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Allison Kilkenny: While Congress Dallies, Desperate Americans Seek Free Healthcare

July 18th, 2009 admin No comments

Yesterday, a group of six centrist and conservative Senators signed a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders urging delay in consideration of health care reform. These moderates include Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Independent Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

The day before these Senators signed a letter to effectively halt healthcare reform, citizens were just beginning to line up at Cocke County High School in East Tennessee for free healthcare provided by Remote Area Medical (RAM), a non-profit, volunteer relief corps dedicated to providing free health care, dental care, eye care, veterinary services, and technical and educational assistance to people in remote areas of the United States and the world.

Though registration would not officially start until Friday, and the doors would not open until Saturday, pre-registration had already filled up by Thursday, and the sessions were full (with a waiting list) before the clinic was ready to see patients.

This kind of turn-out isn’t unusual, Stan Brock, the founder of RAM told me by phone on his way to the high school.

We’re probably going to see people in the 700-800 range, which for us is a small turnout. At our larger clinics, we’ll give out 1500 numbers to patients during the course of the night because they come and they wait all night for these services. At the end of a weekend, we will have seen several thousand people. We’ve got one coming up in Los Angeles in eight days, and my guess if that there we’ll probably see many thousands of people by the time we’re finished there.

Rose Centers was already in line by noon on Friday. “The last time I tried to go to the dentist, it cost me $300, and all they done is a cleaning and X-rays,” she told WBIR.com. In America, where 62 percent of personal bankruptcies are linked to medical bills or illness, this kind of early turnout at Cocke County High School shouldn’t surprise anyone. Many Americans are poor, desperate, sick, and in need of some human compassion. Brock’s team doesn’t think their need should be exploited for financial gain.

As the engine of their medical van rumbles in the background, Brock shares some statistics with me. “You know, the World Health Organization rates the United States on the scale of 190 nations in their delivery of healthcare to the citizenry as number thirty-seven.” He then explains the history of the Great Britain (his native country) universal healthcare system. At the height of World War II, the population in Great Britain was around 49 million when Winston Churchill mandated universal healthcare coverage. “So when you think that 49 million people is about the number of people in [America] that don’t have access to healthcare, it’s roughly equivalent to the population of Great Britain at the end of World War II,” says Brock.

He means it’s a problem that has a solution. If Great Britain, which had been practically obliterated by German bombing (including 57 consecutive nights of air assault during The Blitz,) provided healthcare to every man, woman, and child, then surely America, a comparatively prosperous nation, could improve its own system.

Those politicians toying with the idea of a public-private hybrid model for healthcare reform should understand that the private sector’s prices inflation have made doctor visits unaffordable even to some people who have insurance. Brock told WBIR, “Now we are getting people who do have insurance and do have jobs but simply the co-pay perhaps prevents them from getting the services that they need, but they find they can’t afford it.”

But RAM doesn’t have the widespread reach of a universal healthcare program. They can only do so much. “The sad part is,” Brock tells WBIR, “that we can’t see everybody, so on Sunday evening it’s going to be our sad problem to tell people ‘I’m sorry, but we can’t see any more.’”

Remote Area Medical is in constant need of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, visit their webpage here.

Cross-posted from Allison Kilkenny’s blog. Also available on Facebook and Twitter.

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Review urges tougher bank governance

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

LONDON (Reuters) – Banks in Britain who don’t comply with what would be the toughest remuneration regime in the world face being held to account by their regulators, the author of a government-sponsored review said on Thursday.

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Bailed-Out Banks Ramp Up Pay Packages To Top Talent

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

Some big banks that have received government bailouts in the U.S. and Britain are offering handsome pay packages to lure stars and reverse last year’s steep losses.

Bank of America Corp. recently hired a top bond salesman with a guaranteed two-year deal valued at about $6 million for the first year, people familiar with the matter say. Citigroup Inc. offered nearly $2 million in an attempt to recruit a top brokerage executive.

More on Bank Of America


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Color-Coded Terror Alert System May Be Replaced By Obama Administration

July 15th, 2009 admin No comments

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has begun a review that could spell the end of the color-coded terrorism advisories, long derided by late night TV comics and portrayed by some Democrats as a tool for Bush administration political manipulation.

It’s not likely the review will plunge an alert system into the dark all together, but short of that, everything is on the table for consideration, according to one administration official familiar with the plans. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about potential outcomes.

The alert system assigns five different colors to terror risk levels. Green at the bottom signals a low danger of attack and red at the top warns of a severe threat. It was put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was designed to help emergency responders get prepared.

But it’s been the butt of late-night television comics’ jokes and criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for being too vague to deliver enough useful information.

“Like yesterday, apparently, went from blue to pink and now half the country thinks we’re pregnant,” “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno said on March 14, 2002. “To give you an idea how sophisticated this system is, today they added a plaid in case we were ever attacked by Scotland.”

And Democrats have said the Bush administration used the system for political manipulation to trumpet the administration’s anti-terrorist credentials.

“They raised and lowered it several times in fairly rapid succession,” former national Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean said. “It had something to do with politics.”

For example, in August 2004, then-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge raised the alert level to orange, the second-highest level signifying a high risk of attack, in Washington, New York City and Newark, N.J., because of potential threats to financial buildings there. But Democrats questioned the Bush administration’s motives, because the change came as they concluded their presidential convention and swung attention to national security, the signature issue of President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the review Tuesday by a panel of 17 people that include Democrats and Republicans, mayors, governors, police executives, and public and private security experts. It is a balanced group clearly designed to not only evaluate the alert system but also to provide political cover from critics for any changes to the color-coded system.

“My goal is simple: To have the most effective system in place to inform the American people about threats to our country,” Napolitano said in a statement.

Scrapping the color system could prove complicated because many local governments have policies triggered when the federal government changes the alert level, in some cases, qualifying for federal aid for police overtime, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

After the 60-day review, Napolitano will confer with other cabinet members before making a recommendation to the White House, the official said. Even if the panel says the color-coded system is the best option, Napolitano will be open to that.

Reaching across the political spectrum is a smart move, said James Carafano, a review panel member and fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Scrapping the colors needs to be done in a way that doesn’t leave the administration vulnerable to ridicule or criticism that it’s being soft on terrorism, Carafano said.

Fran Townsend, a former White House homeland security adviser for George W. Bush and once a key intelligence aide to Democratic Attorney General Janet Reno, is co-chairing the review panel with William H. Webster. Webster is the only man ever to head both the FBI and the CIA, the first in a Democratic administration and the second in a Republican one.

Townsend called it a no-win assignment, but an important one.

“This is a system that was devised in the immediate aftermath of the most horrific attack on American soil that we’ve ever suffered,” she said. Reviewing the system nearly eight years later is an opportunity. “You need a warning system,” but there might be a more effective way to communicate with the public, Townsend said.

No system will give everyone all the details about threat information that they might want, she said. But as a mother, she sees a need to have enough detail to make an informed decision about protecting her family.

“Maybe there is no better way,” she said. But Napolitano “is right to ask the question and have us take a look at it.”

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge also thinks now is a good time for review. Ridge was traveling and could not be reached Tuesday, but an aide said Napolitano told him about the review before she announced it.

The alert level has not been changed since 2006 when it was raised from yellow – an elevated or significant risk of terrorist attack – to red then lowered to orange in the aviation sector after terrorist plans to blow up jetliners en route to the U.S. from Britain were discovered.

The nation has never been below yellow since 2001, but the warnings have been revised so that they can address a specific region or sector, as opposed to the entire country. The United States hasn’t been attacked since 2001, though plots have been disrupted.

The Homeland Security Department will accept public comment on the system by e-mail to hsasreview(at)dhs.gov.

___

On the Net:

Homeland Security Advisory System: http://www.dhs.gov/xinfoshare/programs/Copy(underscore)of(underscore)press(underscore)release(underscore)0046.shtm


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Steven Crandell: Is the World Getting Saner? Consider These Rational International Developments

July 12th, 2009 admin No comments

This decade began with shock and madness. The tragedy of 9/11 was followed by the declaration of war without end.

We called it the War on Terror, but in reality, it was a war against no one in particular — and therefore against anyone.

The Iraq War continued the madness — launched as it was to counter a threat that proved nonexistent. So many people killed. So many displaced. All for nuclear weapons that never existed. And all the while, the United States itself held thousands of the weapons of mass destruction and wanted to make more.

Yet, lately, so much seems to have changed.

Now we have a US President who sees the threat latent in the nuclear weapons that really do exist. Imagine that.

President Barack Obama wants a world without nuclear weapons. He bluntly points out the flaws in our Cold War thinking about nuclear weapons.

Once upon a time, our leaders said that we would be vulnerable without nuclear weapons. In other words: Weapons of mass destruction made us safe.

Now, of course, we know that holding on to nuclear weapons has triggered unprecedented and incredibly dangerous proliferation. North Korea and Iran are only the current manifestations of an ongoing trend. There are nine nuclear-armed nations today, not counting Iran but including Israel. By 2020, we could have 35 nations with nuclear weapons. And who knows how many terrorist groups might have them.

It’s a nightmare scenario — one that can only be stopped by a multi-lateral, phased and verifiable international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons while clamping down on nuclear security.

As Huffpost blogger Joseph Cirincione pointed out this week, President Obama is calling for just such an internationalist approach. Obama had this to say in Moscow:

“The notion that prestige comes from holding these weapons, or that we can protect ourselves by picking and choosing which nations can have these weapons, is an illusion. In the short period since the end of the Cold War, we’ve already seen India, Pakistan, and North Korea conduct nuclear tests. Without a fundamental change, do any of us truly believe that the next two decades will not bring about the further spread of these nuclear weapons?”

My goodness. That’s awfully rational talk coming from a US President. Pragmatic, too. Some people thought President Obama was an idealist. Perhaps at some level he is. But he does his daily work with balance, compromise and practicality. And how can you blame him? Survival is a very pragmatic goal.

Also, a sane goal. I, for example, am extremely interested in passing on the legacy of a livable planet earth to my children.

Now, check out these surprisingly heartening international news items all from the first half of this month:

  • Presidents Obama and Dmitri Medvedev agree in principle to renewing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) by its deadline of December this year – setting aside some disagreements (such as missile defence) to arrive at modest cuts in the arsenals of both countries.
  • The G8 Summit commits to supporting Obama’s “three-part strategy to curb international nuclear threats: find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate existing nuclear arsenals; strengthen the non-proliferation treaty to halt the spread of nuclear weapons to more countries; and to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on nuclear weapons or materials.”
  • The G8 endorses President Obama’s call for a Nuclear Security Summit in March 2010. “The Summit would allow discussion on the nature of the threat and develop steps that can be taken together to secure vulnerable materials, combat nuclear smuggling and deter, detect, and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism,” according to the White House.
  • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Britain is also willing to reduce its arsenal. “What we need is collective action by the nuclear weapons powers to say that we are prepared to reduce our nuclear weapons, but we need assurances also that other countries will not proliferate them,” he said.

To me, there is no doubt that the time is right for our President to assert the importance of working through global cooperation to achieve the mutally-desirable goal of planetary survival.

The same lesson is evident when it comes to global warming or the global economy or hunger. International cooperation, as difficult as it will be, is not a fantasy solution. It is the only solution.

Nuclear weapons present a stark example of what’s at stake if we can’t find a way to cooperate, if we can’t find a way to let common sense hold sway. The truth is, nuclear weapons are designed to destroy cities and kill civilians. Families. Like mine and yours.

The truth is, these weapons can’t be managed or controlled. The story of the nuclear age emphasizes this truth.

When one nation has nuclear weapons, other nations will seek them. They will seek them from the same motivation that spurred us into the wasteful war in Iraq — the motivation of fear. Reason and compassion both tell us to take the difficult option, the road as yet not taken, and seek international cooperation to eliminate these weapons.

The truth is, these weapons do not just destroy those people who are targeted. Eventually, they destroy the countries that wield them.

I am thankful the world seems a bit saner this week. Long may this trend continue.

More on Nuclear Weapons


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Obama Suggests Sanctions For Iran: Analysis

July 11th, 2009 admin No comments

WASHINGTON — After a half-year of extending patient feelers to Iran, President Barack Obama has set a timeline _ warning Tehran it must show willingness to negotiate an end to its nuclear program by September or face consequences.

If the West weighs new moves against Iran this fall, as Obama suggested Friday, it will likely mean new U.N. sanctions or unilateral U.S. penalties, rather than military strikes.

Obama told reporters in Italy, where he met with other world leaders, that there is now a September “time frame” for Iran to respond to offers to discuss its nuclear program. While he did not call it a deadline, he said the world cannot afford to wait long for Iran to make its intentions clear.

“We’re not going to just wait indefinitely and allow for the development of the nuclear weapon,” he said.

Obama said that in September “we will re-evaluate Iran’s posture toward negotiating the cessation of a nuclear weapons policy.” If by then it has not accepted the offer of talks, the United States and “potentially a lot of other countries” are going to say “we need to take further steps,” he said.

The president did not say what steps he has in mind. He mentioned neither sanctions nor military force. But it seems clear that a next step to pressure Iran would entail some form of sanctions.

“The administration and the other powers would probably like to leave the toughest forms of sanctions to be used if they feel that diplomacy has not gone anywhere _ not in this pre-diplomacy period,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, which supports expanded U.S.-Iranian contacts.

Working against Obama’s expression of urgency is the political paralysis in Tehran, where protesters this week sought to revive street demonstrations over the country’s disputed presidential election. Iranian authorities, while accusing the U.S. and other Western countries of secretly instigating the protests, seem likely to put nuclear negotiations on the back burner until the election dust settles.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley acknowledged as much on Friday, saying, “This (postelection turmoil) has clearly diverted the attention of the Iranian government from offers of engagement.”

At the Group of Eight summit in Italy, world leaders issued a joint statement deploring Iran’s crackdown on protesters. They also said they remain committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue and said that in September they would “take stock of the situation” on the nuclear front.

Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center For Strategic and International Studies, said that if reports of rifts among some of Iran’s ruling clerics are true, then it will be hard for the government to agree on a policy response to the West’s offer of direct negotiations.

He sees the prospect of movement toward sanctions this fall. That could mean any combination of additional financial penalties, trade restrictions, limits on travel by Iranian government officials and other actions.

“Clearly the world is moving toward presenting Iran a choice” between diplomacy and isolation, Alterman said.

Before the June election, the Obama administration had figured that once the result was in, the Tehran government could be expected to make clear whether it intends to take up the offers of nuclear talks.

“All of that has been completely put on its head” by the postelection turmoil, said Parsi. He believes Iran’s political paralysis will continue as long the protest movement is alive.

But the clock keeps ticking, moving Iran closer to obtaining the nuclear bomb that the U.S. and much of the rest of the world says it cannot be allowed.

By U.S. estimates, Iran is one to three years away from the capability to make nuclear weapons. Some think they are closer, and the fact is that no one outside Iran really knows. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council _ Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States _ as well as Germany have offered Iran incentives to stop reprocessing uranium that could fuel a nuclear bomb.

Iran so far has ignored the offer and continues to amass enriched uranium, sparking grave fears, especially in Israel, which has not ruled out military strikes to deal with the threat.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists the program is intended only for peaceful nuclear purposes.

The U.S. has not publicly ruled out using military force against Iran, but it seems far from that stage.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that military action could backfire.

“I worry a great deal about the response of a country that gets struck,” he said. “It is a really important place to not go, if we cannot go there in any way, shape or form.”

___

Editor’s Note: Robert Burns has covered national security and military affairs for the AP since 1990.

More on Iran


Study: 1 in 3 breast cancer patients overtreated

July 10th, 2009 admin No comments

LONDON — One in three breast cancer patients identified in public screening programs may be treated unnecessarily, a new study says. Karsten Jorgensen and Peter Gotzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen analyzed breast cancer trends at least seven years before and after government-run screening programs for breast cancer started in parts of Australia, Britain, Canada, Norway and Sweden.

The research was published Friday in the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal. Jorgensen and Gotzsche did not cite any funding for their study.

Once screening programs began, more cases of breast cancer were inevitably picked up, the study showed. If a screening program is working, there should also be a drop in the number of advanced cancer cases detected in older women, since their cancers should theoretically have been caught earlier when they were screened.

However, Jorgensen and Gotzsche found the national breast cancer screening systems, which usually test women aged between 50 and 69, simply reported thousands more cases than previously identified.

Overall, Jorgensen and Gotzsche found that one third of the women identified as having breast cancer didn’t actually need to be treated.

Some cancers never cause symptoms or death, and can grow too slowly to ever affect patients. As it is impossible to distinguish between those and deadly cancers, any identified cancer is treated. But the treatments can have harmful side-effects and be psychologically scarring.

“This information needs to get to women so they can make an informed choice,” Jorgensen said. “There is a significant harm in making women cancer patients without good reason.”

Jorgensen said that for years, women were urged to undergo breast cancer screening without them being informed of the risks involved, such as having to endure unnecessary treatment if a cancer was identified, even if it might never threaten their health.

Doctors and patients have long debated the merits of prostate cancer screening out of similar concerns that it overdiagnoses patients. A study in the Netherlands found that as many as two out of every five men whose prostate cancer was caught through a screening test had tumors too slow-growing to ever be a threat.

“Mammography is one of medicine’s ‘close calls,’ … where different people in the same situation might reasonably make different choices,” wrote H. Gilbert Welch of VA Outcomes Group and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Research, in an accompanying editorial in the BMJ. “Mammography undoubtedly helps some women but hurts others.”

Experts said overtreatment occurs wherever there is widespread cancer screening, including the U.S.

Britain’s national health system recently ditched its pamphlet inviting women to get screened for breast cancer, after critics complained it did not explain the overtreatment problem.

Laura Bell of Cancer Research UK said Britain’s breast cancer screening program was partly responsible for the country’s reduced breast cancer cases.

“We still urge women to go for screening when invited,” she said, though she acknowledged it was crucial for women to be informed of the potential benefits and harms of screening.

___

On the Net:

http://www.bmj.com


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Report: UK tabloid hacked into voicemails

July 10th, 2009 admin No comments

LONDON (AP) — The tricks of the trade of Britain’s rambunctious tabloid press came under scrutiny Thursday, after a newspaper reported that a tabloid owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch had illegally hacked into the mobile phones of hundreds of

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Mike Ragogna: HuffPost Video Premiere: Third Eye Blind "Don’t Believe A Word," plus The Jayhawks, Genesis, and Peanuts 1960’s Collection

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

“I wanted to create a video that actually represented Third Eye Blind,” says Stephan Jenkins, lead singer and songwriter for the group (and famous Punk’d guest). “The song is full angry, bold and dirty and so are we!” Yup, the guy who fronted the band that gave us huge hits like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How’s It Going To Be,” “Jumper” and “Never Let You Go” has just directed/pieced together a new, innovative video for the group that utilizes hundreds of photos to mimic stop-motion production. Like some of the best Third Eye Blind tracks, the song has political implications, and its promo clip now debuts on The Huffington Post. So here’s your chance to be the first kid on your block to experience all four minutes of the angry, bold and dirty that is “Don’t Believe A Word”…

Third Eye Blind – Don’t Believe A Word from Sneak Attack on Vimeo.

The Jayhawks – Music From The North Country/The Jayhawks Anthology

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For fans of roots music, The Jayhawks’ new anthology, Music From The North Country, is an excellent study of the sound as well as a marvelous overview of the band’s career. This double disc plus DVD collection assembles tracks dating back to their 1986 debut album, their Twin/Tone Blue Earth release, and their five successive Def American/American Recordings that include classic ’90s works such as “Settled Down Like Rain” from Hollywood Town Hall, “Blue” from Tomorrow The Green Grass, and “Save It For A Rainy Day” (no, not the Stephen Bishop song) from their last studio outing, 2003’s Rainy Day Music.

Taking off with their own unique alt sound, The Jayhawks (whose moniker was derived from Bob Dylan’s old backing troupe, The Hawks aka The Band) were influenced initially by other avian ensembles like The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds, and even a bit by the early Eagles. But the music that founding members Mark Olsen and Gary Louris created was pioneering, especially for the ’80s, and in turn, it was used as a blueprint for any number of alt-country bands that followed. Once called “The only country rock band that matters” (The Village Voice, 1989), Olsen’s and Louris’ Everlys-meets-Louvins harmonies and variation on country rock found many fans, such as Def American producer/A&R guru George Drakoulias (who heard the group’s music in the background while on a phone call to Twin/Tone), and fellow Minnesotan, Bob Dylan, who had the band open for him. The Jayhawks also found themselves gigging with Johnny Cash and playing at Farm Aid, so by the mid-’90s, this was the group to watch, pretty much poised for mega-success.

But timing and band members’ entrances and exits–including Olsen’s in ‘95 when he moved to California, eventually recording with his wife, Victoria Williams–stunted their career’s growth, leaving Louris (who, himself, had exited the band briefly in ‘88 following a car wreck) to attend a revolving door membership and constantly shifting sound. However, over the course of seven studio albums and singles such as a couple of the above-mentioned plus “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” and “Waiting For The Sun,” every line-up contributed great personnel and recordings to the band’s colorful history. In addition to Olson and Louris, semi-consistent membership included bassist Marc Perlman, drummer/vocalist Tim O’Reagan and keyboardist/vocalist Karen Grotberg; and though the group’s various configurations and musical styles have challenged its followers, The Jayhawks’ fan base remains loyal, rewarded recently by the news that Olsen and Louris, already having toured as a duo with and without JH band members, will reunite for another album.

Though the pair’s harmonies always were magic (check out early tracks like “Ain’t No End” with its stunning Gram Parsons/Chris Hillman voicings), the group’s musicianship equaled its vocal prowess. Beyond the joy that is the first CD of Music From The North Country (that expertly frames The Jayhawks’ roots-pop revolution), the second CD is filled with gobs of rarities and unreleased tracks, plus their fraternal music vids with a couple of live performances shape up the DVD. This collection, serving as an efficient recap, hopefully sets up their new Jayhawks project to soar even higher than past flights.

Tracks:

CD 1
1. Two Angels
2. Ain’t No End
3. Waiting For The Sun
4. Martin’s Song
5. Clouds
6. Settled Down Like Rain
7. Blue
8. I’d Run Away
9. Over My Shoulder
10. Miss Williams’ Guitar
11. Trouble
12. Big Star
13. The Man Who Loved Life
14. Smile
15. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me
16. What Led Me To This Town
17. Tailspin
18. All The Right Reasons
19. Save It For A Rainy Day
20. Angelyne

CD 2
1. Falling Star
2. Old Woman From Red Clay*
3. That’s The Bag I’m In*
4. Won’t Be Going Home*
5. Stone Cold Mess*
6. Mission On 2nd*
7. Lights
8. Darling Today
9. Break My Mind
10. Get The Load Out
11. Poor Little Fish (early version)*
12. Someone Will
13. Cure For This*
14. I Can Make It On My Own*
15. Rotterdam*
16. Follow Me*
17. In The Canyon*
18. Tailspin (early version)*
19. I Think I’ve Had Enough*
20. Help Me Forget*
*previously unreleased

DVD
1. Waiting For The Sun (video)
2. Take Me With You (When You Go) (video)
3. Settled Down Like Rain (video)
Hollywood Town Hall EPK
4. Settled Down Like Rain (live)
5. Take Me With You When You Go (live)
6. Blue (video)
7. I’d Run Away (video)
8. Big Star (video)
9. Sound Of Lies EPK
10. Save It For A Rainy Day (video)

Peanuts – Peanuts 1960’s Collection

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This is pure ’60s heaven. All six of that decade’s “Charlie Brown” TV specials have been gathered for this sweet release, covering everyone’s childhood favorites A Charlie Brown Christmas and, of course, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Included in the next tier of specials, though not as essential perennially, are the pop-iconic You’re In Love, Charlie Brown (that introduced us to Peppermint Patty), Charlie Brown’s All-Stars (featuring the famous “stealing home” scenes and Charlie’s uniform being made out of Linus’ blanket), and He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown (where the mischievous Snoopy ends up with a weirdly strict Peppermint Patty before returning home to good ol’ CB).

Also included is an endearing 37 minute documentary on Vince Guraldi, the jazzmeister behind the most popular Peanuts themes. The feature guests Guraldi’s past band members, his son David, and George Winston and David Benoit, both of whom have released albums of material by the composer. Peanuts producer Lee Mendelson gives the back story on his hearing the pianist’s “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” on a jazz station, then hunting the artist down to supply music for a documentary he wanted to film on Peanuts creator, Charles M. Schultz. That led to Vince Guraldi’s excitedly playing “Linus & Lucy,” immediately after its creation, over the phone to the film maker so that it would be remembered by at least one of the two.

To be honest, this is probably all the Charlie Brown you’ll ever need, its classic first five misadventures featuring Peter Robbins as CB, Christopher Shea as Linus, Sally Dryer as Lucy, Kathy Steinberg as Chuck’s little sister Sally, and director Bill MelĂ©ndez as the snickering Snoopy far outshining every Peanuts special that aired in the ’70s. (Okay, maaaaaybe except for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving…)

DVD 1:
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Charlie Brown’s All-Stars
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
You’re In Love, Charlie Brown

DVD 2:
He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown
It Was A Short Summer, Charlie Brown
Vince Guraldi: The Maestro Of Menlo Park

THIS WEEK’S BEST GENESIS PRESS RELEASE:

Genesis Live 1973-2007

Rhino Continues To Upgrade The Group’s Catalog With A Fourth Boxed Set Containing Live Albums Expanded With Bonus Audio And Unreleased Tracks

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10-Disc Boxed Set Will Be Available September 29 From Rhino

LOS ANGELES — Following the reissue of the 14 Genesis studio albums in the stunning boxed sets Genesis 1976 – 1982 and Genesis 1983 – 1998 in 2007, Genesis 1970 – 1975 in 2008, on September 29, Rhino will release Genesis Live 1973 – 2007, a boxed set gathering the four live albums recorded by the legendary British group from 1973 to 1992. Featuring brand new stereo mixes, the boxed set also includes the long-awaited release in stereo and 5.1 of Live At The Rainbow 1973 only available with this collection.

Genesis Live 1973 – 2007 is a sumptuously presented boxed set that includes:

Genesis Live, the band’s first Top 10 album in the UK, recorded in Leicester and Manchester and issued in 1973, and featuring the classic line-up of Tony Banks (keyboards), Phil Collins (drums, vocals), Peter Gabriel (vocals, flute), Steve Hackett (guitars) and Mike Rutherford (bass, guitars). Genesis Live, for this box-set release, has been extended to feature five bonus tracks recorded at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles on January 24, 1975 and the full album is also presented in 5.1 for the first time.

The double set Seconds Out, a Top 5 entry in 1977 that documented the group’s Paris dates as a quartet with Collins on lead vocals following Gabriel’s departure in 1975. The concerts featured touring drummers Bill Bruford and Chester Thompson. Exclusive to this boxed set, Seconds Out is presented in stereo and 5.1 versions.

Three Sides Live, a #2 album in the U.K. in 1982, mostly showcasing the Banks-Collins-Rutherford incarnation augmented by Thompson and guitarist Daryl Stuermer.

The Way We Walk, finally sees these two live albums re-sequenced as per the original show’s set list. Originally released separately and entitled Vol I: The Shorts, which made the Top 3 in Britain in 1992, and Vol 2: The Longs, this was the band’s sixth #1 album, and their only concert recording to top the charts in 1993.

First formed in 1967, Genesis have sold 150 million albums worldwide and have influenced the likes of Elbow, Flaming Lips, and Jeff Buckley. In the early ’70s, their ambition in the studio was matched by groundbreaking live shows as they presented such classic albums as Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound, and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway to audiences across Europe and the U.S. Following Gabriel’s exit in the mid-’70s, Collins stepped up to the microphone and the group scored Top 5 albums with A Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering. Hackett left in 1977 but the “remaining three” had their first Top 10 single with “Follow You Follow Me” and their first U.S. Top 20 album with …And Then There Were Three… the next year. A simpler, more direct approach to songwriting worked so well that Banks-Collins-Rutherford scored consecutive #1 albums with Duke, Abacab, Genesis, and Invisible Touch in the ’80s, and with We Can’t Dance in 1991, and became a stadium act without losing any of their sophistication and attention to detail. This was evidenced again when they returned to the stage after a ten-year hiatus. When In Rome 2007, the DVD of the free concert they gave at the Circo Massimo in Rome in front of 500,000 spectators topped the DVD charts in the U.K. last year.

Recorded at Leicester De Montfort Hall and Manchester Free Trade Hall in February 1973, Genesis Live was not originally intended for release but rather mixed to be broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour show on US radio. It comprises versions of the melodramatic set opener “Watcher Of The Skies” and “Get ‘Em Out By Friday” from Foxtrot, the band’s fourth studio album–which had reached #12 in October 1972–”The Return Of The Giant Hogweed” and “The Musical Box” from 1971’s Nursery Cryme, the first album featuring Collins and Hackett, and the tour de force quiet-loud dynamics of “The Knife,” from Trespass, the group’s 1970 debut for the Charisma label. Given the band’s growing reputation for its theatrical shows, it is no surprise that Genesis Live spent ten weeks in the charts in 1973, paving the way for the release of Selling England By The Pound later that year. The album’s iconic cover features Gabriel wearing one of his many costumes, in this case the “Magog” mask and black cape he donned during “Supper’s Ready.”

Bonus material includes five tracks from the celebrated concept album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, a Top 10 release at the end of 1974, recorded at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in January 1975.

Recorded at the Palais des Sports in Paris with the Manor Mobile studio in 1976 and 1977, Seconds Out stayed on the British charts for four months. The double set was much more in keeping with the times, the increasing availability of bootleg recordings and the phenomenal success of Frampton Comes Alive! Former Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford had joined Genesis for the 1976 dates and features on “The Cinema Show,” one of two tracks from Selling England By The Pound. The other, “Firth Of Fifth,” and the rest of the album, features Chester Thompson, a drummer best known for his work with Frank Zappa and Weather Report at the time. Collins tackles Gabriel-era material like “The Musical Box,” “Supper’s Ready,” “The Carpet Crawlers,” the title track from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, and “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe),” the group’s first hit, with aplomb. “Squonk,” “Robbery,” “Assault & Battery,” “Dance On A Volcano” and “Los Endos” came from A Trick Of The Tail while “Afterglow” originally featured on Wind And Wuthering. Hackett left while Seconds Out was being mixed. The album’s distinctive cover and the other pictures used were shot by Armando Gallo, the band’s biographer.

Recorded in Germany in 1981, Three Sides Live was originally released in 1982 as a double vinyl set with a fourth side of studio recordings — basically the 3X3 EP and two B-sides–in the US while the European version contained three more extended live tracks. The studio versions of “Turn It On Again,” “Behind The Lines,” “Duchess” and “Misunderstanding” featured on 1980’s Duke while “Dodo,” “Me And Sarah Jane” and “Abacab” first appeared on Abacab in 1981. “Follow You Follow Me” came from …And Then There Were Three… and “Afterglow” and “One For The Vine” were originally recorded on Wind And Wuthering. “The Fountain Of Salmacis” harked back to Nursery Cryme and the “In The Cage”/”Cinema Show”/”The Colony Of Slippermen” medley slotted a track from Selling England By The Pound between two slices from The Lamb… while “It”/”Watcher Of The Skies”–recorded in 1976 with Hackett and Bruford–spanned The Lamb… and Foxtrot.

Recorded in 1992 in arenas including London’s Earls Court, the two installments of The Way We Walk were first issued in quick succession at the tail end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993, with The Shorts concentrating on the band’s run of hit singles, and The Longs delving into the medleys and the more extended pieces from their repertoire. Genesis Live 1973-2007 takes the opportunity to reconcile the two albums and recreate the We Can’t Dance tour experience in sequence. Hits from the group’s MTV-friendly era include “Mama,” “That’s All,” “Invisible Touch”–which charted again in its live version in 1992–”In Too Deep,” “Land Of Confusion,” “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight,” “Throwing It All Away,” “No Son Of Mine,” “I Can’t Dance,” “Hold On My Heart” and “Jesus He Knows Me.” “Driving The Last Spike” and “Fading Lights” came from We Can’t Dance, “Domino” originally appeared on Invisible Touch and “Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea” on Genesis. The “Old Medley” rounded up nine tunes from the band’s early days and Collins and Thompson’s “The Drum Thing” did just that. “Turn It On Again” is exclusive to this release.

Recorded in London by the Banks-Collins-Gabriel-Hackett-Rutherford lineup, Live At The Rainbow 1973 expands on the live material first issued on the Archive 1967-1975 boxed set in 1998 and will delight die-hard fans of that period in their lengthy career. The concert from October 1973 features most of Selling England By The Pound at the time of its release, along with the conceptual piece “Supper’s Ready” and “Watcher Of The Skies” from their breakthrough album Foxtrot, and “The Musical Box” from Nursery Cryme, the last two titles on 5.1 version only. It captures the band at a crucial point in their history, before they left the Lewis Carroll-like universe of their early albums behind, before the departure of Gabriel and Hackett, before their time as ubiquitous hitmakers of the ’80s.

Genesis Live 1973 – 2007 has been designed to incorporate space for the most recent live Genesis release — the 2-CD set Live Over Europe 2007. All albums feature brand new stereo mixes created by Tony Banks, Nick Davis, and Mike Rutherford, while Genesis Live, Seconds Out and Live At The Rainbow 1973 all feature 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound versions.


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Michael Henry Adams: Queers in the Mirror: A Brief History of Old-Fashioned Gay Marriage in New York, Part II

July 8th, 2009 admin No comments

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In his final decade, by which time he was a multi-millionaire, without a trace of irony or even a hint that he recognized how ridiculous his denial might appear to many, my friend Bobby Short once commented2009-07-08-bobbyed.jpg
“I have a living to make! I can’t afford to march in the Gay-Pride Parade.”

‘Why on earth would someone gay pretend they were not gay, even going to the great lengths of marrying someone straight?’2009-07-08-jacksonpresleygalmtv.jpg you ask. Well the whole moving and nostalgic pageant put on to say farewell to Michael Jackson gives us at least a partial answer to this dogged conundrum. Gore Vidal said it best when he observed how once men near 50, it doesn’t seem to matter however ‘regal’ one is, troubled thoughts of reproducing oneself are almost inevitable. Michael Jackson’s weeping white, lovely children, now there’s a compelling reason for someone to reject being gay.

Almost everywhere around the globe, call it jealousy or feelings of inadequacy all you wish, we gays are despised! Differing doctrines notwithstanding, demeaning women and hating gays seems to be something all religions can agree on. However weird or odd or scary Michael Jackson became, irrespective of his disfiguring mutilations and seemingly aberrant seeming behavior, by the ruse of maintaining he was straight, Michael continued to be loved.

What’s more, even as a weird, scary, self-mutilated ’straight person’, Michael was accorded the privilege to do what we gays still cannot do: to marry whomever he wished, even under very cynical terms that suited his desires, and to have sole custody of children who apparently share no biological heritage whatsoever with their ‘father.’

Famed as a booster of Harlem and African Americans, Iowa native, critic and novelist Carl Van Vechten,2009-07-08-1056768.jpg though emphatically gay, married twice. His marriage to his first wife, a long-time friend from home, lasted only a few years, while marriage to the petite actress Fania Marinoff endured for a lifetime, from 1914 until Van Vechten died in 1964.

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Carl Van Vechten loveed to make photographs, especially nude portraits and figure studies, his wife loved to be photographed!

Affairs, fights, and copious drinking notwithstanding, like many involved in old-style ‘gay marriages’, the Van Vechtens were, in their way, a deeply dependent and devoted couple. 2009-07-08-1014837.jpg

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As they preferred cats to infants. the hook for them, though, seems never to have involved any hopes of offspring. Instead, it was how the ‘respectability’ of matrimony made inheriting a million-dollar-plus trust fund more secure, that seems to have helped sustain their attraction.

The inducement of a family fortune helped to influence many white gays like Carl Van Vechten, Harold Vanderbilt, and Cole Porter to ’settle down’.2009-07-08-30lindaporterinside.jpg 2009-07-08-01_64597442.jpg

But apart from ambiguous beauty-products heiress, A’Lelia Walker, who married three times and adopted a teen-age daughter, but lived longest with a paid female companion in a one-bedroom apartment, such considerations seldom applied to African Americans. In some ways one might explain Harlem poet Countee Cullen’s2009-07-08-1074697.jpg first wedding to Yolande DuBois on Easter Monday in 1928, as the outcome of the extravagant hopes of his father-in-law 2009-07-08-stories_people_dubois_11.jpgand certain other blacks, for the formation of an exemplary dynasty of exalted intellectual accomplishment.

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Given her own easy-going personality, as incurious as that of many other young people, it’s fairly certain that this was not the objective of his bride. Despite any outsized ambition of William Edward Burkhart DuBois, who edited the Crisis Magazine of America’s foremost civil rights organization, the NAACP, his daughter had merely been interested in romantically ‘falling in love’ with someone who looked nice, and who was a good dancer.

That was why initially, she’d been more encouraging toward his friend, who would serve as Cullen’s best man, Harold Jackman. Widely deemed ‘Harlem’s handsomest bachelor,’ though flattered and amused by Miss DuBois’ crush, Jackman was uninterested. This is what made Harlem’s ‘poet laureate’ suddenly so much more appealing.

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Until her death in 1917, Cullen had lived with his grandmother, Amanda Porter in Louisville, Kentucky. He then moved with the Reverend Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Asbury Cullen, into the parsonage of Harlem’s Salem United Methodist Episcopal Church, and soon adopted their name.

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Led to their pews on April 9th by ushers, including Langston Hughes, who almost to a man were exclusively gay — how the fashionable congregation had whispered, one to the other— “What do you think, does she know?” Completely discounting the couple’s week-end wedding trip, when Cullen embarked days later with his father and handsome Harold for Paris on his Guggenheim fellowship, everyone, including Yolande, had thought the worst— that this was their honeymoon. But they, Harold and Countee, were only friends. Divorced in record time, when he remarried ten years later, in 1940, Countee was more careful to select a more ’suitable’ helpmate. Both Ida Mae Robeson Cullen’s brother and her first husband were gay, and hence she had to ‘know the score.’

“Lithe, handsome, fun and charismatic, sexually, Jimmy was the most responsive lover I ever had! “When aspiring architect Philip Johnson and cabaret song-stylist Jimmy Daniels conducted assignations in the mid-1930’s, they occurred most often in a large Harlem apartment, occupied by a black couple and the wife’s white lesbian lover. Their apartment in the building at 1890 Seventh Avenue on the north-west corner of 115th Street was a cooperative unit owned by distinguished actress Edna Thomas,2009-07-08-1108465.jpgimmortalized by her interpretation of Lady Macbeth in Orson Wells’ stage debut in 1934. Lloyd Thomas, her husband, like his wife had started out working for legendary black-beauty-products millionaire, Madame C. J. Walker.

Olivia Wyndham Spencer, Mrs. Thomas’ girlfriend, a recovered cocaine addict, was a member of one of England’s most distinguished families. Mrs. Howland Spencer’s husband made a career of marrying rich women and was also gay. Only he miscalculated in choosing Olivia Wyndham, a great-great-granddaughter of the last Earl of Egremont. Related to Britain’s wealthiest aristocrats, she was herself poor, by New York society standards at least. And she too had blundered, imagining Spencer to be much more affluent as well, a trouble-free ‘beard,’ able to offer both security and propriety.
Introduced at one of the phenomenal parties of heiress A’Lelia Walker, 2009-07-08-1108499.jpgby Lloyd Thomas, Olivia immediately expressed her pronounced attraction and in n-uncertain terms. Taken aback momentarily, Edna’s reaction was an aloof iciness. But, calling to apologize, asking if she might come over to say goodbye, Olivia was not rebuffed a second time. No sooner had Edna related that even her, “initial response had not been as indifferent as I’d pretended,” than Olivia had aggressively pounced and ravaged her! Married to a man for the third time, Edna confessed how never before that day had she ever experienced an orgasm.

Married to distinguished black research scientist Elmer S. Imes, who taught at Fisk University, novelist Nella Larsen, 2009-07-08-1005819.jpgwas a member of the ’sisterhood’ headed by Thomas and Wyndham that centered around intimate weekends parties at Minedo Farm, their country place in Connecticut. Winning the Harmon Foundation’s bronze medal in 1929, a few years later, accused of plagiarism, Larson was disgraced and abruptly cut ties to all her former friends including Wyndham, Thomas and the Van Vechtens. Divorced, alone and working as a nurse in obscurity, this writer whose work explored the confused social, sexual and racial boundaries of 1920’s Homo-Harlem, died in 1964

As for Johnson 2009-07-08-9202a8c04000641f8000000004aa8611.jpg
and Daniels, 2009-07-08-1074161.jpged.jpgwhom the architect later termed “the first Mrs. Johnson”, gradually they too drifted apart. Johnson maintained, that when they parted, “I was sadder than I’d thought I might be,” and that the passionate youth Jimmie had, “probably left me for someone who was better in bed…”

Johnson’s inability to protect his black boyfriend from the indignity of fancy restaurants failing to provide service on account Jimmie’s color and his admitted failure to consult, consider, or always include him at parties and on trips, seems a more logical reason for their breakup. Replete with a very rich and encouraging lesbian wife, the acclaimed poet, ‘Brynher’ [nee Winifred Ellerman] Daniels was more fortunate in his choice of his next long-term lover, Kenneth Macpherson, the Scottish poet.

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After the Harlem Renaissance artist and writer, Richard Bruce Nugent , photographed in the 1950s with his wife Grace, took the precaution to marry, so someone could take care of him

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