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The Many Sides of Joni
Mitchell´s ´Both Sides Now´

Wall Street Journal, by Gail Sheehy

Original Article

Posted By:Hazymac, 8/24/2014 1:47:55 PM

Back in 1968, when I was 30, my entire life blew up. I had a life plan and it collapsed for no rational reason. I had been a newspaper reporter in New York but left the job to help editor Clay Felker start New York magazine. My marriage was breaking up and I was falling in love with Clay. The song that carried me through those years and all stages of my life is "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell. I first heard the song in 1968, when Judy Collins´s version was a huge radio hit. But when I heard

Comments:
For the sake of discussion I post this brief remembrance of this song, which has become a standard. In some ways Joni Mitchell, with her leftwing politics and fairly explicit rejection of Christianity, is analogous to Christopher Hitchens, whom many of us nonetheless admired for his honesty and his synaptic prose style. Joni´s work strikes me the same way. Her last verse in this song ("But now old friends are acting strange...") reveals a wisdom that belied her age (24) when she wrote the words. Her career has advanced the art of songwriting. I´m a fan.

      


Post Reply  

Reply 1 - Posted by: Gallo3, 8/24/2014 2:18:19 PM     (No. 9979037)

Wife has been singing Joni´s songs since they first came out, with myself accompanying.
Joni has left a fabulous catalog of music, my favorite being the 1976 album ´Hejira´ - with Jaco Pistorius playing bass.
You want to get a new album to run on a continuous loop in your car? load Hejira off I-Tunes.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: shamrock, 8/24/2014 2:19:15 PM     (No. 9979039)

I guess I wasn´t as deep as OP, never cared for her style. I thought I read that she wrote that song about her battle with depression.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: Italiano, 8/24/2014 2:21:16 PM     (No. 9979041)

I loved that song back then, and I still do. 45+ years of life´s ups and downs added perspective.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: califedup, 8/24/2014 2:23:07 PM     (No. 9979043)

The skull faced Joni Mitchell produced nothing but drug addled, hippie mush. Both sides now is a shining example of what your brain produces when it´s on drugs.

Thank God no one plays this caterwauling, soggy, self pitying song in public anymore.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: Japanorama, 8/24/2014 2:28:20 PM     (No. 9979050)

Anyone whose philosophy derives from a song by a 25-year-old pop singer is not capable of much critical thinking.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Italiano, 8/24/2014 2:32:16 PM     (No. 9979053)

Well, Mac, I guess we´re morons. Our intellectual superiors have spoken.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: Halfvast Conspirator, 8/24/2014 2:37:49 PM     (No. 9979059)

Attended a JM concert once, she started off by saying she thought she had the flu, wasn´t feeling too well, but would give it a try anyway. She did OK, but not totally up to her standard. So the break comes, after a while some scruffy dude is walking around the stage, moving things around, guy next to me says, "That´s Neil Young!" We´re all like, no, can´t be. So then Joni comes back out and says, look I am feeling really bad, but I want you to have a good show, so I called my friend Neil Young to see if he would come help me out. The crowd went crazy. He plays for an hour or so, then she comes out and they sing a coupla of songs together, while she is apologizing for not being able to finish the show. It was probably the best show ever, and she was totally classy.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: Hazymac, 8/24/2014 2:49:16 PM     (No. 9979067)

Fellow writers recognize in Joni´s best songs flashes of imagery and recognition that leave the listener thinking, "That is so true; I wish I had written that myself." "Both Sides, Now"--there is a comma in the title--has that quality. So too does her best love song, featuring her mountain dulcimer with acoustic guitar dubs and her early career high soprano voice, from the album Blue (1971), entitled "A Case of You."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YuaZcylk_o "A Case of You"

My college girlfriend immersed me in Joni´s music back in the mid-´Seventies--what was I going to do? bore her with heavy metal?--and I have been forever thankful. I´m also in agreement with #1 that Hejira (1976) is a great album, the last in a run of seven outstanding LPs before her jazz period (also good, but in a different way).

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Reply 9 - Posted by: smcchk, 8/24/2014 3:06:58 PM     (No. 9979089)

Senior year of high school/early college days flashback! A beautiful song then and now. Imagine being able to still relate to a song 40+ years later.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: 4justice, 8/24/2014 3:13:12 PM     (No. 9979092)

Geez, 4, one would think we were talking about today´s hip-hop and rap...Not Mitchell. Do you know anything about Mitchell or her music? She was not Janis Joplin or Grace Slick...she actually was a good songwriter and fairly good singer who actually was not so much a part of that crazy scene aside from the time period she was in. She may not be your style, but I feel she also doesn´t deserve that kind of negativity. I prefer a lot of music from the 30s, 40s and 50s and even classical (I studied classical voice for 8 1/2 years)...as well as more contemporary R&B, soul and pop of the 60s and 70s. But I´ve learned to appreciate several genres of music for being what they are. I even got into country in the late 80s. But I don´t even try to compare Al Green to Mario Lanza. I don´t compare Beethoven to Bing Crosby or John Gary. How can anyone compare Mitchell to Jeanette MacDonald, Ella Fitzgerald or Joan Sutherland? Not saying you would compare them...but I also don´t think you know much about her either.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: Italiano, 8/24/2014 3:16:07 PM     (No. 9979094)

My last post was facetious, but I think that a big part of the deal with songs has to do with where you were in your life when they first came out. I was a teenager and, by definition, brain-dead (e.g, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix lyrics made sense, which of course they don´t and never did.)

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Reply 12 - Posted by: richwill, 8/24/2014 3:19:43 PM     (No. 9979099)

I have quit reading the WSJ. This soap opera article is the reason.

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Reply 13 - Posted by: uno, 8/24/2014 3:21:20 PM     (No. 9979103)

One of the millions of stories about why music is so important to so many.

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Reply 14 - Posted by: SezzieBear, 8/24/2014 3:23:29 PM     (No. 9979107)

I have always liked the song but have to say my favorite version is the duet by Clannad and Paul Young.


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Reply 15 - Posted by: mitzi, 8/24/2014 3:31:11 PM     (No. 9979117)

Sometimes - a song is just a song...

I prefer the philosophy of Aquinas to Joni Mitchell´s.


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Reply 16 - Posted by: earlybird, 8/24/2014 3:34:50 PM     (No. 9979120)

Never cared for her or this rambling song, which was typical of the period. Masses of itinerant minds, looking for profundity in song lyrics.

Most of them didn´t "know life at all".

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Reply 17 - Posted by: alliecat, 8/24/2014 3:47:54 PM     (No. 9979133)

Let her speak for herself. Here is a 16 minute interview with Joni after she turned 70. It shows lots of imagery of her paintings too...She has God given talent to burn... http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/joni-mitchell-reflects-on-her-life-and-legacy-1.1307145

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Reply 18 - Posted by: doublesharp, 8/24/2014 3:57:33 PM     (No. 9979143)

She would have been a nobody if she wasn´t Bob Dylan´s girlfriend. Hippie dippy navel gazer.

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Reply 19 - Posted by: eljay, 8/24/2014 4:04:10 PM     (No. 9979148)

The original article is pretty I I I I . . . um, narcissistic

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Reply 20 - Posted by: Hazymac, 8/24/2014 4:06:16 PM     (No. 9979151)

The reactions to this post are instructive. Some have their mental hatches locked down tightly, World War II submarine style; others have the exploratory gene. Not having lived in other LDotters´ domiciles, I make no judgments. Each to his own.

But Joni, with her one hundred (at least) different guitar tunings, could always put a different musical spin on any song she recorded, even songs written by others, such as "How Do You Stop" (with back up vocals by Seal).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOTQnJVDOiw ("How Do You Stop")

If that makes me shallow, I wear it well, and take no offense. As a revelatory bone tossed to fellow LDotters, this is the best thing I ever posted here. As Vaughn Monroe once sang, "...Sound off! (Sound off) ... Cadence count, one, two, three, four...."

One other thing: If I had a choice of four people to invite to dinner, I´d invite Joni. Really! We´d have a capital time together, even with the political haggling. Are you listening, Joni?

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Reply 21 - Posted by: Mickeymat, 8/24/2014 4:09:05 PM     (No. 9979152)

Always been a fan of Mitchell. But this article was just awful.

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Reply 22 - Posted by: StormCnter, 8/24/2014 4:09:37 PM     (No. 9979153)

I can offer bandaids, OP/#20. I´ve been there.

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Reply 23 - Posted by: Hammock, 8/24/2014 4:12:05 PM     (No. 9979156)

Gifted songwriter. "Sweet Bird" was her best as far as I´m concerned.


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Reply 24 - Posted by: Seething Citizen, 8/24/2014 4:54:02 PM     (No. 9979182)

I remember the song so well! Really liked it. I was unhappily stationed in Libya at the time, Wheelus Air Base.

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Reply 25 - Posted by: msjena, 8/24/2014 5:11:39 PM     (No. 9979191)

She was never Bob Dylan´s girlfriend. That was Joan Baez. I liked Joni back in the day, but never viewed her as philosopher or guide for living. I think she peaked at her Blue album. Jazz and blues didn´t suit her.

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Reply 26 - Posted by: wilarrbie, 8/24/2014 5:26:47 PM     (No. 9979204)

I loved just about everything JM did - have many of her albums still. As a moony, moody, angst filled teenager (and older!)her songs were a comfort that I wasn´t alone with similar thoughts. But to this day - if "You Turn Me On, I´m A Radio" comes on - I will sing along in my own little duet with her. My favorite!

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Reply 27 - Posted by: Calvinesq, 8/24/2014 5:40:58 PM     (No. 9979220)

Joni was a fine songstress. Hejira,I believe, is a reference to Muhammad´s flight from is adversaries as told in the Koran. Back then the reference was like seeing the nearest popular guru.

Anyway, I liked her music and voice. My favorite in this genre, however, was Jim Croce, who died tragically and way too young.

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Reply 28 - Posted by: ASAvet, 8/24/2014 5:45:48 PM     (No. 9979223)

I´m a huge fan of Judy Collins, of this song not so much. Favorite album of all time is "Colors of the Day."

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Reply 29 - Posted by: columba, 8/24/2014 6:04:27 PM     (No. 9979240)

When we are in our teen years, there is nothing that is not important. This song is remembered by individuals who were teens then. I prefer (for depth) Ba Ba Ba Barbara Anne, however.

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Reply 30 - Posted by: paloalto, 8/24/2014 6:12:01 PM     (No. 9979247)

I have no dog in this Joni Mitchell good/Joni Mitchell bad fight. I just wanted to comment on the Gail Sheehy article itself. This article is so lightweight it may as well have been written in invisible ink. Apparently Ms. Sheehy has written a new book that´s coming out on September 2nd and methinks she must have naughty pictures of someone at the Wall Street Journal to get this piece of fluff published to promote said book.

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Reply 31 - Posted by: earlybird, 8/24/2014 6:22:29 PM     (No. 9979254)

Eons ago Gail Sheehy wrote sort of pop-psyche lifestyle pieces for women´s magazines. Eons ago.

That about covers her.

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Reply 32 - Posted by: mitzi, 8/24/2014 6:24:33 PM     (No. 9979256)

Fr. Robert Barron has a YouTube videos on the spiritual theme in Bob Dylan´s lyrics.

Easy to find via Google.

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Reply 33 - Posted by: Udanja99, 8/24/2014 7:31:21 PM     (No. 9979305)

I was in high school and college when she was at her peak and loved her music. Her jazz, blues and new age albums did nothing for me at all. But in the last couple of decades, what I´ve liked about her the most is that she continued to be photographed smoking cigarettes when it has been anathema to the rest of the left. It´s so "in your face". Gotta love it!

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Reply 34 - Posted by: f64, 8/24/2014 7:37:32 PM     (No. 9979310)

Back in the day I went to see Judy Collins at a free concert in Central Park. Of course she sang "Both Sides Now".

0 - BTW that wasn´t the last verse. The last verse started "I´ve looked at life from both sides now...". The verse was repeated twice.

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Reply 35 - Posted by: Carolina Kat, 8/24/2014 7:56:48 PM     (No. 9979328)

Can´t say as I have strong feelings one way or t´other, music is a matter of tastes, and as long as you aren´t stuck in an elevator with someone playing something you hate, why does it matter what anyone else likes or doesn´t. As to this song, I played it on the piano back in high school, so have the tune hammered in, not so much the lyrics. I´ve got my own version for the horses: "Hooves and mane and feeling proud, taking trails I´ve newly found, A little rain, a little sun, I really don´t mind - life at all. I´ve looked at life from both sides now, from on the horse to in the dirt, and it really really is better… when you hang on." The horses love it.

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Reply 36 - Posted by: fobo, 8/24/2014 10:01:56 PM     (No. 9979434)

While I admit to finding "Both Sides Now" a bit sappy, I´d have to argue that "Blue" is one of the best albums of the 70´s (along with Dylan´s "Blood on the Tracks").

I read somewhere that Mitchell considers herself a painter whose career was waylaid by music.

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Reply 37 - Posted by: smcchk, 8/24/2014 11:02:28 PM     (No. 9979483)

#20, you would be an excellent dinner companion. Good luck with Joni.

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Reply 38 - Posted by: garyhope, 8/25/2014 11:58:41 AM     (No. 9980130)

As a former musician, I think Joni Mitchell is very talented and very damned good as a songwriter and band leader.

She always drank good wine and hired good drummers and other musicians. That makes her worthwhile in my viewpoint.

Gail Sheehy on the other hand,...who cares what her "feelings" are or were. What makes her think we care about her superficial and lightweight thoughts are? Not me.

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Reply 39 - Posted by: Hazymac, 8/25/2014 2:19:15 PM     (No. 9980400)

Re #34: That was the last verse (see below). What you quoted from was the refrain (which changes slightly each time, reflecting the verse just completed).

Many years ago Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin guitarist) quoted Joni´s last verse: "But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads, they say I´ve changed. Well something´s lost but something´s gained in living every day." He said he wished he had written it. That´s the highest possible praise from a fellow songwriter.

I agree that what Gail Sheehy has written is, in itself, unimpressive and jejune; it was my excuse to get other LDotters into a discussion of one of my all time favorite artists, whose work remains vital in my life even decades after I first heard it.

Here´s "Taming the Tiger" from 1998, featuring Joni´s cigarette-deepened latter career voice. The song makes a direct reference to William Blake´s Song of Experience: "Tyger, Tyger" (Burning bright in the forests of the night). Joni, same as Yr Hmbl Srvnt and E. Hemingway, loves cats.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g8RZw6rpeE

This has been a most successful thread. I love hearing my friends´ opinions.

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Reply 40 - Posted by: jdf, 8/25/2014 6:24:01 PM     (No. 9980731)

Help Me, A Case of You, River, A Free Man in Paris, Blue.... as a songwriter, JM has one of the greatest books in pop music. Her paintings are pretty amazing too.

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Reply 41 - Posted by: jdf, 8/25/2014 6:50:32 PM     (No. 9980775)

“Most of the hippie values were silly to me,” Mitchell says. “Free love, come on. It’s a ruse for guys. Look at the rep I got. It was a list of people whose path I crossed... in the summer of love they made me into this love bandit. So much for free love. Nobody knows more than me what a ruse that was.”

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Reply 42 - Posted by: GomerShabazz, 8/25/2014 7:11:57 PM     (No. 9980811)

It´s entertaining to watch old hippies get old and face death.....blah blah blah....doesnt mean squat when your worm food!...maybe you can tell God he is a sexist bigot, homophobe......good luck idiot!

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Breitbart National Security, by Wynton Hall    Original Article
Posted By: happywarrior- 9/30/2014 7:44:05 AM     Post Reply
A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014. The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second. The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at

Secret Service let armed felon
ride in an elevator with Obama

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Fox News, by Chad Pergram    Original Article
Posted By: Dreadnought- 9/30/2014 8:41:39 PM     Post Reply
President Obama shared an elevator earlier this month with an armed security contractor who has three felony convictions relating to assault and battery, in the latest report of a serious violation of Secret Service security protocols. Multiple sources confirmed to Fox News the incident, which took place in an elevator during Obama´s Sept. 16 visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The incident was first reported by The Washington Post and the Washington Examiner. The latest embarrassment for the Secret Service comes after agency Director Julia Pierson told lawmakers at a Tuesday hearing

Pentagon Official: The President Is Lying
To America — About Us, And About ISIS

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Daily Caller, by Joseph Miller    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 10/1/2014 5:24:44 AM     Post Reply
President Barack Obama has taken a lot of flack since his Sunday night “60 Minutes” interview, in which he blamed the intelligence community for his failure to tackle the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. And that is right and proper. Because not only was his excuse of blaming us a lie, but when questioned on his lie, White House press secretary Josh Earnest doubled down with a whole new lie — both of which are easily, publicly proven false. On Sunday, Obama said the intelligence community had underestimated the rise of ISIS, saying in an interview

Jimmy Carter says he would have
defeated Reagan had he been more ´manly´

44 replie(s)
Washington Examiner, by Paul Bedard    Original Article
Posted By: grace52- 10/1/2014 11:36:03 AM     Post Reply
Former President Jimmy Carter claimed Wednesday that he would have been re-elected and beaten Ronald Reagan in 1980 if had been more “manly” in his dealings with Iran. Interviewed by the show "CNBC Meets," Carter repeated his belief that the failed mission to free American hostages held in Tehran killed his chances, but then added that had he gone to war, America would have rewarded him with a second term in 1980.

State Dept. On Obama Intel Briefings:
´He Receives Those Whenever He Can´

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Breitbart National Security, by Wynton Hall    Original Article
Posted By: chicodon- 10/1/2014 7:04:43 AM     Post Reply
The Obama administration found itself scrambling on Tuesday to defend President Barack Obama for his lackluster 42% attendance record on daily intelligence briefings, a finding from a new report issued by the non-partisan Government Accountability Institute (GAI). When asked about the GAI revelation on Fox News, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki appeared flustered and unprepared. "Well, I have no validation of those statistics," said Psaki. "There are a range of ways that you can get your intelligence briefings on the road, in the White House, and I know that he receives those whenever he can."

Dallas´ Ebola case confirmed
by CDC; first diagnosis in U.S.

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Dallas Morning News [TX], by Sherry Jacobson*    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 9/30/2014 4:58:09 PM     Post Reply
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified the media at 3:32 p.m. Tuesday that Dallas has the first diagnosed Ebola case in the nation. The federal agency scheduled a media briefing at 5:30 p.m. from its headquarters in Atlanta. Dallas County officials are expected to participate. Dallas County went through a day-long anxiety attack Tuesday, waiting to hear if the first Ebola diagnosis in the nation would happen here. An unnamed patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas was placed in isolation while awaiting test results for the dreaded virus. Apparently, the patient had traveled recently to a

Media Ignores Obama’s 60 Minutes
Ratings Collapse – Down 69% in a Week

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Gateway Pundit, by Kristinn Taylor    Original Article
Posted By: StormCnter- 9/30/2014 5:36:40 AM     Post Reply
The sympathetic news media is avoiding mentioning his name, instead they are blaming the lack of a football intro for the massive collapse in ratings Sunday night for President Barack Obama’s appearance on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Americans turned away from watching Obama even though he was being interviewed about the nation’s new war on ISIS. For example, Deadline Hollywood didn’t even mention Obama’s 60 Minutes interview when reporting on the drop in viewers. “With no football lead-in, CBS’ Sunday lineup fell from last week. As expected, the drop was steepest at 7 PM, with 60 Minutes (1.1) off by 69%

CDC: Ebola confirmed in Dallas patient
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WFAA-TV [Dallas, TX] **, by Janet St. James & Josh Davis *    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 10/1/2014 5:35:31 AM     Post Reply
Dallas - A patient in a Dallas hospital was confirmed Tuesday to have the deadly Ebola virus, the Centers for Disease Control said Tuesday. (Snip) September 19: The adult patient boards a flight to the U.S. in Liberia after being screened for Ebola symptoms - September 20: The patient arrives in the United States - September 24: Patient shows first symptoms of Ebola - September 26: Patient seeks initial medical care - September 28: Patient admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas - A Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital spokesman said the patient has been in isolation since he arrived on Sunday,

Rosie O´Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg
get in shouting match in front
of ´The View´ studio audience

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New York Daily News, by Don Kaplan    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 9/30/2014 5:43:43 AM     Post Reply
Well, that didn’t take long. Just two weeks into the new season of “The View,” co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg tore into each other during a commercial break — in front of their stunned studio audience. The spat erupted Thursday after Goldberg interrupted O’Donnell to go to a commercial break before the mother of five was finished commenting in a “Hot Topic” discussion about spanking children on the ABC gabfest. O’Donnell refuses to wear an earpiece to stay in contact with producers while the live show is airing, so she had no clue it was time to stop talking.

Tea Party revolt imperils Kansas
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The Hill [DC], by Alexandra Jaffe    Original Article
Posted By: MissMolly- 10/1/2014 12:10:11 PM     Post Reply
Kansas Tea Party supporters are threatening to sit out the state’s pivotal Senate election, potentially dealing another blow to the reelection hopes of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). Though schisms within the GOP base rarely have such an outsized impact on a general election contest, the lack of support from the conservative base could be devastating to the vulnerable Roberts’s chances against surging independent Greg Orman. Multiple sources tell The Hill that a group of Tea Party leaders in the state are meeting Wednesday to try to decide whether they should go to bat for the incumbent this fall or sit out of

California becomes first
state to ban plastic bags

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Associated Press, by Fenit Nirappil    Original Article
Posted By: LittleHoodedMonk- 9/30/2014 12:51:45 PM     Post Reply
Sacramento, Calif. - Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation imposing the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, driven to action by a buildup of litter and damage to aquatic ecosystems. A national coalition of plastic bag manufacturers immediately said it would seek a voter referendum to repeal the law, which is scheduled to take effect in July 2015. Under SB270, plastic bags will be phased out of large grocery stores starting next summer and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016. The law allows grocers to charge a fee of at least 10 cents for using paper bags. State Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles,

Alton Nolen´s Mother Apologizes
For Son: ´There Are Two Sides
To Every Story

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Breitbart Big Government, by Kelli Serio    Original Article
Posted By: Desert Fox- 9/30/2014 8:42:17 AM     Post Reply
Alton Nolen´s mother and sister posted a video on Facebook where they apologized to the families of victims in Nolen´s alleged attack last Thursday in Moore, Oklahoma. The two women insisted that Nolen was acting outside of his character because he believed in God and was not a violent person. Nolen, whose Facebook page indicates that he recently converted to Islam, is accused of attacking co-workers Colleen Hufford and Traci Johnson after he was reportedly fired for "personnel issues" from a Vaughan Foods factory. He reportedly beheaded Hufford, 54, and stabbed Johnson, 43, multiple times before being shot by reserve police officer


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