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Friday, November 7, 2008

Willie Nelson's Letter to President-elect Obama

Dear President-elect Barack Obama,

As President of Farm Aid, I'd like to take this opportunity to whole-heartedly congratulate you on your historic victory. I'd also like to offer you every resource that Farm Aid has available to assist you in creating a new farm and food policy that supports a sustainable family farm system of agriculture.

I started Farm Aid in 1985 when family farmers were being forced off their land as a result of federal policy that paved the way for industrial agriculture. This shift replaced independent family farmers with factory farms that have wreaked havoc on our communities, our environment and our public health.

There is broad agreement that our farm and food system needs to be drastically reworked. The good news is that the work of building an alternative to the industrial food system is well underway and Farm Aid is proud to have been a leader in this work, something we call the Good Food Movement. The Good Food Movement has grown and thrived almost entirely without the support of the federal government. However, now is the right moment for the leadership of our country to take a role in this important movement. In fact the future of our economy, our environment and our health demand it.

Our family farmers are a national resource with incredible potential to be the protagonists in solving the challenges we currently face. Family farmers are on the cutting edge of thriving local food systems and economies, alternative energy production and environmental stewardship. Family farmers are marketing the fruits of their labor close-to-home at farm stands, farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs), helping local money to circulate in local communities where it can do the most good. Family farmers are growing green energy and harnessing the power of the sun and wind. They are transitioning to sustainable production methods to grow food that is good for our health and our planet. These steps are strengthening our local economies, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, protecting our natural resources and increasing our national security.

As the national organization working on behalf of family farmers for the last 23 years, Farm Aid has helped family farmers stay on the land, organized communities to fight factory farms in their own backyards, and educated eaters about the choices they can make to guarantee healthy, fresh food from family farms. Over our history, we have grown, partnered with, and sustained a network of more than four hundred grassroots farm and food organizations across the nation. As you begin to implement programs to support a family farm system of agriculture, Farm Aid and our vast resource network is here to work with you.

Now is the time for our country to recognize and call on family farmers' ingenuity, strength and value to our past and our future. We can have strong local economies, green energy, a clean environment, healthy citizens and good food—all of these start with family farmers. I look forward to working with you to make this vision of a family farm system of agriculture a reality.

Stay Strong and Positive,

Willie Nelson
Farm Aid

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Elected - A Great Day in America

I was wrong about the Rays and I was wrong about Barack Obama (by supporting Hillary Clinton), but I couldn't be happier. November 4, 2008 will be remembered as one of the greatest days in American history.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

World Series prediction (American League wins), CMJ in town

It's not "Bizarro Baseball" anymore, the Rays won the AL Pennant! I predict they will go all the way and win the World Series too.

Reggie Jackson has something to say about "The Race for Mr. October" in USA Today, and his player by player predictions are pretty interesting, but also self-revealing. Of Pat Burrell he said, "He's a guy who can get hot and kill you. He can bust loose at any time. Here's a guy trying to get a new contract, and guys like this figure out how to play well when it counts." Reggie is still a great interview, just not when you go up to him in the stands and say you were a fan. The dude ignored me and I was in the seat behind him! I'm still into Reggie, however.

George Vecsey of the Times wrote a great overview of the Rays and their climb from the cellar.

The press is focused on the Rays, and I hope it doesn't hurt them. Evan Longoria in the NY Times today.

The LA Times had a nice article about the presence of African Americans on the Rays, similar to a story Sports Illustrated did last summer.

Who has the better pitching and bullpen? What players will get the clutch hits? I think we should expect most of the games to be squeakers but I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of bombs and a football score in there too.

My prediction: Rays in 6.

The Rays "Beat the Devil" (AP)

Tropicana Field has some idiosyncrasies!


But the big story that the annual college radio conference CMJ is in town. This is my 25th trip to the Music Marathon. I wonder what the requirements should be for the College Radio Hall of Fame? There will be more corporate sponsorship at this conference than ever before. The bands have a tougher climb to success, but an easier one to notoriety than ever.

As the oldest in the conference, I must ask "The Four Questions":

1. Is Cheeseburger the next Replacements? What does it mean to "win" CMJ?
2. In olden times, the bands would hope to get signed to a major label deal, etc. Who are they hoping to impress by performing this year?
3. Are college radio people put off by advertisements mixed in with their music or are they numb to marketing?
4. On this night we dip our herbs twice, why?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Free Posters of Bob Marley, Nirvana, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Kiss from Universal

Universal Music Group's catalog division, UME, wants our text addresses, but is willing to give a free poster in exchange for the info. They aren't the most attractive posters but they are some of the best artists ever, and I personally signed up to receive a Nirvana and a Bob Marley.

In the future, you can bet that the lists they generate from these six icons will be used to promote similar artists, but these appeal to 30+ for the most part. It will be interesting to see how they are used in the future.

I am only sorry that some of the other icons of UMG's catalog such as Coltrane and Muddy Waters don't have the same brand/demographic identity.

Considering I used to take a train just to visit a shop that would have a poster for sale of some of these bands, a free poster in exchange for your text message may not be a bad deal! Good luck to Mike Davis, Jeff Moskow, Melissa Westfall, Elliot Kendall and all my people at UME!

Sign up now! Simply text "VoteMusicNow" and either Nirvana, The Who, Marley, Kiss, Marvin or Hendrix to 30303. They have us now but I can think of worse lists to be on.