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40th Anniversary of Edmund Fitzgerald Sinking


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I realize I am a bit ahead of myself, but 2 1/2 hours (1 hour in Newfoundland) but November 10 is the 40th Anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald (link).

On this momentous day the U.N. passed the infamous Zionism is Racism Resolution (link); and Australia's PM Gough Whitlam was fired by Governor-General (link). The latter was because of the failure of a series of money bills in the Senate. I wonder what some of our constitutional experts such as ToadBrother think but I digress.

What a day!

Edited by jbg
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Yes, I guess it is forty years since the Australian 1975 Constitutional Crisis. It's right up there with the King-Byng Affair as one of the defining uses of the Sovereign's power (borrowed power in these two cases). I know there's still considerable debate among Westminster constitutional experts whether Kerr acted appropriately or not. By and large, I think Kerr was unfortunately thrown into this crisis by the "Washminster" system that Australia has, where the Senate, like all Westminster upper houses, is not a confidence chamber, and thus rejection of a confidence motion (like a money bill) cannot lead to the defeat of the Government.

It's a cautionary tale in the unintended consequences of an elected upper house, and has been one of the chief reasons the UK has been very loathe to remake the House of Lords into one. The moment you have an elected chamber, it gains democratic legitimacy. An appointed or hereditary upper house generally is more restrained, though even the UK, through the 1911 and 1949 Parliament acts gave a Government the tools to override the House of Lords if need be.

I'm on the side of thinking that as neither Whitlam's government nor the opposition parties in the Senate, Kerr had little choice. The lack of supply legislation threatened the government, and to allow the political parties to play a game of chicken with the government would have been the far worse act. Still, it is a damned terrible thing that the politicians forced the Governor General into a position of wielding this power.

Edited by Charles Anthony
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It's a cautionary tale in the unintended consequences of an elected upper house, and has been one of the chief reasons the UK has been very loathe to remake the House of Lords into one. The moment you have an elected chamber, it gains democratic legitimacy.

I think that the House of Lords was created during an era when “democracy” was not what people had in mind. That came later, particularly with universal male suffrage.

An appointed or hereditary upper house generally is more restrained, though even the UK, through the 1911 and 1949 Parliament acts gave a Government the tools to override the House of Lords if need be.

Does this exist when Canada’s Senate doesn’t approve an HOC bill? I recall that the 1988 election was triggered in part by the Senate’s desire to legitimize CAFTA with an election. Is my memory correct?

I'm on the side of thinking that as neither Whitlam's government nor the opposition parties in the Senate, Kerr had little choice. The lack of supply legislation threatened the government, and to allow the political parties to play a game of chicken with the government would have been the far worse act. Still, it is a damned terrible thing that the politicians forced the Governor General into a position of wielding this power.

There are a couple of historical facts to remember. One was that there was close to double-digit inflation in 1975. That made it difficult to run under an old budget. The government was likely to be defaulting on some bills within that month if supply wasn’t unjammed. Also there was some “insuendo” (a lawyer’s slang an conflation of “insulation” and “innuendo” that Whitlam, like Indira Gandhi before and Hugo Chavez later had no plans on going to the polls. At that time, remember, there were actually very few surviving democracies, the U.S. (barely), Canada and U.K. being among them.

Really ? I think it's one of Gord's worst songs. Overlong with that repetitive and dragging guitar lick, along with lines like "...the islands and bays are for sportsmen". Gord's a treasure, I have seen him live, but not this song.

I don’t like the song much. It doesn’t mean Gord won’t subject us to it tomorrow night in Ridgefield, Connecticut where I am seeing him. He’s still my favorite singer, that song and “Sundown” notwithstanding.
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You guys are nuts if you don't like that song. The music is haunting, the lyrics very accurate to what happens in that situation. That song captures exactly what it is supposed to capture - It's about as perfect as you can get. A very real tribute to those people and those of us that continue to live through this type of stuff on a regular basis.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound

When the waves broke over the railing

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

And all that remains is the faces and the names

of the wives and the sons and the daughters

Wow, powerful stuff. If this song doesn't move you, than you've never experienced life on the water.

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I liked it the first 800 times it was played on AM radio down here. I just like other Lightfoot songs more. I'll let you know more tomorrow night.

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Really ? I think it's one of Gord's worst songs. Overlong with that repetitive and dragging guitar lick, along with lines like "...the islands and bays are for sportsmen". Gord's a treasure, I have seen him live, but not this song.

Maybe it resonates more with people who live near, and work on, the sea.... I never get tired of this song.

You guys are nuts if you don't like that song. The music is haunting, the lyrics very accurate to what happens in that situation. That song captures exactly what it is supposed to capture - It's about as perfect as you can get. A very real tribute to those people and those of us that continue to live through this type of stuff on a regular basis.

Maybe the first and last time Hal and I will ever agree.... music really can bring people together! ;) Edited by The_Squid
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I liked it the first 800 times it was played on AM radio down here. I just like other Lightfoot songs more. I'll let you know more tomorrow night.

He did perform the song and I guess it's far enough from the "overplaying" of the song during 1976 that I again like it. In any event here's the Gordon Lightfoot Set list I compiled at Ridgefield, Connecticut the night of November 11, 2015:

  1. Sweet Guinneviere
  2. Did She Mention my Name
  3. Waiting for you
  4. Never Too Close
  5. 14 Karat Gold
  6. Clouds of Loneliness
  7. Painter Passing Through
  8. Rainy Day People
  9. Shadows
  10. Beautiful
  11. The Watchman's Gone (from Sundown)
  12. Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
  13. Carefree Highway

    INTERMISSION

  14. Drink Yer Glasses Empty
  15. Now and Then
  16. Ribbon of Darkness
  17. Sundown
  18. Pony Man
  19. I'd Rather Press On
  20. Let it Ride
  21. If You Could Read My Mind
  22. Restless
  23. Baby Step Back
  24. Early Morning' Rain
  25. ENCORE (NOT A SONG)
  26. Cold on the Shoulder

ENCORE

Gordon Lightfoot's voice was extremely good, at least compared to the July appearance in Manhattan. He wished the crowd a good Veteran's Day. He mentioned that he was going to perform "Drink Yer Glasses Empty" as sort of a tribute to Veteran's Day, and mentioned his Canadian background.

Edited by jbg
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