Friday, March 30, 2012

Cover of the Rolling Stone

Hilarious old song written by Shel Silverstein, explaining how rock stars have all the friends that money can buy, so they never have to be aloooone.

A real gem from the 70s, enjoy.

Cover of the Rolling Stone - Dr Hook and the Medicine Show

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts on Fake Schooling

This lovely Wisteria patch is blooming beautifully--right outside the WFIS radio studios in Fountain Inn--home of the Daisy Deadhead radio show. (Podcast is up!)








There was a bright pink Packard parked in a yard on East North Street for about three weeks or so... I kept meaning to park and take a photograph of it, but the neighborhood gave me pause. Not for nothing do Catholics call the area around Bob Jones University "Ulster"--and I try to whiz through Ulster fast enough that nobody can take a shot at me. Even though I really wanted a photo of the pink Packard (something I'd never seen before), I knew the only places to park would be (eeep) church parking lots. And they'd likely ticket me for trespassing, if their security cameras got a good look at my dreaded lefty bumper stickers. Ulster plays for keeps!

So, I am sorry to say, I did NOT get a photo of the fabled pink Packard. I wonder what the sale price was?

For more news of Ulster, check out the new blog "BJU News"--which actually gives us the real news, not the okeydoke offered up by local BJU-subsidiary, the Greenville News.

And speaking of the Greenville News, Sunday's piece on tech colleges offering job training was SHAMEFUL in its lack of reporting and total acceptance of the status quo. It was one long commercial for technical colleges, as their recent piece on BJU's spring opera season was one long commercial for Bob Jones University. Do they even understand the difference between reporting and press releases? Do they have any clue what real newspapers write about? Have they ever seen the New York Times, or even the Spartanburg Herald?

Sometimes the Greenville News reads like a series of gushing travel pamphlets, advertising the upstate.

Here is my correction to the comical piece titled Tech schools offer path to jobs, lure for industries:

Once upon a time, companies trained their own employees. Really! But as they grew bigger and bigger (read: greedier and greedier), they didn't like paying people to learn, and decided to cut out this (pricey) introductory first step. So, they successfully dumped this expensive first step onto the tech colleges.

Greenville Tech has a Michelin building, for instance, paid for by Michelin to train the Michelin employees. This way, the EMPLOYEE must pay for their own training! Is that capitalist ingenuity or what? The tech college makes a profit and Michelin has a continuous stream of already-trained, job-ready applicants. You can get hired right out of school, just like Goldman Sachs hires kids right out of Harvard.

Unlike those mad Harvard skillz, however, working-class skills do not always transfer to other jobs. Michelin and BMW manufacture things their way, using their own patented materials and procedures, and have their own corporate culture. Experience in these companies may or may not transfer to another job. But that is not the concern of the tech schools. They've made THEIR profit, after all.

So, you have a continuous stream of working class people who must be constantly trained and re-trained. This sets up a revolving door of tech college attendance, as workers must PAY to receive job-training that may not even get them hired, especially in today's economy. It's a pretty good racket, and the Greenville News obviously wants to do their part in keeping that revolving door moving, and keeping those profits rolling in.

But a RACKET it is, and wouldn't it be nice if someone came out and said so?

Sitting here sorting laundry and watching LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT reruns, I am inundated with TV ads for countless cheapy tech schools that offer various vague degrees in "management" and so on. They invariably feature an almost-middle-aged woman of color who looks triumphant and borderline-weepy as she graduates, all while talking about making life better for her children. They know exactly who is unemployed right now, and they have geared these endless commercials for THE TECH COLLEGE RACKET, specifically to them.

Yes, I know someone must draw the blood, style hair, take care of the very old people, change oil in vehicles, prepare restaurant menus and all of that... and they need to be trained to do those jobs. Thus, I suppose these commercials should not make me as angry as they do... but they do. I resent the naked emotional manipulation of desperate unemployed people; the idea being communicated that this economic situation we are all in right now, can be instantly fixed, just by paying a fee to a fly-by-night school nobody ever heard of. All we need is MORE TRAINING.

All we need to do, say the commercials, is STAND UP AND TAKE CONTROL of our lives, at long last. Right?

Right?

Until the next economic crisis, that is. Who, I always wonder, will these people from the fly-by-night colleges be managing with their spanking-new phantom management degrees?

Are there any employees left to manage?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Peter Bergman 1939-2012

I really wanted to title this obituary, "Waiting for Peter Bergman, or someone like him," which I think he would have appreciated.




Instead, decided to be properly respectful and just reprint the New York Times obit:

Peter Bergman, Satirist With the Firesign Theater, Dies at 72
By PAUL VITELLO
Published: March 9, 2012

Peter Bergman, a founding member of the surrealist comedy troupe Firesign Theater, whose albums became cult favorites among college students in the late 1960s and ’70s for a brand of sly, multilayered satire so dense it seemed riddled with non sequiturs until the second, third or 30th listening, died on Friday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 72.

The cause was complications of leukemia, said Jeff Abraham, a spokesman for the group.

Mr. Bergman hosted an all-night radio call-in show on KPFK in Los Angeles beginning in 1966, “Radio Free Oz,” which served as the testing ground for the high-spirited Firesign sensibility. Phil Austin and David Ossman, two other founders of the four-man group, were the producer and director of the show; the fourth founder, Phil Proctor, was a frequent guest.

“We started out as four friends, up all night, taking calls from people on bad acid trips and having the time of our lives,” Mr. Austin said in a phone interview Friday. “And that’s what we always were: four friends talking.”

Mr. Bergman and his friends recorded their first album, “Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him,” in 1968, followed the next year by “How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All?”

By 1970, their mordant humor and their mastery of stereophonic recording techniques had made them to their generation of 20-somethings what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are to today’s (if Mr. Colbert and Mr. Stewart had a weakness for literary wordplay, psychedelic references and jokes about the Counter-Reformation).

Their records employed sound effects in ways considered pioneering in audio comedy at the time. More generally, they were considered important forerunners of comedy shows like “Saturday Night Live.”

Ed Ward, writing in The New York Times in 1972, described the third Firesign album, “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers,” as “a mind-boggling sound drama” and a “work of almost Joycean complexity.”

“It’s almost impossible to summarize any Firesign album,” Mr. Ward wrote, because most of their albums were so filled with “intricate wordplay, stunning engineering and use of sound effects, breakneck pacing and, of course, a terribly complex story line.”

When the Library of Congress placed “Don’t Crush That Dwarf” in its National Recording Registry in 2005, The Los Angeles Times described Firesign Theater as “the Beatles of comedy.”

Mr. Bergman told people the ensemble’s albums, unlike most comedy records, were never made to be listened to just once or twice. “He said our records were made to be heard about 80 times,” Mr. Austin said.

While the ensemble continued making albums for three decades, Mr. Bergman also wrote and produced several one-man shows, including “Help Me Out of This Head,” a 1986 monologue-memoir that drew on his childhood in Cleveland. He also wrote interactive games, including a CD-ROM parody of the popular adventure video game Myst.

Mr. Bergman was born on Nov. 29, 1939, in Cleveland, one of two children of Oscar and Rita Bergman. His parents hosted a radio show in Cleveland when he was growing up, “Breakfast With the Bergmans.” His father also worked as a reporter for The Plain Dealer.

Mr. Bergman graduated from Yale and taught economics there as a Carnegie Fellow. He later attended the Yale School of Drama as a Eugene O’Neill playwriting fellow. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to pursue a writing career.

He is survived by a daughter, Lily Oscar Bergman, and his sister, Wendy Kleckner.

Mr. Bergman got a taste of radio work when he was in high school, according to a biography on Firesign Theater’s official Web site. But he lost his job as an announcer on the school radio system, it said, “after his unauthorized announcement that the Chinese Communists had taken over the school and that a ‘mandatory voluntary assembly was to take place immediately.’ Russell Rupp, the school principal, promptly relieved Peter of his announcing gig. Rupp was the inspiration for the Principal Poop character on ‘Don’t Crush That Dwarf.’ ”
For good or ill, I hold Bergman and Company responsible for much of my rather bizarre sense of humor.

My consigliere posted the following quote from Bergman on Facebook (originally posted on the Firesign website), and I certainly can't improve on it... could any of us improve on Peter Bergman?:
Take heart, dear friends. We are passing through the darkening of the light. We're gonna make it and we're going to make it together. Don't get ground down by cynicism. Don't let depression darken the glass through which you look. This is a garden we live in. A garden seeded with unconditional love. And the tears of the oppressed, and the tears of the frustrated, and the tears of the good will spring those seeds. The flag has been waived. It says occupy. Occupy Wall Street. Occupy the banks. Occupy the nursing homes. Occupy Congress. Occupy the big law offices. Occupy the lobbyists. Occupy...yourself. Because that's where it all comes together. I pledge to you, from this moment on, whatever it means, I'm going to occupy myself.

I love you. See ya tomorrow.
Ah, he's no fun. He fell right over!

Goodbye old friend. We shall not see your like again.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rally photos: "I am Trayvon Martin"

Today in Greenville, Occupiers attended the Justice for Trayvon Martin rally in Cleveland Park. Photos below. (you can click to enlarge)



The choice of the Cleveland Park venue was especially pertinent. Black teenagers have been harassed out of the park repeatedly by local law enforcement. None of the speakers mentioned these past events; the curfews invoked, the constant police surveillance of the park, etc. But for those of us who have lived here long enough, the park's racist history hovered over the entire afternoon, as various speakers talked about their fear for their own sons.

One speaker mentioned that her son, training for the track team at school, began running at all hours of the day and night. At one point, police brought him home, because "he was running." The speaker wondered out loud if it was safe for black men to run at night?

Traci Fant, organizer of the event, was especially moving in her speech, as was Rev. David Kennedy, whom I am proud to say I have demonstrated with before on two occasions. There were about 15-20 preachers in attendance, lending ample moral authority to the protest. Several elected officials, including local legend and political powerhouse Lottie Gibson, were also present and addressed the rally.

Chants of "No Justice! No Peace!" (or, you could say, "Know Justice, Know Peace") and "I am Trayvon Martin" rang through the park, amid all the beautiful flowering trees. I was disappointed that more white people did not attend the rally, but there were some of us. (Why not hundreds?)

When conservatives like Newt Gingrich announce that Barack Obama is "disgraceful" for caring about Trayvon and his family, you have to wonder just who he is pandering to. This must be what they want to hear.

It explains a lot.

~*~

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rally for Trayvon Martin

... will be tomorrow at Cleveland Park in Greenville, South Carolina, at 3pm.

Everyone is invited, and Greenville Occupiers will be there in force.

Some background from WYFF:

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The outcry over the shooting death of a 17-year-old in Florida has spread across the country, including the Upstate.

Police said Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman claims the shooting was self-defense.

A 911 call recorded Zimmerman saying he was following Trayvon, despite a police dispatcher telling him not to. Martin was unarmed, and was carrying only a package of Skittles and a can of tea that he had just purchased at a store. Traci Fant, CEO of think2xtwice.org, lives in Greenville. She has a son who is 16, and she said he goes to the store around the corner from their home all the time.

"I think it put a little fear in him, the thought of the whole thing," Fant said.

The mission of Fant's nonprofit group is to get teens to think before they act. She said she's been keeping an eye on what going on in Florida, and it bothers her.

"God just kept telling me to move on it," she said. "So I started called people and asking people if they wanted to do it."

Fant is organizing a rally at 3 p.m. Saturday in Greenville. "We care," she said. "We care about Trayvon and his family. It symbolizes our children. We really want to send the message that South Carolina cares about what happens around the world."

Fant has the support from other people in the community, including Greenville City Councilwoman Jil Littlejohn. "It could have happened in Greenville -- or it could have happened in any other city across the nation," Littlejohn said.
Indeed, it could have, since South Carolina also has a "Stand Your Ground" law, similar to the one in Florida.

The SC AFL-CIO calls for justice for Trayvon's family and stands with Rep. Sellers to repeal South Carolina's "Stand Your Ground Law.":
COLUMBIA, SC: As the country attempts to understand the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the SC AFL-CIO calls for justice for Trayvon's family and supports Rep. Bakari Sellers' proposed bill to repeal the “stand your ground” provision of South Carolina’s “Protection of Persons and Property Act” enacted in 2006.

"We have long had laws on the books that allowed for legitimate self defense," said SC AFL-CIO Vice President Ken Riley. "These new laws are being used by vigilantes to excuse frontier justice against unarmed people. People of color have a deadly serious reason to fear that this law provides bigots an excuse to shoot somebody as their first option to resolve a problem."

The state's "stand your ground" clause was recently used in the defense of a white Spartanburg home owner who shot a homeless man who was squatting in a vacant house for sale. District Solicitor Barry Barnette said the shooting was justified under the "stand your ground" provision of the state law. "Obviously, your have a right to defend your property," Barnette told the Spartanburg Herald Journal about the shooting.

The SC AFL-CIO believes these unnecessary laws conflict with its commitment to equal rights and due process for all citizens. "These new laws have no place on the books of a society that considers itself civilized," Riley said.

The SC AFL-CIO supports Rep. Sellers’ bill that would strike the section the statute that states, “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in another place where he has a right to be, including, but not limited to, his place of business, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or another person to prevent the commission of a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60."
We will be discussing these issues on my radio show tomorrow morning at 9am, WFIS, 1600AM and/or 94.9FM in upstate South Carolina. And give us a call! Studio phone line: 864-228-WFIS which is also 864-228-9347. To listen via your phone: 724-444-7444, Call ID: 112747#

This gives us a chance to chow down at the Coach House right after the show, and then we will be making our way down to Cleveland Park. I am hoping to meet some of you there.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Links and general notice

Being unemployed means having time to watch my beloved Elizabeth in old movies like "Rhapsody" (1954) with Vittorio Gassman.




Emergency unemployment benefits are running out for South Carolina, however, since as of last month our unemployment rate is lower than the national average. Not exactly sure how that works.

I had some car trouble last week, but I now have a rebuilt transmission and I am ready to rock and roll.

~*~

Timely Linkage:

Corporations Wrote a Law Requiring Climate Denial be Taught in School. Tennessee Just Passed It. (Treehugger)

One Author Tackles Trayvon Martin and the Deadly Legacy of Vigilantism (Colorlines)

You Sank My Battleship: Etch-A-Sketch Gaffe Buries Romney’s Momentum (Politicus USA)

To the meat eaters: PLEASE be careful eating Gulf Coast shrimp! (Southern Beale)

Paul Ryan’s Budget Includes $3 Trillion Giveaway To Corporations, The Rich (Think Progress)

And most worrisome: Supreme Court's Health Care Ruling Could Go Many Different Ways (Huffington Post)

~*~

At left: Amusing and totally true cartoon by David Horsey.

As we see, the Republicans and the Tea Party continue their open war on the people, without interruption. And they aren't even sorry for attempting to destroy the world.

I dunno about yall, but I can't wait for the War Crimes Tribunal.

~*~

And that reminds me... we have a BRAND NEW POLICY here at DEAD AIR: Whenever rude Tea Party idiots show up here and try to defend the evil, selfish, immoral Rich Criminal Pigs currently attempting to ROB THE PEOPLE? I print a new Tea Party cartoon. Obviously, they need one.

I once tried to politely explain that blogs are the equivalent of one's HOUSE and LIVING ROOM and therefore, you should not be rude and insulting to your hosts. I have finally realized that THIS IS how they act in their friends' living rooms! They are thoroughly rude and probably fart, burp, pee on the rug and insult people. NOW I get it.

Why did I ever expect them to understand an analogy intended for civilized people? My mistake!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GPATS likes to spend your money

On Monday, Greenville Occupiers attended the GPATS (Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study) meeting at County Square in Greenville, South Carolina. The only good thing I can say about it: they had donuts.




Ostensibly, we had come to support Joel Ann Chandler, the woman whose business (Mauldin Open Air Market) is currently under attack by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

SC-DOT (under the auspices of the mysterious GPATS) is currently engaging in a naked land-grab scheme, attempting to steal a goodly section of her already-small parking lot, using Eminent Domain. The time and money spent on all these hearings (where Joel Ann always has supporters present) seems to be no object; they appear determined to go forward. And yet, they invariably table her specific concerns until the next meeting.

It seems they prefer to grab someone's property when the victim isn't sitting right there; it unnerves them to steal it while the public is looking.

Joel Ann has repeatedly attempted to find out what's going on and why they want her property so badly. Various movers and shakers are buying up the property around Mauldin High School (across from Joel Ann's market), and future subdivisions are in the works. Obviously, this whole land-grab scheme is crucial to these plans, and the sacred TURN LANE (which will shave off most of her parking lot) will be necessary for traffic management after the subdivisions are built. But right now, the extra lane is unnecessary. Thus, they are planning on taking significant areas of her property in PREPARATION for what the money-men have planned for the neighborhood. It is NOT about what's going on with the traffic-flow right now.

WHO, then, IN PARTICULAR, is agitating for the turn lane, and why won't they name themselves? And what connections might they have to the individuals sitting on the GPATS board?

In short, why is GPATS doing the dirty work of the real estate interests who expect to make money off the subdivisions? Do they serve the people, who love Joel Ann's market that has sold local produce to the community since forever (the land has been in her family since the 20s)... or do they serve the special interests (real estate, banks, lawyers, construction companies, property owners) that expect to make money off the future subdivisions?

Well, that is certainly an interesting question, in light of the meeting. I had never been to one of these, so it was educational.

GPATS has lots of projects going. LOTS. And some of them are fairly obvious to me. Fairforest Way, for instance, is the home of the local UPS hub. It is also the main road leading to Cavalier Drive, home of Christ Church Episcopal School, where the affluent kids of Greenville are educated. Thus, Fairforest Way rates a big road project. Our tax money is therefore paying to maintain a main thoroughfare for wealthy private-school kids and staggeringly-wealthy private-industry. How many of Greenville's citizens will this road actually serve? Is this ethical? And still another project will insure ICAR has good access roads, since of course we all know Clemson's partners in this endeavor, Microsoft and BMW, can't afford to build their own. (Link to GPATS pdf file detailing these projects)

At left: David Thomas, glad-handing the citizenry at the GPATS meeting.


Besides that, all of these roads-projects have hefty price-tags--millions of dollars earmarked--with little discussion. In fact, make that NO discussion. There was no itemized list of costs presented to this board, packed with Republicans and chaired by Head Teabagger, State Senator David Thomas, a shyster-politician who thoroughly believes in living off the beneficent state.

I thought Republicans didn't believe in squandering taxpayers' money? (No, I have never believed that either, but that is the okeydoke they put out.) So, how about an itemized list, detailing exactly where these millions of greenbacks are going, and an explanation of why THESE particular road-projects have been given precedent over others in poorer neighborhoods? Did they submit these projects to a public bidding process, to insure the cheapest bid? Who knows? GPATS works in secret... the board is composed of many elected officials, but how did they get appointed to GPATS? We counted about two dozen board-members, all white men, with one black woman and one white woman, period. (Now, who decided on THAT?) There are plenty of elected officials they could have asked to be on the GPATS who aren't white males, but perhaps they don't know any? How is one for selected for the GPATS board?

Who decided this board was the Alpha and Omega of the roads projects in Greenville County? How did this rather shadowy group of politicians get put in charge of millions of dollars, as well as the power to steal a private-business-owner's property? Most local citizens I have talked to, did not realize GPATS was calling the shots instead of the SC Department of Transportation.

Yes, this is the way politics in the South works, mysteriously and behind-the-scenes, by way of the Old Bubba Network.

And it sucks.

~*~

During the meeting, my Consigliere rose and made some rather forceful public comments about the demographics of the GPATS board not matching up with the demographics of Greenville County. He wasn't too popular.

We also listened to a rich woman's lawyer talk about saving her property from one such intrusive road-project, by installing a "modern roundabout," and we then watched a little video about the roundabouts, which keep traffic moving and save energy and so on. GPATS board member Jim Burns immediately said it was a good idea... and by my calculations (noting the map where this rich woman's property is), I figured out that Burns is her County Council representative, so he knows which side his bread is buttered on, as my grandmother used to say.

Can we trust this process, coming from a board with no electoral oversight? (Chaired by a man who famously says one thing and does another?)

I realized, this ongoing abuse of Joel Ann is merely the tip of the iceberg, and GPATS, responsible for allocating millions of dollars, has plenty to answer for.

Like, who are they? Who decides which projects get priority? How does one get on the GPATS board? Is there a bidding process? If not, how do they decide which companies get these plum contracts?

We can start there.

~*~

We will be discussing GPATS and other interesting local politics on my radio show Saturday morning, so stay tuned. WFIS radio, 9-10am, 1600AM and/or 94.9FM in upstate SC. To listen via your phone: 724-444-7444, Call ID: 112747#

We would especially like to hear from GPATS board members, as well as folks who have had dealings with them, up close and personal. TELL US ABOUT IT! Studio phone line: 864-228-WFIS which is also 864-228-9347.

And please support the Mauldin Open Air Market, where last year I met the legendary Country Earl! They have the very best, fresh, locally-grown peanuts in town.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Soulful Saturday

So very hard to go - Tower of Power (Soul Train, 1973)



~*~

All Day Music - War (1971)



~*~

If you want me to stay - Sly and the Family Stone (1973)



~*~

Freddie's Dead - Curtis Mayfield (from the film Superfly, 1972)



We're all built up with progress
But sometimes I must confess
We can deal with rockets and dreams
But reality, what does it mean?


~*~

And a Happy St Patrick's Day to everyone!

Radio podcast is up!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Haley Watch: Governor Nikki's "book"

Her book has the properly Republican title: "Can't is not an option"--supposedly something her mother said. The subtitle is "My American Story" (just in case you thought it was from somewhere else).

George Will once referred to such omnipresent politician-accounts as "one of those word-salads you write 'with' someone"--and that seems to be an accurate description of Haley's little Horatio Alger tale. Unfortunately, the ghostwriter is not named, which might be a good thing for the ghostwriter; we do not want to hold an innocent party accountable for the soon-to-be-published bullshit.

What amazes me is, she hasn't even been in office two whole years... and a book already?!?

Will Folks (the governor's ex-boyfriend) is now making jokes that her first appearance in the upstate will be at the amusingly-named (under the circumstances) local bookstore Fiction Addiction. (tickets required!) Of course, Folks will NOT be left out of the biography; Nikki's busy PR team successfully spun his accusations as a vicious attempt to keep this fabulously wonderful, plucky nonwhite lady OUT of office, that white male meanie! (As I have stated before, I believe Folks' account.)

My question is, does it not matter that she is totally incompetent and gave away the Port of Charleston? Apparently not. Obviously, her fresh, attractive appearance and high-profile status as South Carolina's first nonwhite woman governor, easily eclipses whether she actually does a decent job or not. (Or whether she is corrupt, as even several Republicans have concluded she is.)

And by the way, Haley recently lied (again) about her daughter winning a pageant. Truth-telling is most assuredly not her long suit.

I warned yall not to vote for her. (sigh)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Asperger's Quiz

Aspie-Quiz: The goal of this test is to give a reliable indication of autism spectrum traits in adults.

My results are below. You can click to enlarge. (Are they accusing me of HUNTING?!)


Logged in as DaisyDeadhead

Thank you for filling out this questionnaire.
Your Aspie score: 33 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 175 of 200
You are very likely neurotypical

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Anne Frank speaks out

This one comes from Laci the Dog. (Full story here) As always, you can click to enlarge.



Monday, March 12, 2012

South Carolina Lt Governor Ken Ard resigns

Good riddance to another South Carolina Tea Party busybody! Let's hope Governor Haley is next, even if she DOES get the cover of Italian Vogue.

From the Charleston Post and Courier (story by Robert Behre):

COLUMBIA -- Ken Ard quickly rose to prominence in S.C. politics as a tea party favorite, hailing his business credentials and his family's roots in Pamplico, a Florence County town so small it lacked a traffic light.

Ard's political career crashed around him Friday, and the Republican lieutenant governor resigned in disgrace.

In an unprecedented sequence of events, Ard then:

:: Was slapped with seven ethics violations by a state grand jury.

:: Pleaded guilty in a Columbia courtroom, tearfully asked a circuit judge for mercy.

:: Was spared prison but was given five years' probation, a $5,000 fine and 300 hours of community service.

Ard's legal woes reverberated far beyond his office. Charleston Republican Glenn McConnell also resigned Friday as Senate president pro tempore, a post considered the most powerful in state government, to assume the state's largely ceremonial, part-time lieutenant governor job, as the state constitution calls for.

Friday's unprecedented sequence of events stemmed from Ard's decision, the year before his 2010 election, to funnel his own money through friends back into his own campaign so it appeared that he had far more financial supporters than he actually did.

That would work to scare off potential primary opponents.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson noted that Ard could have contributed legally as much money to his bid as he wanted -- and Ard did spend about $525,000 on his own race. But it was $75,000 of his money that Ard deceitfully funneled through others and back into his campaign that led to four charges of unlawful reimbursement of campaign funds, Wilson said.

Ard also pleaded guilty to two counts of filing false reports stemming from about $87,500 in phantom contributions that were never made to him. The last count was for using his campaign money for personal use, a charge for which he already had paid a $60,900 ethics fine, the second-highest in the state's history.

"Campaign transparency was in reality campaign deceit," Wilson said. "Nothing is more important than our election process. The people have a right to true and accurate information so that the voters can make their own judgment. ... If the process is falsely manipulated, its purpose is destroyed."

From his resignation statement to his appearance before Circuit Judge G. Thomas Cooper, Ard did not attempt to gloss over his failings.

"Your honor, I stand here accepting 100 percent of the blame," he said. "I stand here humble, apologetic."

Ard's voice cracked as he mentioned his wife and three children by name, saying they and his supporters have been better to him than he has deserved. Ard said he was "ashamed" of what he had done, but noted that he can't undo it. "All I can do is say I'm sorry."

He also said he would love to have the day back when he sat in his truck and conceived of the illegal campaign financing scheme.

"I don't regret much, but I regret this as much as anything I've ever done in my life," he said.

Eddie Floyd of Florence County said he deeply regrets advising Ard that he did not need to spend thousands of dollars on a professional campaign consultant, and Floyd said he would serve Ard's sentence for him if he could.

Ken Jackson, a business associate of Ard, expressed the same regret, saying Ard never was one to tend to details. "He is what you might call a 'manager by walking around.' He is not a detail person."

The Rev. Jim Crooks, Ard's pastor, said he has come to love Ard in spite of his mistakes in this case. "I like his realness," Crooks said. "He's been straight up ... he has not tried to lie his way out of it, and I admire that about him."
Left: Ken Ard, guilty guilty guilty.




Cooper noted that he, like Ard, also once served on a county council, adding, "I think you have done a disservice to the people of South Carolina by these actions." Cooper also told Ard that he was different from most criminals who appear before his court. "Some might say this sentence is harsh. Some might say it's lenient," Cooper said. "I do not feel a prison sentence is appropriate today."

Wilson said he expects no further indictments in the case by the state grand jury. He noted that all witnesses had cooperated.

As a politician who also won his first statewide office in 2010 and who campaigned alongside Ard as part of the GOP ticket, Wilson he still personally likes Ard and wishes his family the best.

"I entered this day with a heavy heart. I leave it with a heavy heart," Wilson said. "There's nothing fun about this."

For those following Friday's news as it broke, there were few lulls.

At 9:40 a.m., Wilson's office said he would discuss the statewide grand jury later in the day. Ard submitted his resignation to Gov. Nikki Haley by 10 a.m. Wilson met with a swarm of reporters at 1 p.m., then he and Ard appeared in a courtroom an hour later.
Well, *I* thought a prison sentence was appropriate today, and every day, for lying politicians. (Read the rest of it.)

Meanwhile, dogged Will Folks is still on the case. He pointedly asks where our fashion-plate Governor had gone off to, during the Ken Ard extravaganza? Good question:
So where was South Carolina’s embattled governor, Nikki Haley, during all of this turmoil?

That’s easy … she was sipping drinks at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, where she and her husband Michael were attending the 2012 Club for Growth winter conference. In fact the governor and First Gentleman were spotted “enjoying some Cabernet” with Jon Fleischman, editor of a 1990s-themed California political blog.

Wait … Haley? At a Club for Growth event? With her atrocious fiscal record?

Apparently so … in fact Haley goes to these sorts of things all the time … all over the country.
It's like when they caught Spiro before they caught Nixon.

Doesn't seem fair, somehow, does it?

Stay tuned, sports fans.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Segregation begins at home

Historic photograph: March 21, 1965, the March from Selma to Montgomery.







The famous US Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery is being reenacted this week, and I was watching the Reverend Al Sharpton (organizer) on television, talking about it. At the same time, I was grieving the loss of my old friend Terri, and I was looking up some of our old haunts in Columbus, Ohio. Much has changed; so much, I often barely recognize the place. (Google Street View is an amazing invention.) I couldn't find Crystal Swim Club, where we spent the majority of our summers. When I last visited Columbus (2006), I had vainly tried to find it, circling and re-circling the neighborhood.

How do you hide two enormous pools like that? Was it smaller than I remembered? WHERE'D IT GO?

And then I found the blog of one Rick Minerd, ex-Chief of Police in Columbus. He wrote an entry on Crystal! (Pause for commercial: THIS is why blogs are so important, folks. We bring you the little-known history of real people and their daily lives.)

And yes, there it was. Had I forgotten?

As I watched the Reverend Sharpton, I was jolted back into reality. White reality.

It was a segregated pool. Like, by design, not by accident.

Well, of course it was. Had I forgotten?

Actually, yes. I had.

Perhaps I had believed that black people just didn't want to be with us. Why would they? White people, I had already noticed as a child, were often pretty nasty to black people, and if I was black, I wouldn't want to be around us either. In fact, the integration of our neighborhood and school was happening at that very same time, and we were all learning (in school anyway), to get along. But we lived on one side of the neighborhood and they lived on another. I didn't question this. I was a child, and it seemed the way of the world.

During the summers, we thought, they go their way and we go ours. It never really occurred to us that this was by design, on purpose.

Below, an excerpt from Minerd's entry on the Crystal Swim Club, which by the way, made me swoon with nostalgia. The description is so dead-on (DOGHOUSES!) that I started sobbing all over again, with memories of my old friend, Pleasant Valley Sunday, and daring each other to jump into the deep end.

Minerd accurately describes how we saved our brave little pennies, all year long:

In the early 1960s it was customary for kids like me to save money year-round for the opportunity to purchase a season membership to the Crystal, a pool in South Columbus located on the corner of Champion Avenue and Markison Avenue. I remember saving change in a jar and occasionally dumping it across my bed and counting it and the euphoria I felt knowing that when the tickets went on sale I would have enough to buy one. That was probably the first lesson my parents taught me in working and saving for what was important.

If I remember correctly the season "ticket" cost around ten dollars and a member could take along a pal who was a non-member who would be allowed in for fifty cents provided that pal was a white person.
It was that last sentence that jolted me back to reality. Was that really true? Of course it was. I never saw a single black person there, ever. But this did not seem strange to me.

As one of a minority of white people in the apartment complex I now live in, it suddenly seems so amazing that I didn't notice the whiteness, as I surely would now. But again, I was a child, and I did not question.
And even though the facility has long been gone I can still recall vividly the lay of the land within its fenced off boundaries. Upon arrival following a two mile walk from our home a member would enter on the Champion Avenue side of it and show their ticket to an employee who sat at a window just inside the main entrance. Then proceeding directly to a changing room where street clothing would be placed in metal baskets and handed to a guy at a counter who would give you a coin shaped object with a number on it to track your property for retrieval at the end of the day.

After changing into swimming trunks and exiting that room you saw what we called the big pool with depths ranging from around three feet at the shallow end to nine at the deep end where there were two diving boards. One just a few feet above the water and a second high dive for bolder swimmers.

Next to that was a smaller pool that we called the new pool and was one that was only five feet deep and usually used more by older members. Near the larger pool was a snack bar that sold potato chips, sodas and candy products and beside it was a small basketball court and a slab of concrete with one wall where some played handball. And scattered around the grassy areas were several multi-colored triangular wooden objects we called dog houses.

They were perfect for sun bathers to sit on a towel on the ground with their backs against it and they served as mini retreats, like camp-sites anytime the life guards would blow the whistles to signal rest periods, usually lasting ten minutes when all swimmers were required to get out of the larger pool. Adults were allowed to remain in the smaller pool during rest periods and I remember thinking during those times as I did often that I wished I were older.
I have mentioned the Girls and Boys Swims (in jest) on this blog before. I had forgotten the numbered coins, but I certainly remember the changing-rooms, and how we squealed with excitement as we smelled the chlorine. We changed in a hyperactive blur, shedding street clothes and racing out to the pools, where all of us extremely pale, blonde and redheaded children soaked up deadly levels of UV rays ... and whoever heard of sunscreen in those days?
Those of us who remember swimming at the Crystal also remember that it was a private club that operated before there were laws forbidding discrimination based on a person's race. It was a cooling spot for white people only.

However, following the civil rights movement of the mid 1960s it became illegal for businesses and private clubs to exclude people because of their race and instead of changing with the times and permitting non-whites entry into the Crystal Swim Club the owners elected to shut it down. The pools were filled with ashes and discarded debris trucked in from nearby Buckeye Steel Castings Company... like filling them with the cremated remains of a disappearing era.

For a number of years the location was operated by another organization as a private club but one without any sign of what it had been. The earth where those pools once were showed signs of discoloration from what was beneath it and the outlines of where they were was visible for several years but if one didn't know the history of the spot they probably wouldn't have known what it was.
Minerd mentions the irony that the neighborhood is now predominantly African-American, and the people who now live in the houses on that spot? Are black. (Do they know what was there before?)

Although it is easy to put down those of us from the past for our resounding racial cluelessness, I have to ask: where are all the public city swimming pools now, for working class kids (of whatever race) to go to? There are few-to-none here (mostly YMCA and YWCA), and from all I have been able to discern, public swimming pools are mostly a thing of the past. Middle-class kids go to pools in their friend's backyards. (I never knew anyone who had an outdoor pool when I was growing up; city yards are notoriously small and there wouldn't have been enough room, even if you had wanted one.) Segregation is not over, it has been taken private and local. If you don't have the money for an expensive membership to the Y, if you don't know someone with an outdoor pool or live in a suburban enclave or apartment complex that provides one for its members, you don't swim.

That leaves out a lot of kids. It certainly would have left ME out.

There may be white people reading this who have never been swimming with minorities, and will believe that they are not like me and my backward childhood. Since segregation isn't an actual written "rule" in a club charter someplace--well, then they believe it really isn't real segregation, even if the results are the same.

But it is.

And so, they paved over the pools rather than open them up to blacks.

And it has pretty much stayed that way, hasn't it?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Terri Leigh McKee 1958-2012

The Queen of Cups, from the Art Nouveau Tarot by Matt Myers.




Advice: When people ask you to stay in touch, stay in touch. Don't tell yourself "one of these days"--because you might Google them one day and find their obituary.

She came to my grandmother's funeral, whom she had loved. I promised her I would mail her copies of photos I had recently discovered, of our childhood... one of us standing next to an old Packard, another of us trying to make Kool-Aid, and still another, in front of a gaudy, awful, silver Christmas tree.

I never remembered to send them.

We grew apart... I became a crazy radical, and she remained devout and conservative. We had little in common as adults, and it was somewhat uncomfortable. You know how that is.

I still remember us singing together, "In the Year 2525" and laughing about the lyrics. We also sang it into the telephone for crank calls, which of course, you can't make any more. (The kids have no idea what they're missing.)

I had been thinking about her all week, possibly due to the death of Davy Jones. But it suddenly became pressing and important, as if I should see if I could try to find her. (She wasn't on Facebook or any of the other social media sites.) So, I did, and found this:

McKEE Terri L. McKee, age 53, passed away Monday, March 5, 2012. She was a member of St. Cecilia Catholic Church and a graduate of Westland High School, Class of '77'. Preceded in death by great-grandparents Charles and Sarah Bentz, grandparents Frank and Thelma Bragg and Adryenne and Arnold McKee, aunt Marilyn Isaac, and cousin Robert Riley. Survived by parents, John and Julia McKee; fiancee, Michael Woolfe; sister, Vicki (Mike) Davis; nephews, Nicholas Davis and Benjamin (Sara) Davis; great-nephew, Thomas Davis; along with aunts, uncles, cousins, loving relatives, and friends. Family will receive friends Sunday from 2-5 p.m. at THE TIDD FUNERAL HOME, 5265 Norwich St., Hilliard, OH 43026. A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Monday at CONCORDIA LUTHERAN CHURCH, 225 Schoolhouse Lane, Columbus, OH 43228. Interment Sunset Cemetery.
All attempts at taking photos of photos have failed, so you will have to settle for my physical description: light light parakeet-blonde hair (100% natural) and extremely disarming pale blue eyes. Very feminine, small, thin, petite.

Aspasia offers the consoling thought that I thought of Terri because her soul was reaching out to me, to say goodbye. It is a comfort to think so.

And you folks reading: please don't forget my advice. Contact those old friends now. Don't put it off.

~*~

In the year 2525 - Zager and Evans



We got on a roller coaster once, at the Ohio State Fair, while this song was playing, full-blast. We screamed and sang along, all at once. One of those wonderful, great moments of childhood... perhaps she thought of it in her last moments, as I surely will.

Pleasant Valley Sunday - The Monkees



Mr Green, he's so serene, he's got a TV in every room... we decided we liked Mr Green and wanted TVs in every room when we grew up, too.

Goodbye, old friend.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Young evangelicals politically depart from their elders

Saturday's Greenville News article on young evangelicals suggests they have different priorities than their elders. Fascinating! We can make some important political converts in this group, I think.

Some excerpts from Ben Szobody's in-depth piece titled, No presidential candidate has excited young evangelicals:

It’s not the loudest group of voters, but the fate of the 2012 presidential race and even the future fortunes of the Republican Party may partly hinge on a swelling group of independents loosely defined as young evangelical Christians.

Polls and people in tune with the generation say many in the group find themselves politically adrift, amid a bitter campaign that so far features very few of their concerns.

In a shift that may seem radical in the framework of left-right politics, some voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and now support Ron Paul. They may have wanted to transcend partisan politics four years ago and now feel that pulling back on government is the best option left, say a sampling of voters and those who work with them.

The group doesn’t tend to vote in primaries, and the current field of Republicans is seldom touching on their vital subjects. But to lose their vote may mean to lose a generation for good, Christian and political figures say.

“I think a lot of young evangelicals are going to feel politically homeless,” said Tim King, communications director for the social justice group Sojourners who himself fits the demographic.

For his generation, King said abortion matters but the concern for children now includes issues such as child trafficking, mercury levels that affect fetuses, the spread of AIDS and clean water access.

These problems may rope in some big political solutions: social safety nets, churches doing more and a focus on a person’s individual behavior.
This is fabulous news!

One of the problems with young evangelicals that I have noticed, is an easily-offended sensibility. Kids from evangelical and/or home-schooled backgrounds (and due to Bob Jones University, a home-schooler hub, we have a PARCEL of them represented locally, so I know whereof I speak) have been raised in a sequestered environment. They are not allowed to watch TV at BJU, for example; similarly, lots of the home-schooled kids have been extremely overprotected. When they get out into the real world, it can be overwhelming and confusing.

I see this disparity between the young and old evangelicals, as resulting from their experiences in being in sudden contact with liberal Christians, non-Christians and mass-culture in general. The realizations come fast and furious: Wait, how can we be anti-abortion without caring about what actually happens to children after they are born? This starts them thinking in all kinds of new political ways, as they see what Cardinal Bernardin called "the seamless garment"--the concept that "life issues" include war, poverty, the environment, immigration and other global concerns.
Across the nation this week, 53 percent of Republicans were more enthusiastic about voting than usual, compared to 45 percent of Democrats, Gallup reported. But among voters ages 18 to 29, enthusiasm fell by 28 percent since 2008, and by 21 percent among 30- to 49-year-olds.

There’s been little political polling since 2008 focused on young Christians in particular, though a new book by Barna Group President David Kinnaman describes the top reasons many are veering from traditional churches and their positions.

Nearly a quarter of 18- to 29-year olds said Christians “demonize everything outside the church,” while 22 percent said the church is “ignoring the problems of the real world.”

It’s not necessarily that young Christians are apathetic, or less concerned about moral causes than their parents, or disillusioned after voting for Obama, say voters themselves and those attentive to their concerns.

Instead, they say many have a much broader view of how to change society after the Religious Right generation that preceded them. Politics is just a piece, and abortion is just one of the important social issues in play.

“The reality is, there are a lot of people who are actually thinking more broadly about these concerns,” said Paul Blumer, an active churchgoer, owner of Streetside Catering and president of Food for Life, a ministry that feeds the homeless at Triune Mercy Center near downtown Greenville.

He’s frustrated with his voting options but is part of a segment of young Christians who see the poor as their urgent, long-ignored cause. He’s currently trying to get a homeless man and his three children out of a hotel and into a home with another family.

“Here’s what people said to me when I took this on,” Blumer said. “‘You better call DSS.’ And I thought, what is going on with us? Why is it that we continue this constant shrugging of our responsibility as Christians off to government agencies, putting our trust in them as if they will perform the duties that will save these children’s lives?”
Among the current GOP candidates, Blumer likes Ron Paul’s libertarianism but knows he’s unlikely to win and dislikes the way Paul himself is treated as a savior.

“The Republican Party has terrible problems in this area,” said Brent Nelsen, a political science professor at Furman University, a former statewide Republican candidate for office and a founding member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. “They’re not appealing to the demographics that are growing.”

This includes both young and Hispanic voters, Nelsen said, noting that Obama retains a big advantage among youths, though the Republican Party has recovered some of them since 2008.

The Republican candidates for president, by questioning Obama’s theology or making clear appeals on traditional moral grounds, are talking to “old-school” conservatives who vote in primary elections, he said.

Meanwhile, the “peace-and-justice” movement in evangelical churches is growing, and voting habits tend to lock in during a person’s younger years, Nelsen and King said.

“We’re not talking about the end of the Republican Party as we know it,” he said, adding that the demographic is still relatively small.

Still, if Republicans don’t address what young Christians care about — such as human trafficking or AIDS in Africa — both Nelsen and King say the party risks losing them for good.
Daisy winks, that might not be such a bad thing. Some of us think their dogmatic conservativism may have an unintended positive benefit: they will drive the kids away and ultimately self-destruct. (Some already can't get away fast enough.)

Szobody claims these young people have "a different view of how Christians interact with culture.":
King lays out the timeline this way: The social gospel movement of the 1920s and 1930s aimed at transforming institutions, which was followed by an emphasis on saving individual souls, and then the Religious Right generation sought to use politics as a tool. Preserving prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments in courthouses and “under God” in the pledge while fighting abortion and gay marriage were their causes.

Now, King describes a Christian generation that sees everything from art to writing to building stronger neighborhoods as ways to change others’ view of the world and be a witness for Christ. This effort encompasses environmental concerns, a compassionate approach to immigration and a focus on poverty.

This broader set of interests means that young Christians are often very conservative on the matter of abortion, for instance, but don’t vote on that single issue, King said. They might urge a young woman not to have an abortion, but then question whether the church is prepared to support her and her child.

It’s not a generation exposed to major social movements like the civil rights effort, but he said Occupy Wall Street seems to have hit this nerve: For the first time, they were pushing a cause, their friends were on the news and the world was paying attention.

For the Christians in the crowd, King said a shift from Obama in 2008 to Paul this year isn’t as large as it may seem. They believe Paul is the guy who would end the wars, and is serious about ending the collusion between big business and government — issues Obama underscored in the last election.

Nelsen knows friends who have gone from Obama to Paul, and he said they thought Obama favored personal freedoms but see his actions in office as reliant on the state. That makes Paul the new choice.

Blumer’s view is decidedly libertarian, and he blames “RINOs”* for failing to take up important social causes. In the general election, he said he may write in Paul’s name, or “Jesus Christ.”

Given the options, it’s always a risk that young Christians may not vote, King said.

Still, he said it’s no accident that after 40,000 college students raised $3.3 million to fight modern-day slavery at a January conference in Atlanta, Obama mentioned the effort in his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.

“President Obama has an opportunity to make the case, but it’s not a done deal,” he said.

Among the youth overall, Obama currently polls well ahead of both Santorum and Mitt Romney.

Meanwhile, Republicans have to think to the future, Nelsen said, noting the conservative student groups on Furman’s campus have split into Republican and libertarian camps.

“The young people are up for grabs, ideologically, and I don’t think either party has figured out how they’re going to handle this libertarian wave,” he said.
As I said, fascinating. Hoping some of the disaffected will show up at our Occupy events... hey, we got MOVIES, yall!
We hope to see some of you politically-aware young evangelicals. Your input and participation is welcome!

Stay tuned, sports fans.

*RINO= Republican In Name Only. (They refer to libertarians and liberals.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

We should be on by now

Time - David Bowie



The terribly-infectious li-li-li's at the end of this song, have gotten me through lots of heavy traffic, blood donations and similar unpleasant events. They shall undoubtedly follow me as I am lowered into the grave. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Odds and Sods #56

Do you believe this is the 56th installment of ODDS AND SODS? I say this as an excuse for running out of snappy titles for them. (I promise, I will have one by next time!)

---

Garry Wills' incisive piece in the New York Review of Books, perfectly titled Contraception’s Con Men, is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the naked propaganda-war that is going on right now:

The bishops’ opposition to contraception is not an argument for a “conscience exemption.” It is a way of imposing Catholic requirements on non-Catholics. This is religious dictatorship, not religious freedom.

Contraception is not even a religious matter. Nowhere in Scripture or the Creed is it forbidden. Catholic authorities themselves say it is a matter of “natural law,” over which natural reason is the arbiter—and natural reason, even for Catholics, has long rejected the idea that contraception is evil. More of that later; what matters here is that contraception is legal, ordinary, and accepted even by most Catholics. To say that others must accept what Catholics themselves do not is bad enough. To say that President Obama is “trying to destroy the Catholic Church” if he does not accept it is much, much worse.

To disagree with Catholic bishops is called “disrespectful,” an offense against religious freedom. That is why there is a kind of taboo against bringing up Romney’s Mormonism. But if Romney sincerely believed in polygamy on religious grounds, as his grandfather did, he would not even be considered for the presidency—any more than a sincere Christian Scientist, who rejects the use of medicine, would be voted for to handle public health care. Yet a man who believes that contraception is evil is an aberrant from the American norm, like the polygamist or the faith healer.
Good reading, and an impressive 212 comments, also worth your time.

~*~

On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone In Conversation was surprisingly watchable, informative and free of dogma:
Filmmaker Oliver Stone and author and filmmaker Tariq Ali present their thoughts on the politics of history and what they consider to be hidden aspects of American history. Their discussion ranges across several topics, from American involvement against the Russian Revolution to a profile of the labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World. Oliver Stone and Tariq Ali speak at the New York Public Library in New York City.
(You can watch it here.)

~*~

Media Matters reports: Rush Limbaugh Issues Statement Regarding His 3-Day Misogynistic Attack On Sandra Fluke. Meanwhile, one of Fluke's opportunistic classmates saw her big chance for blogger fame, and decided to pile on. Conservative suck-up Angela Morabito of The College Conservative proudly announces that Fluke "doesn't even speak for all skanks! She only speaks for the skanks who don't want to take responsibility for their choices."

Hm. Is she actually calling herself a skank in that sentence, or is she just a lousy writer? You decide.

~*~

William Burroughs, photo from Start With Typewriters.



Upon reading William Burroughs on Led Zeppelin (reprinted from the legendary CRAWDADDY, 1975), the first thing any writer thinks is DAMN, I wish I could write like that guy.

Some of the best bits:
Leaving the concert hall was like getting off a jet plane.
...
From the viewpoint of magic, no death, no illness, no misfortune, accident, war or riot is accidental. There are no accidents in the world of magic. And will is another word for animate energy. Rock stars are juggling fissionable material that could blow up at any time… “The soccer scores are coming in from the Capital…one must pretend an interest,” drawled the dandified Commandante, safe in the pages of my book; and as another rock star said to me, “YOU sit on your ass writing–I could be torn to pieces by my fans, like Orpheus.”

I found Jimmy Page equally aware of the risks involved in handling the fissionable material of the mass unconcious.
...
Jimmy told me that Aleister Crowley’s house has very good vibes for anyone who is relaxed and receptive. At one time the house had also been the scene of a vast chicken swindle indirectly involving George Sanders, the movie actor, who was able to clear himself of any criminal charges. Sanders committed suicide in Barcelona, and we both remembered his farewell note to the world: “I leave you to this sweet cesspool.”

I told Jimmy he was lucky to have that house with a monster in the front yard. What about the Loch Ness monster? Jimmy Page thinks it exists. I wondered if it could find enough to eat, and thought this unlikely–it’s not the improbability but the upkeep on monsters that worries me. Did Aleister Crowley have opinions on the subject? He apparently had not expressed himself.
...
We talked about Wilhelm Reich’s orgone accumulator, and I showed him plans for making this device, which were passed along to me by Reich’s daughter. Basically the device is very simple, consisting of iron or steel wool on the inside and organic material on the outside. I think this was highly important discovery. Recently a scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced an “electrical cell” theory of cancer that is almost identical to Reich’s cancer theory put forth 25 years ago. He does not acknowledge any indebtedness to Reich. I showed Jimmy the orgone box I have here, and we agreed that orgone accumulators in pyramid form and/or using magnetized iron could be much more powerful.
Yes, it's all like that. Read the whole thing.

~*~

Assorted:

Left Side of the Aisle #46 - Virginia kills "Personhood" bill (Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time)

Ayn Rand Worshippers Should Face Facts: Blue States Are the Providers, Red States Are the Parasites (AlterNet)

'Snob' control: Karen Santorum guides husband on gaffe (Politico)

Notorious Nigerian witch-hunter to preach in the US (The Humanist)

March Forth With Hope (March with Hope Foundation)

Edward Lee Elmore freed from SC Death Row, walks out

30 YEARS in prison. He was freed on his 11,000th day of imprisonment. From Death Row, he just walked out, a free man.

It is an unbelievable, yet all-too-believable, tale.

Ex-death row inmate in SC walks out a free man
By JEFFREY COLLINS - Associated Press

GREENWOOD, S.C. — Edward Lee Elmore glanced at the ceiling when a judge asked him if he was sure he wanted to plead guilty to the murder he has spent decades denying. He whispered to his lawyer, who had told him "freedom is justice," and then looked toward the heavens again.

"Yes sir," he said quietly. With those words, he ended a 30-year stint in prison that saw 30 of his friends on death row die.

Elmore was convicted three times of killing of Dorothy Edwards, with appeal courts overturning each verdict. Elmore lived nearby and did odd jobs for the 75-year-old widow, who was found in the closet of her Greenwood home in January 1982. She had been savagely beaten and stabbed more than 50 times, dying from a loss of blood and blows that caved in her chest, prosecutor Jerry Peace said.

Prosecutors agreed his punishment should be the 11,000 days Elmore spent behind bars, much of it on death row. He got off death row in 2010 when his attorneys argued he was mentally disabled and had a low IQ. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled states can't execute the mentally disabled, and his punishment was reduced to life in prison.

On Friday, prosecutors dropped rape and burglary charges, and an hour after the hearing, Elmore walked out of the Greenwood County courthouse a free man to the cheers of those brothers and sisters.

"What a great day," Elmore said in the parking lot.

Peace said he still thinks Elmore killed Edwards. He said Elmore confessed, telling investigators he may have blacked out as he attacked her. Small spots of the victim's blood were found on Elmore's jeans, Peace said, but he decided to make the deal for two reasons.

First, Edwards' sister asked him to end three decades of uncertainty and phone calls from reporters and other people she doesn't want to talk to. "I want peace, I need peace. Can you get me peace?" the prosecutor recalled her saying.
Second, even if he was convicted and sentenced to life again, Elmore would have been immediately eligible for a parole hearing, Peace said. And with a spotless prison record, his chances looked good.

"He didn't even cuss a guard," Peace said.

Elmore's lawyers first asked the judge to throw out the charges. Defense lawyer Diana Holt has pointed out before that investigators found evidence at the crime scene that indicated Edwards fought for her life, but Elmore was uninjured when he was arrested hours later.

A single blond hair was found on Edwards' body. Elmore has black hair, and none of that was found at the scene.

In the courtroom was former New York Times reporter Raymond Bonner, who has followed the case for more than a decade and recently wrote a book about it. He said police were anxious to make an arrest to allay a community's fears that a rapist and murderer was among them and the little evidence that links Elmore to the crime was planted.
"Don't dare call it justice," he said after the hearing. "A man served 30 years for a crime he did not commit."

Elmore's lawyer wanted to see him exonerated. But she told him he could be convicted again in a trial and talking an Alford plea, where he maintains his innocence but admits there is a lot of evidence against him, was the best thing he could do.

"Freedom is justice and that's why he is doing it today," Holt said.

Holt has done this before. In May 2002, she helped Sterling Spann get a similar deal after decades on South Carolina's death row.

"It's so bittersweet," Holt said. "But at least right now, the sweet outweighs the bitter."

Edwards smile rarely faded after his release. When Holt reminded reporters he saw at least 30 of his fellow inmates executed during his 28 years on death row, he dropped his head.

"Great guys in there, some of them," he said.

He also frowned when a reporter asked if he had anything to say to Edwards' family. Holt stepped in and said they would request the family's wishes to not talk about the case. "It was 30 years for them too," she said.

Then the topic turned to lunch, and Elmore's family was taking him to a buffet restaurant where he would have dozens of dishes, many of them greasy and flavorful, to choose from. Elmore said prison was day after day of bland meals like liver or a chicken and gravy mixture.

"That stuff was roadkill," Elmore said.

Elmore's older sister Henrietta Grant smiled. She remembered one of her brother's chief complaints every time she would pile in a van with several of her siblings for the 150-mile trip to see him on death row. "They ain't got no onions," she recalled him saying.

Grant was one of a half-dozen family members headed for the restaurant. Just before she left, she was asked her plans now that her brother was going to be back in Greenwood. She flashed a big smile.

"We're going to take him home and love him," she said. "And I do the cooking, so I am going to fatten him up."

Elmore stood in the parking lot and took a deep breath. This wasn't the way he thought this case should end, but for him, it was justice.
DEAD AIR and all our friends and associates, send our very best wishes and Deadhead vibes to Elmore. Our thoughts and prayers are with you; good luck in all of your endeavors.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Coming Attractions

Going in to the seventh month of the radio show, and I haven't collapsed yet. I am very nearly respectable; I have business cards and everything! (If you would like to advertise with us, speak to my overworked on-air host and talented consigliere, Gregg Jocoy.)

Tomorrow's show will be a bit irreverent and rude; I shall politely refrain from a rousing chorus of "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead"--but only because I already sang it yesterday, upon hearing the news of Andrew Breitbart's passing. Please don't miss our fabulous March 3rd show, where I will be repeating some of my nastier Tweets about Andrew, one of which got me called names by Ronald Reagan's clone! (And I can honestly say, I have never been so proud!) It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

I figure, if Rush Limbaugh can enthusiastically label women sluts and conservatives continue to take him seriously, I suppose I can openly speculate about conservative blogger (and shameless media-whore) Andrew Breitbart screaming like a deranged, whacked-out cokehead, and then suddenly dropping dead three weeks later. Toxicology report, please!

We will be reviewing Breitbart the pest, and some of his more disgusting, evil stunts. So stay tuned, sports fans!

~*~

Last week's show is here, have a listen. My interview with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is pretty good, but the overall broadcast-quality of our telephone interviews still needs improvement. (If you call in, please try a land-line and BE STILL, stop pacing around!)

When I am as famous as Rush Limbaugh, I will have well-paid assistants to take care of all of this technological stuff for me, of course. (Gregg is terribly overworked!)

Give us a call tomorrow morning, 9-10am, bright and early on WFIS-radio, 1600AM and/or 94.9FM in upstate South Carolina. We are in Fountain Inn, so the closer to the Golden Strip you are, the better. (I have noticed in downtown Greenville, the AM station comes in better than the FM, which is rather odd.)

Call 864-228-9347 to be on the air live. To listen to the show on your phone, call 724-444-7444 and enter Call ID: 112747#

I am also very proud to report that we are now on BlackTalk Radio Network and TalkShoe. Yall come visit.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Catholics

Thanks to Stuff Fundies Like. (Enjoy your new home, Darrell.)




















Second graphic: I never liked Reagan and today, his clone-namesake officially returned those sentiments via Twitter. Well, it's been a long time comin! (you can click both to enlarge)