If You're NOT Ready for Some Football....
Then look here for everything from Lou Dobbs canned to Woody Allen exposed, plus "Super" tunes from The Beatles, Fountains of Wayne and Tom Petty. But what's with those Lady Gaga cookies?
Let’s get right to it, as revered/dreaded Super Bowl Sunday nears. But first, to repeat something from yesterday: Few so far have taken advantage of the easy Comments aspect of this newsletter which is meant to create dialogue and build community (and often earns a personal response from me). So please join in, as well as maybe use the Share button from time to time. Also: you can drop me a line, or use Comments, to let me know what you’d like to see more—or less—of here. And: consider subscribing, it’s still free! Thanks.
Politics & Media
From QAnon to Quinoa: The Capitol insurrection “horn guy” and “QAnon Shaman” has been moved to a jail in Virginia after a federal judge ordered authorities to provide him with organic food. “Jacob Chansley was transferred to the Alexandria Detention Center after his attorney argued that his client had gone nine days without eating because organic food wasn't served at the jail in Washington. A judge ordered corrections officials to provide the special diet.” Reminder: The Sha-na-na-man was indicted on civil disorder, obstruction, disorderly conduct and other charges.
I wrote a few days ago that veteran NY Timeser Don McNeil Jr. (most recently its lead pandemic reporter) was on the hot seat over revelations that he had used a racial slur while leading a tour sponsored by his paper abroad. Late yesterday he was fired. Also exiting: Andy Mills, who produced and hosted the deeply flawed “Caliphate” podcast. Mills had also been named in sexual harassment complaints at his previous job at radio station WNYC.
Meanwhile, drink! Lou Dobbs’ show on Fox was finally cancelled last night. Perhaps it was just a ritual sacrifice following the latest lawsuit, although Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, also named in the Smartmatic action, remain.
The last remaining undecided 2020 House race—which I have followed closely for months—finally went by judge’s decision to the GOP candidate in upstate New York, Claudia Tenney, by 109 votes over incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi. The screw-ups by local elections officials were monumental, leading to this 12-week delay. Even now Brindisi is appealing and the House could decide not to seat Tenney, but likely this will reduce the Dems’ margin in the body from very slender to razor-thin.
Lady Gaga tribute Oreo cookies just hit the shelves. Speechless.
Important Mother Jones piece today on the recent NY Times account of how reporter Neil Sheehan lied to my old friend Daniel Ellsberg over and over about his handling of the Pentagon Papers. Sheehan even secretly made and kept copies of the papers after promising not to. Are unethical journalistic actions justified in cases of this importance? You be the judge. Dan himself weighs in: “I was obsessed with the fear that the FBI would arrest me before anybody had committed to publishing, getting all my copies! So I didn’t want copies lying around the Times, for someone to report eventually to the FBI, if they had no intention to publish!”
And I don’t buy the Times’, or Sheehan’s claims, about why he would not allow his core revelations about the episode to be published until after he died. I think he realized how badly he had acted (even if for a perceived greater good). As for future whistleblowers:
They are an imperiled species, thanks to ever more powerful surveillance technology, zealous prosecution under Republicans and Democrats alike, severe handling by the courts, and a news media that routinely seeks to distance itself from its helpmates once they get in trouble. Whistleblowers will continue to come forward, as they must for all our sakes, only if they can expect to be welcomed into collaborations founded on mutual respect and a shared passion for justice.
Historian Michael Beschloss, formerly stiff but now often witty on Twitter (“twitty”?), had fun yesterday imagining Trump in exile at Mar-a-Gulago.
The thick gold shag rug in the ex-leader’s darkened bedroom has been chewed along the corner, but, of course, there is no dog….Hunched over in a tiny adjacent room is the sweating butler, who once served as WH Chief of Staff, now forging and signing counterfeit fan letters to boost his boss’s plunging ego….On the bookshelves of the musty, darkened South Florida bedroom, with black and gold casino blankets nailed over the windows to keep out the sun, are fake Oscars and Emmys, right next to the counterfeit Nobel Peace Prize….So the sun goes down on the swanky Florida resort club, the bats flap their wings, the wolves scream. In the pitch-dark master bedroom, the sleepy lord of the mansion pulls the velvet rope, ordering the terrified ex-WH Chief of Staff to make another emergency run to McDonalds….
“Mr. Meadows, he had another bad night — yeah, angry rampage in his room — a lot of damage — could we please get the cleanup crew up here?”
Not long ago Virginia was for lovers…of right-wing policies. Now it is seemingly on the verge of banning the death penalty and legalizing marijuana.
Download this single for $1 to help Feeding America: Rosanne Cash, Jason Isbell, Steve Earle, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and The War and Treaty doin’ “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”
Just to get you in the mood for Super Sunday—especially if you are a KC fan or hate Tom Brady: Here are the Beatles, 1964, live, with a scorching George solo.
And if that’s not enough, maybe you need to zen out a bit before the game with this Fountains of Wayne football classic….
Race to the top: Country star Morgan Wallen's song sales have skyrocketed by 339% in the days since he was caught on camera using a racial slur.
Sad to consider that Bob Marley would have turned just 76 today. Met him, in a cloud of smoke, upstairs at Max’s in NYC in 1974 when he was part of one of the greatest double bills of all-time: Springsteen and the Wailers. They took turns opening for the other over several nights.
Fun fact: The great Peter Dinklage, after graduating from Bennington and before getting far in his acting pursuits, starred in an early -‘90s NYC punk-funk band called Whizzy.
That Questlove-directed Summer of Soul film that we previewed a few days ago just earned the biggest sale for doc ever at Sundance after winning a top prize.
I wasn’t even aware until last night that a four-part docu-series on the Woody Allen sexual abuse allegations is coming later this month via HBO. The directors, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, have over the past decade created high-profile films on abuse in the military, at colleges and in the music industry. And now they’ve spent parts of the past three years on Allen v. Farrow.
They are aware that many might feel the story has been massively covered already and with no new revelations for quite some time. But they’ve dug out new documents and the cooperation of some of Mia Farrow’s children, though not from Woody or Sun-Yi Previn.
And, for the first time, we see the videotape account from 7-year-old Dylan, shot by Farrow in the immediate wake of the accusations. The tape has become something of a hot button over the past two decades, characterized by one side as evidence of her veracity and by the other side as proof that Farrow coached her daughter in her responses. The filmmakers also raise questions about a crucial report issued by the Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic, at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, which found Dylan not credible after interviewing the child nine times during a seven-month period.
At the end of the documentary, Mia says she’s still scared of Woody, and worried about what he will do if and when he watches the series.
There’s a full review of the French series, Call My Agent (which I have already touted), in this week’s New Yorker. BTW, when you reach “a certain age,” and your hearing fades a little (even if you weren’t pounded by up-close rock ‘n roll for a solid decade)—you tend to get even more accepting of subtitles…. And here, a tribute to the old, fun, cult series Party Down.
Song Pick of the Day
One of the more underrated Super Bowl halftime shows ever, all-singing / no dancing/ no lip-synching, from the late Tom Petty, 2008.
Greg Mitchell is the author of a dozen books, including the bestseller The Tunnels (on escapes under the Berlin Wall), the current The Beginning or the End (on MGM’s wild atomic bomb movie), and The Campaign of the Century (on Upton Sinclair’s left-wing race for governor of California), which was recently picked by the Wall St. Journal as one of five greatest books ever about an election. For nearly all of the 1970s he was the #2 editor at the legendary Crawdaddy. Later he served as longtime editor of Editor & Publisher magazine. He recently co-produced a film about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and now has written and directed his first feature, Atomic Cover-up, which will have its American premiere at a festival this spring.
Thanks for this blog, Greg. It's a real treat. And, way back in the day, Crawdaddy was my favorite. More so than Rolling Stone. Glad you're keeping the spirit alive.
I was at that incredible Super Bowl in which the Giants ruined the Patriots perfect season and saw Petty's great halftime performance standing next to Chris Berman of ESPN playing air guitar together. Unforgettable.