Sep 12th, 2011 at 8:55 pm by Brendan
happy 100th birthday to Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music. I sure wish I’d seen you live in concert.
It’s not hyperbole, SG readers, to say that bluegrass music changed my life… although if you asked me if that was for better or for worse, I’d have a much more difficult time answering that one.
Bill Monroe’s troubles have been over for years, and it sounds like Wade Mainer, 104 years old, may soon be seeing the last of his. Here he is, in 2008 at the age of 101, performing with his wife Julia:
if you talk to bluegrass and country geeks like me, you’ll get a spirited discussion over whether Bill really invented bluegrass, and that debate is largely due to Wade Mainer, whose banjo work with his brother J.E. and the Crazy Mountaineers predates and precurses Earl Scruggs’ 3-finger picking, which the signature sound of bluegrass.
Here is one of my favorite Mainers’ Mountaineers song,, Run Mountain.
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/charles-p-pierce-blog-6420453#ixzz1XlXAbAt2″>Charlie is scheduled to be my guest tomorrow night on Virtually Speaking Susie, so be sure to tune in:
The conversation is about to change. To an Internet so crowded with outlets that parrot the conventional and remember close to nothing, to the most entertaining political season of our lifetimes, Esquire is thrilled to welcome Charles P. Pierce as the lead writer on The Politics Blog. One of America’s great voices and consistently the smartest man in any room in which we get together around here, Charlie has resigned from The Boston Globe and will begin posting here on September 26. You know him from his great work as a contributing editor at Esquire over the years, including some of the most alert political thinking of our time (“The Cynic and Senator Obama,” “The Bomb That Didn’t Go Off, earlier blogging here), or maybe you just know him from NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. He also wrote a book based on an essay for this magazine, Idiot America, that continues to be one of the defining narratives of our wild times. And that’s what we hope Charlie, along with some of our regular contributors, will come to represent in posting here very often and very emphatically: a place for sane discourse and important conversation in this, perhaps the craziest time of our lives. Stay tuned.
It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
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So it turns out the unlike the East Coast dockworkers union, the West Coast’s ILWU is a old-fashioned, left-wing union that’s fighting back against union busting. Notice the mainstream media is looking the other way:
For the very richest Americans, low tax rates on capital gains are better than any Christmas gift. As a result of a pair of rate cuts, first under President Bill Clinton and then under Bush, most of the richest Americans pay lower overall tax rates than middle-class Americans do. And this is one reason the gap between the wealthy and the rest of the country is widening dramatically.
The rates on capital gains — which include profits from the sale of stocks, bonds and real estate — should be a key point in negotiations over how to shrink the budget deficit, some lawmakers say.
“This is something that should be on the table,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), one of 12 members on the congressional “supercommittee” tasked with reducing the deficit. “There’s no strong economic rationale for the huge gap that exists now between the rate for wages and the rate for capital gains.”
Advocates for a low capital gains rate say it spurs more investment in the U.S. economy, benefiting all Americans. But some tax experts say the evidence for that theory is murky at best. What is clear is that the capital gains tax rate disproportionately benefits the ultra-wealthy.