THE EVENING EDITION By Mike Huckabee
Good evening! Here are some stories from me that I think you will want to read.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE
THE LATEST NEWS
1. "KAMIKAZE DEMOCRATS":
Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial board published a great op-ed that coined the term “kamikaze Democrats” to describe House Democrats who let Nancy Pelosi bully them into voting for a massive, destructive, inflationary boondoggle bill that can’t even muster enough support to pass a Democrat Senate. The WSJ predicts that, just as she did with Obamacare, Pelosi has set up her fellow party members for slaughter in the next election.
That editorial was behind a paywall, but now you can read it at the NRCC’s website. And you should.
I expect Democrats to cry that “kamikaze Democrats” is racist in a futile attempt to keep that perfect term from sticking.
Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, her office denied a claim that she and her husband bought a $25 million mansion in Florida. But if that bill dies in the Senate, and the tax cuts for blue state millionaires die with it, she might want to look hard at moving to Florida. After all, everyone else in San Francisco who can afford a U-Haul truck is moving to either Florida or Texas, and she definitely wouldn’t fit in in Texas.
2. BIDEN'S POLL NUMBERS ARE ONLY ABOVE WATER IN THESE TWO STATES:
President Biden may not be making much headway on filling his Presidential library with historic accomplishments, but he is setting some impressive records on poll numbers. Problem is, they’re all in the wrong direction.
Here’s a new milestone: according to a Civiqs Survey, Biden’s approval rating is now below 50% in all but two states: ultra-liberal Hawaii and Vermont, home of America’s only (openly) socialist Senator, Bernie Sanders. He’s even down to 46% approval in California, which tells me that at least 54% of Californians must still be driving cars that run on gas.
3. R.I.P. BROADWAY MUSICAL GIANT, STEPHEN SONDHEIM
By “Huckabee” pop culture guru Pat Reeder (http://www.hollywoodhifi.com)
As a big fan of Broadway musicals and the Great American Songbook (I run the indie label, Eclectus Records, that releases my wife, Laura Ainsworth’s, retro jazz albums), like many, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death Friday of legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim at 91.
It’s hard to imagine being shocked to hear that someone died at 91, but Sondheim seemed both ageless and timeless. He’d been writing landmark musicals longer than many of us have been alive, and it seemed as if he would always be here and working on a new show.
An abused child of wealthy divorced parents, he wrote his first musical in prep school in the early ‘40s. His best friend’s dad, Oscar Hammerstein II, became his surrogate father and mentor, and Sondheim worked as an assistant on the original productions of “South Pacific” and “The King And I.” Frustrated that the powers on Broadway wouldn’t let him write both words and music, he started out by writing the lyrics to such classic shows as “West Side Story” and “Gypsy.”
He finally got to create an entire score in 1962, for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” with its rousing opener, “Comedy Tonight!” It’s regularly revived and is still his most profitable show. He went on to create a string of ground-breaking musicals that forged new, sometimes uncomfortable ground for Broadway, but opened the genre up to more serious, adult themes. It’s ironic that Cameron Mackintosh, producer of such touristy spectacles as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats” and “Miss Saigon,” is quoted praising him in his obituary, since his shows were seen as the antithesis of everything Sondheim stood for.
Some were hits, like “Follies;” “Company,” (which yielded the standards “Being Alive” and “The Ladies Who Lunch”); the Ingmar Bergman adaptation “A Little Night Music” (“Send In The Clowns” became one of the most-recorded songs of all time); “Into The Woods,” his version of classic fairy tales that follows the characters beyond “happily ever after,” and whose great score includes the gorgeous “No One Is Alone” (it became an all-star Disney movie, but the original Broadway cast version filmed for PBS is far better and viewable on YouTube: https://youtu.be/kqCsQCsinK4); and the dark masterpiece “Sweeney Todd.”
Some were just too esoteric for Broadway, like “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Assassins,” “Passion,” and “Pacific Overtures” (ten Tony nominations, closed in six months.) “Sunday in the Park with George” ran for over 600 performances but still lost money. But their original cast albums are considered works of genius and include many great songs that will keep cabaret performers in material for years to come.
Sondheim was the recipient of virtually every honor the performing arts world can bestow, some of them many times over, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Since you depend on me to give you the trivia other obits overlook, here are three things you might not know that Stephen Sondheim did:
His love of intricate wordplay wasn’t limited to the tongue-twisting lyrics of songs like “I’m Not Getting Married Today” or “Your Fault.” He earned a little money early in his career by writing 11 episodes of the witty early ‘50s sitcom, “Topper.” After pocketing the paychecks, he immediately left Hollywood and fled back to New York.
His love of puzzles and murder mystery games inspired him to write the 1973 murder mystery movie “The Last of Shiela” with “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins.
And his smoldering faux-1940s torch song “Sooner Or Later” was definitely the highlight of Warren Beatty’s “Dick Tracy” movie. Here’s Madonna singing it at the Oscars in 1991 (it won for Best Original Song) and proving that she cleaned up real good when she wanted to: https://youtu.be/8bgNyaAz1jg
If you’re a theater nerd and would like to dig deeper into Sondheim’s creative process, check out the documentaries “Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened,” about the failed original production of “Merrily We Roll Along,” and “Original Cast Album: Company,” about the tortured recording of that classic LP under Sondheim’s perfectionist oversight. At one point, the engineer aptly says, “‘You Could Drive A Person Crazy,’ take ten.” (It was parodied on the TV series “Documentary Now” as “Original Cast Album: Co-op.”)
4. "KYLE'S LAW":
In the wake of the Kyle Rittenhouse acquittals, Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm has introduced “Kyle’s Law.”
It’s designed to end malicious political prosecutions by allowing acquitted defendants who can prove they were wrongly prosecuted without just cause or that the prosecutor acted “in a wanton or oppressive manner and in conscious disregard of the claimant’s rights,” to sue the prosecutor personally for damages.
As much as I agree with the sentiment, it seems as if it would be hard to establish for certain that a prosecution was purely pressed out of political malice. Proving malice is what makes defamation suits so difficult for public figures to prove. But if it makes prosecutors think twice before launching groundless abuses of the legal system against people who exercise their God-given rights, then maybe it will at least help put a damper on such cases. And if anyone qualifies for it, it’s definitely Rittenhouse’s prosecutors. If the defendant can’t sue them for malice, then the taxpayers should at least be able to sue them to recoup their salaries on grounds of sheer incompetence.
5. SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY:
If you survived Black Friday, remember that today is “Small Business Saturday,” when you’re urged to patronize your local small businesses for your holiday shopping (a good idea every day.) Monday is Cyber Monday, with more online Christmas deals, and that’s followed by Giving Tuesday, an organized effort to help raise money for thousands of charities.
With so many people talking about how hot new gadgets might not make it off the slow boats from China and to store shelves for Christmas, this is a good year to consider giving your loved ones gifts made right here in America by your fellow Americans. There are countless terrific items that anyone would love to have and that don’t enrich China, like American-grown food baskets; American-made clothes, arts and crafts, and other products; and of course, fantastic music made by American artists of all genres – the indie kind who weren’t allowed to earn a living in 2020. Many have great CDs that they’d love to sell you, and they don’t have to be shipped from China.
We’re working on a new edition of last year’s Huckabee Newsletter Entertainment Gift Guide with terrific comedy, music and movies from entertainers you can support with a clear conscience. Be watching for that soon.
6. TALE OF TWO YEARS:
Joe Biden 2020: Trump further diminished the U.S. in the eyes of the world by expanding his travel ban. This new “African Ban,” is designed to make it harder for black and brown people to immigrate to the United States. It’s a disgrace, and we cannot let him succeed.
Politico November 2021: Biden admin announces travel ban for South Africa and 7 other countries, citing new variant
Here are a couple of belated Thanksgiving treats: two hilarious columns by Kurt Schlichter and Kevin Downey Jr., both of whom remind us of things that conservatives have to be thankful for…
For past editions of my evening newsletter, please visit my website here.
For more of my news coverage, visit my website here.