Daily Archives: June 18, 2010

Friday Night Music Byte

Focus circa 1973

1970’s “one hit wonders” week continues. Focus is a Dutch rock band. It was founded by classically trained organist/flautist Thijs van Leer in 1969, and is most famous for the songs “Hocus Pocus” and “Sylvia”. The band have found renewed fame due to the use of Hocus Pocus as the theme for the Nike 2010 World Cup commercial, Write the Future.

At the release of their first album In and Out of Focus (1970), Focus comprised keyboardist and flautist Thijs van Leer, guitarist Jan Akkerman, bassist Martin Dresden, and drummer Hans Cleuver. The album was little noticed outside the Netherlands, where a small but avid fan base developed. Akkerman left the group to form another band with bassist Cyril Havermans and Pierre van der Linden, a drummer he had previously performed with in Johnny and the Cellar Rockers, The Hunters, and Brainbox. When Cleuver and Dresden left Focus shortly after, Van Leer joined Akkerman, Van der Linden, and Havermans as the new lineup of Focus.

In 1971, the group released Moving Waves, which brought the band international acclaim and a hit on both sides of the Atlantic with the radio edit of the rock rondo “Hocus Pocus”. This rock classic consists of Akkerman’s guitar chord sequence used as a recurring theme, with quirky and energetic interludes that include alto flute riffs, accordion, guitar, and drum solos, whistling, nonsensical vocals, falsetto singing, and yodeling. This album established Thijs van Leer and Akkerman as composers who could appeal to progressive-rock album listeners (a large audience in the early 1970s) and radio single buyers.

Please enjoy Focus playing their hit “Hocus Pocus” on this 1975 television appearance.

Brain Fartin’ Joe Barton and the BPublicans (UPDATE)

Republican Joe Barton, BP's BFF.

As Sarah Palin once said, “Say it ain’t so, Joe”. What’s up with Texas’ Republican Congressman Joe Barton and his unabashed defense of oil industry kingpin BP? The day after President Obama successfully negotiated the creation of a $ 20 Billion escrow fund (paid by BP) to reimburse the losses of those adversely affected by BP’s gulf oil rig spill, Barton disgracefully shunned his own President and his countrymen and sided with the foreign corporate giant. Rather than congratulate the Commander in Chief for safeguarding the economic welfare of the victims of BP’s willful negligence, the Republican had this to say:

I am ashamed of what happened at the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation would be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown – in this case a $20 billion dollar shakedown. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, (they are) subject to some sort of political pressure that … amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.

The White House was quick to react to Barton’s “apology” to BP. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said,

What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction. Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a ‘tragedy’, but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments.

Public opinion was obviously on the side of the White House, so even the G.O.P. leadership was forced to side with the President. Barton was “shaken down” by his superiors and presented with an ultimatum, either publicly apologize or lose his position as the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Consequently, despite the fact that Barton’s major campaign contributors all hail from the oil industry, he was forced to provide an apology in a written statement. He wrote:

I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP. As I told my colleagues yesterday and said again this morning, BP should bear the full financial responsibility for the accident on their lease in the Gulf of Mexico. BP should fully compensate those families and businesses that have been hurt by this accident. BP and the federal government need to stop the leak, clean up the damage, and take whatever steps necessary to prevent a similar accident in the future.

I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident.

What-up with that? Was Barton drunk when he first defended BP? If he truly believes that “BP should bear the full financial responsibility for the accident on their lease in the Gulf of Mexico. BP should fully compensate those families and businesses that have been hurt by this accident. BP and the federal government need to stop the leak, clean up the damage, and take whatever steps necessary to prevent a similar accident in the future”, then why did he call it a “shakedown” in the first place and imply that BP should not held accountable? Was Barton lying then or is he lying now?

We would also like to know if and when the Republican leadership will put the smackdown on other G.O.P. members that have characterized the escrow fund in a fashion similar to Barton’s original statement. For instance, while speaking at the Heritage Foundation, Rep. Michele Bachmann called the escrow fund “extortion.” And Rep. Tom Price said in a statement that President Obama has “no legal authority” to force BP to set aside a damage fund.

Let’s just hope the Democrats are able to remind the American people come the November elections, that the G.O.P. cares more for destructive foreign corporations than they do for their own countrymen.


The DNC (God bless their little hearts) has just circulated an ad which attacks “Say it ain’t so” Joe Barton and the BPublicans. Here it is…

Please remember to click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s song parody.

God Bless The U.S.A. song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-9_fDEsv-Q


(sung to the Lee Greenwood song “God Bless The U.S.A.”)

If tomorrow all my brains were gone
And I was just plant life
With a feeding tube shoved in
Against the wishes of my wife
I’d thank my lucky stars the G.O.P. had their way
And curtailed my family’s freedom
Made them watch me waste away

Boy, I’m proud to be a Republican
Like Huckabee and Romney
And I won’t forget Glenn Beck who cried
Right there on Fox TV
Cuz they’ll gladly stand up next to you
And berate your union pay
I just love those hate filled flames they fan
They hate the U.S.A.

Bachmann hates in Minnesota
Alaska has Sarah P.
Rick Perry down in Texas
They’re in the Tea Party
Not Detroit nor in Boston
Too liberal, black and gay
There’s no soul in any Republican heart
And they love it just that way

Yes, I’m proud to be a Republican
Just like Rush and Hannity
And I love the facts they do deny
Right there on Fox TV
And I’ll gladly stand up next to you
And castigate Tina Fey
Cuz I never doubt those Red State men
No matter what they say

Oh, I’m proud to be a Republican
As I sit here sipping tea
Palin’s “death panels” can’t be denied
They say on Fox TV
Sarah sends a Twitter –  text to you
Six or seven times a day
It’s Republicans that love this land
In our per-ver-ted way!