Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Even deeper trouble for Cuomo, plus politics and media hot takes and music from Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and Jeff Buckley--and Brandi Carlile does Johnny Cash.

Have a great Tuesday. If you have time, you might catch up with chapter two of my memoir-in-progress from Saturday and/or with my tribute to Sam Cooke on Sunday via fifteen songs and videos. And now, onward. Feel free to Comment or Share. Or subscribe—it’s free!

News & Politics

Trevor Noah: “I watched CPAC and WandaVision this weekend, and I’m not sure which characters are living in a more warped reality.” James Corden: “Trump said ‘Did you miss me?’ which is literally what every movie villain says when they come back.”

Andy Borowitz claims this happened: “A furious Josh Hawley announced on Monday that he would attempt to overturn the results of last weekend’s CPAC straw poll, which showed him to be the choice of only three per cent of attendees. Claiming that there was ‘widespread fraud’ in the way that the straw poll was conducted, he demanded urgent action to ‘stop the steal.’”

FBI director Wray at hearing this morning: No evidence there were fake Trump supporters involved in siege at Capitol on January 6th.

Another sex harassment (“Can I kiss you”) charge against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Paging Sen. Gillibrand: She lobbied hard and fast for Al Franken’s resignation but so far has just called for an “investigation” of Cuomo, who has already agreed to one.

The Onion mocks Cuomo as a media favorite:

Acknowledging the New York governor’s impressive leadership skills, members of the nation’s media praised Andrew Cuomo Monday for his decisive, straight-talking approach to harassing his aides. “His ability to recognize a female staffer and immediately take actions necessary to make her uncomfortable is exactly what you want to see in a leader,” said MSNBC’s Brian Williams, who, along with dozens of other journalists across the country, applauded the governor for getting straight to the point when asking an employee about her sex life and acting swiftly and decisively to kiss another aide before she could object. “He not only stepped up to the challenge of making unwanted advances against his colleagues but also made inappropriate comments about their bodies consistently and doggedly.”

Politico this morning:

During a private meeting with her leadership team Monday night, Pelosi laid out plans to turn her chamber the next two weeks into a factory for Democratic priorities. They’ll move everything from election reform to a policing overhaul to gun control, plus women’s and union rights and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. They’re all things Biden campaigned for, and they’re all DOA in the Senate. Some may not garner even a single Republican vote, let alone the 10 needed to break a filibuster. Pressure on Democrats from progressives to kill the filibuster is sure to mount as the party’s unfulfilled promises pile up. But lest we need a reminder, Sen. Joe Manchin when asked Monday whether he’d ever change his mind on changing the supermajority rule, barked “JESUS CHRIST! What don’t you understand about NEVER?!”

Twitter announced it's going to start labeling Covid vaccine misinformation—and warns that repeat violators will face permanent bans.

John Oliver’s main segment this week on faulty and dangerous police raids is quite excellent. On a lighter note, here’s the entire Cop Rock “baby merchant” song he had so much fun with, looking back to a time when police were given way too big a pass.

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Revealing detail in the new Allen-Parnes book titled Lucky (the first on the Trump-Biden campaign for White House), just out today: “Planners of the Democratic Party's virtual convention thought about featuring a national map that would highlight the locations of various speakers, thus countering the notion that the party was a club for coastal elites — only to can the idea when they realized multiple speakers would be broadcasting from Martha's Vineyard."

I love Jacob Lawrence and now another one of his missing paintings had turned up in NYC—in the dining room of a nurse. Great story. "After she had connected the dots, she called the Met, but her messages went unreturned."

Music

Brandi Carlile, who I’ve loved for years, writes a lengthy tribute to the Indigo Girls at Rolling Stone. Much of it is on their influence on her. She also announced her first full-band concert during the shutdown for two charities at the end of the month. And speaking of influences: Here’s Brandi and the twins doing a J.R. Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Finally there’s a Jeff Buckley biopic coming, the first time his family has okayed one, and with full use of music. Reeve Carney will star. Vintage Jeff, from short career, below.

Born on this day in 1942: Lewis Allen “Lou” Reed, in Brooklyn. Never met him during the 1970s beyond our scary meet-up backstage after a 1973 Springsteen concert (as I chronicled recently here), though I heard plenty of—unprintable—stories at that time. I do recall attending one of his poetry readings in NYC in the 1980s with fellow fan David Corn. A few years later he gave a tremendous speech inducting Leonard Cohen into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Now I live just over the hill from where he was given shock therapy as a teen. A few years after that he would give us plenty of the same. Hey sugar, “Take a Walk On the Wild Side”:

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Film

Trailer just dropped for the Netflix doc on the college admissions scandal (directed by guy who did Fyre).

UPDATE: My first film, Atomic Cover-up, has been selected by the major Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose for its U.S. premiere later this month. The festival page for film now has link for tickets at just $3.99 for any time between March 20-30. Rod Lurie, director of hit film The Outpost, wrote on Monday, “There's a reason I agreed to intro this documentary. It isn't just brilliantly done —it's a fucking historical first, including images from the Japanese atomic bomb devastation that were suppressed for decades. If you're a history student it is malpractice to not see the movie.”

Media

Wash Post: Fox News was directly involved in financing the CPAC conference. “The network spent $250,000 through its Fox Nation streaming service to become a leading CPAC sponsor, according to the Daily Beast.” Last year it only contributed $28,000. My guess: under pressure with that crowd increasingly turning to wretched Newsmax and OAN.

I covered extensively ace reporter Donald G. McNeil getting forced out at the NY Times after the “N-word” controversy broke. He promised to weigh in once he was gone, and now he has in four-parter at Medium. The Times itself covers that here. “It’s been quite baffling,“ McNeil wrote, “and painful for me to have people assume I’m a racist and believe that I said the ridiculous things I’m accused of saying — that ‘racism is over,’ that ‘white supremacy doesn’t exist,’ or ‘white privilege doesn’t exist,’ or that I defended the use of blackface or said horrible things about black teenagers in general….What’s happened to me has been called a ‘witch hunt.’ It isn’t. It’s a series of misunderstandings and blunders.”

Closes with:

Obviously, I badly misjudged my audience in Peru that year. I thought I was generally arguing in favor of open-mindedness and tolerance — but it clearly didn’t come across that way….Although the students liked me in 2018, some of those in 2019 clearly detested me. I do not see why their complaints should have ended my career at the Times two years later. But they did. And now I’d like to put this behind me. I had hoped to be remembered as a good science reporter whose work saved lives. Not for this.

Books

Special promo today$1.99 for ebook—for my current The Beginning or the End, on how Truman and the military sabotaged the first movie, from MGM, on the atomic bomb and Hiroshima. Deal is at Amazon and other leading outlets.

Song Pick of the Day

While we’re honoring Lou Reed, why not add Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye (all three wrote for me at Crawdaddy) with this Velvets’ classic “Pale Blue Eyes” at the band’s Hall of Fame induction.

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.