Jul 282015
 

The long-time principal timpanist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Everett “Vic” Firth, has died, at age 85. Firth joined the BSO in 1952 and became principal timpanist in 1956 until his retirement in 2002. The timpani are also known as “kettledrums.” According to the Boston Globe, former BSO music director Seiji Ozawa noted, “Vic puts his timpani into the very core of the musical pulse, and that affects everything else that happens in the orchestra.”

Besides being a professional musician and timpanist, Vic Firth was also an entrepreneur. In the early 1960s he founded his own drumstick and mallet making company, Vic Firth, Inc., now known as Vic Firth Company which had merged with Avedis Zildjian, a maker of cymbals. According to Wikipedia, the Vic Firth drumsticks are manufactured in Newport, Maine, USA. Apparently, the Vic Firth drumsticks are the favorites of many famous drummers, according to that Wikipedia page. (And that included the late Buddy Rich, as well.) Here is the Vic Firth Company’s YouTube channel, featuring some of those drummers.

Here is Vic Firth explaining how he started his company:

And now the company makes 12 million sticks per year.

And here is the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch, performing the Beethoven Symphony No. 4 from the late 1950s. You can see a young, 20-something dude Vic Firth playing the timpani here. Vic comes in at about 3:50, and plays throughout the piece. The video only captures him at certain other times, such as 11:35 and around 19:42 concluding the 2nd movement. (And I have also posted the BSO playing the Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3Scottish” from the 1950s as well.) I tried to find a Boston Symphony video — and there are many at YouTube — with that orchestra performing later works which highlight the virtuosity of the timpanist, such as the Nielsen 4th Symphony, but that was a difficult search. So here is the Beethoven 4th:

Vic Firth is the 2nd former Boston Symphony Orchestra member who has died this year. In May, former BSO principal trumpet Rolf Smedvig died at only 62 years of age.

No Olympics in Boston

 Posted by at 7:41 am
Jul 282015
 

The private “Boston 2024″ group has finally lost in its frantic bid to get the U.S. Olympic Committee to choose Boston to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. That group of hacktivists was being very dishonest and unforthcoming in its tactics, including creating a second bid, “2.0,” while redacting some of the details in its original bid. Howie Carr has a good summary of the various tactics and shady shenanigans of those involved. This whole scheme was really a scam from the get-go that would have benefited political hacks and their special interest union thugs and business cronies, and would have been not only a financial disaster for Boston and surrounding communities but a disaster, period. Boston and the greater Boston area are just too small, many of the streets are old and narrow. There already is congestion and gridlock on a daily basis. It would be nuts to have the Olympics in Boston! And then there’s the police state. The security goons are bad enough now with the TSA and other evil agencies infiltrating our cities. But with an event as huge as an International Olympics the Fourth and Fifth Amendment will not exist, and probably not the First Amendment either. Any protesters would be “disappeared,” probably permanently. I wonder which unfortunate city will be the next victim of the State-worshiping, totalitarian-loving Olympics?

Jul 272015
 

I’ve heard Carly Fiorina interviewed a few times now just in the past few days. She brags about her connection to the CIA like it’s a good thing. No, Ms. Fiorina, associating with the CIA is a bad thing, and shame on you for that. (And shame on Amazon.com as well.) But then, the CIA is no different a criminal agency than all the other agencies of the federal regime illicitly ruling over us. Fiorina talks about the “pro-abortion” lobby with a sneer. She has a very aggressive tone and it’s just too pit bull-ish, for a female. I’m sure that sounds sexist, but there are a lot of voters who don’t find that particularly appealing in a female candidate for President. I know, we shouldn’t take into account the candidate’s gender and all that, but it’s there, and that’s the way it is, and it really is part of the equation. She seems like the GOP version of Elizabeth Warren. Now, one might say that such an attitude is what got Ms. Warren elected to the Senate, when no, it was Scott Brown’s obnoxiousness and incompetence that helped Warren win. I like the matter-of-fact approach, without the sneering and aggressiveness. Past female candidates who have impressed me include Carla Howell and Evelyn Murphy.

Fiorina is an extreme interventionist in foreign affairs, and doesn’t like the idea of live and let live, as is the case with most of these politicians. We have had progressively worse low-lifes getting elected President, especially the past 4 or 5, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, and the next one is going to be an even worse low-life. I think I know which one that is, and the one that most people have been predicting for quite a while, unfortunately.

Jul 262015
 

I was listening to Meet the Repressed which is replayed on Bloomberg radio. At the beginning Upchuck Todd said that something “wreaked havoc,” except that he pronounced it “reeked havoc,” like it smells really bad. I always thought it was pronounced “reck,” not “reek,” but I see online that it is pronounced either way. But that’s not how I remember that. But what really reeks is this awful, smelly Presidential campaign. Upchuck interviewed Sen. Bernie Sanders, who again called for raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. But Bernie, what if some working families still can’t make enough to pay their bills with $15/hour? So why not make it $20/per hour just to be sure? But what if a working family with three kids still can’t make ends meet at $20/hour? Why not $25? And regarding his comments on the “institutional racism” in America mainly with police against black people, he said that the poverty level is too high within minorities, and that’s the main problem here. Well, when you keep raising the minimum wage and employers (of black teenaged workers) can no longer afford to pay the higher wages and so they cut those jobs, perhaps that’s a good explanation for the financial difficulties among minorities and lack of jobs available especially in the cities? I don’t think that Bernie Sanders is related to Col. Sanders, or Walt Sanders, but he could be related to Larry Sanders, as Bernie does provide us with a lot of comedy.

Obama says there aren’t enough gun laws. Each year there are more and more gun laws, but we seem to have more gun-related violence, and more of those mass shootings in which the shooter obtained guns legally and by passing background checks. In Obama’s hometown of Chicago they have had very strict gun laws, yet there are new gun-related deaths just about every day, or so it seems. The “progressive” activists and their followers live in a fantasy world in which criminals will actually obey laws restricting guns while they violate laws against assault, rape, robbery and murder. But like most pols, Obama craves power, and disarming innocent people while seizing more power for the government satisfies these predator pols’ lust for more power. He obviously doesn’t want the honest, innocent civilian to have the means to protect oneself. The Democrats and progressives and leftists’ minions and dupes just can’t seem to understand common sense. At the same time, the Republicans talk a good game on the people’s “right” to self-defense, but in the end they love power, too. When there is civil unrest, the Republicans and 2nd Amendment conservatives will want to seize the guns from the civilians and will want only government police and military to have weapons. That’s the way politicians are.

In fact, we now have a totalitarian system in which the schools are now assessing every little kid’s “threat level” from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Can you believe this? So if a little 5-year-old is acting as little 5-year-olds do, he will get a “pre-crime” assessment which will hang with him for the rest of his life. In other education news, in Iowa the government schools had an anti-bullying conference for middle school LGBT students. Among some of the lectures, according to the Daily Caller, they heard “how to pleasure their gay partners,” “how to sew fake testicles into their underwear in order to pass themselves off as boys,” and “how pleasurable it is for gay couples to eat each other’s behinds and how using flavored oils can improve the taste.” The featured speaker was a drag performer who “encouraged attendees to vandalize the property of critics.” (What a shock! That at a freak show they would encourage violence, I’m shocked!) So, until the federal Department of Education began in 1980, the U.S. usually ranked #1 in education compared to other countries, but since then America has steadily declined in educational rankings. And these newest stories are probably indicators of that continuing trend.

Jul 242015
 

I have posted this video by Larken Rose before but it’s worth posting again. A lot of people are in denial about America turning totalitarian in the same kind of way that many other countries did during the 20th Century. There are not only the same kind of government apparatus in place and all the governmental intrusions and controls (e.g. ObamaCare, NSA spying, restrictions on travel and commerce), but America has a degenerate culture which consists of millions of people who nonchalantly deny the humanity of certain others in order to justify violence. We now have the abortion industry selling body parts of aborted babies and speaking of them as mere inanimate objects. We have a very powerful collective of leftists who commit acts of violence and threats thereof against others, with the leftist aggressors claiming victimhood and blaming whole groups as being guilty of acts which never occurred. And we have a generation of post-9/11 warriors who went to Iraq and other places and knowingly shot up, raped and murdered innocent civilians, “Ay-rabs” and “ragheads” and speak of them as subhuman as well. There are plenty of nationalists, “patriots” and ditto-heads who see foreigners bombing or murdering innocent Americans as “terrorists,” but see Americans bombing and murdering innocent foreigners as “freedom fighters.” So all these people on the Left and the other side, who categorize some humans as subhuman and whose harm or death can be justified, are pretty much the same kinds of degenerates as far as I’m concerned. The ditto-heads ought not act appalled at the Planned Parenthood dehumanizing of unborn babies when the same “conservatives” have been supporting the U.S. government’s death and destruction and murder of innocents overseas for decades.

So with the kind of degenerate attitudes that millions of Americans have now, combined with the apparatus of government powers and controls now in place, yes, the same kind of results which were seen in Nazi Germany and Soviet Union can absolutely happen here. But as Becky Akers pointed out, the only way for the degenerates to implement their murderous lusts on a larger scale is via the State apparatus. Private, non-State individuals or groups can’t apprehend, detain, incarcerate, assault, shoot, or murder innocents and get away with it. Only agents of the State have that illicit power. The Holocaust and the tens of millions of murders in Europe and Asia during the 20th Century were caused not by the private sector, by businessmen or capitalists, but by governments. And private civilians or businessmen were not the ones who disarmed the Jews in Nazi Germany, as the arms-confiscators were those employed by the government.

More News and Commentary

 Posted by at 11:33 am
Jul 242015
 

Jacob Hornberger discusses Greece and why economic freedom for everyone is important for prosperity, and discusses the true libertarian view on the immigration issue.

Article from 2008 by Laurence Vance: Is John McCain a war hero or a war criminal?

Becky Akers points out the indecent State’s hatred for decency.

Glenn Greenwald says that the spirit of Judith Miller is alive and well at the New York Times.

Dan Sanchez writes about Jim Crow in Israel.

Robert Wenzel says there’s no such thing as “identity theft.”

Kirkpatrick Sale says nullification and secession are the real answers to the loss of “states’ rights.”

Paul Joseph Watson on the violence and threats of violence made by the Left.

Daniel McAdams on Congress voting to take your passport.

Michael Novak compares Pope John Paul II’s economic views to the current pope.

Ryan McMaken says that immigrants aren’t the only ones who shouldn’t be voting.

Paul Gottfried has some afterthoughts on the taking down of the Confederate flag.

And Paul Craig Roberts addresses the Civil War, slavery and racism.

Jul 232015
 

Besides the obviously Soviet-influenced Democrat federal judge ordering Dinesh D’Souza to continue psychological counseling for having bad judgment regarding campaign contributions which violated petty and useless federal laws, now we have a retired General Wesley Clark who calls for internment camps for political dissidents in Amerika, referring more to “sedition” and ISIS-sympathizers. But we know what these hacks really mean when they refer to “sedition.”

Clark says that free speech does not include “sedition.” If someone is a critic of U.S. government policy of bombing innocents in Syria and Iraq, that is being a “sympathizer,” and thus, “seditious.” So let’s round up those “disloyal Americans,” and “segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict,” which, by the way, is a so-called “conflict” entirely of the U.S. government’s making. It was the U.S. government that started two wars of aggression against Iraq, 1991 and 2003, creating the chaos and sharia theocracy that Iraq is today, thanks to the two Bush Presidents. There would be no ISIS if it weren’t for the father/son George Bushes.

And Gen. Clark is worried about “homegrown ISIS cells,” which is exactly what the bureaucrats were telling us about al-Qaeda 14 years ago. But really, this war and ISIS crap is an excuse for the collectivist totalitarians who hate freedom to just incarcerate all Muslims for the crimes of just a few, and for the anti-free speech Left in America to get those critics of leftist causes such as transgender and LGBT issues, and get those Tea Party conservatives and traditionalists. Already the IRS is going after the conservatives, as you’ve probably already heard. And the NSA is sponsoring Summer camps for those youngins who want to spy on their neighbors and rat out those who are not with the program, i.e. conservatives, Christians and critics of Obama and Hillary. Yeah, those “disloyal Americans.”

Speaking of LGBT issues, there was some study in the news recently pointing out that a high percentage of lesbians are obese. The $3.5 million study is still going on after five years, and we still don’t know why lesbians are more obese than non-lesbian females and homosexual males. So why are 75% of lesbians obese? Perhaps because they eat too much? Ya think? And perhaps they eat bad foods, processed foods and junk, just like a lot of people. Perhaps there are some psychological things going on with these people, in which they experience a lack of emotional needs being met and are making up for that by substituting it with extra food, and unhealthy food as well? Perhaps that would explain why the lesbian couple went after the Christian bakers with extortion and harassment, acts which normal, decent individuals just wouldn’t do in a civilized society. Something going on there? Certainly more than something psychological going on with Dinesh D’Souza that would cause him to make “illegal” contributions to a political candidate. That’s a terrible thing to do! They’re out there, as Jerry Williams used to say.

By the way, there was a talk radio host here named John DePetro who in 2006 got fired from WRKO because he called Green Party candidate Grace Ross a “fat lesbian.” Now, one, she really was “fat,” and two, she really was a “lesbian.” According to the Boston Globe, WRKO spokesman George Regan stated, “This corporation has zero tolerance for this type of nonsense … It will not be tolerated. We are now in the process of an investigation. [Oooh, an “investigation”! …] Mr. DePetro will not be heard on the airwaves of WRKO-AM tomorrow morning.” And that settled that one, for sure.

And responding to all that, Grace Ross said that the “real issue here is that we have a whole subculture of right-wing talk show hosts who think they’re more important than they are.” Well, things never change, do they? We have a subculture of militarists like Wesley Clark, John Bolton, and other neocons who want to jail Muslims or bomb Iran, and their fellow totalitarians on the Left who want to jail Christians and Tea Partiers who speak out in favor of private property and freedom of association.

Soviet Amerika is here, everyone. Have fun!

Some More Misc. Items

 Posted by at 11:35 am
Jul 202015
 

Jonathan Turley discusses the federal judge ordering Dinesh D’Souza to have psychological counseling for his incorrect views.

William Grigg on the Amerikan-Soviet system of forced “tolerance” via administrative “law.”

Justin Raimondo analyzes the “liberal” police state.

Butler Shaffer comments on the Confederate flag issue.

Rad Geek on burning the American flag.

Ron Paul discusses his new book, Swords into Plowshares, with Tom Woods.

Jacob Hornberger says that Iran’s criminal justice system reminds us of ours.

Walter Williams on secession.

Gary Galles discusses the intellectual intolerance behind “check your privilege.”

Glenn Greenwald asks, Can attacking the military sites of a nation at war be “terrorism”? and specifically regarding the Chattanooga shootings.

James Bovard says that cops and donuts don’t mix.

Philip Giraldi writes about the revenge of the anti-terror state.

Eric Margolis asks, Who is responsible for the horrors in Syria?

Barbara Loe Fisher comments on the California forced vaccination law.

Richard Ebeling has an Austrian economist’s advice for Greece and the EU.

Peter Schiff describes how socialism destroyed Puerto Rico and how capitalism can save it.

Doug Casey on unsound banking and why most of the world’s banks are headed for collapse.

Robert Murphy discusses the 5 unintended consequences of regulation and government meddling.

And Martin Armstrong on the end of freedom of speech in Spain.

Jul 192015
 

The 28-year-old Chinese concert pianist Yuja Wang is wowing concert-goers with recitals and concerto performances with major symphony orchestras all over the world. Check out her Bartok 2nd. She is amazing. Here is Yuja Wang performing Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with Kurt Masur conducting the Verbier Festival Orchestra.

Jul 192015
 

This morning on WBZ radio from the 6:25 to 6:35 period, when it was time for the usual Bob Lobel golf tip (which didn’t come on), instead there was a ski report. At first I thought it was a commercial using audio from an old ski report, because there is no skiing here at this time of year. So, the ski report is going on and on, informing us of how much snow there is at this or that mountain, and now I’m thinking maybe someone is just making a joke because the weather is very warm now. But no, it was some sort of “glitch,” some sort of “technical difficulties,” or someone just playing the wrong tape by mistake (or on purpose?!) and clearly, newscaster Karen Regal seemed confused by it as well. Then when newscaster Doug Cope began the bottom of the hour news, there were two more technical problems and glitches. It was like the Twilight Zone. Even the traffic reporter Nicole Davis actually had to sing the segue-to-traffic music because that wouldn’t come on either. And yes, she really did do that. By that time it really cracked me up. It’s always good to start the day with a good laugh. God knows I need it.

Jul 192015
 

Donald Trump is in trouble again, this time for his comments on John McCain not being the “hero” that many people think he is simply because he was a prisoner of war and supposedly tortured during the Vietnam War. There are good reasons to ask, Has anyone actually seen those “more scars than Frankenstein” that McCain allegedly has from being tortured? It actually might not be true.

Former American Conservative magazine publisher Ron Unz has this article on John McCain’s alleged role as a disseminator of communist propaganda while a POW in the Vietnam War, and notes that McCain may have lied about being tortured in order to cover up his alleged propagandizing on behalf of the North Vietnamese. Unz links to this article from Counterpunch which goes into detail about it. The article in Counterpunch refers to two Vietnam War vets who were also POWs and who are extremely skeptical of McCain’s claims, referring to this article from the Phoenix New Times. Unz also refers to the lengthy article by Sydney Schanberg who in 2010 wrote about the other scandal that most people don’t know about, that of McCain along with John Kerry as U.S. Senators engaging in official cover-up of the many American Vietnam War POWs who were left behind in Vietnam. If you are interested in all this, check out those articles.

So, Donald Trump may actually be right that McCain is no hero.

Unz writes:

Placed in this context, John McCain’s tales of torture make perfect sense. If he had indeed spent almost the entire war eagerly broadcasting Communist propaganda in exchange for favored treatment, there would have been stories about this circulating in private, and fears that these tales might eventually reach the newspaper headlines, perhaps backed by the hard evidence of audio and video tapes. An effective strategy for preempting this danger would be to concoct lurid tales of personal suffering and then promote them in the media, quickly establishing McCain as the highest profile victim of torture among America’s returned POWs, an effort rendered credible by the fact that many American POWs had indeed suffered torture.

Once the public had fully accepted McCain as our foremost Vietnam war-hero and torture-victim, any later release of his propaganda tapes would be dismissed as merely proving that even the bravest of men had their breaking point. Given that McCain’s father was one of America’s highest-ranking military officers and both the Nixon Administration and the media had soon elevated McCain to a national symbol of American heroism, there would have been enormous pressure on the other returning POWs, many of them dazed and injured after long captivity, not to undercut such an important patriotic narrative.

I must reemphasize that I am not an expert on the Vietnam War and my cursory investigation is nothing like the sort of exhaustive research that would be necessary to establish a firm conclusion on this troubling case. I have merely tried to provide a plausible account of McCain’s war record and highlight some of the important pieces of evidence that a more thorough researcher should consider. Unlike the documentation of the POW cover up accumulated by Schanberg and others, which I regard as overwhelmingly conclusive, I think the best that may be said about my reconstruction of McCain’s wartime history is that it seems more likely correct than not. However, I should mention that when I discussed some of these items with Schanberg in 2010 and suggested that John McCain had been the Tokyo Rose of the Vietnam War, he considered it a very apt description.