Thursday Open Thread | Bruce Springsteen Week

We continue to explore the career of “The Boss”-Bruce Springsteen.

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1992–1998: Artistic and commercial ups and downs

In 1992, after risking fan accusations of “going Hollywood” by moving to Los Angeles (a radical move for someone so linked to the blue-collar life of the Jersey Shore) and working with session musicians, Springsteen released two albums at once. Human Touch and Lucky Town were even more introspective than any of his previous work and displayed a newly revealed confidence. As opposed to his first two albums, which dreamed of happiness, and his next four, which showed him growing to fear it, at points during the Lucky Town album, Springsteen actually claims happiness for himself.

An electric band appearance on the acoustic MTV Unplugged television program (later released as In Concert/MTV Plugged) was poorly received and further cemented fan dissatisfaction. Springsteen seemed to realize this a few years hence when he spoke humorously of his late father during his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech:
“ I’ve gotta thank him because – what would I conceivably have written about without him? I mean, you can imagine that if everything had gone great between us, we would have had disaster. I would have written just happy songs – and I tried it in the early ’90s and it didn’t work; the public didn’t like it.[26] ”

A multiple Grammy Award winner, Springsteen also won an Academy Award in 1994 for his song “Streets of Philadelphia”, which appeared on the soundtrack to the film Philadelphia. The music video for the song shows Springsteen’s actual vocal performance, recorded using a hidden microphone, to a prerecorded instrumental track.[citation needed] This technique was developed on the “Brilliant Disguise” video.


In 1995, after temporarily re-organizing the E Street Band for a few new songs recorded for his first Greatest Hits album (a recording session that was chronicled in the documentary Blood Brothers), he released his second (mostly) solo guitar album, The Ghost of Tom Joad, inspired by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and by Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass, a book by Pulitzer Prize-winners author Dale Maharidge and photographer Michael Williamson. This was generally less well-received than the similar Nebraska, due to the minimal melody, twangy vocals, and political nature of most of the songs, although some praised it for giving voice to immigrants and others who rarely have one in American culture. The lengthy, worldwide, small-venue solo acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad Tour that followed successfully featured many of his older songs in drastically reshaped acoustic form, although Springsteen had to explicitly remind his audiences to be quiet and not to clap during the performances.

Following the tour, Springsteen moved back to New Jersey with his family.[27] In 1998, Springsteen released the sprawling, four-disc box set of out-takes, Tracks. Subsequently, Springsteen would acknowledge that the 1990s were a “lost period” for him: “I didn’t do a lot of work. Some people would say I didn’t do my best work.”[28]

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23 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Bruce Springsteen Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    How Big Girl Cosmetics got a huge new reach thanks to a microloan program

    Opportunity knocked — and Kiley Russell almost missed it because she couldn’t get a loan.

    Her Hyde Park-based Big Girl Cosmetics and skin care business, which sells its products in four Macy’s stores and at her spa, had the chance to expand to another big department store chain.

    Her eight-year-old company needed a small loan to fund the added production. But lenders weren’t cooperating — roughly two dozen of them turned her down.

    Thanks to new microlending programs that are sprouting around Chicago, she was able to get the financing she needed, and her products will be in four Chicago area Carson’s stores this fall.

    Riley received a $10,000 loan through Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a nonprofit that along with the Women’s Business Development Center is providing microloans of $500 to $25,000 to small enterprises that find themselves shut out by traditional lenders.

    The two nonprofits are among the first to receive training to establish microloan programs through the Chicago Microlending Institute, which began training about a year ago. There is a $24 million annual unmet demand for microloans loans in the Chicago area. That is according to Jonathan Brereton, chief executive officer of long-time microlender Accion Chicago, which runs the institute. Brereton says banks typically avoid smaller loans because they’re not very profitable thanks to origination costs.

    “Banks have moved up market since the recession,” Brereton says. “Businesses that need anything under $100,000 don’t really have many options.”

    Successfully meeting the microloan demand can help maintain and create jobs, advocates say.

    Accion Chicago has provided more then 3,000 loans totaling more than $23 million, creating or maintaining 10,000 jobs, since its founding in 1994, representatives say. It has been growing at a 20 percent clip.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Earthquake @RealEarthquake
    White dudes at Target in the kitchenware aisle makin everybody nervous

    Earthquake @RealEarthquake
    Everything a weapon White man a kill yo ass wit a cereal bowl nowadays

    Earthquake @RealEarthquake
    Black dudes aint makin no bombs bcuz our girl wont let us use her gotdam pressure cooker

  3. rikyrah says:

    Sarah Wallace ‏@SarahWallaceTV3m
    #westtx plant reportedly had no alarms, firewall or automatic shutoff system. How does that happen?

  4. Ametia says:

    Chris Matthews, sit your ass down with the speculating. Well, these guys could have picked up their clothing and other gear in Boston.” How about they live in Boston, Chirs. MSNBC’s trying to white-wash the Boston bombers too.

  5. Ametia says:

    Photos of FBI persons of interest

    The FBI has released surveillance photos and videos of two persons of interest in the case, whom they are calling “Suspect 1″ and “Suspect 2.” Suspect 2, in the white hat, is the one the FBI believes placed a package.

    4:24 pm
    Mark Berman
    FBI: Photos will be posted online

    The FBI is releasing photos of two suspects from the bombing in Boston. FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, speaking at a news conference, said the photos would be posted on “for the public and the media to use, review and publicize.”

  6. Ametia says:

    FBI releases photos, video of two Boston Marathon bombing suspects

  7. Ametia says:

    FBI Schedules Press Conference On Boston Bombings At 5pm ET
    Source: TPM


    Federal law enforcement officials are scheduled to hold a news briefing on the Boston marathon bombings at 5pm ET on Thursday, the agency announced in a press release. The same briefing on the incident was canceled three times over the course of the day on Wednesday, as contradictory reports swirled over a possible arrest. Those reports turned out to be unfounded.


    Read more:

  8. Ametia says:

    This is not your founding fathers’ Senate
    Posted by Ezra Klein on April 18, 2013 at 10:34 am

    By Ezra Klein, Updated: April 18, 2013

    In today’s Wonkbook, I noted that of the senators from the 25 largest states, the Manchin-Toomey legislation received 33 aye votes and 17 nay votes — a more than 2:1 margin, putting it well beyond the 3/5ths threshold required to break a filibuster. But of the senators from the 25 smallest states, it received only 21 aye votes and 29 nay votes.

    In the New Republic, Jon Cohn and Eric Kingsbury run the numbers a different way, but reach a very similar result.

    If you assume, for sake of argument, each senator represents half of his or her state’s population, then senators voting for the bill represented about 194 million people, while the senators voting against the bill represented about 118 million people. That’s getting close to a two-thirds majority in favor of the measure.

    The key to all this is that the undemocratic affect of the filibuster is layered on top of other undemocratic features of the Senate, like the small-state bias and the lengthy election cycle.

    George Washington probably never told Thomas Jefferson that the Senate is “the cooling saucer of democracy.” But even if he did, he was talking about the Senate at a time when the population difference between the smallest state and the largest state was a fifth of what it is now, when senators were appointed by state legislatures, and when the filibuster didn’t yet exist.

    For better or for worse, this is not your founding fathers’ Senate. The country has changed too much and we’ve changed the Senate too much to blame today’s dysfunctions on them.

  9. Ametia says:

    April 18, 2013 10:20 AM
    The Devil You Know
    By Ed Kilgore

    oday we learn that Mitch McConnell isn’t simply using the “secret taping” of his political team to avoid scrutiny of the dirty tricks his political team was plotting, or to raise money from rabid partisans. He’s running a political ad on it. No, seriously, he is, per this report from Politico’s James Hohmann:

    Mitch McConnell continues to seize on the bungled taping of his Louisville campaign headquarters.
    The Senate Minority Leader will go on the air Thursday with a new commercial that links last week’s brouhaha to the Democratic president’s desire to oust him.
    “Mitch McConnell is Obama’s No. 1 target because Mitch protects Kentucky from Obama’s bad ideas,” a female narrator says in the 30-second spot, shared first with POLITICO. “Liberals will do anything to beat McConnell.”
    The campaign says the buy is “well into the six-figures” on broadcast and cable.


    “T2 on April 18, 2013 11:18 AM:

    when the final words are written on the Obama years, McConnell will stick out as the most underhanded/overhanded obstructionist of them all. With the 60 vote limit he basically invented himself, and the ability to “two-face” any deal up to the last minute, he, more than any, has achieved the goal he himself broadcast on election night 2008 – to obstruct Obama at each and every juncture. I’m pretty old, but cannot remember any legislator, at any level, who has done more to ruin the governance of his own nation/state. His epitaph will be : the man who destroyed the Senate.

  10. Ametia says:


  11. Ametia says:

    USPS losing $25 million daily, waiting for Congress to fix ‘broken business model’

    By Joe Davidson, Published: April 17

    Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe entered the Rayburn House Office Building with an entourage a dozen staffers deep. Apparently granted status by association, the aides immediately cut to the front of a long line of regular folks who were waiting patiently, as the polite do, to go through security.

    Donahoe and his crew then headed to Room 2154 for a
    9:30 a.m. hearing on “Options to Bring the Postal Service Back from Insolvency.” There should have been an “(R)” next to the listing to let the audience know it would be a repeat.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Blame where blame is due

    By Steve Benen
    Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:00 AM EDT.

    As the political world digests the demise of legislative gun reforms, there’s ample speculation about why efforts to reduce gun violence were defeated. I noticed Andrew Kaczynski argue that the White House will point the finger at Senate Republicans, “but really it was red state Democrats.”

    One can take a look at the roll call on yesterday’s vote on expanded background checks, but maybe a chart can help drive the point home.

    Obviously, the vote wasn’t entirely along partisan lines, and four red-state Democrats who broke ranks and sided with the minority deserve the scrutiny they’ve received.

    But let’s at least try to be objective about what happened. There was a Republican filibuster, which the vast majority of Republicans supported. Four Democrats broke ranks, but even if they had stuck with their party, the proposal would have come up short — because of the scope of Republican opposition.

    That’s not opinion; it’s just what happened. I’m not even assigning a value judgment here — if you hated the legislation and wanted to see it die, then give Republicans credit, because they succeeded. If you backed the legislation and were disappointed, then blame the party responsible.

    But let’s not pretend otherwise, shall we?

    Indeed, let’s take a moment to reflect on what happened in the immediate aftermath of the vote.


    On one side of the aisle, we saw Democratic senators trying to console heartbroken parents whose children were killed in Newtown. We also saw a Democratic White House, not only offering support for the grieving families in tears, but also condemning the Senate vote in passionate terms.

    On the other side of the aisle, we saw the Republicans’ Senate leader, Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, posting this to his Facebook page, effectively dancing in the end zone.

  13. rikyrah says:

    What She Said

    By John Cole April 17th, 2013

    Gabby Giffords, in the NYT, breaking it down for you. Her full editorial:

    SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.

    On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count.

    Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.

    I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending.

    Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo — desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation — to go on.

    I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences.

    People have told me that I’m courageous, but I have seen greater courage. Gabe Zimmerman, my friend and staff member in whose honor we dedicated a room in the United States Capitol this week, saw me shot in the head and saw the shooter turn his gunfire on others. Gabe ran toward me as I lay bleeding. Toward gunfire. And then the gunman shot him, and then Gabe died. His body lay on the pavement in front of the Safeway for hours.

    I have thought a lot about why Gabe ran toward me when he could have run away. Service was part of his life, but it was also his job. The senators who voted against background checks for online and gun-show sales, and those who voted against checks to screen out would-be gun buyers with mental illness, failed to do their job.

    They looked at these most benign and practical of solutions, offered by moderates from each party, and then they looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government itself by choosing to do nothing.

    They will try to hide their decision behind grand talk, behind willfully false accounts of what the bill might have done — trust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest. I say misplaced, because to preserve their dignity and their legacy, they should have heeded the voices of their constituents. They should have honored the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony.

    This defeat is only the latest chapter of what I’ve always known would be a long, hard haul. Our democracy’s history is littered with names we neither remember nor celebrate — people who stood in the way of progress while protecting the powerful. On Wednesday, a number of senators voted to join that list.

    Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way.

  14. rikyrah says:

    At Least I Know I’m Free

    By mistermix April 18th, 2013

    Reader J sends in another good thing the NRA has blocked:

    “Identification taggants are microscopically color-coded particles that, if added to explosives or gun powders during their manufacturing, might facilitate tracing those products after a bombing back to the manufacturer,” reads the 1999 post “Taggants and Gun Powers” by the NRA’s Institute of Legislative Action. “Then, through the use of mandatory distribution records, tracing would continue through wholesaler and dealer levels to an original purchaser or point of theft.”

    The same NRA, however, has twice deployed its lobbyists to block the mandated use of identification taggants by gunpowder manufacturers.

    The Boston bomb used gunpowder, with no taggants, thanks to the NRA, because Second Amendment and/or Jesus..

  15. rikyrah says:

    How Savvy Jenny Sanford Sabotaged Ex-Husband Mark’s Political Comeback
    By Jason Zengerle

    A couple of months ago, when I was reporting a feature on Mark Sanford’s political comeback and the ongoing soap opera between him and his ex-wife Jenny, one of his associates told me: “Clearly Jenny has the ability to determine whether Mark wins or loses this race.” It now seems clear that she’s chosen the latter.

    Jenny insists that she did not leak to the Associated Press the court filings that revealed that Mark had trespassed at her home in early February. “Those documents the AP has are legit,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “They deal with a number of private domestic matters and it was my understanding they were to remain sealed along with our divorce documents. I did not choose to make this information public nor did I choose the timing of his last trespassing.” Which may be true. But Jenny’s not a dope. She’s a savvy political operator, and she had to have known that simply by filing those court documents in the middle of a campaign, there was a very good chance they would eventually leak.

    Indeed, while Jenny has never come out and publicly opposed Mark’s congressional candidacy — choosing to remain officially neutral — she’s waged a brutally effective passive-aggressive campaign against it. Whether it was revealing to me that Mark had shamelessly asked her to manage his election bid; or telling the Washington Post that, until the night Mark’s fiancée showed up onstage at his victory party in April, one of her sons had never met the woman; or just generally making it known that she is furious that he’s running, Jenny has done a masterful job of keeping her ex-husband’s past (and not-so-past) transgressions in the news. She has seeded the ground with political land mines, stood back, and waited for Mark to step on one.

    Now that he has, in the form of this trespassing news, Republicans are cutting bait, with the National Republican Congressional Committee deciding that it’s not going to spend any more money on Sanford’s behalf. Meanwhile, the conservative group Concerned Women for America has announced that it’s contemplating a write-in campaign on behalf of Jenny in the May 2 congressional race: “CWA’s staff is still checking the legalities but I gotta say,” its head told the Washington Post, “Congresswoman Jenny Sanford has a nice ring to it.” She’s certainly proven to be a better pol than her ex.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone:)

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