Monday, December 10, 2007
The Weaver's records and concerts helped popularize many of the songs now considered standards in the folk repertoire, including "On Top of Old Smokey," "Follow the Drinking Gourd," "Kisses Sweeter than Wine," "The Wreck of the John B (aka "Sloop John B")," "Rock Island Line," "The Midnight Special," "Pay Me My Money Down," and "Darling Corey." The Weavers encouraged sing-alongs in their concerts, and Seeger would sometimes shout out the lyrics in advance of each line.
The Weavers eventually came under political pressure because of their history of singing protest songs and folk songs favoring labor unions, as well as for the leftist political beliefs of the individuals in the group. They avoided recording the more controversial songs in their repertoire, and refrained from performing at controversial venues and events. The leftwing press derided them as having sold out their beliefs in exchange for popular success. Despite their caution, however, they were placed under FBI surveillance and blacklisted by parts of the entertainment industry during the McCarthy era, from 1950. Right-wing and anti-Communist groups protested at their performances and harassed promoters. As a result of the blacklisting, the Weavers lost radio airplay and the group's popularity diminished rapidly. Decca terminated their recording contract.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Even if it were remotely true, "our women are better-looking!" is not an argument. The idea that discussing the attractiveness of women's bodies as a point in favor of or against a specific set of political beliefs is just disgusting. And the implied possession -- as in, our things are pretty and yours are ugly -- is also revoltingly sexist.
I love how the Repubs are mostly professional headshots or publicity shots and the Dems are all the worst possible candids.
Girls sure are purdy when they want to take away other women's right to choose! (This is reminiscent of anti-choicers' tendency to compare the attractiveness of women on either side of the issue. Isn't patriarchy awesome?)
"Now i understand,
what you tried to say to me,
how you suffered for your sanity,
how you tried to set them free,
they would not listen they did not know how, perhaps they'll listen now"
"Where words fail, music speaks." ---Hans Christian Andersen
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Amazingly, all but two members of the 12 member board voted to approve the center.
And while the sane were represented at the hearing, so were the (wing)nuts:
“It has been shown, over and over again, that this does not increase sexual activity,” said Pat Patterson, the medical director of School-Based Health Centers.
Reaction was mixed.
“This is really a violation of parents’ rights,” Peter Doyle, a Portland resident, told the committee. “If there were a constitutional challenge, you guys would be at risk of a lawsuit.”
Pat Patterson is right, and I'm so glad to see her or him shooting down the right wing argument (advanced by foes of BC and EC) that the availability of birth control makes kids crazy sex animals. Regarding Peter Doyle's argument, it's not so clear whether he's right or wrong. Parents definitely have a constitutionally protected interest to raise and educate their kids in the way they want to (within limits). But as kids grow up they too develop their own competing privacy rights. Some states already allow minors to access birth control without parental permission. If middle school kids can be sentenced to life in prison, there's nothing incongruous about giving them (all teens) the tools to lead healthy lives.
Just for fun, let's stipulate (against the evidence) that access to birth control will cause some young girls to have self-esteem reducing sex in middle school. What's more likely to cause problems and limit opportunities later in life--slightly reduced self esteem at age 14, or a baby at age 14?
Monday, October 8, 2007
Yesterday, in response to a question from a reporter suspicious of why he wasn’t wearing an American flag pin on his lapel, Barack Obama explained his belief that for some, the pins became a substitute for “true patriotism.” The senator said he would instead “try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”
I didn’t expect leading conservative voices to understand, but I was a little surprised at the ferocity of the response. Jonah Goldberg described Obama’s perspective as “staggeringly stupid,” and “the single dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of him doing.” Another prominent far-right blogger responded this way:
“Seriously, you want this for President of these great United States.This is how he catches the attention of a media aligned with the terror force? This useful tool won’t wear an American flag pin? Talk about pandering to the radical base, he ought to run against Ahmadinejad.
“He is scoring points with Georgie Soros, won’t be waiting long for his on his Soros stipend, I’m sure. What’s Obama Hussein’s new campaign slogan, “America Sucks!”
Higher-profile conservative voices were only slightly less unhinged.
“But talk radio and cable news quickly pounced on the issue. “It just shows you he’s not ready for the big time,” conservative Laura Ingram opined on Fox News. Said Sean Hannity: “Why do we wear pins? Because our country is under attack!”
Hannity, a voice of reason in these trying times. Perhaps he believes lapel pins are some kind of protection against terrorist attacks? And if so, why doesn’t he wear one more often?
So the role model for true-blue, America-loving, super-duper-patriotic conservatives is...
(historical note from old geezer to young whippersnappers: Abbie Hoffman, 1970's radical, was arrested for wearing a shirt made from an American flag. Also arrested other times, for other charges -- see "Chicago Seven" -- but the shirt incident was one of the most famous.)
Torture in Iraq and Gitmo also cows the population here. If they are willing to torture Padilla, then we will damn well give up privacy in phone calls, habeas corpus, freedom to fly on domestic airplanes without taking our friggin shoes off in dirty airports. It means that Bushco means business when it comes to keeping people, all people, in line.
An article that’s making the rounds again about the way the Allies effectively broke down Nazi resistance to testifying after WWII through kindness and playing games of wit with them. It’s very interesting and more evidence against the use of routine torture to “get information”, which is the official excuse for torturing from the Bush administration and all their defenders. It helps to watch lots of “24″ to convince yourself that there’s just oodles of people out there who are one electroshock to the genitals away from spilling all sorts of life-saving information. The article is good—all a refutation of the idea that torture is an effective way of obtaining information.
It’s important to say that torture doesn’t work for obtaining information, but immediately follow it up with, “So if we’re not using torture for information, then what are we using torture for?” And the answer is that we’re torturing in order to cow into submission an unconsenting population we’re ruling over, something that torture is very good at. Information is irrelevant. The government barely had anything to charge Jose Padilla with, and they knew it—they didn’t charge him for years because they were waiting for him to cough up information. They tortured him so badly he lost his mind; if they cared what he knew, they wouldn’t have systematically destroyed his mind and the mysterious information in it. Padilla was a testing ground for the Bush administration to see if they could get away with disappearing people, a la some South American junta, so they could quell the loyal dissent at home with the threat that you could be locked away in prison and have your mind slowly dismantled with no hope for a trial.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
“There’s concern about Brown,” a senior White House foreign policy official told The Daily Telegraph. “But this is compensated by the fact that Paris and Berlin are much less of a headache. The need to hinge everything on London as the guarantor of European security has gone.”
The White House official added that Britain would always be “the cornerstone” of US policy towards Europe but there was “a lot of unhappiness” about how British forces had performed in Basra and an acceptance that Mr Brown would pull the remaining 4,500 troops out of Iraq next year.
“Operationally, British forces have performed poorly in Basra,” said the official. “Maybe it’s best that they leave. Now we will have a clear field in southern Iraq.”
Translation: This is a job for Blackwater. We will soon be surging soldiers of fortune into Basra to shoot everything that moves.
No worries. After the "quick surgical strikes" into Iran, the south of Iraq will be like a resort spa.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Some things Bush should contemplate before attacking Iran, but won't:
1. It will be far worse than Iraq which hasn't turned out well at all.
2. You will demonstrate to the world the US is no longer a super power.
3. Such an attack will ruin what little respect any country has for the US.
4. Iran will attack world-wide on a scale you won't believe.
5. You can't destroy all of Iran's offensive capabilities fast enough to prevent retaliation.
6. Ten dollar per gallon oil? Oh yeah, that's not a bad thing. I forgot.
7. Obviously Israel, Syria, Lebanon and others will join in.
8. You will wreck what's left of the US military.
9. Even Iranians deserve to live. You will kill civilians in obscene numbers.
10. You will be personally responsible for the deaths of millions of people throughout the Mid-East.
11. People around the world will revile you until the day you die and probably long after. What a great fucking legacy.
12. Your father may finally disown you. Oh, I forgot, you don't really care.
13. Everyone will finally realize just how psychotic you actually are.
14. Your balls will shrivel up and most likely fall off.
15. No doubt almost everyone will see your foreign policy was shit.
16. Paraguay may be too close to the US for you.
17. Because Iran can retaliate, Lebanon is viable, the PA is viable, Syria is viable, you may well trigger the destruction of Israel.
18. You will no longer be able to vacation in the Persian Gulf.
19. Quite possibly you'll see the sinking of one or more US warships.
20. Most likely many of the US's allies will lose thousands of people.
21. You will postpone and guarantee Iran's having nuclear weapons.
22. Its probable Iran won't be the last to develop nuclear weapons as that's the only way to keep you from attacking them.
23. You will prove beyond a doubt you are the most stupid fucker to ever lead a country...period.
24. The 23% approval rate you have may fall down to just members of the US Congress.
25. You will single handedly destroy what's left of the GOP. OK, that could be a good thing.
26. If you're lucky (we're all lucky?) this won't incite a world war.
27. Can you say military coup d’état? They've happened for lesser reasons.
28. You will crush the US economy which you've already decimated.
29. Billions of dollars in military aircraft will be lost. You don't think the Iranians won't fight back, do you?
30. Russia and China are nearby. They may decide its in their best interests to stop you. And China doesn't even have to intervene militarily. It could just call in its US debt. Huge fucking oops!
31. Then there are the American lives to be lost. Can't have enough of those can you, Bush?
This is a partial list. But its a start. Feel free to add to it in comments.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Are you worried yet? Here's the latest from our overseas partners in the war on terror:
Armed police will use anti-terrorism powers to "deal robustly" with climate change protesters at Heathrow next week, as confrontations threaten to bring major delays to the already overstretched airport.
...."Should individuals or small groups seek to take action outside of lawful protest they will be dealt with robustly using terrorism powers. This is because the presence of large numbers of protesters at or near the airport will reduce our ability to proactively counter the terrorist act [threat]," the document says.
Note the clever excuse. No one seems to seriously believe that these protesters are either terrorists or plan to engage in terrorism, and normally any lawbreaking would be dealt with using ordinary police powers. However, the terrorism laws are said to apply here because the protesters — who object to a proposed expansion of the airport — "might reduce our ability to proactively counter" real terrorism. This is, needless to say, an excuse that could be trotted out for nearly anything more vigorous than sending a letter to the editor.
This is happening in Britain, not America, and it's not Armageddon. Which is a country where the top elected official can state that his predecessor's invasion of Iraq was a stupid idea, and still get elected. Rather unlike America.
So yes, it is rather Orwellian (especially the reason proffered), on a scale just as Orwellian as fenced-in Free Speech Zones (NY Repub Convention, LA Dem Convention) far from the political speech-making venues.
Still, when civil libertarian types start warning about slippery slopes, this is what they're talking about. Anyone who can't imagine how this stuff can be misused just isn't exercising their imagination.
I love the way New Yorkers take no prisoners:
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at ground zero exposed to the same health risks as workers combing the site after the Sept. 11 attacks.Every time Rudy tries to hype his manly ground zero bonafides these guys are going to be out there smacking him down. This stuff didn't happen on the Mekong Delta 35 years ago. This happened very recently in the media capital of the world. His movements were well documented. You have to be a truly grandiose psychopath not to think comments like this will not come back to haunt you. Of course, that's exactly what he is.
"I think I could have said it better," he told nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher. "You know, what I was saying was, 'I'm there with you.'"
The former New York mayor upset some firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he was at ground zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers."
"I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them," he told reporters at a Los Angeles Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds baseball game.
Fire and police officials responded angrily, saying Giuliani did not do the same work as those involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup from the 2001 terrorist attacks, which left many workers sick and injured.
"There were people there less than me, people on my staff, who already have had serious health consequences, and they weren't there as often as I was," Giuliani said, "but I wasn't trying to suggest a competition of any kind, which is the way it come across."
Giuliani's explanation further angered his ground zero critics, prompting several to issue a statement demanding an apology.
"He is such a liar, because the only time he was down there was for photo ops with celebrities, with politicians, with diplomats," said deputy fire chief Jimmy Riches, who spent months digging for his firefighter son.
"On 9/11 all he did was run. He got that soot on him, and I don't think he's taken a shower since."
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, a union that fiercely opposes Giuliani, said he doubted Giuliani misspoke.
"I think he was simply showing what his true character is — a self-absorbed, self-deluded promoter who got caught and is now just simply trying to backtrack," Schaitberger said.
And speaking of Giuliani, you have to check out the article on his Five Big Lies, in the Village Voice. Someone pointed out to me this little tidbit that would be particularly worth noting if the tabloid political press held the GOP candidates to the same standards as Democrats:
But Hauer says Denny Young, the mayor's alter ego, who has worked at his side for nearly three decades, eventually "made it very clear" that Giuliani wanted "to be able to walk to this facility quickly." That meant the bunker had to be in lower Manhattan. Since the City Hall area is below the floodplain, the command center—which was built with a hurricane-curtain wall—had to be above ground. The formal city document approving the site said that it "was selected due to its proximity to City Hall," a standard set by Giuliani and Giuliani alone...Seriously, this indicates that Giuliani personally made what everyone considers his biggest blunder --- placing that command center where he did --- because he was actually building a convenient love nest.
The mayor was so personally focused on the siting and construction of the bunker that the city administrator who oversaw it testified in a subsequent lawsuit that "very senior officials," specifically including Giuliani, "were involved," which he said was a major difference between this and other projects. Giuliani's office had a humidor for cigars and mementos from City Hall, including a fire horn, police hats and fire hats, as well as monogrammed towels in his bathroom. His suite was bulletproofed and he visited it often, even on weekends, bringing his girlfriend Judi Nathan there long before the relationship surfaced. He had his own elevator.
The love nest with the monogrammed towels masquerading as a media center, I mean, bunker, are the least of it. It's no coincidence that B. Kerik was his best buddy, since they are birds of a feather: autocratic, self-glorifying, greedy profiteers, hacks, and above all thugs. It's absolutely appalling about the free ride he's getting from the corporate media, just as Bush Jr. did in '00.
Kinda puts Kerik's exploits in the "Ground Zero" apartment that was donated for rescue workers that he ganked for his extramarital exploits in context.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
This, along with the story concerning the Iraqi Government dropping the construction projects, was the main news on all the evening newscasts tonight.
Iraq will be in governmental meltdown by September.
Bush should have used the life preserver the Iraq Study Group threw him.
A key aide says Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's relations with Gen. David Petraeus are so poor the Iraqi leader may ask Washington to withdraw the overall U.S. commander from his Baghdad post.
Iraq's foreign minister calls the relationship "difficult." Petraeus, who says their ties are "very good," acknowledges expressing his "full range of emotions" at times with al-Maliki. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who meets with both at least weekly, concedes "sometimes there are sporty exchanges."
Oh well, 4,000 American lives, 50,000 wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives lost or destroyed, more than $1 trillion spent, and an explosion in the National Debt, international trust and respect of America trashed, The Constituion shreaded...
and poor Georgie doesn't even get to tell his daddy "I told you so." But Barbara is still proud as hell of her boy.
Can you, um, like, withdraw your OTHER 160,000 troops along with Petraeus?
Friday, July 27, 2007
So, who is the latest to be rumored as a client of the DC Madam? He’s in Congress, a Republican, and he’s from Ohio.
I’m not usually the one to throw down the rumors and all, but when your name starts with a “B” and it rhymes with “Loner,” and the rumor is that you’ve been frequenting call girls. . . . Sorry, I can’t resist. OK, ok, I didn’t start the rumor. I just heard it over at Howie Klein’s place.