Sunday Morning Video: Aretha Franklin Live At Fillmore West


The Queen of Soul played a legendary 3 night stand at the Fillmore West in San Francisco in March of 1971. The band leader was the great saxophonist King Curtis and Ray Charles joined Aretha on stage for Spirit In The Dark. The set is full of Aretha’s fine interpretations of popular rock songs. The shows were recorded and released as the classic live album Aretha Live At Fillmore West. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The video quality isn’t fabulous but the sound and performance are first rate. Enjoy.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – special “Boy – when things go wrong” edition

My goodness – I certainly am getting out of my Monday morning box often these days, but this hasn’t been the best few days to be a Freeper.

First there was this:

Bristol Palin: Second Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy (Sorry Mom)
TMZ ^ | 25 June 2015 | TMZ Staff

Posted on ‎6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎19‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by Steely Tom

Bristol Palin just threw cold water on what’s supposed to be a joyous occasion … being pregnant.

Palin’s in the early stages of her second out of wedlock pregnancy, and this time she’s full on grumpy, saying she knows it will be “a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.”

Bristol says she’s “trying to keep [my] chin up on this one.”

Sarah Palin’s daughter was engaged to U.S. Marine veteran Dakota Meyer, but they broke things off last month. Bristol didn’t say if Dakota’s the dad.

Bristol was full of piss and vinegar, saying, “I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.”

She famously had her son, Tripp, with Levi Johnston in December 2008. They broke up a few months later.


1 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎19‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by Steely Tom
Uh oh. Here comes the shitstorm.
To: Steely Tom

I’m assuming the father is her ex-fiancee.What a mess. She needs to get off of social media and find a career she can lose herself in.

4 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎23‎:‎32‎ ‎PM by CaptainK (…please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
You’re kidding, right?
This IS her career.
To: Blue Jays
The girl is stupid.
Of course, if she would just have an abortion, the left would love her.

12 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎25‎:‎26‎ ‎PM by ilovesarah2012

No, I don’t think I could love her any more than I do right now.
To: CaptainK
“I’m assuming the father is her ex-fiancee.”
Or if he’s not the father, that’s probably the reason he IS the ex-fiancee.

16 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎26‎:‎41‎ ‎PM by Boogieman

To: Steely Tom

I like Bristol, and you people should give this poor girl a break.

It’s not like anybody else has figured out what causes this.

25 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎29‎:‎00‎ ‎PM by meadsjn
Meadsjn, you and your folks need to have a talk.
To: Steely Tom

Has this girl never heard of abstinence or birth control?

Wait… wasn’t she going around giving lectures on abstinence?

34 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎31‎:‎45‎ ‎PM by CAluvdubya (
To: Steely Tom
She needs to keep her legs closed. No sympathy from me. She is no better than a dog in heat. Calls herself a Christian! What a joke, but that is new way they do things nowdays have your children from multiple fathers, and be married after 40 years of age to someone whom is not the father of any of the offspring. The new morals of America! What values did the parents teach!

42 posted on ‎6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎35‎:‎20‎ ‎PM by hondact200 (Cruz: Stop trying to unload the trainload of manure on the American Conservative)

Aw, go ahead, guys.  Quit prevaricating, and saying that Our Sarah is not to blame for how her daughter turned out, and it doesn’t matter because she’s technically an adult, and all that crap.
Go ahead and say it – you know you want to.
To: Steely Tom
You can fill the trailer with cash, but the occupants are still trash.147 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎6‎:‎19‎:‎21‎ ‎PM by montag813 (Pray for Israel)

There – now, isn’t that better?
To: Steely Tom

That explains why Sarah is lying low when she could have been running for president or at least more active in furthering the conservative cause than she has been. I hope this Bristol realizes that through her poor decisions, she has utterly and completely destroyed the once promising political career of her mother. Not to mention denying the nation a conservative voice they could have really benefited from at this time.

Yes, she’s an adult. Which makes this even more inexcusable.

43 posted on ‎6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎36‎:‎22‎ ‎PM by SamAdams76
And now – the post of the thread!
To: Steely Tom

I do not know what “SMH” means, but Bristol evidently has no morals. One doesn’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

For the record, I’ve been celibate for the past 32 years. I know what is involved in saying “NO!”.

3 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎22‎:‎55‎ ‎PM by SatinDoll (A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN IS BORN IN THE US OF US CITIZEN PARENTS.)

To: SatinDoll

“For the record, I’ve been celibate for the past 32 years. I know what is involved in saying “NO!”.

What a surprise to find my wife here on FreeRepublic!

59 posted on 6‎/‎25‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎43‎:‎29‎ ‎PM by MNDude (God is not a Republican, but Satan is certainly a Democrat.)

OK folks – special Saturday fun is just beginning. Follow me below the abstinence line for Freeper reactions to teh gays taking over the Supreme Court, and the ACA ruling meltdown!

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Reelin’ In The Years

Sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson.

Sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson.

Summer has arrived with a vengeance here in the Gentrified Kingdom and it’s a cruel mistress indeed. You never quite get used to a New Orleans summer but the first month is the hardest; eventually you adapt or become completely languid. That’s Oscar and Della’s response: they are liquid kitties right now and spend as much time on the relatively cool wood floors as possible. Hmm, Liquid Kitties sounds like a band name.

It’s been a pretty good week for us Lefties and a bad one for homophobic, anti-Obamacare, Confederate flag wavers. They tend to be one and the same in my experience. I had an amusing exchange with my blogger comrade in arms and fellow Deadhead Monkeyfister on Twitter yesterday:

On to this week’s theme song. I recall the first time I heard Reelin’ In The Years and being blown away by Skunk Baxter’s lead guitar. Trivia time: Jeff Skunk Baxter is now a defense consultant and a zealous right winger. It’s a far cry from his time as a long haired guitarslinger for Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers.  Speaking of creeps, the first of two live versions is introduced by Bill Cosby. This clip makes it crystal clear that Steely Dan’s success had nothing to do with their looks. The second rendition is a radically re-worked arrangement from their return to the stage in the 1990’s.

More stowin’ away the time after the break. I’ll try not to drop any more gs than necessary.

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Never kept a dollar past sunset
It always burned a hole in my pants
Never went to school, but I’m happy
Never blew a second chance

-“Happy” Rolling Stones

On a nearly perfect June evening, Mom and I braved the most ridiculous traffic jam this side of New York City to squeeze into the Summerfest grounds and witness four men with a collective age of more than 280 years ply their trade.

The Rolling Stones had included Milwaukee as one of their stops along the 15-city “Zip Code” Tour the band crafted in honor of the re-release of the 1971 “Sticky Fingers” album. Eschewing Chicago for Milwaukee was kind of a stunner, but what made it even more shocking was the choice of venue: The Marcus Amphitheater. This 26,000-seat shit-box on the shores of Lake Michigan lacked the sound system, seating capacity and stage options associated with other places in Milwaukee. Still, it was where the band went, so that’s where we went.

I had seen the band in 1994, when the Stones visited Camp Randall in Madison. Mom hadn’t gotten the chance in the 10 stops the band had made in Cream City since 1964, and this was likely to be the only shot she’d have. Tickets sold out in seven minutes and only a miracle of computerized randomness had me picking up two tickets without having to brave the astronomical secondary market.

By all rights, this concert never should have happened.

This band should have been dead in 1969, when Brian Jones drown in his swimming pool or that same year when the Hell’s Angels killed Meredith Hunter in front of the Stones at Alamont Speedway.

If not then, probably when Mick Taylor left the group in 1974 and the music scene began to shift away from rock ‘n’ roll.

Or maybe in 1977 when Keith Richards was busted in Toronto for possession of heroin with intent to traffic, an offense that carries a seven-year prison sentence in Canada.

Or after the 1981 tour basically crapped out, in what one journalist noted was a “series of performances fueled more by sponsorship money from Jovan Musk perfume than intensity from the Stones.”

Or in 1986, when Richards and Jagger’s lengthy feud over vocals finally boiled over publically.


And yet, here were these septuagenarians mounting a stage again.

It wasn’t because they needed the money. It wasn’t because they had to prove anything to anyone. It was because they wanted to play live and we all wanted to see them.

To watch Mick Jagger run from pillar to post on that stage was something to behold as he belted out lyrics that were as strong and true as the first time they erupted from his prodigious lips. Ron Wood, the “kid” who joined the band in 1974 and never left, ripped off riff after riff, even busting out the slide guitar to back his buddy Keith during Richards’ two-song vocal set.

Perhaps the most incredible and yet unnoticed part of the performance was Charlie Watts. A Stones aficionado once told me that if I got another chance to see the Stones live, I should spend at least one song just listening to the drums. Watts has spent a lifetime quietly giving the band its steel core and spine as he adapted a jazz-drumming style to fit the needs of the band. Although everyone in the band has an ego, during one interview, years ago, the other four members (Bill Wyman was with the group at the time) noted that anyone could be replaced. Except Charlie.

As I watched this joyful expression of musical mastery, I thought of my mother.

It wasn’t because we spent the last two summers catching incredible musical acts together, but because of how similar she was to these guys.

Once she hit her 35th year of teaching, people kept asking, “So, when are you going to retire?” She never gave them an actual answer and often felt insulted by the question. To her it was an indictment of talent and skill.

She would teach until she was done. It’s what she loved. It’s what she enjoyed. It’s what she was good at.

When she finally called it quits after 45 years, it wasn’t because she hated the kids or the administration or anything like that. It was because the state had piled on ridiculous testing requirements and floated ideas that made her fear for her pension. She wasn’t about to lose all she’d worked for, so she grudgingly took a bow and left.

Still, she loved teaching, so she took part in a “Teachers on Call” program and volunteered to teach as a paid substitute for her old school. She had multiple long-term gigs, subbing in for her friends who were taking trips or new teachers who were going on maternity leave.

Why? You just retired, people would say.

Because I love it, she would answer. I’m not going to sit around the house and watch TV.

The concert experience was an extension of that “get busy living or get busy dying” approach my mother took to everything in her life, especially teaching.

Just before the show began, the guy in front of us started making small talk.

“Redwings fan?” he asked, pointing at my jersey shirt.

“Sort of. It’s Gordie Howe’s jersey.”

The guy told me he was a Blackhawks fan and we chatted a bit.

I never thought about the shirt until the guy pointed it out, but it’s one more case of someone who just loved doing something great.

Gordie Howe played for 25 years as a Detroit Redwing and as he got older, people kept asking when he was going to retire. He’d always have the same answer:

“I’m going to play next year, anyway. And if they don’t figure out that I’m done, well, I’ll probably play another year after that.”

Finally, the Wings had had enough of their ageless star. Sports personality Dave Diles noted that the Wings management of that era “couldn’t find their fanny with both hands,” and they moved Gordie into an office job. He used to say he got “the mushroom treatment: They keep me in the dark and every once in a while they shovel some manure on me.”

When the World Hockey Association drafted Howe’s sons, he decided to make a comeback at age 45. Hockey purists called it ridiculous. Howe went out and scored 100 points. He kept scoring and playing and winning. When the WHA folded and several teams came into the NHL, Howe was on familiar ice again, playing until the age of 52.

Even when he called it quits the second time, he wasn’t really done. When he would go scouting for the Hartford Whalers, he kept his equipment in the trunk of his car, just in case the team invited him onto the ice.

One of his colleagues noted that many people feel as though maybe they should do something else with their lives after doing one thing for a long time. That wasn’t Gordie. All he ever wanted to be was a hockey player.

In this strange confluence of events, I found myself in awe of Stones, my mom and anyone else of “a certain age” who can still bring it. If I am ever able to be as good at ANYTHING as these people were at that age, I would be grateful beyond any calculability. If I loved doing it to the degree they did, it would be absolutely incredible.

Two days after the concert, I had a long-dreaded meeting with the provost about my involvement in the student newspaper. He approves my salary for that part of the gig and for the past seven years, he’s never even asked for an email from me. This year, with budget crunches and general state insanity, he asked my boss to schedule a formal sit-down meeting with me. I was bracing for the worst.

The first thing he asked me was if I wanted to keep working at the paper.

“More than anything,” I explained.

He went on and touched on a few minor issues, asked a few questions and then kind of summed up.

“We’ve had people in this role before who either do it for the money or because they’re forced, so I wanted to see where you were at with this. I also wanted to make sure you felt involved.”

“Yes, sir, I am. It’s my life. I love it more than anything else I do.”

“Good to know,” he said with wry smile.

He walked me to the door and sent me on my way.

Fuck Yeah, America

As expected the Supremes have legalized same-sex marriage in the entire country in a 5-4 vote. The majority opinion was written by Anthony Kennedy thereby cementing his place in history as the Gay Rights Justice. To those pundits who insisted that Kennedy was the “swing vote” in this case: You were wrong and I was right.

I cannot wait to hear the reaction here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. PBJ just shit his pants.

Friday Ferretblogging: Rescued Cali Ferrets Edition


Sixteen ferrets confiscated from a man in Santa Ana will be moved to a rescue sanctuary operated by a group licensed to care for them.

On Wednesday, 23-year-old Sebastian Swisher was cited after Santa Ana animal control officers found the illegal animals in his home. Animal Services officials were working Thursday to transfer them to a rescue sanctuary.

Swisher was arrested and released on suspicion of importation, transportation and possession of live restricted animals, said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department.

Orange County Animal Care officials said Thursday that the animals were headed to a sanctuary to be cared for by a group licensed with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We’re trying to make the move happen as soon as possible,” said Jennifer Hawkins, director of the animal care agency. Hawkins would not elaborate about the group’s name or location but did say they likely would be moved out of state.

She did, however, confirm that the animals would not be euthanized.

“The only reason we would consider that is if they were at risk to public health or they were suffering.”

Hawkins said the 1-to-2-year-old “bright, playful” bunch were in good health.

Ferrets are illegal in California, and people who risk keeping them there often wind up facing their pets’ deportation or killing.



Friday Catblogging: Della Street & The Fish Lamp

That’s fish, not Phish, even though Trey Anastasio *is* playing with the Dead in a few days. Della doesn’t give a shit. Guess I didn’t raise her right:


Maybe this will catch her attention:

Yawn: The Jindal Announcement

PBJ’s campaign launch was as dull as the candidate himself. He gave a boilerplate right wing speech and his attempts at humor were typically cringeworthy: “I’m tanned, rested, and ready to go.” Yes, he said that. I had to explain to the young ‘uns on Twitter than PBJ stole that from Tricky Dick. That kept me briefly awake during Jindal’s sopoforic speech. One would think that word salad would have a crunchy sound but it doesn’t. In fact, PBJ’s speech was word salad without any dressing. Yawn. Here’s how I described the crowd reaction on the Tweeter Tube:

The much ballyhooed protest occurred and more Mad Dogs and Louisianians showed up in the mid-day Kenna, brah sun than expected. The estimates ranged from 100 to 300. It was more like a be-in than a protest since nobody outside the Pontchartrain Center in Kenna, brah thought that PBJ will be the next losing GOP nominee. Some of my Spank krewe mates braved the 90 degree heat and attended. I did not. I’m not a fan of heatstroke but they’re made of Tom Hardier stuff than I am. We’re known for our bumper stickers so this were produced by one of our people:


The only vaguely interesting thing about PBJ’s entry into the race was this bizarre video:

I’m not sure why this was shot via hidden camera like an upskirt video, but they’re trying anything to be different. It’s not working but they’re trying. They did, however, provide grist for Funny or Die’s mill.

PBJ’s speech contained very few sound bite worthy phrases so the Advocate was obliged to run this quote on the front page of its dead tree edition: “We can rock the boat and we will.”

As banal as that quote is, it did give me an idea for a PBJ campaign song, which I offer in my usual spirit of helpfulness and, no, it’s not We Will Rock You:

I hope the token black chick on the platform during the speech can steer the Jindalites in the right direction. It’s Hues, not Hughes like Howard, which reminds me that PBJ could use his own billionaire.  Back to the song: the lyrics could use some technocratic PBJ style tweaking as could this logo:

Jindal 2016 logo

I hope they didn’t spend too much money on that thing. It looks like an inedible candy cane or something that you’d get in a box of Cracker Jack but it’s no prize and neither is the candidate.

I’m glad that the announcement is over so I can go back to ignoring PBJ. He’s the long shot’s long shot what with his 27% rating in Louisiana and his 0.75% standing in the national polls. Dude can’t even crack 1%.

I’ll give the 2000 king of Krewe du Vieux, Advocate Cartoonist Walt Handelsman, the last word:



Quote Of The Day: Unlikely Heroes Edition

I never thought I’d be quoting South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Steve Spurrier with approval. I don’t care one way or the other about the Gamecocks, but Spurrier was the coach of the hated Florida Gators for 11 years. He is, however, right about the Confederate battle flag and has been for many years. I’m not sure if current LSU Coach Les Miles even knows what it is. The quote comes from Dave Zirin’s blog, Edge Of Sports:

But maybe we wouldn’t have to re-litigate this question and that toxic symbol of racist terror would not be flying with government sanction if the state’s NCAA coaches had been heard. Legendary University of South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier, a man of the south with a drawl so thick it sounds like he has a mouth full of honey, said in April of 2007, “My opinion is we don’t need the Confederate flag at our Capitol. I don’t really know anybody that wants it there, but I guess there are a lot of South Carolinians that do want it there.” The setting was an awards banquet and Spurrier “caught everyone by surprise” by speaking off the cuff about his disgust over a 2006 South Carolina-Tennessee game where in the background on national television at ESPN’s “GameDay,” he was appalled to see “some clown . . . waving that dang, damn Confederate flag behind the TV set. And it was embarrassing to me and I know embarrassing to our state.” Spurrier then said, “I realize I’m not supposed to get in the political arena as a football coach, but if anybody were ever to ask me about that damn Confederate flag, I would say we need to get rid of it. I’ve been told not to talk about that. But if anyone were ever to ask me about it, I certainly wish we could get rid of it.” Keep in mind, “the Ole’ Ball Coach didn’t say “put it in a museum.” He said “get rid of it.”

Yeah, I know it’s more like a paragraph. I love the whole dang, damn flag thang, which is surely how Spurrier would pronounce it.

I remain skeptical that the flag removal will actually happen since it requires a 2/3 vote of both houses of the legislature. That’s right, a super majority to remove a piece of cloth. I hope I’m wrong but in the end it’s just a symbol and the South Carolina lege will continue being a retrograde, right wing body. Confederate flag removal is more of a tactical retreat than anything else.

Despite my cynicism over this episode, I think it’s important to celebrate the unlikely heroes who have taken a stand in favor of common decency; even if it involves praising Steve Spurrier.

True Judicial Conservatism

I assume everyone has heard that the Supremes upheld the ACA insurance subsidies in a 6-3 vote. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority and Justice Kennedy joined as well. Justice Scalia, continuing in his role as the court’s Crow T. Robot, claimed that this transforms Obamacare into SCOTUS care. I must apologize to Croow: Scalia is more like his evil twin. He does, however, give good sarcasm even if he rarely makes logical sense. Jiggery-pokery, my ass.

King v. Burwell was a picayune challenge to important legislation based on a goofily literal interpretation of the statutory language. The court’s ruling is a victory for common sense and true judicial conservatism as well as judicial modesty. We’ve gotten so used to activist right wing judges that we forget that classic judicial conservatism defers to the people’s branches of government whenever possible. I’d like to thank Slate’s Jordan Weismann for quickly posting the money quote from the Chief’s opinion:


That, in a nutshell, is true judicial conservatism. The alternative to this ruling was chaos and millions of people losing their health care coverage. It’s a day to praise the Roberts Court, especially since the majority reduced Scalia to the role of a kid sitting in the back row throwing spitballs at his colleagues.

I cannot await for the vituperative eruption on the right. Let the freak out begin.

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And Two More On Board The Clown Car

From Album 5

Grumby won’t make it official until next week, but Gilligan announced yesterday…and at least in Baton Rouge, Mother Nature reacted with some of the worst weather of the season: heavy rain, high winds, severe lightning/thunder that knocked out power and was loud enough to send my cat under the sofa for the duration.

Probably just a coincidence.


Anyway…guess it’s fitting they jump in more or less together. If they were a tag team, their approval ratings would put them squarely in heel territory. And when you’re getting beaten — badly — by the human equivalent of a troll doll, well…guess it takes a river in Egypt to decide that the (clown) show must go on.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: White Trash

We’ve all had white trash on our minds this week. At least these folks don’t have the Confederate battle flag flying outside their humble abode:


Time for some lagniappe: White Trash was also the name of Edgar Winter’s band before he achieved fleeting pop stardom with Frankenstein and Free Ride. Here’s the cover of the first of the band’s two albums:


What? No tag line?

Finally, more lagniappe from a band with one of the best names in musical history: Southern Culture On The Skids. Hard to believe they’d have a song titled White Trash but they do:

The Fog Of History: The GOP Wants A Cookie


No cookie for you Governor, not even a (Lindsey) Graham cracker. Photo via

Athenae and I don’t always agree on the issues of the day, but we *do* agree on the current debate about the Confederate battle flag. We both think it should be removed from public buildings, but do NOT think that it should be the focus of the national discussion after the domestic terrorist attack in Charleston:

I get frustrated when politicians are pressed to take a stand on things like this, because we have a finite number of hours in the day and if a presidential candidate spends all of them equivocating about a flag instead of being made to explain how his policies will improve the lives of poor minorities, we have spent a day doing absolutely nothing.

Symbols matter. I’m a writer. I would never say they don’t. But the flag doesn’t just make black people feel bad. It doesn’t just signify to black people that they’re conquered and that white people are the conquerors.

It is the public face of all the ways in which white people do treat black people like they’re still owned.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m just as interested in the Confederate battle flag discussion as your average fog of history guy, but I don’t think it should become a central focus of national politics. It’s mildly interesting to hear what various candidates think and to watch them squirm but I’d rather hear what they’d do to combat racism in our daily lives, especially economic racism.

Nikki Haley has come out in favor of removing the flag from the state capitol grounds in Columbia. That’s fine and dandy but it merely reflects a politician blowing with the wind; the prevailing breeze is from the “remove the damn flag” direction. I am more interested in learning whether she supports the  hate crimes legislation that was just proposed by two Democratic legislators. I know she’s against  many things that would make the lives of poor black folks better from the ACA to unionization and on and on and on. Haley is a Koch Brothers Republican just like Scott Walker. The main reason she’s jumped on the anti-flag bandwagon is that overt references to the Confederate past are bad for business. There you have it in a wingnutshell.

The other thing about Gov. Haley’s speech that people have glossed over was its extensive use of code words such as “heritage and pride.” Her real position is that the flag has been hijacked by mean old racists and should be removed for that reason. Ta-Nehisi Coates demurs:

This afternoon, in announcing her support for removing the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley asserted that killer Dylann Roof had “a sick and twisted view of the flag” which did not reflect “the people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it.” If the governor meant that very few of the flag’s supporters believe in mass murder, she is surely right. But on the question of whose view of the Confederate Flag is more twisted, she is almost certainly wrong.

Roof’s belief that black life had no purpose beyond subjugation is “sick and twisted” in the exact same manner as the beliefs of those who created the Confederate flag were “sick and twisted.” The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history. These words must never be forgotten. Over the next few months the word “heritage” will be repeatedly invoked. It would be derelict to not examine the exact contents of that heritage.

Coates goes into glorious detail in support of his thesis that the Confederate battle flag, in any and all permutations, is an emblem of racism, white supremacy, and a war that was fought to preserve slavery. Dylann Roof and other neo-Confederate extremists take this legacy literally instead of using slick code words and dog whistles such as “heritage and pride.” The problem with political dog whistling is that sometimes the dog has a gun and massacres people in a church.

Back to symbolism mania: actually, it’s more like a virus, which is spreading  throughout the former Confederate states. I remain skeptical that the Mississippi flag will change now that Governor Phil Bryant has mashed on the brakes at the behest of the Godfather of Mississippi politics, Haley the Barbour of Yazoo.

Here in New Orleans, there are many streets, school names, and statues honoring the so-called heroes of the so-called lost cause. There’s a renewed call for their removal or changes to their names as detailed in a front page story in the Advocate. The most obnoxious memorial to me is the one for Jefferson Davis on-where else?-Jefferson Davis Parkway, which is one of the main drags of Mid-City New Orleans.

The cult of Jeff Davis has always annoyed me: he was an intemperate, inept politician who should be scorned as a Southern fried Buchanan or W. Now that I think of it, I’m glad the CSA had such bad leadership. I’d love for that monument to be removed from its prominent perch at the corner of Canal Street. Changing the street name, however, would be a nightmare for folks who live on it so I’m not sure what should be done there. I, for one, would not want that man’s name as a part of my address but I’d let the business owners and residents of that very long street decide.

The most prominent Confederate monument in New Orleans is the huge statue of Robert E. Lee at-where else?-Lee Circle, which was originally Tivoli Circle. It’s on St. Charles Avenue and visible to tourists as they ride on the streetcar. That means its days are numbered. City Hall quakes in fear at the mere thought of bad touron publicity.

I would prefer that any replacement monuments or new street names honor heroes of the anti-white supremacy/segregation struggles; to do otherwise is to provide ammunition to those who say this is a Soviet-style attempt to erase inconvenient or unfashionable historical facts. That’s why I think Lee Circle should become Homer Plessy Circle, named for the 1890’s Civil Rights pioneer. A fitting replacement for the Davis monument would be a statue commemorating PBS Pinchback, the lone black Governor in Gret Stet history. He was the hero of a lost cause: the Reconstruction era struggle for equal rights. A much nobler cause than that espoused by Jefferson Davis.

Back to the post title. Republicans like Gov. Haley want a pat on the back for grudgingly doing the right thing. Those who are bestowing fulsome praise on Haley should wake up and smell the coffee. Coffee and cookies may go together but the GOP shouldn’t get a cookie for talking about removing Confederate symbols or even for doing so. Give them a cookie when they do something substantive such as protecting their black constituents from police violence. That’s something worthy of words like heritage and pride. The rest is just talk. Nobody should ever get a cookie for saying the right things. Do something and we’ll talk about it then.

UPDATE: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is calling for the removal of the Lee statue. Mitch gets a cookie.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: News Of The World

Queen’s 1977 album News Of The World was a monster hit with a monster robot on the cover. In this instance, the cover art is as interesting as the music.  The Wikipedia entry for the LP is one of the best I’ve run into and it does a fine  job of discussing the artwork and its genesis:

The album’s cover was a painting by American sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas. Taylor had an issue of Astounding Science Fiction (October 1953) whose cover-art depicted a giant intelligent robot holding the dead body of a man. The caption read: “Please… fix it, Daddy?” to illustrate the story “The Gulf Between” by Tom Godwin.[12] The painting inspired the band to contact Freas, who agreed to alter the painting for their album cover, by replacing the single dead man with the four “dead” band members (Taylor and Deacon falling to the ground). The inner cover (gatefold) has the robot extending its hand to snatch up the petrified fleeing audience in the shattered auditorium where the corpses were removed.[13] Freas said he was a classical music fan and did not know Queen, and only listened to the band after doing the cover “because I thought I might just hate them, and it would ruin my ideas”, but eventually liked their music.[12]

Since the magazine cover art preceded the LP by 24 years, we’ll start with it:


How’s that for a little taste of Pulp Fiction Thursday on a Wednesday? Here’s the evil robot bothandling the guys in Queen. Brian May is a goner, y’all:


More News Of The World natterings after the break. Guaranteed to rock you.

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More Poor Kid Shaming

The Irish get in on the action: 

Child poverty almost doubled in the austerity years. In 2008, just before the crash, 6.8 per cent of Irish children were living in consistent poverty – a shameful figure in itself. By 2013, that proportion had almost doubled to 11.7 per cent.

That’s 138,000 children – pretty much an entire Galway city plus an entire Limerick city of consistently poor kids. Obviously, much of this increase was driven by the wider economic collapse, and especially by unemployment. But direct Government decisions have knowingly made things worse.

To take just one of the most egregious examples, the Back to School allowance for clothes and shoes was savaged. This is a very small payment, with a negligible effect on the public finances. (It’s €45 million from a welfare budget of almost €20 billion.) But it matters a lot to struggling families and especially to the children in those families who are trying to look like normal kids in normal schools.

It’s a very small payment but it is EVERYTHING, when you’re a kid who already feels different. It’s everything when you’re feeling at a disadvantage already, and like everyone is looking at you even if they’re not, and NEWS FLASH THIS IS HOW EVERY KID FEELS.

So naturally we need to kill it to make a point, which is that poor people should feel worse about being poor.


It’s a Brand New Grand Old Party Flag!

The flag comes down, and we’ve all had our national moment of healing and we can all go on, right? 

Republican presidential candidates are supporting South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call for the removal of the Confederate flag on the state capitol grounds following last week’s church shooting in Charleston.

“Kudos to @nikkihaley and all the SC leaders standing with her for doing the right thing,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posted on Twitter.

“I fully support Governor Haley’s leadership today in calling for the flag to come down,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said. “This is a decision for South Carolina to make and they are now starting that process. Like Governor Haley, I believe the flag should come down.”

“The decision to remove the Confederate flag needs to be made by the people of South Carolina, and Gov. Haley’s leadership today honors the people of Charleston, and the families of the victims of last week’s horrific hate crime,” former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.

Make no mistake. This marks no fundamental shift in Republican politics. This turnabout required only the self-awareness God gave a bucket of KFC and it will last about as long. The party that for years has prospered by the Confederate flag’s aficionados may be abandoning the colors but they’ll never shake the creed. What they are really saying, when they take that banner down, is that from now on we should stick to the racism of economics, which is only visible to those who suffer by it.

From now on we should stick to the racism that says if one black person at a protest wears a rude T-shirt, the entire protest is invalid.

From now on we should stick to the racism that says that if black children didn’t want to get shot walking to school, they should just move out of that neighborhood.

From now on we should stick to the racism that says that “parental involvement” would fix a school with a hole in the roof and chains on the doors.

You know, the cultured racism. The refined racism. The racism that doesn’t call itself racism because hey, it’s not like it’s flying a Confederate flag or anything. It’s not some Duck Dynasty Whiskey Tango trailer park hoedown and because of that, it’s so much more vicious.

Taking down a flag, well, you can see the flag. It’s there for all to see. That’s wrong and it’s crazy and nowhere else on earth would a nation that won a war allow its vanquished foe to pretend it had any claim to glory because we just keep repeating this bullshit over and over, but the flag is out there. The redlining, the block panics, the shifting of a résumé from one pile to another, the founding of a school in one place versus the next, those are not as obvious as something flying high above the statehouse.

Those glorious causes will last. Republican politicians will continue to champion them, and the South will rise again.


The GOP’s Alternate Reality: Jindal Campaign Edition

I’m feeling unoriginal today. I’m not exactly sure why but it *is* Monday so perhaps that’s it. The evidence is overwhelming that the Republican base doesn’t view the world in the same way that rational people do. Their reluctance to admit that Dylann Roof was racially motivated and not an “anti-Christian lunatic” is merely the latest example of this. Jeb Bush claims to be a centrist who will speak the truth to the base when it’s wrong. It took him almost 16 hours to admit that Roof was a racist who thought the massacre would cause a race war. Mustn’t offend the people who think Cliven Bundy is John Wayne instead of a fathead in a cowboy hat or that the Duggars are moral exemplars instead of members of a cult. When the Bushes pander, they pander big.

Another example of Republican magical thinking comes from an article about Bobby Jindal’s campaign plans in the Sunday Advocate. In a rare bow to reality, they concede that PBJ is a long shot but claim he’s used to being an underdog:

But neither Jindal, who says he doesn’t worry about polls, nor his longtime campaign consultant, Timmy Teepell, seems terribly concerned about the odds.

Both point to Jindal’s performance in his first try for office, when he led the open-primary field for governor in 2003. (He lost the runoff, but his strong showing propelled his later career.)

“Gov. Jindal went from an asterisk to 33 percent to win his first primary,” Teepell said in an email. “He is unafraid of a race where he only has to go 11 points to get ahead,” he said, referring to the frequent inability of even the leading Republican contenders to register more than that.

Timmy gives good spin. He neglects to mention that popular sitting Governor Mike Foster was a full-throated Jindalista at that point. Big Daddy Mike’s  support was the main reason that no-neck brat PBJ did so well in that primary. As I’ve said before, 2003 was the only closely contested election PBJ has ever been involved in and he lost the run-off. He faced only token and comically inept opposition in the 2007 and 2011 Goober races. Additionally, in his 2004 Congressional race, the GOP establishment cleared the field for the then whiz kid to win against token opposition. Current House whip Steve Scalise was told to wait his turn even though he had been around longer. Remember that the next time the Jindalites claim he’s an insurgent candidate. Insipid is more like it…

Back to the Advocate’s piece wherein DC bureau chief, Gregory Roberts, compares PBJ’s candidacy to that of Jimmy Carter in 1976:

Jindal’s rise to the top from near nullity in 2003 is hardly the only time a politician has pulled that off, even on the vastly bigger scale of a presidential race. In 1976, a Georgia peanut farmer who had served a single term as governor, Jimmy Carter, emerged from near-obscurity to capture the Democratic nomination and ultimately the White House.

Like Carter, Jindal comes from a Southern state without a large population or contributor base. And like Carter, Jindal is a born-again Christian whose religious convictions form a significant part of his political profile.

In a speech Friday to the Faith & Freedom conference of religious-right activists in Washington, Jindal, 44,recounted his journey from the Hinduism of his childhood — his parents emigrated from India to Baton Rouge shortly before he was born — to his embrace of Christianity as a teenager; the story is a standard element of his public appearances. He identifies now as an evangelical Catholic.

In 1976, Carter made his first big splash in Iowa, home to the caucuses that kick off the nomination process. He shrewdly exploited the Democratic Party’s revised rules giving more power to grass-roots state nomination contests instead of party bosses.

This is a genuinely bizarre and laughably ahistorical analogy. The only thing I like about it is the comparison to someone who is loathed by the GOP base and still subjected to ridicule by them even though the big blow out was 35 years ago. The GOP spent many years casting Carter as Herbert Hoover to Reagan’s FDR and they can’t let go. End of oddly relevant digression.

The political circumstances are radically different in 2016 than 1976, let me count the ways. First, George McGovern was blown out by Tricky Dick in 1972. Democrats were desperate for a winning candidate and Carter was able to capitalize on that. He also wooed Wallace voters by positioning himself as a white collar, respectable version of their hero. That’s something forgotten about Carter: his victorious Florida primary campaign that year was a masterpiece of  proto-triangulation. Carter picked up Wallace votes and earned some gratitude from party liberals for slaying the populist peckerwood dragon. I’m uncertain if the Jindalistas are capable of such cunning. Back to modern times: Willard Mittbot Romney got 48% of the vote and 206 electoral votes. Carter had a much, much easier act to follow.

Second, 1976 was the post-Watergate election and Carter positioned himself as an outsider in contrast to *most* of his primary opponents. The Carter campaign set the template for all the Washington outsider candidacies to follow, including the one that ousted him. In short, it was a very unique year, and the two most popular national Democrats at the time, Ted Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, did not run. In contrast, the 2016 GOP field is a large and deep one. It is the why not me campaign, after all.

I suspect many Republicans will employ magical thinking and claim that, by merely existing, the Obama administration has been worse than Nixon’s, and that Beghazi, Benghazi is worse than Watergate. Whatever. Nixon resigned with 2 years and 4 months left in his second term and President Obama will finish out his; all the magical thinking in the world cannot eradicate that.

Another major difference between Carter and Jindal is that the former left office with high poll ratings whereas PBJ is the most unpopular Gret Stet Governor of the polling era. That’s right, less popular than Edwin Edwards during his *first* corruption trial. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Bobby-n-Timmy. The unreality based GOP answer to that would be something like this: the poll ratings show that he took tough decisions and was a manly, man worthy of the support of Phil Robertson and his family band of bearded phonies.

Finally, Jimmy Carter was a better campaign product than PBJ. He was a fresh faced, squeaky clean alternative to a field of veteran pols to his left and George Wallace to his right. Carter positioned himself in the centrist sweet spot and rode that to the nomination. In contrast, PBJ is appealing to the hard right evangelical wing of his party. It’s a crowded space that includes past Iowa caucus winners Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum as well as fiery, charismatic Texas Senator Ted Cruz. It’s hard to see PBJ finishing ahead of any of those guys. Nobody’s ever called Bobby Jindal fiery or charismatic. He may serve up raw meat to the base but in an unseasoned and bland fashion.

Bobby Jindal will be announcing his candidacy on Wednesday in Kenner, brah. Remember the whole Facebook flash mob protest thing? The Facebook page has 3,500 likes but limited activity, which once again shows the limits off online/hashtag activism. It’s easy to retweet something, sign an online petition or like a Facebook page, but much harder to schlep out to suburban Kenner and protest in the 90+ degree heat. There do not appear to be any concrete plans for the protest. No surprise there.

I’m going to close on an unoriginal note and predict the following: PBJ will not get a bump in the polls from his announcement, will not make the cut for the Fox debates unless the criteria change, and will end up with the “job he wants” as a fat cat lobbyist or head of some wingnut pressure group.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsesssion with the Freeperati – MestaMachine edition

Morning everyone – before we get started, here is the post that couldn’t wait for Monday morning – please read it.

Today’s Obsession is about an ex-Freeper – someone who was there for six long years.

Then, she got sick.  Really sick.  Is-she-ever-going-to-leave-the-hospital sick.

A good friend set up a Paypal donation account and freepmailed fellow Freepers with the info. Many helped. After several hospitalizations, Mestamachine put a link to the account in her FR profile info.

Alas, on Free Republic, only Jim Rob gets to rake in the ducats, and he pulled her login and posting privileges (not an outright zot, her profile still remains, like a disembodied spirit).  That’ll teach her to need help.

Now she just lurks and fumes, continuing to watch long-time supporters get banned. Of course, the ranks of the purged include many not-completely-crazies who dared interject some sanity into the knee-jerkiness. Unfortunately for Jim Rob, many (if not most) of these zot-ees were heavy monetary contributors, leaving FR now composed of mostly crap-talkers who never kick in.

Now – why should you care that a known sociopath like Jim Rob turned on one of FR’s most devoted? Is this a “OMG! The sun goes down in the West!” kind of revelation?  Glad you asked.

You should care because the FR grift goes a lot deeper than just the Freepathon bucks. A lot.

Mestamachine saith:

I have been watching this Freepathon and watching the donations as they come in from people who can scarcely afford it apologizing that they can’t donate more than maybe $3.00 and it is heartbreaking, sad, and sickening.
How many of those who sent in $3.00 have the kind of bling shown in the pic of JimRob, a quarter inch wide, 18-20 inch long white and yellow gold rope chain…while THEY are deciding which prescriptions they can forgo because the copays are so high?

He says Free Republic is beholden to no one, but that is a lie.
Jim Robinson drives a fully rigged, customized van that was, or will soon be, customized even further to accommodate his new disability, (and I don’t begrudge him that,) but to say that FR is beholden to no one when it is truly beholden to everyone whose hard work and many, many contributions paid for everything he has while trying to scare people into donating what they don’t have so he can have even more of what they don’t is disingenuous at best.
He takes in $340,000 per year just from FR. That does not include Social Security or any pension he might receive. That also does not include other entities running off FR’s servers which pay him for space.
He also employs Google Analytics which, unless it is the free version, costs a MINIMUM of $50,000 per year so he knows where anyone who visits FR comes from and goes, where they spend their money and how much, what other sites they visit and when 24/7. In other words, YOU pay to have yourself followed by a corporation that takes every single bit of your personal information and uses it to profit themselves, gives it over to upon demand, and though Jim KNOWS this, he uses it anyway so HE knows who you are and where you’ve been, consequences be damned.
Anyone and everyone who has ever had personal dealings with Jim Robinson with very few exceptions has been shafted BY Jim Robinson in one way or another.

And how does he repay Freeper loyalty? Well, unless you are a bonafide member of his CURRENT inner sanctum, you can expect not one iota of reciprocated loyalty from Mr. Robinson as he has proven time and again over many years.

Fuck “the government”.

He’s selling that data. To the GOP, to advertisers, probably to the Republican candidates that he mocks on a regular basis.

These dumb fucks are paying to get on mailing lists and have push ads on other sites target them.

Cunning stunt, no?

For a  look at the harassment and banning of one of the oldest members of Free Republic, “Badjoe” (now deceased), please read this interesting inside look at how the pecking order (and I do mean “pecking”) and the moderator clique of Freeperville work.

It’s – enlightening.

See you people next Monday.

And Mestamachine – if you followed the links from your website here, and are reading this…

You betta off.

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It’s Not Enough To Take Down a Flag

Steve Chapman reminding us of when St. John McCain’s early campaign went off the rails: 

It arose in the 2000 GOP presidential primary, when George W. Bush and John McCain refused to utter a bad word about the capitol flag, insisting it was something for South Carolinians to decide.


After losing the 2000 primary, McCain admitted he was dishonest in defending the flag. But he didn’t just abandon the position he had taken to win votes in South Carolina.

The Arizona senator said his Confederate ancestors “fought on the wrong side of American history. I don’t believe their service, however distinguished, needs to be commemorated in a way that offends, that deeply hurts, people whose ancestors were once denied their freedom by my ancestors.”

He admitted he was dishonest. And then he basically said, “Sorry if the flag pisses you off.” Because this is about people being pissed off. That’s the real problem here. This is about people’s feelings.

I get frustrated when politicians are pressed to take a stand on things like this, because we have a finite number of hours in the day and if a presidential candidate spends all of them equivocating about a flag instead of being made to explain how his policies will improve the lives of poor minorities, we have spent a day doing absolutely nothing.

Symbols matter. I’m a writer. I would never say they don’t. But the flag doesn’t just make black people feel bad. It doesn’t just signify to black people that they’re conquered and that white people are the conquerors.

It is the public face of all the ways in which white people do treat black people like they’re still owned.

It is a symbol of approbation to all the Dylann Roofs of the world, a wink and a nod that says sure, we can’t SAY outright anymore that we agree with you (PCPOLICEFEMINAZICOLLEGELIBERALS) but we do, in our secret hearts.

And if we take down that flag, and white people still act as conquerors, still treat black people as the conquered, what then? If all this incident leads to is the lowering of that traitor’s banner, if that is all that changes — if we still put a bulletproof vest on a white mass murderer to protect him and choke a black man selling cigarettes to death — then not enough will have changed, when weighed against the lives lost.

Take down the flag, erase the lionization of those traitors to America from every monument and byway in the USA, strike their names from the public buildings and cross them out of the history books. And then, the very next day, begin to act like race and poverty deserve more honest airtime than how a particularly dimwitted congressman or two feels about the symbol of all those things.

Otherwise, lowered flag or no, people will just keep winking and nodding, knowing the resentful, paranoid, angry Dylann Roofs of the world are still watching.


What Can Be Said About Charleston

We act like this is some special case, right?

Like wow, Jon Stewart is righteous! He’s brave! He’s the only one who can tell us the truth! Tell it like it is, man!

We act like he’s some outlier. Like he’s got some unique ability to cut through the crap and put the rest down on the floor.

Like every journalist everywhere, like every talking head on TV, like every columnist trying to justify his existence, could not open up his fucking cakehole and say something exactly this cutting, exactly this accurate, exactly this true, every single goddamn day of his life.

Like this couldn’t be everywhere, every night.

“But … but … he’s on cable! He’s on Comedy Central! He can do whatever he wants!”

So can you.

Yes, yes you can. No, shut up. I said shut UP, God, you pathetic whiners. You can do whatever you want to do. What you WANT is to keep doing what you’re doing, and yet be pissily resentful of how much attention and acclaim Stewart gets because you don’t like how he makes you feel, what with him being a grown-up on earth and all. You WANT to have a job where you have a job.

Which is fine, but let’s not confuse being stationary with being paralyzed.

“He doesn’t have a responsibility to be objective and present both sides of everything!”

Neither do you.

Yeah, you heard me. Neither do you. Sack up.

You get that you’re blaming a system that is entirely constructed by you, right? You get that you built the cross to which you’re nailing yourself so firmly? You know who decided journalists had to be “objective” and that “objectivity” was a synonym for “toothless?” JOURNALISTS DID THAT. Journalists draw the circle and decide who is inside it and who is out, and they do that every day.

Journalists created “fact-checkers” so they wouldn’t have to sort out which politicians were lying and when, nor face those politicians after rating their bullshit themselves. Journalists have idiotic arguments over whether bloggers can be journalists even if they don’t have Very Special Journalist Camp patches on their fucking sleeves. Journalists created those badges and man, journalists are mad that lots of people doing journalism don’t give a fuck about them.

Journalists laid back and took it when year after year after year wingnut after wingnut after wingnut called for their outright assassinations, and considered themselves beholden to politely stating that that was just one point of view.

And journalists set an agenda, every single day, with what they cover and don’t cover. With how they present the virulent racism and staggering paranoia in which most of this country marinates, with who they quote and when they quote them, with the stories they can’t see and the stories they don’t want to see, and then those same journalists, those same editors and producers, act like they are powerless to affect the conversation.

It’s a dodge. It’s a way of getting out of doing work and taking responsibility for that work. (I never ascribe anything wrong with journalism today to bias when there is so much laziness and stupidity and bad thinking to get through first.) You don’t have to do what Stewart did here, but admit it’s because you don’t want to, not because you can’t.

Journalists can tell any story they want to tell, any way they want to tell it. And the rest of us can stop acting like we have to accept anything less than the very best they can give us. Whether that’s a monologue like this, or an editorial calling for a stand with the powerless against the great, or a decision to stay with a difficult story long after everyone else has piled in the news vans and gone home, we need the very best journalism can give us and when we get less and we get whining about it, we need to do less shrugging about it.

Nobody’s ironic detachment and low expectations are doing them any good anymore.



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