Posts by Tim Skillern
Before the Beatles played six songs in two sets before 73 million Americans on the Feb. 9, 1964, "Ed Sullivan Show," the secret was already out. The group’s biggest hit at that moment — “I Want to Hold Your Hand” — was leaked, played relentlessly on local radio and spread virally (before that was a thing) across the United States.
The song surged to No. 1 on the Billboard charts on Jan. 18. Shortly after, John, Paul, George and Ringo braved thousands of screaming and crying fans at New York's Kennedy Airport on Feb. 7.
But it’s their appearance on Sullivan’s show that’s recognized as a musical milestone, an event so entrenched in U.S. cultural history because of the sheer number of Americans who tuned in — 73 million viewers, translating to a 45 percent rating and 60 percent share of televisions.
Numbers tell a story. Individual recollections tell it differently. Yahoo News asked readers to share not just what they remember about that collective experience, but also how the Beatles altered their lives, families and communities. Here are some lightly edited excerpts from what they wrote this week.
Then came the Beatles!
That night I wrote in my diary:
Sunday, February 9
David Renwald’s patience in freezing temperatures and snow in Yellowstone National Park paid off. His photograph captured a coyote sitting among grass poking from the snow in a moment that evokes seclusion, concentration and calm.
The photo, titled “Placid Coyote,” won first place in Yahoo News and Flickr winter scenery photography contest. Renwald’s work was among 711 photos submitted from 357 entrants.
“Coyotes lead a tenuous life among the wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park,” Renwald, of Portland, Ore., told Yahoo News. “This female and her mate were hunting on frozen ponds when she decided to sit on the edge of the rushes and scan the landscape and maybe listen for a wolf howl. I watched her for quite a long while and then had time for only two photographs before she trotted off. The temperature that day reached a high of minus-18 degrees.”
It’s likely not the birthday celebration James Freeman wished for.
The Rome, Ga., resident spent Tuesday — his 31st birthday — slogging across 72 miles of icy metro-Atlanta roads for 12 hours after leaving Norcross at 2:30 p.m.
“Some called it ‘Snowpocalypse,’ others ‘Snowmageddon.’ I called it my birthday,” Freeman wrote in a first-person account for Yahoo News on Thursday.
While his wife awaited him with cake and presents, he crawled along in his car: “After 10 minutes, I had gone a whopping mile.”
After learning of “grim” traffic reports that warned of “gridlock in every direction,” he spied a nearby Target store and hopped in to buy Cajun-style beef jerky, roasted peanuts, bottled water, and lighters.
The next six-and-a-half miles took him seven-and-a-half hours.
Here are more tales from this week’s storm that dumped three inches of snow on metro Atlanta, iced roads, canceled nearly 800 flights, caused roughly 1,200 accidents, injured at least 130 people, killed two, wrecked countless commutes and stranded thousands in local schools and businesses.
— Garry Jones
— Nicole Denise
“Listening to the State of the Union, I can't help but feel invigorated,” Jason W. Schaver, a Fulton, Ill., resident said.
“In short, the speech was a waste of time and of breath,” Houston resident Mark Whittington countered.
Their responses to President Barack Obama’s remarks on Tuesday exemplified the diverse and polarized reaction Americans offered to his State of the Union. Below are lightly edited excerpts we received from voters shortly after the address.
His proposal for employers to "give America a raise" sounds great, as do many campaign promises, but it falls short in the reality department. Most employers are struggling with higher costs, increased government red tape and climbing insurance costs. The economy isn't improving nearly as fast as the politicians would have one believe. Gas prices are still through the roof.
— Wiley Vaughn, Kingsport, Tenn.
— Jason W. Schaver, Fulton, Ill.
President Obama challenged Congress on many important issues. Two that are meaningful to me: gun control and health care.
Jobs, the economy, health care, Iran, the environment, education, Syria, gun control, gay marriage, domestic spying, marijuana… The laundry list of topics President Obama could tackle in his State of the Union address seems to grow each day.
Which of these issues do Americans want the president to talk about on Tuesday night? Yahoo News asked voters to share their hot-button concerns. Below is a sampling of what we received through Yahoo Contributor Network and Facebook. If you’re interested in joining the conversation, weigh in below or chime in on Facebook.
I hope President Obama explains that privacy is synonymous with freedom — that without privacy, there is no freedom.
— Ray McFarland
— Phil Cole
— Amanda Howdeshell
— Isabeau Kisler
— Jason Grill
— Susan Durham
— James Zerfoss
— Cody Talley
Hillary Clinton, in an essay that published this week, cautions that opportunities for American women could vanish if the U.S. does not prioritize their economic advancement.
“[F]ighting to give women and girls a fighting chance isn’t just a nice thing to do. It isn’t some luxury that we only get to when we have time on our hands. This is a core imperative for every human being in every society,” Clinton writes in “The Shriver Report: A woman’s nation pushes back from the brink,” a report that features essays compiled by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress.
Clinton warns that American women lag behind other first-world countries in a slew of important attributes, including life span, equal pay and employment opportunities.
“In places throughout America large and small, the clock is turning back,” says Clinton, noting that while women now hold approximately half of U.S. jobs, the country doesn’t crack the top 10 rankings of countries where women thrive economically.
* In 2011, the percentage of working-poor women increased, while it fell for men.
Just 13 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup poll released on Tuesday, pat Congress on the back and say, “Good job!”
It’ll thus be disgruntling for many voters to see most of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives celebrate their re-election come November. Indeed, historical House re-election rates hover around 90 percent, not dropping below 85 percent since at least 1964.
How can a body so majorly disdained, at least recently, almost assuredly punch its ticket for another two-year term? The answers, political scientists say, are complex. But if you need a simpler reason now, look locally at voters’ perspectives.
In Maryland’s 8th District, constituent Charles Ray says his representative, Chris Van Hollen, is “among the few, in an institution that seemed to be cowed by a few loud-mouth bullies, who seemed willing to swim against the tide.”
It’s almost Greek in its tragedy.
To wit, from Facebook:
Get nothing done? Get poor marks.
You know, something Congress used to do.
— Charles Manley, Grand Rapids, Mich.
“This one simple thing that I take for granted every day is gone,” Katie Hubbard says. “I'm desperate for clean water here.”
The Charleston, W.V., resident — one of about 300,000 near the state capital without access to clean water since a chemical spill on Thursdayin the Elk River — shared her apprehension in a first-person account on Yahoo News.
Schools, restaurants, businesses and public buildings across nine counties in southwestern West Virginia closed down as authorities instructed residents to avoid water for anything — drinking, bathing, cooking, washing and more.
There’s inconvenience certainly — “This means the bathrooms are not operational,” resident Bonny Starkey notes — and some hysteria and handwringing over empty grocery store shelves.
— Katie Hubbard
— Matthew Sutton
The first report came as a message on my boyfriend's phone at about 6 p.m.
While Chris Christie's 'heartbroken,' New Jerseyans see mix of 'leadership,' 'denial' and 'cronyism'
Bridgegate? Or just water under the bridge?
That’s what Yahoo News asked New Jerseyans Thursday after Republican Gov. Chris Christie first fired his deputy chief of staff, then pondered at a lengthy news conference why some in his administration would have orchestrated a lane shutdown and traffic jam in Fort Lee, near the George Washington Bridge.
We asked residents: Does this affect their views of their governor? Does it cast doubt on his leadership? How will this impact the 2016 presidential race?
Here are some lightly edited perspectives, tweets and Facebook posts we harvested from our readers Thursday.
"I'm heartbroken," he states.
He sounds less heartbroken than caught, and I can't help but see shades of Nixon clouding Christie's personal aura.
— James H. English, Secaucus
— Arrivanna Brooks, Clifton
— Roberta Bostick, Jersey City, via Facebook
— Bruce Bieber, Tenafly
(Photo © Cat Conner/Flickr)
Winter can trigger some sour images: snowy traffic jams, blizzards, slick sidewalks and bone-shivering wind chills — not to mention short days and shorter tempers. But optimists see winter’s benefits: majestic snow-capped mountain peaks, the crisp snowfall on city streets and the beauty of individual snowflakes.
And we’d love to see how you’ve captured that scenery.
In our latest photography contest, Yahoo News and Flickr want to see your photos of winter scenes. Possibilities include shots of wintery landscapes and streetscapes, snow sports, ice sculptures, newsworthy storm photography — anything you think best showcases the season’s splendor. Whether your photos were taken last year or last week, show us your best work.
This is great! Are there prizes?
But there are rules, right?
Yes, some basic rules are below. Please see the contest rules for full details.