Top 7 Beatles Album

7.  Let It Be (1970)

It’s a strange one with some live recordings that sounds fresh but not very cohesive. It has a few big hits including Let It Be, The  Long and Winding Road and Get Back.

6.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Some great tunes along with some not so great ones.  The great ones, of course, are some of their best like Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Getting Better, and With A Little Help From My Friends.

5. The White Album (1968)

The first Beatles album I ever purchased with money from my paper route.  I tell you this, the song Revolution 9 scared the hell out of me and still does.  Notable tunes include, Back in the  USSR, Dear Prudence, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Blackbird, Julia, & Revolution 1.

4. Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

The Fool On The Hill is one of my favorite Beatles tunes.  Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields Forever, and All You Need Is Love are strong contenders for my all time favorites.  And all in one package.  Amazing.

3.  Abbey Road (1969)

Here Comes The Sun and the Sun King are sublime tunes.  Come Together and Something are something too.  This album doesn’t contain hit after hit, but the great songs present are great and the album is one of the most cohesive of the lot.

2.  Rubber Soul (1965)

A bit of a sleeper on the lists, not usually ranked as high as two, but for me, it is probably the most interesting one of all.  The tracks are mostly chill but the band seems to be exploring new concepts and this keeps my attention throughout. Norwegian Wood, Michelle, In My Life, You Won’t See Me, Nowhere Man, and Girl are highlights.

1.  Revolver (1966)

After the impressive Rubber Soul, it is no surprise to me that Revolver finds the Beatles really hitting their stride.  There are no bad songs on this album and some little-known ones that are strange and entertaining like Doctor Robert.  The hits on this one remain some of their greatest tunes of all time: Taxman, Elenor Rigby, She Said She Said, Good Day Sunshine, and Got To Get You Into My Life.

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Who’s It Going To Be T or C?

A commentary from the political desk of Ribbie’s Weblog

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Trump could win.  No, seriously.  If you don’t want Trump to become the next President of the United States, here’s what NOT to do.

Don’t stay home on election day.  Not a good idea. If you think your vote doesn’t matter, you’re wrong.  It does.  Even if you live in a solidly blue or red state.  In this Orwellian election cycle, red is blue; purple, pink; blue is red; up, down; fact is fiction.  Hey, my state of Massachusetts is as blue as it gets, but it has elected a Republican governor in 5 out of the last 6 elections since 1991.  It will likely go for Hillary Clinton in the general, but only because there is a strong HRC campaign organization in the area.  In other traditionally blue states like PA and OH, Trump and Clinton are running neck and neck in the polling.  And for you Texans reading this, despite the fact that there are significantly more registered GOP voters than Dems in your Lonestar state, don’t think that your vote doesn’t matter – that Trump’ll win anyway.  Not necessarily.  Cruz won your state as did HRC.  And if you are a Cruz supporter, don’t forget that the Trump campaign has treated him with utter contempt and disrespect.  They invited him to speak at the convention to embarrass him.  Don’t believe for a minute that it was a courtesy to offer him a primetime speaking slot.  They knew he was not going to endorse in his speech and they also knew that he would be booed off the stage, which happened for the most part.  His wife actually had to be escorted out of the building for fear the crowd would turn on her.  For the record, I don’t like him much, but I admire his courage to speak in front of a hostile crowd AND for giving you, if you supported him, the license to vote your conscience.  So vote your conscience and might I suggest the libertarian candidate?  That would be the ticket of former Republican governors, Johnson and Weld.

Don’t vote for Trump because you are a Republican and he’s the nominee.  First of all, he’s no more a Republican than Bernie is a Democrat.  He is a reality star, out to boost his brand and business, not make America great. Do you really want to give a billionaire a hand and your vote?  Ok, so you hate Hillary, fine, don’t vote for her BUT don’t vote for him either, especially if you feel in your heart of hearts that the man is a little off his rocker.  Here’s what you can do instead, vote for the Libertarian ticket, and that would be the aforementioned Johnson and Weld.  Don’t waste a vote on Dr. Jill Stein, who would like to play the role of spoiler and is doing all she can to disunify the Democratic Party, which has a big top big enough for moderates, progressives, and greens. Or you could go to the other side and join me in voting for HRC.  No one will ever know.  You can tell your friends and family that you did what you had to do and leave it at that.  Alternatively, and not recommended, but you could find an excuse not to vote.  Car trouble.  Had to work early or late, or whatever.  If in Texas or some other voter suppressed state, you could conveniently lose your voter ID and gun permit.  I’m sorry. I’m being rude, I know and what’s more, I know not to mess with the great state of Texas having lived there and with family and many friends there.

If you are a Democrat, regardless of who you supported in the primary, or an Independent voter on the fence, vote HRC, if for no other reason than the next president could get 4 supreme court picks.  Folks, these are lifetime appointments.  They’ll be ruling on immigration, gun laws, affirmative action, union issues, marriage equality, reproductive rights, health care, climate change to name a few for years to come. Truly, the balance of the court is at stake.  Will it lean left or tilt right?  Your vote could make the difference.

Dems, it’s time to unify.  Put aside your special interests in the interest of defeating Trump. Don’t let Trump’s rhetoric about HRC fool you.  She’s not a criminal.  She should not be locked up.  She is not a compulsive liar.  On the contrary, practically everything Trump has said over the course of his year-long campaign has been fact checked as untruthful.

Finally, consider this:

In a poll, all of these words were used to describe Trump: ignorant, stupid, idiot, jerk, dangerous, demagogic, bombastic, arrogant, horrible, racist, asshole.

In the same poll, these words were used to describe Clinton: qualified, experienced, good, smart, intelligent, nice, strong, determined, great, Presidential.

Ok, I left out the crooked Hillary mentions and that some feel she’s untrustworthy and dishonest and a criminal – which of course she is not.  And I left out some of Trump’s positives like that he is “honest”, even though fact checks suggest otherwise, and that he is great, bold and outspoken.  But I also left out that people find him to be a loudmouth liar, so there.   Now for you, who’s it going to be, T or C?

The choice between the two is a no-brainer for me.  Think.

Enough is Enough

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There’s been a lot of violence in the U.S. and the world lately with terrorist attacks, mass shootings, police killings of black men, and the killing of police in retaliation.  And much of it has its roots in racism, extreme hatred and the misappropriation of religion.  But what can be done?  Below are some suggestions:

Gun Control

No more semi-automatic weapons for gun lovers.  Hunters can keep shotguns and rifles. Handguns are fine with a permit but no more permits to carry a concealed weapon, though. We must resolve to strike down all open carry laws and institute a gun buyback program and extensive background checks.  Congress must close the gun show and internet sales loopholes.  And the U.S. must hold gun manufacturers liable for certain gun deaths.  Finally, the police must be disarmed and police departments demilitarized to gain the trust of the communities where they serve. Community policing needs to be emphasized to focus on building relationships between officers and the people they are sworn to protect.  If police working the community beat were unarmed and trained to de-escalate with words, not arms, it would go a long way toward building trust with people.  And policemen should not be immune from prosecution for using deadly force when such force was found to have been unnecessary.

End Racism

First, Congressional districts that have been racially gerrymandered have to be redrawn to give voters fair representation.  In addition, the courts must strike down voter ID laws and ensure there are reasonable numbers of polling places to prevent long voter lines. States should all have same day voter registration laws and automatic registration for citizens when driver’s licenses are obtained.  We have to make it easier not harder to vote to save our democracy, which has become limited and less responsive to the will of the people.

Second, we must preserve and expand affirmative action laws. Similarly, we must promote more diversity hirings among faculty at colleges and universities and among teaching staff in K-12.  And we should adopt Bernie’s vision of Free Community College and State University tuition for low-income students but with built-in supports to ensure high retention rates. Lastly, curricula at all levels need to deal with race in America.  The current crop of white-washed textbooks should be banned and burned.

We can’t learn to live together if we don’t live together and learn together.  Communities should be required to diversify.  Communities and neighborhoods within a city should reflect the general population of the city or town.  There should be no more “other side of the tracks” divisions which often produce separate and unequal schools.  Mixed housing development stock should be promoted so that people pay according to income and people of mixed socio-economic statuses throughout a city or town live together.

Stop Terrorism

We need to stop the drone killings.  “Collateral damage” or civilian casualties do nothing to win the hearts and minds of would be friends in the fight against terrorism.  ISIS, Al-Queda, and other terrorist groups do not represent the religious views of the billions of worshipers of Islam, so our efforts should not be framed as a war against Islamic extremists.  Terrorist groups use this rhetoric as proof that the U.S. is waging war on Islam and this helps them to recruit impressionable youth. The right, ironically, just like the terrorists, needs an enemy to prove that Christians are being persecuted to advance their theocratic vision of America.  They have found the “enemy” in Islam and President Obama. Notice that the conspiracy theorists have argued that  President Obama is a secret Muslim who wants to destroy Christianity by refusing to say “Islamic terrorism”, and by preserving the separation of church and state which is a hallmark of a free society.

I forgot who said it, a celebrity, I think, or possibly a comedian, that the best way to deal with terrorism is to kill them with mocking humor.  That would do more to destroy their purpose than taking them seriously with all of the military might that we can bring to bear. Look what good that has done us so far.  Rather than deploy the special forces, deploy a team of comedy agents.  Have something like an SNL, In Living Color, Portlandia road show to tour the world with skits lampooning terrorists.

I also think that there should be a way to ban terrorist and hate groups from social media.  Couldn’t some MIT computer science engineers hack into and jam their websites?  And aren’t there some CIA geeks who could send a signal that would fry terrorist groups’ electronics.  Surely it could be done.  Then, like Bin Laden, the jihadists would be reduced to recruiting by cassette tapes, which, of course, few people would even have the equipment to play.

Peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis also has to be a priority.  Whether it’s a one-state or two-state solution, if the conflict is not resolved, the region will continue to be unstable which helps to foment violence and terrorist activity.

Finally, the right should stop undermining U.S. diplomatic efforts in treasonous fashion by sending letters to foreign leaders urging them to reject negotiations AND inviting heads of states to address Congress simply to spite the President.  Their actions and the hateful and racist rhetoric coming from the Trump campaign in opposition to immigrants, to Muslims, to NATO and the European Union do nothing but further destabilize the world and breed more hate, terrorism, and fascism.

Enough is Enough!