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My City of Ruins: Springsteen Sings to New Jersey, 10/31/2012

November 2nd, 2012 by Celeste Fremon


This is a funky recording bootlegged from the October 31, 2012, Springsteen concert in Rochester, NY, during which The Boss sang My City of Ruins.
The video jiggles, cuts off in the middle, and features a nearby woman fan warbling along with the Boss. But it’s the only recording that anyone’s been able to find of this central moment in the bittersweet concert in which Springsteen referenced the storm repeatedly, as he also did in the concert on November 1, at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University, where song after song reportedly had laced through it echoes of the flooding and damage. When he launched into the chorus of his song, Atlantic City

Well now, everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City

….there was evidently widespread swiping of eyes in the audience.

Thus it seemed right to put up the bootleg, in all its messiness, with our heartfelt wishes for safety, recovery and healing for our friends on the east coast who have been so drastically affected by Sandy.

Here’s some of what Bruce said in Rochester:

We wish you a happy Halloween, but we are a rock ‘n’ roll band from the Jersey Shore, and tonight we carry a lot of sadness in our hearts. This was originally a song about my adopted hometown struggling to get on its feet — it struggled for 25 years, a quarter century, while we waited and watched for Asbury to come back. And we are very proud to say over the past decade, it has risen up and flourished in a way I wasn’t ever sure I’d see in my lifetime. And it will do so again…..

We’re a band that you can’t separate from the Jersey shore. We’re still basically a glorified bar band… at your service! So we’re gonna do this tonight from our hometown to your hometown. We’ll send this out to all the people working down there: the police officers, the firemen, and also to the Governor, who has done such a hard job this past week…..”

Springsteen will be among the headliners for a storm recovery fundraiser in the form of an NBC telethon to air Friday night (tonight), 8-9 pm.

(By the way, here’s a link to the full song as played in Barcelona during happier times.)

Posted in Natural Disasters, Springsteen | No Comments »

The WitnessLA November 2012 Elections Endorsements

November 2nd, 2012 by Celeste Fremon


With voting day looming on Tuesday,
a quickie rundown of our thoughts and recommendations.


THE BALLOT PROPOSITIONS


30 – YES! Jerry Brown’s must-pass initiative is a desperately needed budget patch providing funds for California’s educational system—both K-12 and higher education—while also funneling fiscal aid to other crucial state programs.

Prop 30 looked like it would pass easily, mainly because most Californian’s understand that our schools and other essential programs are in need of $$$, and the governor has devised the least painful way to raise the necessary bucks.

Unfortunately, wealthy Californian Molly Munger muddied the water by floating a competative ballot proposition (Prop. 38) then, along with her brother, using tens of millions of her own money to blast voters with TV ads designed to shake confidence in 30, in the hope of getting voters to embrace 38. Now, while 38 looks unlikely to pass, it has managed to erode just enough of Prop. 30′s support to put it in serious jeopardy.

So here’s the deal: Not only should you vote for Prop 30, but you should threaten, cajole, emotionally blackmail everyone you know, are related to, or pass randomly on the street into voting for it. Otherwise, we’re in for some dark days in terms of public education. (Not to put too fine a point on the matter.)


31 – NO. A messy and badly conceived attempt to reform the way the state legislature behaves. Heaven knows some serious reform is needed, but this ain’t it. Prop 31 will cut money from schools and other vital programs and create a pile of bureaucracy. Read what the Courage Campaign has to say here.

Even CA’s conservative newspapers are fleeing from this badly written item.


32: NO WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE – If you loved Citizen’s United then you’re going to adore Prop 32. Listen, many of us are furious when certain unions (cough) CCPOA, prison guards (cough, cough) swing their weight around to ill effect. But this proposed law is a union-hating, Koch Brother’s special that pretends to rein in corporate campaign spending and special interests. Instead, it favors big corporate interests and hobbles everybody else.

For a humorous (and kinda scary) look at Prop 32 supporters read our own Matt Fleischer’s account of what he heard when he parachuted in behind the lines of Prop. 32 central—namely the Lincoln Club.


33: NO! – This creepy little piece of work is auto insurance bait and switch that is the baby of Mercury Insurance founder George Joseph, and does not have your and my best interests at heart. Run!


34: YES – Replaces the death penalty in California with life without the possibility of parole.

I’ll let Jeanne Woodford (the former head of the CDCR and former Warden of San Quentin who oversaw four executions), plus my friend Frankie Carrillo speak on the topic, as they each are uniquely qualified to do so.


35: NO – The sex trafficking and slavery initiative is extremely well meant but is a morass of unintended consequences. Yes, of course, we must do everything possible to take the predators it targets off the streets and put them behind bars. But this problematically-structured law, the project of former Facebook privacy officer, Chris Kelly (who would like to ride this law into the office of CA Attorney General), causes more problems than it solves—sadly.

The good news is that it opens the dialogue on this pressing issue, where victims remain tragically unprotected.


36: YES – Reforms 3-Strikes so that bad guys get put away, and the people who don’t need to be the guests of the state for the rest of their lives (on our tab) don’t. Even LA DA Steve Cooley & SF DA George Gascon like this prop that fixes the flaws in a well-intentioned but overbroad law.


37: YES– Requires that genetically engineered foods (GMOs) be labeled before being sold in California.. The LA Times is against it. We disagree.

The issue is not whether GMOs are good or harmful. Many likely are not, and may have great benefit. The point is that, as a consumer, I’d like the right to know what’s in my food and whether or not the items I buy contain GMOs. Wouldn’t you?

Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and some of the most famous chefs in America are in favor of GMO labeling.

So is the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

Monsanto, Dupont, Pepsico and Dow are not and have thrown upwards of 40 million to try to persuade you that their opinion is the righteous one.

For a lengthier and highly informed counter-opinion to that expressed by the LAT and some of the other CA papers that are urging a NO vote, read what NY Times food writer Mark Bittman has to say about Prop. 37—and the missinformation put out by its mega-buck-funded opposition.

You also might want to read this also from the NY Times, by Michael Pollan (one of the gurus of the food movement, and author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, among other food-related books)

Oh, yeah, and if you don’t believe those guys, you might want to see what Bill Moyers has to say on the topic.


38: NO/YES.or WHATEVER. This prop, which has set itself up as the alternative to Jerry Brown’s Prop 30, is a scheme to raise some taxes in order to fund the state’s ailing public school system. The prop, as mentioned above, has been almost exclusively funded by wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger. Munger is the co-head of the Advancement Project, along with the excellent Connie Rice, and we really, really like Munger for that, and for her many other accomplishments as a lawyer and an advocate. However, we are extremely vexed at her I-know-better-than-all-of-them-Sac’to-fools-do attitude in this instance, which could mean that neither prop passes, and that California schools suffer terribly as a result.

Karin Klien, the editorial board writer for education lays the matter out perfectly:

Proposition 30 is a superior measure on several fronts. It would avoid trigger cuts that would cause immediate and drastic harm to schools, which would probably be forced to cut the school year by up to three weeks, as well as $250 million in cuts to the University of California and an equal amount to the California State University system.

Beyond that, one aspect of Proposition 30 that has been little noticed is that it also provides money for community colleges; right now, more than 200,000 students at those colleges cannot find a seat in a single class, let alone enough courses or the courses they need to graduate. There’s little point to rescuing only K-12 schools when the graduates would have nowhere to go.

Polls suggest that Prop 38 doesn’t have a chance. And, yet, Munger’s ads and those of her conservative brother, wrongly claiming, as Klien writes, “…’politicians’ would get their hands on money intended for schools..” are still running. The non-passage of 30, once a sure thing until the Mungers threw tens of millions at the issue, is now hanging by a thread.

So vote for 38, don’t vote for it. Just make sure you vote for Prop. 30.


39: YES – Would remove a tax break that mainly benefits multistate companies based outside of California, a tax loophole that has actually encouraged these companies to take their jobs out of state. As KCET points out, Prop 39 would level the playing field by making multistate companies play by the same rules as companies that employ Californians, and would produce an extra $1 billion for the state coffers.

That’s the short version. If you want more, KCET has the details.


40: YES - Basically re-approves California’s newly redrawn state Senate districts. Every major newspaper in the state, whether conservative leaning or liberal leaning, urges a YES vote. A few disgruntled politicians urge otherwise, but most of them have quietly gone away.



THE RACES:

In terms of candidates, we favor Janice Hahn, Howard Berman, Julie Brownley, Henry Waxman, if you’re in an area where they are on the ballot.

FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY…..

We firmly recommend Jackie Lacey.

Look: Alan Jackson is a skilled prosecutor, but he does not appear to have the temperament or the experience to manage the District Attorney’s office effectively. During the campaign, he has consistently tailored his message to the crowd, rather than giving us a clear idea of what his policies would be, if elected.

Lacey is more conservative than we would like, but she’s a listener, and has already appeared to grow in the course of the campaign. In short, she’s up to the job now and we believe would become stronger and better, while in office.

For more, read the very smart LA Times endorsement that I’m guessing was written by our pal Rob Greene.


OH, YEAH, AND FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WE RECOMMEND: Barak Obama.

(But you probably knew that.)


In any case, whatever and whomever you vote for: PLEASE VOTE


Posted in CCPOA, Civil Liberties, crime and punishment, CTA, District Attorney, Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Jerry), elections, Innocence, Presidential race, Propositions, Springsteen, unions | 8 Comments »

Springsteen…..Wrong for America.

April 20th, 2008 by Celeste Fremon



I’m running out so am just posting fast
, but if you haven’t seen this, it’s pretty funny.

Posted in elections, Elections '08, Presidential race, Springsteen | 4 Comments »

The Boss and Barack

April 16th, 2008 by Celeste Fremon

dark-bruce.gif


As WLA commenter Reg has pointed out,
today Bruce Springsteen has declared his support of Barack Obama for President.

So, are we supposed to care
who this or that celebrity endorses the presidential race? Of course not! What do you take us for???
Unless it’s The Boss doing the endorsing. (I see the news is on the front page of the LA Times website. Normally I’d be critical of such celebrity-related pandering. But, in this case…[see aforementioned point.])

Actually, Springsteen’s statement, posted at his own website, and bannered at Huff Post, was very thoughtful and articulate. To wit:


LIke most of you, I’ve been following the campaign
and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest.

He has the depth, the reflectiveness,
and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I’ve envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that’s interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where “…nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone.”

At the moment, critics have tried to diminish Senator Obama
through the exaggeration of certain of his comments and relationships. While these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man’s life and vision, so well described in his excellent book, Dreams From My Father, often in order to distract us from discussing the real issues: war and peace, the fight for economic and racial justice, reaffirming our Constitution, and the protection and enhancement of our environment.

After the terrible damage done over the past eight years,
a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans.


“Still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe…”

By the way, Hillary Clinton just received the backing of Salsa icon, Willie Colon.

Posted in American artists, Elections '08, Presidential race, Springsteen | 7 Comments »