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Patrick Sky, Folk Singer and Bob Dylan Contemporary, Dead at 80



Patrick Sky, a member of the Sixties Greenwich Village folk scene that launched Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, and many others, died on May 27th in Asheville, North Carolina. Sky had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2017, but according to his wife, folklorist and musician Cathy Larson Sky, Sky succumbed to prostate cancer and bone cancer. He was 80.

“Pat is one of the best story-tellers I know,” his friend and neighbor Van Ronk wrote in the liner notes to Sky’s 1965 self-titled debut album. “This is probably why he’s such a great singer. His songs are like he is — honest and sentimental, absurd and bawdy, indignant and simple to the point of complexity.” In the liner notes of his 1985 box set Biograph, Dylan mentioned Sky while talking about his early days in New York.

Part Creek Indian and part Irish, the tall, boyishly handsome Sky was also one of the few indigenous members of the folk world of the time, along with his close friend, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. Honoring his heritage, Sky was one of the first to record Peter LaFarge’s “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” about the Native American soldier who served in World War II (and helped plant the flag at Iwo Jima) but was disrespected upon returning to America, dying poor and alcoholic.

Born in College Park, Georgia, on October 2nd, 1940, Sky grew up in Louisiana, served in the Army and became part of the Florida folk scene. There, he met Sainte-Marie and wound up relocating with her to New York when she recorded her first album. During those sessions Sky was approached about making his own album. Sky was part of the 1965 Singer Songwriter Project compilation that also introduced the world to fellow troubadours Richard Fariña and David Blue. His own Vanguard Records debut, Patrick Sky, included “Many a Mile,” which became a rambling-man folk standard of its time, and “Love Will Endure,” later covered by the Blues Project.

“A lot of musicians came to New York in the early to mid Sixties,” says manager Terri Thal, a close friend of Sky’s (and manager of numerous acts, including her then-husband Van Ronk). “Some were good, some were very good. Most were eager and willing to learn. Pat was already formed. He knew ballads and blues. His songs were literate and well-crafted.”

Sky performed at iconic New York clubs like Gerde’s Folk City and the Gaslight and, in 1965, played a benefit for miners in Hazard, Kentucky, alongside Sainte-Marie, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton and others. Reviewing one of his shows at Town Hall there, the New York Times called Sky “a cross between Andy Griffith and Bob Dylan.” “What set him apart from the Village singer-songwriting scene was how he moved on and his irrepressible curiosity,” says fellow troubadour Eric Andersen. “Pat was a man with a restless leprechaun wandering in his soul.” Sky also produced some recordings for the rediscovered blues legend Mississippi John Hurt.

Yet Sky had a bawdy and edgy sense of humor that could be in sharp contrast with his most tender songs. In 1965, he and Van Ronk visited Canada to tape an appearance on a folk TV series. There, they saw a newcomer — Joni Mitchell — sitting alone and playing a new song, “Urge for Going.”

“It was simply magical … you could hear a pin drop,” Van Ronk wrote in The Mayor of MacDougal Street, his memoir. “She finished and there was just his silence, utter silence. Then Patrick turns to me and loudly says, ‘This sucks!‘ As it happened that was the highest compliment Patrick was capable of bestowing, but of course Joni had no way of knowing that.” Mitchell later recalled the moment as “all sorts of crude Patrick Sky things, that I now think are really dear, because I know him.”

Recorded in 1971, Sky’s fifth album, Songs That Made America Famous, took politically incorrect shots at blues singers, dead babies, the women’s rights movement, country music, the Catholic Church and his own genre (a parody of “Mr. Bojangles”). The album (which wasn’t released until three years later, on an indie label, after the majors passed) gained a reputation for being shocking and outrageous. “Sometimes a record comes along that so affronts common decency, so offends public morality, and so insults established canons of taste that its very appearance understandably prompts cries of outrage, shock and indignation,” Rolling Stone proclaimed in 1973. “Veteran folk minstrel Patrick Sky’s latest opus is just such a record. … Such a record belongs in every American home; enjoy it while you still can.”

Cathy Larson Sky says the intent of the album was misunderstood, however. “He appreciated bawdy and satirical writing, and he was making fun of maudlin country songs or folk songs, which can be pretty morbid,” she says. “But if someone doesn’t know what he’s making fun of, it can sound really sick. Some people were so offended that he alienated people who liked his early music, which was a shame.”

Never a fan of the music business, Sky increasingly turned to traditional folk, especially of Ireland, in the years after the album’s release. Visiting that country in the Seventies, he learned to play — and later build — Uilleann pipes (a sort of Celtic bagpipe). During that era, he started the Celtic folk label Green Linnet and served as a Rhode Island state planner on Native American affairs. In 1981, he married Larson, whom he’d met three years before; in 1987, the couple relocated to North Carolina.

In the early Nineties, Sky did one last tour to earn extra income, but he largely built a life outside the commercial music business. He worked as a folklorist at the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum in Virginia, opened a recording studio in his home, played occasionally at folk festivals, and received a degree in poetry.  In 2008, he and Larson Sky released a duet album; Sky’s last release was an EP of vintage recordings, Many a Mile, in 2018. The couple also made a living playing Uileann pipes at weddings and funerals. Sky is survived by Larson Sky and their son Liam.

In his later years, Sky would talk about writing a memoir about his life in the Village and, with Larson Sky, penned at least one chapter. “He always felt that that time in the Village was the time,” says Larson Sky. “He’d be sitting in the Kettle of Fish and everyone would be coming in and swapping tales about what was happening and who was writing what. They would trade ideas for songs and encourage one another. Once, he took Dylan’s hat off his head, and Patrick had that hat for a long time. It seemed like a very comradely era.”

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Biden Loses Ground Among ‘Fearful’ Young Voters: Poll – U.S. News & World Report



Biden Loses Ground Among ‘Fearful’ Young Voters: Poll  U.S. News & World Report

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The Guardian: Trump tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of 2020 debate with Biden



The previously unknown positive test is disclosed in Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows’ memoir “The Chief’s Chief,” a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian ahead of the book’s publication next week.

Trump said in a statement Wednesday, “the story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate.”

CNN has reached out to Meadows and then-White House physician Dr. Sean Conley for comment.

Trump received the positive test on September 26, 2020, according to Meadows, The Guardian reported. That day Trump hosted a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, which was later deemed a super spreader event, by medical experts. At least 12 people who attended the event tested positive.

Trump, who Meadows said looked “a little tired,” was en route to a rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania, that night when Meadows received a call from Conley informing him that Trump tested positive for Covid-19, according to the excerpt. Meadows wrote that Conley told him, “Stop the president from leaving. He just tested positive for Covid.”

Meadows claims in his book that the positive test was done with an old model kit, The Guardian reported.

Trump was subsequently tested with “the Binax system” an antigen test for Covid-19, and returned a negative result, Meadows wrote. It is unclear if the first test which returned the positive result was an antigen test or PCR test.

According to the FDA’s guidelines, when using the Binax test, “Negative results do not rule out SARS-Covid-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decision.”

Meadows wrote that Trump took the negative test as “full permission to press on as if nothing had happened,” but Meadows instructed those in Trump’s “immediate circle to treat him as if he was positive,” The Guardian reports.

“I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks,” Meadows wrote, according to The Guardian, “but I also didn’t want to alarm the public if there was nothing to worry about.”

A former senior White House official told CNN that word had circulated inside the West Wing before the first presidential debate that Trump had tested positive for Covid.

In between those dates, Trump appeared at a White House reception for Gold Star families and held a press briefing indoors on September 27, 2020. He also visited his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, earlier that day, according to pool reports.
Then-President Donald Trump participates in the first presidential debate against then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The following day, Trump held an event on the South Lawn of the White House, where he met with workers from Lordstown Motors, and later appeared in the White House Rose Garden to hail a new testing strategy for coronavirus.

On September 29, 2020, Trump traveled to Cleveland for his first presidential debate against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Trump arrived too late to be tested ahead of the debate, according to Fox News’ anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate.

During the debate, Trump and Biden adhered to social distance protocols, but the two candidates — both in their 70s — were indoors in a room with dozens of people in the audience, some of whom were not masked.

Trump on September 30 traveled to Minnesota for an outdoor rally in Duluth and a private fundraiser in Minneapolis.

Trump announced early Friday, October 2, 2020 that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19. He was hospitalized later that night.

According to the White House, Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on October 1, just two days after the debate.

In a later interview with NBC News, Trump would not definitively say whether he was tested for Covid-19 on the day of his first debate against Biden and said he could not recall the last time he tested negative for coronavirus before testing positive on October 1.

During a news conference on October 3, 2020, as Trump was receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for Covid, Conley would not disclose Trump’s last negative test for the virus, saying, “I’m not going to get into all the testing going back, but he and all his staff routinely are tested.”

In his book, Meadows wrote that although he knew each candidate was required to test negative within 72 hours of the debate’s start time “…Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there,” The Guardian reported.

After the then-president announced he had Covid, Meadows was refusing to tell his own staffers the precise timeline of when Trump had tested positive at the time, the former senior White House official added.

The official went on to say the virus simply was not taken seriously by some senior aides.

Staffers were sometimes in meetings and around other aides before going home sick with Covid.

“There was a bizarre indifference about getting others sick among some people in the west wing,” the official said.

A separate aide also said Meadows was keeping staffers in the dark about exact details of Trump’s illness.

Asked Wednesday about The Guardian report and whether he thought Trump put him at risk at the time, Biden told White House reporters, “I don’t think about the former President.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Gabby Orr and Kevin Liptak contributed to this reporting.

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Covid-19: Gurugram fully vaccinates 89% of its eligible population



Nearly 89% of eligible population in Gurugram has been vaccinated with both doses against Covid-19, according to data from the district health department on Wednesday.

In Gurugram, first-dose vaccination has crossed 100% as several people from other districts and a migrating population have also been vaccinated in the district, health officials said.

Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer (CMO), Gurugram, said, “It is a matter of pride for all of us that almost 90% eligible population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the district.”

In Gurugram, 1,803,656 people are eligible for Covid-19 vaccination. Of which, 1,600,752 (88.75%) beneficiaries have been administered both doses of vaccine, shows the data. So far, the district has administered a total of over 3.86 million doses — 2,262,523 first doses and 1,600,752 second doses.

According to the officials, on Wednesday, 13,435 people were given the Covid-19 vaccine in the district, with 3,559 people administered first dose and 9,876 second dose.

When asked about by when the district is targeting to achieve 100% vaccination, the CMO said, “We have not set any target as such, our focus is on continuous vaccination of all eligible people. To increase the pace of vaccination, 14 morning and four evening vaccination sessions have also been conducted in the past few days apart from vaccination at fixed sites.”

On November 11, Gurugram had achieved the mark of 80% double-dose vaccination coverage, when the state government set a deadline of January 2022 to achieve 100% vaccination coverage to all districts.

Meanwhile, the CMO directed the private hospitals in the district to conduct two mega vaccination drives in December so that the vaccination pace could be further increased.

The officials said that the door-to-door vaccination campaign has also helped and will continue in December. Till now, 101,784 people have been vaccinated through the door-to-door campaign in the district which started in November.

A new initiative was also started by the CMO from Wednesday where all the hospitals, labs, industries, malls and other institutions will be given special appreciation for getting 100% vaccination done of all their employees.

The health department, with the help of district administration, is also planning to start a checking drive again against those who do not wear face masks, as special instructions have been received from the state government to prepare for any possible third wave especially in the wake of the new Omicron variant.

“I appeal to the general public to wear face masks and follow all Covid-19 safety protocols seriously. People who are not wearing a face mask will be dealt with strictly. The district administration will now intensify the checking in public places,” said Yadav.

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