Missing the Big Man

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by macmystery

Tramps like us …

It’s been almost three weeks since I heard the news.

I was working on the sports desk on that Saturday night, when Rob, a guy I’ve worked with for sometime who knew of my affinity for all things Bruce Springsteen, said, “I’m sure you’re all over this, but in case you haven’t seen it, Clarence Clemons died.”

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Bob Marley, 1945-1981

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2011 by macmystery

In remembrance of the death of Bob Marley 30 years ago (May 11, 1981), here’s a version of “No Woman, No Cry” recorded July 21, 1979 in at Harvard Stadium in Boston, Mass.

The Freedom Rides turn 50

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by macmystery

A Greyhound bus that had carried Freedom Riders burns beside the highway on May 14, 1961 — Mother’s Day — in Anniston, Ala.

On this day, May 4, in 1961, 13 riders (seven blacks and six whites) set out from Washington D.C. on Greyhound and Trailways buses to the Deep South.

Their journey would become known as the Freedom Rides, and they — and many more after them — would become the Freedom Riders.

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50 years ago

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , on January 21, 2011 by macmystery

President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address from Jan. 20, 1961:

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Acting like the President

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , on January 13, 2011 by macmystery

President Barack Obama’s speech Wednesday at the memorial for the victims of the Arizona massacre.

I won’t say any more. Just watch.

Sarah Palin: Still just a moron or downright evil?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by macmystery

Sarah Palin isn’t to blame for the Arizona shooting spree that killed six — including a 9-year-old girl and a Federal judge — and seriously wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

And anyone writing or saying as much is wrong.

But most of those same critics, who include some journalists, members of the media, Democratic politicians and a lot of people with common sense, are right about one thing. The political rhetoric in this country has gone too far, and Sarah Palin’s use of targets on a map with specific representatives in crosshairs crossed the line.

No, Palin can’t control what a crazy man with a gun will draw from anything she says or does. And she’s not the only one to use images of guns and violence in her speeches and campaigns. Everyone from football coaches to President Barack Obama have done so.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need to be responsible for her words and actions.

She’s right: No one is responsible for the shooter’s actions except the shooter. So she should own up for her actions. If she doesn’t want to draw such heat from the media and Democrats and whoever else is breathing and has working brain cells, MAYBE SHE SHOULDN’T PUT OUT MAPS WITH PEOPLE AS TARGETS.

On the same day the President gave a moving speech at the memorial for the victims of the Arizona massacre, Palin released an early-morning video firing back at her critics. Tone down the talk?

No way.

Palin’s videotaped, carefully written and obviously read statement only exacerbated the problem (like most things that come out of Palin’s mouth).

When criticizing the media and journalists (not the same thing) for rightly calling her out for her words and actions and wrongly blaming her for the shooting, she accused them of “blood libel.”

For those who don’t know, blood libel is a specific term with a specific history. It has been used throughout history and refers to the accusations that Jews killed Christian children and used their blood for religious ceremonies. It has been used for years, and as recently in public discourse as 2005 in Russia, by those who would promote anti-Semitism.

Sarah Palin can’t be that evil to try and evoke those images, can she? No, it’s just a mistake, right? She didn’t know the meaning of the phrase and is sounded good?

Maybe.

But Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish.

Poor choice of words? Poor timing? Or something more sinister, cold and calculated?

You be the judge. Intentional or not, Palin once again comes off as slow, at best. If she meant to use a phrase with this kind of meaning, she’s despicable. If she used it because it sounded good without bothering to find out what it meant, she’s a rube.

Prior evidence should tell us she’s at least a rube. I hope in this case that’s all she is.

R.I.P. Maj. Dick Winters, American hero

Posted in Books, History, Movies, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by macmystery

I first learned of Dick Winters’ death from a Facebook post by my friend Chris Otto of the York Daily-Record. He linked to a story Monday night from a Pennsylvania TV station reporting the World War II veteran’s death a week before. Here’s the Washington Post obit.

Winters became widely known, thanks to the Stephen Ambrose book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which followed the E company, second battalion (Easy Company), of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry from their formation through the Normandy invasion and on through Germany’s surrender.

As a history major, I found the book interesting, but honestly, the miniseries, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, is where I, and I’m guessing millions of other Americans, truly came to know about Winters. It’s hands down the best television I’ve ever seen.

The book, culled from interviews with surviving members of Easy Company, is historically accurate, and the miniseries follows the trend of the past 15 years where filmmakers, instead of glorifying war, have tried to accurately portray the horror and savagery of conflict and illustrate the sacrifices of those who risked or lost their lives.

Winters wasn’t originally in command of Easy Company. But just like in so many other situations in the group’s story, Winters took the reins and led by example when he was called to. He was concerned about each and every one of his men. And his men respected him for it and loved him in return.

According to the Washington Post, late in the war, one of Mr. Winters’s soldiers, Floyd Talbert, wrote a letter to the officer from a hospital in Indiana expressing gratitude for his loyalty and leadership.

“You are loved and will never be forgotten by any soldier that ever served under you,” Talbert wrote to Winters in 1945. “I would follow you into hell.”

We’ve reached a point in our history where the people who risked their lives and served their country are dying off and leaving us at an ever-increasing rate. Soon, what little first-hand knowledge we have of the great sacrifice the men like those of Easy Company made to, not only preserve our freedom, but to defeat the powers of evil, will have gone away.

I’m saddened by Winters’ passing, but I’m thankful he served. He lived to the age of 92 before losing his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. News of his death, more than a week ago, was kept quiet at his request. He didn’t seek glory. He exhibited class, even in death.

Thank you, Dick Winters. Though you may not have chosen the label, there’s no denying you are a hero.