Tuesday Reads: RIP Glen Frey and Martin Luther King EventsPosted: January 19, 2016
We lost another 1970s music legend yesterday. The Eagles’ Glen Frey is dead. The LA Times writes:
Few bands were better at distilling the vibe of Los Angeles in the 1970s than the Eagles, and as its singer and guitarist, Glenn Frey served as a sort of mellow ambassador of our city. Just as Liverpool is forever associated with the Beatles, Seattle claims Nirvana and Bruce Springsteen owns New Jersey, the Eagles embodied the bell-bottomed, feather-haired flair of Southern California.
Frey, who died Monday at age 67, co-wrote and sang some of the most commercially successful country rock ballads of the ’70s, including “Tequila Sunrise,” “Peaceful, Easy Feeling,” “Take It Easy” and “Lyin’ Eyes.”
Soft and twangy, his hits as co-founder of the Eagles defined the region like the vivid colors of orange crate art had during the city’s early boom years and as the Beach Boys had during the surf craze.
During the Eagles’ 2014 concert at the Forum, in fact, Frey compared the legacy of two uniquely Californian bands: “The Beach Boys were pioneers. The Eagles were settlers.” Which is to say, where the Beach Boys forged new sounds, the Eagles gathered up what was already there — country rock — and made it their home.
On Frey’s contributions to the group’s sound:
Frey’s best songs with the Eagles embodied that home, best known through the golden, sun-drenched silhouettes of palm trees on the cover of its classic album “Hotel California.” The dominant shade of the record sleeve is what Frey so brilliantly conveyed as “another tequila sunrise,” a muted orange, the color of the last wash of daylight or dawn’s first breath.
Where the Beach Boys reveled in a daytime spent surfing and having fun with the girls, the Eagles worked far later into the night. Frey co-wrote and sang songs about mysterious women, the loneliness of the outsider, unrequited desire and dangerous reflexes.
He did so, though, minus any hint of distortion or aggression. In “Peaceful, Easy Feeling,” Frey didn’t want to get funky or dirty. Rather, he spun visions of the simple pleasures in his adopted Southern California home as he sang of wanting to “sleep with you in the desert tonight/ With a billion stars all around.”
From the Washington Post: Glenn Frey and the mystery of the ‘Take It Easy’ corner in Winslow, Ariz.
[E]ach year thousands of people, usually on the way to somewhere else, make a stop in Winslow, Ariz.,about 60 miles easy of Flagstaff, thanks to Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, whose death was reported Monday. And, thanks to the Eagles’ classic “Take It Easy,” they go to a special corner, where Old Highway 66 meets North Kinsley Avenue, and just stand, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do.
It’s called “Standin’ on the Corner Park.” There’s not much there — a statue of a guy holding a guitar and a red flatbed Ford at the curb. They say if you look hard enough, you’ll see the girl from the song, too. In fact, they’ve made sure of it.
Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona,
and such a fine sight to see.
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
slowin’ down to take a look at me.
Come on, baby, don’t say maybe.
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me.
We may lose and we may win
though we will never be here again.
So open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy.
The 1972 song “Take it Easy” preceded the park by three decades, and you have to wonder why it took Winslow so long. Perhaps it’s because the city didn’t need it in 1972, when Old 66 went through the heart of town, only to be cruelly bypassed in 1979 when Interstate 40 cut it off — “bleeding Winslow dry,” as Kevin Baxter wrote in the Los Angeles Times a year ago.
Read much more at the link.
A couple more good links on Frey:
Washington Post: How Glenn Frey and the Eagles outlasted everyone who loved to hate them.
Yesterday on the Martin Luther King’s birthday holiday, Black Lives Matter protesters were on the streets in a number of cities. The most dramatic demonstration took place in San Francisco, where activists managed to shut down the Bay Bridge. CBS SF Bay Area reports:
Protesters announced just before 4 p.m. they had shut down Bay Bridge traffic heading into San Francisco. They posted photos of several protesters chained to cars stopped across the bridge.
Members of protest groups Black Seed and the Black Queer Liberation Collective took responsibility for the protest in a statement, citing recent police shootings.
“We are here to move towards an increase in the health and wellbeing of all Black people in Oakland & San Francisco,” the groups wrote in a statement.
They were demanding divestment of city funds in policing, investment in affordable housing, the resignation of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, the termination of San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr and Oakland police Chief Sean Whent and the termination of police officers involved in several recent shootings.
Twenty-five protesters were arrested. Another Black Lives Matter group “commandeered” a ceremony in Denver.
In a related story, the Boston Police Department released information on “nearly 150,000 civilian encounters,” and guess which category of people got stopped most often? The Boston Globe reports:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts had been asking for the data since September 2014 and sued for it last summer….
More than half of those stopped—56 percent—were black males. White males were the next most-stopped group, at 17 percent, followed by Hispanic males at 12 percent.
In their own analysis, Boston police said “nearly 59 percent of the FIO subjects were black.” But about 4.3 percent of the total reports don’t state a race, or the officer checked “unknown.” Taking out those blanks or unknowns, the actual percentage of black people stopped among those with a known race is 61.2 percent.
Boston’s population is about 25 percent black. More than 87 percent of everyone stopped had a criminal record.
The number one reason why someone was stopped? “Investigate, person.” More than 60 percent of the stops were made for this vague reason. Behind it, at 14 percent, was “violating auto laws,” like driving without a license.
This is interesting too:
One officer entered 2,904 reports, or nearly two out of every 100. Seventeen other officers had more than 1,000 FIO reports. Most of those officers are members of the Youth Violence Strike Force, a unit that is not on regular patrol but is tasked with preventing violence, which includes gang activity.
Boston police said that about 30 percent of the total reports were from the Youth Violence Strike Force. Of the 50 officers who generated the most number of reports, including the officer who had the highest number, 64 percent were Youth Violence Strike Force officers.
It sounds like they might need to take a look at the one officer who was so prolific in stopping citizens.
Hillary Clinton appeared at a Martin Luther King Day ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday. HuffPo:
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton praised South Carolina for removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia as roughly 1,000 gathered to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
Monday’s “King Day at the Dome” celebration marked the first time the state has officially honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day without the racist symbol flying above the crowd. Civil rights activists had previously used the holiday to call for the flag’s removal.
“How wonderful it is to be here together without the Confederate flag overhead,” Clinton said. “That flag always belonged in a museum, not at the statehouse.”
Hillary called attention to the roles of Gov. Nikki Haley and protester Bree Newsome in the decision to remove the Confederate flag.
Clinton praised Haley and the state legislature for taking swift action on the flag, but also credited activist Bree Newsome for taking the matter into her own hands and “shimmying up that flagpole.”
“Every year, you’ve gathered right here and said that that symbol of division and racism went against everything Dr. King stood for,” Clinton continued. “We couldn’t celebrate him and the Confederacy, we had to choose. And South Carolina finally made the right choice.”
That was the only article I could find on Hillary’s speech, but Bernie Sanders got quite a bit of media coverage for his appearance in Alabama. AP via ABC News: Bernie Sanders Courts Voters in Alabama on King Day.
With polls showing him running well in Iowa and New Hampshire, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders took aim at what might be unusual territory for a self-described democratic socialist: the Deep South.
Yet a crowd of more than 5,000 packed into Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, Monday night to hear the Vermont senator, while nearly 1,000 milled outside in freezing temperatures.
“There must be some mistake, I heard Alabama was a conservative state,” Sanders said to an enthusiastic welcome.
Sanders said his message of raising the minimum wage, free college tuition and paid family medical leave cuts across regional lines but acknowledged that the work to get that message across was harder in a state like Alabama.
“We’ve got to go out to our white, working-class friends. We’ve got to go out to our brothers and sisters and say, ‘Stop voting against your own self-interests,'” Sanders said.
“Our brothers and sisters?” I guess that means black people. I wonder how many “brothers and sisters” were in the crowd. The article doesn’t say. The story says Sanders mentioned Dr. King and emphasized King’s activism on economic issues.
Donald Trump chose to give a speech at Liberty University on Martin Luther King Day, and he made some biblical boo boos while speaking to the packed “Christian” audience (Liberty U. students are required to attend appearances by guest speakers). Most disconcerting for the religious nuts was that he referred to “2 Corinthians” instead of the correct usage “second Corinthians.” Here’s Molly Ball at The Atlantic:
There were many unbelievable moments over the course of Donald Trump’s speech on Monday at Liberty University, the evangelical college founded by the late Jerry Falwell.
There was his citation of the Bible: “Two Corinthians 3-17, that’s the whole ball game. … Is that the one? Is that the one you like? I think that’s the one you like.”
There was the part where he ranked his favorite books, calling The Art of the Deal“a deep, deep second to the Bible. The Bible is the best. The Bible blows it away.”
There was his pledge to win the war on Christmas: “If I’m president, you’re going to see ‘Merry Christmas’ in department stores, believe me.”
And there was a delightful new twist on his oft-repeated claim that Americans will be overwhelmed with winning: “If I’m president, you’ll say, ‘Please, Mr. President, we’re winning too much. I can’t stand it. Can’t we have a loss?’ And I’ll say, ‘No, we’re going to keep winning.’”
Ball writes that Trump is creating division in the Evangelical community.
But the most breathtaking part of Trump’s appearance may have come before he spoke. It was his introduction by Jerry Falwell Jr., the school’s president and son of its founder, who praised the thrice-married, socially liberal tycoon at great length.
Falwell lauded Trump’s generosity and worldly success; he called him “a breath of fresh air.” He compared Trump to his father and to Martin Luther King Jr., who also “spoke the truth, no matter how unpopular.” Trump, he said, “cannot be bought—he is not a puppet on a string like many other candidates.” Though Falwell’s comments were, he said, not an endorsement, he repeatedly imagined a Trump presidency as a boon to America. “In my opinion,” he said, “Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others, as Jesus taught in the great commandment.”Many evangelical leaders, however, do not share Falwell’s affection. As Trump was speaking, Russell Moore, the Southern Baptist leader, issued a stream of disapproving tweets: “Trading in the gospel of Jesus Christ for political power is not liberty but slavery,” Moore wrote. He added: “This would be hilarious if it weren’t so counter to the mission of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Read the rest at the link.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great Tuesday!