Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:26 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I hope you’ve had a good week! Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share anything you think would interest readers. Make sure to include links.

First news item

Let’s be very clear: schools will open when teachers’ unions say they can:

It’s been more than a year since schools closed for the COVID-19 virus. Across the country and across the world, schools have opened up, full-time, for students.

But those of us unlucky enough to live in places with powerful teachers unions and, more importantly, weak leadership, have heard excuse after excuse how it’s just not possible here.

Enough. Open the schools.

Stop lying to parents and dangling promises. Just open.


Union leaders/members can mask-up and meet in person for important business but students can’t mask-up and meet in person with their teachers for the really important business of learning???

Second news item

Not so fast there, President Biden:

Biden said, “You go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want, and no background check.”

This is overstated. If you go to a gun show and buy a firearm from a federally licensed seller, you will have to pass a background check, just as if you went to a bricks-and-mortar gun store. You would only escape a background check at a gun show if you bought from a seller who isn’t federally licensed.

While the data is incomplete, federally licensed sellers have been found to make up a substantial share, and perhaps a majority, of gun show vendors.

We rate Biden’s statement Mostly False.

Third news item

Why let a crisis go to waste when there’s money to be made off of it:

U.S. Rep. Matt Getz started fundraising off a still unfolding sex scandal that could put him in prison…asked for checks to be sent to the campaign account Friends of Matt Gaetz.

“Here we go again,” the email begins. “Just another media hoax. Do you remember the fake Russia Hoax? Their attempt to frame General (Michael) Flynn? I do… and now they are coming for me.”

“They have smeared my name while creating another partisan witch hunt, all because I dared to stand up to them,” Gaetz wrote.

“I will not back down from the Fake News hacks that want to destroy me and America-First patriots like you. I am more determined than ever to shut down this HOAX, and I am glad to have President Trump on my side.”

“The D.C. Swamp protects its own, and their media puppets are going all-out with fake, salacious stories to try to take me down,” Gaetz wrote. “These are the actions of a corrupt Establishment that is seeking to take out Trump supporters… BUT I WON’T BACK DOWN.”

While the House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into the allegations against Gaetz, he’s been busy schmoozing it up with the most gullible gals on earth:

Fourth news item

Succumbing to peer pressure:

President Joe Biden announced Friday he is forming a commission to study possible changes at the Supreme Court, responding to a call from liberals to expand the nine-member bench to blunt former President Donald Trump’s impact on the court.

Biden promised to name the commission as a candidate amid an outcry from Democrats over Trump’s nomination of three Supreme Court justices, including the rapid confirmation of Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett just before the election, and a bevy of lower court judges that tilted the federal judiciary to the right.

The push for change at the nation’s highest court, where conservatives now have a 6-3 advantage, has put a squeeze on the White House. Throughout the campaign, Biden hedged when asked whether he supported expanding the court, though he allowed in October that he was “not a fan of court-packing.”


During the primary, Biden was consistent in his opposition to court-packing. He said during a Democratic presidential debate last October that he “would not get into court-packing,” adding, “We had three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”

He reiterated his position and this rationale when a voter asked him about his position on expanding the court during a town hall in Iowa later in December. He also told the Iowa Starting Line earlier this year that he opposed court-packing because Democrats will “live to rue the day.”


Fifth news item

Alabama Amazon warehouse workers says no to forming a union:

The vast majority of votes cast by Amazon’s workers in Bessemer, Ala., were against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in a stinging defeat of the union drive. The final tally showed 1,798 votes against unionizing and 738 votes in favor of the union…The retail union is now filing a legal challenge to the election and charges of unfair labor practices against Amazon. It’s requesting a hearing by the National Labor Relations Board “to determine if the results of the election should be set aside because conduct by the employer created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees’ freedom of choice.”

Sixth news item

Just get the vaccine already:

Criminals are looking to cash in on the U.S. immunization push against COVID-19 by selling forgeries of government-issued “vaccination record cards” that show people have been inoculated.

Hundreds of fraudsters are selling blank or forged versions of the cards over ecommerce sites including eBay, Etsy and Shopify, while also running advertisements for the fakes on Facebook, according to Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakespot, which uses artificial intelligence to detect online retail scams. And with names such as, such sellers are hardly discreet.

The report says that it’s likely anti-vaxxers are purchasing the cards. They don’t want to get the vaccine but want whatever access a card can provide them (potentially air travel, schools, gyms, churches, etc.) So getting a vaccine to help you stay healthy is bad, but willfully lying and breaking the law to get a fake vaccination card is good???

Seventh news item


Russian and Chinese government officials have recently teamed up to publicly accuse the U.S. of creating biological weapons near their borders and suggesting that Americans are responsible for creating COVID-19.

Speaking to the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant on Thursday, Nikolai Patrushev, Russia’s Security Council secretary, said: “I suggest that you pay attention to the fact that biological laboratories under U.S. control are growing by leaps and bounds all over the world. And—by a strange coincidence—mainly near the Russian and Chinese borders.”… China’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Lijian Zhao…tweeted: “The US bio-military activities are not transparent, safe or justified. In Ukraine alone, the US has set up 16 bio-labs. Why does the US need so many labs all over the world? What activities are carried out in those labs, including the one in Fort Detrick?”


Primavera (“Spring”) by Sandro Boticelli

Have a great weekend.


Republican Candidates: Choose Trump or Cut Ties With Him (ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:58 am

[guest post by Dana]

This caught my eye. It’s from a piece about Gov. DeSantis of Florida and the most politically potent path past Trump:

Smart Democrats know their present majority is fragile indeed. Smart Democrats know that the 2020 results were both encouraging (they won, after all) and sobering. The polls promised a greater victory than Biden won, they almost lost the House, and they likely would have lost the Senate but for Trump’s deranged post-election crusade. Smart Democrats know that if Biden stumbles, the GOP’s path to the White House is broad and wide.

At the same time, smart Republicans know that they have their own profound problems. How do you hold an angry base while recapturing suburbanites who were repulsed by the incompetence and corruption of the Trump administration? Perhaps by governing well and fighting hard for a righteous cause. If that’s the playbook, then DeSantis has an early edge—and he’s gained that edge almost entirely on his own, without the meaningful assistance of the GOP leader he may well replace.

Meanwhile, I see that candidates (at least some) are cutting the ties with Trump from the get-go. Michael Wood is running for Congress in a very crowded field for the May 1 special election in Texas. He was just endorsed by the Dallas Morning News, and by Rep. Adam Kinzinger:

I also believe that it’s time for the Republican Party to move past Donald Trump. If we continue to put his interests above our own, we will lose to Democrats for a generation. Like many of you when faced with an increasingly radicalized Democratic Party, I voted for Donald Trump in 2020. However, his actions since election day have forfeited his right to ever lead my party again. We are not the party of conspiracy theories and Q’Anon. We can be again the party of ideas.

And from his campaign website:

The Republican Party has lost its way and now is the time to fight for its renewal. We were once a party of ideas, but we have devolved into a cult of personality. This must end, and Texas must lead the way.

I’m also linking to an interview he did today with an exasperated pro-Trump Mark Davis. Wood, however, held his own rather nicely.

On the flip-side, Marco Rubio was just endorsed by Donald Trump this morning in his reelection bid in Florida:

“It is my honor to give U.S. Senator Marco Rubio my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump said in a statement. “Marco has been a tireless advocate for the people of Florida, fighting to cut taxes, supporting our Second Amendment, our Military and our Vets, a strong national defense, and all of the forgotten men and women of America.”

Both Rubio and Trump are expected to appear at the Republican National Committee’s spring donor retreat in Palm Beach, Fla., over the weekend.

This is unsurprising for the two peas in a pod:

And as is often the case with the former president, Trump’s support apparently owed in significant part to that Republican having said things about Trump that Trump liked.

After praising Rubio as a champion for his constituents, Trump added, “He also ruled that ‘President Trump was in no way involved with Russia,’ as he presided over the Senate Intelligence Committee on the FAKE Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax.”

This is, to put it gently, a highly oversimplified and misleading review of what the Senate Intelligence Committee report actually found. But it is also one that Rubio played into and has now benefited from, with his campaign pushing out Trump’s endorsement statement.

Republicans will be pressed to make a choice as they make their bids for reelection: cut the ties with Trump and move past the cult of personality, or seek his endorsement (signifying his continuing power and influence over the Republican Party) and maintain the status quo.


“Layla” Outro: Stolen

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 8:29 am

You learn something new every day.

If you’ve not heard this before, it’s likely the most amazing thing you will hear all day:

Ignore the vocal line and focus on the piano part and the harmony. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it was stolen for the outro of “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton’s band at the time). It was famously used in “Goodfellas.”

Rita Coolidge has spoken about this.

Coolidge says in her memoir Delta Lady (via the Miami Herald): “We played the song for Eric Clapton in England. I remember sitting at the piano in Olympic Studios while Eric listened to me play it. Jim and I left a cassette of the demo, hoping of course that he might cover it.”

She “largely forgot about it” after that – until she heard Layla after she and [Jim] Gordon had split up. “I was infuriated,” she remembers.

“What they had clearly done was take the song Jim and I had written, jettisoned the lyrics and tacked it to the end of Eric’s song. It was almost the same.”

Coolidge approach Clapton’s manager at the time, Robert Stigwood. But she says she was told: “You’re going to go up against the Robert Stigwood Organisation? Who do you think you are? You’re a girl singer.”

She adds: “There was no way Jim could have forgotten we’d written the song together. And I don’t think Eric could have, either.”

In 2011, Derek And The Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock supported Coolidge’s version of events, saying in an interview: “Jim took the melody from Rita’s song and didn’t give her credit for writing it. Her boyfriend ripped her off. I knew – but nobody would listen to or believe me.”

She could try to sue Gordon, I guess . . . except that he went on to become the police commissioner of Gotham “has been in prison since murdering his mother in a psychotic incident in 1983.” But what if she sued Clapton? Well, if she sued for copyright infringement and it went to trial in L.A., a jury would rule against her as long as Clapton testified and the jury thought he’d throw them a party afterwards as a reward. (Yes, I’m still bitter about the “Stairway to Heaven” verdict.)

Thefts and imitations can be a confounding thing. In the “Stairway to Heaven” case, I have had many people tell me they don’t hear the similarity to “Taurus,” the Spirit song that Led Zeppelin stole. I don’t see how anyone could miss it.

Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit on a 1968 tour — the same year Taurus was released. But Robert Plant testified that he hadn’t heard the song — an obvious lie, in my view — and a star-struck jury bought it. (I never heard whether they got their party. I don’t think they did.)

You can tell I am convinced the beginning of “Stairway to Heaven” was stolen. Yet Rick Beato, who knows his music, has this (in my view totally unconvincing) defense of Led Zeppelin as simply using a common line cliche.

Similarly, I was stunned the day I listened to the end of Dvorak’s “Dumky Trio” and heard the theme to “E.T.”

But when I blogged about that in 2007, I noted that a friend of mine who is a musical expert had advised me to go easy on the criticism of Williams, as borrowing is common in classical music. I am a genuine admirer of John Williams, but I think it’s fair to note that some of his music is clearly derivative of other music (think Darth Vader’s theme and “Mars” from Holst’s “The Planets” (more here) as one of many examples.) But Williams did add a lot of value to the stuff he borrowed from, and is a giant among musicians, in my view.

All that said, Jim Gordon absolutely stole from Rita Coolidge, and she deserves credit.

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