souls Alike falls to No. 174 after sales of just 193,000.

Raitt's and Clapton's albums can't claim the artistic resurgence of the Stones or the McCartney CDs. They're tepid works that largely deserve their fate.
Perhaps this is due to people failing to respect copyrights and frequently download illegally.

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