Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday links

Got copious links for your perusal.


Did Nikki Haley Kill Climate Study?:

The article in The State [Columbia, SC newspaper] also reported that [John] Frampton [head of South Carolina's Department of Natural Resources] retired in 2012 after conflicts with Caroline Rhodes, then the Chairperson of the Board that oversaw the Department of Resources. Rhodes had been appointed to her position by Republican Governor Nikki Haley. The DNR climate change study pre-dated the Haley administration. Although current DNR officials are claiming that the refusal to release the study is not politically motivated, it's hard to accept their denials at face value. The report was on track to be released until Haley, a Tea Party favorite, was elected as South Carolina's governor and appointed her own people to the DNR Board after assuming office in 2011.

The only logical conclusion is that her administration quashed the climate change report prepared by the state's own scientists based on political considerations.

Kirk Smalley Found A Mission After the Suicide of His Son:
Smalley’s life has become a mission to stop bullying, and youth suicide. Kirk now spends his days telling his son’s story at schools around the world. He has told Ty’s story at more than 500 hundred schools and has talked to hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, and school administrators since Ty’s suicide nearly three years ago. He said,
We do it because we don’t want another family to live our nightmare. Laura doesn’t ever want another mama to find her baby the way she found ours. We don’t want another kid to ever feel the way Ty felt, that that was the only option. We’re not doing it for Ty. We’re doing it for all the other kids out there. The main part of our message is not to stand silent and watch it happen and that’s addressing the bystanders. If we can empower those kids to be willing to stand up and say ‘you know what – this isn’t right. It’s not funny,’ then we’ll greatly outnumber the bullies. One kid, one voice can make a difference.

One of my favorite bloggers has called it a day: Renegade Evolution, whom I have written about on this blog before.

Good luck to you, my friend. May the wind always be at your back.


TOO ADORABLE FOR WORDS! SQUEEEE! AIYEEEE! The San Diego Zoo's panda cub, Xiao Liwu, playing with his little ball during his medical exam.

If you die from cuteness, not my fault, you were warned.


Obama to urge court to overturn same-sex marriage ban in California:
Government sources say the Justice Department will by day's end articulate a legal position in the so-called Proposition 8 case, a ban by California voters over same-sex marriage that is now being challenged in the Supreme Court. At the very least, the administration will express general support for gay and lesbian couples in that state alone to wed.

That case and another appeal over the federal Defense of Marriage Act will produce blockbuster rulings from the justices in coming months.

Gay rights groups have privately urged Obama and his top aides to go beyond his previous personal rhetoric in support of the right and come down "on the side of history" in this legal fight. Those sources tell CNN that Obama has made the final decision over whether to file a brief and what to say.

As of earlier this week, there was still internal debate among White House and Justice Department staff about whether the president should take the big step and say there is a constitutional right of gay and lesbian couples to wed. The administration was also considering a compromise position -- affirming previous support for same-sex marriage, at least in California, while conceding other states may have the option to ban it.

Wikileaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning pleads guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him:
After two months in military jail in Kuwait, Manning was moved to the US Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, on July 29, 2010. He was held there in maximum security confinement for nearly a year, where he sat alone in a cell for 23 hours per day and was denied a pillow and sheets. An online petition at received more than 500,000 signatures calling for President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to "end the torture, isolation, and public humiliation of Bradley Manning." And in February of this year a UN report from Juan Mendez, the special rapporteur on torture, concluded after receiving information from the US government about Manning's treatment that "imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity…"

I heard Toubab Krewe last night, on the namesake of this blog, the indispensable UNCLE DAVE'S DEAD AIR. Loved em! Sharing their musical genius here... apparently, they play frequently at the Orange Peel in Asheville (their hometown), and I am fervently hoping to get up there to see them in the future.

This is an acoustic set recorded live at The Festy Experience, October 2011. Their electric sets are just as impressive.

Acoustic Sessions at The Festy : Toubab Krewe

If you know the names of any of these exotic instruments, please let me know!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Radio Update

We are moving our show, Occupy the Microphone, to WOLI, sister station of WOLT. After six weeks of shows at WOLT, yesterday was our last show there, although we may continue to use their studio for broadcast (not sure yet). After 14+ months on WFIS and 6 weeks at WOLT, I am finally feeling a wee bit like a pro!

Below, Jack Logan of Put the Guns Down, Young People talks about his organization with my co-host, Gregg. (as always, you can click to enlarge the photos)

Yesterday's show rocked, and we kept the pace going throughout. Our special guests were Jack Logan, Eric Wood of Another Voice with Jason and Eric and the legendary Sylvain Sylvain (of the New York Dolls) -- the latter interview was particularly exciting for me and Double A, the rock and roll diehard.

Below, co-host Double A (the magnificent) and Eric Wood.

We will be going DAILY after we move to WOLI on March 1st. We hope all of you will join us! ADVENTURE! PASSION! PROVOCATION! MOVIN ON UP! (screams for emphasis)

We'll be doing drive-time radio hour (Gregg's dream, finally come true) at 5-6pm, so tune in.

Below, my new Facebook photo. Can you tell it was three minutes before airtime?!? (EEEEEEEEP!)


The Second Annual Occupy Film Series continues tonight, totally and absolutely free, at the Hughes Library in Downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Tonight we will be showing Food, Inc.-- a film very close to my heart. Yall come!

And more importantly, watch the movie and learn to hate Monsanto with the rest of us lefties.

Having some vehicle issues, so I may be late or absent. Therefore hoping some intrepid folks take my place and make some noise. Get that Q-and-A started, peoples. Somebody has to do it!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

He blacked my eye and he kicked my dog

The late Levon Helm performing the Grateful Dead's TENNESSEE JED... it's got trumpets! It's a carnival!

You know you bound to wind up dead...

TENNESSEE JED - Levon Helm (from "Electric Dirt")

Off to Atlanta (not Tennessee) for a long weekend, see you all when I get back... hopefully I'll return in time for Occupy Greenville General Assembly on Sunday (3pm) at the indispensable Coffee Underground. We will be discussing the upcoming film series, so be there or be square!

I woke up a-feeling mean
Went down to play the slot machine
The wheels turned round and the letters read
Better head back to Tennessee, Jed

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No to the Keystone XL Pipeline

I totally forgot to post photos of our anti-Keystone XL Pipeline demonstration, here in Greenville on Saturday. This might be because it actually started to snow (a big crisis in South Carolina!) and I quickly hightailed it home after we ate lunch.

Our small but hardy troupe included Green Party members, and Occupy Greenville. This was staged in front of the downtown TD Bank, which is funding the Keystone XL Pipeline. Local actions were on Saturday, while the larger, national demonstration in Washington (on the National Mall) was scheduled for Sunday.

I helped pass out leaflets to curious onlookers, which outlined some of the following points (this particular excerpt is from Friends of the Earth):

The Canadian oil and gas company TransCanada hopes to begin building a new oil pipeline that would trek close to 2,000 miles from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas. If constructed, the pipeline, known as the Keystone XL, will carry one of the world’s dirtiest fuels: tar sands oil. Along its route from Alberta to Texas, this pipeline could devastate ecosystems and pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health.
Giant oil corporations invested in Canada's tar sands are counting on the Keystone XL pipeline to make the expansion of oil extraction operations profitable: The pipeline would double imports of dirty tar sands oil into the United States and transport it to refineries on the Gulf Coast and ports for international export.

Before TransCanada can begin construction, however, the company needs a presidential permit from the Obama administration
Environmental concerns

Pollution from tar sands oil greatly eclipses that of conventional oil. During tar sands oil production alone, levels of carbon dioxide emissions are three times higher than those of conventional oil, due to more energy-intensive extraction and refining processes. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 900,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil into the United States daily, doubling our country's reliance on it and resulting in climate-damaging emissions equal to adding more than six million new cars to U.S. roads.

During the tar sands oil extraction process, vast amounts of water are needed to separate the extracted product, bitumen, from sand, silt, and clay. It takes three barrels of water to extract each single barrel of oil. At this rate, tar sands operations use roughly 400 million gallons of water a day. Ninety percent of this polluted water is dumped into large human-made pools, known as tailing ponds, after it’s used. These ponds are home to toxic sludge, full of harmful substances like cyanide and ammonia, which has worked its way into neighboring clean water supplies.
Northern Alberta, the region where tar sands oil is extracted, is home to many indigenous populations. Important parts of their cultural traditions and livelihood are coming under attack because of tar sands operations. Communities living downstream from tailing ponds have seen spikes in rates of rare cancers, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. In the lakeside village of Fort Chipewyan, for example, 100 of the town’s 1,200 residents have died from cancer.
It also appears that there will be minimal (if any) increases in American employment for the Pipeline, despite copious Republican propaganda that it will provide more jobs.

Notice that their "more jobs!" claims are always very nonspecific and vague. There's a reason for that.


Sunday's action in Washington featured a whopping 40,000 demonstrators. reports:
The speakers up on stage today represented the full diversity of our movement, from indigenous leaders across the United States and Canada, to clean energy investors like Tom Steyer, to environmental leaders like Mike Brune and Bill McKibben, to civil and voting rights activists like Rosario Dawson and Rev. Lennox Yearwood.

The march today looked like the movement that elected President Obama. Now, it’s time for him to join us in standing up to Big Oil and saying no to Keystone XL. Because this movement isn’t going anywhere. We’re, to borrow a phrase, fired up and ready to go. And we’re not stopping until the President takes action.
Here is the NPR report on the demonstration.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see the New York Times cave to Big Oil on this one. (not linking)

I strongly urge people to investigate and study the issue on their own, because the mainstream media seems determined NOT to provide the whole story.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Blogular updates

Great graphic comes courtesy YELLOWDOG GRANNY.

Blogger has unexpectedly monkeyed with the process of posting photos. Again. As stuffy Evelyn Waugh (disgusted with Vatican II and Mass in English) famously remarked: The same again, please. Those of you who have had your favorite soap or frozen burrito or bra discontinued, never to be found again, can totally relate... as can middle-aged bloggers who finally mastered something, only to find it CHANGED AGAIN, and NOT for the better.

So, now I must copy and paste my old photo-format and insert the new URL of the photo in its place, to get it to look the way I want. Growf.

The same again, please!

Which reminds me. Ratzinger, I mean, Pope Benedict XVI, is abdicating at the end of the month, which we discussed on the radio show. On Gregg's Friday podcast, he went into more detail. (Specifically: What type of crimes is the Pope allegedly seeking immunity from? Is it for protecting pedophile priests or Vatican bank-laundering dirty money?) I am personally hoping for an African or South American pope this go-round, although I am unsure if that would have any appreciable effect on doctrine. Still, we see that an Eastern Bloc pope had the undeniable effect of helping to take down the Soviets; Vatican funds were funneled directly to the Solidarity union in Poland. Might an African pope get some of that Vatican cash for a similar fight against tyranny? Certainly, the possibilities are endless.

And speaking of religion: I have started reading an intense, smart fella named Dan Fincke, who is my kind of atheist. His blog is named "Camels with Hammers"... apparently, Dan has not read my smug young critic of last summer, who confidently assured me that Nietzsche is totally YESTERDAY, man. Direct quote: "You do know that he was discredited ages ago, right? Only alienated teens take him seriously any more."--just like the Beatles, one assumes. Is that a bummer or what?

You are hopelessly OUT OF IT, Mr Fincke! (But a very entertaining writer.) If I EVER get around to fixing the broken blogroll (something else Blogger supposedly "made better" and instead, made horribly worse)--I will be including you posthaste. Please accept this friendly mention in the meantime!


I forgot to re-post THIS on February 17th: my account of the lynching of Willie Earle, which took place here in upstate South Carolina, 66 years ago. I DID remember the date (rather late in the day) and posted a link on Twitter and at the South Carolina Progressive Network page on Facebook.

Please pass it on... its my own small contribution to Black History Month.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Governor Haley named as "other woman" in divorce case

The accusations against Governor Nikki Haley, first alluded to during the 2010 Republican Primary, are now once again center stage here in South Carolina.

From FitsNews, here is a post by another of Haley's ex-boyfriends (and you knew I couldn't leave that out, dincha?):

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is one of three “other women” named in a divorce lawsuit filed in Richland County, S.C. earlier this month.

According to court documents obtained exclusively by FITS, Jennifer Marchant – wife of prominent S.C. State House lobbyist Larry Marchant – is suing her husband for divorce on the grounds of infidelity.

One of the three women Marchant accuses her husband of cheating on her with? You guessed it … Haley.

“On or about June 2, 2010, (Larry Marchant) publicly admitted to having an affair with a woman well-known to the parties and the citizens of the State of South Carolina,” the lawsuit reads. “(Jennifer Marchant) was humiliated and embarrassed by (her husband’s) public admission and was unable to appear in public for some time. Eventually, (Jennifer) conditionally forgave (Larry)’s adulterous behavior.”

Damn …

The lawsuit was filed in Richland County family court on February 6 . A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on February 20.

Marchant submitted an affidavit in October 2010 - swearing that he and Haley had a one night stand in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 2008.

(For details about that alleged encounter, click here).

Haley categorically denied Marchant’s claim. In fact she said Marchant was unable to prove the two of them were ever alone together on the Salt Lake City trip.

“We’ve had representatives go on the record that said we were in a group setting all the time,” Haley told former Columbia, S.C. radio host Keven Cohen at the time.

Other sources who went on the Salt Lake City trip have disputed Haley’s claim, however.

“They left the W lounge together,” one of these sources confirmed to FITS, referring to a dance club located three blocks away from the Marriott hotel where the South Carolina delegation was staying.

Another source also confirmed seeing Haley and Marchant on the corner of Broadway and Southwest Temple streets in downtown Salt Lake City at around 2:25 a.m. as the pair walked back to their hotel room.

Marchant’s affidavit was dismissed at the time by Haley’s lawyers because it was not submitted in connection with a court case. Meanwhile Haley refused to submit an affidavit attesting to her version of events.

“It’s up to them to prove it,” Haley told WSPA TV 7 reporter Robert Kittle. “It’s not up to me to prove that I’m telling the truth. It’s up to them to prove that is true.”

So … will Marchant change his story in open court – with a possible perjury charge and hundreds of thousands of dollars hanging in the balance?
Good question.

Meanwhile, lots of people are suddenly remembering Haley's hilarious comment on THE VIEW, that "women don't care about contraception"... and we are wondering if, you know, she was being 100% honest about that? Sounds like Haley, at least, sure did care! (You don't think she was lying, do you?)

You can't make this stuff up! Stay tuned, sports fans.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Green Party Livestream show during President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address

The Green Party will be live-blogging the State of the Union address tonight. Included will be my esteemed radio co-host, GORGEOUS GREGG!
Speaking of which, here is the podcast of today's OCCUPY THE MICROPHONE show, on WOLT FM. Our special guest was the amazing Art Goodtimes.


WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States will hold a special online GP-TV broadcast during President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 12.

The show, which begins at 9 p.m. Eastern Time and 6 p.m. Pacific Time, will be aired on the Green Party's Livestream Channel (

Viewers will be able to participate in a simultaneous chat about the address on the Livestream page and can also call in with comments and questions after the end of President Obama's speech. Craig Seeman and Starlene Rankin will produce and host the show.

Jill Stein, the Green Party's 2012 nominee for President (, will be a guest on the show via Skype after the President's speech.

Greens and friends will discuss the State of the Union, expectations for the second term of the Obama Administration, and the Green Party's own plans for the coming year. Issues like climate change, which President Obama discussed in his inaugural speech, will get special attention: is the President serious about curbing global warming, or will he approve the Keystone XL pipeline and continue to promote fossil fuel production?

See also:

Facebook page for the Livestream show:

"Green Party urges national protest against the proposed Keystone XL and Trailbreaker pipelines"
Green Party press release, January 31, 2013

Green Party of the United States

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sherry Darling

This is what we used to call a "rave-up"--after much investigation, I still can't find out where it was recorded, but it sounds like it was performed live in some South Jersey saloon. The song was originally recorded for "Darkness on the Edge of Town"--but ended up on the subsequent album "The River" instead. The real puzzle is why someone didn't release it as a single and make trillions of dollars.

I challenge you to name the last rock song you heard in which a guy complains that he has to take his girlfriend's mom to the unemployment office and she's talking too much. Ahhh, working class Bruce, that is one reason we loved him.

Once upon a time, I played this tune every single day before I went to work ... it was as good as coffee. :)

Sherry Darling - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The white South’s last defeat

... is the title of an article by Michael Lind on Salon. Some of it really rings true to me, and I thought I would do some quoting and commentary of my own.

The article is accompanied by a photo of the confederate battle flag in front of the State Capitol here in South Carolina. (sigh) Every time I go to Columbia (I think the last time was for Occupy Columbia), I see someone taking a picture of that damn flag, and it's pretty embarrassing.

Some excerpts from the article:

The white Southern narrative — at least in the dominant Southern conservative version — is one of defeat after defeat. First the attempt of white Southerners to create a new nation in which they can be the majority was defeated by the U.S. Army during the Civil War. Doomed to be a perpetual minority in a continental American nation-state, white Southerners managed for a century to create their own state-within-a-state, in which they could collectively lord it over the other major group in the region, African-Americans. But Southern apartheid was shattered by the second defeat, the Civil Rights revolution, which like the Civil War and Reconstruction was symbolized by the dispatching of federal troops to the South. The American patriotism of the white Southerner is therefore deeply problematic. Some opt for jingoistic hyper-Americanism (the lady protesteth too much, methinks) while a shrinking but significant minority prefer the Stars and Bars to the Stars and Stripes.

The other great national narrative holds that the U.S. is a nation of immigration, a “new nation,” a melting pot made up of immigrants from many lands. While the melting pot story involves a good deal of idealization, it is based on demographic fact in the large areas of the North where old-stock Anglo-Americans are commingled with German-Americans, Polish-Americans and Irish-Americans, along with more recent immigrant diasporas from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

But even before the recent wave of immigration from sources other than Europe, the melting pot never included most of the white South. From the early 19th century until the late 20th, the South attracted relatively few immigrants.
Many, many Americans in the Midwest (where I am from) descend from German and Irish immigrants. This is likely one reason they are more tolerant of immigration in general.

Lind includes THIS FASCINATING MAP (reproduced at left, you can click to enlarge), pointing out that much of the south simply regards its ancestry as "American" (which I guess ought to be spelled "Amurrican"). That truly does speak volumes.

However, I would also point out the huge swaths of purple on that map, which are the majority-African-American counties. That might give you some idea of how old-school white people feel "surrounded" in the South (underscoring the facts in my post about how white-flight brought down the economy). It is my contention that MOST whites would feel that way, and it is notable that there is no such similar swath of purple anywhere else in the country. Although yankee whites feel superior to southerners in race-matters, that is because they are safely in the majority. When African-American populations reach a certain critical mass (my estimate is about 25-30%), then racial animosities manifest in the North as well as the South.

One of the first things I noticed when I moved down South was that there are lots of rural African-Americans here, as well as city-dwellers, something nearly unheard of in the North. In the North, various white threats to "move out to the country" are racist code; dog-whistling for 'escaping' from blacks. In the South, such comments simply mean that you are moving to the country so you can grow tomatoes and raise chickens; no dog-whistling intended. Here in the South, there is no place whites can go (other than the richest enclaves) to 'escape' from black people. Would white yankees be as tolerant, in the same circumstances? Since most currently choose to live in segregated enclaves, far more segregated than the neighborhoods of most southerners .... I hardly think so.

This is the major reason white southerners don't like racial finger-pointing from yankees who live in all-white neighborhoods. I do not live in a white neighborhood, and I understand the sentiment.*

Back to Lind:
As difficult as it may be, outsiders should try to imagine the world as viewed by conservative white Southerners, who think they are the real Americans — that is, old-stock British-Americans — and the adherents of the true religion, evangelical Protestantism. In this perspective, the rest of the country was taken over by invading hordes of Germans, Irish and other European tribes in the first half of the 19th century, leaving the South, largely unaffected by European immigration, as the last besieged pocket of old-stock British-Americans, sharing parts of their territory with subjugated and segregated African-Americans.

This local British-American ethno-racial hegemony in the South was eroded somewhat by the migration of Northeasterners and Midwesterners to the Sun Belt following World War II and the advent of air-conditioning. And now, predominantly nonwhite immigration from Latin America and Asia threatens to make white Southerners of British Protestant descent a minority in their own region. Texas and Florida are already majority-minority states. It is only a matter of time before the same is true of every state in the South. Southern whites will go from being a minority in the nation as a whole to a minority in the South itself.

If Southern culture had a tradition of assimilating immigrants, then cultural “Southernness” could be detached from any particular ethnicity or race. One could be an assimilated Chinese-American good old boy or a Mexican-American redneck. To some degree, that is happening. And Southern whites and Southern blacks have always shared many elements of a common regional culture.
Indeed, one thing I find especially charming is young Asians with deeply-southern accents (little Asian children saying "Hey yall!" is too adorable for words) or young Mexicans at the White Horse Road Flea Market warning their brothers and sisters, "Its fixin to rain!" sounding as thoroughly southern as any other native South Carolinians. After all, they have been born here, and it was inevitable. There is a great deal of intermarriage among young white southerners and the new arrivals, and adorable kids of indeterminate race/ethnicity hollering "yall" has been the result. (And places like the White Horse Road Flea Market and the immensely-popular Anderson Jockey Lot is where we all come together.) I am one of the Midwesterners who moved here (in 1987) after the advent of air-conditioning (even though I often regard myself as a 'repatriated southerner'--since my mother's family was southern).

But the Old South ain't buying. Lind is right about that much:
[It] is difficult, if not impossible, for many white Southerners to disentangle regional culture (Southern) from race (white) and ethnicity (British Protestant). The historical memory of white Southerners is not of ethnic coexistence and melting-pot pluralism but of ethnic homogeneity and racial privilege. Small wonder that going from the status of local Herrenvolk to local minority in only a generation or two is causing much of the white South to freak out.

The demographic demise of the white South is going to be traumatic for the nation as a whole. A century ago, when European immigration made old-stock Yankee Protestants a minority in much of the Northeast and Midwest, one response was hysterical Anglo-American nativism. In a 1921 essay in Good Housekeeping titled “Whose Country Is This?,” then Vice President Calvin Coolidge, an old-stock Yankee from Vermont, explained: “Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides.” Patrician Yankees promoted immigration restriction to prevent “inferior” European races from further contaminating America.
And now we come to another fascinating map provided by Lind, also reproduced at left (again, click to enlarge): Evangelical Protestants, rates of adherence per 1000 population. It largely speaks for itself.

I was particularly curious about those bright red hot spots of Evangelical religious activity, which are mostly in rural areas. Snooping around (with the invaluable aid of Google Maps), I discovered some of these bright red spots are on (or near) the home-bases of various influential mega-churches: Morristown First Baptist (Morristown, TN); Heartland Worship (Paducah, KY); Victory Family Life Worship Center (Hugo and Durant, OK), Altus First Baptist (Altus, OK), First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls (Texas), Harrisburg Baptist and The Orchard (both in Tupelo, MS). That bright red square in Montana jumped right out at me also--possibly a Christian militia stronghold? Likewise, the spot in Idaho is very close to Ruby Ridge.

As we see, most of the orange swaths are in the South, and many of these spots also correlate to various mega-churches.

Lind again:
Just as white Southerners today are gerrymandering congressional districts and contemplating gerrymandering the Electoral College to compensate for their dwindling numbers, so the outnumbered Yankees of the North sought to dilute the political influence of European “ethnics” in the early 1900s. When the 1920 census revealed that largely European urbanites outnumbered mostly old-stock Anglo-American rural voters, Congress failed to reapportion itself for a decade, because of the determination of small-town Anglo-Americans to minimize the power of “white ethnics.”
The startling difference at this historical juncture is that they will not admit what they are doing. They will deny that this has anything to do with their whiteness, although they will proudly cop to evangelical religion as a major motivation (deny Christ at your peril!).

I have to admit, this denial of their xenophobia is what I find so confusing, as someone who lives here and argues with these folks rather frequently. The racists and bigots of yore came right out and told you what they were thinking; they were not ashamed. Modern-day southerners categorically deny that their gerrymandering and various attempts to prevent minority voting (etc) has anything at all to do with race or ethnicity ... and they actually appear to believe their own lies. They tell you it is about IDEOLOGY. They refuse to believe that their ideology or politics is backward or racist, and consider such a statement anti-southern.

This is why I continually remind everyone of the purple swaths on that map: whites are not the only southerners. I refuse to let them forget it.

Lind winds up:
By the 1970s, the social divisions among old-stock Anglo-Americans and the “white ethnics” had faded to the point that most white Americans in the North had ancestors from several Western European nationalities. Similarly, the trans-racial melting pot in the U.S. will probably blur or erase many of today’s racial differences by the middle of the 21st century.

But the old-stock Yankees in the Northeast and Midwest did not accept their diminished status in their own regions without decades of hysteria and aggression and political gerrymandering. The third and final defeat of the white South, its demographic defeat, is likely to be equally prolonged and turbulent. Fasten your seat belts.

A few days before the 2012 election, I was shopping at the Fresh Market (a gourmet store) and blundered into the men's restroom. (there is only one toilet per restroom) A well-dressed, mellow old southern white man was drying his hands, leisurely, and looked up at me, bemused. He wasn't bothered.

"Ohhhh--" I burbled, embarassed. "I am so sorry! I wasn't paying attention!" He laughed, and then so did I. "You got me, dead to rights!" I held up my hands, as if under arrest. He laughed heartily.

"Welp, in a coupla days," he drawled in his low-country accent (a speech pattern strongly associated with 'old money' in these parts) "somebody else in Washington, Deee Ceee is gonna be held dead to rights too!" he cackled delightedly. In case I didn't know what he meant, he punctuated his comment with, "Benghazi!" --which he pronounced Benn Gozzeh.

I was stunned, but I smiled and nodded politely. I hardly knew what to say, so I said nothing. Mr Low-Country departed the restroom, chuckling happily at Obama's imminent demise.

I was stunned because: 1) He really did believe with his whole heart that Obama was going to lose, like most of the Fox News fans, and 2) he had no doubt that if he was talking to a white woman over 50, that I must agree with him. I mean, I was a reasonable person who apologized for entering the wrong-gender toilet, wasn't I? OF COURSE I was no hooligan, and I must therefore be a Republican.

It did not seem to occur to him that he might be talking to someone who would not agree with him. I think this is because he had met so few people who did not.

This is the South that is currently perishing. Not fast enough for me, but probably too fast for Mr Low-Country.

I have thought of him many times since the election. And I wonder how he dealt with the shock.


*I was once self-righteously preached at by a prominent blogger, that she made People of Color her role models about racial matters (I had foolishly remarked that I looked up to my mother as a political role model). When I checked the demographics of the Midwestern town this blogger lived in, I was stunned: It was 98.5% white. Who the hell are these role models she is talking about?

I realized then, that she was talking about, you know, Oprah Winfrey and bell hooks and various bloggers at Racialicious, not people she actually lived next to or associated with in real life.

This was a major wake-up call for me, contrasting the political-correctness of what various hip, so-called 'progressive' white bloggers SAY and how they actually live and what they actually do. When I bring these matters up (of neighborhoods and personal associations), it is understood that I am somehow saying something dirty or uncool--the idea that they should practice what they preach seems foreign to them. Am I suggesting they stop living in all-white neighborhoods?

Why yes, I am.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ellie's Love Theme

YouTube abruptly yanked my favorite Isaac Hayes song, thereby ruining my 2008 obituary post for Hayes. Boo. Hiss. (PS: I just edited it back in, so at least it's intact for now!)

I am happy to report that someone else has kindly uploaded this lovely gem, and I am hereby sharing it while I have the chance. LISTEN NOW, before the evillll corporate meanies steal it from us, and/or the uploader's account expires.

Smooth and nice as gravy on rice. When I think of the 70s, I think of music like this.

Isaac Hayes - Ellie's Love Theme (SHAFT soundtrack)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

African-American daughter of Strom Thurmond passes away

At left: the cover of Essie Mae Washington-Williams' biography, titled Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond. South Carolina Senator and proud Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond was the third-longest serving Senator in US history.

Strom Thurmond's mixed-race daughter, conceived with his family's 16-year-old maid and born in 1925, has passed on at the age of 87.

From the time I first moved to South Carolina in 1987, I heard rumors of Essie Mae's existence, but just found it so hard to believe. I didn't think there was any way the rumors could be true. Thurmond was the last of the old-school segregationists.

But I was repeatedly assured that the story was true. When she finally came forward after Thurmond died in 2003, I was not at all surprised, and I doubt anyone else was either.

From the Greenville News:

COLUMBIA — Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the mixed-race daughter of one-time segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years to avoid damaging his political career, died Monday. She was 87.

Vann Dozier of Leevy's Funeral Home in Columbia said Washington-Williams died Monday. A cause of death was not given.

Washington-Williams was the daughter of Thurmond and his family's black maid. The identity of her famous father was rumored for decades in political circles and the black community.

But not until after Thurmond's death in 2003 at age 100 did Washington-Williams come forward and say her father was the white man who ran for president on a segregationist platform and served in the U.S. Senate for more than 47 years.

"I am Essie Mae Washington-Williams, and at last I am completely free," Washington-Williams said at a news conference revealing her secret.

She was born in 1925 after Thurmond, then 22, had an affair with a 16-year-old black maid who worked in his family's Edgefield, S.C., home. She spent years as a school teacher in Los Angeles, keeping in touch with her famous father.

While Thurmond never publicly acknowledged his daughter, his family acknowledged her claim after she came forward. She later said Thurmond's widow, Nancy, was "a very wonderful person," and called Strom Thurmond Jr. "very caring, and interested in what's going on with me."

Several members of Thurmond's family didn't respond to messages seeking comment Monday.

Washington-Williams was raised by Mary and John Washington in Coatesville, Pa. Her world changed when she was 13 when Mary Washington's sister, Carrie Butler, told Essie Mae that she was her mother.

Washington-Williams met Thurmond for the first time a few years later in a law office in Thurmond's hometown of Edgefield.

"He never called my mother by her name. He didn't verbally acknowledge that I was his child," Washington-Williams wrote in her autobiography, "Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond."

"He didn't ask when I was leaving and didn't invite me to come back. It was like an audience with an important man, a job interview, but not a reunion with a father," she said in the book released January 2005.

It was the first of many visits between Washington-Williams and her father.

He supported her, paying for her to attend then-South Carolina State College at the same time Thurmond was governor. He also helped her later after she was widowed in the 1960s.

"It's not that Strom Thurmond ever swore me to secrecy. He never swore me to anything," she wrote. "He trusted me, and I respected him, and we loved each other in our deeply repressed ways, and that was our social contract."

Washington-Williams watched from afar as Thurmond ran for president as a segregationist for the Dixiecrat Party in 1948, saying "all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the army cannot force the Negro race into our theaters, our swimming pools, our schools, our churches, our homes."

Washington-Williams recalled once asking her father about race.

Thurmond defended his beliefs as part of the "culture and custom of the South," she wrote.

"I certainly never did like the idea that he was a segregationist, but there was nothing I could do about it," Washington-Williams said in 2003. "That was his life."

Thurmond later softened his political stance and renounced racism. But he never publicly acknowledged his oldest daughter or the active role he played in her life. Thurmond and his first wife, Jean, were married in 1947; she died in 1960. They had no children. He had four children with his second wife, the former Nancy Moore, whom he married in 1968.

Washington-Williams was left unsettled by her father's death. At her daughter's encouragement she decided to make her story public.

"In a way, my life began at 78, at least my life as who I really was," Washington-Williams wrote. "I may have called it 'closure,' but it was much more like an opening, a very grand opening."

A statue of Thurmond on the Statehouse lawn was originally cast saying he had four children. Thurmond's family agreed to have Washington-Williams' name added.
We mentioned Essie Mae's passing today on our radio show, Occupy the Microphone.

May her soul rest in peace... and may the south one day recover from Jim Crow.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Impeach Nikki Haley

My personal follow up about the South Carolina Department of Revenue cyber-security breach, initially reported in October 2012. I just received this:

Dear South Carolina Taxpayer:

As you know, tax data at the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) was compromised due to a recent security breach. Immediately upon discovering the data breach, new technology and policy protections were implemented at SCDOR to prevent further information exposure. We are writing you today to confirm that your tax information was compromised. The tax information that was compromised includes social security numbers of you and your dependents, if you claimed dependents on a tax return, and your bank account number only if you provided a bank account number on your electronic return(s). If your bank account number was compromised, you should regularly review your monthly bank account statement and your account online, and contact your bank immediately if you see any unexplained charges.

In addition to the Experian® ProtectMyID® services in which you have enrolled, we want to remind you that SCDOR is providing protection services for your minor dependents under Experian's Family Secure® program. You should receive a notification from Experian about how to enroll in Family Secure within a few days of enrolling in ProtectMyID. The enrollment period for Family Secure ends May 31, 2013. More valuable information on protecting yourself and your family is available from the Department of Consumer Affairs by visiting and clicking the "Identity Theft Resources" button or calling 1-800-922-1594.

Two additional protections that will alert you to the opening of new credit files or prevent them from being opened are fraud alerts and security freezes:

You can place a fraud alert at one of the three major credit bureaus by phone and also via Experian's website. A fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures, including contacting you, before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. For that reason, placing a fraud alert can protect you, but also may delay you when you seek to obtain credit. The contact information for all three bureaus is as follows:
...and it continues: blah blah blah. Vogue model and sometime SC Governor Nikki Haley, screw-up in charge, even repeated all this nonsense in her State of the State address... as if Experian is going to save us all, just like Spiderman to the rescue. (One question: was HER personal information compromised?)

We need to get rid of her for this. Many State-House watchers believe that her cheapskate, cost-cutting ineptitude is the reason for the breach.

Just thought I'd let you all know: me too. (sigh)