Saturday, September 19, 2015
By MIKAEL WOOD
September 17, 2015
Darlene Love (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Darlene Love remembers the moment clearly.
One of pop music's most prolific backup vocalists, Love was onstage at last year's Academy Awards helping to accept the documentary prize for "20 Feet From Stardom," director Morgan Neville's loving homage to the singers whose oft-unheralded work can transform a tune into an anthem. Neville had said his bit and had stepped aside to make room for his film's subject.
"And, as I always do, I just bowed my head and said, 'Lord, give me something,'" recalled Love, who contributed to dozens of songs over the last half-century, including the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and Frank Sinatra's "That's Life." Then she looked up at the Oscars audience and tore into a fierce a cappella rendition of the gospel standard "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
"Everybody in the room, they were just startled," she said, visibly delighted by the memory. "I could hear thousands of people mumbling: 'What is she doing?'" She laughed. "But once I got into it, they all came with me."
A year later, Love, now 74, is hoping people will come with her again as she releases "Introducing Darlene Love," her first album of original pop songs since 1988 — and the first ever, she says, to provide a sense of the woman behind the microphone.
Due Friday, the record was produced by Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, who solicited material from some of Love's high-profile admirers, including his boss, Elvis Costello and Jimmy Webb.
Though Van Zandt admits the album's title is something of a joke, it's also an honest statement of intent: In the early '60s, Love sang lead on several of the decade's indelible hits — "He's a Rebel," "He's Sure the Boy I Love" — but reaped little reward after producer Phil Spector issued them as singles by his group the Crystals. "Introducing," then, is meant to connect the name with the voice.
"I told Steven, 'It's like you rebirthed me,'" Love said Tuesday in Los Angeles, where she'd come for a performance that night at downtown's Grammy Museum and for two shows this weekend at the Whisky a Go Go. "Now I want the world to know who I am."
Their collaboration was a long time coming. An L.A. native who learned to sing in church, Love worked steadily throughout the '60s and '70s but saw her background jobs dry up by the early '80s. That's when she started cleaning houses and, as she recounts in "20 Feet from Stardom," heard her song "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" — another of her collaborations with Spector — playing on the radio one day while at work in Beverly Hills.
Spurred to action, Love asked her friend Lou Adler if he could book her to sing, which he did at the Roxy, his club on Sunset Boulevard. Among his invited guests were Springsteen and Van Zandt, who watched with amazement as Love did Springsteen's song "Hungry Heart."
"They were so overwhelmed by how great it was that they came backstage and we talked," Love said. Van Zandt urged her to come to New York. "I said, 'If you get me a job, I'll come.' And he did."
Love soon had moved to New York and was performing regularly at clubs such as the Bottom Line, where Springsteen famously broke out. She and Van Zandt stayed in touch but grew apart professionally as he toured with the E Street Band and later became involved in television, and she worked on Broadway and acted in the "Lethal Weapon" movies.
Love also appeared on David Letterman's late-night show every holiday season to sing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," a gig she credits with keeping her in the public eye through last December, when Letterman did his final holiday episode before retiring in May.
"If they didn't see me any other time, they'd see me then and say, 'Wow, Darlene still looks good! And she can still sing "Christmas Baby"!' " said Love.
Finally, after promising for years to produce a record for her — and with fresh motivation in the success of "20 Feet From Stardom" — Van Zandt got down to work with Love last year.
Experienced singers like Glen Campbell and Tom Jones have earned acclaim in recent years with hushed, contemplative albums that emphasize a wizened-elder vibe. But Van Zandt knew he didn't want to take that approach. Those records, he said, depend on our knowledge of the singers' entire careers; they're meaningful because of the comparison to their previous work.
"In this case, I literally felt like we were introducing Darlene Love to the world," he said. "Sure, we all know the early singles, but what else is there?"
Instead of stripped down, he went big, arranging the songs in his trademark garage-soul style with strings, horns and layered guitars. And instead of quiet, he went loud, pushing Love to sing at maximum intensity, a level he knew she could still reach from catching her club shows "at least twice a year."
"I didn't want anything casual on this record," said the producer, who will accompany the singer and her band at the Whisky. "It had to be life or death in every song."
Love called Van Zandt "a raving maniac" in the studio. "He loves that F-word," she said, laughing. "I told him, 'Steven, I'm gonna pray for your mouth.'"
Yet his process clearly drove Love to dig deep, as in "Night Closing In," a pungent romantic drama written by Springsteen, and especially "Marvelous," a stately gospel number by Walter Hawkins in which she shows off the full range of her voice.
In an email Bette Midler said Love's singing "only gets better with age," and that certainly seemed true at the Grammy Museum, where she performed "Marvelous" even more impressively than she did on the record, leading several members of the politely attentive crowd to leap to their feet.
"When people come and see me, I want them to experience joy," she said. "I don't do any sad songs in my show. It's to lift the spirit."
Asked what he'd like to see "Introducing" accomplish, Van Zandt said he hopes stars from the "modern pop world — Beyoncé and Taylor Swift and Kanye West — get a chance to hear this record and turn their audiences on to it.
"After all the dues Darlene has paid, I think that would be a wonderful thank you," he said. A couple of Grammy nominations wouldn't hurt either, he added, a goal in which he may be helped by Columbia Records. The major label, which is releasing "Introducing" in partnership with Van Zandt's Wicked Cool Records, has gained traction recently with late-career projects by Barbra Streisand and the unlikely duo of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.
Love, who lives with her husband in New Jersey, said she's leaving the politicking to Van Zandt and Columbia. Her primary job, as she sees it, is to take care of the instrument that once benefited others but now stands to benefit Darlene Love.
"Next year, I'll be 75, and I still have what God has given me," she said. "I want to be around to do what I do as long as I can."
Where: Whisky a Go Go, 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Sunday
By Richard Kirkhttp://www.americanthinker.com/
September 19, 2015
A DISGRACE TO THE PROFESSION: The World’s Scientists – in their own words – on Michael E Mann, his Hockey Stick and their Damage to Science, compiled and edited by Mark Steyn, Volume I, Stockade Books, September, 2015 (320 pages, $19.95, Paperback)
The final episode of "Seinfeld" involved a “Good Samaritan” court case that featured witness after witness testifying passionately about the moral misdemeanors perpetrated against them by the show’s protagonists: Elaine, George, Kramer, and Jerry. One segment simulated a TV newscast in which Geraldo’s onsite reporter summarized the testimony. The number of prosecution witnesses, she concluded, “just went on and on and on into the night.” That’s the feeling one gets reading the negative evidence Steyn has amassed in A Disgrace to the Profession, his work about the litigious climatologist and “hockey-stick” inventor, Michael Mann.
Steyn’s book is, in fact, a series of relatively short “testimony” segments by scores of “witnesses” to the shoddy science and shocking intimidation tactics employed by Mann and colleagues. The book also indicts various science publications and organizations for malpractice, especially the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- a bureaucracy headed till his resignation in 2015, following charges of sexual abuse, by Dr. Rajandra Pachauri, formerly “Indian Railways engineer at the Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi.”
Steyn divides his work into 12 chapters which contain, in total, 120 testimony segments. Almost all focus on damning observations about Mann’s methods, conclusions, and harassment of dissenting scientists -- many of whom are still in the anthropogenic global warming camp. Thus, the book isn’t a broadside against apocalyptic climate change per se but rather a barrage against Michael Mann, the inventor of global warming’s most effective propaganda icon --- the “hockey stick” diagram of global temperature. (Note: The diagrammatic “hockey stick” is lying flat with only the blade projecting upward to represent an unprecedented temperature rise in the last century.)
To obtain this ominous shape that Al Gore and the IPCC seized upon with orgasmic enthusiasm, Mann obliterated two mainstays of traditional climate science: the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. In the opinion of many eminent scientists, this feat was accomplished by employing dubious statistical analysis, by using and even manipulating scanty tree-ring evidence, and by tacking on actual thermometer readings for recent times to tree-ring proxy data that was largely employed to erase significant climate variations in the past. These methodological shenanigans resulted in the apocalyptic headline that summarized the Mann-dominated IPCC report of 2001, namely, that 1998 was “likely” the warmest year in the warmest decade in the warmest century of the past 1,000 years -- a headline gobbled up by lazy and politically-motivated climate journalists.
Probably 5% of Steyn’s extended “brief” against Mann, et al. consists of extended résumés of Mann’s critics -- a procedure designed to show that scholars like MIT’s Richard Lindzen, NASA’s Roy Spencer, and renowned physicist Freeman Dyson are, indeed, expert witnesses and not the scientific JV team. Here’s a sample of those critiques: “The whole hockey-stick episode reminds me of the motto of Orwell’s Ministry of Information” (Dr. William Happer, Physics, Princeton); “The blade of the hockey-stick could not be reproduced using either the same techniques as Mann and Jones or other common statistical techniques” (Dr. David Legates, U. of Delaware, Climatologist); “The behavior of Michael Mann is a disgrace to the profession” (Dr. Henrick Tennekes, former Director of Research at the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute); “The work of Mann and his colleagues was initially accepted uncritically, even though it contradicted the results of more than 100 previous studies” (Dr. David Deming, Geophysicist, U. of Oklahoma); “That was a mistake and it made tree-ring people angry” (Dr. Gordon Jacoby, pioneer in dendrochronology); “Any scientist ought to know that you just can’t mix and match proxy and actual data… Yet that’s exactly what he did” (Dr. Philip Stott, Biogeography, U. of London). The damning critiques go on and on and on in detail. The above comments are only chapter headings, and the individual résumés all include a large number of professional achievements.
Another swath of Steyn’s evidence concerns the University of East Anglia Climate Research emails that were hacked into and published in 2009, resulting in the “Climategate” scandal. These communications give credence to the claim that there is or was a “Big Climate” mafia headed by Michael Mann -- a group as eager to protect its fame and grant-producing turf as Michael Corleone was to defend his crime syndicate. Fortunately, Mann and company “only” employ stigma, blackballing, and control of peer-reviews to achieve their objectives. Two cases in point: In 2014 Dr. Judith Curry, former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology observed that her “challenge to the [climate change] consensus has precluded any further professional recognition.” She also mentioned that she worries about younger scientists without tenure protection. That same year the 79-year-old distinguished professor Lennart Bengtsson was forced by “enormous group pressure” to resign “for the sake of [his] health and safety” from the advisory board of a think tank that promoted rational skepticism about global warming.
As a closing bonus, Steyn explains the origin of the “97% of all scientists” mantra that Mann and President Obama confidently throw around whenever the “settled science” of climate change is at issue. Short story shorter: 97% comes from a survey conducted for a thesis by a University of Illinois graduate student who, having received 3,146 responses to a two-question online questionnaire sent to 10,257 earth scientists, eventually identified 77 “experts” of which 75 (97%) were found to agree with the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. There’s no word as yet on the identity and views of the other 10,180.
One might ask why Steyn is so hell-bent on exposing Michael Mann rather than broadly addressing the issue of climate change -- and why he structures his book so that it reads like the sequential testimony of a hundred different witnesses, interspersed with witty Steyn asides? The answer is that Steyn, National Review, et al. are being sued for defamation by the aforementioned Dr. Mann. In other words, true to form, Mann is using intimidation to silence critics. Specifically, the legal case concerns a National Review blog post dated July 15, 2012, in which Steyn quotes aerospace engineer Rand Simberg’s negative comments about the Penn State hockey-stick inventor, including the remark that Mann has become “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science.”
Steyn proceeds in a mere 147 words to distance himself somewhat from Simberg’s metaphor, to identify Mann as “the man behind the fraudulent ‘hockey-stick’ graph,” and to note that the same college president who “declined to find one of its star names [Paterno] guilty of any wrongdoing” and who was forced to resign over the Sandusky scandal also oversaw the exculpatory investigation of Mann after the “Climategate” emails were made public.
The fact that this speech-suppressing defamation suit in the D.C. courts has been going on for years without media outrage clearly shows that Steyn’s derogatory book title applies to American journalists and courts as much as to the now-greatly-diminished Penn State climatologist.
Richard Kirk is a freelance writer living in Southern California. Opinion columnist for the North County Times (1996-2012); online reviews: http://spectator.org/people/richard-kirk/all; blog: http://musingwithahammerkirk.blogspot.com/
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/09/steyn_puts_warmists_in_the_dock.html#ixzz3mBTnSxLH
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By Andrew C. McCarthy — September 18, 2015
Boeing 747SP-86 of Iran Air. (Dmitry Pichugin)
"Why on earth would Republicans do that?” That is a question I’ve been asked at least a dozen times since illustrating that the GOP has played a cynical game in connection with President Obama’s Iran deal.
“Follow the money” is a common answer to questions about political motivation. It may not explain everything in this case, but it is certainly relevant.
This spring, Republican leadership colluded with the White House and congressional Democrats to enact a law — the Corker-Cardin Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act — that guaranteed Obama would be authorized to lift sanctions against Iran (the main objective of the terrorist regime in Tehran). The rigged law authorized Obama to lift sanctions as long as Republicans could not pass a resolution of disapproval. As Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, and other GOP leaders well knew, there was no way they would ever be able to enact a disapproval resolution over Obama’s veto. But the process choreographed by Corker-Cardin meant they would be able to complain about the deal and vote to disapprove it — thereby creating the impression that they were staunchly against the lifting of sanctions that they had already authorized.
Why on earth would Republicans do that? Well, their incentive to obscure the earlier approval vote with the theater of a futile disapproval process is clear: The Iran deal is intensely unpopular among the GOP’s base supporters, just as it is unpopular across the country. Incumbents who hope to be reelected want to be perceived as staunch opponents of the things their constituents abhor. But why isn’t this perception the reality — why wouldn’t GOP congressional leaders actually be staunch opponents? Why wouldn’t they zealously use their every power to stop the deal?
Perhaps because not all Republican backers object to Obama’s Iran deal. The deal’s enthusiasts may be a tiny minority of GOP supporters, but they represent big bucks. Often in Washington, the numbers that matter are measured in dollars, not votes.
Take Boeing, for example.
Based in Chicago, Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company, with revenues expected to surge past $96 billion this year. It is a major GOP donor. It gives mountains of money to Democrats, too, but the lion’s share of its political contributions go to Republicans.
For the 2014 campaign cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org, the company gave about 60 percent of its whopping $3,250,000 in donations to the GOP. Major recipients included such establishment pillars as the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee ($38,000 each), and the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($33,000). Significant contributions were also made to McConnell ($13,000), Boehner ($25,000), Senator Lindsey Graham ($39,000), and many others. And that’s apart from the nearly $17 million the company spent in 2014 on lobbyists, 80 percent of whom have transitioned to the other end of the trough after careers in government.
It just so happens that Boeing stands to reap huge money from Obama’s lifting of the sanctions.
Iran’s airline industry has been crippled by these severe restrictions, which are aimed against commerce connected to the regime’s illegal uranium enrichment, terror promotion, and weapons trafficking. Once the sanctions are lifted, the mullahs are expected to order up at least 100 new aircraft in just the next year, and 400 over the next decade. That means tens of billions of dollars in sales for manufacturers positioned to satisfy those pressing needs.
No company is better positioned than Boeing. It not only has the models Iran wants and the production capacity to fill huge orders. Boeing also ingratiated itself with the mullahs last year by leaping into action when President Obama, eager to keep Iran at the negotiating table, granted some limited sanctions relief. Reuters reported that the company “sold aircraft manuals, drawings, charts and data to Iran Air.”
Interesting thing about that: Iran Air, the national carrier, is most notorious for providing material support to the barbaric Assad regime in Syria and the Hezbollah terrorist network that props it up.
As detailed earlier this week in an important report by Emanuele Ottolenghi and Ben Weinthal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (published by Politico’s European edition), the U.S. Treasury Department designated Iran Air as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction in 2011, ordering the freezing of its assets. Serving as an arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (the force principally responsible for killing hundreds of American troops in Iraq and 19 American airmen in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia), Iran Air transported rockets and missiles, as well as military personnel and weapons, to Syria. It also violated a U.N. arms embargo by sending along dual-use materials that can be converted to military applications.
Oh . . . and given that Obama’s Iran deal depends on the terrorist regime’s good-faith cooperation with inspectors and compliance with restrictions on its nuclear work, it is probably worth mentioning how Iran Air managed to carry out its WMD proliferation: as Messrs. Ottolenghi and Weinthal explain, it systematically lied about the content of the cargo on its flights. Nevertheless, in the implementation of the Iran deal approved by Corker-Cardin, Obama will be dropping the designation against Iran Air.
To sum up: Obama cuts a deal with Iran. The implementation of the deal is abetted by legislation pushed by the Republican-controlled Congress despite massive opposition from the GOP base. Under the deal, a major GOP donor stands to make billions selling aircraft to Iran. Iran will use the aircraft to fortify the Assad regime (which Obama and GOP leadership claim to want to topple) and to promote terrorism by networks with a history of murdering Americans.
See? Everybody wins, right?
Well, everybody except those of us whose idea of a win involves cashiering, not cashing in on, a mortal enemy of the United States. That happens to be a vast number of people . . . in case you were wondering why the Republican candidates now topping the polls are the outsiders running against the Beltway GOP establishment.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.
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