Thursday, June 25, 2009

Remembering our Friend Tim Krekel October 10, 1950 - June 24, 2009

Partying w/Tim Krekel and the unforgettable Mary. Sadly for us all they are both with the angels now. New Years Eve 2007

Last night I got some bad news about our friend, Tim Krekel. Tim was diagnosed with cancer back in March of this year and unfortunately he passed away yesterday. Tim was only 58 years old but in his short life he touched so many people with his gentle ways and his glorious music. The local Louisville newspaper, the Courier-Journal wrote a nice piece about Tim that the Tennessean newspaper also picked up. Here's a snippet from the newspaper story.

By Paula Burba

Tim Krekel, a musician whose career started in Louisville before he was a teenager and soared to two stints as lead guitar for Jimmy Buffet's band and a reputation in Nashville as a hit songwriter, died Wednesday afternoon at his Louisville home. He was 58.

Krekel died of cancer, which he had been fighting since a diagnosis and surgery in March, according to his family.

"He had a major, successful career, but he was still based here. He's just a hometown boy," said friend John Gage.

Krekel "had a way of writing and performing and singing that just put people in touch with a more spiritual sense. He was all about that," Gage said.

Stacy Owen, program director at WFPK-FM, where Krekel was a perennial favorite of listeners, said Krekel "did so much to champion the local music scene."

"I'm sure if you talked to a lot of local musicians here in town, they would consider Tim a mentor," Owen said.

Owen said the station would "spend the day (Thursday) playing his music and celebrating his life."

"I think the wonderful thing about Tim is, he shared himself in his songs," Owen said.

Because of our financial situation we weren't able to go out to the clubs to see Tim play for quite some time but we followed what was happening with Tim through email. We also played our Krekel cd's almost every weekend and I even posted some of his videos here on two occassions. The last time we saw Tim he teased me about the check off list of his songs that I'd printed so that I could more easily request songs while he played.

He was such a good man. I never heard him say anything bad about anyone and I never heard anyone say anything bad about him. We are going to miss him terribly and we hope wherever he is now that he's making music.

Here are a few videos of Tim playing the music he and the rest of us just loved.

For Tim, Love is what it was all about. Here he is at Zena's playing with Terry Adams of NRBQ

Unfortunately this next video doesn't have the video and soundtrack in sync so you don't want to watch the video but you will want to listen to the song. It's truly a beautiful song. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

And here's one of my all time favorites - All Night Radio

Farewell Tim. We hope that we get to see you again in another life.

WFPK has a page set up on their website for condolences that is full of personal stories from friends of Tim. WFPK will also be playing Tim's songs all day. You can tune in here.

Update: There will be a Memorial Service at the Vernon at 4 p.m. for friends and family.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Dad

Photo: Father and child 1915 George Eastman House Collection

On August 5, 2007 my father passed away. He was 86 years young.

Today on Father's Day, in honor of Dad, I'm posting video of a few songs that he introduced me to and one that I introduced him to. Dad liked a variety of music but he talked a lot about "growl trumpets" so my selections today are heavy on the growl trumpets.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. Thanks for turning me onto such wonderful music and thanks for being such a great Dad.

I Love You Dad and I miss you.

Another song Dad introduced me to was Cab Calloway singing Minnie the Moocher

Duke Ellington's Black and Tan Fantasy from 1927 with the legendary Bubber Miley on trumpet.

Duke Ellington East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club playing Echoes of the Jungle 1931

Duke Ellington - Shout "Em Aunt Tilly

Dad was a big fan of Muggsy Spanier and Jack Teagarden. Here's a great Muggsy Spanier tune.

Here's a cool video tribute to Jack Teagarden

Duke Ellington song - It Don't Mean a Thing if it Aint Got That Swing. I remember playing this song on the portable organ my parent's bought me for Christmas one year.

In addition to the "growl trumpets" and "growl trombones" Dad liked the "sound" of Glenn Miller. Here is Moonlight Serenade.

And not to leave the women out, here is Ella Fitzgerald doing Bei Mir Bist Du Shoen.

The Queen of the Blues, Bessie Smith singing Send Me to The "lectric Chair.

And who could forget Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa doing Sing Sing Sing

I'll close out today's music selections with this Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grapelli song. It's one of my favorites (as are the other tunes posted here). When I first played it for Dad he said he hadn't heard it before but said he liked it a lot. It was nice to be able to play a song for him from his own era that he hadn't heard before.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Secrecy from the "Most Open and Transparent WH in history"

Corona of the Sun During a Solar Eclipse 1900

On the
White House website the Obama administration makes the following claim:

Transparency -- President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President's executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government.

But transparency is not what we are getting from the Obama administration. In fact, we are getting just the opposite. Just this week alone we found out that the administration argued that the WH visitors logs should be kept secret just like the Bush administration argued. We also found out that the Obama administration's Department of Homeland Security is using the old standby excuse of national security to prevent government officials from telling the public the location of coal ash dumps.

There are 44 sites deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency to be high hazard, but Boxer said she isn't allowed to talk about them other than to senators in the states affected.

"There is a huge muzzle on me and my staff," she said."Homeland Security and the Army Corps [of Engineers] have decided in the interests of national security they can't make these sites known," she said.

and then yesterday they did this:

A federal judge yesterday sharply questioned an assertion by the Obama administration that former Vice President Richard B. Cheney's statements to a special prosecutor about the Valerie Plame case must be kept secret, partly so they do not become fodder for Cheney's political enemies or late-night commentary on "The Daily Show."

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan expressed surprise during a hearing here that the Justice Department, in asserting that Cheney's voluntary statements to U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald were exempt from disclosure, relied on legal claims put forward last October by a Bush administration political appointee, Stephen Bradbury. The department asserted then that the disclosure would make presidents and vice presidents reluctant to cooperate voluntarily with future criminal investigations.

But career civil division lawyer Jeffrey M. Smith, responding to Sullivan's questions, said Bradbury's arguments against the disclosure were supported by the department's current leadership. He told the judge that if Cheney's remarks were published, then a future vice president asked to provide candid information during a criminal probe might refuse to do so out of concern "that it's going to get on 'The Daily Show' " or somehow be used as a political weapon

Sadly, the Obama administration has consistently been more secretive than transparent. Glenn Greenwald did an excellent blog post the other day, Here is secrecy creep in action, where he documented the long string of Obama administration decisions where they chose secrecy over transparency. It's a MUST READ.

Today the Obama administration is scheduled to release the 2004 CIA Inspector General Report about interrogation techniques (torture). However, it was reported in the Washington Post on Wednesday that some in the CIA were pressing the administration to keep most of this report classified. Once again President Obama has an opportunity to prove to the American people that his administration is truly interested in government transparency. Will the report be heavily redacted as the CIA wants or will the Obama administration let sunlight help disinfect this sorry chapter in our history? Stay tuned.

Upate: Greg Sargent writes that the 2004 CIA Inspector General Report will not be released today. Looks like we will have to wait until next Friday for release of this report - maybe.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

65th Anniversary Normandy Invasion June 6, 1944 - June 6, 2009

Front page of the New York Times, June 6, 1944

Today on the 65th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion (June 6, 1944) I thought it was appropriate to post the following assorted images and historical accounts to honor those who bravely fought and died to help defeat Nazi fascism.

German Propaganda Video

In addition to the above videos you can view D-Day photos and other documents at the Navy Historical Center. You can also read an eyewitness account from a French citizen here. And you can read about another eyewitness account from 89 year old veteran Bob Winer, one of the few surviving veterans from the D-Day invasion.

For a history of the Normandy Invasion you can go here.

You can also watch the excellent film The Longest Day. Here is the movie trailer.

Here is part of the Wikepedia description of the movie, The Longest Day.

Many of the military consultants and advisors who helped with the film's production were actual participants in the action on D-Day, and are portrayed in the film. The producers drew them from both sides; Allied and Axis. Among them are G√ľnther Blumentritt (a former German general), James M. Gavin (an American general), Frederick Morgan (Deputy Chief of Staff atSHAEF), John Howard (who led the airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge), Lord Lovat (who commanded the 1st Special Service Brigade), Philippe Kieffer (who led his men in the assault on Ouistreham), Pierre Koenig (who commanded the Free French Forces in the invasion), Max Pemsel (a German general), Werner Pluskat (the major who was the first German officer to see the invasion fleet), Josef "Pips" Priller (the hot-headed pilot) and Lucie Rommel (widow of Erwin Rommel).

One thing that sets the film apart from most films set in the Second World War is that all characters speak in their own languages, with subtitles in English wherever the characters speak either French or German. A separate version exists, shot simultaneously, in which all the actors speak their lines in English, which is why the trailer has the Germans delivering their lines in English. This version saw limited use during the initial release, but saw extensive use during a late 1960s re-release of the film. The English-only version was featured on the "flip side" of an older single disc DVD release. The usual Nazi stereotypes are avoided, and mostGerman characters are portrayed as human beings. The words "Sieg Heil", for instance, are not uttered even once in The Longest Day, although they are seen written on a bunker wall in Ouistreham.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Torture Defender Liz Cheney Accuses President Obama of "Moral Relativism"

Liz Cheney was once again on Morning Joe this morning where she accused President Obama of "moral relativism."  That's right, the same Liz Cheney who defends the morally indefensible torture of human beings, as long as the U.S. is doing it, is accusing the president of moral relativism. Unbelievable. This woman should be laughed off the set for that statement alone but for some strange reason her comments are treated as serious comments worthy of discussion. 

“I think that if we lived in a world where terrorism, and the slaughter of innocents, and Iran’s hegemonic hopes for the Middle East could be met, could be defeated, could be dealt with by sort of hand-holding going forward, then we’d be in a much simpler environment. But these are very, very tough issues. And I was troubled by the extent to which I heard moral relativism.”

It's a sad commentary on the state of our establishment media where someone so ill informed as Liz Cheney is invited to appear on TV over and over and over to take pot shots at President Obama using half truths, lies and total nonsense. Liz and Dick have been on TV so much pushing their talking points that one has to wonder if they are blackmailing someone to allow them to appear in these uncritical national forums whenever they please. Greg Sargent wrote a post about this at his Plum Line blog.

Before I could finish my post, Liz Cheney appeared on yet another MSNBC segment today with Andrea Mitchell. No video is posted yet but it's pretty close to what you see in the Morning Joe comments.

Update: Here's video from the Andrea Mitchell segment mentioned above.

Liz Cheney makes the "moral relativism" charge once again (unchallenged) and accuses President Obama of attacking "the people that protected us' while on foreign soil.  Unlike Joe Scarborough and company, Andrea Mitchell at least attempts to inject facts into the discussion but she was so passive that she was just ineffectual in the interview.

At one point Mitchell plays tape of Dick Cheney and asks Liz if her father has backed off his Al-Qaeda/Saddam connection claims.  Liz says that he's saying the same thing he's always said and that he never said there was a connection between Saddam and 911. Remarkably Mitchell said that she'd have to do her homework and have Liz back on her show because she thinks Liz is wrong. Shouldn't she have done "her homework" before the interview?

Update: Jason Linkins at Huffington Post has a piece up on the Cheney's and cable TV.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Mr. President

 America in 100 days photostream - Day 4 in Philadelphia

President Obama gave an excellent speech in Cairo today but my ears perked up upon hearing a couple of specific passages where he talked about democracy.

America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments - provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

Are these just words in a speech or will President Obama's actions back up his words? If President Obama believes what he says in this speech about democracy then how can he say we must look forward without first addressing the crimes committed by the Bush administration? How can he think ignoring war crimes will give anyone confidence in the rule of law and confidence that there is equal justice under law? How can his use of an overly broad interpretation of the state secrets privilege to shut down lawsuits and his suppression of photos that document crimes be consistent with the idea of transparency that he rightfully says is important? 

I agree with President Obama's speech on the campaign trail where he said - words matter. But words matter only when they are backed up with actions and so far I haven't seen President Obama back up his eloquent words about democracy with actions.

The idea that our laws require that we hold officials accountable can't be suppressed for the sake of political expediency. The crimes of the Bush era were much too monstrous and widespread to ignore.  It's clearly in the interest of our country to investigate and where appropriate prosecute those who broke U.S. and international laws. It's in our interest because it will help restore confidence in the rule of law and because it's essential for our security to show the world that we apply the rule of law even to our own leaders.  It's also necessary in order to drive a stake through the heart of the vile idea, that continues to be argued today, that torture should be an option for the United States to use. It's also clearly in our interest to confront and thoroughly discredit the dangerous unitary executive theory that places the president above the law because we can't afford to have some future politician repeat the destructive actions our country barely survived under the Bush administration

Holding Bush administration officials accountable under law may not be convenient for the political parties but it is necessary in order to have a functioning democracy. 

I hope President Obama will stop listening to his political advisers, who are only concerned with party politics and will instead let his own words from this speech and his promises from the campaign trail guide him in doing what is right for the U.S. and what is necessary in order for us to truly move forward.

We need true transparency, Mr. President and we also need a president who's courageous enough to stand up to the political establishment and demand accountability for war crimes so that the world will know that America stands for the rule of law and that the words equal justice under law aren't just words used in a political speech but are words that describe a principle our country enthusiastically embraces.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Home Grown Terrorists

When MSNBC says in it's reporting today that Scott Roeder, the suspect in the murder of OB/GYN, Dr. George Tiller, appears to have "acted alone" in the murder I think they are wrong. Anyone who's followed this issue knows that it's clear that he was not really acting alone. While the evidence may show that he was the lone shooter, the awful truth is that far too many people in the so called "pro-life" movement actively support and encourage this suspect and others to murder doctors who provide abortion services.

The most well known supporters for murdering abortion providers are the zealots who signed the lawless 1990s Defensive Action Statement. That extremist statement claims that use of lethal force in the defense of unborn babies is justifiable. One of the people who signed that statement, Regina Dinwiddie, said this about Mr. Roeder.

As news of Roeder's arrest traveled, Kansas City activist Regina Dinwiddie remembered the day a dozen years ago when Roeder hugged her in glee after trying to frighten an abortion provider by staring him down inside a Planned Parenthood clinic.

"He grabbed me and said, 'I've read the Defensive Action Statement and I love what you're doing,' " Dinwiddie said in a telephone interview. She was a signer of the 1990s statement, which declares that the use of force is justified.


"I don't think he was murdered. I believe he was absolutely stopped in his tracks and it was long overdue," Dinwiddie said. She declined to say when she last spoke with Roeder.

Another person who signed the Defensive Action Statement, Dave Leach, also knew Roeder.

Dave Leach, a Des Moines antiabortion activist who also signed the statement, said Sunday night by telephone that he published some of Roeder's writings in "Prayer & Action News," which describes itself as "a trumpet call for the Armies of God to assemble.

"Leach described Roeder as "anti-government" and said he once stopped to see Roeder in Kansas. At the time, Leach said, he was on his way home to Iowa after paying a prison visit to Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, an abortion foe convicted of shooting Tiller in both arms outside his Wichita clinic 16 years ago.

Leach said he lost touch with Roeder and does not recall the specifics of his writings.

The zealots who signed the Defensive Action statement are not the only extremists in the "pro-life" movement who stir up hate against doctors who provide legal abortion services to women. There is also Randall Terry and his Operation Rescue organization. Terry and his followers have used extreme, hate filled methods for years against abortion doctors. The Operation Rescue web site even had a special section where they documented Dr. Tiller's movements. According to a Daily Kos post today by Blue Intrigue, shortly after the news that Dr. Tiller had been murdered the information about him on the Operation Rescue website was suddenly inaccessible.

Operation Rescue has long maintained Tiller Watch, a section of their website devoted to keeping tabs on Dr. George Tiller, the abortion provider who was murdered today in Wichita. Shortly after the news of the murder was announced - and I mean within minutes - the link from Google to Tiller Watch returned a Forbidden 403 error. Other links referencing Tiller but not in the Tiller Watch directory also returned the 403 error. The front page of the site was still active but there were no links to anything about Tiller other than the statement on the front page regarding the murder. Thanks to Google cache, though, what Operation Rescue is trying to keep you from reading is still available.

Note: Since Blue Intrigue posted this diary you now get the 403 error for the entire Operation Rescue website, not just the Tiller information.

The Huffington Post has another piece up about Terry and his group that discusses his inappropriate press release after the murder of Dr. Tiller.

Randall Terry, the founder of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue who led protests against George Tiller's clinic in Wichita, Kansas in 1991, issued a statement about today's killing of the abortion doctor.

In his comments, Terry does not grieve for Tiller or denounce the murder but seems more concerned about President Obama's reaction and what it bodes for the pro-life movement.

In addition to Terry and the Defensive Action zealots there was also an extremist anti-abortion group that created old west style wanted posters for abortion doctors where once the doctors were murdered their names were crossed off the list. And sadly, there is a whole network of other extremist anti-abortion groups that encourage violence against abortion providers. These groups are quite simply home grown terrorists whose actions should be condemned by all law abiding citizens regardless of their views about abortion.

While I believe that most pro-life supporters don't support murdering abortion doctors they can't entirely escape responsibility for these crimes when they continue to use or allow to be used over-the-top rhetoric calling these doctors murderers. That kind of over-heated language helps contribute to the atmosphere of hate which in turn encourages these murderous anti-abortion zealots to take the law into their own hands. Every time these zealots see a sign at a pro-life rally calling these doctors murderers they are more convinced than ever that they are right.

Legitimate pro-life supporters must actively take steps to help eliminate these home grown terrorist groups who twist the bible in order to justify their violence just like the Muslim terrorists twist the Koran to support their murderous deeds. Pro-life activists must make it clear that they view these violent zealots for what they are - terrorists. They must strongly denounce them and their methods in order to help disrupt their ability to recruit others to their murderous cause. Saying you are against the murder of doctors after a doctor has been murdered is too little, too late. The pro-life movement must finally accept that these violent extremists are part of their movement whether they like it or not and that it's in the best interest of everyone (including the pro-life movement) if they stop pretending that the pro-life movement has nothing to do with these people. It does.

If pro-life activists truly wish to distance themselves from these violent extremists they can't sit on the sidelines any longer leaving it to everyone else to fight these groups. They can't continue to pretend that these violent extremists have nothing to do with them because they do. They must take responsibility for the most extreme members of their political movement and finally join with the rest of us to help end this reign of terror. They must stop thinking that if they join with the pro-choice movement to fight these extremists that it will somehow damage their pro-life movement. It won't, unless they consider murdering all doctors who provide abortion services helpful to their movement. They can't have it both ways. If they don't support the views of these people they need to do much more than just say we don't support murdering doctors, they need to really help fight these extremists.

Here are the self-identified anti-abortion terrorists who signed the Defensive Action Statement in support of violence against abortion providers.


 We, the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force.  We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend  the life of an unborn child. We assert that if Michael Griffin did in fact kill David Gunn, his use of lethal force was justifiable provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children. Therefore, he ought to be acquitted of the charges against him.
  Mike Bray  - Pastor, Reformation Lutheran Church, Bowie, Maryland
  C. Roy McMillan - Executive Director, Christian Action Group, Jackson, Mississippi
  Andrew Burnett - Director, Advocates for Life Ministries, Portland, Oregon
  Cathy Ramey - Associate Editor, Life Advocate Magazine, Portland, Oregon
  Matt Trewhella Pastor, Mercy Seat Christian Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  Paul J. Hill - Director, Defensive Action, Pensacola, Florida (executed Dec. 6, 1994 for the double murder of Dr. John Britton and his clinic escort, James Barrett)
  Paul deParrie - Author of Numerous Titles, Portland, Oregon
  Regina Dinwiddie - Christian Pro-Life Activist & Producer of Rescue Radio, MO and KS
  Michael Dodds - Leader of Wichita Rescue Movement, Kansas
  Henry Felisone - Director, Queens Pro-Life Group, Queens, New York
  Tony Piso - Pastor, Evangelical Mission Church, Forest Hill, New York
  Jacob Miller - Evangelist, Assembly of Yahweh & Pro-Life Activist, Tampa, Florida
  Dan Bray - Director, Defenders of the Defenders of Life, Bowie, Maryland
  David Crane-  Director, Rescue Virginia, Norfolk, VA
  Donald Spitz- Evangelist & Assistant Director for Rescue Virginia, Norfolk, Virginia
  Michael Jarecki - Ret. Pastor, Saint Mary's Church, Brushton, New York
  Bill Koehler - Director of Project Awareness, North Bergen, New Jersey
  Kenneth Arndt - Director, New Hampshire Rescue, Windham, New Hampshire
  Dave Leach - Editor, Prayer and Action Weekly News, Des Moines, Iowa
  Mike Walker - Leader in National Assoc. of Planned Parenthood Fighters, Alabama
  Thomas Carleton -  Catholic Priest, Presently Incarcerated in Billerica, Massachusetts
  Joseph F. O'Hara - Director, Wyoming Valley Rescue Group, Pennsylvania
  David Graham - Attorney at Law, Olathe, Kansas
  David Trosch - Catholic Priest, Publisher Justifiable Homicide Cartoon & President
  Life Enterprises Unlimited, Mobile, Alabama
 Dawn Stover -  Assistant Director, Advocates for Life Ministries, Portland, Oregon
 Mike Meyer - Chairman, Tri-State Rescue Committee, Cincinnati, Ohio
               David Craig -  Former Presby Pastor, Hope, Indiana 
 John Brockhoeft -  Author of "The Brockhoeft Report," incarcerated in Burlington, Kentucky

 Donna Bray - Co-Founder, Defenders of the Defenders of Life, Bowie, Maryland
 Media Consultant - Gary  McCullough; Publicist - Jerry McGlothlin
Update: The WSJ has a piece up with more biographical information on Scott Roeder.