Monday, April 29, 2013

Bob Jones University's MACBETH witches wear dreadlocks

Above, the three witches of MACBETH, sporting dreadlocks.

Today on Occupy the Microphone, we discussed Bob Jones University's newest production of MACBETH, which got a gushing (and what other kind is there?) endorsement from Sunday's worshipful GREENVILLE NEWS. As I have complained before (about a half-million times), the GREENVILLE NEWS has never ever criticized Bob Jones University, even when they appoint professional rape-apologists to their board, or suspend students for watching GLEE. As I have also said, they don't even print Letters to the Editors critical of BJU; segregation, racism, sexism, homophobia, students not being able to face their accusers, long-time faculty railroaded out of jobs because they state on internet forums that they don't like corporal punishment, etc... it's all peachy keen and wholesome as the dickens.

My all-time favorite GREENVILLE NEWS editorial (re: the aforementioned BJU scandal about the rape-excuser on the board) actually stated, "Whatever account is most accurate" (!)--which completely sums up the hands-off approach always applied to Bob Jones University, in which the words "investigative journalism" have absolutely no meaning.

What makes no sense is how the GREENVILLE NEWS obviously wants the big movers and shakers to relocate here; they want the international money-men to colonize Greenville even more than they have already. Do they understand that championing such an awful, embarrassing, oppressive institution is NOT the way to do this? Why not cut to the chase and simply print a banner headline advertising: GREENVILLE UNRESERVEDLY LOVES FUNDAMENTALIST WACKOS? I mean, if you are going to continue to rave about the wonderfulness of BJU without alluding to its repressive history (as well as its repressive present), that IS how it reads.

To name only the most recent example, the goofy, incorrect, thoroughly unscientific craziness in Bob Jones University's homeschool textbooks recently made the media rounds, singled out as an example of redneck stupidity and an occasion of extended hilarity on all the major networks. This craziness included rehabbing the kkk, who really were just misunderstood doncha know:

“[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2001
And making sure students understand that slavery wasn't all bad:
“A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 2nd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 1991
And you probably didn't know that dinosaurs and humans lived side by side?:
“Bible-believing Christians cannot accept any evolutionary interpretation. Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years.”—Life Science, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007
In addition, fire-breathing dragons might be real, just like on GAME OF THRONES!:
“[Is] it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls…The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke.”—Life Science, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007
And yes, unfortunately, I could go on. Further, Bob Jones University is one of the major suppliers of homeschooling textbooks worldwide ... and they make a lot of their money from this crackpot stuff.

But don't expect any criticism of this goofiness from our local newspaper of record. Not. One. Peep.

Maybe that's the worst part of it: The GREENVILLE NEWS is still pretending the place is a real school, instead of a fundamentalist cult. And this has the overall effect of making us all look like yahoos, every time we pick up their newspaper.


And so, the MACBETH production, like everything else at BJU, was deemed an unqualified success in the Sunday GREENVILLE NEWS account. But when I saw the photos of the three actresses playing the famous three witches in MACBETH, I was somewhat alarmed (but never surprised, considering who we are talking about) that their hair is all in dreadlocks.

What? (double-take)

Dreadlocks. DREAD. LOCKS.

Keep in mind that witches, to BJU, are real enough that they do not even allow their students to read the Harry Potter novels. Witches are unambiguously regarded as evil, satanic, bad. Thus, we must wonder why they consider dreadlocks specifically something that witches would wear? Why would they think that? I doubt anyone in Scotland in 1057 AD wore dreadlocks, know what I mean? But here in Greenville in 2013, who DOES wear them?

Think about that.

African Americans and white hippie pagan weirdos. You know, the evil people. In fact, it is African drumming that makes rock music uniquely evil and satanic, in case you didn't know. Things from AFRICA are automatically suspect in BJU-circles. (Interracial dating was prohibited on campus until 2000.)

And so, we have to ask, what do the dreadlocks on witches mean in this context? Was this an openly-racist decision by the wardrobe department, or as Sheila Jackson, my caller on today's radio show, said, is this "subliminal"? Are they aware of the implications of singling out a hairstyle associated with African-Americans and Afrocentric religion (the Rastafarians) and assigning this iconic hairstyle to the most famous trio of spell-casting witches in literary history?

Either way, it stinks... and it illustrates how backward and embarrassing they are, besides.

I am reminded of the many 70s productions of "Jesus Christ Superstar" that cast King Herod as a flaming gay man surrounded by an interracial group of gender-benders. Um, what was THAT supposed to mean? (And I think we can easily see that now, can't we?)

The difference, of course, would be that these productions of "Jesus Christ Superstar" are from about four decades ago... and BJU's dreadlocked MACBETH witches are from RIGHT NOW.

Yes, four decades behind. That's about right.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Glenn Greenwald verbalizes my worries about gay rights

Yesterday it was announced by the LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, that Wikileaks whistleblower/political prisoner Bradley Manning was selected as one of the Grand Marshals of the yearly San Francisco gay pride parade, considered a high honor in the gay community.

Almost immediately, Lisa L Williams, president of the Board of SF Pride, wrote a statement retracting his nomination:

Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country.
Yes, you read that right. Blowing the whistle on war crimes is an insult to the military.

Glenn Greenwald (who is also gay, for the record) wasted no time in blasting Williams, calling her statement a "substance-free falsehood originally spread by top US military officials, which has since been decisively and extensively debunked, even by some government officials." Greenwald correctly reminds us:
Indeed, it's the US government itself, not Manning, that is guilty of "actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform."
And then Greenwald underscores the incipient fascism (my label, not his) of Williams warning the organization's members that EVEN THE HINT of support for Manning, WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. WILL. NOT. BE. TOLERATED.


This certainly is a long, long way from the San Francisco Gay Pride parade I once attended, decades ago, which tolerated (celebrated!) every bizarre, crazy activity and wayward political belief in the world. This had the wonderful result of making everyone feel welcome and giving off a warm, beneficent glow. This event was where I saw the revolutionary Tom Robinson Band, in 1981. (Robinson was an influential, radical gay punk rocker from the UK, who founded Rock Against Racism, a cause I was once allied with myself.) I suddenly realized that me and Tom Robinson probably do not belong in today's gay rights movement, which is now officially aligning itself with the government and trashing a courageous gay man who dares to speak out (and has had his civil rights violated as a result). Tom Robinson and Bradley Manning and Glenn Greenwald (and me) are OUT... apologists for right-wing warmongering like Lisa Williams are IN... it is the wholesale Lady Gagaization of gay rights; the defanging and neutralizing of a once-radical movement that asked the tough questions. Its all razzle-dazzle and the Bravo Network and Will and Grace reruns... nothing that asks participants to seriously question the status quo. (As it was for me, when I was young.)


Further, it isn't just the Lady Gagaization of gay rights, but the corporate sponsorship of gay rights... Glenn Greenwald ticks off the list of glitzy parade sponsors (HERE is the official list) which include AT&T, Verizon, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Clear Channel, Kaiser Permanente... basically the same list of corporate shysters presented by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Greenwald carefully catalogs their sins against the people, and then sputters:
So apparently, the very high-minded ethical standards of Lisa L Williams and the SF Pride Board apply only to young and powerless Army Privates who engage in an act of conscience against the US war machine, but instantly disappear for large corporations and banks that hand over cash. What we really see here is how the largest and most corrupt corporations own not just the government but also the culture. Even at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, once an iconic symbol of cultural dissent and disregard for stifling pieties, nothing can happen that might offend AT&T and the Bank of America. The minute something even a bit deviant takes place (as defined by standards imposed by America's political and corporate class), even the SF Gay Pride Parade must scamper, capitulate, apologize, and take an oath of fealty to their orthodoxies (we adore the military, the state, and your laws). And, as usual, the largest corporate factions are completely exempt from the strictures and standards applied to the marginalized and powerless. Thus, while Bradley Manning is persona non grata at SF Pride, illegal eavesdropping telecoms, scheming banks, and hedge-fund purveyors of the nation's worst right-wing agitprop are more than welcome.
And then, Greenwald starts making some interesting connections. Lisa Williams once worked for the political campaign of ... guess who?! President Hopey-Changey himself!* Greenwald reminds us:
It was President Obama, of course, who so notoriously decreed Bradley Manning guilty in public before his trial by military officers serving under Obama even began, and whose administration was found by the UN's top torture investigator to have abused him and is now so harshly prosecuting him. It's anything but surprising that a person who was a loyal Obama campaign aide finds Bradley Manning anathema while adoring big corporations and banks (which funded the Obama campaign and who, in the case of telecoms, Obama voted to immunize).
And finally, Greenwald voices the worries and concerns I have had for years... which it seems are finally coming to pass:
When I wrote several weeks ago about the remarkable shift in public opinion on gay equality, I noted that this development is less significant than it seems because the cause of gay equality poses no real threat to elite factions or to how political and economic power in the US are distributed. If anything, it bolsters those power structures because it completely and harmlessly assimilates a previously excluded group into existing institutions and thus incentivizes them to accommodate those institutions and adopt their mindset. This event illustrates exactly what I meant.
Yeah. And I remember ancient arguments I engaged in, with wacky old reds like the RCP, who warned me that gay rights was cosmetic and would NOT upend the status quo the way I was convinced it would. Were they right, after all?

From Greenwald's piece last month, mentioned above, titled The gay marriage snowball and political change:
If anything, one could say that the shift on this issue has been more institution-affirming than institution-subverting: the campaign to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" continually glorified and even fetishized military service, while gay marriage revitalizes a traditional institution - marriage - that heterosexuals have been in the process of killing with whimsical weddings, impetuous divorces, and serial new spouses (as Rush Limbaugh might put it: I'd like you to meet my fourth wife). And these changes are taking a once marginalized and culturally independent community and fully integrating it into mainstream society, thus making that community invested in conventional societal institutions.
Notably, Malcolm X also worried about the "buying off" of the black community, in just this same fashion. Some of us have probably forgotten that this was one of the tenets of Black Nationalism, that integration was also a form of neutralization ... and in the process of integration and assimilation, much intrinsic radicalism and core identity can be compromised.

Is the gay community being bought off and neutralized?

Unfortunately, I think so. Faster than you can say LADY GAGA. Or Bradley Manning.


*This perfect term for President Obama comes from Mister LarryE, aka Lotus, who has a cool blog you should all check out.

Come Unto Me

Come Unto Me - The Mavericks

Because we definitely need more bad-ass rock bands with accordion-players.

I loooove this, and have listened to it about a thousand times since first hearing it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Correction and coming attractions

Without further ado, let me add a necessary and timely correction concerning the loony tune Elvis impersonator I mentioned in my last post. He turned out to be totally innocent and all charges were dropped. Nah, go on... you mean law enforcement can MAKE MISTAKES? (((shock)))

From the Chicago Tribune:

U.S. prosecutors dropped charges on Tuesday against a Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a state judge, according to court documents.

The surprise decision came hours after Paul Kevin Curtis was released from a Mississippi jail on bond.

Prosecutors said the "ongoing investigation has revealed new information," but provided no additional details, according to the court order dismissing the charges.

Curtis told reporters he respected Obama. "I would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official," he said. "I love this country."

He said he had no idea what ricin was. "I thought they said 'rice,' I told them I don't eat rice," he said.

Curtis, who is 45 and known in Mississippi as an Elvis impersonator, had been released from jail on bond earlier on Tuesday after a judge indefinitely postponed a court hearing on his detention. The case was later dismissed "without prejudice," meaning the charges could be potentially reinstated if warranted.

Later on Tuesday federal law enforcement officials searched the house of a second Mississippi man, Everett Dutschke, Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson told Reuters.

It was not clear if the search was related to the ricin case.

A representative for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oxford, Mississippi, did not return calls for comment.

Dutschke is "cooperating fully" with the FBI, his attorney Lori Nail Basham told the Northeastern Mississippi Daily Journal. Dutschke has not been charged in the ricin case, she said.

Basham said Dutschke and Curtis were acquaintances and believed the two men had known each other for several years.

Deborah Madden, an FBI spokeswoman in Jackson, Mississippi, declined to comment. Phone calls to a number listed for Dutschke and his attorney went unanswered.

In 2007, Dutschke ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate against Stephen Holland, an incumbent Democratic state representative from the Tupelo area. Holland's mother, Sadie, is the judge to whom one of the ricin-tainted letters was mailed this month.

During the state campaign Dutschke produced a video titled "The Aliens are Coming," attacking his opponent for being soft on immigration, which stated that Holland was a "friend" of the Sept. 11 hijackers.


Christi McCoy, Curtis's attorney, told CNN she believed her client had been framed.

"I do believe that someone who was familiar and is familiar with Kevin just simply took his personal information and did this to him," McCoy told CNN. "It is absolutely horrific that someone would do this."

Curtis was arrested on April 17 at his home in Corinth, Mississippi. He was charged with mailing letters to Obama, Republican U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Sadie Holland containing a substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin, a highly lethal poison made from castor beans.

The letters were intercepted by authorities before they reached their destinations. The poison scare put Washington on edge during the same week the Boston Marathon bombing occurred.

Over the weekend, investigators searched Curtis's home, his vehicle and his ex-wife's home, but failed to find any incriminating evidence, McCoy told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

In a statement last week, Curtis's family said they had not been shown any evidence of the charges against him. They said he suffers from a long history of mental illness.

Typewritten on yellow paper, the three letters contained the same eight-line message, according to an affidavit from the FBI and the Secret Service filed in court.

"Maybe I have your attention now / Even if that means someone must die," the letters read in part, according to the affidavit. The letters ended: "I am KC and I approve this message."

The initials "KC" led law enforcement officials to ask Wicker's staff if they were aware of any constituents with those initials, and the focus of the investigation then turned to Curtis, the affidavit said.

Also on Tuesday, a Pentagon spy agency said tests found no suspicious letters after an alert during a screening of incoming mail at a military base in Washington, D.C.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Defense Intelligence Agency had said security personnel detected a potentially harmful substance during routine screening of incoming mail at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, and initial tests indicated the presence of "possible biological toxins."
We are paying these people millions of dollars to protect us (and the president, too)... and THIS is the best they can do?

Damn pitiful.


Today on WOLI (Live at Five!), we will be continuing the discussion I started yesterday, which initially began with THIS SCARY ARTICLE (warnings galore) at the always-horrendous, anti-feminist website A Voice For Men. Here is the money quote:
While we’re on the subject of female-perpetuated sexual abuse, most surveys that ask college age women about the sexual abuse they perpetrate find a shocking levels of female-perpetrated sexual abuse. Other surveys find that men who perpetuate sexual abuse are also sexually abused, suggesting a cycle of sexual abuse on college campuses. Perhaps rather than being victims of an indifferent system these silent female rape victims–who are part of a culture of cyclical sexual abuse–fail to come forward to the authorities about their abuse because it would mean admitting that they also are rapists?
Really. It says that. Not making it up.

And it's by ... (ta dahhh!) Typhon Blue, aka Asha James, whom I have mentioned on this blog before (here and here). I am still amazed that a woman who seems to have such open contempt for circumcised men (even once calling their sexuality "crippled"--which is just reprehensible) has somehow ascended the throne as the major female Men's Rights Advocate. (Then again, when you can write a paragraph like the one above, it would seem that MRA-blogging is yours for the taking.) She now blogs at Genderratic, as well as The Good Men's Project (considerably lowering my opinion of the place--no link for you) and of course, the aforementioned A Voice For Men, wherein it seems (considering the name of the blog), that she has been promoted to the status of honorary male. I'm sure that makes her ecstatic. It is not surprising I was once certain she had to be a man... because truthfully, I don't even know any fundamentalist conservative women who suck up to men half as much as she does.

Her views over the years that I have followed her, have not changed in the least, except to become even more conservative and male-identified, if that is possible. Asha's already-advanced Queen Bee Syndrome has flourished and grown by leaps and bounds. She is running the joint, folks. You can just FEEL the preening, all the way through the computer screen.

Here are some of my favorite greatest hits from Asha, from bygone days.

Asha's dating advice:
Men, grow a pair and stop approaching western women entirely. Don’t even bother. It’s what they (obviously) want and the best you’re likely to get from the experience is a night of very bad sex and if you’re really unlucky either a rape accusation or a bill for child support or if you’re really, really unlucky, she’ll rape you herself and then accuse you of rape and/or sue for child support.
As I said, you can't make it up.

Asha has an epiphany:
There’s so much concern for men manipulating women into having sex with them yet there seems to be very little for women manipulating men into long term relationships. (This doesn’t mean I concede the whole ‘women want more long term relationships then men’. In fact I think this is because women tend to go after men who have the most to loose [sic] from marriage and these men are reluctant to get married because… well… they have a lot to loose.[sic])

There’s even a whole vocabulary of shame for men who don’t want to be manipulated in said way.

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where there’s a whole vocabulary of shaming tactics for manipulating women into doing what men want them to do.
Asha lives is Canada, so maybe she has never heard the words whore, slut, cunt, floozy, strumpet, loose-woman, trollop, harlot, streetwalker, bitch, tramp, nympho, hussy, ho, skank, hooker, pig, harpy, etc etc etc... but I somehow doubt it. (Or are they incredibly moral in Canada? I know they don't own any guns!)

Apparently, she thinks all of these insults come from other women, instead of men trying to control the behavior of women. But hey, check this:
I asked a male friend how many women he’s been with that made an effort to please him physically and he said, out of about 20, he’s been with 2 women that made the effort.
Wow, what bitches!

And in case you aren't sorry enough for the guys:
I read an article about a survey that found men actually become depressed looking at extremely hot models and actresses.

Because they know they can’t have them.
Poor fellas! Such oppression! (((weeps)))

And it just gets better! The Men's Rights Reddit (I DO have limits, and will not link to a sewer) is filled with Bizarro World comments exactly like this. And Asha holds forth as the Queen (Bee) of Men's Rights. So if you wanna go hang out there, you've been warned.

We will be rejoining the rape topic on the air today, so stay tuned.


EDIT 4/27/13: I have been informed that Typhon Blue/Asha James is no longer writing for The Good Men Project, so please accept my copious apologies (and there is the link to TGMP I did not provide above). Thanks.

EDIT 12/2013: Typhon Blue/Asha James is also known as Alison Tieman, the name she prefers as of late 2013. (Tag has been changed.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

So much loss...

... its hard to contemplate. I am concentrating on gratitude. Just when we start to think we need more money, more cars, more houses, more STUFF... the world caves in and reminds us of first principles and what is truly important. Its a cliche, but oh so true.

It is almost impossible to process.

A short recap --

As of right now, the whole Boston area is on lockdown, looking for the second Boston Marathon bomber.

As of right now, West, Texas is in mourning following a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant. The mourners include my dear friend Yellowdog Granny, whom I have quoted and borrowed from so often in this space. This is her first-hand account of experiencing the explosion up-close and personal, which I also read aloud on the radio yesterday.

Some looney tune Elvis impersonator tried to poison President Obama and Mississippi Senator Wicker, for reasons unknown.

Sean Collier, a police officer at MIT, was shot and killed.

The controversial gun control bill was defeated.

And just when you think things can't get any worse, The Atlantic is warning us that Tylenol is scrambling our ethical sense. Yow!

Currently, we have thunderstorms all over Georgia and the Carolinas, and in the famous words of Tony Joe White (by way of South Carolina's own Brook Benton), I feel like its rainin all over the world.


Rainy Night in Georgia - Brook Benton

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Black Cadillac - Lightnin Hopkins


Pink Cadillac - Bruce Springsteen

Cadillac Ranch - Bruce Springsteen


Freeway of Love (the Pink Cadillac Mix) - Aretha Franklin


Brand New Cadillac - The Clash


My great-uncle Kenneth, may his soul rest in peace, had a purple Cadillac.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

SpringSkunk Music Fest

It was a fabulous weekend! Our proud and plucky little radio show, Occupy the Microphone, set up shop at the SpringSkunk Music Fest, which is the springtime incarnation of the Albino Skunk Music Festival; great people, great music, good times!

Gregg and Double A sold Gregg's home-baked cheesecake (from his mom's secret recipe) and I spent most of my time reading the Tarot, so I didn't get as many photos of bands as I did at last autumn's Skunkfest.

Below: Hurray for the Riff Raff (I got their CD "Look Out Mama" in exchange for reading tarot for a band member--alright!), Brushfire Stankgrass, Lake Street Dive, Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. (you can click to enlarge)

Fire jugglers:

Assorted scenes from the festival, including cool old hippie bus, abandoned houseboat in the woods, and (of course) cute doggies.

And a splendid time was had by all!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The History Project, part 2

My original intention was to put the lady-stuff here on International Women's Day... and I guess you see how that turned out. Hey, better late than never!

And so, I am finally getting around to posting Part Two of the History Project. Intro to the DEAD AIR History Project (and first installment) is here. (You can click all photos to enlarge.)


Anarcha-Feminist Notes, September 1977, which I believe was published in Madison, Wisconsin.

San Francisco Women's Building Newsletter, March 1981.

From Berkeley 1981, movie poster for "El Salvador: The People Will Win".

Ancient black-and-white photos of my hometown (Columbus, OH) Take Back the Night march, one of those antiquated Second Wave feminist things almost completely lost to posterity. (1983)

Bookmark from Fan the Flames feminist bookstore in Columbus, OH. Since they began in 1974 and this bookmark is celebrating 10 years, it must be from 1984. From Outlook Columbus:

Began in 1974 by six women who each contributed $100 to a book collective, the shop evolved and moved many times over the next 22-and-some years. Fan the Flames grew from the United Christian Center, to the Women’s Action Collective, to the YWCA, and finally to their own space in Clintonville [and the store was then renamed Women's Words]. It may have been the final move that killed them. Moving away from their diverse audience downtown, and adding on to that the burden of renting their own space, proved too much and the advisory board decided to close shop.
The Women's Action Collective was in its own building for awhile, something I can't even imagine now.

Purty Pittsburgh Smoke-In poster, which I framed for my spare room. (1977)

"Freeze It! A citizen's guide to reversing the nuclear arms race"--San Jose, 1983.

Stay tuned for the next installment, sports fans! And I promise it won't be another half-year this time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Midweek updates

Time for an old car! DEAD AIR regulars know all about my enduring love of old cars, and this cherry-red Chrysler Plymouth parked next to the Peace Center in downtown Greenville, absolutely made me swoon. (As always, you can click to enlarge.) Any guesses on the year? I am guessing 1952. The license plate on the front says "Southern First"--which is a local bank.

Obviously, that license plate proves you have to be a well-paid banker to afford a car like this.


Some people are having issues finding the radio show's new location... it comes in best on 910 AM here in upstate South Carolina. We are on every weekday from 5-6pm on WOLI, the Source. Drive-time radio! Live at Five! Hope you will tune in. If you miss us, we are also on Spreaker.

I didn't do a proper obit of movie critic Roger Ebert (whom I admired) here on the blog, but I did do one on Occupy the Microphone last Thursday.

And speaking of our show, we interviewed Cynthia McKinney on Monday and Dr Margaret Flowers today. This was our second time talking to Dr Flowers; she was on the show last April as well. (You can also listen to her regularly on Clearing the Fog radio.)

Tomorrow we will be re-interviewing Efia Nwangaza, Greenville Occupier, radical lawyer and tireless activist (our March interview with Efia is here), about her recent trip to Switzerland to lobby the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of US political prisoners, including the Angola 3. (Efia was also on the Daisy Deadhead show last year, see graphic below!) We will be taking phone calls and questions.

On Friday, we will be interviewing Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party candidate for president. (Last year's interview with Dr Stein is here.)

Give us a listen, and we sincerely hope you are having a good week.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Tunes

I can't decide between the studio and live versions of Todd Rundgren's "Couldn't I just tell you"--so here are both of em. :)

I saw Todd Rundgren twice in the 70s (once at the infamous Legend Valley Jam) and this lovely tune was the definite high point for me on both occasions.

Couldn't I just tell you - Todd Rundgren (studio version from Something/Anything, 1972)

Couldn't I just tell you - Todd Rundgren (live at the Bottom Line, 5/14/78)


This video contains lots of nice vintage shots of Stills' entire career... I was attempting to find the heartbreakingly-sublime acoustic version of "Singin Call" by itself, but could only find these two songs joined as a duo. Looks like I'll have to settle for that!

"Singin Call" starts at approx the 4 minute mark, if you want to skip ahead.

You know you got to run/Singin Call - Stephen Stills (1973)

Yes, I trashed my L-Carnitine

Currently having an existential crisis over my stash of L-Carnitine, a supplement I have used off and on for about 10 years. I am now being loudly informed it can cause heart disease. Oh, such fabulous news!

The reason I started taking it, was because I learned it was an amino acid mostly concentrated in red meat and dairy... and as a vegetarian I assumed (there's that word, ASSUME) that any nutrient I would be missing out on (by eliminating meat from my diet), must somehow be necessary. That is so WESTERN of me; it certainly never occurred to me that one basic reason vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease might be due to the actual CARNITINE ITSELF, duh! (who knew?)

Apparently, it is. From HuffPo comes the following report, emailed to me simultaneously by three different people:

Two years ago, [cardiology researcher Dr. Stanley] Hazen and his research team discovered that microorganisms in the intestines can convert substances found in choline, a common dietary fat, to a by-product known as TMAO, trimethylamine-N-oxide.

This new study looked at l-carnitine, which has a similar chemical structure to choline.

Carnitine is a nutrient found at high levels in red meat, but fish, poultry, milk and other dairy products are also good food sources of it. Carnitine is also a popular over-the-counter diet supplement, often billed as helping to boost energy and bulk up muscle. It's found in some energy drinks and muscle milks.

The researchers looked at fasting levels of blood carnitine in nearly 2,600 men and women. The findings showed that carnitine levels could quite strongly predict participant's risk of existing coronary artery disease, as well as the risk of having a major cardiac event, such as heart attack, stroke, or death over a three-year period, but only in adults who had high blood levels of TMAO.

Hazen's group also compared mice fed their normal chow, which is basically a vegetarian diet, with mice whose food was supplemented with carnitine.

"We saw that carnitine supplements doubled the rates of atherosclerosis in the mice," Hazen said. It did this by dramatically increasing levels of TMAO, which is produced by gut bacteria that metabolize l-carnitine.

As for how carnitine in red meat may be linked with heart disease, Hazen explained that chronic ingestion of carnitine fundamentally shifts the metabolism of cholesterol. "It's changing it in a way that will make you more prone to heart disease," he said. Eating carnitine causes more cholesterol to be deposited onto artery walls, and less to be eliminated from the body.
Italics mine.

My existential crisis also comes from the fact that I have counseled approximately 40,000 (give or take) people to use it, also. (sigh) It was my job, remember? (sigh again) I even talked to a vegetarian cardiologist from India who told me he believed heart-conduction disorders in vegans might be related to a general lack of carnitine in vegan/vegetarian diets. He believed this because heart-conduction issues are more common in India (he said) than in the West, although coronary artery disease is more common in the West than in India. (Maybe they are both right? Is there NO WAY to win?)

And now, of course, you know what's happening... I am worrying about all of my other supplements. Good God. Its the domino effect! (I refuse to relinquish my beloved Ashwagandha, but I am now skeptical of other amino acids, such as L-Arginine... even though I really like its effects!)

In any event, I figured I would try to undue some of the damage by sharing this disturbing health information. I guess the vegetarian impact on my karma is intact (which is comforting), but the health effects? Probably a wash, at this point. Since carnitine is expensive (and I guess that will quickly change!), I have often gone without it for long periods. I have usually picked it up again because I noticed an energy boost from it... perhaps this mimics the energy boost from red meat? I assumed (there's that word again) that this meant it was a good thing, since ENERGY = GOOD. Again, Western stupidity writ large, yes? I mean, meth gives you energy too, and we all recognize that its not the good kind.


Yes, I trashed my L-Carnitine, and so should you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Upcoming local events

For those listening to us on WOLI radio in Greenville, here is a listing of the events we have been announcing recently.

[] PUBLIC HEARING: Thursday, April 4, 2013 (Speak up for the Broad River!)

The proposed WS LEE Nuclear Power Plant in Gaffney, SC needs an NPDES wastewater discharge permit to dump chemicals and heated water into the Broad River at 99 Island Reservoir. Folks concerned about the health and social impacts of this plant will attend the hearing to make public comments and request denial of this permit to protect downstream communities. JOIN US!

Restoration Church
1905 N. Limestone Street
Gaffney, SC 29340

6pm: A presentation by Dept of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) with questions & answers
7pm: public speaking begins
View the draft permit (PDF)
General information on Clean Water Act permits
from the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

For ride-sharing and more information, check out Clean Water for North Carolina..

[] Greenville Tech Earth Day Event: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 10am - 2pm

Greenville Technical College
Student Center Courtyard
506 S Pleasantburg Drive
Greenville, SC 29607

Free event designed for students, faculty, alumni, staff and community... learn to be environmentally responsible!

For more information 864-250-8767

[] SpringSkunk Music Festival: April 12 - 13, 2013 - all day long!

Bands featured: Col. Bruce Hampton, Brushfire Stankgrass, Locust Honey, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Nu-Blu Bluegrass, Sol Driven Train, River Whyless, and many more.

Albino Skunk Music Festival - The Skunk Farm
4063 Jordan Road
Greer, SC 29651

For more information -

NOTE: I am hoping to make it there to read the Tarot, so be there or be square... look for our Occupy the Microphone radio booth! (And my previous account of Skunkin is HERE.)

[] Ninth Annual Greer Earth Day Run and Fitness Festival: Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 7:30am

Choose from three different events this year, Half Marathon, 5K and 10K, including a free Earth Kids Run at 9:30am. Advance registration necessary, brought to you by the Greenville Track Club. There will also be a variety of exhibitors at the Fitness Festival.

Greer City Hall/Park
301 E Poinsett Street
Greer, SC 29651

For more information, check out

[] Furman Earth Day Festival: Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 1pm- 6pm

Furman University (Amphitheater)
3300 Poinsett Highway
Greenville, SC 29613

Earth Day celebration will include music, local food, cool people, sustainability-related student initiatives, community organizations and more.

For more information, contact the Shi Center at 864-294-3655

[] DIY show at the Garaj Mahal: Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 7:30 - until

Bands featured: They Eat Their Own God, Rubrics (includes members of Occupy Greenville!), Dables, M.E.H., Jake Xingu (greatest ever!), Satan in Bondage.

Garaj Mahal
22 Apopka Ave
Greenville, SC 29609

Bring cash for merchandise and to support the artists! Please friend Garaj Mahal on Facebook and check out the DIY Greenville website. (PS: Daisy's other excellent Garaj Mahal photos are HERE!)

Left: The Greenville County Recycling Center at Stone Avenue.

[] City of Greenville Earth Day: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 10am - 2pm

North Greenville Recycling and Education Center
514 Rutherford Road
Greenville, SC 29609

Phone Book Drive, bring those old phone books and other recyclable detritus in to the county's newest recycling center. This event will include refreshments, giveaways and information about other upcoming environmentally-friendly events.

For more information, call 864-467-8300.

[] Authors and Artisans Fair: Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 12:30 - 4pm

Local artists, authors, photographers, musicians and fans will be at this event, making connections. Free demonstrations, workshops, performances. A percentage of all sales (CDs, books, artwork, etc) will go to support the GUUF.

Greenville Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship
1135 State Park Road
Greenville, SC 29609

For more information, 864-271-4883.

[] Volunteer Fair: Sunday, May 5, 2013 - 12:30 - 1:30pm

If you are interested in volunteering in the Greenville community, stop by and meet the volunteer coordinators. Volunteer for the GUUF choir, for marriage equality or to help the homeless. Free lunch and great fellowship!

Greenville Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship
1135 State Park Road
Greenville, SC 29609

For more information, 864-271-4883 or contact

[] Renaissance Faire: May 31 to June 1, 2013 - all day long!

Games, costumes, music, cool people, jousting, sword-fighting and fairies. Yall come!

Greenville Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship
1135 State Park Road
Greenville, SC 29609

For more information, 864-271-4883.

[] Medicines from the Earth: May 31st to June 3, 2013

Blue Ridge Assembly
84 Blue Ridge Assembly Road
Black Mountain, NC 28711

Medicines from the Earth (pdf) is the best herbal conference in the USA. (PS: Daisy's old post about her conference experience is HERE.) Symposiums, nature walks, workshops, demonstrations and panel discussions... accompanied by a tour of the Gaia Herb Farm.

For more information, 541-482-3016.


Our show yesterday was a lot of fun! Give us a listen, folks.