Monday, April 23, 2012

Blue Monday, Pink Anderson edition

"Which one's Pink?"

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Joe Pac!

Sheriff Joe wants to take our country back...from what, he doesn't say.

I won't be intimidated by anyone.
The Mexican Drug Cartel has placed a $1 million bounty on my head and I receive death threats every day. Why? Because I am doing the job I was elected to do!
I don't think it's the Mexican Drug Cartel that keeps him up at night.


FDR liked his martinis

Timothy Egan makes the connection between consumption of adult beverages in the White House and the competency of the first resident.

Another Oval Office abstainer was William Howard Taft, who made such a mess of his single term that he came in third when he tried to get re-elected in 1912. Food was Taft’s vice; he ballooned to nearly 350 pounds at one point.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a martini drinker, much to Eleanor’s displeasure, and an extraordinary president. Again, was there a connection? Solving a Great Depression and crushing the Nazi war machine — aided by the oft-besotted Winston Churchill — is a pretty strong brief.
In his younger days, F.D.R. knew how to plan ahead. He had four cases of Old Reserve delivered to his town house on East 65th Street just before Prohibition went into effect.
Which brings us to the Great Experiment, 1920 to 1933, when fanatics outlawed an accepted public behavior that had existed since well before Jesus changed water into wine to keep a wedding party going at Cana. Prohibition, W. C. Fields recalled, was a time “when I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.”
According to Daniel Okrent, author of “Last Call,” Herbert Hoover once had a large wine cellar. His wife gave it all away before Hoover’s disastrous single term. Hmmm.
 The connection between Hoover, Carter, and Bush the younger is clear.

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Levon Helm, corrections edition

So I did a post mourning Levon Helms and seem to have inserted two very unintentional videos to accompany it.

Any way, here's the post I intended to deliver.

Rest in peace.

In Mr. Helm’s drumming, muscle, swing, economy and finesse were inseparably merged. His voice held the bluesy, weathered and resilient essence of his Arkansas upbringing in the Mississippi Delta.  

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Ted Nugent gets uninvited

Citing inflammatory language while expressing his displeasure with President Barack Obama, the military has uninvited rock star and conservative political activist Ted Nugent from performing at Fort Knox in Kentucky, according to the U.S. Army post's Facebook page.

"After learning of opening act Ted Nugent's recent public comments about the president of the United States, Fort Knox leadership decided to cancel his performance on the installation," it's Facebook posting says.

So far, the June 23 concert remains on the Fort Knox schedule, with REO Speedwagon and Styx listed as "co-headliners," but army personnel said they will grant requests for refunds in light of their decision to nix the opening act.

And no, I'm not celebrating the loss of free speech suffered by a "faded 70s rocker," I'm celebrating the fact that there still are boundaries beyond which someone should be shunned by the community.


Friday, April 20, 2012


Via Garth, Levon on mandolin.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Barney Frank is saying dumb things

The Affordable Care Act is not what brought down the House in 2010.  It was a disastrous, still-reeling economy; a sense that "others" were getting "bailed out," whether banks or under water home owners; a bubbling hatred for that Mooslim Indonesian black guy in the White House and the evil Nancy Pelosi; and low turnout by the Democratic party's natural constituents.

Barney seems to forget that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner were committed to opposing the president and foiling his re-election from day one, regardless what piece of legislation Obama would have pursued.

And, oh yeah, it's still "a big fucking deal."

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Accuracy in journalism, faded rock star edition

Nice to see the AP get it right.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Secret Service is reportedly investigating faded '70s rock star Ted Nugent for his recent insistence he'll be "dead or in jail" in a year's time if President Barack Obama is re-elected in November.
 The use of words like "sub-human," "vile," etc., are good indicators of what we're up against, people.  As Charlie Pierce (and you should click on that link to listen to a non-faded rock star) would say, this is your democracy. Cherish it.

UPDATE:  Should have made the connection.  Our thoughts are with Levon and his family.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Stay the course!

Oh my, I'm not sure these people understand the terms "Winning," "war" or "women."  In fact, I don't think they know what "on" means either.

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Blue Monday, James Cotton edition

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Andrew Love, tenor sax for The Memphis Horns

Rest in peace.

Andrew Love, a tenor saxophonist who as half of the Memphis Horns helped define what came to be known as the Memphis sound, infusing 83 gold and platinum records with instrumental buoyancy, died on Thursday at his home in Memphis. He was 70.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Willie.
Mr. Love was black, tall and laid back. His musical partner, the trumpeter Wayne Jackson, was white, short and intense. After meeting at Stax Records in the mid-1960s, they became a singular musical force, backing up label performers like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and Isaac Hayes. They went on to add ballast and blast to soul performers on other labels, like Atlantic’s Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett.

The Memphis Horns helped shape classic records like Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.” They backed up Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, the Doobie Brothers, Joe Cocker, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Gabriel, U2, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, B. B. King and Robert Cray.

When Mr. Love and Mr. Jackson toured, they sometimes hired others to expand their sound. But the preponderance of their work was in the studio, where they added their artistry to recordings they had never heard before.

They worked out their arrangements spontaneously. After listening to a few bars of a recording, Mr. Love might “hear” a saxophone lick and Mr. Jackson a trumpet lick, Mr. Love told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis in 1996. They would devise lines on the spot and hum them to each other, then practice them briefly and record their parts twice, effectively doubling the instruments. The third time through, Mr. Jackson would add a part on trombone. 

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Newark mayor is superman, apparently

Corey Booker, who's been making quite a name for himself around these parts, runs into burning buildings to save his constituents.

One resident of the burned building, Coley Whittaker, 67, a retired truck driver, said that Mr. Booker and his bodyguards came charging into the building telling the residents to get out. Mr. Whittaker said he did not even know the structure was on fire.

“He said, ‘Everybody get out of here; y’all got a fire here,’ ” Mr. Whittaker said. “And I came by my door and he was right.”

Mr. Whittaker and his landlady then briefly tried to put out the fire before deciding to leave. The woman the mayor saved was in another part of the building.

“He probably saved everybody’s life,” Mr. Whittaker said of the mayor. “If he hadn’t came up there, we would never have known it was on fire.”

Jacquline Williams, 64, the mother of the woman Mr. Booker saved, was still stunned on Friday morning. “I don’t know what to say,” she said. “Thank God, thank Cory Booker, thank his detectives.”
She said her daughter would most likely come home from the hospital on Saturday.

Detective Rodriguez, who has been on Mayor Booker’s security detail since June, said Mr. Booker rushed into the burning home still wearing his suit and tie. He said Mr. Booker followed him to the second floor, where they heard the woman’s cry from the other side of the burning kitchen. Small explosions sounded and flames covered the walls and ceiling, he said.

“She yelled she was in the back room,” the detective said.

Mr. Booker tried to go through the burning kitchen, but Detective Rodriguez said he held him back and the two “exchanged words.”

“I said: ‘I can’t let you in; that’s my job. I have to keep you from danger,’ ” Detective Rodriguez said.
Again Mr. Booker tried to charge into the flames and again Rodriguez restrained him, this time by his belt. 

The two had words a second time.

“It was probably a two-minute altercation but it seemed like longer, he basically said to me, ‘If I don’t go in, this lady’s going to die,’ ” the detective said. 


Thursday, April 12, 2012


It's not the Austrian Warmbloods I find so amusing.  It's the fear of being seen wearing a pink tie.

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The 93 percent

It's true that women have lost more jobs then men since, literally, the day Obama took office (the Inauguration ceremonies weren't enough stimulus, I guess).  The trouble for Romney is the reason for that.

Facing a double-digit deficit among female voters, likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has accused the White House of waging an economic "war on women." Since Obama took office in January 2009, he's charged, an amazing 92 percent of all job losses have been among women. 

He's absolutely right. In the last 26 months, U.S. payrolls have shrunk by 740,000 jobs and of those, 683,000 belonged to women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But Romney should be careful with his talking point. All those women who lost work? About two-thirds of them were laid off from government jobs. And a lot of them lived in states governed by Republicans. 
The Romney campaign is counting job losses that occurred literally the day Obama took office, which is a bit like blaming the fire fighter for not traveling back in time to stop the fire. It also ignores the fact that, before women started losing work en masse, millions of men had already been handed pink slips. Between December 2007 and January 2009, about 3.3 million men lost their jobs, versus 1.2 million women. Was President Bush waging a war on Y chromosomes? Hardly. That's just the natural pattern of a recession. Male dominated fields like construction and manufacturing are more sensitive to the ups and downs of the economy, so when times get tough, their jobs tend to disappear faster, and in larger numbers. Women, who are concentrated in fields like healthcare, government, and education, tend to feel the pain less severely. 

So, a "small government conservative" is attacking Obama for state governments...getting smaller. Oh. The. Irony. Mitt.  Even better, most of the job losses were in states governed by Republicans.

Another Excellent Talkingpoint from the Romney campaign.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Derbyshire's racist screed, just another victim of the Leftist Machine

Roy, while observing the reaction of his Weekly Standard colleagues to Derb's firing by his conservative editor ("the left is shutting down debate," why can only black people say the 'n-word?'", yada yada yada), has a piece of advice for those who "loudly assert" they don't see race even as they obsess about others' inferiority:

Let's say there was some truth to the idea that liberals are mau-mauing you -- using their Svengali influence over black people to make you look like racists. What would the smart reaction to that be? It would be to act like a normal human being; that is, to blow it off, to make nothing of it, and to rely on your impeccably non-racist example to show the world what these awful people say about you is untrue. If it feels tough at times, you could always pray for strength from that God you're always yapping about.

In other words, the smart thing is to actually be, and behave like, the person you are always loudly insisting you are -- unconcerned with race, not even recognizing it, a good friend to all humankind, etc. But the "loudly insisting" part seems more important to you than anything else. It's like you can't help yourself -- anytime you come within range of a racial issue, you have to start talking about it. And you talk rubbish.

Had you been paying attention to, oh, anything when you were growing up, you would have observed that whenever you go on and on about what a [insert positive model here] you are, one result is almost inevitable -- you make a fucking idiot of yourself. You start explaining why, though you buy everything in The Bell Curve about black people being inferior to white people, that doesn't mean you can't treat them as equals, and isn't that what really matters? At which point everyone in the room is giving you the "Springtime for Hitler" stare, and you find yourself wondering yet again why you're always so persecuted by the Thought Police.

I mean this sincerely: You would gain a lot more at this point by giving up than by fighting. You could concentrate on the core strengths of conservatism -- tax breaks for the wealthy and hatred of homosexuals -- and hope for that to win you enough rubes to carry the day.

This might help: Try and forget that Obama is black. Try to suppress that swelling feeling in your gut when you see people cheering for him, or hear the band playing "Hail to the Chief"... oh, but I can see that just my mentioning it has got you drafting another explanatory essay. Well, I did what I could.


"The Critic"

Loving Fidel

Baseball and politics!  Ozzie Guillen makes "the worst mistake" of his life.  Surely there's some way this can be injected in the presidential race.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Portrait of a centrist

The Ryan/Romney juggernaut staggers forward, ensuring permanent unemployment for millions.

Hundreds of thousands of unemployed people are desperate for new skills to pull them back into the job market, but when they visit a job-training center, they are often turned away. As Motoko Rich reported in The Times on Monday, Seattle’s seven centers had money to train only 5 percent of the 120,000 people who came in last year seeking new skills, and the numbers are similar elsewhere.
The reason: drastic cuts to federal spending on training over the last six years, including $1 billion since the 2010 fiscal year. Even though training programs are already harder to get into than Ivy League universities, Republicans in the House want to put them even further out of reach.
Last month, the House passed a 2013 budget written by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin that would reduce spending in the category of Education, Training, Employment and Social Services by $16 billion from the previous year, or 22 percent, on top of all the cuts forced by Republicans over several years. The cut in that category is typical of a budget that savages precisely the kind of domestic spending, like job training and Pell grants, needed to help people get off social-safety-net programs, while slicing open the net itself, through big reductions in Medicaid and food stamps (all while generously lowering taxes for the rich).
Mr. Ryan lacked the courage to provide the details of how sharply his budget would affect popular programs like job training or state aid to education. That task, he says cynically, will be left to the appropriating committees in Congress. When a critic like President Obama tries to point out which programs will inevitably suffer when a broad category is sharply cut, Mr. Ryan’s allies, including Mitt Romney, rush in to claim that no such cut was specified in the budget. They want it both ways: to win support from those who don’t care about social programs, without ever having to detail the pain the cuts would cause. 

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Blue Monday, Big Mama Thornton edition

Arguments with dining room tables, vol. XXIX

Friday, April 06, 2012

The GOP doesn't just hate women, they hate caterpillars too

"If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Reince Priebus told Bloomberg Television, in response to a question about the party's supposed "war on women." "It's a fiction." 

Except, in both cases, it's not a fiction.

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"The Marshall crunch"

Mr. Bran suggested that they build their own amplifiers, and brought in a young engineer, Dudley Craven, to help them. They collected ideas from musicians about creating a fuzzier, more rambunctious sound then in demand. The sound became known as “the Marshall crunch.”

The first model, made in 1962, attracted 23 orders the first day. Two years later Mr. Marshall had 16 people in a factory making 20 amplifiers a week. Exports began in 1964 with an order from Roy Orbison. More growth followed as the company supplied mammoth sound systems to acts like Deep Purple and Elton John.

One of Mr. Marshall’s biggest breaks came in 1967 when Hendrix visited his showroom. In just months Hendrix would have a huge hit with his album “Are You Experienced,” but at the time, Mr. Marshall recalled, he thought the guitarist was “just another American chap wanting things for free.” Hendrix assured him that he intended to pay, and ultimately bought four complete stage setups.

“He was our greatest ambassador, without a doubt,” said Mr. Marshall, who considered Hendrix the best guitarist ever. 
Jim Marshall, rest in peace.

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Baseball is hard

There is, most definitely, crying in baseball.

General Manager Brian Cashman, seeking more catching depth, traded the right-handed pitcher George Kontos to the San Francisco Giants for their backup catcher, Chris Stewart, and optioned Cervelli to Class AAA Empire State.

Cashman explained that he made the trade to reinforce the Yankees’ catching because the minor leaguer Austin Romine’s back injury has not healed. Cervelli, his eyes watery and red after the meeting, was gutted by the news.

“I’m disappointed with it, but that’s not going to change anything,” Cervelli said. “In my life I’ve had to do things double and triple, and if they want me to prove I can catch in the big leagues, then I’ll go there and prove that I have to be here. That’s it.”

The trade and the demotion of Cervelli were the only unexpected roster moves the Yankees made Wednesday. 

They also added the left-hander Clay Rapada to their bullpen, where he will join another left-hander, Boone Logan, and promoted David Phelps to be the long reliever. To make room, the Yankees placed starter Michael Pineda on the disabled list and designated outfielder Justin Maxwell for assignment.

“This was as tough as I’ve had to do,” Girardi said.

Cervelli was sent to the minors because he still has options left and Stewart does not. If the Yankees wanted to send Stewart down, he would have had to clear waivers. 

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The capitalists' complaint

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Freedom from an intrusive government

While you can't tell the fate of the individual mandate or the ACA from the musings of a couple of justices in oral arguments, it is surely heartening that while they are troubled by the intrusive hands all over my freeeeeedooom to not have health insurance, they got no problem with strip searches for unpaid fines.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.
“Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails.
The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures. 

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Monday, April 02, 2012

Giving a new meaning to "poll workers"

Well, things seem to be...ahem...heating up in the GOP primary.

Per ABC News' Emily Friedman, Ann Romney told Baltimore WBAL radio that she's working to show another side of her husband. Asked about criticism that Romney is "too stiff," Ann Romney laughed and replied, "I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out because he is not!"


Blue Monday, Earl Scruggs edition

Though not really blues, bluegrass is essentially a longing for something...and I wasn't able to remark on the passing of the great Earl Scruggs last week.

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Mitt Romney and Pink Slime

Considering what Romneybot has been doing to his opponents all these many months of the clown parade known as the Republican presidential primary season, and will do to President Obama once the Romneyapalooza drags its worn and sorry ass over the nomination finish line, this comes as no surprise.

The company at the center of a national controversy over ammonia-treated beef byproducts – known in the media as “pink slime” – is headed by a major donor to Mitt Romney’s political action committees.
Of course, for  Republicans, some science is more valid than others.

We’ve asked the Romney campaign if they intend to weigh in on the “pink slime” issue – as far as I’m aware, Romney has not yet done so – or comment on the donations. A number of Republican governors, including Rick Perry and Sam Brownback, issued a statement this week defending beef manufacturers and the treated meat under fire as a “safe, nutricious product that is backed by sound science.”
 Via our great national treasure, Charles Pierce.

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