Monday Music Minute–Folk Song That Helped Led Zeppelin Case

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Led Zeppelin prevailed in a plagiarism case, in which the legendary band was charged with stealing the first few chords of their epic “Stairway To Heaven” from an unknown song nearly 50 years ago.

A jury decided that Jimmy Page was not guilty of lifting the exact same chord progressions used in the first few moments of a late 1960’s song called, “Taurus,” by the British band Spirit.

To prove that Led Zeppelin shouldn’t be found guilty, the group’s lawyer brought a musicologist to the stand on their behalf. The musicologist argued the kind of chord progression used at the beginning of both “Stairway” and “Taurus” originated some 400 years ago!

Digital Music News explains:

Back in April, a Digital Music News reader unearthed a classical composition from the early 1600s that sounded nearly identical to ‘Stairway to Heaven.’  That piece, written by pre-baroque composer Giovanni Battista Granata, raised the possibility that the famous progression from ‘Stairway’ is actually in the public domain and not subject to any copyright whatsoever.

Expert attorneys debated that point, with one noting that the real question under US law isn’t whether the piece itself is public domain, but whether Zeppelin copied the version created by Spirit in their song, ‘Taurus’.  But other versions of the progression have also emerged, including a 1950s version by Davey Graham that also sounds exactly like the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ the world knows.

In that light, Zeppelin’s attorneys have understandably argued that the ‘Stairway’ guitar riff is as old as time itself, dating back hundreds of years and passed between generations of artists.  Now, there’s more evidence to support that assertion, and possibly end this case for good.   In expert testimony earlier today, musicologist Lawrence Ferrara unearthed an old folk song called ‘To Catch a Shad” that is also in the public domain.

The only known recording of “To Catch a Shad,” apparently, is by The Modern Folk Quartet in 1963. You can easily hear the similarities between the two songs. However, the original composition is four centuries old, meaning it’s in the public domain.

And that is how Led Zeppelin probably won the case.

I shared a portion of this song on yesterday’s WSGW First Day show. Here’s the entire song.

Enjoy!

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SCOTUS Restricts Gun Rights For Domestic Violence Offenders

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Next to the huge abortion decision today in which the onerous Texas abortion law was struck down, the Supreme Court also voted to restrict gun rights for domestic violent offenders:

The court, in a 6-2 ruling, was unpersuaded by arguments from two Maine men who said their past convictions weren’t the type that should subject them to a federal ban on firearm possession.

One of the men found himself in hot water for shooting a bald eagle. When authorities later discovered a past domestic violence conviction, they added a new charge that he possessed a firearm in violation of a federal ban on gun ownership by domestic abusers.

A second defendant with previous domestic violence offenses was charged with illegal gun possession after police officers found guns at his house while executing a search for marijuana.

The men argued that prior domestic abuse convictions shouldn’t trigger the gun ban if those prior offenses potentially involved only reckless behavior and not intentionally violent conduct.

Justice Kagen wrote that reckless behavior resulting in the assault of a domestic person does indeed prohibit someone convicted of that crime from owning a gun.

There is some sanity, after all.

Well, almost.

Justice Thomas wrote the dissenting opinion.

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Gun Rights Supporters Absent For Preservation Of Fourth Amendment

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This week’s “Pat Political Point Podcast,” as originally aired on WSGW’s First Day. Why are Second Amendment advocates silent on those quietly trying to erode the Fourth Amendment?

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Amidst the gun control debate happening in Congress this week, or the lack thereof thanks to the GOP, another piece of legislation being debated in the Senate received scant coverage.

Republican Senators John McCain and Richard Burr introduced an amendment that grants the FBI power to spy on your Internet browsing history and emails…without needing a warrant. McCain and other cosponsors of the bill put up a fierce fight to get the Senate to approve the measure, but thankfully, it failed.

But here’s the scary part.

It failed by two votes.

In a procedural vote to begin debate on the Internet spying bill, the Senate voted 58-38 to advance it. The bill needed 60 votes. That means it fell only two votes short of receiving a full hearing on the Senate floor! And while most Republicans predictably voted for the trashing of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, 11 Democratic senators and one independent joined to support it!

While the McCain-Burr amendment would not give the FBI the right to read actual emails, they would be allowed to read subject headings and email addresses. The bureau would also be given the power to spy on your Internet activity, and see how much time you spend on a specific website.

On top of that, the FBI wouldn’t have to request a court order to not only do the things I just described, but would also have the authority to stop an Internet provider from telling its customers that, hey, they’re being watched by the federal government.

McCain and Burr are fearful that unless the Senate accepts their amendment, the FBI will lose this power originally granted to them in the Orwellian-named “PATRIOT ACT.” This specific amendment sunsets in 2019.

Those who voted in favor of increased spying of American citizens are saying this amendment must succeed, or else we’ll have another Orlando mass shooting tragedy. McCain, himself, argued that our government must have increased spying protections to prevent a “lone wolf” or Islamic-supporting terrorists from causing harm to Americans.

The amendment is also supported by FBI, which is such a shock!

FBI Director James Comey told a senate intelligence committee (now there’s a contradiction in terms!) that forcing the the bureau to receive a court order before it spies on you affects their work in a big way! Senator McCain condescended to privacy rights advocates, saying he feels sympathy for their concerns, but we must give MORE power to the federal government!

Oh, and about that fourth amendment? Don’t sweat too much about it!

Senator Burr admitted the legislation wouldn’t have prevented the Orlando massacre, but that something has to be done to prevent another similar incident like it from happening again.

Wow. I believe the same argument is sometimes used by gun control advocates, but they’re usually laughed at by people like McCain and Burr.

In case you need a refresher on the Fourth Amendment, it reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. –

It’s astonishing that the same people who complain about Big Government coming to take our guns, simply yawn when day-after-day their Fourth Amendment rights are being trashed.

Empirical evidence illustrates how unfettered spying hasn’t led to any major breakthroughs in stopping a terrorist attack. In fact, the evidence collected under warrantless spying could’ve been uncovered through more conventional ways of using a court order!

Now, for those of you thinking, “Well, if I’m not doing anything wrong, then I have nothing to worry about,” please consider this fun fact. When you visit a website, let’s say a website that is of adult nature, there’s a possibility you’re being watched. Doesn’t that make you feel comfy-cozy. And, I’m sure there wouldn’t be one person at the FBI or in the government who would abuse that power and spy on innocent Americans for no reason, right?

This all happened while the gun-rights advocates were fighting tooth-and-nail to ensure people on a terror watch list could have easy access to a weapon.

While I consider the whole terror watch-list to be nothing but a racial profiling atrocity, there are others, like McCain and Burr, who have zero problem with the watch-list. Yet, they have no problem with people on those watch lists to getting guns.

Yes, illogical and flawed reasoning, but then again, we thrive on illogical and flawed reasoning in this country.

The victims of the Orlando massacre could be honored by passing meaningful legislation that prevents future attacks. Like, for instance, ensuring domestic violence criminals can’t get access to guns. Or re-instating the assault weapons ban. Or declaring the AR-15, and similar weapons like it, an assault weapon!

But while we can tinker with other amendments, we can’t dare touch the fabled second amendment from infringing on my basic right of “pursuit of happiness.” Of course, the Second Amendment also says that there should be a “well-regulated” militia, which means everyone owning a gun–any gun–must belong to a militia.

The inability to enact meaningful gun control, and the apathy surrounding our government’s ability to weaken the Fourth Amendment, just shows me that the gun rights’ people simply don’t care about The Constitution.

If they did, they’d join a regulated militia and stop further erosion of the Fourth Amendment.

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Cheering For Fairness

Participants for Lions Cheerleader Auditions. Photo Courtesy of Salwan Georges of The Detroit Free Press

Participants for Lions Cheerleader Auditions. Photo Courtesy of Salwan Georges of The Detroit Free Press

Click below to listen to this week’s “Sunday Sports Take.” I didn’t get to share this week’s take on WSGW’s First Day, but I’m posting it here. I urge the Detroit Lions to pay their new cheerleader squad a living wage!

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The Detroit Lions held auditions over the weekend for their brand new cheerleading squad, which is expected to be unveiled in August.

The always testy and truculent Drew Sharp from The Detroit Free Press unsurprisingly wrote a negative opinion about the Detroit Lions’ decision to add cheerleaders this year.

Sharp pontificates that the Lions’ decision to hire cheerleaders is simply a ruse to hide a mediocre product on the field. It’s hard to argue with his point, although I think many Lions fans will deem mediocrity a successful season!

At the conclusion of his column, though, Sharp makes a compelling argument that if the Lions truly believe cheerleaders will help improve the organization’s image, then pay these women the money they deserve! He also calls on the Lions to provide their new cheerleader squad with extra benefits by making them full-time employees.

Sharp, like myself, is pessimistic the Lions will follow his advice.

Economics professors Marina Adshade and David Berri recently shared their thoughts in Time Magazine about fair wages for NFL cheerleaders. They reminded us of how Tampa Bay cheerleaders received just $100 per game, and cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders made just $5 per game!

Lawsuits have ensured they receive more compensation for the work they do.

Adshade and Berri cite a marketing firm that estimates NFL cheerleaders as a collective “are worth $8.25 million alone” for their TV appearances. And they help teams off-the-field by assisting in ticket promotions, community appearances, and by simply promoting the NFL brand.

Of course, we’re omitting practice and workouts, too.

So, c’mon Lions! If you want cheerleaders because you feel they’ll be beneficial to your organization’s brand, then more power to you. But if you foolishly follow in the footsteps of other brain-dead, myopic NFL organizations that grossly took advantage of their cheerleaders, then you’ll also be guilty of exploitation.

The Lions must show they not only understand why their new cheerleaders deserve a fair wage, but also value their role in the organization.

Do something right for a change, Lions!

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Howard Kurtz: Only Straight White Men Report Objectively

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That’s the gist of this brain cell-killing interview between “media critic” Howard Kurtz and Townhall’s Guy Benson.

Kurtz asked a question on his weekend show if CNN’s Anderson Cooper could objectively cover the Orlando mass shooting tragedy because, you know, Anderson Cooper is gay. How could Cooper be fair-minded when most of the victims were also gay?

Benson, who is also gay, agreed with Kurtz that Cooper had an understandable slant to his coverage because of his homosexuality.

Right. Stay with me here.

Please watch the video to watch the hand-wringing from Kurtz:

So, you’ve got straight guy from Fox News hyperventilating over Cooper’s journalistic objectivity, and using a gay Fox News contributor to say that his fellow gays shouldn’t cover stories revolving around gay people.

Does that mean a black journalist shouldn’t have covered the Charlestown massacre where all of the victims were black? Does that mean women can’t report on rape, wage disparity, or women’s health issues because the subjects are women?

Does that mean white reporters are to be barred from reporting on stories affecting fellow whites?

The Logic Of Howard Kurtz seems to believe so.

Susan Demas summed it up better:

Kurtz and Benson criticized Cooper’s interview with Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi a day after the shooting. Cooper wondered how Bondi could argue that she’s a champion of the LGBT community while she argued in favor of the state’s gay marriage ban, and that lifting it would “induce public harm.”

How is that not fair questioning?

Bondi claimed gay marriage would “induce public harm.” She fought against gay rights, and bluntly argued it would “harm” Florida! She’s part of the politicians and provocateurs I talked about during last week’s “Pat Political Point.”

No, Bondi isn’t on the same level of the shooter. However, Bondi and her allies are part of the team that fought against gay rights. They spent years demonizing the LGBT community. Is it going too far to presume that those years of demonization didn’t play a slight role in affirming the Orlando shooter’s decision to choose that venue for his carnage? Could the shaming of the LGBT community by folks like Bondi have led the shooter to become ashamed of his latent homosexuality?

Is it going too far?

I don’t believe so.

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Cynicism Grows After Orlando

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Here’s last week’s “Pat Political Point” from WSGW’s First Day. The Orlando Mass Shooting Tragedy, Trump, Religious Extremism, Gun Control, and how details of the crime appear to be hate against the LGBT community are the issues I covered. My email is: [email protected]

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News about a mass shooting in Orlando broke during our show last week. Michael Percha could only provide us with scant details because we didn’t know any hard facts by the time we signed-off. However, shortly after the show, we learned at least 20 people had died as the result of the shooting. I remember thinking to myself that nothing will change as a result of this latest tragedy. Then, a by noon, we learned at least 49 people, including the gunman, were killed at a gay night club.

Once we learned of the shooters name, which I won’t repeat, as one which we identify with Islam, my already hardened cynicism became even more fortified. I knew everyone would quickly resort or revert to their comfort zones, especially conservatives.

By Sunday afternoon, Joe Pags, who airs weeknights at 6pm on WSGW 100.5FM, shouted at us that “ISIS is in America!”

Glenn Beck kept telling his listeners that the attack by the shooter is “All About Islam.”

This incident differed, many conservatives claimed, all because of the shooter’s name.

Forgive my cynicism, but once I heard the massacre took place at a popular gay night club, I figured there had to be more to this story. Why a gay night club? Of all places to select, why that place for a suspected “terrorist?”

Instead of calling the shooting a terrorist act, why wasn’t it automatically being called a “hate crime?” It’s true that President Obama did call the shooting both a terrorist act and an crime of hate because it can be possible the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

However, forgive my cynicism, but once I started hearing talk about ISIS and whether we’ve been too weak overseas, I knew the politics were already in the way of actually trying to figure out solutions. And our military industrial complex loves that kind of fear talk, forgive my cynicism.

Speaking of the cynicism, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted the following, and no, it wasn’t meant as satire or a joke:

Of course, the shooter was born in the U.S., so Trump’s Muslim ban would prove ineffective in this case. And we’ve bombed ISIS nearly 28,000 times. And ISIS has lost territory in the Middle East over the past year. And Orlando is not just the beginning, as Trump claims. There have been over ONE THOUSAND mass shooting events in America since Newtown. But Trump’s been silent on most of those.

Also, instead of expressing sympathy to the families of the victims, Trump exclaimed, “I called it,” like he was Nostradamas or something. Here, I can play that game, too! It’s going to rain again this summer. Called it! The Lions won’t win a Super Bowl this year. Called it! Steph Curry could make more three-pointers than me in a 10-shot shootout. Called it!

I have one more. There will be another mass shooting in America. That one we know for sure. I mean, c’mon! We’ve already had 136 mass shootings in the first 164 days of the year!

But Trump isn’t about solutions. He’s about division. He’s about doing exactly what ISIS deplores about the U.S.: Our pluralism.

If I didn’t know better, I think Trump’s hoping for a big attack so he can walk on the bodies and devastation towards the White House.

Now we know the shooter’s story isn’t as simplistic as those had hoped.

NPR reported last night that investigators have found scant evidence that the shooter’s motive had little or nothing to do with ISIS. The guy didn’t become suddenly religious, or associate himself with other extremists, or change his dress. However, investigators say his being bullied as a child, his steroid use, his history of domestic violence in both of his marriages, and his inability to keep a job, fits the profile of a mass shooter. In fact, domestic violence is usually a major precursor to mass shootings, like the one that happened last week in New Mexico where a father shot and killed his wife and three daughters.

Even more, it appears the shooter harbored latent homosexuality to men, which makes sense as to why he frequented that night club. It’s because of his shame of liking men that he probably chose that bar.

We now have the details, but the original narrative sticks.

This is ISIS. We must ban Muslims. We must send more troops to defeat ISIS. ISIS is everywhere.

ISIS. ISIS. ISIS.

Forgive my cynicism, but if I didn’t know better, I’d say ISIS gives us a simple enemy to blame. Sure, we could blame this country’s years and years of dehumanizing, delegitimizing, and degrading the LGBT community for years as one cause for this tragedy. Sure, we could blame the thousands of politicians and provocateurs who’ve spent years spreading hate about the LGBT community. We could point the finger and call them complicit in this act.

No, we’ll blame ISIS.

Forgive my cynicism, but we could pass legislation making it harder for people like this shooter from getting military-grade weaponry, like he used to blow-away 49 people. We could admit that some weapons just aren’t meant for hunting–they’re meant to kill lots of people. We could finally say some guns just don’t belong in society. We could say we’re not going to let the gun manufacturers have the power.

No, we’ll blame ISIS.

Forgive my cynicism, but nothing will change. We’ll keep fighting with each other. We’ll keep demonizing the other side. We’ll keep building more walls to divide us. We’ll do what ISIS wants.

Forgive my cynicism.