He Belongs To The Ages

Lincoln Death Bed

The assassination of President Lincoln remains to this day as one of the darkest moments of this country’s history.

President Lincoln fought to ensure the country lived-up to its promises entailed in the Declaration of Independence. In fact, Lincoln believed the Declaration to be the “Apples of Gold” of a picture, while the Constitution served as “Silver Framing” to preserve the fidelity of the portrait.. Liberty for “ALL” is what held America unique from the rest of the world.

Like the violent deaths of many other political leaders, we find ourselves always asking the “what if” questions.

If Lincoln had lived, would the primary goals of the Reconstruction been fully realized? Would voting rights for newly freed blacks succeeded? Would some of the Confederacy’s former leadership have been held to account for their traitorous ways? And would Lincoln had continued his push to further strengthen the power and reach of the federal government?

I always chuckle whenever I hear or read President Obama’s critics charge that he tries to run this country as a dictatorship. It’s a good thing these same people weren’t around for the Lincoln administration!

Fox News headlines would’ve blinked in alarming flashes on the screen, “President To Suspend Habeas Corpus!” Can you imagine a Lincoln presidency dealing with the 24-hour news cycle?

Whenever I hear today’s politicians spout the “States Rights!” slogan, I wonder if they understand the magnitude to which they disagree with Lincoln’s vision.

Don’t forget, Lincoln did impose the first federal income tax to help pay for the war. Lincoln, thereby, paved the way for the 16th Amendment!

President Lincoln’s death proved to be a watershed moment for the country. Without his guidance overseeing the Reconstruction, we’ll never know if he single-handily could have prevented Jim Crowe–which crippled generations of African-Americans.

Think about it. If Lincoln had survived the assassination attempt 150 years ago, would Jim Crowe have become a nasty reality? With Lincoln’s death, sadly, Jim Crowe replaced slavery, and the South was able to otherwise keep doing business as usual for another century.

Of course, we’ll never know how fervently Lincoln would continue his fight for a strong central government, although thanks to Lincoln, subsequent presidents like FDR, LBJ, and even George W. Bush used the expanded powers of the federal government Lincoln provided them.

Lastly, while Lincoln held negative views on slavery, he initially wanted to preserve the union without war. But he, like many others around him, would come to understand that the South was willing to tear the country apart in order to keep a certain group of people in chains. That’s why he chose the last known Constitutional solution he had at his disposal: The military.

The year 1865 does seem like a long time ago, but we’re still living with the repercussions of the events that took place that fateful April evening in that small Washington, D.C. theater to this very day.

And that explains why Abraham Lincoln remains this country’s best and most consequential president.

Please read Allen Guelzo’s piece in The Washington Post on a post-Civil War America with Abraham Lincoln at the helm.


Wednesday Indie Music Day–Dirty Projectors

Dirty Projectors circa 2007

Sometimes, a song is perfect for the time. The Dirty Projectors’ cover of the Black Flag classic, “Rise Above” is one of those songs.

For me, the melancholy tone and palpable desperation felt throughout the five minute tune makes this cover far superior to the original. Again, that’s how I roll.

David Longstreth gives a killer lead vocal, but Susanna Waiche and Amber Coffman’s backing harmonies are what make the song perfect for me. I’ve never completely understood why Coffman (or former vocalist Angel Deradoorian, for that matter) has been severely limited in singing lead vocals with the group. “Stillness Is The Move” still remains my favorite Dirty Projectors song, which Coffman serves as the lead singer.

Enough with my minor criticisms.

Enjoy this timeless gem!

Monday Music Minute–Michelle O’Neil


Let’s start the week-off by playing a local artist for the “Monday Music Minute!”

Coming up on Saturday, April 25th, Temple Theatre is holding the “Saginaw On Stage Music Festival. The festival features all kinds of local artists from the Great Lakes Bay Region for a night. After doing some research on this year’s show lineup, I found some songs by Michelle O’Neil and I’m going to post one of them which I played on WSGW’s First Day this past Sunday.

Michelle has done some solo stuff, but she’s also the lead singer of the band called Whistling Whiskey. They are scheduled to perform around the 6pm hour on the Temple’s “Leopard Lounge.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Michelle’s “Kiss Me,” as it seemed to fit perfectly for Sunday morning listening. What a great voice!

Click here to learn more about the show and ticket information.


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Bob Seger Influenced Prince?

BobSegarApparently, yes!

For years, former Prince keyboardist Matt Fink has talked about the period leading up to 1984’s “Purple Rain,” when Prince became fascinated by Seger’s popularity. Their tours had recently crossed paths in Florida — Prince supporting “1999,” Seger “The Distance” — and the young star was curious what made Seger connect with audiences.

In last year’s book “Let’s Go Crazy” about the making of “Purple Rain,” writer Alan Light depicted the scene:

“One night, (Prince) asked Matt Fink why the proudly working-class Detroit rocker had such a huge appeal; Fink replied that it was Seger’s big, gut-punching ballads — ‘We’ve Got Tonight,’ ‘Turn the Page’ — that his fans loved, and that Prince should try writing that kind of anthem if he really wanted to conquer the pop world.”

Nearly two years later, Prince’s monster guitar ballad “Purple Rain” — title track from the film and album — soared onto the pop, R&B and rock charts. It’s been a staple of his shows since.

I’ve had discussions arguments with friends over whether or not Seger deserved to be a Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Famer. Seger detractors say he’s not influential. This story proves otherwise!

Prince and Seger were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Backstage, the Minnesota pop-funkster paid tribute to the Michigan rocker.

“It is especially meaningful to go into the hall of fame with Bob Seger,” Prince said, as reported by journalist Rick Coates. “We are both Midwesterners and Seger had a lot of influence on me at the start of my career; he certainly influenced my writing.”

Case closed.

A great friend of mine attended Prince’s concert in downtown Detroit last night, and described the experience in one word: Amazing.

My friend also said Prince played this classic from 1985.


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Never Fear To Negotiate

Courtest The New YorkerHere’s my Sunday “Pat Political Point” from WSGW’s First Day show. I shared my opinion on how U.S.-Iranian agreement on a nuclear deal “framework” was good news, and I echoed the words of Slate‘s Fred Kaplan that it could turn-out to be a deal of a lifetime.

There are obviously many wrinkles that must be ironed-out before a complete deal can be agreed upon by June, and yes, Iran’s Supreme Leader didn’t make further negotiations any easier with his statements the other day. But I’m not all that concerned of his bluster since he still has to look “strong” for some of his people, and he doesn’t want to appear like he’s bending over backwards to appease the U.S. It’s politics after all. You draw a line in the sand, then you compromise and appear reasonable on the world stage. So, no, I’m not putting much stock into his boisterous objections.

For a terrific breakdown of Khamenei’s statements about the framework, read University of Michigan’s Juan Cole’s take.

In the meantime, click below to hear my thoughts on the framework, which originally aired on last week’s First Day.

Pat Political Point on U.S.-Iranian nuclear framework. From the 4/5/15 edition of WSGW’s First Day.

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Monday Music Minute–Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd

I hope you had a nice holiday weekend, but weren’t as gluttonous as I was yesterday! I’m sorry, homemade macaroni and cheese and cornbread are just too good to pass-up! And don’t even ask me about the raspberry truffle!

This week’s “Monday Music Minute” courtesy of my Sunday morning cohort, Michael Percha, takes on a sad note. Well, not the song itself, but the reason why the song is being highlighted.

As you can hear Michael describe from WSGW’s First Day, we learned on Sunday that original Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Robert “Bob” Burns died in a car accident. It’s just another in a long line of tragic deaths revolving around this band.

Burns left Skyrnyd after the group’s first two albums, but he played a huge role in some of their most noteworthy songs.

Michael chose to go with a deep cut called “Mississippi Kid” from the band’s debut album. It’s a song Burns helped co-write.


Monday Music Minute–Lynyrd Skynyrd. From the 4/5/15 edition of WSGW’s “First Day.”

Here’s the full song:

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