We're going to round out our Chad Mitchell Trio Lalapalooza tonight with a video that will show what I mean about the group have a long history.
Keeping in mind that the core group initially formed in 1960, and that Chad Mitchell left his own group in 1965 -- which would seem to signal the end is nigh, especially for a folk-singing trio as the folk music era was nearing an end -- and that the group reformed as the Mitchell Trio after its leader left and that this core three reunited in 1987 for a TV special...it's remarkable that they continued performing together at that point, and here's a video of them on stage only nine years ago! In 2010.
In fairness, they didn't performed regularly together during all those year, but it's still seriously impressive. Especially since they remained in wonderful voice.
A Washington Post story on Friday said that the State Department under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is investigating emails sent by 130 former aides to Hillary Clinton. Making this shameful story even worse -- after far worse, actually, which is quite an achievement -- is that the department has "retroactively classified" the emails so that "they now constitute potential security violations."
This is like crossing the street legally against a green light in a crosswalk -- and then being investigated after the laws were changed to make it illegal to cross the street in a crosswalk against a green light. And making it a national security breach if you're found guilty.
Members of the department insist that this is all part of a program instituted during the Obama Administration. But not only do few people with the gift of common sense believe this, but some of these former aides who received letters about being investigated said that several of their letters were written two years AFTER they left the State Department.
The investigation had been made dormant for a long time, but only within the past few months did the State Department start it up again. It's difficult to imagine why -- unless you read the paper, see that polls show that all the leading Democratic candidates are beating Trump, notice all the horrible stories about Trump (including meeting with the NRA after gun massacres, the U.S. House suing to get Trump's tax records, New York State suing to get Trump's tax records, using a sharpie to illegally falsify official U.S. weather maps and so much more) and we didn't even get to the Ukraine shakedown which has brought about impeachment hearings, and understand the foundations of fascism.
Yes, the Ukraine shakedown and ensuing impeachment hearings is the leading headline story and should be. But this is in its own way as horrific a story and abuse of power.
You can read the article here. And should.
Okay, let's just stick with the same thing. As whimsy would have it, given how much I've been writing about Between Two Ferns lately (including this morning), the guest contestant on this week's 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is -- Zach Galifiianakis. It's very entertaining, and he even talks a bit about the "behind the scenes" aspect of the Internet series with a bunch of fun stories, including about doing the famous episode with President Obama.
Heading back into the botanical archives, on this week's episode of Between Two Ferns, Zach Galifianakis's guest is Bruce Willis.
From the archives. This week's contestant is Scott Hollopeter from Grand Blanc, Michigan. I didn't get the composer style on my first guess, but...it was my second guess, at least. As for the hidden song, though -- I could hear where the song was , but just couldn't get it. Then, near the end I took a stab at the only thing it sounded like, and...to my my shock (because it was not a well-known song), I was right. I'm sure there will be people who've never heard of the song, though enough will have. Ultimately, though, whether or not you know it, it''s a very nice piece to listen to.
This week's Al Franken podcast is a treat because the guest is for Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander. As readers of these pages will recall, I've written about him at length because of my long-time friendship with his uncle John Kander II, who I met back in summer camp at Camp Nebagamon (where I also knew Jason's father Steve, though not very well. And where his great-uncle John Kander also went -- before going to Broadway to write the musicals Cabaret and Chicago). So, now you have a chance to him from him directly and not just read me yammering about the guy. It's a very enjoyable, interesting conversation mainly dealing with veterans conditions, but in a surprisingly entertaining and often funny way. Also in the conversation is the Bryan Meyer, Chief Executive Officer from the Veterans Community Project. This is the link here that they give for donating.
Here's what Al has to say about the podcast --
"Sometimes I like to say that The Al Franken Podcast is just like The Daily, only without the resources of The New York Times. This episode I have the jump on The Times – because of my friendship with Jason Kander, former MO Sec. of State. Kander is an Afghanistan War vet who nearly pulled off a miracle in the 2016 race for MO Senate, losing by just 3 pts. (Thanks Comey!) In a state where Hillary lost by 18%, Jason ran an inspired, almost perfect race. (Jason’s the guy who did the pro-gun-control ad, assembling an AR-15 assault weapon BLINDFOLDED)"
[Side Note: I posted the video when it was initially released, but here it is for perspective, and for those who may have missed it.)
A Rising Democratic Star, Kander was widely considered a potential 2020 Democratic nominee for President. Instead he chose to run for mayor of his hometown, Kansas City. Raising a shitload (technical term) of campaign cash and lapping his opponents in the polls, he was considered a shoe-in. Then Jason shocked the political world by dropping out of the mayoral race to address the PTSD that had been dominating his life for twelve years.
Jason and I discuss this signature wound of the Iraq and Afghanistan (and Vietnam and all) Wars and his efforts to heal himself and help other vets whose needs include housing and other services. An inspiring episode that The Daily just couldn’t handle.
We have two more videos of the Chad Mitchell Trio upcoming, and this one today is an especially interesting and fun one related to their various incarnations. It's a reunion for a sort of a documentary-ish PBS television special in 1987.
As I mentioned, Chad Mitchell left the group himself, in 1964. He was replaced by John Denver, and the group became known as the just Mitchell Trio. In the late 1960s, the other two core members -- Mike Kobluk and Joe Frazier -- departed the group, as well, over a period of a few years and also left the music industry. While they were in turn replaced, Denver eventually left too for his highly-successful solo career. And the Mitchell Trio at this point had three totally different members than they started out with.
Then two decades after leaving the group to try for his own solo career, which was only moderately successful, Chad Mitchell reunited with Kobiuk and Frazier for the TV special, which is the subject of this video. They're terrific together, in great voice, even after all that distance of time, but what's especially fun is that that's not the only reunion in this reunion video -- because Chad Mitchell's replacement John Denver joins them, as well.
Mitchell gives a very affectionate introduction and then graciously walks off to let the second incarnation of the trio perform together as they all those years earlier. I have to believe that he eventually returned and that all four members of the "trio" sang together at some point in the show, but this is all I've been able to track down. Still, it's a treat to see.
MSNBC had a remarkable clip of a longer interview they'll run tonight between correspondent Richard Engle and former Ukraine prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko who replaced the corrupt one who Joe Biden pushed to have removed, Viktor Shokin. The short version of this clip: Lutsenko said 1) he re-opened the investigation that his predecessor (Shokin, who Biden helped get fired) had closed, 2) he then investigated then claims and found NO evidence of wrongdoing of Ukraine law by either Joe Biden or his son, and 3) he was contacted "about 10 times" by Rudy Giuliiani.
Far more important to this last point is that prosecutor Lutsenko didn't just say he had been contacted about 10 times by Giuliani -- but added that these contacts weren't all on this one issue but other politics, too. To him, the way he said it came across like he thought this would diminish Giuliani's actions, not understanding that in the United States this actually made it worse. (It wasn't that he seemed to be covering for Giuliani, but trying to put it in perspective for Americans -- but from a Ukrainian point of view, not an American one.
I believe that they will be running the full interview tonight (Friday) on NBC Nightly News. I suspect it will be on their NBC News website.
When they ran this clip on MSNBC this morning, Engle was on-screen along with former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. And after the clip, McFaul got the first question. But before answering he said, "I just wanted to congratulate Richard on being able to track down Lutsenko" and getting him to talk. Yes, Richard Engle is wonderful. One of the best foreign correspondents I've seen.
This is a remarkable item posted by CNN. I find it profoundly meaningful. Keep in mind, these are the very people who will have to vote to acquit Trump in the Senate if he is impeached -- and yet this many not only refuse to defend him, but refuse to even comment about the whistleblower complaint.
This supports what I've written in the past, and even said only last night to a friend -- while I think it highly likely that Trump would not get convicted by the Republican Senate if he's impeached, I am not remotely as convinced by most pundits, elected officials and people in general that this is a "given." What I've said is that as highly likely as it is, and the way I would bet (right now) if forced to...we don't know the evidence yet. And if the evidence is SO blatant, SO damning, SO harmful that it can't be ignored (which this Ukraine revelation is leading to) -- and could even be damaging to a senators career (especially with an election in November, 2020) by voting to acquit and seem to be protecting a criminal or even putting America at risk -- then it is not unreasonable to think that there could be enough Republican senators (and only 20 are needed out of 53) who would vote to convict.
I'm not saying this is likely. It isn't. But we don't know the evidence yet, and how deep this will all lead. But what we do know is that all these Republican senators below right now are refusing to defend Trump to the extent that most are refusing to even comment.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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