As Veterans Day Comes to an End

As Veterans Day comes to an end, here is the Old Guard with a 21 Gun Salute and Taps.

Updated at 12:25 AM EST

Per Omnes in comments the Dropkick Murphy’s The Green Fields of France:

And to Terry (my ASO) and Gregg and Mike and Nichole and Paula – rest well.



Late Night Fond Melancholy for A Spiritual Teacher

From the Rolling Stone story MisterMix posted earlier:

… “My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”…

“I never had the sense that there was an end,” he said in 1992. “That there was a retirement or that there was a jackpot.”…

The final act of Cohen’s career began in 2005, when Lorca Cohen began to suspect her father’s longtime manager, Kelley Lynch, of embezzling funds from his retirement account. In fact, Lynch had robbed Cohen of more than $5 million. To replenish the fund, Cohen undertook an epic world tour during which he would perform 387 shows from 2008 to 2013. He continued to record as well, releasing Old Ideas (2012) and Popular Problems, which hit U.S. shops a day after his eightieth birthday. “[Y]ou depend on a certain resilience that is not yours to command, but which is present,” he told Rolling Stone upon its release. “And if you can sense this resilience or sense this capacity to continue, it means a lot more at this age than it did when I was 30, when I took it for granted.”…

Along with my deep sadness, I’m embarrassed that our country just showed its frog-belly-white arse so gleefully in front of this man, by electing (with an asterisk) the kind of gaudy shouting grifter Leonard Cohen had warned us about for so many years. It’s not the worst thing about Tuesday’s debacle, nor will it be the last insult, but for me it’s one more irritant and sorrow.








Rest in Peace, Janet Reno

Per ABC:

Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the epicenter of several political storms during the Clinton administration, has died. She was 78.

Reno died early Monday from complications of Parkinson’s disease, her goddaughter Gabrielle D’Alemberte said. D’Alemberte said Reno spent her final days at home in Miami surrounded by family and friends.

Reno, a former Miami prosecutor who famously told reporters “I don’t do spin,” served nearly eight years as attorney general under President Bill Clinton, the longest stint in a century.

One of the administration’s most recognizable and polarizing figures, Reno faced criticism early in her tenure for the deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, where sect leader David Koresh and some 80 followers perished.

She was known for deliberating slowly, publicly and in a typically blunt manner. Reno frequently told the public “the buck stops with me,” borrowing the mantra from President Harry S. Truman…

In the spring of 2000, Reno enraged her hometown’s Cuban-American community when she authorized the armed seizure of 5-year-old Elian. The boy was taken from the Little Havana home of his Miami relatives so he could be returned to his father in Cuba.

After leaving Washington, Reno returned to Florida and made an unsuccessful run for Florida governor in 2002 but lost in a Democratic primary marred by voting problems.

The campaign ended a public career that started amid humble beginnings. Born July 21, 1938, Janet Wood Reno was the daughter of two newspaper reporters and the eldest of four siblings. She grew up on the edge of the Everglades in a cypress and brick homestead built by her mother and returned there after leaving Washington. Her late brother Robert Reno was a longtime columnist for Newsday on Long Island.

After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in chemistry, Reno became one of 16 women in Harvard Law School’s Class of 1963. Reno, who stood over 6 feet tall, later said she wanted to become a lawyer “because I didn’t want people to tell me what to do.”…

In 1995 Reno was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after noticing a trembling in her left hand. She said from the beginning that the diagnosis, which she announced during a weekly news conference, would not impair her job performance. And critics — both Republicans and Democrats — did not give her a pass because of it.

“Did not give her a pass” is a very genteel phrasing for the way she was treated, by Democratic should-have-been-allies as well as the Disloyal Opposition. If anyone deserved to see the first woman elected President, it was Janet Reno — I only hope she got the chance to vote early, because from everything I’ve heard it would have been important to her.



Bundy Bunch Update: The Pa-Traitor-ating!

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(Worst Episode of Hollywood Squares Ever!)

We have our first capitulation err, um, plea agreement of one of the 26 fine upstanding Patriots charged in the Ammon Bundy led Malheur Federal Wildlife Refuge takeover and occupation. Brian Cavalier (2nd from right, top row), bodyguard for Ammon Bundy and professional tattooist, aka Buddha, aka Booda, aka Booda Belly, and aka The Fluffy Unicorn, now doing business as the Benedict Arnold of the New American Revolution, has reached a plea deal in regard to his charges in Oregon. This agreement does not impact or effect his case pending in Nevada for the Bunkerville Standoff of 2014. Unless, of course, he’s cut a deal in exchange for cooperation. Or has he? Regardless, thanks to JJ McNab’s excellent Twitter feed we can see that the other upstanding Patriots are none too pleased with Boddadict Arnoldbelly’s cutting a deal for a negotiated, reduced sentence.

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And for those who really want to dig in and get their Bundy on, here’s the pdfs of the plea document:

800 — Cavalier Plea Document

And the plea agreement:

799 — Cavalier Plea Agreement



Float Like A Butterfly, Muhammed Ali

Sportswriter Charles P. Pierce:

He was an iconic human being in an era that produced icons with every turn of the television dial, every front page of every morning newspaper and, my god, most of them died young. John and Robert Kennedy. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. None of them ever made 50. None of them ever made old bones. Only Ali lived to see how he truly changed the world around him, how it had come to understand that some lives are lived beyond the mortal limits.

He was a transcendent athlete, first and foremost, every bit as skilled at what he did for a living as Michael Jordan or Pele. The greatest change in athletes over the span of his physical life is that big athletes got fast. LeBron James plays basketball and he is just about the same size as Antonio Gates, who is a tight end. When he first arrived at Wimbledon, Boris Becker looked like a college linebacker. Ali was tall for a heavyweight, bigger than anyone who was faster than he was and faster than anyone who was bigger.

You have to have seen him before he was stripped of his livelihood to appreciate fully his gifts as an athlete. Foot speed. Hand speed. Before it all hit the fan in 1968, Sports Illustrated put him in a lab with strobe lights and everything, to time the speed of his punches. The results looked something out of a special-effects lab. In one of his routines, the late Richard Pryor used to talk about sparring with Ali in a charity exhibition. A Golden Gloves fighter in his youth, as Pryor later put it, “you don’t see his punches until they comin’ back. And your mind be sayin’, ‘Wait a minute now. There was some shit in my face a minute ago. I know that.'” He was an accelerated man in an accelerated age. Saying he was “ahead of his time” was only the half of it. His time was all time.

That was what led to the rest of it—the opposition to the criminal stupidity that was being practiced by this country in Southeast Asia, stated in terms as fundamentally American as the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Congress shall make no law…” His stubborn insistence that his life was his own, that it did not belong to the sclerotic old gangsters who still ran boxing, nor to the sclerotic old men who still ran the government, with their wiretaps and their phony indictments and their lawbooks. He was too fast for them all to catch, ultimately, and too pretty for a country that was vandalizing its most beautiful elements. That stubbornness also likely led to his physical downfall. All gifts have their dark side. All debts come due…

The past is a foreign country… From that Playboy interview:

It wasn’t until 9:55 on a night last February that anyone began to take seriously the extravagant boasts of Cassius Marcellus Clay: That was the moment when the redoubtable Sonny Liston, sitting dazed and disbelieving on a stool in Miami Beach’s Convention Hall, resignedly spat out his mouthpiece—and relinquished the world’s heavyweight boxing championship to the brash young braggart whom he, along with the nation’s sportswriters and nearly everyone else, had dismissed as a loudmouthed pushover.

Leaping around the ring in a frenzy of glee, Clay screamed, “I am the greatest! I am the king!”—the strident rallying cry of a campaign of self-celebration, punctuated with rhyming couplets predicting victory, which had rocketed him from relative obscurity as a 1960 Olympic Gold Medal winner to dubious renown as the “villain” of a title match with the least lovable heavyweight champion in boxing history. Undefeated in 100 amateur fights and all 18 professional bouts, the cocky 22-year-old had become, if not another Joe Louis, at least the world’s wealthiest poet (with a purse of $600,000), and one of its most flamboyant public figures.

Within 24 hours of his victory, he also became sports’ most controversial cause cèlébre when he announced at a press conference that he was henceforth to be billed on fight programs only as Muhammad Ali, his new name as a full-fledged member of the Black Muslims, the militant nationwide Negro religious cult that preaches racial segregation, black supremacy and unconcealed hostility toward whites… Read more



Memorial Day: Final Honors

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Many Balloon Juice readers have served or have known and/or been related to those who have. And, unfortunately, some Balloon Juice readers know those who never made it back from the wars they’ve served in. In honor of those who served, here are two videos of Soldiers of the Old Guard (the 3rd Infantry Regiment – the Oldest US Army Infantry Regiment) providing two different types of 21 Gun Salutes: a brief explanation and demonstration of Final Honors and a 21 Gun Salute by the Presidential Salute Battery from Memorial Day 2013. The final video is of Staff Sergeant (SSG) Drew Fremder of the The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Buglers playing taps at Arlington National Cemetery.

And finally the words of President Lincoln:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

 Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

 But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 



RIP Guy Clark

There are some people who become type specimens.  They’re the folks who define the characteristics of the category of folks to whom they belong.  Guy Clark was — or rather, given what remains — continues to be the type specimen of the singer-songwriter.

Charles Pierce has already written his remembrance of this artist, who died today of what sounds like complications of a hard-lived, powerfully felt life:

He was a craftsman in all the best senses of the word–in the way he created his songs, and in the way he told his stories, and in the places the music took you…

That’s exactly right.  And yeah, go read the rest, and listen to Charlie’s picks of the Guy Clark songs that resonate for him.

For me?  Well, the first number I recall was his biggest mainstream hit, “L. A. Freeway” — which holds up OK, but isn’t what drew me back to Clark when I started listening to him with intent a few years ago.  This is the one that got me started, at a time (as I face again this year, dammit) when too many people that mattered in my life were dying on me:

 

This one got me next, and still does:*

And this is the one I think of on the day Guy Clark left us; he’s taken his place in the room he sings us into:

All of which is to say that Clark couldn’t have a good time. He loved a party** — just ask him:

The list goes on. The Hon. Pierce has it right: Clark was a meticulous song writer and a brilliant one (the two modifiers don’t describe the same quality). Dive in anywhere, and the worst you’ll get is fine fun. At his best….

Dammit — it’s been a crap year for musicians here in these United States.

I’ll leave you with one more favorite, one that captures the heart of what I love most about Clark — the way his music inhabits a story and vice versa:

Rest in peace, Guy Clark.

*And here’s a lagniappe.  Check out this tune, the one Clark sends us to in an homage and something of a statement — a recognition of the league in which Guy himself could play.

**In the old days, when it was Clark and Townes Van Zandt and some more bad boys and girls, I don’t think I could have come close to keeping up, had I had the amazing fortune to be in the right bar at the right time.  But that’s another story.  If you want to read up  on Mr. Clark — this is a fine and recent profile.