What was it James Taylor was flown by the State Department to sing to the Parisians a few weeks back? Oh, yeah:
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you got to do is call
And I'll be there, yes I will
You've Got A Friend...
Dr Shakil Afridi could have used a friend like that. Instead, he made friends with the Government of the United States, and a fat lot of good it did him. As I said on the radio a couple of years ago:
When Joe Biden goes, 'Obama, he's the toughest hombre who ever lived...' This was the decision to take out bin Laden, to pull the trigger, as Obama did personally. 'This was the toughest decision any world leader has had to make in 2,000 years since Pontius Pilate decided to whack Jesus, this is the toughest decision any guy has ever had to take …and in fact, the reality is the guy who took the tough decision was that little Pakistani doctor who made the decision to go to the Americans, and is now being tortured in jail. And Mister Tough Guy, Joe Biden, and the toughest hombre in a millennium, Obama, haven't done a thing about him, poor fellow.
Were it not for Dr Afridi, Osama bin Laden would still be alive and whooping it up with his pals in Abbottabad. Instead, President Obama got to do his "Osama is dead and al-Qaeda is on the run" routine right through the 2012 election and all the way until ISIS took Mosul. Meanwhile, Dr Afridi is about to begin the fourth year of his 33-year prison term. And the preening poseurs who run the global superpower have lifted not a finger to help him.
You've got a friend? In the Age of Obama, who would be a friend of America? Indeed, who would be a friend of a friend of America? Yesterday, Dr Afridi's lawyer was shot dead in Peshawar:
"Two men on a motorcycle opened fire on Mr Samiullah who was travelling alone in his car near Bashir Bagh Aslam Dehri, killing him on the spot" said SSP (operations) Dr Mian Saeed.
He told Dawn that the attackers had fired four shots on the lawyer and the bullets hit him in the chest and abdomen. He said that it was early to determine the motive behind the murder.
Actually, it's not all that difficult to "determine":
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat ur Ahrar accepts responsibility for the attack on Samiullah, the lawyer of Shakil Afridi, who was co-operating with the killers of Sheikh Osama bin Laden. The enemy should remember that we will kill each and every one of the killers of each of our brothers.
All you gotta do is call, and the White House will put you on hold while you listen to James Taylor's Greatest Hits.
The doctor is in jail because he's a friend of America. The lawyer is dead because he's a friend of a friend of America. How come the United States could plan a flawless operation to bust into Osama's compound and put a bullet in him, but it couldn't do a thing for the operation's indispensable human intelligence?
This is usually the point where I quote the great Bernard Lewis' words when we chanced to be on a panel discussion a few years back - that America risked being seen as harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend. And so it goes, from Iran to the Islamic State to the morgue of the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
~At the other end of the ummah, ideological soulmates of the fellows who killed Mr Samiullah killed 19 people in Tunis - 17 of them tourists from France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Australia and Japan. Which seems likely to do wonders for the future of Tunisian tourism. Tunisia was one of the most "westernized" of Arab countries, which is also why it's produced such a huge number of volunteers for ISIS. The various local franchises of the jihad are getting cockier and more confident. Other than Joe Biden bragging about the size of Obama's cojones, what's the strategy here?
~Back on the Hillary Clinton email-shredding beat: A fan of hdr22, David Kelsey wasn't fooled by my paean to Elizabeth Warren. He can see through all that:
I'm mystified as to why so many Beltway liberal and conservative Republican pundits think (wishfully?) that rank-and-file Democrats and independents do now or ever will care about their concern trolling on Hillary Clinton's candidacy. We are routinely told -- contrary to hard data from polls stating otherwise -- that she is "bloody awful" at politics, not liked and unelectable -- so one wonders what they are so afraid of?
It seems to me the Andy old folks in the media are having a difficult time processing the simple and obvious fact that Hillary is more popular with, liked by, and relevant to the public than the opinions of angry old folks in the media. Her continued polling strength is the embodiment of this -- and that's what has the press hounds in such a tizzy. Americans have long since tired of the press's hyperventilating, hysterical manufactured crises and obviously false "narratives" fed by an aversion to facts and data, facts which we can now piece together from any number of alter net news sources. Thus, Hillary-haters in the media can no longer dictate to the public what they should think, whom they should detest, and for whom they should vote as the media did in days of yore. Unlike other candidates, Hillary doesn't need the media and doesn't need to pretend to take it seriously, because the voting public no longer does. And that's what's driven you all into a frenzied rage.
"She's unpopular." "She's unelectable." "Nobody likes her." Mmmm hmmm. Whatever you have to tell yourself to sleep at night. Keep unskewing those polls.
Er, okay. So, if not Elizabeth Warren, what about Gore '16?
~Aside from Hillary mail, we're also getting a lot of comments on our Sinatra centenary songs, which we should probably save for a special Chairmail of the Board. However, Dan Hollombe didn't care for the cut of Song Number 18's jib:
Once again, I find myself vehemently disagreeing with you. If ever there were a song that sounds ridiculous with a "ring-a-ding-ding" style arrangement, it's this one. One knows there's something amiss when the first line is "South of the border..." and what's accompanying it is an army of saxophones. Just as "gurglin' cracklin' cauldron" shouldn't be sung by anyone in a suit and tie, the words "Mexico" and "saxophone" are equally incongruous. Mariachi bands consist of violins, trumpets (without mutes), vihuelas, guitarrons, and diatonic accordions. The more upscale ones might also include a marimba. In addition, Sinatra changes what should be a four-note opening ascending arpeggio into a two note descending one. Unforgivable. After the title of this song is belted out, I want to have the urge to yell "Charge!" as usual, or it's just no good.
Also, I checked out that "White Horses" thing by "Jacky" on YouTube, as it's from my favorite era, and I like being knowledgeable about what was going on in the UK as much as I do the US at the time. Really weak. Both the melody and performance are quite undistinguished. If that's the best that Michael Carr had to offer on his own, I'm not particularly curious about anything else he might have composed.
Well, each to his own, but I would doubt either Michael Carr or Jimmy Kennedy had ever knowingly heard a mariachi band at the time they wrote "South Of The Border". I'm minded to modify Jerome Kern's line to Oscar Hammerstein when they were adapting Donn Byrne's life of Marco Polo for Broadway. "Here's a story laid in China about an Italian and told by an Irishman," said Hammerstein. "What kind of music are you going to write?"
"Don't worry," replied Kern. "It'll be good Jewish music."
In this case, here's a song set in Mexico about an amorous American cowboy told by an Ulsterman and a Dublin Yorkshireman. What kind of music did they write? Well, they wrote good Denmark Street, London WC2 music.
As to "that 'White Horses' thing by 'Jacky'", every horsey English schoolgirl of the late Sixties and Seventies would beg to differ. I dunno how many are in the greater Los Angeles area, but watch out for squealing tires as you cross, er, Rodeo Drive. The song has been covered by all kinds of younger hipper types in the years since, including (just to keep it Celtic) Cerys Matthews, Morwenna Banks and - golly - the Trashcan Sinatras. And, according to this BBC news story, it's the all-time greatest theme tune in television history.
Not long afterwards, Jackie Lee had another hit with a children's TV song. A few years back, we had a chap called Rupert working with us, and I drove the ladies in the office nuts singing this all day long, week after week. Enjoy, Dan!
~On Thursday I'll be checking in with Hugh Hewitt live at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific. This week's drinking game is "Rupert the Bear".