Our tribute to Dr. John continues with two live shows from the YouTube. The first is a venerable teevee appearance with Johnny Winter. The second is a set with a small group. The sound starts off a bit wonky but it gets better. Stick with it.
It was a difficult week in New Orleans. In addition to the passing of Dr. John, we lost Chef Leah Chase who died at the age of 96. Her family’s Creole eatery, Dooky Chase’s, has fed presidents, civil rights leaders, and freedom riders as well as the hoi polloi since 1941. A reminder: feeding an integrated group such as the freedom riders was against the law in the Jim Crow Era. Chef Leah did it anyway. After her death, Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry wrote a piece about Chef Leah’s role in the Civil Rights movement. She didn’t scare easily, not even when a bomb was thrown at her Orleans Avenue restaurant.
As she aged, Chef Leah was the smiling, welcoming face of this Treme institution but she never stopped cooking. In recent years, she was a sort of secular saint in our community; something most would find burdensome but she wore it lightly. She led a long and eventful life. She will be missed.
Last month in this space I mentioned the Krewe of Nyx’s hare-brained scheme to stage a summer parade. The city government has finally responded. Here’s how Gambit editor and Adrastos crony Kevin Allman characterized it on the tweeter tube:
This week’s theme song, Estimated Prophet, was written by Bob Weir and John Perry Barlow in 1976. It was tested onstage many times before it became the opening track on one of the Dead’s better studio albums, Terrapin Station.
We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the studio original, then a boss reggae cover by Burning Spear.
Now that we’ve visited the burning shore of California, let’s jump through a hoop of fire to the break. Hopefully, we won’t get scorched.
New Orleans takes its local heroes seriously, especially the musicians among them. We’ve lost one of the greats, Malcolm John Rebennack who was better known by his stage name, Dr. John. His friends called him Mac, I referred to him as Our Mac because he was such an important part of the extended New Orleans family. Dr. John died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 77.
There’s usually only one degree of separation between your humble blogger and even the best known New Orleanian. I had the pleasure of some brief encounters with Our Mac but did not know him personally. I have friends who knew him well and one of the advantages of social media is hearing their stories. Like most New Orleanians, Mac was an unpretentious and friendly man. It’s why we feel so close to our local heroes. But their realness is a quality that seems to be receding like the Louisiana coastline.
Our Mac spoke his own language. It’s often described as “hipster patois” but I’m not fond of the term. It made him sound like a a man-bun wearing Bywater dweller who was always looking for the next trend to hop on. Mac was a trend-setter, not a trend-hopper. My favorite Dr. John-ism was on the subject of Katrina and the Federal Flood, he said that we were “traumaticalized.” Yeah, you right, Mac.
The music is what mattered most to Mac. He had wide-ranging musical tastes and was open to new players and styles even in his Seventies. Be it funk, blues, jazz, rock, R&B, or standards, Mac translated the music and Dr. John-ized it. His gruff, husky, and heavily New Orleans accented voice was instantly recognizable even in jingles or Disney tunes. Eclectic thy name was Dr. John.
This is the second major blow to New Orleans culture this week. Chef Leah Chase died at the age of 96. I’ll have more to say about her tomorrow. It’s a sad but fitting coincidence that these two greats died this week: they both contributed mightily to who and what we are as a city. The grief for both is genuine as are the fears that what they represented is slipping away.
New Orleans is blessed with some fine music writers who have already chimed in about Our Mac’s passing:
What’s a tribute to Dr. John without some music? I decided to focus on his love of music from the Great American Songbook, which he, of course, Dr. John-ized.
We begin with a happy song to mark this sad occasion:
Mac loved Johnny Mercer:
Since Mac was New Orleans royalty (including his reign as Krewe du Vieux King in 2010) he had a natural affinity with Duke Ellington:
Finally, I’ve had Mac’s take on this Leadbelly classic in my head ever since hearing the news:
Goodnight, Mac. I’ll see you in my dreams.
Dr. A and I went to the symphony book sale last weekend. Paul Drake found the boxes containing our purchases. I hope he doesn’t expect us to follow the directions
75 years ago today marked the beginning of the end of Nazi tyranny in Europe. It was a day on which young men sacrificed their lives on the bloody beaches of Normandy to defeat the scourge of Nazism. It’s an important chapter in the history of both the United States and Europe. It resulted in the post-war formation of NATO and later the European Union; institutions that have prevented the outbreak of a continent wide war since 1945.
There are many fine articles on the internet about D-Day. Here are links to some of them:
The Man Who Told America The Truth About D-Day by David Chrisinger. A piece about the great war correspondent, Ernie Pyle.
I Never Saw My Grandfather’s Secret D-Day Journal by Barry Svrluga.
The next three pieces were posted by Dr. A on her Facebook feed:
Remembering The Man Who Built The Natonal World War II Museum by Eric Paulsen and Dominic Massa. A tribute to the late UNO historian Stephen Ambrose the author of Band Of Brothers.
Saving Private Ryan Got My Dad To Finally Talk About The War by Ben Mankiewicz. Ben is, of course, the prime-time host at Turner Classic Movies.
Speaking of TCM, they’re doing a month-long tribute, WWII In The Movies: Allied Powers. The movies will run every Thursday in June. The series begins with D-Day movies today.
The Trump Family Freak Show tour of Europe moved to the sacred beaches of Normandy today. There have been many cringe-worthy moments: from Trump’s ill-fitting monkey suit to his late night twitter fight with the Divine Miss M to his confusion as to whether Ireland is an independent country. Pro Tip: It is, Donald. Have you ever heard of Michael Collins or Eamon de Valera? Of course not. Perhaps you should watch the movie with Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman.
How small he is! Small in spirit, in valor, in dignity, in statecraft, this American president who knows nothing of history and cares still less and now bestrides Europe with his family in tow like some tin-pot dictator with a terrified entourage.
To have Donald Trump — the bone-spur evader of the Vietnam draft, the coddler of autocrats, the would-be destroyer of the European Union, the pay-up-now denigrator of NATO, the apologist for the white supremacists of Charlottesville — commemorate the boys from Kansas City and St. Paul who gave their lives for freedom is to understand the word impostor. You can’t make a sculpture from rotten wood.
It’s worth saying again. If Europe is whole and free and at peace, it’s because of NATO and the European Union; it’s because the United States became a European power after World War II; it’s because America’s word was a solemn pledge; it’s because that word cemented alliances that were not zero-sum games but the foundation for stability and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.
Of this, Trump understands nothing. Therefore he cannot comprehend the sacrifice at Omaha Beach 75 years ago. He cannot see that the postwar trans-Atlantic achievement — undergirded by the institutions and alliances he tramples upon with such crass truculence — was in fact the vindication of those young men who gave everything.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Here’s what an American president who I voted against twice said on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day:
Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.
These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.
Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.”
We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We’re bound by reality. The strength of America’s allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe’s democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.
It shows you how bad things are that I gave Ronald Reagan the last word
No, you don’t have to hold an impeachment vote tomorrow, but yes, as Adrastos noted in a comment thread last week (and yeah, the reply was to me), call it what it is. Control the narrative. Trump’s already been too normalized. We’ve got blind, dumb luck to thank if we’ve not been hurt by his policies (while some people HAVE been hurt).
Move the process forward. Besides, if you do it right, you can negate any attempt by McConnell to sandbag. Investigate thoroughly, hold hearings, and sure, if it just happens that Trump’s impeachment is an October surprise…surprise.
And if that’s not enough to prevent his re-election, then…I don’t know what. Welcome to the Hunter Thompson nation of “used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”
But not fighting is the surest way to lose. By not fighting the Overton window’s been moved so far to the right that Barack Obama was labeled a socialist, Bill Clinton was impeached, and Hillary Clinton was slimed as a crook — slimed by Donald Fucking Trump.
And Trump thinks/assumes he’ll get away with it…like he always does.
Well, he will if they let him.
Today’s the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Europe invasion. Democrats, it’s not like we’re asking you to storm the beaches. We’re asking you to show a little spine in the face of a guy who’s a con, a cheat, a bluffer…a horse’s ass. Take control of the narrative and above all, don’t lay down to him. Please. We’re asking nicely.
W.R. Burnett is best known for hardboiled crime fiction novels that were turned into movies: Little Caesar, High Sierra, The Asphalt Jungle, and Nobody Lives Forever. He also wrote the odd book set in the West. Pale Moon is one of them:
I’ve been on the fence about 2020. I find myself at risk of getting splinters so it’s time to dismount and take a stand. I decided to put my pen name in the post title so y’all wouldn’t think this was *the* First Draft position when it’s mine, all mine. Besides, who among us doesn’t like their name in lights? Bright lights, big city and all that rot.
I’ve been closely following the early stages of the primary race. The field of 23 may be unwieldy but it shows the strength of the Democratic party. It’s an impressive group but one candidate has impressed me more than the rest: Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Warren checks all the boxes for me. She’s smart, tough, experienced, an excellent speaker, a good retail politician, and, most importantly, she knows *why* she wants to be president and *what* she’ll do if elected. The ability to govern should be higher on the list of things Democrats want from our next nominee.
Warren’s economic policy chops are deservedly celebrated. I’d like to discuss some of her other ideas. There are two of particular interest to me. First, she favors the abolition of the electoral college. Second, she wants to enact a law to establish the principle that a sitting president can be indicted. The current situation has resulted in the Current Occupant believing that he can violate the law with impunity. That must stop. No American should be above the law.
I’ve urged our readers to take the time to read the Mueller Report. Elizabeth Warren has done so. She came to the conclusion that Trump has committed crimes and must be punished. Thanks to the damn fool DOJ rule, impeachment is the only sanction available. It’s not an entirely satisfactory solution as it’s merely an invitation to the Senate to remove a president. But it’s the only arrow in the quiver right now. Senator Warren understands that we must fire it regardless of the consequences. As I argued last week, it could be politically ruinous for Democrats to fail to act. Courage is required. As the first presidential candidate to come out for impeachment, Elizabeth Warren has shown that she won’t run from this fight.
The reason it took me so long to support her candidacy was the way Team Warren botched the ancestry question. They should have kept it simple. Family stories have a way of not being true. That’s what happened with Warren’s belief that she had Native American ancestry. It was an old family story that turned out to be wrong. Everyone I’ve ever met from Oklahoma is convinced that they have Native American blood; some do, most don’t.
The Democratic nominee in 2020 must be tough and a fighter. Elizabeth Warren has those qualities as well as an unique ability to explain complex issues in terms that people understand. She’s a Senator who does not speak Senatorese.
There’s a palpable feeling among Democrats that our next nominee should NOT be a white male. Women have led the resistance and, along with people of color, spurred Democrats on to victory in the midterms. It’s their turn to lead the party. Senator Warren has the right stuff to withstand the brutal and dishonest assault that the Trumpers will mount against any Democrat in the next general election. They’ve already come after her and she’s still standing.
There’s a long way to go and anything can happen. I will support whoever the Democratic party nominates but I hope that it’s Elizabeth Warren. I believe she’s the right person to lead us out of the wilderness and clean up the mess made by the Trump regime.
My admiration for Elizabeth Warren exploded on the day Mitch McConnell tried to bully her into silence on the Senate floor. To this day, his words ring in my ears: “Nevertheless, she persisted.”
That’s what we need in our next president, someone who will persist regardless of the odds. Repeat after me: Elizabeth Warren has the right stuff.
Leon Redbone was a world class character. He burst on the music scene with his retro stylings in the late 1970’s and kept at it until his death last week at the age of 69.
Redbone was as mysterious and enigmatic as a Le Carre character. His web site even claimed that he was 126 when he passed. They could not let down the side.
The best thing I’ve ever read about the man and his music was published in the Oxford American last March. Meghan Pugh’s piece was titled Vesel Of Antiquity. She nailed Leon Redbone’s style and mystique.
Redbone’s album covers were always interesting. Below are two of them side-by-side:
In lieu of the albums, here’s a poorly lit 1981 live performance by the man, the myth:
The cats are now adult enough to utterly ignore us when they’re not actively fucking with us, but they both seem to instinctively know when we’re out of sorts. Kick had a minor sleep regression and Slade was ON HER the entire time, headbutting and rubbing and purring and nudging her for pets. I had a minor mental health regression and Ada glued herself to me whenever I sat down on the couch.
They’re sweet beasts.
The middle is actually the middle of the Democratic Party. And compromise needs to happen within that party. And actually we only need that party, because the other party is consumed by the need to constantly throw poo:
Democratic legislators know that Pritzker will have their backs should any of this spring session’s votes haunt them in the next campaign cycle. He has enough money under his couch cushions to fund their campaigns.
Pritzker also truly believes in this stuff. Where others settled for tiny increases in the minimum wage, Pritzker is nearly doubling it. When his most recent Democratic predecessors either rejected income tax hikes or insisted they be “temporary,” Pritzker went all out and proposed permanently raising taxes on the top 3 percent of earners. Gov. Pat Quinn reluctantly signed a way too restrictive medical marijuana bill into law. Pritzker enthusiastically pushed for legalization.
This much change this quickly can frighten people. So, we’ll see what the future holds. But for now, the governor and his supporters can bask in a bit of glory.
Summary for the uninitiated: Illinois was a clusterfuck for four years under Bruce Rauner, then elected a Democratic governor and whole lot more Democratic representatives, who then proceeded to do popular things. Wild times.
I’ve been saying for years that Republicans don’t need to be saved. AMERICA badly needs to be saved, but the Republican Party serves no purpose to the Republic unless it chooses to do so and SPOILER ALERT FROM 1954 it ain’t making that choice. Totebagger Nation likes to talk about some imagined glory days when “both sides” could get things done by coming together and reaching across the aisle and compromising and giving each other handies in the cloakroom and such. But you get a lot more done when you simply vote the Republicans out.
We don’t need them in order to run the country. A whole assload of my fellow white liberals have convinced themselves we do, because how else are we going to make sure Butthole, West Virginia and the suburbs of Milwaukee are adequately heard in the halls of power if not by listening sincerely to some mouthbreathing Cletus tell a joint session that Little Golden Books make kids gay. But what if we didn’t owe Cletus-Americans a hearing? What if they get what they get, which is their chosen representative, and nothing else? What if we stop trying to compromise with them and just vote in enough Democrats that they don’t matter?
I am so tired of being told we need to bend over forwards and back to give people who have no interest in governing a shot at government. If a bunch of poo-flinging zoo animals get elected to throw poo, we can respect the wishes of their constituents by acknowledging the animals’ existence but we are not obligated to throw poo. Let them do it in their corner, may it grow smaller by the day.
For those who fetishize centrism, here’s what it actually looks like: Legal but limited abortion rights. Legal but limited gun ownership. Legal but limited immigration. A general reluctance to go to war, but if we get pissed off enough, so be it. People being fed and housed and taught to read and given healthcare in some accessible, imperfect fashion that probably puts too much pressure on them. Welfare for businesses that have 10 employees instead of 100. I dunno, subsidies for art that doesn’t suck.
(I don’t, of course, agree with all of those provisions, but this is about the center, not about me.)
All of that is basically the Democratic Party. There is push and pull within, of course, but that push and pull is the politics of which our media-historian complex is so fond. If what we really want is a politics that compromises and finds the center, fine, but let’s recognize where that center actually is. It isn’t in the cage, all covered in poo.
The Insult Comedian is in woody old England. He’s already insulted London Mayor Sadiq Khan, endorsed Boris Johnson, and praised Nigel Farage. Trump is a fan of Brexit, which he regards as linked to his own election. His ambassador to the UK is New York Jets (talk about “stone cold losers”) owner, Woody Johnson, who raised a ruckus Sunday by stating that *every* part of the British economy would be on the table in trade talks with the Trump regime including the National Health Service. The NHS is a cow so sacred that it was exempt from the Thatcherite privatization mania of the 1980’s. The Tories, however, may be stupid and/or desperate enough to go for it thereby pulling Labour’s chestnuts out of the fire. Stay tuned.
The reason I went on about Trump’s unstately state visit is that we have a new British import to the former colonies: milkshaking. It made its British debut with Limey wingnuts, Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage and popped up in the land of Key Lime pie yesterday:
The milkshaker was Amanda Leigh Kondrat’yev who ran against Gaetz in 2016. (Gaetz can be seen in the featured image hitchhiking with Trumpberius.) Conservative media is disgusted and I’m amused. The burning question is what flavor to use whilst milkshaking. If I were so inclined, I’d opt for something that would stain: strawberry or chocolate. The likes of Gaetz are a major stain on the body politic, after all.
The kids tell me there’s a song called Milkshake but I prefer to ride into the sunset with the earworm I came in on:
Oh dear. In spite of Orange Julius’s economic advisers (the ones he hasn’t fired yet, anyway) telling him that this was just about as good an idea as pissing on an electric fence…
There’s a new tariff in town!
June 10th, United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico
Real Donald Trump Twitter ^ | May 30, 2019
Posted on 5/30/2019, 6:50:28 PM by SMGFan
On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,..
….at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.
market down right now on the news.
Do they, now?
(skipping about a hundred posts about how only avocados and tequila are going to get more expensive)
One Freeper points out the obvious.
You do realize that Mexico actually won’t pay he tariffs, right? China doesn’t pay the tariffs either. The American businesses that import the goods actually pay the tariffs. That’s how a tariff works. It’s not like a Mexican truck full of avocados is now going to get charged a 5% tax at the border. The importer pays that when it gets delivered and hen they pass that on to the store and they pass that on to you.
No industry journalist has any business blaming any part of what’s happened to newspapers on the Internet:
Its coffers still full from last year’s sale of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago-based Tribune Publishing announced Thursday it will pay a special cash dividend of $56 million to shareholders.
It will be the first dividend paid to shareholders since Tribune Publishing spun off in August 2014 as a stand-alone company and significantly shrinks a cash pile that made it both a potential buyer of other media properties and an acquisition target.
The company, which owns the Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, had $98.2 million in unrestricted cash at the end of the first quarter, according to financial reports. Between the upcoming dividend payment and other recent expenses, the projected cash balance would be about $25 million.
But here we are:
The urge to merge comes as the newspaper industry faces secular revenue declines and a challenging transformation from print to digital platforms.
The newspaper industry faces revenue declines but still has shitloads of money it chooses to pay out to shareholders because publicly trading a company that owns this Democracy Dies in Darkness Fourth Estate Public Trust Journalism Is More Important Than Ever is FUCKING INSANE.
I mean good Christ, the paper you could run for $56 million. The paper you could run for $5 million. For years the “print platform” depended on generating enough revenue that sexual-harasser slush funds and 20 percent profit margins could be masked by hand-over-fist revenue and nobody knew how to make do except the constantly reshuffling newsrooms where the people who did the work we were all told was so critical to America were chewed up and spit out. Even before the mobile Internet, shit, before wifi, we were told there was no money. All the while, buckets, and none of it got saved because we had to keep the shareholders happy.
And perhaps the industry, or at least the journalists who like to lecture the mildest of critics on the Internet about how sacred their work is, might want to work less on transforming from print to digital platforms and more on transforming from a “business model” that NEVER WORKED to one that does.
There’s a new PBS kids’ show (look, we avoid constant harping for toys by refusing to watch anything with commercials, let me have the Wild Kratts, okay?) that focuses on Native Alaskans:
While everyone loves a good mystery, what makes this podcast (and TV series) truly groundbreaking is that all the indigenous characters are voiced by indigenous actors, and Alaska Native voices are featured across the production, including in story development and creative direction. The theme song, which is featured in the PBS KIDS series and podcast, is sung by members of the Yupik Alaska Native band Pamyua, with music from Gwich’in fiddler Brennan Firth.
Kick has been obsessed since the first preview and is demanding information and books and maps of Alaska ever since.
Summer colds are the worst. I have one so I’m keeping this introduction brief. This time I mean it.
This week’s theme song, Wooden Ships, was written in 1968 by David Crosby, Paul Kantner, and Stephen Stills. There are two original versions of this song but I’m posting the Crosby, Stills & Nash one first because it was released in May of 1969 whereas Jefferson Airplane’s version came out that November.
Now that we’ve fled planet Earth, let’s jump into the void, I mean, jump to the break. I’m not sure if Kantner, Crosby, and Stills provided parachutes. They were hippies so I have my doubts. I’ll guess we’ll find out on the other side.
I shouldn’t still be going on about my Top 50 list at the Bayou Brief BUT I have an unexpected fan:
I’m glad the Senator or whoever does his social media (it also turned up on Twitter) enjoyed the list. I somehow doubt they know that the Bayou Brief is a liberal publication or that I’m a pro-impeachment blogger who calls his president* the Insult Comedian and the Kaiser of Chaos. Thanks, Double Bill.
Since the river is dangerously high in Baton Rouge, the last word goes to John Boutte’s live version of the number one Louisiana Tune:
I was hoping not to have to write this post but the Gret Stet lege has joined with Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri to pass a so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill. Compounding the horror is the failure to include exceptions for rape and incest. It’s the latest frontal assault on Roe vs. Wade since the Kavanaugh appointment.
Making matters worse is that a Democratic Governor who I voted for and support on other issues, John Bel Edwards, signed the bill into law. I am disappointed but not shocked as he never hid his views. I had hoped, however, that his anti-abortion views were not this extreme. I wish he had at least given lip service to the aforementioned exceptions. That’s what happened when Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed anti-choice legislation back in 2006. There was even a Gret Stet miracle in 1990 when Gov. Buddy Roemer vetoed an anti-abortion bill. There are no miracles in 2019.
Here’s what the Governor said about his decision:
I strongly disagree that this is a common garden variety disagreement. The fundamental issue is respect for women and their right to control their own destiny. It’s a dark day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.
Louisiana liberals are on the horns of a dilemma. Here’s my personal plan: I will vote for Edwards but it will be a clothespin vote. I will not actively support Edwards and will not argue with people who cannot support him because of this dreadful bill. I completely understand why they feel that way and respect their views.
Unfortunately, Edwards is the best we can do in deep red Louisiana. Any Republican will be much, much worse. The lesser of two evils rule is depressingly in effect.
Goddam Louisiana, goddam.
Here are Della Street and Paul Drake atop the latest iteration of the tower of terror. Della is smirking as always but Paul looks like a bad ass. Trust me, he’s not.