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The Daily Planet's Opinion: Our best wishes to Blk. Mtn. singing icon Roberta Flack after ALS ends her career
Saturday, 26 November 2022 14:58

Grammy-winning singer-pianist Roberta Flack, a Black Mountain native, “has been left unable to sing after being diagnosed with ALS, a form of motor neuron disease,” the BBC reported on Nov. 14. In further grim news, her manager also told the BBC that Flack is having difficulty speaking.

Born on Feb. 10, 1937 in Black Mountain, Flack, 85, has won four Grammy awards and received 14 nominations. She is the daughter of two pianists. 

To honor Flack’s legacy, Scott Nurkin’s N.C. Musicians Mural Project painted a massive mural of Flack on the side of Black Mountain Brewing in July 2020, where it remains.

When she was nine years old, Flack’s family moved to Arlington, Va. A musical prodigy, she learned to play the piano at a young age, and attended Howard University in Washington D.C. on a music scholarship at age 15. 

Her debut album, “First Take,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. She again received critical acclaim in 1972 with the release of a duet album with Donny Hathaway. 

Flack earned a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1973 for her single, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” and again in 1974 for “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” making her the first solo artist to receive the honor in consecutive years. 

She was recognized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year and has continued to support humanitarian efforts, such as the international anti-hunger initiative Feed the Children. 

“A documentary about her life is set to have its premiere next week in New York. She also has plans to publish a children’s book in January,” the BBC reported on Nov. 14.

Her condition — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak. But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon,” her management said, adding that she “plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits.” 

There is no known cure for ALS, which is caused by the death of the nerves that carry messages from the brain to people’s muscles. It affects their ability to move, talk and even breathe.

Happily, the timing of Flack’s film and book release next year coincide with the 50th anniversary of her fourth album, “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” which was released in 1973. We wish the inimitable Roberta Flack the best!




The Emperor Donald has no clothes; time to dump Trump
Saturday, 26 November 2022 14:56


Syndicated Columnist

Even old-timers have never seen an election like this one. 

Republicans got it wrong. 

The polls got it wrong.

The media got it wrong. 

Everybody got it wrong except the voters. 

The fabled “red wave” never happened. 

Republicans, instead, scored a “red whiff.”

Across the board, it was a very good night for Democrats. 

Not a great night, but a very good night — in races for governor, the Senate and the House. 

Among governors, Democrats made history: Maura Healey, the first female governor of Massachusetts and the first openly lesbian governor in the country, now joined by the second, Tina Kotek, governor of Oregon; and Wes Moore, the first African-American governor of Maryland.

Democrats also easily elected or re-elected governors in several races that pollsters had falsely predicted as nail-biters, including: Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania; Kathy Hochul, New York; Tony Evers, Wisconsin; Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan; and Laura Kelly, Kansas. 

Those governorships are more important than ever, now that the Supreme Court seems intent on turning more and more major issues, like abortion and affirmative action, back to the states.

In the Senate, Democrats defied gravity. Historically, for the last 40 years, the president’s party has lost an average four Senate seats in their first midterm elections. 

As of this writing, there are still three unresolved senate races: Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, headed for a Dec. 6 runoff. But if current projections hold, Democrats will not lose even one seat, hold onto their 50-50 Senate tie, and maybe even pick up a seat.

Results in the House are even more amazing. The average House loss for the president’s party in the first midterms is 28 seats. 

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy predicted Republicans would pick up 60 seats this year. Instead, as it looks now, they’ll be lucky to pick up six to 10 seats: enough to give them control of the House, but barely.

Overall, it was also a good night for Joe Biden. Once again, he defied expectations. 

They said he couldn’t win the Democratic primary in 2020. He did. 

They said he couldn’t beat Donald Trump. He did.

They said he’d drag his party down to defeat in 2022. He didn’t. 

It won’t be easy, but Scranton Joe is poised to continue to push his agenda over the next two years and run for re-election in 2024, if he decides to.

But, no doubt, the big loser of the 2022 midterms is Donald Trump. He’s the number one reason Republicans had such a bad night on Nov. 8. Because he saddled the Republican Party with an embarrassing slate of inexperienced, know-nothing candidates whose only qualification was their willingness to endorse his big lie that he won the 2020 election. That was their sole message. And that’s not what voters wanted to hear.

Out of some 300 candidates Trump endorsed, his losing picks so far include candidates for governor in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and New Mexico; Senate candidates in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Vermont (Arizona, Nevada and Georgia may soon join the list); and scores of House candidates. His endorsement was poison.

If there’s one message out of Nov. 8, it’s this: It’s time for the Republican Party to dump Trump — as even some leading Republicans are now willing to admit. 

While votes were still being counted Tuesday night (Nov. 8), conservative CNN political strategist Alice Stewart tweeted: “Trump went into election night expecting to be the kingmaker; based on the results: the king has lost his crown, it’s time to walk away from the throne.”

Next day, the mighty Wall Street Journal called him the word he hates most: “Trump is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser: He has now flopped in 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022.” 

The front page of the New York Post dubbed him: “Trumpty Dumpty.” 

And Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who has presidential ambitions of his own for 2024, said it’s time for Republicans to get off the “Trump Titanic.”

Republicans will soon have their chance to do so. Accepting no blame for his party’s midterm losses, Donald Trump’s barging ahead with plans to announce his 2024 re-election campaign as early as Nov. 15. 

That’s the time for top Republicans like Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell to finally break with Trump. 

It’s now more clear than ever that Trump’s not the man who will save the Republican Party. 

He’s the man who will destroy it, if he hasn’t already done so.
© 2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
(Bill Press, a liberal, is host of The BillPressPod, and author of 10 books, including: “From the Left: My Life in the Crossfire.” His email address is: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Readers may also follow him on Twitter @billpresspod.)


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