Viewpoints- February 2016

Steve LaVere

A few days after Christmas, one of the world’s greatest Blues historians, and a good friend of the Delta, Steve LaVere died at his home in Greenwood. Originally from Glendale, California, Steve fell in love with the blues when he was child. Steve’s claim to fame is that he is the one who discovered the two existing photos of blues great, Robert Johnson. From those photos, Steve produced the famous Robert Johnson CD Box Set that was released in the early 1990s. Only then was the greater world introduced to Johnson’s music. Steve and Johnson’s heirs controlled Robert Johnson’s song rights. If the Rolling Stones or Eric Clapton wanted to record one of Johnson’s songs, they had to clear this with Steve. By all accounts, Johnson is considered the Father of the Blues. B.B. King and the other Blues icons were greatly influenced by Johnson’s music. For over a decade, Steve also produced the annual Peavine Awards that took place at the BPAC that brought worldwide attention to DSU and the Delta. Steve was a great friend of this region researching, speaking to groups, and participating in other ways. He will be greatly missed.
Iran’s New Jackpot

Once again, a rogue foreign country has shown that if you bully the Obama administration just a little, you can get what you want. Recently, Iran released four Americans they have held captive for some time. The price: $100+ billion. This is the amount of money Iran had in various accounts and other assets in the U.S. and around the world that were frozen because Iran broke agreements and continued to work on developing nuclear weapons. And, more or less, Iran was not being a good world citizen. Iran and its regime will now soar with the release of this $100 billion and new oil sales. Continuing to give away the store, the U.S. also agreed to release and/or pardon several Iranian Nationals charged or convicted with crimes in this country for violating sanctions designed to stop Iran’s nuclear programs. Adding insult to this gigantic injury, the U.S. also agreed to transfer $1.7 billion in a settlement related to the sale of military equipment prior to the 1979 revolution. We at the DBJ are happy to see these captive Americans safely returned to this country. However, this is a bad deal on every front and Iran is now the dominant controller of the Middle East.