Patterico's Pontifications


Thursday Night Music: Aladdin Sane

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:23 pm

I am not generally a fan of avant-garde jazz music, but the piano solo on this piece is one of the best piano performances I have ever heard. Pianist Mike Garson described it in this interview from 2008:

How did the world-famous piano solo on ‘Aladdin Sane’ come about?

Well, I did tell Bowie about the avant-garde thing. When I was recording the famous ‘Aladdin Sane’ track for Bowie, it was just two chords, an A and a G chord, and the band was playing very simple English rock and roll. And Bowie said: “play a solo on this.” I had just met him, so I played a blues solo, and then he said: “No, that’s not what I want.” And then I played a latin solo. Again, Bowie said: “No no, that’s not what I want.” He then continued: “You told me you play that avant-garde music. Play that!”

And I said: “Are you sure? ‘Cause you might not be working anymore!” (laughter). So I did the solo that everybody knows today, in one take. And to this day, I still receive emails about it. Every day. I always tell people that Bowie is the best producer I ever met, because he lets me do my thing.

Campaign Notes: February 4, 2016

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:44 pm


Remember how awful Steve King was for saying it looked like Ben Carson was out . . . when CNN reported that Carson was virtually skipping New Hampshire for a “change of clothes” that he could have arranged for in many ways that did not involve jetting home to Florida?

Well, at the risk of being accused of fraudulent behavior on behalf of Ted Cruz . . . it looks like Ben Carson is out, pretty much. He slashed half his staff today.


Jimmy Carter says that, if he were forced to choose between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, he would choose Trump because Trump is “completely malleable” and has no fixed opinions that he would go to the White House and fight for. Meanwhile, Cruz would actually pursue those awful right-wing policies he says he believes in. I’m Ted Cruz and I approved this message!


Pathetic, but kind of endearing. But mostly pathetic.


I didn’t get to this yesterday, but The Donald was quoted yesterday morning saying, basically, what’s a ground game?

“I think we could’ve used a better ground game, a term I wasn’t even familiar with. You know, when you hear ‘ground game,’ you say, ‘What the hell is that?’ Now I’m familiar with it,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when asked if his campaign needed better organization to win in Iowa.

Let me interject here to say that I have heard of a “ground game” and I am more than 20 years the junior of Mr. Trump. But I follow politics and have a basic level of curiosity about the subject (and about life in general). Also I am not a giant liar. Digression over. Moving on:

“I think in retrospect we should’ve had a better ground game, I would’ve funded a better ground game,” he continued. “But people told me my ground game was fine. And I think by most standards it was.”

Well. On December 19, 2015, Trump seemed to know what a ground game was, and his was totally wicked!

Christmas carols played, lights twinkled and Donald Trump touted his Iowa ground game in Cedar Rapids on Saturday.

As Christmas and caucus day inch closer, reports in The Des Moines Register and The New York Times have questioned whether Trump’s campaign has been effective in lining up precinct captains and laying the groundwork to ensure his supporters turn up on caucus day.

Trump forcefully refuted that notion Saturday in front of a crowd of more than 1,000, saying everyone would see the fruits of the campaign’s labor come Feb. 1.

“We’ve got such an incredible ground game,” he said.

Some chumps bought the line. As late as the day of the caucuses in Iowa, Steve Berman at The Resurgent told his readers: “Let’s not underestimate Trump’s ground game.” And Jazz Shaw at Hot Air told his readers on January 6, 2016 that “Trump has been quietly building a serious digital data team to turn out his voters” and that “If everyone is underestimating Trump yet again it will probably be familiar territory to him. The man seems to have made his living off that.” How does that sucking up look now?

I think I have adequately shown that Trump (like some of the chumps who bought his line of B.S.) is full of it.

Please clap.

P.S. Trump isn’t changing a thing about his ground game in New Hampshire. Which brings me to my final topic of the day:


Feel free to leave yours in the comments.

Obama at the Mosque

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:31 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Traditionally, Presidents in their final year of their final term should have wide latitude to address controversial topics, especially those that might cause some discomfort within his own base of supporters. One thinks immediately of President Eisenhower pointing out the influential “military-industrial complex,” a surprising warning from a career military man who had led the Allies to victory in the Second World War. Not all Presidents take this opportunity — Bill Clinton spent his final year trying to rehabilitate his legacy after his impeachment and George W. Bush was busy dealing with the financial collapse that closed out his Presidency on such a sad note — but in theory the President’s final year in office ought to be an opportune time to address issues of importance even at the risk of alienating some of his supporters.

So I was pleasantly surprised when along with the predictable pleas for gun control legislation and feeble defense of his miserable Mideast policy in his December address in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, President Obama had this to say about Muslims in America:

. . . If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

Though it may be relatively weak sauce, for this President to acknowledge even in a vague way that far too many Muslims are far too sanguine about the violence done in the name of Allah seemed to me to be a breakthrough of some sort, and I was hopeful that President Obama might challenge more Muslims here and abroad to become more directly engaged in the fight against extremism.

Naturally, it looks like my hopes were way premature. Yesterday, the President visited a Mosque in Baltimore to give a speech intended for the greater Muslim community. That his choice of a location raised some eyebrows even among the “moderate Muslims” the White House so fervently courts was typical of the tone-deaf arrogant ideologues that comprise this administration. But the real missed opportunity was unsurprisingly in what the President had to say to the American adherents of Islam who gathered to hear him speak. Naturally there were the typical platitudes: “Thank you for lifting up the lives of your neighbors, and for helping keep us strong and united as one American family.” There were the usual sob-stories: “I’ve had mothers write and say, ‘my heart cries every night,’ thinking about how her daughter might be treated at school.” There was a banal pean to multiculturalism: “This is a moment when, as Americans, we have to truly listen to each other and learn from each other.” And, Obama being Obama, there was every effort to insert himself personally into the debate as well as the tired recitations of one of his shop-worn clichés: “These are children just like mine. And the notion that they would be filled with doubt and questioning their places in this great country of ours [. . . ] that’s not who we are.”

To be sure, the President did mix in a pretty mild call for Muslims to drop their religious chauvinism and to be vigilant against extremist voices who would seek to recruit within their communities (though, notably, not one word was mentioned about the potential for newly arrived “refugees” from “Syria” to promote the siren song of radicalism). He also issued a very pro forma challenge for them to speak out against persecution of Christians and Jews in Muslim-dominated societies (though Obama appears to willfully ignore the fact that the strident secularism in countries like France is proving to be as inhospitable to Jews as the rise of Islamism, probably because his favored policies here promote the strident secularism fashionable in Europe). He even made a somewhat oblique reference to the notion that Muslims should be interested in military service, again ignoring mostly avoiding the uncomfortable truth that Muslims in some Western countries have shown more willingness to join ISIS than to join their new nation’s armed forces.

But worst of all in the President’s address to the Muslim community of Baltimore was one quick clause in a sentence that seemed to tip the hand of the Professor of Constitutional Law as to what he really thinks of the First Amendment. In bloviating on the need for us to watch what we say about Islam, he uncorked the following:

So the best way for us to fight terrorism is to deny these organizations legitimacy and to show that here in the United States of America, we do not suppress Islam; we celebrate and lift up the success of Muslim Americans. That’s how we show the lie that they’re trying to propagate. We shouldn’t play into terrorist propaganda. And we can’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem. That betrays our values. [Emphasis added]

Think about that for a moment. The phrase “we can’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem” appears in both the President’s spoken remarks and in the official published version on the White House Press Secretary website, meaning that phrase was drafted and approved by the Administration. Note that telling the American people what they “can’t” say appears immediately after the President makes the more palatable suggestion that we “shouldn’t” help terrorists by bullying Muslims. Wouldn’t a more facile thinker with a sincere respect for the First Amendment have switched the placement of the verbs in the two sentences? We can’t play into the terrorist propaganda. And we shouldn’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem. Or, if the oratorical geniuses in the speechwriting team didn’t think that soared enough for Obama’s tastes, they could have switched the order of the two sentences: “We shouldn’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem. We can’t play into the terrorist propaganda.” Instead, Obama comes off sounding like most modern Western progressives, suggesting that he is willing to sacrifice free speech on the altar of mollifying a fashionable victim group.

It’s going to be a long, long year ahead of us.

[Note: post-publication edit made to choose more accurate word; noted above with the crossed-out original.]


NYT Op-Ed: Cruz Victory Not Historic Because He Doesn’t Meet the “Conventional Expectations” of a Latino

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

Which are, of course, to be a Democrat.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio Made History. Didn’t You Hear?

DEFYING most polls and predictions, a Latino won the Republican Iowa caucuses, and another Latino came in third. Together, they won more than half the vote.

With Senator Ted Cruz taking nearly 28 percent of the vote and Senator Marco Rubio getting 23 percent, each vastly surpassed the results for any other Latino candidate in any previous United States presidential contest.

How is that not being celebrated as historic or at least worth a headline for a day or two?

The answer is not that complicated: Neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Rubio meets conventional expectations of how Latino politicians are supposed to behave.

Oh? And how is that?

Neither of these candidates claims to speak for the Hispanic population or derive a crucial portion of their support from Hispanics, and neither bases much of his political identity on being a Latino. To varying degrees they oppose legalization for unauthorized immigrants, a policy that is central to most organized Latino political interests and that is supported by a great majority of Latino elected officials and Latino voters.

The final claim is obvious bullshit, since Rubio and Cruz never shut up about their Cuban heritage. And the claim that Rubio opposes legalization to any degree, when he actually supports a path to citizenship, is also just false. Really, what this “analysis” boils down to is that they’re not authentic Latinos because they’re not Democrats. Oh, but it gets better!

No less an arbiter than Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor, seemed to condemn them without naming names in a column last month. “There is no greater disloyalty than the children of immigrants forgetting their own roots. That is a betrayal,” he wrote. It is criticism that echoes the rhetoric aimed at Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court and other successful members of minority groups who are perceived as failing to uphold their own group’s interests.

“No less an arbiter than Jorge Ramos” is a phrase that mocks itself, but there’s no law that says we can’t pile on:

More of that good identity politics analysis:

We learned that when Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign took off with a victory in Iowa. In 2008 the voters got to know a politician whose ancestry and upbringing were far from typical of the African-American population but who nonetheless served as that population’s tribune in powerful ways.

By being a Democrat.

Mr. Obama walked his own tightrope by striving not to be defined by his race even as his political strategy depended on rallying black voters to his cause.

Because he’s a Democrat.

It’s a whole piece devoted to justifying the notion that Cruz’s victory was not really historic. Because, yes, he’s a minority — but he’s a minority Republican, don’t you see. So that doesn’t count.

At least now you know why nobody’s talking about Cruz’s historic victory.

Except: you already knew why, didn’t you?

P.S. Yes, the piece also talks about Rubio — but Rubio doesn’t really matter here because you see, Rubio hasn’t done anything historic yet. Coming in third, despite what the media might try to tell you, is not really that “historic.”

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