Monthly Archives: April 2016

Saturday Odds & Sods: Louisiana Blues

jazzfest 1986

1986 Jazz Fest poster by Lyndon Barrois.

I’m going to do something a bit different this week  and focus on story telling as opposed to linkage. Mmm, sausage. I’m going to dispense with the introduction and move on to this week’s theme song. Louisiana Blues, was written by the King of the Great Migration to Chicago blues, McKinley Morganfield aka Muddy Waters.  His stage name is relevant to this week’s extravaganza as you’ll soon see.

Here are two versions of this blooze classic starting with the original recorded in 1950:

It’s high time for a 1993 cover of Louisiana Blues by Paul Rodgers with Yesman Trevor Rabin on lead guitar:

Finally, I saw Zydeco great Clifton Chenier at Winterland on a bill with Muddy and headlined by Hot Tuna back in the 20th Century.  It remains one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.  This is a different song of the same title that was written by the great man with lyrics in Cajun French. Mais oui:

As I continue to turn the Odds & Sods format on its head, there will be no break. Why? Because a brother can’t catch one or some such shit.

Adrastos-Zelig Encounter Time:  I’ve been going to the same barber in the Quarter since Katrina. I was badly in need of a haircut on Wednesday. I might not be able to grow much on the top but it gets scraggly and even shaggy in the back. You’re probably wondering where this story is going. Here’s the pay-off such as it is. My barber worked on Oliver Stone’s JFK when it was filmed in New Orleans. His primary job was doing Tommy Lee Jones’ hair. They two have stayed in touch over the years and I’ve heard that Tommy Lee stops by for a trim, shave, and chat when he’s in town. But I was never there when TLJ visited until this week. He was the head after me so I hung out awhile and bantered whilst his face was lathered. Bantered and lathered is the name of my next band.

The barber knows I’m a film buff-even if I loathed JFK (the film, not the President)-and that I’d get a kick out of chatting with TLJ. I did. I asked him why he was in town and he replied in his clipped delivery: “Location hunting, eating, maybe some Jazz Festing.” I was surprised about the location hunting and said: “What? No horses in this one?”

“I’m glad someone saw the pictures I’ve directed,” he looked at the barber and said, “This guy’s okay.”

The most amusing moment of my brief encounter with Tommy Lee Jones was when he asked the barber, “You’re not voting for that asshole Trump, are you?”

“No, I think I’ll vote for the lady,” he replied in his silky Cajun accent. The barber has an announcer’s voice, he should do voice overs instead of sweeping shorn locks off the floor. Btw, he told me it was okay to write about this but to keep his name out of it. I honored his request. Besides, the barber sounds better than his name anyway. It has a slight hair of mystery…

My only regret is that I didn’t get a picture or do my TLJ impression. Actually, I’m glad that I skipped the latter. As to the former, it would have been deeply uncool and make me feel like a paparazzo or stalker. I don’t like feeling like a stalker: I hate celery…

Local’s Day, Mud Day: Dr. A and I went to Jazz Fest yesterday. It’s called local’s day because many of the tourons haven’t arrived yet for the second weekend. For those of you who have never attended, it’s held at a race track: the Fairgrounds. Most of the festival takes place on the grassy infield surrounded by the track. It’s gotten overcrowded and more expensive in recent years so I don’t go as frequently as I once did. Of the seven days, I used to attend three to five times. Of course, my legs couldn’t take it at my advanced age. As it is I feel like saying “cut off my legs and call me Shorty” after yesterday’s mudwalking.

In recent years, I’ve been grouchy about Jazz Fest. They’ve brought in some acts who didn’t fit the original spirit and theme of the festival, and it has gradually morphed into a less distinctive but still good music festival. What’s Jazzy and Heritagey about Bon Jovi or Billy Joel? Now if this was Jersey or Guyland it would be a different story.

The main reason for my Fest grumpiness has been the overcrowding. Festival attendance has been stable but the Fairgrounds has been jam-packed in recent years. I blame creeping tailgate-ism for the problem. People are bringing camp chairs and tarps and have become increasingly territorial. Not a great approach to a multi-stage event. I prefer to roam about and graze on both music and food. The good news is that Jazz Fest honcho Quint Davis initiated some positive changes to relieve overcrowding this year. The most important one is the addition of bleachers to the biggest stage. Yesterday was the first time I haven’t felt crowded at that stage in many moons. Thanks, Quint.

Enough cranky exposition, I promised storytelling and it’s time to stand and deliver. Sit and deliver would be more appropriate. I don’t have one of them new fangled standing desks. I’ll take my mighty early 20th Century arts and crafts behemoth any day. This seems to have deteriorated into a discussion of furniture. It cannot stand. I must sit down but first a musical interlude:

We began the day at our friends and Spank krewemates Addie and Jeremy’s digs near the Fairgrounds. They have an open house every day during Jazz Fest and call it Porch Fest. They rarely go to the Fest any more because they have more fun Porch Festing. It’s always an excellent first stop. We ran into our good friends Will and Jennifer there. She’s better known as my Spank protegé and her hubby is this week’s Being NOLA on Twitter:

Dr. A took that picture on Will’s camera. He emailed me one of us with our hostess but my eyes are closed and I look like I have indigestion so it has been suppressed. That’s one advantage of being a blogger: I can play photo god.

Once inside the Fairgrounds, we made a bee-line for some food and wandered off to the Louisiana crafts area. We said hello to our friend Roberta who was decorating Muses shoes for the punters to admire. It started pouring whilst we were there so we settled in for a visit. When it let up, we began our muddy trek about the Fairgrounds. In the immortal words of Lyle Lovett that was…

Lyle didn’t play Jazz Fest this year but our mistake was being outside during a torrential downpour. I had my big-ass umbrella so only my pants legs were soaked but my shoes became intimately acquainted with the mud. Squish. I have the feeling that Jennifer and Will didn’t look so lineny fresh after going a few rounds with Mother Nature either.

After drying out in the Grandstand, we made our way to the Gospel Tent to hang out with our friend Chef James aka the Accidental Cajun. It was no accident: we’d been trading texts. He had the sagacity to park his ass in the Gospel Tent whilst I was transformed into a drowned rat.

The minute it stopped raining, Dr. A, James, and I exited the tent but the rain resumed so we traipsed over to the Blues Tent where Geno Delafose was cranking out some spirited Zydeco. Dr. A took this picture of James and me:

Festing with James

I am deeply un-photogenic but I quite like this picture. It must be the shirts or the Kangol hats. We even look like we, uh, like one another. We are fine photo liars. End of this brief photo skull session; make that sugar skull session.

The highlight of the day was seeing the Tedeschi-Trucks Band at the big stage. I refuse to use the sponsor’s name since it’s an auto company. Besides, this local uses its original name, the Fess stage, after the late, great Henry Byrd aka Professor Longhair. There’s a lot of aka-ing in this post; at least no aka-47’s are involved…

Anyway, we sat in the newly added bleachers and had a grand and non-muddy view of the stage. The music was so good and the seat so dry that we stayed for the entire set. One highlight was Jimmie Vaughan and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons sitting in with Tedeschi-Trucks. It was a fabulous show from the married blues rockers and their big band. Here’s one of the numbahs they performed from another festival. I hope it was drier there:

As great as the music was, the highlight of the end of our muddy day at Jazz Fest was two little boys having the time of their lives. Presenting the Mud Brothers:

The Mud Brothers

The Mud Brothers-2

The Mud Brothers-3

They carried on like this for most of the two-hour set. When they got good and dirty, Dr. A left the bleachers and took those marvelous pictures. It was an appropriate ending to a fun and muddy day. If it doesn’t rain today we’re going to Porch Fest and then our top-secret location behind the big stage to hear Stevie Wonder. I hope he plays this classic, which was inspired by Tricky Dick:

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with the usual array of links and puns next week. I hate to be two-faced and change things up on you. Actually, I don’t. It’s down to meeting Tommy Lee Jones who played Two-Face in Batman Forever. Pretty damn good segue if I say so myself.

Two Face Meme

Friday Catblogging: Electric Oscar

Della Street has long been into plugging in near our dining room table. This week Oscar joined in on the fun:


It’ll Make Your Head Spin…Literally


Let’s start with former Wisconsin Senator Robert Kasten’s appearance on the Lawrence O’Donnell show (video link, starting at roughly 9:30). Wow. Kasten somehow managed to keep a straight face while insisting that the Donald already has large numbers of, in no particular order, Democratic, blue collar, and/or organized labor votes he can count on…because who are you going to believe, him or your lying eyes?

Meanwhile, competing with Kasten on the chutzpah front, Trump went Troll-With-A-Teleprompter in an attempt to “look presidential,” though…it came off more as a feeble rehash of Pat Buchanan’s 1992 cover version of the original America First Movement…

Ted Cruz launched what Adrastos called the human Hail Mary pass…sorry, Carly. That’ll fly about as well as calling a basketball, um, basket, a “ring.” To paraphrase a comment at the link, maybe he should stick to frying bacon on a machine gun barrel.

Oh, and Dennis Hastert, in addition to being a money launderer and “serial child molester,” is quite the hypocrite.

All in all, quite the day for the GOP…obviously not in a good way…but watch for this to mostly if not totally be forgotten in a few news cycles. On the other hand, if ANY of this had involved a Democrat…

So it goes.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: In The Gutter

After listening to Donald Trump put the lewd in collude, I considered doing something more highfalutin in this space today. I came to my senses and decided to wallow in the gutter.


Cruz-Fiorina: Two Creeps For The Price Of One

Every time I’m off the internet for a few minutes, all hell breaks loose. I’m glad I missed the Dudebro Nation tantrum about their candidate losing, and how voter suppression and closed primaries are the same thing. All you gotta do is register by a certain day and, abra cadabra, you’re a Democrat. It’s almost as magical as Ric Ocasek walking across the pool in that video.  I guess I caught some of that, but I *almost* missed the funniest political development of the year and that’s saying a lot in 2016. You know what I’m talkin’ about.

If you don’t know what I’m talkin’ about, it’s the hilarious news that Ted Cruz has picked someone who is almost as nasty as him, the dread Carly Fiorina, as his losing mate. That’s right, it wouldn’t even have worked if Trump hadn’t blown his shit away last night. It’s a way for Cruz to briefly steal the limelight from the Insult Comedian. Briefly.

As he’s fond of telling us, Tailgunner Ted’s hero is Ronald Reagan. I guess that’s why he’s trying the same gambit the Gipper used in his tussle with Gerald Ford in 1976. Here’s what some internet smart asses had to say about it:

In 1976, Reagan picked Dewey-Eisenhower-Rockefeller Republican Senator Richard Schweiker from Pennsylvania as his running mate before the convention. The reaction from Reganite true believers was scornful disbelief; sounds like a band name. It also didn’t work. Team Reagan’s attempt to force Team Ford to reveal their own Veep pick was dubbed the “misery loves company” gambit. Repeat after me: it did not work. They did make this nice button that nobody wanted to wear at the GOP convention in Kansas City:


The Cruz move is weird. At least Reagan was reaching out to liberal to moderate Republicans who still existed back then. Instead, Cruz-Fiorina doubles down on malakatude, wingnuttery, and assholishness. As a satirist, I want to thank Tailgunner Ted for bringing a few rays of sunshine to a rainy day in New Orleans.

I watched part of Cruz’s speech but there’s only so much of his brand of horse shit that I can take. Btw, Tailgunner Ted never mentioned Reagan in his speech. There’s a first time for everything. I did have fun live tweeting it. Here’s a wee sampler:

A final note about this morning’s post: John & Ted’s Excellent Misadventure. One of our long-time readers, Ditty N, took pity on your photoshop impaired blogger and gave me this:



Album Cover Art Wednesday: Encores

I spent a fair amount of time last Saturday telling an Adrastos-Zelig story about meeting Jazz great Stan Kenton. It only seemed right to feature a Kentonian (Stannish?) cover in this space.

I usually don’t do compilations for ACAW, but this cover is so striking that I made an exception. It’s my rule book, after all, so I can throw it out at will. I’m not sure why I’m mad at will but…

This version of Encores was released in 1955. One could describe the cover as all hands on deck.

Stan Kenton Encores

This LP was re-released several times thereby making it impossible to nail down a proper version of it. Instead, here’s a 1951 featurette:

John & Ted’s Excellent Misadventure

Cruz-Kasich Meme

My photoshop skills are rather limited or I would have posted a certain movie poster with the also-ran’s pinheads on Bill and Ted’s bodies. I should apologize to Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, dude for even contemplating such a thing. Sorry, dudes. All I can do is to post a meme picture; that reminds me of the musical Auntie Meme. Rumor has it that she could charm the husk right off the corn. A useful skill, y’all, I mean, dudes.

The Kasich-Cruz pact got off to a rocky start on Monday and looks shakier by the day. It’s not exactly a pact of steel, more like an axis of malakatude, dude.The candidates don’t seem to be on the same page as to what it means. I think Bill and Ted, not to mention Harold and Kumar or Cheech and Chong, would be more coherent, dude. I just want to look at John and Ted and say: DUUUUDE, IT’S TOO FUCKING LATE, especially after Tuesday’s results. Additionally, the pact is too limited in scope to make any impact. Perhaps we should call it the soft landing pact or is that soft opening? Beats the hell outta me. All I know for sure is that they’re not ready for Broadway. I suspect the Donald calls it the Great White Way. It’s the Republican way.

Every time GOPers mount a stop Trump movement it flops, fizzles, and other F words. Fuckin’ A. The biggest problem with the so-called #NeverTrump movement is how weak the messengers are. Tailgunner Ted is one of the most hated people in public life and, as much as I hate to agree with the Insult Comedian, John Kasich should stop eating in public. I hereby dub him Sloppy John…

Despite the cable newsers claiming that a Stop The Frontrunner cabal is “unprecedented,” Charlie Pierece has a good run down of the ones on the Democratic side in 1972 and 1976:

In 1972, the Anybody But McGovern movement was led by an obscure Southern governor named Jimmy Carter, but the best they could come up with for a candidate was Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson, who’d been an electoral cipher. Four years later, when Carter himself was the target, the movement against him was as inchoate as the anti-Trump forces have been this year. Some people propped up Jackson again, and there even was talk of hauling Hubert Humphrey out of cold storage for one more stagger around the far turn. Senator Frank Church and Governor Jerry Brown jumped in late and won some primaries, thereby screwing the guy who actually was running second, Arizona Congressman Mo Udall, who was the real casualty of the anti-Carter movement. And, no, I still don’t want to talk about it.

Charlie may not want to talk about it but I don’t want to discuss it:

Guess it’s the same thing except for the whole Little Richard thing:

It looks as if the Insult Comedian will be at or near the magic number when the GOP convenes in Cleveland. I don’t think the axis of malakatude will be enough to take the Donald out. Once again, it’s too little too late.

Since I have kooky comedic characters on my mind, it just occurred to me that there are too many Moes in the Republican race right now. I’m talking about Moe Howards. All three Republican survivors fancy themselves Moes although Kasich seems to be in touch with his Inner Larry. The problem for the axis of malakatude is that the Insult Comedian is the Alpha-Moe and they just can’t keep up with his eye-poking ability. Now that I think of it, Trump is in touch with his Inner Curly as well. It’s bloody hard to beat the Insult Comedian when it comes to Three Stooges metaphors.

It looks like it’s going to be a Trump-Clinton smackdown in the general election. I wonder how long he can go without mocking HIllary’s appearance and questioning Bill’s choice to not dump her for a trophy wife or two or three. Here’s one possible attack line for Team Clinton: Don’t elect a man who will call Angela Merkel ugly.

I still hope there will a second ballot at the Republican convention but I’m not underrating the Insult Comedian this time around. The fucker has staying power. It could be the result of dealing with Gary Busey on the Celebrity Apprentice. The dude is cray-cray, dude.

As for John & Ted’s Excellent Misadventure it’s doomed, dude. Why? Carole King has the answer as well as the last word:


I am Starting a Consulting Firm and it Will Be Called Stop Doing Stupid Shit, You Stupid Assholes

& Partners: 

I can tell you from personal experience over the last several months, having met with countless investors and leaders of media companies and editors and writers and technologists in the media world that there is a desperate belief that The Problem can be solved with the New Thing. And goddammit someone must have it in their pitch deck. A new kind of video app. The best news stories of the day, except all on video. Video, but with subtitles. Only 30 second videos, designed for vertical screens. A personalized Facebook bot that delivers only the video you want. Video on-demand, over-the-top, linear, succulent, meaningful, plentiful, attention-grabbing video!

Or maybe a newsletter of some type. A video newsletter.

Succulent Video is the name of my Prince & The Revolution Tribute Band. Let’s get that out of the way first.

I am down with the idea that nobody is coming to save you, and that journalism is not and NEVER HAS BEEN about the medium. Journalism is about getting the news out any way you can to as many people as you can. If that is SCRAWLING IT ON THE GODDAMN SIDEWALK with pink Hello Kitty chalk, if that is the fastest way or the most efficient way or the only way you have, if that is the best way to tell as much as you can to as many people as you can, then that’s what you do.

My beef with digital paradigm talk is that in many cases heads of major corporations blame “tectonic shifts in technology and audience demands” for laziness and stupidity and short-sighted profit-chasing. I have zero issue with you exploring your internet horizons or whatever the hell you want to call it (you could just call it doing the news, but …). Podcast. Do video. Jerk yourself off about your longform longreads. Make an app if that’s what works for you, if you can do something with it that nobody else is doing or if it will just make you a crapload of money. Go crazy. Three weeks ago I pitched somebody we should tell a story by projecting it piece by piece onto the side of a building each day, no shit. I am not going to judge you for working.

I am going to judge you for screwing over your current customers or your employees or the only thing you are good at in order to do something that ten other papers have tried and sucked at, or from which they gained zero advantage. Why? Because if you have people, who are paying you for a thing, and the money they give you is enough to do your job, why would you ever stop just CASHING THEIR CHECKS AND SAYING THANK YOU? Particularly when you are good at that? Why would you stop making money until you have to?

Why would your strategy be to insult those people, declare publicly that you are abandoning them, cut the people and resources making the product they like which you are good at making, and tell them it is their fault anyway.

Resources are not finite, not with the amount of money companies are throwing around right now: 

Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today, made an $815 million unsolicited bid for Tribune Publishing Co., setting up a potential takeover fight in a quest to gain bigger regional newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Gannett offered $12.25 in cash per Tribune share, a 63 percent premium to Tribune’s closing price on April 22, according to a statement Monday. The company publicly announced its proposal two weeks after unsuccessfully making a private offer, putting pressure on top Tribune shareholder Michael Ferro to make a deal just three months after he became chairman.

If he leaves the company, he gets some pretty fat stacks. Enough to pay a dozen reporters for a dozen years. So don’t tell me the money’s not there to keep working.

Time and energy are not finite either. You would have to stop doing stupid shit like spending 20 minutes of every 30 minute newscast on traffic and the weather, especially if neither one has killed anybody today. You would have to be very, very organized to do new things and old things at once. It would not be easy money like in the old days. But it would be money, and as long as money is there, why would you stop wanting to get it?


Kids Today Just Don’t Want to Save Money!

Buy a house, young’uns! 

“A lot of folks said that millennials would go off and just rent,” said Jonathan Corr, chief executive of Ellie Mae in Pleasanton, Calif. “But as they hit those life-event years in terms of getting married, having children, they’re starting to make that transition.”

That doesn’t mean they’re ready to sign a check. Millennials in about half of large metropolitan areas are underestimating how much they’ll need for a down payment on their first home and are not saving at a fast enough pace.

I see “incredibly screwed by the service/gig/contract economy and paying too much for every aspect of their health care and saddled by student loans from STATE SCHOOL and until recently nobody was working at all” is the new “not saving enough to buy a house.”
When the median damn home price in any neighborhood that is not a demilitarized zone is $300,000, you tell me where to get 20 percent.

Look at this:

Surveyed millennials reported current savings at $14,469, monthly savings of $360 and help from outside sources of $8,264, on average. At that pace, it’ll take them nearly 28 years to save enough money for a down payment, even though 37 percent of millennials said they’re planning to buy between three and five years from now.

So they have that much in savings and WHOOPS STILL CAN’T LIVE IN SAN FRAN because they are not the Rich Kids of Instagram:

In the San Francisco region, a 20 percent down payment on a median starter home (based on price data from Trulia) runs at about $142,800, more than double what respondents to Apartment List’s poll estimated.

That is insane. Even if you are making, let’s say 60K, in your twenties which is a dubious proposition in the “work for the ‘exposure’ and the ‘opportunity'” economy, the DOWN PAYMENT is more than twice your annual income. “Well, just move somewhere cheaper!” Okay, and the jobs there are … just as good? At least acknowledge that some places deliberately — through government policy — price out the people who work there, mandating those people have long commutes in from affordable locations, creating wear and tear on both the roads and their lives.

Mr. A and I, in our early 40s, have no problems anyone should care about, and we still look around where we live and say, well, if we moved someplace where our jobs wouldn’t be as good, we could afford a much bigger place … if only we were making as much money as we are with the jobs we have here which we couldn’t necessarily. Which makes no fucking sense, and we attended college in the glory days when you could either self-fund most of your tuition or your parents could pay for it without mortgaging THEIR house. Like I said, we ain’t poor and this is still a whackadoodle equation, so what if you’re just starting out and have 100K in debt on your back?

I would not be a 19-year-old again if you put a gun to my head.


A Place to Rest in Their Own Damn Country

We are unkind, right now: 

There are relatively few dedicated Muslim cemeteries around the country, so many Muslim communities use sections of other cemeteries to bury their dead.

In Dudley, the proposal from the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester has been met with angry comments at local meetings.

“You want a Muslim cemetery? Fine. Put it in your backyard, not mine,” Daniel Grazulis said during a zoning meeting in February, drawing a round of applause.

Jason Talerman, a lawyer for the Islamic Society, said he believes the opposition is rooted in Islamophobia.

“They like to say it under the guise of, ‘Oh, we’re just trying to protect our water supply,’ but it’s thinly veiled,” he said.

Desiree Moninski, who lives across the street from the site, once farmed by her grandparents, said she and other opponents have legitimate concerns that have nothing to do with Islam.

“I grew up here. It’s farmland, and I’d like to see it stay that way,” she said.

How do you get so broken that y0u would deny the dead a resting place because … seriously, what do you think, that when the vampires all rise up the Muslim ones will be more dangerous than WASP Nosferatu? Like they’ll be terrorist dead bodies? FFS. What do you get out of yelling at a town meeting about something like this?


Tweet/Counter-tweet: Dudebro Nation Death Throes Edition

In the last malaka of the week post, I expressed the hope that the Sanders campaign would go out on a substantive high note. I was privately pessimistic about that but hope springs eternal when the opposition is poised to nominate the Insult Comedian or Tailgunner Ted. I should know better: optimism is for mugs in the 2016 campaign.

Let me explain what I mean by Dudebro Nation. I have to since some Sanders supporters “liked” something I posted about it on the book of Zucker last week. By Dudebro Nation I mean the most annoying, obnoxious, sexist, condescending, and childish Sanders supporters; maybe I should have used the term death rattle in the title. I stopped saying Berniebro because Dudebro is funnier. (I stole this particular usage from Al Giordano who has one of the funniest political Twitter streams going. More about him later.) I briefly considered Bernie or busters but it sounds too much like bustier. I didn’t want to make a boob out of myself so I stuck to Dudebro Nation, brah. Huzzah.

Instead of dialing it back, Dudebro Nation is going full tilt bull goose loony right now. They still haven’t processed the fact that their candidate’s quest for the nomination of a party he doesn’t belong to is doomed. One of the worst examples of the Dudebro Nation death rattle came on the same day I crowned Jeff Weaver malaka of the week. It comes from lefty talk radio loudmouth Thom Hartmann:

I’ve never liked talk radio (I didn’t even listen to Al Franken) and this imbecilic and insensitive tweet shows why. Think of it: Thomorrow is the Connecticut primary. What horrific event occurred in the Nutmeg State in 2012? That’s right, the Newtown Massacre and this mouthy maroon posted this image a mere five days before the primary. I even took a screenshot of the Tweet in case he came to his senses and deleted it. He did not. I shouldn’t be surprised: Many of his fellow denizens of Dudebro Nation see nothing wrong with it but the combination of the assault weapon with Sanders’ meh record on gun safety issues makes me cringe.

The next Tweet isn’t actually a counter-tweet BUT I did come across Hartmann’s thomfoolery on Al Giordano’s timeline so here we go:

I love the image of H.A. Goodman, Rosario Dawson, Thom Hartmann, and their ilk being raptured. I only wish it had happened so we wouldn’t have to listen them to whine, make excuses, and point the finger of blame. Speaking of which, I’ll give Neil Finn and the Crowdies the last word:


The Fog Of History: Paying Off The Klan


Statue of John J. McKeithen Louisiana Governor 1964-1972  outside the Superdome.

John J. McKeithen was an important transitional figure in the history of race relations in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. He ran for Governor in 1963 as a “moderate segregationist,” but moved steadily to the middle after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. McKeithen is best known for championing the Superdome and for beginning the integration of Gret Stet guvmint. He turns out to have used some interesting methods to help keep the peace during his two terms as Gret Stet Goober:

As Louisiana’s governor in the mid-1960s, John J. McKeithen was behind payments to Ku Klux Klan leaders that were meant to suppress the racial violence swirling throughout Louisiana at the time, FBI records show.

Several FBI entries in the 50-year-old file that focused on prominent Klansman Robert Fuller, of Monroe — which was among documents recently obtained by the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication Civil Rights Cold Case Project — concluded Klan leaders were informed shortly after the 1964 gubernatorial election that the state would pay them if they kept a lid on violent acts.

The agents were led to believe the driving force behind that strategy was the newly minted governor who received the campaign support from some Klan leaders, support that steadily eroded after McKeithen took office because of his rapidly evolving policy of racial toleration and civil rights.

Whether McKeithen’s anti-violence strategy worked is unclear. U.S. Department of Justice and FBI investigations detail at least a half-dozen Klan-related homicides, scores of beatings and dozens of fire bombings in central Louisiana between 1964 and 1969. Whether it would have been worse without the payments will never be known.

Much clearer is that the KKK soon soured on McKeithen, whose moves toward improved race relations and rights for black people did not sit well in Louisiana Klan circles. By 1967, handbills circulating in Bogalusa accused McKeithen of asking for the Klan vote and then double-crossing them. The Klan called for McKeithen and other Louisiana officeholders to be “tarred and feathered.”

McKeithen was the candidate of the Longite populist faction of the Louisiana Democratic party. The Longs were not liberal on civil right in the modern sense BUT they rarely race baited during campaigns and were fine with their programs benefiting black folks. I suspect Huey and Earl would have applauded McKeithen’s actions as do I. If bribing the Klan reduced violence in the Gret Stet during that turbulent time, it was a good thing. I’m waiting to see if any goo-goo conservatives will denounce this as corrupt. Come on down, Bitter Vitter.

I think the record supports the positive impact of bribing the Klan and other extremist groups. Louisiana did NOT have the amount of racially motivated violence found in Mississippi and Alabama even though all three states voted for Goldwater in 1964 and Wallace in 1968. Kudos to the Machiavelli from Columbia, Louisiana.

As I said last night on the book of Zucker: This is a helluva story. Make sure you read the whole thing.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – completion forward principle

OK people- it’s that time again. We’re going to start with the oldest Freeper insanity and work our way forward.

Starting with last January’s concrete results!

Iran pours concrete into nuclear reactor, expects sanctions relief

Washington Post ^ | 01/15/2016 | By Carol Morello

Posted on ‎1‎/‎15‎/‎2016‎ ‎2‎:‎52‎:‎53‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind

Iran removed the core of its plutonium reactor and filled it with concrete Monday, paving the way for economic and financial sanctions to be lifted soon.

The work that effectively rendered the reactor at Arak harmless was the last major hurdle for Iran to fulfill its commitments under a landmark deal reached just shy of six months ago in Vienna. The International Atomic Energy Agency must verify that everything was done satisfactorily before U.S. and international sanctions can be lifted. But that is expected to take days, not weeks.

1 posted on 1‎/‎15‎/‎2016‎ ‎2‎:‎52‎:‎53‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind
To: SeekAndFind


Because Iran told us so?

4 posted on 1‎/‎15‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎04‎:‎58‎ ‎PM by CivilWarBrewing (u)

So they didn’t really do it?
To: SeekAndFind


Iran just filled up a useless outdated reactor to gain more sympathy or something something.

6 posted on 1‎/‎15‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎14‎:‎40‎ ‎PM by SkyDancer (“Nobody Said I Was Perfect But Yet Here I Am”)

So they DID do it?

To: SeekAndFind

And the Plutonium went where?

Russia, as per the agreement.  Please try to keep up.

We should have slagged the place,
then they’d know we were serious.

7 posted on 1‎/‎15‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎42‎:‎52‎ ‎PM by tet68 ( ” We would not die in that man’s company, that fears his fellowship to die with us….” Henry V.)

Yeppers – we should have flown F-16s across thousands of miles of the most heavily defended airspace in the Middle East, and just blown up an empty nuclear reactor.
That’d show them!
To: SeekAndFind


Real answer: We have produced enough plutonium to build one or more nuclear weapons and we don’t need the reactor anymore.

8 posted on ‎1‎/‎15‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎48‎:‎13‎ ‎PM by Blood of Tyrants (Liberals are the Taliban of America, trying to tear down any symbol that they don’t like.)

Freepers – unable to distinguish between HEU ,  Heavy water (for nuclear reactors), and a dry double martini (no vermouth)
More and newer stuff below the you-know-what…

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Going On: Game of Thrones Thread

Let’s get some stupid out of the way first: 

Do portentous birds and beasts appeal to you? Why not try spreading some fortune cookies around in your backyard and pretend they are pearls of wisdom bequeathed by Quizzilneck the Engimatic Gopher? That way you’ll still have 59 hours free to rotate your tires, clean out the gutters and complete all the various other chores associated with responsible adulthood.

My favorite Facebook comment on this “takedown” — as the URL describes it — was, “Which Hobbit hurt you, dude?”

This Northwestern prof seems really loud about how he doesn’t like Game of Thrones, and okay. I don’t like country music. I don’t go over to forums devoted to country music and yell I HATE ALL YOUR TWANGY WHINY OOOH SHE LEFT ME I’M SO SAD HORSESHIT AND I’M SO MUCH COOLER THAN YOU! Like what is the point of talking about which pop culture thing you do not enjoy? Did someone ask him? Was it not possible to simply say, “Not my scene?”

Fans can be annoying. My reaction to people who haven’t read The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is to shove a copy into their hands and offer to take care of all their work for a few days so they can devour it whole. I am evangelical on the topic of Our Lord and Savior Lin-Manuel Miranda. I do judge you if you’re not watching The Magicians.

I have things I’m sick of being told to love, too. Like the Beatles. Arrested Development. And church.

But instead of owning that you feel a little sad and left out because everybody likes this thing you’re not into, you write for the LA Times that that thing sucks and is uncool? I don’t … what contribution to the conversation does that make  beyond establishing you as a superior person not at all interested in clickbait?

Ugh. Moving on.

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‘Mister Hearst and Pulitzer, have we got news for you’

At least the Reader’s staff isn’t laying back and thinking of its digital paradigm: 

We, the Reader’s staff, ask that you join us in supporting the publication and its advertisers. We are reaching out because . . .

  • The owners at Wrapports LLC have ordered repeated cutbacks that diminish editorial coverage and quality.
  • The size of the print edition has been slashed nearly 40 percent and popular columns have disappeared.
  • Other staff reductions have curtailed service to advertisers and impaired distribution of the print edition.
  • Employees haven’t received a cost-of-living wage increase in nearly a decade.

We recognize the fiscal challenges of the media business, but relentless cuts mean withdrawing from the fight, not meeting it head-on. Ownership must invest in marketing, advertising, and digital operations and enrich editorial content, or the Reader will die.

Sign it. Fight the fights that need fighting.

I’ve been saying for a long time that nobody is coming to save journalism except the people who want to save journalism. So if that’s what you give a shit about, if that’s your animating interest, then GO DO IT. Nowhere is it written you have to hunker down and hope they don’t hit you. Nowhere in history has that worked out well for anybody. You’d think we’d all know this by now.


The Trump Reform Movement

Josh Friday: 

This is all a fairly striking thing to say out loud – or, technically, in private setting but meant for public consumption – since it amounts to saying that Trump has just been playing his supporters for rubes and he’s really a friend of the insiders after all. But the audaciousness of the claim and even the improbability of Trump’s ability to sell a dramatically different version of himself aren’t even the biggest issues.

And Trump yesterday: 

“I’m not toning it down,” Trump told a cheering crowd of 3,000 people, packed into a high school gymnasium in Waterbury, Connecticut. “Isn’t it nice that I’m not one of these teleprompter guys?”

Why should he tone it down? He’s winning right now. I’ve been saying all along that approaching Trump as a politician, animated by ideology, is a mistake and it’s one everyone has been making since the beginning.

I don’t believe for one second he actually hates Muslims, or Mexicans, or Putin, or that he cares at all about working class people screwed over by trade imbalances. He’s a businessman. He’s got a line that sells.

(Which doesn’t make the line any better or him any more admirable, by the way. The opposite.)

All the hue and cry over the past four months about stopping Trump somehow by beating him politically was motivated by this same mistaken belief. You want to stop Trump? Should have made him an offer back when he was only a blip on the radar. Should have made him a deal. Shut up and sit down, Donald, and you can be VP. Shut up and sit down, Donald, and you can run the party (could he do worse than Reince? Doubtful). Shut up and sit down, Donald, and we will make it worth your while.

Shut up and sit down, Donald, because you’re wrong, is not a deal. It’s an insult. You don’t make a deal starting with an insult. You don’t make an appeal for the good of the party because that’s not in his interests. You don’t make an appeal for the good of the country because that’s not in his interests either.

You make him an offer that enriches him and improves his standing in the world and right now the only offer America seems to be making is Republican Party nominee for the presidency of the United States.

Why would he tone it down unless there’s a better offer on the table?


On Fighting For Those Who Fight Against You


Before beginning, and in fairness to the good people of Menomonie, Wisconsin, whose voting record we examined earlier Tuesday afternoon, let us remember that Texas is the home office for climate denialists among our elected representatives.

It begins at the top with Tailgunner Ted Cruz, who’s been spouting the stupid on this subject heavily for the last few weeks. It runs down through Governor Greg Abbott and indicted attorney general Ken Paxton. And it runs deeply through the Texas congressional delegation, which includes some leading intellectual giants like Lamar Smith and Louie Gohmert, although, to be fair to those other worthies, Gohmert doesn’t know much about anything, so it’s almost unfair to include him here.

I mention this only because Houston is about to turn into a really bad Kevin Costner film and the climate crisis is one of the main reasons why.

And so fucking what? Look, this Vox piece was a load of false-equivalence crap, so stop acting it out by yelling I Told You So before people are even dried off. The people who already believe you don’t need the reminder and the people who don’t aren’t reading you anyway.

These are pretty typical comments when it comes to federal aid for Houston and its environs: 

Can we please ask the Federal Government – in the form of one specific person, teh Communist Muslim Overlord – to say yes to Texas …. as long as they ask on the White House lawn in front of the full array of tv cameras and it must run as the head story on a certain ‘news’ program?

Just for once can we rub their noses in it?

Wait, can’t you just shoot the flood with your concealed handgun?

Karma. It’s a bitch.

Ideally, authorizations for these monies should be at the periodic discretion of the President, as chief executive, as to whether it is needed.

The next election will be held Tuesday 8 Nov 2016. Said authorisations should be arranged so they ALL go up to the President Nov 9 or 10. And those places plumping for Republicans (the Party of Small Government) should get all aid cut until 20 Jan 2017, when the new President can do as he or she wants.

I get it.

America is hard to love right now.

Three out of every ten of us who vote are going to vote for Donald Trump. Four of every ten of us haven’t quite cottoned to the idea of women or gay people being citizens under the law, and people are spending lots of time figuring out how to assure themselves that they are in charge of where men and women go to the bathroom. Like, lots of time. The space race took up fewer mental meters than this bathroom crap does.

Thanks to the Internet, we now see that our racist uncle is everybody’s racist uncle, and thanks to news organizations thinking they are just Internets and have to tell us what our racist uncle thinks, too, we hear so much hate all day long. That Vox trash fire wasn’t wrong about the ease of seeing loathing. We see every dumbass meme about Obama killing jobs by forcing people to buy different light bulbs and we see the comments applauding those dumbass memes. What of the news we’re forced to watch in doctors’ offices or wherever is pretty stupid. It’s like the point in your family Christmas party where everybody’s drunk is always going on.

Hard to love that. So, so hard.


Because: What is the alternative?

I guess we could stop voting. I guess we could stop calling and writing and working and campaigning. I guess we could pretend we know who everybody in Houston voted for, or maybe check their records, before we tow their cars out of the floodwaters. I guess we could repeal Obamacare for the red states, because to hell with those people anyway, right? I guess we could withdraw all federal services from states whose governors seem to hate the federal government, and teach those people a lesson.

I guess at a certain point we could give up even thinking about this crap, and watch TV. It’s been a rough, punishing 6 months and all I do is work. I would like to watch TV.

It’s Sunday morning. Love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you.

Moreover: Do good to those who persecute themselves, for no damn good reason other than screw some imagined minority somewhere, or they can’t be bothered to find out that the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing, or they don’t see a point to voting because THE SYSTEM MAN, or they are just stone-ass dumb and mad. Do good to those who persecute you unless they tell you to go away was not part of the deal.

You want to tell me that a sick baby born in Alabama tomorrow to a couple of poor 15-year-olds bears any responsibility for the state’s shitbag governor? I want that baby to live and be fed and be happy and that baby dying sick and poor does absolutely nothing to change who holds the House of Representatives.

You know what would? Some actual goddamn Democratic money being put into every single legislative district race where Republicans run unopposed year after year after year. Yeah, probably futile and why bother. Because the sick baby, that’s why.

Does America deserve America’s help right now? Probably not. We are a shithead country at the moment. We are full of jerks. But that doesn’t get better if two thirds of us shake our heads and go home because we’re tired. I have news for us all: Not working doesn’t make us any less tired. It just makes us tired, and powerless.

What’s in front of us? A presidential election in which our choices are almost certainly a fairly conservative mainstream politician and ONE OF TWO COMPLETE LUNATICS. In the meantime there will be fires and floods and disasters natural and unnatural, and sick babies and poor kids who need food, and we are not asking how anybody voted before we address any of that. America is hard to love right now.

What’s the alternative?



Sunday Morning Video: Tedeschi Trucks Band Live In 2012

Ready for some roots rock? If not, you’re getting some anyway.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Close To The Edge

Close to the Edge

Close To The Edge gatefold by Roger Dean.

Jazz Fest started yesterday and I’m not feeling it this year. Crowds and I used to get along but we had a falling out sometime after the storm. Making matters worse are all the chair people who insist on plopping down wherever they want. Jazz Fest used to be a more mobile event and I like stage-hopping, so the strain in our relationship  seems destined to continue. Hoping to relieve the congestion, the producers have made some changes to the Fairgrounds. I hope it works. I’ll let y’all know if it helps in this space next week.

There was a plea bargain in the Danziger Bridge case on Wednesday. I’m neither happy not angry about this development. The convictions were reversed because of prosecutorial malfeasance that was rather minor in nature: the stupid commenting scandal. That makes it vexatious but I’m fresh out of outrage over the way this whole thing has been handled and how long the process has been: 10 years and counting. Call it rage fatigue, but whatever it is, I’ve got it. But my friend Stephanie Grace is still vexed with the judge.

This week’s theme song is one of the ultimate prog-rock opuses, epics, what have you. It’s a long-ass song, y’all. What else can I say? It has one of the best bass lines in rock history but one could say that about many Yes songs thanks to the late, great Chris Squire:

Oscar and Della love the ambient bird sounds at the beginning and end of the song. It nearly puts them over the edge.

I found this solo Rick Wakeman rendition of Close To The Edge quite recently. It’s a wee nugget even if he isn’t wearing his sparkly cape whilst playing.

How can I follow the Liberace of prog-rock? By going directly to the break, that’s how.

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