lest you be taken in

By the right’s newfound concern for reporters’ lives:

Whatever” seems to be President No Strategy’s standard operating procedure. What now, Obama? As Twitchy reported, horrifying news is coming out Tuesday afternoon. It is being reported that another journalist, Steven Sotloff, has been beheaded by the barbaric savages known as ISIS.

Let’s not forget this.

Note that even after her release, Carroll maintained that she had been treated well by her captors—so it would appear that this journalist for the Christian Science Monitor made these anti-American comments voluntarily.

Or this.

One member of the Pulitzer-winning AP team was AP stringer Bilal Hussein. Hussein’s photos have raised seriouspersistent questions about his relationship with terrorists in Iraq and whether his photos were/are staged in collusion with the enemy.

Or this.

It’s official: Treason is cool and traitors are acceptable sources for journalists. The Pulitzer Prize says so.

Or this.

Every time a journalist dies in horrid agony, the Baby Jesus smiles and shakes his rattle.

Let’s not forget Ann Coulter saying the only problem she had with Timothy McVeigh was that he didn’t drive to the New York Times building.

Let’s not forget Rope. Tree. Journalist.

When a group becomes so dangerous to America as “news” sources, like the Associated Press is, it becomes time to seriously consider the idea that EXTREME FUCKING MEASURES need to be taken.

Let’s not forget Rush Limbaugh mocking reporters detained in the Middle East: 

“It is being breathlessly reported that the Egyptian army . . . is rounding up foreign journalists. I mean even two New York Times reporters were detained. Now this is supposed to make us feel what exactly? . . . Are we supposed to feel outrage – I don’t feel any outrage over it. Are we supposed to feel anger – I don’t feel any anger over this. Do we feel happy? Well – do we feel kinda going like [taunting sound]“

Let’s not forget the last 25 years of attacking the press for anything reported that contradicted their point of view on abortion, war and the second amendment. And then let’s not forget the decade during which the journalists under attack by these freaks sucked up to them and pretended they weren’t serious about having reporters killed: 

When I spoke with her friend Miguel Estrada, an attorney and onetime White House nominee for a judgeship (Estrada asked President Bush to withdraw his name in 2003 after a Democratic filibuster targeted Estrada’s conservatism), he said Coulter’s appeal 15 years ago, when they met, was “the same as it is today. She was lively and funny and engaging and boisterous and outrageous and a little bit of a polemicist … Most of the time, people miss her humor and satire and take her way too literally.”

I began to wonder, in a moistly liberal formulation, whether Ann Coulter might be … misunderstood?

They are not interested in reporters’ lives. They never have been and they never will be. If this wasn’t an opportunity to attack Obama, if this wasn’t a chance to argue for more freedom bombs and more endless war, if this wasn’t their shot to once more be relevant to the public conversation in the eyes of the Stockholmed media executives who are seeing their profits vanish before them, they wouldn’t be saying dick.

This is a way to score points. That’s all this is. They do not love press freedom or the idea of an independent and courageous Fourth Estate.

If this was happening under a Republican president, they’d be making pious noises about the inevitable costs of war and the sacrifices required. Or they’d be intimating that somehow Foley and Sotloff were asking for it, not being embedded with contemptuous troop contingents in the Green Zone somewhere. Or both.

And the way I know that is that when this did happen under a Republican president, this was the response: 

For some reason, Daniel Pearl’s murder has been elevated above those of 3,000 Americans murdered on 9/11, even though the 3,000 were innocent victims on American soil minding their own business. Pearl, on the other hand, was an extremely left-wing, nominal Jew whose reporting repeatedly gave exposure to and legitimization of Islamic terrorists.

Daniel Pearl was killed not minding his own business on an airplane or in an office building, but putting himself at risk chasing more Islamic terrorists to tell their story. But he was a mainstream media reporter–and for one of America’s most prestigious newspapers–so his life, in the mainstream media’s eyes, is far more important than common-folk Americans who conduct America’s commerce and raise families.

And Judea Pearl–in the seven years since his son’s death–has sought to legitimize this same legitimization and appeasement of terrorists, even if he won’t admit it.

They have no shame, they do not care, and their opinions on the brutal murder of a man who by all accounts was a decent person trying to shed some light on one of the most lightless places in the world are worth no more than the wind that howls between their ears.

So when one of them demands action from Obama in the name of the journalist whose barbaric killing so outraged them, ask them if they’d have preferred the rope and the tree, even if some assembly was required.


Kinks Week: Muswell Hillbilly


Muswell Hillbillies was the album that confirmed my Kinks geekitude. I won a bet with one of my teachers that I could recite all the lyrics on the LP. He let me have 5 errors, I made only 3. A weird pastime but it was mine. How could one forget an opening lyric like this:

“Well I said goodbye to Rosie Rook this morning,
I’m gonna miss her bloodshot alcoholic eyes,
She wore her Sunday hat so she’d impress me,
I’m gonna carry her memory ’til the day I die.”

Muswell Hillbilly was the final track of that great album, and is almost but not quite the title track. A good example of Ray’s perversity at work. Speaking of Ray’s mean streak, he’d often introduce the band before launching into Muswell, and he loved introducing his kid brother as Dave (Death of a Clown) Davies. He never liked the intro and Ray never stopped doing it: Hatred, a duet.

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Malaka Of The Week: Peter King

I’m talking about the Congressman from Guyland, not the Monday Morning Quarterback guy. The former is the only one I want to take my first name back from. Peter King is one of the leading GOP neo-cons still left standing in the so-called era of the brogressive Senator Aqua Buddha. Yet, the MSM insists on calling him a moderate. Then again, they still persist in calling Senator John McCain (R-Warloverstan) a moderate despite his manfiold immoderate positions. Rep. King is once again demanding that the United States immediately bomb the shit out of a Middle Eastern country, and he’s become a fashion critic all of the sudden. And that is why he’s malaka of the week.

King is rabid on the subject of terrorism. He wants the President to arm everyone and bomb everything. Of course, like many Vulcans, King is a full blown hypocrite: he was one of the IRA’s staunchest supporters when they were bombing London and murdering civilians in Ulster. He was even critical of peace moves in Northern Ireland including those made by Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. I’m very glad they didn’t listen to Congressman Malaka. They have not reached  nirvana in Northern Ireland, but the militias have long since disarmed. No thanks to armchair chickenhawks like the malaka King. Hmm, now that I think of it he’s the *worst* kind of Monday morning QB…

Last week, the Tweeter Tube lit up with jokes about the tan poplin summer suit President Obama wore to a presser. Initially, it was sort of amusing but, as always with the inside the Beltway punditocracy, they turned it into a search for significance and went on and on and on. It’s a fucking summer suit, y’all. The reply to this malakatude was *almost* as annoying: photos of past Presidents in tan jackets and summer suits. Enough already, Harry Truman was as fond of Hawaiian shirts as I am and it doesn’t mean shit to a tree.

Back to Congressman Malaka’s debut as a fashion critic:

“There’s no way any of us can excuse what the president did yesterday,” King said on NewsMaxTV on Friday. The interview was flagged by Buzzfeed. “When you have the world watching … a week, two weeks of anticipation of what the United States is gonna do. For him to walk out —I’m not trying to be trivial here— in a light suit, light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy. This is a week after Jim Foley was beheaded and he’s trying to act like real Americans care about the economy, not about ISIS and not about terrorism. And then he goes on to say he has no strategy.”

He sounds like Nina Garcia confronted with a skirt that reveals too much booty. He could show some wit and quote Michael Kors, “I feel like the Pope in a sex shop,” but instead he sounds like Archie Bunker on a tear. Get a grip, Congressman Malaka, it’s summer and people from warm climates wear summer suits. The President is originally from Hawaii, you feel me? Somebody oughta send the malaka King a seersucker or ice cream suit to help him cool the fuck down.

This strong reaction to the tan suit may mean that King pays attention to the Twitter echo chamber. I recommend that he follow some cat picture users and chill out.

It’s after Labor Day, so, hopefully,  the President will put his summer suits away until next year. If he doesn’t, Miss Manners may be on his case but she’d be more diplomatic and polite about everything. Pete King could learn a thing or three from Judith Martin, but he’s a disciple of former Noo Yawk Senator Al D’Amato who never whispered when he could scream. To make matters worse, the malaka King made me think of Senator Pot Hole. And that is why Congressman Peter King is malaka of the the week.

the people overseas

The fuck is this guy doing? 

“Okay. I asked him to either stand or please be escorted out as we do the Pledge,” Rees says in the video. “It’s just not fair to our troops and people overseas, sir.”

Politely suggest the troops and “people overseas” wouldn’t have even known about this horrifying disrespect to their names if you hadn’t opened your cakehole.

Also politely suggest that the cops didn’t need to obey this petty little bureaucrat and escort the guy out.


The Scottish Independence Referendum Blues

Saltire and union flag

Not all national stereotypes are invidious. The flip side of the Scots reputation for extreme frugality is a reputation for practicality and good common sense. That is why I think there will be a NO vote in the independence referendum on September, 18th. This momentous vote has received very little attention here in the United States of Amnesia. We’ve been too busy wetting our pants over ISIS/ISIL, immigrant children, and Jennifer Lawrence’s admittedly fabulous tatas.

Most Americans have no idea that Scotland was granted its own parliament during the last Labour government or that it has a large measure of autonomy right now. The YES side *may* have picked up a bit of momentum after a second debate between Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and the former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling. The latter is no media darling, and as is about as scintillating on the stump as former President Gerald Ford. Darling still has a pulse, at least I think so…

Salmond is quite shrewdly running against the Posh Boys (PM Cameron and Chancellor Osborne) and their austerity government. The Tories were essentially wiped off the Scottish parliamentary map in the 1997 Labour landslide. They remain about as popular in Scotland as the Ebola virus, which is why the YES forces are running against the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government and the NO forces are dominated by Labour party figures. Btw, I keep expecting Chris Squire and Steve (Mr. Burns) Howe to inject themselves into the campaign in a  roundabout way…

Now that I’ve made the inevitable puny-n-punny prog joke, back to the referendum. Salmond is appealing to the romantic side of the Scots soul, you know, the side that eats haggis at Burns suppers and wears kilts and sporrans. I love the word sporran, it brings out the beastie in me. Damn, another prog rock joke; at least Ian Anderson is Scottish.

The NO side is focusing on pesky details like currency, oil, national defense, and EU membership. Salmond is a natural storyteller, sort of a Reagan of the left, and keeps insisting that EU membership will be automatic since they’re technically already kinda sorta in. The Spanish government has made it clear that’s not going to happen since they have their own separatist issues with the Basques and the Catalans. Imagine Spanish cuisine without Catalunya: unthinkable. And unlike many Tory Eurosceptics, Salmond’s Scottish National Party wants to stay in the EU. Damn, this is getting more complicated by the second. My brain hurts…

As much as it pains me to say this, the Conservative party is behaving much better about this referendum than our Republicans would if, say, New England wanted to secede. Scottish independence would guarantee Tory governments for the foreseeable future, but would also vitiate the whole unionist part of the Conservative party’s traditional ideology: pip pip Empire and all that rot, eh wot? Jeez, now I sound like Bertie Wooster’s dim chum, Gussie Fink-Nottle…

As you may have gathered in between puns and Wodehouse references, I very much hope that Scotland stays in the United Kingdom. The complexities of complete separation should give sensible Scots pause and cause them to vote NO on September 18th. Additionally, as a Labour supporter in British politics, I would hate to see the Tories stay in power purt near in perpetuity because the hardheaded Scots got all mushy over statehood. Independence isn’t all its cracked up to be, just ask the folks in the former Soviet Union. Besides, Salmond can make like the Parti Quebecois in Canada and gin up a referendum from time-to-time to try and stay in power.

For better, and much less silly, coverage of this important issue, here’s a link to the Guardian’s Scottish independence coverage. I’ll give the last word to one of my favorite Scottish bands who have recently regrouped after residing in Splitsville lo these many years:

we’re all very sorry but what are we doing?

Hillary, finally: 

We can’t ignore the inequities that persist in our justice system that undermine our most deeply held values of fairness and equality. Imagine what he with would feel and what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers. Instead of the other way around; if white offenders received prison sentences 10 percent longer than black offenders for the same crimes; if a third of all white men, just look at this room and take one-third, went to prison during their lifetime. Imagine that. That is the reality in the lives of so many of our fellow Americans and so many of the communities in which they live.

I applaud President Obama for sending the attorney general to Ferguson and demanding a thorough and speedy investigation, to find out what happened, to see that justice is done, to help this community begin healing itself. We should all add our voices to those that have come together in recent days to work for peace, justice and reconciliation in Ferguson, and beyond, to stand against violence and for the values that we cherish. We can do better.

We can work to rebuild the bonds of trust from the ground up. It starts within families and communities. It was 51 years ago today that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr called us to live out true meaning of our creed, to make the dream real for all Americans. That mission is as fiercely urgent today as when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the hot August sun all those years ago.

So we have a lot of work to do together. At Nexenta, you say, better living for a better world. At the Clinton Foundation, we say, we’re all in this together. If you put those together, it comes out to a pretty good road map for the future. We need all of you, your energy and your efforts, your innovation, your building, your creating to help us achieve that better world.

And I have the same problem with her statement as I had with Obama’s: YEAH AND SO WHAT?

We have these problems and we’re all very sorry about them, white people, “good” white people, people with consciences and such, who aren’t at the moment setting police dogs on anybody. We’re very, very sorry, and we believe everyone should look into their hearts and not harbor so much hate. Hold hands in church. Take flowers to your neighbor.

Yet when it comes time for welfare “reform” or bankruptcy cramdown or anything else that would actually help the poor communities of color and address injustice the only way it can be addressed, with goddamn MONEY, suddenly all those good intentions fucking evaporate and everybody goes off whistling like “Man, I wasn’t even THERE.”

This country does not need Dr. Phil-in-Chief. This country doesn’t need beer summits. This country needs goddamn pallets of cash being dropped from helicopters, to build playgrounds and staff building inspection departments and pick up litter and oh, yeah, hire some cops that aren’t total mouthbreathing doucheturtles who have to use beanbag rounds on grandmothers because otherwise granny would outrun them. This country is not going to repair itself with love and understanding. It’s going to do it with giant fucking checks.

These powerful people act like the only thing they have the power to do is say nice things, and if they do, then it’s all “Oooh, he used the bully pulpit,” or “Oooh, she made a strong statement.” And next week, when the cameras are off Ferguson and in some other shithole town we’re going to pretend doesn’t exist until it implodes? All the national therapy won’t mean dick. The town will still be neglected and the people will still be broke and there will still be no fucking jobs.

Until some politician proposes spending on America like we spend on Iraq, until somebody takes the photos of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner blowing goats out of the safe and uses them to get us to “waste” money in every direction on U.S. soil the way we do whenever there are people to freedom-bomb, you can spare me the peace, love and understanding rhetoric.

Is it better than saying nothing? Maybe. But not much.


Kinks Week: Tired Of Waiting For You


I had a lot of positive feedback about Soul Week; much of it on social media, please leave comments here, y’all.  Pretty please with sugar, sugar on it. So, I decided to do a variation on it from time-to-time. This week, we’ll go back to my roots, The Kinks.

The Kinks had two periods of great popularity, but they belong to their hardcore fans in a way that their British invasion peers the Beatles, Stones and Who never did. I’m a hardcore, lifelong fan of all those bands, but I feel most personally connected to the Kinks. Perhaps it’s Ray’s quirky and personal lyrics or maybe even the sibling rivalry between him and kid brother Dave, which even extended to brother by choice, drummer Mick Avory. That’s right, folks, Mick was Ray’s best friend and left the band because he and Dave could not get along. Now that’s *extended* sibling rivalry.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – I got nothing edition

Damn – sat here at the machine for an hour trying to come up with a headline I hadn’t already used multiple times. How long does it take to use up all the good opening line possibilities?

Hmmm – Athenae gave me the keys to the family car on – October 26th, 2008. Dang. I guess I’m lucky I can remember the site address.

Anyway, let’s get to it, and crack open those drums of toxic Freeper sludge!

First up – Kiddy Kiddy Bang Bang!

Arizona Shooting Range Instructor Killed by Girl With Uzi
NBC News ^ | Aug. 26, 2014

Posted on ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎50‎:‎05‎ ‎PM by Rennes Templar

A shooting range instructor in Arizona was accidentally shot and killed by a 9-year-old girl who was learning how to shoot an Uzi, authorities said on Tuesday.

Charles Vacca, 39, was teaching the girl how to use the automatic weapon on Monday morning at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range in White Hills, Arizona, when she pulled the trigger and the kickback caused the gun to lurch over her head, investigators said.

Vacca was hit by a stray bullet and airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he was pronounced dead late Monday. The girl was at the range with her parents at the time, but their names were not released.

Sam Scarmardo, the manager for the Last Stop’s shooting range, told NBC News that “the establish practice at most shooting ranges is 8 years old and up with parental supervision.”

He said Vacca was a “great guy, with a great sense of humor” and called him “very conscientious and very professional.”

Scarmardo said that the range has never had a similar incident in over a decade of being open — “not even a scratch.”

“I just ask everybody to pray for Charlie, and pray for the client, she’s going to have a hard time,” said Scarmardo.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety referred inquiries to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, which didn’t return calls for comment.

Ronald Scott, a Phoenix-based firearms safety expert, said most instructors usually have their hands on guns when children are firing high-powered weapons. “You can’t give a 9-year-old an Uzi and expect her to control it,” Scott told the Associated Press.


“Last Stop” shooting range.
1 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎50‎:‎05‎ ‎PM by Rennes Templar
Well, you just know that some nincompoop is going to try to paint this in a favourable light…somehow…..
To: Rennes Templar
The reason why this makes “news” is because gun ranges are quite possibly the safest places on the planet. As best I recall, this is the one and only death that has ever occurred at one.
5 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎55‎:‎31‎ ‎PM by re_nortex (DP – that’s what I like about Texas)
No, you goddamned moron – gun ranges are one of the most dangerous places on the planet. That would be because they are full of condition-one (loaded, with one in the chamber) handguns and rifles.  I’ve spent enough time in them to know that they’re dangerous. If you start thinking they’re a safe environment, you’re as stupid as a camper in bear country with twinkies tied to his jacket.
Even the Freeperati have to give this numbskull a dose of reality:
To: re_nortex

Several have committed suicide at ranges and I remember one murder – suicide. There are some youtubes of people getting wounded at ranges too.

16 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎02‎:‎57‎ ‎PM by SaxxonWoods (….Let It Burn…)

To: re_nortex


The great American sniper, not too long ago.

A couple of suicides at ranges in the last few years also.

17 posted on ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎06‎:‎01‎ ‎PM by G Larry (Which of Obama’s policies do you think I’d support if he were white?)

To: SaxxonWoods


Death at the gun range: Five firearm deaths in firearm-friendly environments

A murder – suicide, murder, accident, and suicide IIRC.

21 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎08‎:‎57‎ ‎PM by SaxxonWoods (….Let It Burn…)

To: re_nortex

A 9 year old boy killed himself with a micro Uzi at a shoot in MA a few years back, and people commit suicide with rental guns not infrequently.

28 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎18‎:‎00‎ ‎PM by Trailerpark Badass (There should be a whole lot more going on than throwing bleach, said one woman.)

 Well, other that THAT, a gun range is the safest place on the planet.
When I go to the range, I’m not only susceptible to my own safety mistakes, but the safety mistakes of every other person on the firing line.
I have been swept, swept by people with their fingers still in the trigger guard, and on two occasions, had people trying to clear handgun jams with the barrel pointed my way. Private indoor ranges seldom have rangemasters, and employees are usually looking at people on the firing line through glass (when they’re not all helping customers, or just talking to each other). This leaves all the people with loaded weapons in charge of their own safety – and by extension, everyone else’s safety.
No, dumbfucks, a gun range is one of the most dangerous places on the planet in the same way that a blasting operation in a quarry is one of the most dangerous places on the planet.
Speaking of dumbfucks:
To: SpeakerToAnimals

He should have been holding the weapon with her. Even some adults can’t handle these types of firearms.

Its a shame.

And why exactly is it a shame? Because a man is dead? Because a child is scarred for life?

The left will use it to push their agenda.

6 posted on 8‎/‎28‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎13‎:‎23‎ ‎PM by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)

Oh. I see.
To: SpeakerToAnimals
The instructor was doing a good thing that went terribly wrong. It may be she squeezed before he was done instructing her.My prayers to him and his family. She’ll get past the trauma. She’ll be fine. We all have bad memories. We learn to bury them to survive.
16 posted on 8‎/‎28‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎27‎:‎14‎ ‎PM by Sacajaweau
I just cant…….words……
To: SpeakerToAnimals

Meanwhile, how many people died today in wrecks, drownings, falls and the like?

Accidents happen. Get over it.

31 posted on ‎8‎/‎28‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎05‎:‎31‎ ‎PM by Hawthorn

To: driftdiver

Pushing their anti-gun agenda at a time that our society is threatened by ISIS, is sending the wrong signal.

The left had better explain why they want to disarm the American people when its government does not even have a clear plan to defend them.

Are they siding with the terrorists?

20 posted on 8‎/‎28‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎35‎:‎58‎ ‎PM by 353FMG

More after the “All clear”…
Tagged , , , , ,

Cheap Bastards

That’s the upshot here: 

“Every freelancer deals with the stress of worrying that ‘If I ask for this expense to be reimbursed, are they going to stop working with me? Is there someone else out there willing to eat all their own costs and his work is good enough?'”

Peter’s concern that less experienced journalists are willing to report from hostile regions and demand less from budget-conscious news outlets is a very real one, says Smyth, given the shifting media landscape.

“What’s changed is that there is a shared interest between startups and aspiring young journalists to want to get news covered that wouldn’t otherwise be covered,” Smyth said.

“These aspiring freelancers just want to get published … so they can’t go to the outlet and say, ‘I want you to publish me and I want equipment, insurance, and training.’ The outlets will go to someone else.”

If freelancers were just getting shafted by “startups,” I don’t think I’d have as much of an issue as I do (though, if you can’t afford to protect someone in a war zone, you can’t afford to have someone in a war zone). I’ve seen freelancers get hosed by newspapers and magazines that have been around for decades, that have no excuse other than parsimoniousness.

And if you’re owned by Ariana Huffington, for example, you need to goddamn pony up.



SMV: Steve Winwood Live In 2004

Soul Week may be over, but I thought I post this Soundstage appearance by one of the best of the “blue-eyed soul” singers,  Steve Winwood:


Soul Week: Rock My Soul

As a grand finale, I’ve decided to flip this thing on its head. Ouch. I asked for some ideas for a post title on FB but none of them rocked or rolled. So, I settled on the title of an old Elvin Bishop song. So it goes.

Now where the hell was I? Oh yeah,  today it’s time to hear some soul singers sing rock and roll songs. I’ll skip the originals and get down to the nitty gritty with some sweet soul music.

First, Otis Redding kicking some serious ass at the Monterey Pop Festival with a Rolling Stones numbah:

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Weekend Question Thread

What would your dream house look like?

I go back and forth between “fabulous apartment with 360 view of the lake and a giant wine fridge” and “cottage in Ireland in the middle of the mountains with a sheep herd and whatnot.”


Soul Week: I Heard It Through The Grapevine

I originally planned to go more outside the box (a phrase I dislike but find useful) but this is too great a song and story to skip.

 “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is a song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966, and made famous by Marvin Gaye in a single released in October 1968 on Motown’s Tamla label.

Originally recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles in 1966, that version was rejected by Motown owner Berry Gordy, who told Whitfield and Strong to make it stronger. After recording the song with Marvin Gaye in 1967, which Gordy also rejected, Whitfield produced a version with Gladys Knight & the Pips, which Gordy agreed to release as a single in September 1967, and which went to number two in the Billboard chart. The Marvin Gaye version was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove, where it gained the attention of radio disc jockeys, and Gordy finally agreed to its release as a single in October 1968, when it went to the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks from December 1968 to January 1969 and became for a time the biggest hit single on the Motown label.

This is the second tune I’ve posted from the songwriting team of Whitfield and Strong this week. I have an easy explanation for this duplication: they were GREAT. In addition to GladysKnight and  Marvin Gaye’s versions, there have been quite a few outstanding rock versions. I’ve picked out two: one of which you’re certainly familiar with and the other not so much.

First, Gladys Knight & the Pips. I had a friend who always called them the pimps. I always wanted him to run into Ms. Knight tell her that and get slapped. It’s not much of a dream but it’s mine:

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Friday Ferretblogging


The magnificent Senorita TinyPet.


Cardinal Columns: Almost… Almost… Almost…

About six months after the Fond du Lac school district implemented a “censor them all, let God sort them out” policy regarding its student media, it appears the board of education has decided to act right.

According to at least two sources, the board met in a “workshop” earlier in the week and agreed in principle to a document that declares the publications of Fond du Lac High School to be public forums. This will essentially provide First Amendment protection to all of the media at the school, including the award-winning Cardinal Columns news magazine and Fondy Today, the school’s broadcast operation.

The policy is a one-year trial, with a few strings that could be problematic. Although the board did not include contingencies for the principal or any other administrator to approve of content prior to publication, it put in place a similar approval contingency on the adviser:

“Consistent with applicable law, the advisor may refuse to publish, display or post material that in his/her professional judgement (sic) is obscene, vulgar, profane, libelous, inconsistent with the educational goals of the District, is reasonably forecasted (sic) to disrupt the educational environment, advocates the use of drugs or alcohol, violates the District’s non-discrimination or other policies, violates the rights of others, violates any applicable state or federal law, or is unsuitable for its potential audience.”

It’s one of those things that could be horribly applied if the wrong person is placed in this role. That said, the read I get of the current adviser (Matt Smith) tells me the publication won’t have to worry much about the potential for adviser overreach. Still, keeping that one little spot in there could create legal liability for the district if something goes south on a published piece. That said, it’s a heck of a lot better than it was.

The board still has to approve the policy at an upcoming meeting, but their general meetings tend to be coronations and blessings more than actual public debate. This leads me to remain hopeful that this policy is on final approach to approval and that the kids will get what they have fought so hard for: The right to do good work in a censorship-free environment.

The bigger thing is that with a one-year trial, here are two concerns that need to be clearly highlighted:

First, knowing you are under the hammer tends to lead to a chilling effect. If you know you only have one shot to prove yourself, you’re going to be on your best behavior, sure, but you’re also going to be a little gun-shy. This is why it’s a lot easier to be yourself after 40 years of marriage than after 40 minutes of a first date. It’s that sense of trying to be more perfect than you actually are.

I have a sense that the kids are going to continue to do good work, but if there’s a story, a topic, a headline or whatever that looks a tad suspect, they might decide, “Hey, tie goes to the runner. Let’s let this be for now.” My hope is that they won’t and that they will remain just as fearless as they have been to get themselves to this point in the first place. However, I know my own behavior is representative of the same kind of chilling: When a cop pulls me over for going too fast, I spend the next six months going about 0.1 miles under the speed limit everywhere. Just in case.

Second, the board has to have faith. Several members have publicly expressed their concerns about the publication, how the kids aren’t “real journalists” and how they need “adult oversight.” I won’t bother to rehash all of these petty arguments, but I will say that they need to let go of this and let the kids figure things out as they go. If you want to give them a chance to learn, you can’t freak out every time something happens and try to grab control back. If they live in fear that you’re going to drop a hammer on them the instant you don’t like something, they’re going to make ten times more mistakes than if you left them alone. Don’t look at every iffy headline or controversial topic as a chance to freak out. Let the stuff run its course and see where it really goes.

Overall, however, this appears to be a really good step in the best possible direction. It took guts for this board to do this, as everyone was watching and there’s always a fear that if the board “gives in,” it could pave a path to hell. Still, as the board is watching the kids, everyone will be watching the board.

It should make for a very interesting school year.

Friday Guest Catblogging: Gonzo Is Watching

Meet Gonzo. She runs the show on Annunciation Street, and keeps a careful watch on her cat guardians Greg and Christy. Now she’s got her eyes on you:


Journalistic Passive Voice Part the 1,000th

Politico pretends to be stupider than they are, which is funny considering, you know, where the starting line is: 

The president’s aim was clearly to defuse building expectations that U.S. military strikes in Syria were imminent as part of a broadening drive to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. But his awkward choice of words to describe a policymaking process still in midstream seems likely to haunt him for some time.

“We absolutely know what is going on here, but we’re going to pretend we don’t, so that we can gossip like jealous little assholes, because that’s easier than working.”

The inartful phrase quickly went viral among right-leaning media outlets and Republican figures, pushing the White House into damage control mode.

DAMAGE CONTROL MODE ENGAGED. Virality! White House aides versus Republican “figures,” whatever the fuck those are.

White House aides immediately went online and on TV to argue that he was simply pointing out that he had yet to settle on new military options for a broader assault on ISIL that has already led to more than 100 airstrikes on the group’s positions in Iraq.

Has someone done “Politico bullshit jargon bingo” yet? If not, can y’all get on that please?


Soul Week: I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down


It was Declan MacManus aka Elvis Costello’s 60th birthday the other day. I remember when he was an enfant terrible who resembled Buddy Holly. Now he’s an elder statesman who looks like a rabbi. Anyway, here’s a belated get happy birthday to EC.

Back to soul week. I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down was written by Homer Banks and Allen Jones. It was first recorded in 1967 as a mid-tempo soul torch song by Sam and Dave. Elvis Costello and the Attractions really rocked it up when it popped up on-you guessed it-Get Happy in 1980. It’s always been one of my favorite early EC tunes. As lagniappe, I’ve posted EC and the Boss singing I Can’t Stand Up…on the former’s former Sundance chat show, Spectacle.

First, the Soul Men:

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