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A Gay Man Ahead Of His Time: Iconic American Composer Aaron Copland, Born Today

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On this day, November 14, 1900, Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York, of Lithuanian Jewish descent. He is best known for the music he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s. Copland’s work includes favorites like the music for the ballets Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring, which includes musical references to “Simple Gifts.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=XiLTwtuBi-o%3Fversion%3D3%26hl%3Den_US

Simple Gifts“ is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett. Because of the thematic quality of Copland’s subject matter, his music is considered appropriate to events that are trying to focus on American culture.

Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” is often heard on state occasions such as the Funeral for President Gerald R. Ford, on January 2, 2007.  On August 28, 2010, it was played at the beginning of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, and on January 12, 2011 the piece opened “Together We Thrive: Tucson and America”, the memorial service for the victims of the 2011 Tucson shooting following the
attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six others. And on July 19, 2011, “Fanfare for the Common Man” was played as the wake-up music for the shuttle crew on the final mission for the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the final overall shuttle mission.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=cr6CnG5dmvM%3Fversion%3D3%26hl%3Den_US

As I wrote last month in “Values Voters Summit: My Yom Kippur War,”

On a weekend filled with irony, much of which was apparently lost on its sponsors as well as the attendees; a weekend when vitriol was cheered and pleas for civility and respect were met with derision; the presentation of the colors was accompanied by a stirring rendition of “Fanfare for the Common Man.”

Copland was never troubled by his sexual orientation and although he never made the political statement of coming out publically, he was quite open about it – his being gay was not a secret. As part of a group of Manhattan-​based gay composers, Copeland, along with Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Paul Bowles, David Diamond, Ned Rorem and Virgil Thomson, changed the complexion of American Music.”

Bo Young, at GayHistory.org, writes,

“Throughout his childhood Copland and his family lived above his parents’ Brooklyn shop. Although his parents never encouraged or directly exposed him to music, at the age of fifteen he had already taken an interest in the subject and aspired to be a composer. His
musical education included time with Leonard Wolfsohn, Rubin Goldmark (who also taught George Gershwin), and Nadia Boulanger at the Fontainebleau School of Music in Paris from 1921 to 1924. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1925 and again in 1926.

Copland defended the Communist Party USA during the 1936 presidential election. As a result he was later investigated by the FBI during the Red scare of the 1950s, and found himself blacklisted. Because of the political climate of that era, “A Lincoln Portrait” was withdrawn from the 1953 inaugural concert for President Eisenhower. That same year, Copand was called before Congress where he testified that he was never a communist. Outraged by the accusations, many members of the musical community held up Copland’s music as a banner of his patriotism. The investigations ceased in 1955 and were closed in 1975. Copland was never shown to have been a member of the Communist Party. Only a decade later, in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Copland the Medal of Freedom for his contributions to American culture.

Copland’s sexuality was documented in Howard Pollack’s biography, Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of An Uncommon Man. Unlike many gay men of his age, Copland was neither ashamed of nor tortured by his sexuality. He apparently understood and accepted it from an early age, and throughout his life was involved in relationships with other men. In later years, his affairs were mostly with younger men, usually musicians or artists, whom he mentored, including composer Leonard Bernstein, dancer and artist Erik Johns (who wrote the libretto for The Tender Land) photographer Victor Kraft, and music critic Paul Moor.

Given the social prejudices of the times in which he lived, Copland was relatively open about his sexuality, yet this seems not to have interfered with the acceptance of his music or with his status as a cultural figure. The likely explanation is that Copland conducted his personal life with the characteristic modesty, tactfulness, and serenity that marked his professional life as well.

Copland died of Alzheimer’s and respiratory failure in North Tarrytown, NY (now Sleepy Hollow), on December 2, 1990.”

 

Stuart Wilber. Photo by Mathew Ryan Williams

 

Stuart Wilber believes that living life openly as a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Allied person is the most powerful kind of activism. Shortly after meeting his partner in Chicago in 1977, he opened a gallery named In a Plain Brown Wrapper, where he exhibited cutting edge work by leading artists; art that dealt with sexuality and gender identification. In the late 1980’s when they moved to San Clemente, CA in Orange County, life as an openly gay couple became a political act. They moved to Seattle 16 years ago and married in Canada a few weeks after British Columbia legalized same-sex marriage. Although legally married in some countries, they are only considered domestic partners in Washington State. Equality continues to elude him.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Marjorie Taylor Greene Says Impeach Biden, Fire Fauci and Expel Waters in Red-Meat Alabama Speech

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke Friday night to the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, an event for which the media had been told to leave after a press availability beforehand.

But the conservative Alabama website www.yellowhammer.com managed to be in position to report on Greene’s remarks. It happily described the event as one that “went off with no disruptions and instead, spells of raucous applause from the attendees.”

The reporting did offer a glimpse into what Greene says behind closed doors when tossing out the rarest of the red meat. Here’s how that went:

“Greene kicked off her speech by reiterating three of her ‘favorite things’ she often says while speaking before crowds,” Yellowhammer reports.

“That’s like three of my favorite things: impeach Joe Biden, expel Maxine Waters — we’ve got to take out the trash in Washington, D.C. — and fire Dr. Anthony Fauci,” she said to applause.

“I’m not going to apologize for saying what I’m about to say, but I’m a big fan of President Donald J. Trump,” she continued. “That’s how I always test my crowd. Then I’m going to tell you something else: I believe Trump won the election.”

The website added, “Greene spoke for an hour and hit some highlights of her first seven months in the U.S. House of Representatives, including her interactions with U.S. Reps. Marie Newman (D-IL), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

What she had to say about those three was left to the imagination. But Yellowhammer did report that Greene reiterated her comments from earlier in July distancing herself from fellow wacko Mike Lindell’s claims that Donald Trump would be reinstalled as president in August.

That’s not news: Greene pushed back against Lindell publicly earlier in July. But unbiased observers would have been choking on their fried green tomatoes listening to Greene impersonating a sober voice of reason in Alabama:

“I will tell you this: Sometimes you hear people saying crazy things like, ‘President Trump is going to be back in the White House in August,'” she said. “That is not going to happen. Please don’t believe anyone who is telling you those kinds of things. I get so frustrated with that. There are three members of Congress sitting right here that will tell you that’s not going to happen. The process for putting President Trump back in the White House — it’s not there.”

“We don’t have a constitutional process for that,” Greene continued. “So, I don’t want anyone to get their hopes up over something that is not going to happen. What we’ve got to do is reveal the fraud that took place in the 2020 election — reveal it, then hold people accountable that made it take place, make sure we have good election laws, get rid of this crazy absentee ballot voting, make sure our machines are OK. Then we win in 2022 and 2024.”

Somehow, hearing Greene use the phrase “crazy things” when discussing someone else’s conspiracy theories is a bit much. She gets “so frustrated” with people becoming misinformed by this one? Really?

Greene is just a few short years away from spreading the grossest of QAnon craziness, from 911 denial to Pizzagate to Frazzledrip to Jewish space lasers and more. She was not some QAnon apologist: She was full Q.

Here’s how that was recaptured in a Business Insider analysis laying out the litany of Greene’s wildness:

“Greene said “Q” is “someone that very much loves his country, and he’s on the same page as us, and he is very pro-Trump.” And she said, “There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”

That was four years ago, not four decades. Within a year came Greene’s unspeakably cruel deceits claiming that mass shootings at Parkland, Sandy Hook and Las Vegas were “false flag” events staged to promote gun control.

As Business Insider noted, “A recently resurfaced video from earlier that year shows Greene accosting David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, who was 17 at the time, in Washington, DC. Hogg was in town to advocate for gun control at the Capitol. Greene followed the teen down the street, calling him a “coward,” just weeks after the shooting at his high school killed 17 people.”

Now, instead of stalking some poor young survivor on the streets outside the nation’s Capitol, Greene works in the building. In another time, Greene was the sort of individual who might have been housed in an institution for troubled souls.

In 2021, tragically, that’s the Republican caucus in Congress.

 

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NUTS

100 Minutes of Whining: Here Are the 7 Most Absurd Moments From Trump’s Arizona Grievance Festival

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Donald Trump spoke for over 100 minutes during a long-winded speech at a “Rally to Protection Our Elections” in Phoenix.

Much of Trump’s speech was focused on repeating his debunked lies that he won the 2020 presidential election, when in reality he was defeated by Joe Biden.

But he also found time to bash much of America while praising the local extremists behind Arizona’s audit of the vote in Maricopa County and listing his many perceived grievances.

Trump attacked Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), all the Republicans who are “worse than Democrats,” Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), soccer’s United States Women’s National Team, and said his supporters have to “fight” against everyone who said he lost the election with language that echoed his speech that preceded the January 6th insurrection.

Much of the speech was just bizarre due to the combination of Trump brazenly lying about things that happened while also pontificating on the delusions that populate right-wing media.

Here are the seven most ridiculous moments from the speech.

7. Trump is so out-of-touch you thinks Americans must show their papers to purchase groceries

Despite being ridiculed when Trump spoke of this delusion in the past, Trump falsely claimed Americans need to show identification to purchase groceries as he pushed voter I.D. laws.

6. Trump imagined what he would do if he were Native American

Trump complained about the Cleveland Guardians baseball team and praised the racist logo the team retired. “If I was an Indian, I’d sue. Sue them Indians,” he said.

5. Trump argues America is becoming a communist country

“Like it or not, we are becoming a communist country. That’s what’s happening, that’s what’s happening,” Trump said without providing any evidence. “We are beyond socialism.”

4. Trump explains how it hurts Republicans at the polls when his supporters believe his election lies

Trump repeatedly mentioned during his speech his belief that when his supporters believe his false claims of election fraud, it makes them less likely to turn out to vote. Trump said this is how Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate.

3. Trump explains how a politician repeating lies creates disinformation

During a speech that will keep fact-checkers busy, Trump explained disinformation in a way that seems to perfectly describe why he traveled to Arizona to repeat his “Big Lie” about election fraud.

2. Trump describes his unconstitutional fantasy of being reinstated as president

Despite both the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department warning this conspiracy could fuel more violence by Trump supporters, the former president discussed being reinstated.

1. Trump gaslights America by lying about his attacks on democracy and voters

Of the many lies Trump told, one of the most absurd had to be his claim that, “I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy— I am the one trying to save American democracy.”

 

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DISASTER

Republicans Boot Only Person With Elections Experience From AZ GOP’s $9 Million ‘Audit’ Fiasco: Report

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Republicans once referred to Ken Bennett as the “director” of their widely-panned audit of votes in Maricopa County, but he has reportedly lost his privileges to even enter the building where the fiasco is taking place.

Bennett, who served as Arizona’s Secretary of State and president of the state Senate, was the one person associated with the recount with experience in elections. He was officially listed as the liaison to the state Senate, which paid $150,000 of the $9 million the audit is reportedly costing.

“Questions are mounting about who is in control of the long-running partisan review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results — the Arizona Senate, which ordered it, or the outside firms that are running it,” The Arizona Republic reported Friday evening. “On Friday, Ken Bennett, the Senate liaison to the audit, was not allowed into the building at the state fairgrounds where the audit is taking place, a day after he shared data with outside critics from an ongoing ballot count.”

“While this work is supposedly being overseen by Senate representatives, many times that oversight is not there,” the newspaper noted. “The Cyber Ninjas have for weeks resisted getting outside checks of the audit, insiders say.”

Reporter Ryan Randazzo explained why the outside review is threatening.

“The data Bennett provided to outside analysts, Larry Moore and Benny White, showed the results of the ongoing machine count of the ballots tracks very closely with the the county’s tally,” the newspaper reported. “If that trend continues, it may call into question the results of Cyber Ninja’s count, because [Senate President Karen] Fann has said that the Cyber Ninjas’ count did not match the county’s.”

The newspaper reported Cyber Ninjas spokesperson said any decision to ban Bennett was made by Fann’s office.

 

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