May 20th, 2006

This is what happens when you piss people off, Johnny.

McCain heckled at commencement speech

Some at New School booed, turned backs on Arizona senator

Sen. John McCain was booed and heckled as he delivered the commencement address at The New School on Friday in New York.

The protesting students pointed to the Arizona Republican's speech last week at the conservative Liberty University run by the Rev. Jerry Falwell as proof that McCain clashed with the school's liberal ideals.

"McCain does not speak for me," read orange signs held by dozens in the audience, while dozens more turned their backs for the duration of McCain's speech. (Watch as students turn their backs on McCain -- 2:01)

Some students had petitioned New School President -- and former Democratic senator -- Bob Kerrey to withdraw McCain's invitation to speak, saying they didn't want the Arizonan to use their graduation ceremony as a platform for a potential run for president in 2008.

One student speaker, Jean Sara Rohe, tossed her prepared remarks to inject her own political beliefs.

"I do know that pre-emptive war is dangerous and wrong, and I know that George Bush's agenda in Iraq is not worth the many lives lost," she said to cheers.

For his part, McCain stuck to his script, which was basically the same speech he delivered at Liberty University to a warm reception. In Manhattan, however, he was jeered when he told the 2,700 graduates and others in the audience that he "supported the decision to go to war in Iraq.

"Many Americans did not," he said. "My patriotism and my conscience required me to support it and to engage in the debate over whether and how to fight it."

McCain, who was both cheered and booed at the end of his remarks, did not address the hecklers, but Kerrey did.

"You heard and saw two acts of bravery," the former senator said after the speeches of McCain and Rohe. "There will come a time when you will have to answer the question -- will you stand -- not heckling from an audience where no bravery is required -- but will you stand and say what you believe when you know that heckling and laughter and boos will arise?"

"In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects."
- J. W. Fulbright

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)."
- Ayn Rand

"They are there without the proper body armor. They're there without the proper exit strategy. There is no leadership. Eight generals have come out, and maybe they know a little more than you do. Listen, you should be in Iraq. You're 22. When I was 22, I was in the military. Why aren't you there? You go. You go. Go ahead. You go and then you come back because you know what happens when we come back? Once you've served, you come back, and you're suddenly a liberal. Do you know why, Ben? Because you're only as good as the weakest. And that's why you aren't in the military."
- Randi Rhodes
in a fiery exchange to Ben Ferguson, a 22 YO Republican pundit.

Tears For Fears & Oleta Adams

In the 80's, my very favorite band was the highly underrated Tears For Fears. I still love them, and to this day they remain one of my very favorite bands. The album "The Hurting" was the score to my teenage years, in part because it was the most magnificent, depressing thing you could listen to at the time - save for The Cure's "Pornography", and in part because it was the counterpoint to all of the metal/hardcore I listened to at the time. I know, I know, hard to believe it, but I was a metalhead. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Savatage, Bad Brains, GBH, DRI, Yngwie Malmsteen, Voivod, you get the idea. What can I say, I've always been angry in one respect or another about something and this stuff really liberated that part of me. Moving on...

To this day, I regard the entirety of the albums of "Songs From The Big Chair" and "The Seeds Of Love" as some of the most perfectly crafted records ever made. It is not often that you find a full album wherein every single song is just as phenominal as the last and they are all close to perfection, and that is what these represent to me.

I remember anxiously awaiting the release of "The Seeds Of Love", which took over a year to record and almost as long to produce. It was then that I first came to be a fan of Oleta Adams. She was performing in a hotel lounge in Kansas City when TFF were on The Big Chair tour, they heard her and asked her to work with them on their follow up album. It was the break she needed to launch her career as a major label solo artist, thankfully. The day the album was released, I bought it and read the liner notes before listening to it, which is where I found a thank you to her - it read " Oleta Adams, thank you for authenticating our soul", which totally intrigued me. First listen to "Badman's Song and getting a taste of her range, I was hooked. Completely elated on the joy this music brought, I blasted that album all day long, danced all over the house, and was even inspired to completely clean the house in the process. All these years later, that album still brings the same kind of joy upon successive listenings.

Oleta's voice reminds me in many ways of a mixture between Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Anita Baker, other artists I revere. Not necessarily for any similarities in the tone of her voice, but perhaps in her deep vibrato and her unique pitch, and it's not necessarily the tone of her voice that makes her extraordinary - it's what she DOES with it, in the same vein as Holiday & Simone. (I may be crucified for saying this, but I don't think that either of those two had the best voices, it was their abilities that made them.) Every song you hear is more amazing in the last, it's incredible. Listening to her music is fantastic therapy for me. Also, I love to hear me some black girl's hollerin' when you get down to it. That and being the possessor of an extraordinary and/or unique sound will definitely score cool points with me.

I generally don't like cover songs, particularly when they're songs by artists that I adore and need no improving upon. Oleta covered one of my favorite songs of all time, Billy Joel's "New York State Of Mind", and in doing so made it one of the most soulful, heartfelt renditions I've ever heard in a cover. She pays perfect homage not only to the song, but to Billy Joel and to the frame of mind that the city inspired him to compose it. Actually, it is my very favorite cover of a song, bar none. She also did a fantastic job on Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better", with saxophonist David Sanborn. She's one of those artists that can get away with covering the great songwriters, because she always does them justice. Perhaps her most famous cover is her rendition of Brenda Russell's "Get Here", which is the single that launched her solo career. While not my favorite song by her, it is definitely a great one that she totally made her own.

I judge great music by whether or not it is something I'd listen to on a roadtrip or on the kitchen stereo while I'm cooking. The following songs are on a cd I play when I'm spending time in the kitchen. These are only available for a limited number of downloads and the links will expire in a week, so get them while the gettin's good - and listen LOUDLY!

Oleta Adams
  • Get Here
  • I've Got To Sing My Song - this song makes me wish I believed in God so I could go to black folks' church and sing my ass off.
  • You've Got To Give Me Room - still breaks my heart every time I hear it, very reminiscent of Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face".
  • I Just Had To Hear Your Voice - this one will rip you to shreds and make you want to call everyone you know to tell them that you love them.
  • Rhythm Of Life
  • New York State Of Mind - BEST. COVER. SONG. EVER.
  • Nobody Does It Better (featuring David Sanborn)
  • Circle Of One
  • Window Of Hope

Tears For Fears (featuring Oleta Adams)
  • Badman's Song - try to listen to this and sit still!
  • Woman In Chains - completely without flaw, this one.
  • Me And My Big Ideas - reminds me of a night drive in summertime.

Double Barrelled

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