Even before playing his guitar this weekend, Neil Young showed how passionate he was.
He delivered one of the more passionate performances the annual charity show has ever seen without lifting a guitar. Instead, at a media conference packed with farm advocates preceding the onstage revelry at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Young took this newspaper to task for a story printed in its Saturday edition that questioned the charity's distribution of funds.Paul McCartney has licensed his song "Fine Line" for commercials.
The Tribune report "hurt our reputation" by distorting the charity's mission, Young said. "We are not purely raising money for farmers. That's a small part of what we do." He explained that Farm Aid funds myriad activities, from political lobby groups to suicide prevention, that aid farmers.
"The people at the Chicago Tribune should be held responsible for this piece of crap," Young stormed, then ripped a copy of the newspaper in half and tossed it aside to a room full of cheers.
The controversy clouded what was otherwise a sunlit celebration for an organization that has raised $27 million for family farms since its first concert in 1985.
Young, who has consistently played the outspoken and frequently cantankerous caretaker of all things Farm Aid next to Willie Nelson's grandfatherly philosopher, sustained that level of intensity a half-day later when he took the stage with a band that included a gospel choir, a Nashville rhythm section and a Memphis horn section.
In 1995, McCartney attacked Michael Jackson for allowing Beatles' music to be used in TV ads, saying it "cheapened" the songs. Jackson bought the publishing rights to the Beatles back catalogue in 1985 for £50m, a move that precipitated a falling out between the pair who released two hits singles, 'Say Say Say'and 'The Girl ss Mine', in the 80s.David Hawpe, a Louisville columnist, penned a very nice editorial for this morning's Courier-Journal on the 2007 election and dealt with potential candidates.
The 30-second spot is an extension of Lexus' sponsorship of the Paul McCartney 'US' Tour and it follows McCartney being signed earlier this year as the very rock'n'roll face of Fidelity Investments – a pension provider among other things.
An SUV might be seen as a dubious product for the vegetarian and environmental campaigner, but the former Beatle said it was the hybrid qualities of the new Lexus swung him behind the car.
"It's good to be involved with a company that sees the value of an environmentally conscious product," McCartney said. "I was happy to provide the music for the spot."
The ad depicts a Lexus RX 400h speeding past other awkward, less powerful alternative energy vehicles with a voiceover saying "It's time for an alternative vehicle that's fuel-efficient...yet spacious. That runs cleaner...yet more powerfully".
Last time around, Fletcher's campaign slogan was "Restoring Hope." Next time, it will be "Everybody Deserves a Second Chance." This Governor has been very generous. Elected on a promise to "clean up the mess in Frankfort," he's given that issue to the Democrats for 2007.It's up to Congressman Ben Chandler to make that decision, not me. But I will, however, support whatever decision that Rep. Ben Chandler makes.
All that said, I still rate Fletcher the favorite for re-election. The two Democrats who could beat him -- U.S. Rep Ben Chandler and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson -- don't seem disposed to run.
In polls, Chandler now runs way ahead of Fletcher in a gubernatorial matchup. But the Bluegrass congressman is busy running around the world on congressional fact-finding missions and keeping his eye on poor old Jim Bunning's Senate seat.
Chandler is happy on the House International Relations Committee: "When you look at the district I represent, it has an unusual amount of international flavor, starting with the Toyota plant. But it's not just Toyota. It seems like every other community in the district has a Japanese supplier. Then you have Phillips, a Dutch company, which has a bulb plant in Danville." The horse industry and the many colleges and universities in his district have important international ties and programs.
Besides, he adds, "Anybody who thinks, after 9/11, that we can put our heads in the sand and be isolationist is crazy. We have to engage the wider world in a positive way."
Chandler could have talked about Cat football or burley to the Danville Rotary recently. Instead, he risked a thoughtful talk about China, which he just visited, arguing that the U.S.-Chinese relationship is the long-term strategic issue:
"From their aggressive modernization of their armed forces to their concerted campaign to supplant the U.S. as the world's leading producer of advanced technology, China appears intent on robbing the U.S. of the industries that allow us to maintain a high standard of living and replacing the U.S. as the leading power in East Asia and perhaps the world…. Maintaining our edge both militarily and economically will require every resource at our disposal."
Chandler reads history and thrives on developing expertise in international relations. He's happy where he is.
A recent Lexington TV poll put Fletcher's approval rating in his home county, Fayette, at 34 percent. Chandler's favorable rating in the same poll was 73 percent, in a county he lost to Fletcher by eight percentage points less than two years ago.
But, then, would Chandler really want to come home, run for governor and take fact-finding trips to the Big Sandy and the Jackson Purchase instead of Lhasa and Shanghai? Would he want to lead the House caucus on the Middle East's economy or decide who gets the grader operator's job at the highway garage?
By the way, where is Kentucky's Senior Senator Mitch McConnell? He seems rather silent lately...
Hmmm. Former Senator Tom Daschle is coming to Iowa. Aides are downplaying that as a possible run. Had he maintained his seat in the Senate, maybe, but I don't know.
But the South Dakotan's Iowa visit, his new political action committee and national political plans for next year don't necessarily add up to a potential White House bid, aides said.Do bad things happen when comics become movies? I don't know. I tend to stick with the Marvel series.
"Not a day goes by that someone doesn't tell Tom they wish he would run for president," said Steve Hildebrand, a longtime top Daschle adviser and director of his new political action committee.
"Circumstances change, things happen, stars align, and he's never going to make the mistake of ruling something out, although the likelihood of him running for president isn't great at all," Hildebrand added.
Daschle, who was Senate majority leader from 2001 to 2003, is scheduled to headline the Iowa Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Des Moines Nov. 5.
Daschle came very close to entering the campaign for the 2004 presidential nomination. Instead, Daschle faced a bruising re-election campaign last year, when he was defeated by John Thune, a Republican congressman.
Daschle was left with roughly $550,000 in his campaign account, money he converted into a new organization. He plans use his new committee to help candidates, especially political newcomers, around the country in 2006, Hildebrand said.
The organization, New Leadership for America, will allow Daschle to travel and contribute to political campaigns.
Iowa's presidential precinct caucuses are expected to kick off the 2008 nominating season. The state has already attracted visits this year from several Democrats eyeing the nomination.
Longtime Daschle backer Ed Skinner of Altoona has been in contact with the former senator since the election and believes he rightly considers himself a potential 2008 contender.
"I think he's doing exactly what he ought to be doing. He ought to be keeping his options open," Skinner said.
DaveHawk makes a case for Evan Bayh in which there was a lot of feedback.
Rumor has it that Rep. Ben Chandler, while on the radio today, said that the war in Iraq was wrong. I need to get that confirmed.