Monthly Archives: July 2011

Rising Deficits Drive U.S. Debt Limit Higher, Faster

Rising Deficits Drive U.S. Debt Limit Higher, Faster

Everyone wants to know more about the budget and here is some key information with a chart from the Heritage Foundation and a video from the Cato Institute.

Congress first placed a statutory limit on total federal debt in 1917, in the Second Liberty Bond Act. Since 1962, Congress has altered the debt limit through 74 separate measures, raising it 10 times since 2001. Since 1990, the debt limit has been raised a total of $10.1 trillion, but nearly half of that increase has occurred since September 2007.

U.S. DEBT LIMIT

 
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Rising Deficits Drive U.S. Debt Limit Higher, Faster

Source: Congressional Research Service and White House Office of Management and Budget (Table 7.3, Historical Tables).

Chart 26 of 42

In Depth

  • Policy Papers for Researchers

  • Technical Notes

    The charts in this book are based primarily on data available as of March 2011 from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The charts using OMB data display the historical growth of the federal government to 2010 while the charts using CBO data display both historical and projected growth from as early as 1940 to 2084. Projections based on OMB data are taken from the White House Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The charts provide data on an annual basis except… Read More

  • Authors

    Emily GoffResearch Assistant
    Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy StudiesKathryn NixPolicy Analyst
    Center for Health Policy StudiesJohn FlemingSenior Data Graphics Editor

Entitlement Spending Will More Than Double by 2050

Entitlement Spending Will More Than Double by 2050

Everyone wants to know more about the budget and here is some key information with a chart from the Heritage Foundation and a video from the Cato Institute.

Spending on MedicareMedicaid and the Obamacare subsidy program, and Social Security will soar as 78 million baby boomers retire and health care costs climb. Total spending on federal health care programs will triple.

PERCENTAGE OF GDP

Receive Information on Federal Budget Data
 
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Entitlement Spending Will More Than Double by 2050

Source: Congressional Budget Office.

Chart 31 of 42

In Depth

  • Policy Papers for Researchers

  • Technical Notes

    The charts in this book are based primarily on data available as of March 2011 from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The charts using OMB data display the historical growth of the federal government to 2010 while the charts using CBO data display both historical and projected growth from as early as 1940 to 2084. Projections based on OMB data are taken from the White House Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The charts provide data on an annual basis except… Read More

  • Authors

    Emily GoffResearch Assistant
    Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy StudiesKathryn NixPolicy Analyst
    Center for Health Policy StudiesJohn FlemingSenior Data Graphics Editor

W. Hatcher v. E. Hatcher Top Ten Soccer Videos (Part1)

Wilson Hatcher says this is the 10th best video:

England vs USA Clint Dempsey scores anaylst sites poor goal keeping

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Wilson Hatcher says this is the number 9 best video:

Rene Higuita Scorpion save

One of the greatest saves ever!

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According to Wilson Hatcher number 8 is

Beckham 70 Yard Goal – LA Galaxy Vs. Kansas City Wizards -HQ

That was an amazing goal by Beckham!

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These are Everette Hatcher’s number 10 video:

GOAL: Cristiano Ronaldo goal vs. LA Galaxy

This is one of my favorite because my son Wilson was at this game in LA.

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 Everette Hatcher’s number 9 is

Rene Higuita Scorpion save

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Everette Hatcher’s number 8 is

Donovan’s late goal advances US World Cup Team to Top 16

Movie Review of “Midnight in Paris” lastest movie by Woody Allen

Midnight in Paris – a delightfully entertaining film of wit, wonder and love

Have you ever thought that you were born in the wrong time? Since I was a child, I found my love for MGM musicals set me apart from my friends. Are we really out of place, or is a sense of nostalgia just a part of our human experience?  If you are feeling particularly nostalgic of late, a visit to the movies just may be the thing for you.

In Woody Allen’s new film Midnight in Paris, Gil (Owen Wilson) is in Paris with his girlfriend Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents (Mimi Kennedy & Kurt Fuller).  As a Hollywood screenwriter, Gil is successful but unfulfilled. He is delighted to walk the same streets that his literary heroes such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Earnest Hemingway did in the 1920’s. Inez and her parents find Gil’s references to the romantic feel of Paris contrary to their own pursuits – which consist mostly of shopping with Gil’s money. So completely opposite of each other in personality it’s difficult to see how Gil and Inez became a couple in the first place.  But in Paris they are, and when friend’s show up unexpectedly it’s just about too much for Gil to handle.  

When Gil takes a quiet walk alone during a Paris night he finds himself transported to the 1920’s and among the artist’s community of the time. As he parties with his heroes Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Gil feels welcomed to this new world and gains enough trust to offer up his unpublished book for criticism from none other than Gertrude Stein.  Each night, Gil leaves his winey girlfriend and her disapproving parents for the spirited and unconventional party life of his new found friends and a time lost long ago. As a discussion over Picasso’s newest painting develops, Gil meets the painter’s muse, beautiful Adriana (Marion Cotillard).    

Entranced my Adriana, Gil falls in love with the mysterious woman and becomes totally engaged in his new world. But when Adriana yearns for a different time of her own, Gil is caught off guard and discovers that his overgrown sense of nostalgia just may be a sign that his current life is the real problem.

Midnight in Paris is a funny, beautiful and mindful film that explores our vision of the past with our desires of the present. It’s been quite a long time since Woody Allen has use a reflection in time as a theme and comparisons can be made between this film and his 1985 hit The Purple Rose of Cairo. Owen Wilson is perfectly cast as the protagonist à la Woody Allen and is well suited for this material. Wilson provides just the right bit of romanticism, wit and wonder to his character’s quandary. Marion Cotillard, is beautiful and mystifying as Adriana and fits perfectly in this projection of 1920’s Paris.

Allen definitely had fun with casting the characters of the past, most notably Corey Stoll as Hemingway. And it isn’t far-fetched to say that as in many of his films, Allen has brought forth characters that he himself would find amusing to meet and party with should time travel ever be possible. If any one thing could be attributed to the success of Midnight in Paris is the overall mood that Allen has perfectly cast over both his present day and his period scenes. Shot on location, Paris rarely fails. Allen takes his time with linear shots around the city at the beginning of the film before even starting the initial credits, giving the moviegoer just the ample amount of time to know – this is Paris.

So, if your credit card is maxed out and a summer adventure is out of the family budget, step into a movie theater and see Midnight in Paris. It will entertain you, inspire you and do what every great movie does – make you feel.

What does the Heritage Foundation have to say about saving Social Security:Study released May 10, 2011 (Part 5)

“Saving the American Dream: The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity,” Heritage Foundation, May 10, 2011 by  Stuart Butler, Ph.D. , Alison Acosta Fraser and William Beach is one of the finest papers I have ever read. Over the next few days I will post portions of this paper, but I will start off with the section on Social Security. I am also going to give attention to the thoughts of Milton Friedman on the subject too. Here is the fifth portion:

Limiting Social Security to Those Who Actually Need It. In addition to moving to a flat benefit over time, the plan makes Social Security a properly financed, true insurance program. It starts to do that immediately. This means that the program will concentrate on protecting the economic security of retirees rather than following the current approach of promising unaffordable benefits to all without regard to need.

This new approach means that retirees with substantial non–Social Security retirement income will start receiving a lower benefit on a sliding scale that gradually reduces Social Security checks to zero for those with the highest non–Social Security incomes. This transparent mechanism will apply to benefits received by affluent Americans under both the current system and the flat-rate system. This transparent, sliding-scale approach is a major improvement on today’s taxation of Social Security benefits.

Under the plan, income-adjusted benefits start in 2012 as individual retirees with non–Social Security incomes above $55,000 start to see a slight reduction in benefit payments. Those with higher non–Social Security income will see larger reductions in their checks. Individuals with more than $110,000 in non–Social Security income will receive no Social Security payments. Married couples who file taxes jointly would be subject to higher thresholds, with benefits beginning to phase out at a joint non–Social Security income of $110,000 and ending when income reaches $165,000. Married couples can decide whether they want to qualify for benefits as individuals or jointly as a couple. The income thresholds will be indexed for inflation.

Income-adjusting benefits is not new. It occurs in today’s Social Security system. But it is largely hidden today and hits lower-income seniors, not just the affluent. Seniors with as little as $15,000 in non–Social Security income, or even less in some cases, must pay tax on part of their benefits. Seniors with more income than that pay steadily higher rates of tax on more of their Social Security benefits. The Heritage approach, when fully phased in, would income-adjust benefits transparently and not tax the benefits a senior receives. It also would start income-adjusting at a much higher income. Today, about half of seniors have their checks eroded by taxation. Under the Heritage plan, only about 9 percent of seniors would see their checks reduced and only just over 3.5 percent of seniors would receive no check.

Real insurance also protects seniors from poverty if their financial situation changes. Retirees who suffer a sudden and permanent drop in non–Social Security income would find their benefits rapidly restored.

Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 105)

Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below:

Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at cutspending@pryor.senate.gov and I have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

On May 11, 2011,  I emailed to this above address and I got this email back from Senator Pryor’s office:

Please note, this is not a monitored email account. Due to the sheer volume of correspondence I receive, I ask that constituents please contact me via my website with any responses or additional concerns. If you would like a specific reply to your message, please visit http://pryor.senate.gov/contact. This system ensures that I will continue to keep Arkansas First by allowing me to better organize the thousands of emails I get from Arkansans each week and ensuring that I have all the information I need to respond to your particular communication in timely manner.  I appreciate you writing. I always welcome your input and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any issue of concern to you in the future.

I just did. I went to the Senator’s website and sent this below:

You are friends with the gang of six members and Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is one of the those members. I noticed a study that Senator Coburn did on how to cut money out of our bloated federal budget and I have included below some of his suggestions concerning the Dept of Health and Human Services below:

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

AND

HUMAN SERVICES

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is charged with protecting the health of all Americans. This includes supporting medical research, promoting wellness, preventing and controlling disease, ensuring the safety of drugs and medical devices, and providing health care and related services.

The budget of HHS ―represents almost a quarter of all federal outlays, and it administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined. HHS Medicare program is the nations largest health insurer, handling more than 1 billion claims per year. Medicare and Medicaid together provide health care insurance for one in four Americans.‖1 HHS is also involved in other activities such as assisting with the management of wastewater treatment facilities 2 as well as doing house work and shopping for older Americans. 3

1 ―About HHS,‖HHS website, accessed June 30, 2011;

http://www.hhs.gov/about/ .

2

―TERMINATION: RURAL COMMUNITY FACILITIES,‖Fiscal Year 2012 Terminations, Reductions, and Savings; Budget of the U.S. Government, Office of Management and Budget, page 61; http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/trs.pdf .

3 Administration on Aging Annual Report 2008, Page 7;

http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Program_Results/docs/2008/AOA_2008AnnualReport.pdf .

HHS is made up of many diverse agencies, including the Administration on Aging, Administration for Children and Families, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Food and Drug Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Global Health Affairs, and the Office of the Surgeon General, which includes the 6,500-member Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Improving Management of Funds and Resources

The entire annual HHS budget exceeds $889 billion. This mammoth budget has proven difficult to properly manage. From paying health care claims submitted for dead patients and prisoners to bonuses to nursing homes for substandard care to excess travel costs, mismanagement at HHS is costing taxpayers more than one billion dollars every week.

In 2010, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designated five HHS programs as ―high-error‖based on the agencies annual performance and financial reports. In just two of these programs, Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicaid, HHS made $56.8 billion of improper payments.

4 These ―improper payments‖include millions of dollars of Medicare claims submitted under the names of dead doctors5 and ordered for medical services for dead patients.6

―Medicare fraudestimated now to total about $60 billion a yearhas become one of, if not the most profitable, crimes in America,‖CBS News recently reported, which raises ―troubling questions about our governments ability to manage a medical bureaucracy.‖7

Statement by Dr. David Acheson, Associate Commissioner on Foods at the Food and Drug Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Improper Payments in Government Agencies and Departments before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, May 11, 2011; http://www.hhs.gov/asl/testify/2011/03/t20110317e.html .

Jane Zhang, ―Medicare Ignored Its Claims Policy, Audit Says,‖The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2008; http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121971017492971293.html . 6

―Doctor Pleads Guilty to Billing Medicare and Medicaid for Counseling Sessions with Dead Patients; Dr. Williams Claimed $2 Million in Phony Health Treatments, Saying It Was Group Therapy,‖U.S. Attorneys Office, Northern District of Georgia, FBI website, June 6, 2011; http://www.fbi.gov/atlanta/press-releases/2011/doctor-pleads-guilty-to-billing-medicare-and-medicaid-for-counseling-sessions-with-dead-patients 7

―Medicare Fraud: A $60 Billion Crime,‖CBS News, September 5, 2010; http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/23/60minutes/main5414390.shtml . 8

Clark Kauffman, ―Nursing homes across the U.S. receive bonuses despite violations,‖Des Moines Register (Iowa), November 9, 2008; http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20081109/NEWS10/811090341/-1/SPORTS09 .

9 Staff estimate based on OMB numbers.

10 David Freddoso, ―Government conference spending gone wild!,‖Washington Examiner, August 29, 2009;

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Government-conference-spending-gone-wild-54832242.html .11

―INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE: IHS Mismanagement Led to Millions of Dollars in Lost or Stolen Property (GAO-08-72),‖Government Accountability Office, June 2008; http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08727.pdf .

Fraud is not the only cause of wasted federal health care dollars. For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded more than $312 million a year in bonuses to nursing homes with past violations of basic health-and-safety standards that provided below-average care.8

There are plenty of other areas where HHS spending is simply excessive. HHS spent $215 million on travel, including the cost of rental cars, hotels and airline tickets, in 2008.

9 The Department spent at least $349 million on conferences and meetings over the last decade.

10

Millions of dollars of HHS equipment disappears every year. Over 5,000 items worth $15.8 million, including laptop computers, all-terrain vehicles, tractors, pickup trucks, and medical devices, were lost or stolen by employees of HHS Indian Health Service between 2004 and 2007.

11 Investigators blamed management failures and weak leadership for the problems, yet the official in charge of IHS property group still received a $13,000 bonus award in December 2008.

The Department ends every year with billions of dollars in excess funds. HHS is expected to end 2011 with more than $210 billion in unspent funds. Over $40 billion of that amount is unobligated. The Department is expected to end 2012 with an even greater amount of unobligated money.13

One way the Department could clean up their act and save taxpayer dollars is simply through complying with existing federal law. The nonpartisan analysis of an audit conducted by Ernst & Young on the balance sheets of the Department of Health and Human Services for FY2010, was included in HHSs FY 2010 Agency Financial Report, dated November 15, 2010. The audit revealed concerning conclusions; among the many findings were the following:

14

HHS is not in compliance with federal financial management law. According to the HHS Inspector Generals review of Ernst & Youngs financial audit of HHS, ―HHS’s financial management systems are not compliant with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996.‖

 Nearly $2 billion taxpayer dollars are stuck in limbo. ―As of September 30, 2010, the audit identified approximately 102,500 transactions totaling an approximate $1.8 billion that were more than 2 years old without activity.‖

 Nearly $800 million dollars ―could not be explained‖differing between HHS records and treasury department records. ―Based on our review and discussions with management, we noted differences of $794 million that could not be explained.‖

 Some processes and procedural manuals have not been updated since the 1980s. ―HHSs formalized policies and procedures are out of date and may be inconsistent with actual processes taking place….For example, we noted that certain policies and procedures, including certain accrual processes, had not been updated since the mid-1980s.‖

 Current HHS personnel need training to ―complete their day-to-day responsibilities.‖―Further, we noted additional training on the financial systems was needed to enable HHS personnel in their ability to access needed information from the system to complete their day-to-day responsibilities – including the preparation of reconciliations, research of differences noted, and the ability to identify and clear older ―stale‖transactions dating back several years.‖

 

Pictures of some of the victims of the Norway tragedy

Go to page 1Go to page 2Go to page 3Go to page 4Go to page 5Go to page 6Go to page 7Go to page 8Go to page 9Go to page 10Go to page 11Go to page 12Go to page 13Go to page 14Go to page 15Go to page 16Go to page 17

Craig O’Neill Texas prank

This week I watched on tv the replay of the last game in the series with Texas. It was the 1991 game in Little Rock against Texas. Right before that game Craig O’Neill pulled a prank on the Texas Athletic Dept. Listen to the clip above.

The Arkansas Times Blog reported:

Craig O’Neill tells all 

When the voice of God prank called Texas.

craigoneill.jpgBrian click to enlarge Brian Chilson

As told to Lindsey Millar

› I started in radio when I was 19 in 1969 at KBTN in Jonesboro. The most popular show was a 15-minute newscast at 9:30 p.m. that included five minutes of obituaries. You’ve heard of the top 20 hits? We did the top 20 obits.

›I did a black gospel show, I did play-by-play, I did news, I covered parades, I even played a clown. In those two and a half years, I learned more about life and people than I could ever have hoped to in college.

› Johnny Carson was the blueprint. Johnny Carson started in radio, went to TV, had a little local TV show, picked up and went out to California, got on an afternoon game show and the rest is history. So, I thought, there’s my blueprint. The trouble is you get married, you have kids, you have great ratings, the station gives you a car, you’re fat and happy and you forget all about the blueprint.

› I was Randy Hankins until 1972, and then in 1972 my program director at KARN thought that Randy Hankins sounded too country. He had worked with a guy in Seattle named Craig O’Neill and thought that was a cool name, so he gave it to me.

I’ve never heard from him, but I have heard from people who say, “Didn’t you used to work Seattle?” I also get, “Didn’t you used to work at Cincinnati?” And, “Didn’t you used to work in Atlanta?” So I’m thinking the other Craig O’Neill, the real one, he got around a lot.

› We called Texas and said, “It was twilight, a young UA student was sleep deprived when he put the lettering in the end zone and he accidentally put an extra ‘s’ on Texas. We can’t take it off there. What do you want us to do about it?” And the guy goes, “Well we can’t have Tex-ass, now can we?”

› I wrote a skit for Lou Holtz to use on “The Tonight Show” in 1981. He called me and said, “Craig, my child’s in the hospital, and I don’t feel funny. But they still want me on. Can you write me some material?” So what I wrote him was, him saying, “I’ve always wanted to be the host of ‘The Tonight Show.’ Johnny, if you’d let me sit behind the desk just for a minute, I’ll let you draw up a Razorback play that we will actually use during the year.” So they would switch places. Lou Holtz would sit behind the desk. “Oh, this is nice.” Johnny would have fun drawing up the play. The punchline was, Lou looking at the play saying, “I’m not sure if we’re going to use this. If it’s a Johnny Carson play, you know it’s only going to work three days out of the week.”

When I ran it by the head writer, he loved it. But when you watch the tape, you’ll see Johnny Carson ask Lou Holtz three times, “what’re some of the things you’ve always wanted to do?” trying to set Lou up to do the bit. But Lou was so nervous and so anxious, he never did it.

› Around 1996 or 1997, when I was 45 years old, I started looking around and going, “What else can I try?” I thought, “Why not TV?” I had a friend who was general manager over here, and she said, “Why don’t you come over and do wacky sports?”

› There are times when I break all decorum and slip into Bozo.

› At 4 p.m., one of my favorite things is to stand back and watch these creative clusters in the KTHV newsroom working on stories they want to tell. I just eat that up.

› I love comedians and that process of saying something and getting a response. There’s so much truth in comedy. My mentor now is Jon Stewart. I think he’s the greatest interviewer in America. Because he’s looking for the comic opening. To do that, you have to listen.

› I grew up with my mother saying, “Tone it down.”

› The story I’ve heard is that a little girl leaned over to her mother at my church and goes, “Are we gonna go to Sunday school after God gets through?” When I read the Bible, I’m James Earl Jones.

› I’ve never had a drink in my life. My first communion at Trinity Episcopal, I was so anxious that when the wine came at me, I took a gulp, held it in my mouth, walked out the chancel outside and hurled. Now, booze has such a psychological aversion in me, that I can’t stomach it. I don’t mind you drinking; I just can’t do it.

› I’m the best dancing 60-year-old white man in America. I’m a walking dancing museum. I can do every dance from 1955 until now. With the exception of breakdancing, because I’m 60, and I would break a hip.

› My favorite fluffy news story? I can almost do it word for word: A woman in Conway last night came downstairs to find a man asleep in her recliner. She tried to wake the man, but he wouldn’t move. So she called the Conway police, who came and arrested the man for intoxication. When he came to, he said he thought he was in Cabot.

› After 39 years of having a fake name, it’s easier to remove your ego. It’s like a doctor putting on a white coat or a priest putting on a collar. When you get booed or when you bombed or when you stumble on air, it’s easier to let those things go.

› When you become a bobblehead, I think you’ve arrived.

Jimi Hendrix one of first members of the “27 club” (Part 5)

jimi hendrix

JIMI HENDRIX : FINAL INTERVIEW .

The other day when Amy Winehouse died she joined the “27 Club” which includes other famous rockers who died at age 27. Most of them died because of drugs. Unfortunately Jimi Hendrix joined the club for the same reason.

Something special for all music and Beat Club-Lovers on YouTube: The 2nd take of the “Purple Haze” Performance by The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Marquee Club in London on the 11th of March 1967! Never broadcasted in the regular episodes of the Beat Club! Enjoy it!

______________________________

2. Jimi Hendrix

although jimi did not make my top 10 guitar players (as scandalous as that sounds) he had to be added to this list as he was without a doubt one of the most flamboyant, cool, badass dudes in the history of our planet, let alone rock n’ roll. jimi was immensely talented, blending his virtuosic guitar playing with great melodic sensibilities and serious songwriting chops. it was a coin toss for first and second on this list as hendrix could have easily topped it.

a rockstar archetype who clearly defined the role of a new breed of star, hendrix brought a sexy swagger to rock n’ roll that didn’t really exist before he showed up. the fact that he really stands alone as a black artist in the rock genre is a bit odd i find. although black artists have dominated in many other genres such as soul, r&b, rap, hip hop, and blues and contributed to many of the jazz greats, there is a strange lack of black artists in rock. some will say what about bad brains, living colour…am i missing anybody? (also an insane stretch to compare those bands with hendrix).

not only was jimi a black artist, he was also apparently a man of legendary sexual prowess (not to mention phallus size), and it was the sixties. although it was a time of certain …liberties, let’s say, civil rights was still a new idea. it takes a pretty cool individual to negotiate those waters and i’m sure jimi had to endure the standard racism of the day, death threats, etc.

there is a great story of jimi when he first arrived in london. he was doing a house gig at a club downtown and word started to spread about this guitar demon that no one had heard the likes of before. one night the club was full of all the local luminaries that had come to pay homage or just check out what all the fuss was about. jimmy page, jeff beck, brian jones, keith richards, eric clapton, pete townshend — all were all there to check out jimi and his crack band the experience. i think it was jones who opined “the front of the stage was wet with the tears of all the other guitar players in the room”. it was a collective “what do we do now” from the awestruck crowd that jimi had just blown away.

he was also a fashionista of the highest order. as spencer said in a previous post (and i’m paraphrasing here), “he had the ability to make a hawaiian print blazer look cool”. big hair, big floppy hats, etc. jimi and his wild looks and incredible talent cut an indelible mark in rock history.

essential listening: are you experienced, electric ladyland (the jimi hendrix experience)

____________________________________

Long hair, pop music and rebellion

I grew up in the sixties, a period of guys with long hair, the Beatles, rebellion, so-called “free love,” hippies and drug experimentation. “Do your own thing” or “if it feels good, do it” were the catch cries of my generation. I had long hair, wore satin shirts and beads and loved “pop” music. Jesus was just a swear word and a fairy tale to me. In my view, anyone who believed in God was weak and unscientific.
Unwanted suicidal thoughts

However, I began to have destructive thoughts. Out of the blue, the thought of “Cut your wrists!” would be planted in my mind. I was amazed and scared by these thoughts because I was satisfied and content with life. In fact, I thought I had everything I needed to be happy.
My friend had gone crazy!

I visited my friend Dave. In the past, he had mocked the Bible as unscientific and argued strongly for the truth of evolution. Now he told me that he trusted in this person called Jesus and also that the scientific evidence didn’t back up the theory of evolution! “Right,” I thought, “Give me a Bible; I’ll prove him wrong!”
The stumbling block of evolution and the miracle of life

I had come close to having a very bad motorcycle accident and this started me thinking about God. But the theory of evolution was a stumbling block for me in believing the Bible because the Bible says that God (not time, chance, mutation and natural selection) is responsible for the universe and for life. I witnessed the miracle of the birth of both of my children. I was stunned by the complexity of the human body and I was starting to see that the theory of evolution was the fairy tale! I began to search for the one who was the Creator of life.

My son’s life story
Music—my true addiction

I was invited to view a video on the effect of music and I was stunned as it laid out the nature of my beloved music . . . promotion of rebellion, drugs, depravity, violence, the occult, witchcraft, the devil, sexual perversion, suicide and mockery of Jesus. I wondered why musicians were spending so much time mocking this Jesus character if he was just a fairy tale as I once thought.

I wondered why so many rock musicians died young from suicide and drug overdose, etc. The Who, in their song “My Generation,” sing, “Hope I die before I get old.” But when faced with his friends dying before they got old, Pete Townsend, the guitarist of The Who lamented, “Look at my life. Look at my generation. How did that work? Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon . . . the list is . . . endless. They’re dead people. My life is full of dead people. My friends are dead.”

How had my music affected me? One thing I knew, I would be a brave person to say that music had not affected me at all!
Unexplainable blasphemy

Jesus said that I should pray so I thought Well, let’s pray! As I said the Lord’s Prayer, the words in the second line (Let your Holy Name be honoured) were replaced by foul and blasphemous words. This occurred on two successive nights and I wasn’t too keen on this evil articulate force that was controlling my thought patterns with suicide and blasphemy!
Placing a challenge before God

One dark night, I was lying in bed thinking. “God, if you are so powerful that you made the universe by speaking, then show me evidence you exist.” I didn’t expect anything to happen because there was no way (or so I thought) that God could show me anything as I lay in bed.
A visitor in the night—God is supernatural!

Suddenly, a man in white clothes appeared in the doorway of the room with his right hand outstretched like a policeman. Out of his hand came a beam of light that moved halfway across the room. I cried out in my mind, “Stop, stop, I believe . . . I believe . . . I’ve seen enough!” This did not stop what I was seeing as the beam of light continued across the room and through the glass into the black of the night where the light destroyed what I conceived as the evil in the world. God had shown me that His light could overcome the darkness.
The grace of God

I surrendered my will to Jesus and trusting in Him has had a powerful effect on my life, totally setting me free from the power behind the thoughts of self-destruction. Immediately (without being conscious of it) I stopped swearing, making comments with sexual connotations and letting my mind wander as I looked at bikini-clad girls.
Things I did not realize as an skeptic

These include: Jesus was a real person, the Bible is the world’s bestselling book, many of the early great scientists and composers had a Christian world view, humans are spiritual beings, many of the great modern scientists believe (as Einstein puts it) that science points us to a “spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble,” the scientific evidence against evolution and the Bible is very reliable when judged against the standard historical tests.
God is not far from any of us My wife lost her engagement ring and we looked in three different places—searching the ground with no success. Lastly we went to the squash court car park. I thought, Now I’m a Christian, I suppose I should pray! I started to pray. “Lord help us find . . . ” In mid-sentence my wife interrupted me saying, “Here’s the ring!”

Jesus is the only way to God. He is the key for you and me. Give Jesus the control of your life. After 20 years as a Christian, I still marvel at the blessings and grace that Jesus continues to shower into my life. Now I wonder why I took so long to come to know Him!

Greg

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Not much remains to be said about the primal genius of Jimi Hendrix. He could play any style. He reinvented the electric guitar as an instrument of musical expression. He wrote several of the most enduring and important songs of the rock 'n' roll era -- including "Purple Haze," "Foxey Lady," "Are You Experienced?" and "Crosstown Traffic" (and so many others) -- helping to define several generations of music and popular culture. He was impossibly cool. He was impossibly great. And he died a most gruesome death, choking on his own vomit after taking too many prescription sleeping pills and drinking too much wine on September 18, 1970. (Ray Stevenson / Rex Features/CP)

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Ray Stevenson / Rex Features/CP

Not much remains to be said about the primal genius of Jimi Hendrix. He could play any style. He reinvented the electric guitar as an instrument of musical expression. He wrote several of the most enduring and important songs of the rock ‘n’ roll era — including “Purple Haze,” “Foxey Lady,” “Are You Experienced?” and “Crosstown Traffic” (and so many others) — helping to define several generations of music and popular culture. He was impossibly cool. He was impossibly great. And he died a most gruesome death, choking on his own vomit after taking too many prescription sleeping pills and drinking too much wine on September 18, 1970.

“Midnight in Paris” movie review plus review of 5 Woody Allen classics (video clips from Annie Hall)

Sean Kernan's photo

, Davenport Classic Movies Examiner

June 11, 2011

Woody Allen’s new film “Midnight in Paris” starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard opened Friday, June 10th at Rave Motion Pictures in Davenport, Iowa. “Midnight in Paris” stars Owen Wilson as a blocked novelist in Paris on a terrible vacation with his shrewish wife (McAdams) who finds solitude and discovery while walking the streets of Paris after midnight.

“Midnight in Paris” reminded me of many of my favorite Woody Allen classics and with that in mind, here are my five favorite Woody Allen classics.

Zelig

This remarkably put together pseudo-documentary stars Woody Allen as Leonard Zelig, a human chameleon who can become anyone. This fresh and witty movie takes Allen only slightly away from his usual neurotic meanderings on life, love and death as he visits upon the character of Zelig a series of comic mishaps whose underlying meaning reflects Allen’s worldview without existing within Allen’s usual conversational style.

Stardust Memories

The most self referential of Woody Allen’s films, “Stardust Memories” is about a director who agrees to appear at a film festival and finds himself assailed by fans repeatedly reminding him how much they prefer his ‘earlier, funnier movies.’ Charlotte Rampling plays his ex-girlfriend, a slightly crazed actress. Meta before the new definition of the word existed; “Stardust Memories” is Woody Allen commenting on the state of his own career from the agents and producers to the fans both sycophantic and demanding.

Purple Rose of Cairo

There is an astonishing innocence to “The Purple Rose of Cairo” that comes from the purest love of the movies. In “Purple Rose of Cairo” Mia Farrow plays a woman who dreams about movie heroes and Jeff Daniels plays a movie hero who comes down off the screen and into real life. Daniels also plays the role of the actor whose character comes off the screen. “Purple Rose of Cairo” is Woody Allen at his most romantic both in terms of characters in love and our love affair with movies.

Annie Hall

If you don’t love “Annie Hall” then you probably don’t love Woody Allen. “Annie Hall” is his masterpiece; a talky, oddly romantic, neurotic mess that finds laughs in the exasperations of the daily lives of two people attempting to be in love or in love with love or whatever it is that men and women do to keep themselves company.

Match Point

If for some reason you’ve questioned Woody Allen’s talent as a director, watch “Match Point” and you will be convinced. “Match Point” is a Hitchcockian thriller starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johannsen as sexy social climbers who begin an affair that endangers their status-seeking until finally murder is the only option left to one of them. The elegance of “Match Point” is what is so surprising and effective about it. There is little of Allen’s usual kvetching in the dialogue but the nature of the film, the malleable morality, is all his.

“Midnight in Paris” is a little young to make this list but I cannot wait to watch it again as I feel it will age well and likely displace one of the movies on this list. See “Midnight in Paris” at Rave Motion Pictures in Davenport, 3601 East 53rd street, for the next month or so.