Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Why Bully a Daisy?"



Chris is handling this wonderfully, even though Bob Jones University bullies have even started trash-talking his elderly mother. His strength is phenomenal.

I just get mad and yell, as some of you know.

Speaking of which, our podcast from yesterday is up, and it has been a BIG HIT. Imagine how big it would be if we had actually BRAWLED?

Disturbingly, I am suddenly starting to understand Faye Dunaway in the movie NETWORK.

On my way to the General Assembly today, and hope to see some of my diehard fans there! Careful, BJU-alum, lots of children and dogs downtown, so leave your weaponry at home.

I won't, but you should.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

In the event of something happening to me...

.... which pop-music geeks will remember is the first line to "New York Mining Disaster 1941."

I have just been threatened by Bob Jones University students, with a Facebook page warning "we gonna find you." This is what happens when you challenge the place. As for "the brown" and "the racism"--not sure what this Joel Umanzor is talking about, since I have never discussed racism with any BJU students.

But in case I am accosted on my way to the radio station this morning, I wanted to make this part of the official record:

You can click to enlarge.


Thanks to various people for giving me a delightful heads-up this morning.

In practicing the First Amendment to the best of my ability, I have also found it necessary to practice the Second. So bring it. I'm ready.

(((loads)))



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BJU student expelled days before graduation for watching GLEE

Bob Jones University student Christopher Peterman presents his account here:



Background on Charles Phelps incident is here and here. This is the Facebook page Do Right BJU mentioned in his presentation.

Wordless Wednesday: Conquering old fears

I walked over a bridge that had always looked particularly narrow and unnerving, the Academy Street bridge in Greenville, SC.

When I got to the mid-point, wasn't nearly as scary as I had thought it was. I have photos to prove I did it. (Otherwise, I wouldn't even believe me.)






Goodness, what was I so afraid of? That was nothing. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Proposed SC State Health plan won't cover abortion

...unless the mother's life is in danger. Rape and incest are A-OK, and if by chance you should be a victim of one of these (includes minors), you will be forced to give birth.

Yes, nothing but COMPASSION from the Republicans.

From the Columbia STATE:

South Carolina’s state health plan would not pay for abortions in the case of rape or incest, according to a budget proviso unanimously approved by a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.

The proviso, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, would only allow state taxpayers to pay for an abortion if the life of the mother is in jeopardy. Lawmakers have tried, and failed, to pass this proviso for at least two years. The proviso would only apply to people covered by the state’s health insurance plan. But it has come to represent the broader abortion debate in general, sparking passionate debate in the House and Senate while slowing the budget process.

“We’re focusing on the rights and the liberty of an unborn child, and I can’t understand why the life of a child that’s a victim ought to be terminated,” Bryant said.

But critics say barring abortions in the case of rape or incest only victimizes the mother.

The three exemptions in the state health plan -- rape, incest or life of the mother -- mirrors the policy of the federal government health plan, commonly referred to as the Hyde Amendment, named for former U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois.

Since 2009, state taxpayers have paid for 19 abortions. Seventeen of them were fetal deaths and two were to save the life of the mother, according to the state Budget and Control Board.

Sens. David Thomas and Mike Fair, both Greenville Republicans, also voted for the proviso. The next step is to pass the full Senate Finance Committee before it reaches the Senate floor.
Besides the garden-variety misogyny involved in forcing a 12-year-old raped by her father to give birth, what really gets me is: these same Republicans claim they are all about saving money, and how much money has all this pro-life political wrangling cost us, compared to a measly 19 abortions? How many working hours have been wasted on this noisy grandstanding to the right-wing base?

Basically, they like to fuss about saving money when they have nothing else to say. They don't mind spending our money arguing endlessly over stuff THEY have chosen to raise hell about. As we have previously established, David Thomas keeps collecting that pricey pension while still in office (that he claimed he didn't believe in), so regardless of what happens, he'll be just fine. He loves to take away the rights of others, all while giving himself more, more, more. No wonder he is such a successful politician.

Mike Fair, we have singled out here before. His entire political career is mostly based on abortion.

WHY are we stuck with these jokers, again? (sigh)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Liberty University hypocrisy under spotlight

Graphic from fundamentalist Christian website The Relevant Pen. (you've been warned)






Those of us who have been repeatedly subjected to relentless Baptist proselytizing, already know the official fundamentalist/evangelical line on Mormons: No.

In fact, it has long been understood that even if Catholics are evil pagans at base, at least they believe in the Trinity. This is standard.

I have heard lots and lots of bad-mouthing of Latter Day Saints beliefs from by-the-book Protestants, much of it incorrect. I have my own Book of Mormon (you knew I did), which I hijacked long ago from a Utah motel room, and it has snazzy color pictures of Joseph Smith's tablets in it and everything. Thus, when they start all the "Mormons think this" and "Mormons believe that" business--I have gotten into the pesky habit of looking it up myself. WHERE is it, I ask them, and have even been known to plant the Book of Mormon right in front of their noses and order them to find it, please, so I can verify this information for the blog. (In the past five years, I have learned that blogging provides all kinds of handy-dandy excuses... and the offhand statement, "I'm blogging this!" can strike fear into the hearts of idiots who are blowing smoke up your ass, especially if you ask if you can quote them directly by name.)

Most fundamentalists seem afraid to touch the Book of Mormon, much less actually read it.

I have no great love for the Church of Latter Day Saints, you understand, I simply recognize bigots when I see them. And I see them all over upstate SC, Bob Jones University-land. In fact, that was the whole reason for the fuss during the 2008 election, when Bob Jones III unexpectedly endorsed Mitt Romney, angering both students and alumni. The Mormons, I have been informed many times, are not Christians.

Now of course the fundies say this about LOTS of other Christians, so it is somewhat amusing how their tone changes when it comes to Mormons: "No, REALLY, they aren't Christians!" Like that infamous boy who cried wolf, when you go around announcing nobody but you is a Christian, well... people do stop listening after awhile. If the Mormons are supposedly WORSE, it doesn't matter, does it? If you have trashed other Christian denominations endlessly, and continually give the impression that your strict sect is (they love to say this) THE REMNANT (this is usually a specific reference to Revelation 12:17) then people tune you out and assume your newest babble is simply more of the same. Since in one respect, it is.

And now, we have the fascinating spectacle of Liberty University (founded by Jerry Falwell as Lynchburg Baptist College) welcoming Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (a Mormon in good standing, in case you didn't know) with open arms as the commencement speaker.

Wait, what? A heretic is now all cozy with the school founded by Falwell? It's as surprising as the Jones endorsement was, and just as hypocritical and obvious.

Predictably, this has upset everybody; deja vu all over again. The anger has spilled over onto (where else?) Facebook, as well as spreading like wildfire among the school's online students, who have wasted no time speaking up.

CNN reports:

After last week’s announcement, thousands of comments were registered under the announcement on Liberty’s Facebook page. While some were supportive of the decision to invite Romney, a number of respondents were angered and posted their frustration to Facebook.

As of Monday morning, the announcement was deleted from the page, along with all the comments.

“Complaints died down because they took the ability to complain down from the website,” said Janet Loeffler, a 53-year old freshman at Liberty who takes classes online. Loeffler was a frequent poster to the Facebook page.
If they don't like what you say, they just erase it.

Ah yes, the fundamentalist way.

Loeffler is royally pissed about the censorship and duplicity:
Loeffler provided CNN with a copy of the page in the freshman textbook “The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics” which includes a number of passages on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called Mormons. “Mormon doctrine stands in stark contrast to Jewish and Christian monotheism,” reads the passage, “which teaches that there is only one true God and that every other ‘God’ is a false god.”

Liberty's handling of the situation "has very much altered my thinking of Liberty,” Loeffler said. “I haven’t registered for my fall classes yet because of it. I am offended that they would talk to us like that, telling us that we just don’t understand.”

Many of the anti-Liberty comments, including Loeffler’s, charged that Mormonism goes against the teachings of the school and claimed that the religion is a cult. The charge of Mormonism as a cult is not a new one for the church, however. In a 2011 column, Michael Otterson, head of public affairs for the LDS Church described the word as “a neat, shorthand and rather lazy way of putting a whole group into a box.”

The nation’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Conference, lists the LDS Church as a cult. They specifically cite differences in theology surrounding salvation, baptism, belief in the Trinity, and marriage. A major sticking point between other Christian traditions and Mormons is the Book of Mormon, which Mormons believe is divinely inspired scripture and on par with the Bible. Other Christians do not recognize the Book of Mormon as scripture.
And yet, Liberty has invited the most popular Mormon in the country to speak at Liberty's graduation. I guess we see that conservative POLITICS and not religion, are the important thing.

Some of us have always known this, but now, the students are getting it too.

And be advised, there are a parcel of them; they claim to be "the largest evangelical university in the world," with 82,500 students enrolled either on campus or online. Therefore a political lynch-pin of the Religious Right, a crucial whistle-stop for Romney, that he can't ignore.
This debate over Romney’s selection further tests the relationship between Mormons and evangelicals. With Romney as the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, many political commentators are asking whether the evangelical base, an important voting bloc to the GOP, will come out for Romney.

Tony Perkins, a Liberty graduate and the president of the Family Research Council, said he sees the Romney speech as an opportunity.

"As Christians we can disagree strongly but we show respect and I think they will show respect for Mitt Romney," Perkins said on CNN's Starting Point Monday morning.

"They may not warmly applaud him and may continue to express differences and clearly there are differences theologically between Mormons and Christians, but here's an opportunity for Mitt Romney to talk about what he has in common with evangelicals and that is on the value issues," Perkins said.

But if the evangelical vote hinges on how evangelicals see Mormonism, Romney may need further outreach to the evangelical community. A recent Pew Research Center survey finds 47% of white evangelicals say that Mormonism is not a Christian religion, while 66% say Mormonism and their religion are “very or somewhat different.”
(Aside: I like how they stick that qualifier WHITE in there... they certainly understand that black Christians vote differently, but they aren't ready to go THERE just yet.)

66% ain't nothing to sneeze at. Romney has trouble. But with all the "Obama is a Muslim" nonsense, is it possible the two candidate's religious troubles will balance/cancel each other out?

Loeffler isn't having any:
“This is nothing more than a political rally, at a time when graduates are having their lives dedicated to the work they were trained to do at Liberty,” Loeffler said.
I assume it will all reach a fever-pitch right before the election. Then again, maybe they just don't care too awful much about Romney and intend to use him as a sort of GOP sacrifice.

Stay tuned. This election season might yet have a few unforeseen twists and turns.

Roger gets his space ticket

MAD MEN gets it right again.

As I have written here before, LSD was originally the (legal) property of the drawing room and the elite types who visited psychiatrists, such as Henry and Claire Booth Luce, Cary Grant, RD Laing... and Roger Sterling and his wife Jane. Hippies did not widely partake until the Merry Pranksters decided to go cross-country, playing Johnny Appleseed and distributing it throughout the heartland. And THEN it was made illegal (in 1966), in response to their nefarious scheme to Enlighten the Masses.

In fact, where do you think the first hippies came from? Guys like Roger, transformed. I am curious what will happen to Roger now; the show closed with Roger informing the ever-beleaguered Don Draper, "It's a beautiful day!"

At this point in the show, it is likely Roger will tell Don about his acid-experience and 1) try to get Don to take it, or 2) Don will be sufficiently curious (after hearing Roger's description) to try it himself. And all of that childhood-trauma of Don's? Wow, that will be hairy. Because yes, those traumas really do come back in technicolor, they weren't joking about that. I would compare it to one of those 180-degree photographs, everything momentarily frozen so that you can go back and have a full-look at it, maybe start a conversation with someone else in the frame.

From Entertainment Weekly:

I could write 3,000 words just about what happened after Roger let a sugar cube of psychedelic chemicals dissolve on his tongue. So many of Roger's hallucinations fed right back into his horn-dog Peter Pan syndrome: The half-grey-half-black hair dye ad; the Beach Boys' "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" playing overtop a far older song I couldn't quite place; Roger cackling in the bathtub as the 1919 World Series unfolded in his head. It was a telling detail that Roger imagined Don to be his spiritual guide, but I ad0red so many of the small, silly details, too: The bombastic (possibly Russian?) opera that played after Roger uncorked a bottle of vodka; the cigarette that collapsed like an accordion the moment Roger began smoking it; the five dollar bill with Bert Cooper's face on it...
Although it never happened to me personally, paper-dollars with various faces on them was a pretty common LSD-hallucination. Also, the faces on the bills suddenly talking to you. George Washington talks! (I once got out a dollar-bill, hoping George would say something to me, but I guess money only talks to some people.)

And Roger and Jane finally get real:
Really, though, the long, strange trip was all about stripping away Roger's defenses -- his glib charm, his fragile ego -- and building up Jane's self-assurance and confidence so they could both admit to each other that their marriage was over. As Roger and Jane stared at the ceiling, the truth came gently tumbling out of them: "It's over." Their hostess wasn't Jane's friend, she was her therapist, who thinks Jane has been waiting for Roger to tell her their marriage is over so she won't have to. And although Jane's thought about having an affair, her love for Roger was real. But, Jane added, "I just know for a fact that you did not fall in love."

"So what was wrong again?" asked Roger.

"You don't like me."

"I did. I really did."
And their marriage is done.

~*~

As a lone six-year-old who had somehow blundered into the wrong place and time, I was once cornered in the doorway of an empty house by a cluster of (white female) teenage bullies. They had backed me into the proverbial corner and were slapping me, grabbing hair, kicking... all while laughing and laughing. I knew it was just the warm-up, because they were having too much fun. I was sick with fear.

I tried to say something cute, be charming or polite, all the things that had ever worked in the past; like a dog that rolls over and suddenly shows its underbelly in a fight, I was hollering uncle in a hundred ways. They correctly read my body-language of surrender and were emboldened and maliciously overjoyed by it, like a pack of wolves, circling. Exactly like that.

I turned, cupped my hand and peered through the small window on the door. "There's nobody in there," one said, threateningly. The words echoed and echoed through my psyche, and I could never remember what happened directly after. My mother said they had beaten me, but I could not remember it. Approaching that moment in my memory had always frightened me, more than the threat of nuclear weapons, more than drowning, more than snakes. I shut it down, pushed it back, thought of something else.

We all do this, and so do you.

But LSD goes straight for the house that has nobody inside (when it should have), straight for that thing you have repressed. And it can go several ways, from what I am told. But for me?

I was transported back to the sidewalk in front of the house (which I had passed many times) and saw the girls on the porch, who suddenly seemed so young. My goodness, I thought, they are only 14 or 15, aren't they? They aren't giants. They aren't adults. And as I ascended the porch stairs, one by one, they disappeared. I could never remember their faces anyway, but this made it official: they really did not exist any more. They were phantoms that had chased me. I realized, these girls had since grown up. I turned to one, just as she vanished, and asked her if she remembered. "Do you remember this?" I asked her.

She wrinkled her brow and shook her head, no. She was the blonde one, and she was the last to vanish.

I then saw my little six-year-old self, who had been beaten. I was wearing the same clothes I always remembered wearing. They had ripped my favorite shirt, with multicolored pockets on the front. I knew my grandmother (who had bought it for me) would be mad. I hoped she wouldn't be mad at me for straying too far from home, but of course, beaten or not, I thought she would be.

And then, the adult me embraced the six-year-old me. The little-me wept, while I soothed and comforted this little girl (me and not-me, all at once) and told her how strong she was for enduring this. I told her it would make her tough from this point onward, and as I said this, I realized: it had.

I told her everything would be okay, and she would grow up and the girls would vanish. Look, I said, they are gone already. I gestured, and showed her/me, that they were gone.

"They ARE gone!" the six-year-old me said, smiling through tears. Yes, they are.

And they were.

They never came back.

Here's hoping Roger fares as well. And Don, with his ghosts. They might vanish or they might return and kick his ass. It's all up to him.

Be nice to your old self; be charitable and kind to the younger-you. After all, you did the best you could.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tales from the Vinyl Vault

At left, Andy the Doorbum (center) at the Bohemian Cafe in Greenville today, part of RECORD STORE DAY at Horizon Records.

One CD he has recorded is titled "Art is Shit"--and who could argue?

~*~

It appears that the late Andrew Breitbart did NOT have cocaine in his system when he died. The coroner has declared his cause-of-death was a garden-variety heart attack. I STAND CORRECTED! (See, when I am wrong, I promptly admit it... more or less.) I am still skeptical that hard-partying Breitbart was living the drug-free life, of course, and duly remind my readers that coke exits the body without a trace in only about three days. (Breitbart had already admitted youthful drug abuse). I still believe he was all jacked up in this video. And if not, it might be more alarming than if he WAS. I mean, he appears utterly psychotic.

In any event, such a tantrum (check out how red-faced he is, as the cop attempts to guide him in the opposite direction) could not have been any good for his heart. Anger is not good for us, I try to remind myself.

I've always wondered if the cautions against anger in all the world's holy books, are also health guidelines, like the dietary laws turned out to be. The Type A personality is real (and we can all name one we know), but whether it actually leads to heart disease is debatable. But Type A can go either way, it can lead to fulfilling personal ambitions and providing needed leadership, or it can create a whacked-out spectacle like Breitbart screaming incomprehensibly at protesters.

~*~

At left: The Vinyl Vault at Horizon Records. I am grateful I didn't get rid of all my vinyl--I still have several hundred vinyl LPs that I hope to leave to my descendants.

Unless of course, there is a sudden "Cash for Vinyl!" movement and I am bribed with huge sums on loud, late-night TV commercials ... in which case, all bets are off.

~*~

Just watched a panel from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, titled "Nonfiction: Narrating Disaster" which highlighted three fascinating books that are now on my list--

The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street by Robert Scheer.

The Rainy Season: Haiti - Then and Now by Amy Wilentz

A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher by Joel Achenbach


I am currently devouring Joe McGinniss' NEVER ENOUGH, about the murder of the mega-successful, filthy-rich Kissel brothers. Other books I have read recently include VIRTUE AND REALITY by Lama Zopa Rinpoche (which you can read online too, at the link) and HOMECOMINGS by Risa Bear, the intense and honest biography of a trans woman who transitioned later in life (and who also happens to be my friend). Both books are great spiritual tutorials.

In particular, I can't recommend Risa's book enough. I just loved it.

Living lives true to ourselves, without constant, neurotic worry over what other people are saying and thinking about us, is something that can unexpectedly happen to women as we enter our 50s. Those things we have always wanted to do and say, we finally do and say, without apology. We have always put everyone else first, and now... it is time to put ourselves first. Risa writes from the perspective of one who is in this space, who has decided to be herself at long last.

Her joy at finally being/becoming herself supersedes and eclipses the opinions of others.

I hope at some point, to get to this point myself.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tune in tomorrow!

I am very pleased to announce we will be talking with Dr Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program, tomorrow morning on the Daisy Deadhead Show.

We are on bright and early at 9-10am, 1600AM and/or 94.9FM on your radio dial here in upstate South Carolina. (Broadcast note: The AM station can be heard all the way into downtown Greenville, although the FM station flags a bit and tends to break up as you approach the central regions of Greenville County.) You can also listen through livestreaming on the WFIS radio website. Our show is usually available later on Saturday afternoons through Black Talk Radio Network and Talk Shoe, which I highly recommend for optimal sound quality. You can also listen via your phone by calling 724-444-7444. The caller ID is 112747#, and the password is 1#. (NOTE: As a high-tech-challenged grandma who still finds certain apps dazzling, let me confess, I find the fact that you can listen to talk radio on a phone to be pretty incredible!)

Dr Flowers is a doctor, activist and Occupier, an innovative and fascinating combination; I am interested in how she integrates these roles in her professional life. Physicians for a National Health Program is a single-issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 18,000 members and chapters across the United States.

I have been particularly obsessed with the universal health care issue ever since our Occupy film series, where we viewed and discussed the comprehensive documentaries Sick Around America and Sick Around the World. Specifically, I hadn't known about the systems in Japan and Switzerland, and how they manage their health care program. Once I realized that this IS doable, and HAS BEEN done (despite Republican propaganda to the contrary) -- I wondered why we are the last industrialized Western nation to get it done?

And why ARE we?

This is what we will be discussing with Dr Margaret, so tune in!

~*~

Please contact me or my consigliere, Gregg Jocoy (daisyshow@yahoo.com and/or greggjocoy@yahoo.com), if you have progressive opinions, events, concerns, etc that you would like us to cover. If you are a wit, or if you are as eloquent as last week's guests (Chris Harris, Traci Fant and Amelia Pena), then you belong on radio, and we'd love to hear from you.

In addition, some of the people we have been privileged to interview on the air so far:

Ross Levin, Green Party member, college student and Occupier, who called us directly from Occupy Wall Street and commented on what he saw there.
Lisa Simeone of World of Opera.
Joni LeCompte, writer, mother, local Occupier extraordinaire.
Uma Seaman, spiritual blogger, yogini, massage therapist, Occupier.
Jeff Sharlet, author of C-Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy and Sweet Heaven When I Die.
Sheila Jackson, local powerhouse activist, fundraiser and MoveOn member, also commented on her experiences as an Occupier in Zuccotti Park in New York. (I think Sheila has been on 3 or 4 times, and currently holds the record!)
Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President.

And yes, we almost added Noam Chomsky to this illustrious list, but we weren't quite ready for prime time!

I am probably missing some people, and for that I apologize. But if you would like to be added, as I said, contact one of us. We are currently into our 8th month of the show, and I haven't collapsed from stagefright (radiofright?) yet.

Stay tuned, sports fans.

~*~


EDIT 4/21/12: Scotty's internet connection was lost and we only got about 25% of the show for the podcast, I think it was the last 25%. This is NOT our fault, for once, you can blame Time Warner Cable! But it was a great interview and I regret we couldn't save it all. We are going to start recording the show on CDs, old-school style, in case this happens again. Argh!

Aside: I went on something of a rant (what? me?) for the first 20 minutes of the show, so maybe it was ME who shorted out the cable connection. Perhaps this was divine intervention--saving me from the further ire of the "Democrats" --although I am disappointed so many people will miss Gregg's NPR-voice, which is just a marvel. He sounds just like one of them! We have decided to make Gregg's boilerplate NPR-liberal a permanent feature of the show, just like my Arianna Huffington impersonation (which was really my old impersonation of Eva Gabor on GREEN ACRES, updated with politics), which has proven to be unexpectedly popular.

At the least, yall can listen to Jello Biafra's LOVE ME, I'M A LIBERAL, which is how we closed the show.

Thanks to everyone for bearing with us anyway!--DD

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Levon Helm 1940-2012

I heard from my friend Blue Heron that Levon Helm had passed, which just broke my heart.

I adored his raspy Arkansas voice. I also loved him in Coal Miner's Daughter and The Right Stuff, which he narrated wonderfully in his trademark twang.

We will miss him so much.

Levon Helm, Drummer in the Band, Dies at 71
By JON PARELES
New York Times

Levon Helm, who helped forge a deep-rooted American music as the drummer and singer for the Band, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 71 and lived in Woodstock, N.Y.

His death, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, was from complications of cancer, a spokeswoman for Vanguard Records said. He had recorded several albums for the label.

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.

Mr. Helm was the American linchpin of the otherwise Canadian group that became Bob Dylan’s backup band and then the Band. Its own songs, largely written by the Band’s guitarist, Jaime Robbie Robertson, and pianist, Richard Manuel, spring from roadhouse, church, backwoods, river and farm; they are rock-ribbed with history and tradition yet hauntingly surreal.

After the Band broke up in 1976, Mr. Helm continued to perform at every opportunity, working with a partly reunited Band and leading his own groups. He also acted in films, notably “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980). In the 2000s he became a roots-music patriarch, turning his barn in Woodstock — which had been a recording studio since 1975 — into the home of down-home, eclectic concerts called Midnight Rambles, which led to tours and Grammy-winning albums.

Mr. Helm gave his drums a muffled, bottom-heavy sound that placed them in the foundation of the arrangements, and his tom-toms were tuned so that their pitch would bend downward as the tone faded. But his playing didn’t call attention to himself. Three bass-drum thumps at the beginning of one of the Band’s anthems, “The Weight,“ were all that he needed to establish the song’s gravity. His playing served the song. In “The Shape I’m In," he juxtaposed Memphis soul, New Orleans rumba and military tattoo. But though it was tersely responsive to the music, the drumming also had an improvisational feel.

In the Band, lead vocals changed from song to song and sometimes within songs, and harmonies were elaborately communal. But particularly when lyrics turned to myths and tall tales of the American South — like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Ophelia” and “Rag Mama Rag” — the lead went to Mr. Helm, with his Arkansas twang and a voice that could sound desperate, ornery and amused at the same time.
Indeed it could.

~*~

And here is one of those amazing songs that you tend to hear at apocalyptic moments. Not for nothing has it become an ongoing cinema-staple, usually played as the protagonists are figuring out something important.

I remember a fight with my mother as a teenager, and going out on the stoop to pout. Hearing the song at that moment (coming from somewhere across the street) was a spiritual lesson I needed, one of my first tutorials in The First Noble Truth.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And Levon was my teacher, in those few moments.

The Weight - The Band



Requiescat in pace.

Dirt

Some angry local "Democrat" wrote a nasty, 1445-word (!) hit-piece on me, and has now even outed me with my legal name.

Otherwise, I would link it here and we could brawl further.

But using my name is an unbridled personal attack and here in upstate South Carolina, could even expose me to actual physical danger. I use a pseudonym here and on the air, for good reasons.

About this sordid affair, I will say no more (((sigh))), but its been going on for days now. (This guy obviously has the serious hots for Ann Romney! My radio-show comments about her have made him bloody frantic.) Also, this is my golden opportunity to link the blog Genderratic, where Gingko often discusses the phenomena he calls "damseling"--when men come to women's rescue for ostensibly pseudofeminist reasons; you know, like this "Democrat" defending poor, beleaguered Ann Romney, who needs serious protection from little nobodies like your humble narrator. (Or something like that.)

And it made me think of this song. It just POPPED into my head. :)

I am pretty sure Lou wrote it about Iggy Pop, since Iggy also wrote a song by the same name.

I guess they weren't getting along so well, at that point.

Dirt - Lou Reed



This is my last word on this subject, since I am now banned from this guy's blog (so people can go on to discuss me without me interfering or correcting the copious inaccuracies). Considering what happened to left wing radio host Alan Berg, I am thinking I need to start carrying a weapon myself. After all, South Carolina has lots more white supremacists than Colorado ever did. And this man has deliberately turned me into a target by naming me.

What kind of gun? I'd prefer an M-16, but I don't think it will fit into my purse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dick Clark 1929-2012

In this post only nine days ago, I briefly mentioned the Rolling Stones concert in San Francisco. One thing I remember from that show is a couple dancing together (very well), and when they finished, someone shouted out, "Let's hear it for couple number 14 from Milwaukee!" and everyone standing around applauded, whistled and laughed appreciatively.

I realized that a lot of Americans would not get that joke now. And it made me sad.

His name was Dick Clark, and we grew up with him. Now he is gone, along with his black counterpart, Don Cornelius. And with them passes a whole way of life, memorialized in musicals like Grease: young people dancing on live TV to the popular songs of the day.

Upon hearing of Clark's passing, my first thought was the 'tribute song' by Barry Manilow (a remake of Les Elgart's big-band original, with updated lyrics mentioning the show and Clark by name)-- which Clark liked so much he closed out American Bandstand with it from 1977 until the show's demise.

The song sums it up.

Bandstand Boogie - Barry Manilow



(He actually starts DANCING in the middle, and then continues singing. I very much doubt he smoked!)

We're goin hoppin
we're goin happin
Where things are poppin
The Philadelphia way
Were gonna drop in
On all the music they play
On the Bandstand

Bandstand, bandstand, bandstand

Hey! I'm makin my mark
Gee, this joint is jumpin
They made such a fuss
just to see us arrive
Hey, it's Mister Dick Clark
What a place you've got here!
Swell spot, the music's hot here
Best in the east,
Give it at least
A seventy five!


And as you know, lots of the songs were worth the whole hundred percent. :)

This list gives you a partial idea of the impact of American Bandstand on mass media and pop culture.

Goodbye Dick, and thanks for the jams.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend update

At left: a fabulous vintage Chevy Bel Air, which I saw parked nearby yesterday. Any estimates on the year? I am thinking maybe 1957 or 58, which makes it as old as I am. It was bee-yoo-ti-full!

As I was taking the photos, people passed by and nodded approvingly, one announcing that it was right purty. It sure is. ((swoons)) A small consolation prize for no pink Packard, though! (I am still kicking myself for not being able to get that photo.)

~*~

Yesterday, I attended the WXMP Community Radio Meet and Greet at the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination. (photos here) I would love for Community Radio to become a reality in the upstate. We watched a video about the Prometheus Radio Project, which was exciting and got my hopes all stoked up. In addition, we learned about the Media Access Project and the series of cases known as Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC -- which challenged radio-monopolies, making community radio a real possibility.

Efia Nwangaza, director of the Center, has the transmitter already and basically just needs to get it moved... but the costs can be staggering.

Right now, my show is on WFIS, which is commercial radio. Community radio is much more free-form, and as long as you keep the FCC rules (no cussing!), you can say any kind of crazed radical stuff you want. Then again, the wattage is not usually too high, so the listening-area isn't as large as commercial radio.

I'd love to try both, but that is likely over-extending myself.

Speaking of over-extending, just came from the dentist (ugh) and will not be making it to the meeting with Rep. Bakari Sellars; I am hoping mainstream media will cover the event halfway decently. (But if they don't, I certainly won't be surprised.) Recently, there has been a huge discussion about the various versions of Stand Your Ground laws across the USA, and I am very pleased my show was part of that. Folks are busy evaluating and re-evaluating South Carolina's Protection of Persons and Property Act (which has a "Stand Your Ground" provision included), and lots of ideas and alternatives are currently being proposed and exchanged.

I have heard from several people that our Saturday show was the best yet! You be the judge.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

More on "Stand Your Ground" laws

... which we covered in depth today on my radio show this morning. As you know, this is the law being used to defend George Zimmerman, arrested this week in connection with the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.

Our guests, Traci Fant (organizer of the local rally seeking justice for Trayvon), Chris Harris and Amelia Pena, discussed South Carolina's "Stand your ground" law, which is a provision in the "Protection of Persons and Property Act." This was defined by the SC Legislature in SECTION 16-11-440(C) and is considered an extension or clarification of the "Castle doctrine"--a concept discussed at length by my radio-show participants.

In my opinion, the Castle doctrine should be sufficient, so I am not sure why an additional law was necessary. The National Rifle Association (and how did you guess) was one of the main agitators for the PPPA, which makes me wonder if increasing gun-sales was one incentive for the law. Concealed-carry laws are currently classified as "shall-issue"--one of those weird in-between categories nobody can quite figure out. Basically, if you ask for a permit and you are not a convicted felon, they will give you one for $50.

Since this IS South Carolina, I would wager all of the people in my radio-discussion had guns of their/our own (two out of three referred to their weaponry). We ain't skeered of guns in these parts. But of course, WE are not the people we are worried about.

The Stand Your Ground law has already been abused and/or (as in the case of Zimmerman) used to cover up some shifty and suspicious behavior.

Some examples--

Jason Dickey Manslaughter Conviction overturned:

Chief Justice Jean Toal wrote that Jason Dickey acted in self-defense in the shooting of 24-year-old Joshua Boot of West Columbia.

Dickey was a security guard at an apartment building and has served five years of a 16-year sentence.

Toal wrote that Dickey was confronted by two younger, intoxicated large men advancing toward him at the Cornell Arms apartment complex in downtown Columbia.

Associate Justice Don Beatty dissented in the 4-1 ruling, saying Dickey could have avoided the confrontation and was not inside the apartment building at the time of the shooting.

Dickey said Joshua Boot didn't live in the building, refused an order to leave, and came after him with a bottle.

Columbia defense attorney Jack Swerling represented Dickey in his 2006 trial and says the state Supreme Court's recent move makes this an "important case," but does not set a legal precedent for the thousands of South Carolinians with concealed weapons permits to open fire if they feel threatened.
It doesn't? Of course it does.

Does a "bottle" equal a gun? I'd say one fellow was, um, outgunned, wouldn't you?

And what of a seemingly-simple situation that suddenly becomes very deadly, very quickly?:
Gregory Kirk Duncan didn't take too kindly to the way Christopher Spicer, a guest in his Greenville County home, was talking about a picture of his daughter in a cheerleading outfit. Duncan asked Spicer to leave, and he did — but not for long.

Within minutes after exiting the house, Spicer tried to come back in through the screen porch door. Duncan stepped out onto the porch with a gun in hand and told him to leave, but Spicer kept trying to force his way past. So Duncan put a bullet through Spicer's head.

Duncan was initially jailed for the shooting, but a Greenville County circuit court judge appealed his arrest, citing South Carolina's Protection of Persons and Property Act, a series of laws enacted in 2006 that guaranteed a person the right to defend him or herself against "great bodily injury" in his or her own home, vehicle, or business. The case made its way to the state Supreme Court, and in May 2011, based on testimonies that confirmed the preceding story, Duncan was exonerated. The court ruled that Spicer's forceful attempt at entering the home constituted an adequate threat to warrant self-defense under the law.
Known as the "Bluffton Christmas Tow Truck slaying"--Preston Oates is now using the aforementioned "Castle Doctrine" as his defense in the shooting of Carlos Olivera. (This is after his escape-plan didn't work out.)

The shooting has greatly heightened existing ethnic-tensions in Bluffton for well over a year now:
Nelson [Olivera] has replayed the scene hundreds of times in his head. Still, he can’t comprehend how a trivial parking dispute could have ended so badly, leaving his younger brother dead and four kids without their father.

“It’s so sad. It was the holiday, and we were all laughing, smiling and hugging,” he said, shaking his head. “Then, in five minutes, our whole lives changed forever.”

Tow truck driver Preston Oates fatally shot 34-year-old Carlos Olivera on Dec. 24 after the two men argued over a parking boot Oates placed on Olivera’s minivan.

But just how that transpired, who was at fault and what penalty Oates should pay has been the subject of a bitter debate that has stirred ethnic tensions in this sprawling suburban community in Beaufort County.

Oates, who said the shooting was in self-defense, is charged with manslaughter and a weapons violation in Olivera’s killing. But some in the community, including Olivera’s family, want the charge upgraded to murder.

They say Oates shot Olivera execution-style while the victim had his back turned. Olivera was carrying a gun that night as well, but he never fired his weapon, authorities have said.
Another well-known incident locally, involved the shooting of a homeless squatter in Spartanburg. They shot him before even calling law enforcement.

And then they charged him with trespassing:
No charges will be filed against a homeowner who shot a homeless man at a vacant Converse Heights house earlier this week.

Citing a section of state law called the Castle doctrine, the Spartanburg Public Safety Department announced in a written statement Friday night that no charges would be filed against Maria Thompson or her husband, Ray Earl “Chuck” Thompson Jr., both of Chesnee.

A warrant, however, has been signed against the homeless man, 31-year-old Gregory Wells, charging him with unlawful entry, which is a felony, according to the statement.

On Tuesday afternoon, officers responded to 183 Connecticut Ave., which is a vacant home that is listed for sale. According to an incident report, Ray Thompson and Maria Thompson were notified by a real estate agent that a man was in their home when the agent came to show it.

The couple went to the home, and as Maria Thompson was looking for a house key, her husband pulled on the door, which opened, the report states. The couple later told police that Wells met Ray Thompson at the door. Ray Thompson asked Wells what he was doing in the house, according to the report, and the homeowner pulled out his .45-caliber handgun as Wells approached. Ray Thompson told police that he warned Wells to back up or be shot, the report states.
And finally, last weekend, another incident in Spartanburg, as two men were shot during an apparent robbery:
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office says it happened shortly after midnight Saturday at the 300 Building of Lee’s Crossing Apartments on Powell Mill Road.

When deputies arrived they found two people lying on the ground outside the apartment window behind several air conditioning units.

Deputies say the resident of the apartment building shot the two suspects. One suspect died on the scene, the other was taken to the hospital where he died.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger says Michael Deangelo Gentry-Hill Jr. and Darren Tyree “Ty” Hill both from Spartanburg died from gun shots wounds.

The Sheriff’s Office says there is not a threat to the community. Investigators have spoken with the resident of the apartment and no charges has been filed at this time.
The hitch in this last case is that Douglas Williams, the 29-year-old who shot the two intruders, was not supposed to be carrying a weapon, as a convicted felon. Nonetheless, he seemed to believe the Stand Your Ground law applied to him too.

AND THIS IS HOW IT WORKS IN REAL LIFE, PEOPLE. Everyone thinks they have the right to shoot anyone who "advances" on them, or just squats in a house. We have regressed to the Wild West, where everyone can pull their glossy six-shooters on everyone else, while simultaneously claiming to be the wronged party.

SC State Representative Bakari Sellers has proposed a bill to repeal the “Stand Your Ground” provision of South Carolina’s "Protection of Persons and Property Act"--which targets the phrasing in the bill regarding "retreating"--something I am not sure I totally understand. My guests believed it is unlikely that the total PPPA could be repealed here, and I agree. But could we modify or reform part of the bill? This remains to be seen.

STAND YOUR GROUND will be the subject of a local Q-and-A here in Greenville at the Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church, Monday night, 6pm. People like me, who don't quite understand all of the particulars, will be able to ask Rep. Sellers questions in person. What is the difference between repeal of the entire PPPA and modifying the "Stand Your Ground" section? How is this any different from the existing "Castle doctrine"? This is your chance to learn! Be there or be square. Hope everyone with questions will suit up and show up, and ask those questions.

DEAD AIR is planning to be there, so if you have any questions that are specifically about the SYG law, go ahead and ask them here, and I'll see what I can do. Let your voices be heard!

Ann Romney and class war

Apparently, I upset some people with the 7-minute intro to my radio show this morning. Wow, really? And I try so hard to be nice, too.

I usually start my show with a summation of whatever the other talk-radio hosts have been discussing, then give my take on it. And then we segue into other subjects. I long ago decided this would be my pattern, to let people know that this is not your ordinary South Carolina talk radio. In fact, we are the only self-identified lefty radio show in the entire upstate. So, my choice to begin my shows this way is quite deliberate. I want people to know who they are listening to, right out of the box. Unlike many conservative radio hosts, I don't try to fake people out and lead them to believe I am "objective" (since of course there is no such thing as objectivity, as the post-modernists have correctly counseled us) or "fair and balanced"--since what I try to do is make up for the fact that local media in Greenville County is overwhelmingly conservative.

Today I started my show trashing Ann Romney, which seems to have upset people. It also means they weren't listening. And its that last part that upsets me.

The scandal of the week is about the words of liberal journalist Hilary Rosen (not a Democratic party operative, although you certainly wouldn't know that from all the conservative media coverage) stating the obvious, that Ann Romney, who owns a couple of Cadillacs and is married to extremely-wealthy presidential candidate Mitt Romney (a proud member of the fabled 1%), has never worked a day in her life, which of course, is absolutely true.

This true statement is considered a scandal. Why? Because the Rethuglicans have successfully spun her comments as "mommy wars" comments, implying that Rosen impugns the beleaguered stay-at-home mamas (which note, I have also been, as I was careful to mention on the air). MOMS DO TOO WORK, comes the chorus. Well, duh, of course we do. But a woman worth "$290-odd million" (in her husband's amusing estimate) is not a "stay-at-home-mom"--she is the mistress of the plantation. As F. Scott Fitzgerald so memorably said, the very rich are different from you and me. And a woman who "raised five boys" certainly DOES work hard... but a woman with maids, nannies, secretaries and yard workers, DOES NOT.

In fact, what DOES she do?

THIS is what Rosen was saying... and if she wasn't, it is what *I* am saying.

Ann Romney is a rich woman who has done nothing but hire nannies, and that is not tantamount to raising five boys, or even five houseplants. Sorry, but it just isn't. Are we to believe she is Shirley Jones in THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY, hauling five kids around in her used-schoolbus? Right. She has drivers, she has car-elevators, she has EMPLOYEES. And no, that is not "working"--in fact, the very idea is a JOKE.

My question is: why would regular folks want to identify with such a person? My consigliere pointed out to me that people in trailer parks will vote for Mitt Romney... and he is 100% correct, although the logic here totally escapes me. Have we working-class people been so brainwashed to hate ourselves and believe ourselves inferior, that we automatically think anyone rich must be superior, must have the answers, MUST be smarter than we are? (This concept always reminds me of a line from FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: "When you're rich, they think you really know!")

Do we believe such a thing about a rich person who inherited everything and did nothing himself to deserve it? WHERE do we get this bias for the rich? WHY is it bad to point out that Romney has not raised her children herself?

Let me make it clear: nothing pisses me off more than "I built this house" or "my dad built this company" or "FDR built the Lincoln Tunnel" etc. Workers built your house, workers built your father's company, and workers built the Lincoln Tunnel. The erasure of workers, the fact that people died building the railroads and the Panama Canal and the bridges, is something I keep front and center in my consciousness, because those people were me and my family. Likewise, I always correct people when they name some rich slave-owner as the man who BUILT one of the countless beautiful homes of the South. NO, SLAVES BUILT THAT HOUSE. FOR FREE, TOO.

Likewise, I am annoyed when Ann Romney or another rich woman comes forth to claim she raised 5 boys, or 5 houseplants, or whatever she is claiming to have done. NO, NANNIES RAISED YOUR CHILDREN FOR YOU. MAIDS WASHED THEIR CLOTHES. DRIVERS PICKED THEM UP FROM SCHOOL. To say otherwise is to actively erase these workers, and I won't do it. I will certainly give credit where it is due, and it is not due to Ann Romney, but it IS due to the women she erases with her lying statements of having "worked" at home. Bullshit. Rich women with nannies have hired employees to raise their kids, period. If they don't like me saying that and daring to recognize the actual workers who have done the actual work, then they shouldn't LIE about it. What do you suppose Ann's nannies are thinking, the women who actually stayed up late with the feverish, puking babies while Ann cozily slept in? Let's hear from THEM. And by the way, did she pay Social Security taxes on all of her domestic workers? What is their immigration status; is it as nefarious as those yard-workers her husband claimed not to know were illegals? And why didn't he know that? Because he doesn't even HIRE his own yard workers, he hires out other people to do his hiring.

And where is the mainstream media, and why aren't they asking these questions? Because rich people are sacrosanct in America. Their choices are not to be questioned. They can do anything and everything they please, with no repercussions. To point out that they are liars (and lazy people who have never worked) is considered RUDE.

Well, let me continue to be rude, since someone has to do it, and as we see, the regular media is too busy chastising Rosen for saying the obvious, and fawning all over the 1%. Hey, if the 1% does it, it MUST be okay. How dare we suggest otherwise.

And then we wonder where they get the power to erase us and walk all over us and steal $800 million in bail-out money from us? We have given them the power, in our fear and reticence to question them. We genuflect at their lifestyles, we tell ourselves it is our failing that we are not more like them.

I do not WANT to be like them. They are morally bankrupt, lazy, parasitic rich people living off the HARD WORK of the rest of us. Ann included. If that message bothers you, you are not ready for class war, even though it has already been declared on us when they took our money to bail out the rich. And be advised: they intend to take more of your money and give it directly to the rich. Romney is warning you, daily, that he intends to do this. If you vote for him to pick your pocket to give another tax break to him and his staggeringly-affluent friends, you are a fool. If you think it's PERMISSIBLE for a man who keeps huge amounts in a Swiss bank to run this country, you deserve everything you get. I just wish you wouldn't take down the rest of the country with you.

And his wife? A tool. His "consultant on women's economic issues"--a woman who has never worked a day in her life.

This is the truth, and Rosen should not be shamed or vilified for reminding us. I only wish we could be reminded of their fraudulent statements more often.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beautiful grandbabies!

Yes they are! My grandchildren at their cousin's birthday party, Easter weekend.



Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting to know you

Its been awhile since I participated in a fun meme, and so here we go! These are "Getting to Know You" Questions from the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

1. What is the most daring thing you've done?

Hitchhiking to New York City from Ohio, twice. And back! Also hitchhiked out of Candlestick Park after the Rolling Stones concert, and considering the acidheads who picked me up, that was rather daring, as well.

Speaking of which, I've also done my fair share of LSD, and probably your share, too.


2. What is your favourite article of clothing?

I love my vintage 'Doris Day coats' from the 50s, lovingly salvaged from estate sales, attics and such, but of course, I rarely get a chance to wear them. One is far too fragile to wear (although I did wear it for one season); the stitching holding the lining together has nearly turned to dust, and it really does need to be properly restored... the other is bright red and doesn't go with anything, but it's nice during the holidays.

But it is rarely cold enough in SC to wear these kinds of old-style heavy coats.


3. What is your favourite monster?

I love all the vampires in THE HUNGER (David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon), and Jeff Goldblum in THE FLY.

4. If you had to dress up as your favourite literary character, who would it be?

Hmm, not sure. I guess I could be one of the women from JG Ballard's COCAINE NIGHTS, but who could afford those designer-duds? I'll 'dress' as one of those characters after they become addicted to morphine, and just be naked in the back of a limo, perpetually confused.

5. What is your favourite fairy tale, urban legend or nursery rhyme:

I am terribly fond of all GREAT conspiracy theories, particularly the most outrageous and ridiculous of our time. I like the 911-truthers a lot, that is some highly-entertaining stuff, and there appears to be no end to it, regardless of the dedicated-debunkers.

Of course, as an ex-Yippie, I know all the JFK-assassination theories by heart, and I like to concentrate on Jack Ruby's role, as regular readers know. I also believe Roman Polanski was tipped off before Charlie's girls dropped by for a visit... that sudden trip to France has always been suspect to me. (I believe the worst of Polanski, always, and he has never disappointed.)

My favorite conspiracy theory these days is CHEMTRAILS: those "tracks" in the sky that are rendering us sterile. I urge you to study and learn and read all about it! I used to hear this story every day (for about 3 yrs) when I sold supplements, and then the overall popularity of the theory seemed to fade a bit. But I am still all about the CHEMTRAILS and I love hearing people talk seriously about them.

I also love Wilhelm Reich's ORGONE theory... not a conspiracy theory, but amazing and wonderful and certainly worth mentioning here.


6. What is a cause near and dear to your heart?

I am a lifelong activist, so there are many... right now, I want to continue the work Occupy Wall Street (and Occupy movements throughout the country) have started, particularly the strengthening of local networks (especially here in conservative SC) and progressive communities. Occupy and its various accompanying social networks have given us the tools, and we must stay connected and involved. KEEPING PEOPLE'S SPIRITS UP (in the face of unbridled right-wing attacks) is crucial right now, and that is something I am concentrating on too.

When people are in jeopardy, I tend to put animal rights on the back-burner, but animal rights ARE near and dear to my heart, also.


7. What is the strangest item you've used as a bookmark?

I famously destroyed a book by using a leaky-pen as a bookmark! YIGH!

8. Do you have any nicknames? What are they and how did you earn them?

Daisy IS my nickname, which I took from my late grandmother.

9. Name one habit you want to change in yourself?

Various food addictions that wax and wane. When I tackle them, I veer off into ORTHOREXIA, and when I don't, I can easily chow down on Reese's Easter eggs, one right after the other. No healthy and sane in-between seems possible for me in the area of food. I am usually in one mode or another (or on my way to one or the other). I chalk this up to a lifetime of evilll dieting, as well as having gone without food (unwillingly) for long periods as a child.

"Feast or famine" is something I have deeply internalized, unfortunately. (sigh)


10. Tell us something interesting or shocking about yourself.

Is there anything I haven't fessed up to on this blog? If I haven't, rest assured, I HAVE fessed up somewhere and I expect somebody will re-print it one of these days. ;)

I once dressed up as the antichrist for Halloween, with a bright "666" etched on my forehead in red-and-black paint, with upside-down crosses on both cheeks; swathed in black, with a black shawl. People took my photo at various parties, all night long, and if I ever run for office or get famous as a talk-radio maven, I expect to see these dreaded antichrist photos re-surface and posted coast-to-coast. (I guess I will have to plead drug abuse, which is true enough.)


Thanks to my beloved Deadhead friend Jojo, for this meme. THANKS JOJO!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Occupy Easter (and similar sentiments)

Gregg Jocoy, intrepid producer of the fabulous Daisy Deadhead Show, expresses himself. (Photo from last week's Occupation.)





It has been 22 years since I missed any part of the Paschal Triduum. I did not want to write about this fact, until I was certain I could do it. And I wasn't at all sure; I don't mind telling you it is exactly like breaking an addiction. I have tried before and failed.

This year, success. In fact, roaring success, and I have been rewarded with more insights than I readily know what to do with. I will try to record some of these here. Wisdom means nothing if it isn't shared.

~*~

This year is the first year I did not attend Maundy Thursday Mass, Tenebrae (and/or Veneration of the Cross) or the Easter Vigil. It's a very strange sensation, a lot like losing your watch.

I wore a watch for years, and then quit after I got my wrist tattoo. It was jarring at first, then I realized I could estimate the time very well without it, at least within 5-10 minutes.

Going without my annual springtime ritual was daunting. It is so deeply ingrained in my psyche that I thought I might forget who I am. Again, jarring at first, and then I realized (emotionally, not just intellectually) I have entered a faith tradition that maintains the 'unchanging self' is an illusion. There is no reason to chastise myself for impermanence (anicca), and in fact, it is a natural phenomenon we should carefully observe, expect and welcome, as we welcome the seasons.

I have passed through the season of Catholicism.

And when you say it like that, it isn't nearly as scary.

~*~

We had a General Assembly today, Easter Sunday, which made it Occupy Easter. Writing that on a local Facebook page ("Occupy Easter!") got two local dudes all fired up and fuming at me, for reasons I am not sure I understand. Either they believe you should not demonstrate on a Christian holiday, or they believe you should... not quite sure what they were getting at. Apparently putting the two words together, Occupy and Easter, is what upset them so much. I couldn't figure out if they were religious or not, and maybe they couldn't either.

Yes, folks, things are getting mighty weird out there.

As I said on my radio show last week, it appears open racist war has been declared on African-Americans, specifically. The George Zimmerman apologists have streamed out of the woodwork, eagerly congratulating Zimmerman for shooting an unarmed black boy. They are serious too. A 68-year-old black veteran in New York, Kenneth Chamberlain, was shot in his home, apparently because they believed it wasn't really his home. A well-known and respected conservative columnist, John Derbyshire, was fired from the National Review because of a ravingly-racist column he wrote, filled with "talking points" that he shares with his children about how you shouldn't associate with too many blacks, go to heavily-black events, and "before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white." (Yes, I'm afraid it's all like that.)

In addition, the comments on this column were one long, horrific, endless litany of compliments for Derbyshire; the racists safely hidden behind their cute, made-up, untraceable, anonymous screen names like "Paul Ryan" and "HamletsGhost" (I couldn't hold back and added my two cents, of course).

What's going on?

As I believed during the ascent of the misguided Tea Party, I think the fact of a black president has caused them to become thoroughly discombobulated. I can't think of any other reason they have completely flipped their cookies.

I remember my husband replaying one Tea Party clip over and over on YouTube, a woman at a Town Meeting angrily proclaiming she "wanted her country back"--which made us wonder what she was talking about. Does she think she owns the whole country, all by herself? And where did she get an idea like that? Did somebody sell it? (Actually yes, Goldman Sachs did, but that doesn't seem to be what she was referring to.) She was a birther, and announced Obama was born in Kenya, her voice shaking with emotion.

Similarly, one of the angry (white male conservative) commenters who loved the column by racist Derbyshire, features a photo of Detroit in the 50s on the masthead of his blog. He captions the photo: I WANT THAT DETROIT BACK.

And this is the crux of it, isn't it? He wants to go back to the days when blacks were in their place, and they weren't rubbing elbows with the likes of him. One wonders if Mr Rightwing Blogger actually lives in modern-day Detroit? I'll bet he doesn't. He left Detroit willingly, waves of white flight at his back, and then shows tremendous fury that the city no longer belongs to him. And whose fault is that? Why did you leave, in that case?

Derbyshire counsels his children to avoid the multicultural and multiracial public square, to avoid the places and events that have "too many" blacks. And if they do, won't this make his kids even angrier... as Mr Rightwing Blogger is? As the birther-lady was? They have been taught that the blacks are TAKING OVER; the psychology of white flight is that whites and blacks cannot possibly co-exist in the same place. It's very territorial at base--the concept is that the place belongs to THEM or to US, and at some point, critical mass means it's theirs, and the whites run away in droves.

And they nurse the illusion that they have been banished, when in actuality, they have banished themselves.

They blame the blacks for the results of their own racism, as Mr Rightwing Blogger fusses that he wants his "old Detroit" back. Well, where did it go? Answer: white people like him left Detroit for whoever remained, for whoever came after. And then, they can blame the people who stayed, rather than themselves, for their own cowardice. (As I have written before, I have seen this over and over again.) As I read the comments on the Derbyshire piece, filled with taunts to the white liberals, that they should "go for a walk in a multiracial neighborhood"--I was flabbergasted. Do they consider blacks to be WILD ANIMALS, is that it? Because it sure does sound that way.

I comforted myself after reading this racist insanity, by going for a walk in my heavily-black, multiracial neighborhood. I was not accosted a single time.

~*~

My radio show Saturday featured my usual Tea Party-caller and sometime-commenter, who was also the subject of a discussion today, as we Occupied Easter. He is stuck on birth control (uppity women wanting to control their own lives, is a very sore subject with these people) and told me if I wanted government to buy birth control, then I can't complain when government ____ (fill in the blank). I asked him what was the difference between the dreaded Obamacare and Social Security or Medicare? Or government funds paying for Emergency Room treatment in public hospitals?

He replied, finally and truthfully, that he wanted to end all Social Security. Yes, finally, after months of goading, I got him to admit it.

Ending Social Security is basically advocating the mass deaths of sick, old and disabled people. Teabaggers who think this way intend to put disabled people down like dogs, since of course, that will be the actual result of this dogma put into practice. (After all, it was before.)

But we have a modest proposal.

If these conservatives want to renounce Social Security, they should be allowed to do so. (No, they don't get any refunds, just as us anti-war people don't get refunds on our war taxes and us vegetarians don't get refunds on meat-inspection taxes and so forth... sorry about that!) If they publicly announce that Social Security should be ended, we need to present them with an affidavit or some other legal waiver, and get them to sign on the dotted line. (I guess this would necessitate a new law or something, but hey, I am all for it.) This handy-dandy affidavit, which every liberal and card-carrying member of MoveOn shall have on their person at all times (needless to say), will immediately allow the gum-flapping teabagger in question to waive their rights to all future government aid: police, EMS, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, libraries, public schools, water fountains, parks, national monuments, The Smithsonian, etc.

And to enforce this new law, they would have a chip implanted and wear something like a Medic-Alert bracelet, which says: Do Not Resuscitate. If found on road half-dead, leave behind, do not call 911. (We should be able to easily devise a chip that helpfully BEEPS LOUDLY every time they enter public establishments, just like the library books that beep when they haven't been properly checked out.) Think of the huge amounts of money this would save, as the conservatives actually practice what they preach and stop being hypocritical liars! As of course, they will eagerly sign these documents IN DROVES.

I think this is a great idea. Who's with me?

Now, at first, the rise of deaths (leading to far less Republican voters, a pleasant short-term side effect) will alarm everyone, and finally, somebody will cry and squeal as they lay dying (quickly going viral on YouTube) that they are SORRREEEE SORRREEEE SORRREEEEEEEEEEEEE they signed the waiver and tearfully beg, whilst bleeding to death, to be taken to an Emergency Room after an accident. It will probably be some attractive white sorority girl, and it will make the news on all the cable channels for weeks on end. Fox News will plead that this innocent girl could not possibly have known the implications of what she was signing, and didn't intend to waive her ER privileges. She only meant the black people! She didn't know she would ever need an ER! (((sobs))) What a terrible misunderstanding!

And the law will be repealed, and that will be that.

But until then? Sounds like a lot of fun, and I say, introduce the waiver for them to sign IMMEDIATELY! The chip may take a little longer, but if you can implant nervous poodles with a chip to guarantee their way back to their frantic owners, we can certainly implant Tea Partiers with a chip to keep them out of OUR public hospitals and parks. Won't that be GREAT?

After a few dozen of them drop dead, they will get a clue and shut up. Or maybe not!

This means there will be a lot more STUFF for the rest of us.

I admit, I do feel sorry for the disabled children of the Tea Partiers, brainwashed to refuse life-saving medical care. But like they say, in every omelet you break a few eggs, etc. I am sure my Tea Party-caller will understand. And I am sure he will heartily agree about the signing the waiver!

Unless he is another Tea Party hypocrite, of course... and you don't think THAT could be true, do you?

(giggles)

~*~

Hope you all had a happy Easter. Here is DEAD AIR's official Easter song, which of course, I still love. The idea of rebirth and transformation is a recurring theme in all faith traditions.

It always makes me happy.

After the Goldrush - Prelude

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nikki Haley: "Women don't care about contraception"

It's been awhile since a South Carolina politician embarrassed us publicly, nationwide. Are you nostalgic for the days of Governor Mark Sanford hitting the news every night? Or maybe you miss media spectacles like Congressman Joe Wilson rudely bellowing during the State of the Union address? Not to worry! Our Tea Party Goddess Governor has put us BACK ON THE MEDIA MAP.

Her recent doofus-appearance on The View, has gone viral. Yes, South Carolina is BACK IN THE NEWS!

Do you love it or what?



That's right, sports fans, "Women don't care about contraception"! And that's a direct quote, that we should keep repeating forever. In fact, I am proposing bumper stickers: "Women don't care about contraception"--Governor Haley. Whaddaya think?

How do we get stuck with these horrorshows? Well, let's just keep her talking, so 1) she can't get re-elected and 2) she won't get snatched up for some cabinet position (as Palin has not been), because she has exposed herself as too stupid.

Keep up the good work, Governor!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On The Future of Small Blogs

Small-blog traffic is down across the board, even as the 'big blogs' get more readers. It is increasingly obvious that blog traffic is like income: the 1% get it all, and us 99% puttering along down here at the bottom, are lucky to get any at all.

I used to get about 10,000 hits a month--even in 2010 when I averaged only about 2 posts a week. Now I am down to about 7000 or so. Every (small) blogger I know has reported similar trends.

How did this happen and why is it getting so much worse?

I blame Facebook, of course. And Twitter. And hypocritically, I am right there on both of them with everyone else. Twitter provides everybody with fabulous linkage and good reading, while Facebook provides the personal stories and socializing; the grease that keeps the online Dharma-wheel turning. What need is there for small-time local blogs? I find it interesting that the most hits I have received in the past year on one post (about 3000), was primarily because it was widely reproduced on Facebook.

Today, whilst interacting on a rather fiery, opinionated blog, it occurred to me. On this blog, where I have previously interacted with lots of people who disagree with me, I was suddenly called a concern troll and instructed to stop commenting. Wow, I thought. What the hell happened? Are people not allowed to simply disagree any more?

No.

Everyone must be FRIENDS, like on Facebook. You can't categorically disagree with the majority any more, or they will just tell you to shut up. Facebook has changed the terms of debate and what sort of discourse is acceptable. Thus, when you step "out of line" or express an unpopular opinion--you are dealt with much more harshly.

By contrast, Facebook threads are self-contained, for the most part. Nobody is totally "anonymous" and there can be no sock-puppets. Many of the participants in any given thread, will already agree with each other since they are from the same social circles, age-grouping and class. However, some of us have a LARGE and DIVERSE number of friends--which is far more likely if you are older (or have lived and worked in a variety of environments, as most older people have). People who hate each other and/or disagree on every single issue in the world, can suddenly and unexpectedly collide on the same thread. And predictably, all fired-up with "likes" (votes from people who agree with any given comment)-- they come out guns-a-blazing. Many Facebook people may not have any other online experience and it is entirely possible they have never before argued with people who disagree with them; thus, they promptly go into ideological apoplexy. This is marked by a lot of "you're crazy!" and "you can't be serious!" because they really do believe this. It's not rhetorical. You can tell they have not been exposed to real life ______ (fill in the blank). Atheists, anarchists, libertarians, Ayn Randians, communists, animal rights activists, whoever. They have heard of them, sure, but they've never met them before ... and they often respond by hitting the proverbial roof, flipping out and calling names.

For this reason (ideological apoplexy), you can easily "block" people on Facebook, so you don't have to SEE their awful opinions and be annoyed by them. This is diametrically opposite to blogular life, where you can't NOT SEE what you don't want to see, unless you are the owner of the blog in question.

And so, Facebook has tamed Blogdonia, made it more homogenous. In so many ways, cyberspace bullies made this happen, just like real-life bullies gave birth to gun control. Just when online culture seemed to be teetering on the edge of a free-for-all, suddenly, Facebook and similar social media promise ORDER FROM CHAOS.

Facebook and other self-contained, monitored sites became the safe place to meet. Who wants to be harassed by total strangers? When does "arguing" end, and actual harassment, hatred and stalking begin? (And who decides?)

I heartily recommend Julian Dibbell's fascinating post (which I originally read in the Village Voice, back in the day) titled A RAPE IN CYBERSPACE, which I commented on. (And I have finally learned how to link to just one comment in a thread, yay me!) I wrote:

The new wrinkle on [the] thousands of listservs (like on Google groups) is that some people are anonymous, some are pseudo-anonymous, and some provide their real names, leading to an imbalance of power among users. The anonymous people have the power to attack, those of us pseudo-anon or using real names, can’t attack phantoms in return.
...
It’s a pernicious environment… and one I think has given rise to Facebook, where people feel “safe” from anonymous assholes. Of course, a great deal of privacy is given over to FB, and that is the NEW problem… so the trolls greatly assisted the rise of internet surveillance and spying. They should be held accountable for that too.

Just as IRL, a rise in crime can lead to increased cops and fascism.
Another thread participant, Galactic Stumblebum (and what a great name!) added some important points. To say the least:
The issues are expectations and trust. People expect that when they are on the net, others will respect them as they would in RL. They trust in the sysops to enforce behavior just as they would trust the courts or the cops or mommy and daddy or Big Brother to enforce behavior in RL. They demand that someone hold their hands.

Perhaps Daisy is right. Perhaps the rise in Facebook popularity is a manifestation of the need for having one’s hand held. Personally, I do not know (I took one look at Facebook and decided that Sturgeon’s Revelation applied and haven’t been back since. I don’t have any fear of that corporation violating of my privacy because I avoid their product like the plague). But I don’t think so. I think rather that the rise in social network popularity is just that – social.

Nor do I believe that fascism is the culprit. No, I think that the rise in surveillance and the loss of privacy are the natural results of both the control freak propensities of the power elite, and the boohoo whinging of the carebears. People have been taught to expect someone to hold their hands, when they don’t get it, they are outraged – just as they are IRL when the cops do nothing. That makes the carebears call out for someone to do something, and the power elite is all too happy to oblige as it directly feeds their need for power and control.

It’s a cycle.

The major problem is the expectations. After all, reality is simply a mechanism for fulfilling expectations – change the expectations of what will be real, and you change what becomes real. That is perhaps the role of antisocial netizens – to bump the expections back into line when they stray too far down the path of fantasy.

As for griefers and trolls – well, let’s not fool ourselves; The real reason for laws and oversight is because the vast majority of humans really are primates barely out of diapers…in short, assholes.
And Mr Stumblebum, obviously very wise, gets the last word.