Pete Seeger Performs New Song About BP Oil Spill
On July 23th 2010 Pete Seeger performed live at a Gulf Coast Oil Spill
fundraiser at The City Winery in New York City. There, he unveiled to the
public his new protest song about the BP oil spill entitled "God's Counting
on Me, God's Counting on You." Backing up Pete's singing and banjo picking
is the singer/songwriter James Maddock on acoustic guitar. All proceeds of
this concert went to the Gulf Restoration Project. The show was produced and
hosted by Richard Barone. The video was edited and mixed by Matthew Billy.
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Pete Seeger Spellbinds with Intimate New York Set
By Patrick Doyle
RollingStone.com : Jun 22, 2010 6:19 PM EDT
At 91, Pete Seeger doesn't like to travel anymore, preferring performing in
front of school children in his hometown of Beacon, New York, to big
journeys into the city. But last night, the folk legend played a short but
spellbinding set for 400 fans at New York's Gotham House, an old converted
bank, and received WhyHunger's Chapin award in recognition of his work on
hunger and poverty issues.
After a dinner in the sprawling banquet hall, Tom Chapin outlined Seeger's
70-year career and still-active life upstate, joking, "He poisons the minds
of children with his subversive attitudes about poverty and human rights."
Seeger didn't give much of an acceptance speech, choosing instead to strap
on his rustic banjo for a politically charged set that began with his 1970
track "We'll All Be A-Doubling." He still picks masterfully, and his voice
sounds gloriously ragged. When Rolling Stone told him the performance
recalled his legendary 1963 Carnegie Hall recording, Seeger laughed, "I
can't remember that far back - it was 50 years ago!"
During the opening number, Seeger told the crowd he recently asked a local
politician to help slow down his hometown's growing population. The reply? "
'Pete if you don't grow, you die,' " Seeger recalled. "I didn't know what to
say. Then at one o'clock in the morning I woke up. I said, 'It's true, if
you don't grow, you die, but doesn't it follow that the quicker you grow the
sooner you die?' "
Seeger switched to a 12-string guitar and began a hymn-like finger-picked
version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." He told the story behind the
classic Wizard of Oz track, recounting how lyricist Yip Harburg and composer
Harold Arlen held a successful two-man protest to get the studio to include
the song in the film. Seeger looked up at the ceiling and apologized to the
deceased Harburg for having to change the lyric "Why can't I" to "Why can't
you and I?" and explained his logic: "If I'd been there when little Dorothy
said, 'Why can't I?' I'd tell her, 'Dorothy, it's because you only asked for
yourself. You've got to ask for everybody, because either we're all going to
make it over that rainbow or nobody is going to make it.' "
After his set, Seeger locked away his banjo in its case and told RS he still
likes to perform, even though "my voice is gone. I just shout or whisper."
He still looks back fondly on the frigid inaugural concert for Barack Obama,
where he led a joyous version of "This Land Is Your Land" alongside Bruce
Springsteen. Saying he remains supportive of the president, Seeger mused on
the nature of American electoral politics. "If you do what in the long run
is the best thing, you may not get elected," he said. "But you could get
elected four years from now because people like George W. Bush get in and do
so bad, that the whole country will realize what shortsighted people they
are. I always say God only knows what the future's going to bring. But he
gave us brains. And fundamentalists do as bad things here as they do in the
Muslim countries. Some miracles are going to happen."
Turning to talk about his upcoming disc Tomorrow's Children (due July 27th),
which features 19 songs recorded with local schoolchildren, Seeger's mood
lightened. "I find a 10-year old likes to sing alto because they can shout
it," he said, adding that the project is a major highlight in a
half-century-plus career: "It's the most inspiring thing I've ever done."
Enough right-wing propaganda
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
The Washington Post, July 26, 2010
The smearing of Shirley Sherrod ought to be a turning point in American
politics. This is not, as the now-trivialized phrase has it, a "teachable
moment." It is a time for action.
The mainstream media and the Obama administration must stop cowering before
a right wing that has persistently forced its propaganda to be accepted as
news by convincing traditional journalists that "fairness" requires treating
extremist rants as "one side of the story." And there can be no more
shilly-shallying about the fact that racial backlash politics is becoming an
important component of the campaign against President Obama and against
progressives in this year's election.
The administration's response to the doctored video pushed by right-wing hit
man Andrew Breitbart was shameful. The obsession with "protecting" the
president turned out to be the least protective approach of all.
The Obama team did not question, let alone challenge, the video. Instead, it
assumed that whatever narrative Fox News might create mattered more than
anything else, including the possible innocence of a human being outside the
president's inner circle.
Obama complained on ABC's "Good Morning America" that Agriculture Secretary
Tom Vilsack "jumped the gun, partly because we now live in this media
culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody
scrambles." But it's his own apparatus that turned "this media culture" into
a false god.
Yet the Obama team was reacting to a reality: the bludgeoning of mainstream
journalism into looking timorously over its right shoulder and believing
that "balance" demands taking seriously whatever sludge the far right is
pumping into the political waters.
This goes way back. Al Gore never actually said he "invented the Internet,"
but you could be forgiven for not knowing this because the mainstream media
kept reporting he had.
There were no "death panels" in the Democratic health-care bills. But this
false charge got so much coverage that an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll
last August found that 45 percent of Americans thought the reform proposals
would likely allow "the government to make decisions about when to stop
providing medical care to the elderly." That was the summer when support for
reform was dropping precipitously. A straight-out lie influenced the course
of one of our most important debates.
The traditional media are so petrified of being called "liberal" that they
are prepared to allow the Breitbarts of the world to become their assignment
editors. Mainstream journalists regularly criticize themselves for not
jumping fast enough or high enough when the Fox crowd demands coverage of
one of their attack lines.
Thus did Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander ask this month why the paper had
been slow to report on "the Justice Department's decision to scale down a
voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party."
Never mind that this is a story about a tiny group of crackpots who stopped
no one from voting. It was aimed at doing what the doctored video Breitbart
posted set out to do: convince Americans that the Obama administration
favors blacks over whites.
And never mind that, to her great credit, Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative
George W. Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, dismissed
the case and those pushing it. "This doesn't have to do with the Black
Panthers," she told Politico's Ben Smith. "This has to do with their
fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama]
administration." Instead, the media are supposed to take seriously the
charges of J. Christian Adams, who served in the Bush Justice Department.
He's a Republican activist going back to the Bill Clinton era. His party
services included time as a Bush poll watcher in Florida in 2004, when on
one occasion he was involved in a controversy over whether a black couple
could cast a regular ballot.
Now, Adams is accusing the Obama Justice Department of being "motivated by a
lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law." This is racially
inflammatory, politically motivated nonsense -- and it's nonsense even if
Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh talk about it a thousand times a day. When an
outlandish charge for which there is no evidence is treated as an
on-the-one-hand-and-on-the-other-hand issue, the liars win.
The Sherrod case should be the end of the line. If Obama hates the current
media climate, he should stop overreacting to it. And the mainstream media
should stop being afraid of insisting on the difference between news and