Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Ken Berwitz

Anita Darian, an opera singer (and more, as you will find out in a moment) has passed away.  She died on February 1, of complications arising from intestinal surgery.

I have to admit, I never heard of Ms. Darian until I read her obituary in today's belated New York Times obituary (that's not a knock on the Times; her death may not have been made public until now).  But I certainly heard her sing.

Ms. Darian had a major career in opera and classical music.  She performed at Carnegie Hall and was a regular at New York's City Center.

But that is not how I remember her.

In 1961, The Tokens did a version of "Wimoweh", an African chant which Pete Seeger had adapted to folk music years before and recorded with his iconic group, The Weavers. 

The Tokens' version was called "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".  If you use the link and listen to it, you will hear a female operative voice in the background, soaring high over everyone else.  That, folks, was Anita Darian.

And it wasn't her only foray into rock 'n roll either.  Five years before, she sang back-up on Mickey & Sylvia's million-selling hit, "Love Is Strange" .

Personally, I thought Ms. Darian's "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" work was so imposing (in a good way) that it almost overshadowed lead singer Jay Siegel's even more famous "Wee dee dee ee dee ee ee dee dee, Wee um um a weh" part.  (On the other hand, I thought the Pete Seeger/Weavers version blew them both away, but that's for another blog.)

In any event, Anita Darian is gone, and we have lost a very talented singer, who graced the stage and, pretty much anonymously, meant a lot to early rock 'n' roll as well.  May she rest in peace. 

Oh, one other thing:  apropos of nothing useful, 1961, when the Tokens recorded "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", is the same year if you turn it upside down.  That is the last time this will happen until 6009 - which, I am reasonably certain, few of us will be around to celebrate.

Ok, back to politics, where most things are turned upside down and few are worthy of celebrating.


Ken Berwitz

Hard though it may be to believe, this exchange actually took place between Associated Press reporter Mike Lee, and Jen Psaki, the childlike State Department flyweight President Obama sends out to spout the party line:

Lee: "Does the administration really believe that the victims of this attack were not singled out because they were of a particular faith?"

Psaki: "Well, as you know... I believe... if I remember the victims specifically, they were not all victims of one background or one nationality so I think what they mean by that is... I don't know if they spoke to the targeting of the grocery store... but (rather) the individuals who were impacted."

Lee: "But don't you think the store itself was a target?"

Psaki: "That's different from the victims being..."

Lee: "Does the administration believe that this was an anti-Jewish... an attack on the Jewish community in France?"

Psaki: "I don't think we're going to speak on behalf of French authorities and what they believe was the situation at play here..."

Lee: "But if a guy goes into a kosher market and starts shooting it up, he's not looking for Buddhists is he?  Who does the administration expect shops at a kosher (store)...? An attacker going into a store that is clearly identified with one specific faith - I'm not sure I can understand how it is that you can't say that this was a targeted attack."

Psaki: "I don't have more for you Matt, it's an issue for the French government to address."

That is so pathetic that pathetic probably isn't even the right word to use.  In fact, I don't know if Webster, Funk and Wagnall combined could come up with the right word.

But it is what the Obama administration considers a reasonable line of "logic", isn't it?  And one that mainstream media, by largely looking the other way as it is barfed out at us, is accepting by default, isn't it?

Two more years of this nightmare.  I count the seconds.

Zeke . . . . . . . . . . . . The Administration will tell you "Scattered Light Rain", while it urinates on your leg. . . . . . . . . . . . (02/11/15)

Zeke . . . . . . . . . . . . The Administration will tell you "Scattered Light Rain", while it urinates on your leg. . . . . . . . . . . . (02/11/15)

Zeke . . . . . . . . . . . . The Administration will tell you "Scattered Light Rain", while it urinates on your leg. . . . . . . . . . . . (02/11/15)


Ken Berwitz

Earlier, I mentioned The Weavers - the greatest folk singing group of them all, if you ask me. 

In looking for the video of "Wimoweh", I came across a video which includes a number of other songs they were singing in 1951, at the height of their popularity.

I watched/listened, and was absolutely thrilled by it.  Maybe you will be too.

Click here and find out.


Ken Berwitz

I don't know if this is true.

Let me say it again:  I don't know if this is true.

But something called, and other web sites, are reporting that billionaire pedophile jeffrey epstein, who was running those underage-girl orgies on his plane and his private island for various "friends" - allegedly including former President Bill Clinton - donated a cool $3.5 million to Clinton from a Swiss bank account while the probe into his sexual escapades was ongoing.

Is this why Hillary Clinton has suddenly became incommunicado? 

Two weeks ago I blogged that she might be trying to stay out of the spotlight until the Jeffrey Epstein connection to Hubby Bubba blew over.  If true, that would be bad enough by itself.

But if it turns out Epstein was shtupping Clinton with millions of dollars - i.e. there is credible evidence and mainstream media pick up on it - that could summarily end Ms. Clinton's 2016 bid for the White House...and maybe her marriage too.

I'm not going to make any conclusions about this yet.  I want to see information from sites I know/have some level of trust in.  I suggest you do the same.

But I also suggest you keep a close eye on this one.  Because....well, you know why.


Ken Berwitz

As you may be aware, Chicago's Jackie Robinson West (JRW) little league team, which apparently won the U. S. Little League title, has been stripped of that honor.

That is the sad part - as explained in this excerpt from article for the Chicago Tribune:

The Little League organization said that "after an extensive review," it determined that the team "knowingly violated Little League International rules and regulations by placing players on their team who did not qualify to play because they lived outside the team's boundaries.

"Little League International found that Jackie Robinson West Little League used a falsified boundary map for their 2014 tournament," it added.

In addition to voiding all of the team's wins, team manager Darold Butler has been suspended from Little League activity and Michael Kelly has been removed as administrator of Illinois District 4.

Even sadder is this disgusting reaction, from Carrie Austin, the Alderman for JRW's district - who, let us remember, is currently running for re-election (the vote will be taken on February 24th):

"Here's something that united us as a city, as a nation, and you want to strip that on a technicality?" The players played the games, and they won the games.  Now you want to take this away over a boundary? Why would you strip these children of this achievement? Their lives have already been hell."

Brilliant point, Ms. Austin.  Guaranteed to get you votes - maybe enough to win re-election.  I'll just bet that everyone in and out of Chicago agrees with you that loading the team with ringers is nothing more than a "technicality".  Just as I am sure that if it had been reversed and JRW - the real team, not the concocted one - lost to an opponent which did this, you would shrug your shoulders and say "Forget the whole thing, it's just a technicality".   

But the saddest part?  JWR lost the Little League World Series to a team from Seoul, South Korea - where we have no way of knowing if it was just as concocted as the JWR team was.  In fact, there is no realistic way of knowing whether any US champion plays against a legitimate team from another country. 

In other words, it is possible that, although JRW should be stripped of its title, it did nothing more than what is done by the international teams it, and other U.S. championship Little League teams, play against in any given year.  No way to tell.

Little League at the local level can be terrific.  But - as with most sports - the more overblown it gets, the greater the likelihood that it will start to stink like month-old clams.  And this is the proof.

What a mess.


Ken Berwitz

Rachel Maddow is mad.  I don't blame her either.

It seems Ms. Maddow, whom MSNBC touts as a "news anchor" - despite the fact that she hosts an unwaveringly far-left opinion show (in the rarefied world of MSNBC that might be a prerequisite for the description), feels parent company NBC-Universal has given her (and, presumably, the rest of the MSNBC crew) short shrift on the Brian Williams saga.

And she has a very valid point.

In Ms. Maddow's own words:

"NBC News will not make anyone available to discuss this story with us on the'd think that if they're going to talk to anybody about this, we might reasonably get a leg up on getting interviews with any NBC News executives to explain this decision if only because we're right down the hall."

She's right, isn't she?

The only reason I can think of for NBC doing this, is because in-depth coverage of what has happened with Mr. Williams will take an already-embarrassing situation and make it that much worse. 

Better to just report his suspension, and the reasons why, as generic news - which is unavoidable - and let the other networks try to make something more of it (in the hope that they won't, because their own anchors may be living in glass houses as well).

That said, since MSNBC considers Ms. Maddow a "news anchor", why not draw from the existing pool and make her Brian Williams' replacement on NBC Nightly News?  Heck, everyone knows that she is fiercely neutral (leaving time here to clean whatever you were drinking off your monitor), so there will be an immediate boost in credibility, right? 

And if she doesn't want the job, how about al sharpton?  I mean, if Rachel Maddow, as host of a weeknight show, is an "anchor", I suppose he is too. 

Hmmmm, let's see:  Lester Holt, or a choice between Rachel Maddow and al sharpton.

Tough call, guys? 


Ken Berwitz

I would like to salute Mr. Bryan Stevenson. 

In conjunction with the group he founded, The Equal Justice Initiative, Mr. Stevenson has diligently compiled the number of Black people - men and women both - lynched in the South from 1877 to 1950. 

He comes to a total of 3,959 (and - this is me speaking - I have no doubt there are more which went unrecorded).  

The reasons for these lynchings ranged from major crimes, to minor crimes, to misdemeanors, to perfectly legal activities that angered Whites disposed to "do something about it", to nothing at all:  "let's find a nigger and hang him". 

Not one of the victims - even those who committed major, violent crimes - deserved this kind of racist, vigilante "justice".  Simply put, the lynching of Black people is among the ugliest, and most indelible stains in our country's history. 

Sadly, however, in today's world - where, I suspect, more people can tell you the names of the last two American Idol winners than their two U.S. senators - it is a very good bet that a large percentage of the population either has no idea that lynchings took place in the USA, or how many lynchings there were.  It is therefore imperative that work like this be done.   

The United States has much about it that we can all be proud of. But it serves no legitimate purpose to hide the things that shame us.  Let's have it all - the good and the bad - out on that table for everyone to see.

So I again salute, and commend, and thank, Mr. Stevenson for his efforts. 

Never forget.  Never again.

Shar So true, and well said. (02/11/15)

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