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Archive for 'Obituary'

RIP John McCain

A brave and patriotic and decent man, dead at 81. For all my political disagreements with McCain, two things stand out for me about him: — His refusal to accept early release from his six-year imprisonment in North Vietnam until all his fellow American POWs were freed. — This moment from his 2008 campaign for […]

RIP Chuck Berry

Dead at 90. I never saw him perform live, but what would rock and roll have been without him and Little Richard? Could the Beatles and the Stones have even existed? Ninety percent of what came after Berry and Richard has been forgettable dross in comparison. Not just great musicianship and great songs, but some […]

Shimon Peres z”l

Shimon Peres, who made aliyah with his family to pre-state Palestine in 1934 and whose life in many ways embodied the history of modern Israel, has died at the age of 93. After the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Peres became acting prime minister of Israel. The following year, in the one and only […]

Remembering Muhammad Ali

“I am the greatest. I am the king of the world.” “Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee.” “Rope-a-dope.” (The strategy of leaning back in the ropes and letting your opponent wear himself out before going in for the knockout.) “The Ali Shuffle will make you hustle.” (My brother used to say this a […]

RIP Merle Haggard

Dead at 79. He is remembered for “Okie from Muskogee,” a reactionary song which I happen to like very much. He was an unashamed American patriot. But I’m especially fond of his part in “Pancho and Lefty” with Willie Nelson. And I appreciated his cover of Woody Guthrie’s angry, class-conscious “Jesus Christ”– where he left […]

RIP Bob Elliott

Bob Elliott, who with his late partner Ray Goulding formed the comedy duo of Bob and Ray in the 1940s and continued performing for decades, has died at the age of 92. One of their classic deadpan routines involved an interview about Komodo Dragons (Bob is the interviewee). I’m sure we’ve all had conversations that […]

RIP Frances Kelsey

Those who rail in general against “excessive government regulation” might want to take a moment to remember Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey, the meddlesome government bureaucrat who resisted corporate pressure and blocked widespread distribution of thalidomide in the US to pregnant women– thus likely preventing tens of thousands of horrible birth deformities.

RIP Theodore Bikel

Theodore Bikel, who died Tuesday at the age of 91 after a very full (and politically active) life, was known for many things, especially his numerous portrayals of Tevye in productions of “Fiddler on the Roof.” But I will always remember him as a continuously-heard voice from my childhood; the wonderful album of worldwide folk […]

RIP Nicholas Winton

I hope the life and achievements of Nicholas Winton, who died at the age of 106, are getting full recognition in the British media. Winton was belatedly recognized for his role in helping to rescue and find families for at least 669 Jewish children from Nazi-controlled Czechoslovakia in the months before the outbreak of World […]

Remembering Roy Mason

Guest post by Sackcloth & Ashes On 20th April 2015 Roy Mason, the former Labour MP for Barnsley (after 1983 Barnsley Central) and a minister in the Wilson and Callaghan governments, died aged 91. The phrase ‘the last of his kind’ is a cliché, but in his case it is sadly true. Mason was a […]