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The Paradox of ‘Magic’

by Pamela Leavey

I just finished reading the great piece on Bruce Springsteen’s new album “Magic“, that is in the Sunday N.Y. Times. “In Love With Pop, Uneasy With the World” describes Springsteen’s journey through music and the world of politics.

“Magic” is, musically, one of the most upbeat, accessible records he has made, even as its themes and stories make it one of his most political. Once again he is hitting the road as a presidential election heats up.

“I like coming out on those years,” he would tell me later, when we sat down to talk in a backstage dressing room after the rehearsal. “Whatever small little bit we can do, that’s a good time to do it.”

At almost 51 (in a few weeks), I’ve traveled through most of my adult life, either listening to Bruce Springsteen or not… But, in recent years, he’s permeated every CD player I own, and his lyrics have been firmly ingrained in my memory, like most fans of The Boss who can sing along to every tune he’s ever performed. There’s something about his lyrics and his melodies that just simply stick with you because behind nearly every song throughout his long and memorable career, there’s a message.

I haven’t heard all of “Magic” yet, but what I have heard has left me wanting for more. It’s Asbury Park revisted, as The Boss experiences “a reinfatuation with pop music.”

I went back to some forms that I either hadn’t used previously or hadn’t used a lot, which was actual pop productions,” he said. “I wrote a lot of hooks. That was just the way that the songs started to write themselves, I think because I felt free enough that I wasn’t afraid of the pop music. In the past I wanted to make sure that my music was tough enough for the stories I was going to tell.”

The paradox of “Magic” may be that some of its stories are among the toughest he has told. The album is sometimes a tease but rarely a joke. The title track, for instance, comes across as a seductive bit of carnival patter, something you might have heard on the Asbury Park boardwalk in the old days. A magician, his voice whispery and insinuating in a minor key, lures you in with descriptions of his tricks that grow more sinister with each verse. (“I’ve got a shiny saw blade/All I need’s a volunteer.”) “Trust none of what you hear/And less of what you see,” he warns. And the song’s refrain — “This is what will be” — grows more chilling as you absorb the rest of the album’s nuances and shadows. Read more…

Rudy Skips Minority Debate to Fundraise With Bo Derek

by Pamela Leavey

Compliments of The RealRudy.org:

Enlightening… Read more.

First He Might… Then He Won’t

by Pamela Leavey

Newt Gingrich has had everyone buzzing about will he, won’t he for months now. He’s sent “so many hints pointing in so many different directions” that he’s made more than a few folks, “dizzy trying to follow them all.”

But now, it appears, he’s made up his mind.

Rick Tyler, Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman, confirmed today that the former Republican House speaker has decided against a presidential run in 2008.

Mr. Gingrich was “presented with legal advice this morning,” said Mr. Tyler in a quick phone interview. “There was a choice presented.”

The choice was to remain chairman of his political action committee, American Solutions, or to allow advisers to move forward with an exploratory committee. But he could not, legally, do both, Mr. Tyler explained.

“So Mr. Gingrich made a choice to remain a citizen activist,” he said.

Apparently Gingrich has become to accustomed to raking in the dough to consider leading our nation… Thank goodness for that:

American Solutions, a tax-exempt committee he started last October, has paid for Gingrich’s travel and has a pollster and fundraiser on staff. The outfit has raised more than $3 million, mostly from two benefactors who each gave $1 million: Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and North Carolina real estate developer Fred Godley.

Gingrich makes hundreds of speeches each year, many paid. He will not say how much he charges, and neither will the Washington Speakers Bureau, which books him. But some clients have said they paid $40,000 for a speech.

He also has a contract with Fox News for commentaries and specials; Fox said it does not disclose the terms of its contracts. Gingrich also is a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Gingrich has a daily radio broadcast on more than 400 stations, and he writes a free online newsletter with 200,000 subscribers that is distributed by the conservative news magazine Human Events.

He also has a for-profit think tank, the Center for Health Transformation, which grew out of the consulting firm he started after leaving Congress in 1999.

Ed Morrissey over at Captain’s Quarters saw this coming… And quite honestly I had the opinion that Newt was simply blowing smoke once again. Hopefully he’s done now playing the will he, won’t he game for at least this election cycle.

Why Aren’t Democratic Candidates Supporting The Blogsphere?

by Stuart ONeill

(This is an introduction to a longer examination I intend to publish next week. )

If you look at the political advertising on Democratic/Left Political Blogs, including DemDaily, there are few ads from Candidate Campaigns. Only the largest sites, Dkos, MyDD, Atrios etc. draw a few short ad placements from the largest campaigns. You seldom, if ever, see a direct Campaign ad purchased at here at DemDaily or most blogs.

Did you see the Obama ad that ran here for a few days? If you looked closely it was running as a result of a Google Adwords campaign. It earns DemDaily nearly nothing.

Whether it’s for the Presidential, Congressional, State Legislature, Local seats, we see that candidates are spending their money everywhere but the one place that supports them most directly?

If Blogger Owners and Writers, at great personal and financial expense, are providing Democratic efforts at all levels a very viable campaign platform, why aren’t the Candidates using and supporting the resource?

I’ll examine the topic in more depth next week. Your views would be appreciated.

Rush Indignation

by Pamela Leavey

Rush indignation… it’s everywhere… from TPM Election Central: Breaking: White House Faults Rush Limbaugh Over “Phony Soldiers” Comment… That’s right… Even the White House didn’t get Rush’s back on this:

Here’s a round-up of posts on Limbaugh’s “phoney soldiers” smear:

Media Matters: Limbaugh falsely recasts “phony soldiers” smear

TPM Election Central: Exclusive: Dem Rep To Introduce House Resolution Condemning Rush Limbaugh On Monday

Swampland: Re: Phony Soliders

Think Progress: Senate Democratic Leaders Demand Apology For Limbaugh’s ‘Outrageous,’ ‘Unconscionable’ Remarks

CNN’s Political Ticker: Dems seize on Limbaugh’s ‘phony soldiers’ comment… On Thursday, John Kerry, a “veteran of the Vietnam War, called the comments a “disgusting attack.”” Read more…

Gingrich Ready to Step Into ’08 Race

by Pamela Leavey

Newt’s gearing up for ’08 after all, Politico reports:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will open a website by Monday in an effort to round up the $30 million in pledges that he says would be his ticket to entering the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

A longtime adviser, J. Randolph Evans of McKenna Long & Aldridge, will hold a press briefing at 3:30 p.m. Monday in Atlanta to describe plans for what Gingrich aides are calling a “feasibility assessment.”

Aides say Gingrich will announce his intentions by Oct. 21, ahead of a Michigan filing deadline.

During a recent breakfast with a Politico reporter and other journalists, Gingrich made it clear he has given a great deal of thought to how he would run, starting with a national television ad that would be heavy on his policy ideas.

Gingrich will not be forming an exploratory committee so his team “cannot collect cash, only pledges.”

Getting $30 million in three weeks will be a tall order, and top Republicans said they are skeptical it can be done, saying Gingrich has a large following but has hurt himself with his on-again, off-again approach to running.

Newt’s uniqe way of testing the waters comes in the form of his own draft Newt site.

Soldiers Break Up Burma Protests, Seal Off Monasteries

by Pamela Leavey

The latest news on the democracy uprising in Burma is bleak. As the deadly crackdown intensifies in Burma it’s been reported that “security forces sealed off five monasteries that were focal points of previous mass marches, in a bid to prevent further demonstrations.”

Official media said nine people were killed on Thursday as troops fired tear gas and bullets to clear large crowds of protesters off Rangoon’s streets.

British and Australian ambassadors in Burma say the toll was probably higher.

[…]

Monasteries have been raided and hundreds of monks are thought to have been detained. Pictures from Burma show ransacked monasteries with pools of blood on the ground.

Among the dead in the uprising is a “Japanese journalist, Kenji Nagai, who had been covering the demonstrations, according to his employer, APF News.”

Among the many outrages in Burma, survivors report the soldiers have been sacking the monasteries and pilaging money and gold from them… Read more…

Bruce Springsteen: “Last To Die”

by Pamela Leavey

Stuart Levine reviewed Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s new album, “Magic” for MSNBC , a couple of days ago. Levine notes, “The most political song is clearly “Last to Die,” an ode to what John Kerry said as American troops were leaving Vietnam.” Not to get picky here, but Levine should have said that the “Last to Die” line was from Kerry’s Fulbright Commission testimony on April 22, 1971.

Springsteen toured in 2004 in support of Kerry’s bid for the presidency and the two have clearly made a connection that has lasted long after the election. It’s another hard rocker that feels urgent in Springsteen’s deep-throated vocals.

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will be on the Today Show on Friday morning. Matt Lauer says Springsteen is “the real deal.” I agree. Tickets go on sale for his L.A. show on Saturday and you can bet I’ll be getting mine!

Bruce Springsteen – Last To Die (Audio only with “Magic” album cover):

LAST TO DIE©(Album’s version)
by Bruce Springsteen
Read more…