Monday, April 6, 2015

Odds and Sods - APRIL 2015 EDITION

APRIL is here already! I haven't done an Odds and Sods post in almost a year, so here we go.

My last Odds and Sods post featured giant plastic ducks and Miss South Carolina... and so, not to be outdone, I am opening this post with some razzle-dazzle photos of SC COMIC CON, which was March 21st here in Greenville, at the TD Convention center.

I do apologize for being asleep at the switch when it came time to post these. (MORE HERE!) My camera battery died, and I just kept forgetting to replace it. (Also, there were several that didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped and I was somewhat disappointed.) As always, you can click to enlarge.

PS: I also posted a few photos of our local St Patricks Day block party on Tumblr. (green cake!)


I have recently been watching 19 Kids and Counting, featuring the pseudo-Quiverfull Duggars (who remind me so much of some Bob Jones University-affiliated families) and the weddings of their daughters Jill and Jessa. In case you didn't know, all of the 19 kids have names starting with J, which is either after dad Jim-Bob (they are part of the Christian Patriarchy movement, so this seems likely) or after Jesus, or both. Some seasons ago, they had a funeral for a miscarried "baby", after taking a famous photo first... they named that one Jubilee Shalom.

I figure if the TLC network is having whole-day marathons, I can't be the only one watching these people who seem to be the living embodiment of old-timey Little House on the Prairie values, sewing their own clothes, playing (appropriately Christian music) together in a family band, making jars and jars of their own pickles, expecting the kids to bunk 5 to a room or something, etc. Even though the kids are ON TV, they do not WATCH TV. Really. That's the claim. There are 19 of them, some in their 20s (people in this subculture only "leave home" when it is time to marry, one reason I figure they are SO ecstatic over marriage)... and we actually believe they can't organize their own movie/TV-watching sessions away from mom and dad? In this day of iphones? Pardon me, but I hardly think so.

But that is the show-biz aspect: we suspend disbelief and adhere to this fantasy of an innocent Andy Griffith-ish, old-school, southern family--who are nonetheless savvy enough to deal with Hollywood executives for 10 seasons and become millionaires. Their large house was built for them by the TV network; they reportedly pay no taxes on their land because they declare their home a "church" (a good illustration of how the religious tax exemption is habitually bent/abused). Eldest son Josh works for the right-wing (and very anti-gay) Family Research Council, although Michelle Duggar's sister is a lesbian in a long-term relationship with a woman. Jim-Bob Duggar (R) was in the Arkansas House of Representatives, which would suggest he knows a few things, like how to milk rich people for contributions, make various right-wing promises and get himself elected. Seen in this light, the 200 volunteers who instantaneously showed up to help out during the weddings, suddenly look like political volunteers, don't they? In a sense, they are. These Duggar wedding shows were one long commercial for the pseudo-Quiverfull lifestyle. (NOTE: the Duggars steadfastly refuse to use the term Quiverfull when put directly on the spot, so I have chosen "pseudo-Quiverfull" for this post... but its rather strange that they are easily the most famous of "Quiverfull" families and now they back away from the term? Why?) They even posted a bunch of viewer-tweets on one of the shows, wherein (mostly women) tweeted about how they wish they were Duggars, could have lots of close sisters as they do, as well as a "traditional" courtship. Etc. I saw a lot of this as naked propaganda for a lifestyle.

Both bridegrooms had to ask Jim-Bob for permission to court their legal-aged daughters, and still require chaperons and chaste, safe "sidehugs" (#sidehug became a popular hashtag during the TV marathons). The teary sister-bridesmaids (Jana, Joy Anna, Jinger, Johannah, Jennifer, etc) all kept saying they would "miss" Jessa, as if she was going to Antarctica, not just down the road to a house her father already owns.

Circumstances suggest the Duggars could not possibly be as sweet, naive and innocent as they appear, and yet, people resoundingly choose to think so. They are "cute" ... people don't like to be reminded of their politics. When I confronted tumblr trans women about sleeping through Michelle Duggar's work on an anti-trans campaign, nobody really answered me about that. The Duggars can be as political as they wanna be, since they position themselves as the Arkansas equivalent of the Von Trapps.

Would all those tweeting young women really prefer that their father screen all of their boyfriends, immediately eliminating anyone who did not regard courtship as inevitably leading to marriage? (First there is formal courtship, then engagement, then marriage. Each phase must be officially "announced" and slightly-more touching is allowed at each level; no kissing until the wedding day.) I don't believe that. What are women nostalgic for? That old "Cinderella Complex" syndrome, the feminine desire to be taken care of?

In the above link about Jessa Duggar, we learn that she actually budgeted her own wedding. As we learned during the show about her, she is very efficient and even organized homeschooling lessons for her whole family. But see: that is not old-school Christian patriarchy, allowing women to manage money. The Duggars get the mystique of "tradition" while availing themselves of Skype, iphones, microwaves and smart daughters who can manage money. It is impossible to truly GO BACK, so they get the best of both worlds. (Back in the day, these highly-managed marriages could not be arranged by looking at a guy's photo on Instagram, or checking out your future Christian spouse on her family's television show.)

I don't think women truly, in real life, want this lifestyle, but they do want to indulge the fantasy. Because I don't think it exists. Not even for the people practicing it. People want "reality TV" about it, but not reality.


Quick notes:

* SOME GOOD NEWS: There is a little orca baby boom, reported by the Guardian.

* We are still plugging away on the radio. Check us out live tonight at 8pm on WOLI!

* We are planning a demonstration against the Republican presidential "debate" (Fox News doesn't allow genuine debate, of course, but you know what I mean) next month here in Greenville, Saturday May 9th, in front of the Peace Center. I will make an official announcement here later, but we are already regularly announcing this on the radio show. YALL COME ON OUT AND RAISE HELL WITH US! (My account of our demonstration at the last Fox News debate is HERE.)

So far, they've got Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz... the usual suspects. But NOT the erstwhile star of the show, Jeb Bush. Uh oh. Is he dissing SC?

Hm. They won't like that.
The event will bring at least six potential Republican White House hopefuls to downtown Greenville for a day of stump speeches.

Confirmed to attend, according to Citizens United, are Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

Citizens United said it would announce additional speakers later, but Duncan said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush won't be among them.

"Jeb Bush and I have communicated," [SC Republican congressman Jeff] Duncan said. "He has a commencement address in Florida that day that is precluding his having the ability to come."

Duncan said at least three other South Carolina congressmen – Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg, Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land and Mark Sanford of Charleston – are expected to attend.
Trey Gowdy and Lindsey Graham, all by themselves, are reason enough to show up and howl.

Yall come! If you are coming from a long distance, please contact me and we can probably find a place for you to sleep, too. Remember, it is likely one of these (awful) deluded individuals will be the Republican nominee, or will serve as Veep or in the cabinet, if they should win the presidency.

Show up and make your voice heard!

* Medicines from the Earth will be May 29th - June 1st at the Blue Ridge Assembly in beautiful Black Mountain, NC. (my previous account of the herbal conference is HERE) Its pricey, but you will come out smart as the dickens.

* Waving to all the folks who have dropped by in the past couple of months, starting with Black History Month, which brought copious hits on the lynching of Willie Earle in 1947, as well as the release of Edward Lee Elmore from South Carolina's Death Row (after 30 years). We also had a bunch of hits on George Stinney, the 14-year-old child executed by the state of South Carolina in 1944. I was probably the first person to cover Stinney nationally (on the radio), although of course many African-Americans locally have written about George Stinney for decades. At long last, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen found that "fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process exist in the 1944 prosecution of George Stinney, Jr." and vacated the judgment.

It's about time.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Margaret White award for zealous Christian witness goes to...

Yes, you know who it is.


Specifically: Stephen Pettit, head flunkie in charge.

Back when Pettit "took over" BJU (and as we see, he didn't really), I wondered aloud if this was going to be a Soviet-style puppet regime with the Jones faction still running things behind the scenes, or if Pettit might really be an improvement.

Alas, now we have our answer. (I wonder where they put the gulags? Wait, getting ahead of myself.)

First, let's have the AWARD CEREMONY.

Stephen, you have hereby been SELECTED for Dead Air's very first and highly coveted MARGARET WHITE AWARD FOR ZEALOUS CHRISTIAN WITNESS. As one not permitted to peruse popular culture (although I know you secretly do), you will undoubtedly feign ignorance and pretend you never heard of the infamous Mrs Margaret White. Well, I have a quick tutorial below. Let's just say, the Mrs Whites of the world do not waste time with politeness and southern pleasantries, they just get it done, people.

Mrs White, the famous Mrs White. The one who uttered those immortal lines, I CAN SEE YOUR DIRTY PILLOWS!

I refer to legendary actress Piper Laurie, Carrie White's mother, one of Stephen King's most amazing, enduring and (as we have learned from the Jones boys) REALISTIC inventions.

Eve was weak! Eve was weak! SAY IT!


I don't have the time or patience to delve into the theological question of whether Christianity is misogynist at base. That particular case was already made a long time ago, by Mary Daly. Is there even the possibility of respect for women in a religion that constantly reminds us EVE WAS WEAK? The Biblical literalists are among the most deeply-sexist of Christians, because after all, it IS right there in the text. They didn't make it up. Mrs White is offering the interpretation that I basically grew up with, only she's doing it with ZEAL. And hey, aren't all Christians supposed to witness with ZEAL??? Because (I wish I had a dollar for every time one of them SPAT this one out at me): IF YOU ARE LUKEWARM, HE WILL VOMIT YOU OUT OF HIS MOUTH (and ohhh how they love that verse.)

The G.R.A.C.E. report, about the treatment of sexual abuse survivors at BJU, came out late last year and laid out BJU's sins in detail. The Greenville News (finally!) excoriated them on their editorial page (its only taken 67 years!) and the internet was abuzz with accusations and counter-accusations. I deliberately took a hands-off approach, because I have tried hard not to join the nasty internet habit (that I once had) of kicking people when they are down. That ain't nice, I decided. Give peace a chance! And so I did.

About a week later, I drove past a BJU-affiliated church here in town (they got dozens of em), amusingly positioned right across the street from some "liberal" (compared to BJU) Baptist church... and the marquee on the "liberal" church just read, simply: GRACE.

I instantly recognized this as an in-your-face gesture. Obviously, these liberal Baptists didn't expect SHIT from BJU. Hm, I thought... these Baptists know the BJU-people far better than I do. And I decided this was NOT a good sign.

The liberal Baptists called it. Credit where it is due.

Stephen Pettit has finally spoken. Its mostly in the Christian vernacular, so some of you may have trouble understanding it. I will therefore translate into standard American English that you will easily understand:


Yes, that is the gist of Pettit's speech, one long, gooey preacher-boy, grinning FUCK YOU.

I have not actually decided if this is one loooooong fuck you, which would be FUUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOU!!!!! -- or is it a series of small, nasty little fuck yous?

Make no mistake though. It is a big, giant, brazen, nasty, vicious FUCK YOU.



G.R.A.C.E. stands for Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.

I like the acronym and the name, because it reminds me of one of Christianity's greatest moral strengths: in humbling ourselves to admit our faults and face our mistakes, we are granted grace. Everything changes, everything is made new. It takes GRACE to admit you are wrong, GRACE to admit you need help. And in doing so, the light dawns, the clouds clear.

The old hymn AMAZING GRACE sums it up: I was blind but now I see.

In other words, preacher Pettit, you had an incredible opportunity given to you, an opportunity for what you claim to want: GOD's GRACE. This was your chance. You could have stood up, taken a deep breath and apologized. You could have. I was hopeful that this crisis might make a lasting impact. Like we used to say in Alcoholics Anonymous, you were provided with a priceless, clear MOMENT OF CLARITY. These moments, these realizations are usually regarded as GIFTS from God, in most religious traditions. This is the meaning of the acronym G.R.A.C.E., which I thought meant you might actually PAY ATTENTION this time, and do the right thing.

Ha. Dream on.

In the weeks that followed the release of the report, The Greenville News talked with one of the survivors, blogger Cathy Harris. I was so profoundly disgusted by this article, I went on the radio and announced the Margaret White award was imminent, and I would be taking nominees. "But so far," I said, "there isn't any contest."

WHAT made me decide on Margaret White?

[BJU counselor Jim] Berg also asked whether [Cathy Harris] felt any pleasure during any of the [childhood sexual] abuse and, if she did, she needed to repent, she said.

During one session, she said Berg told her he wanted to do a trust exercise. He pulled a rat trap from his desk, set the hammer and put a pencil on it. The trap broke the pencil into pieces.

She said he then told her to put her finger on the trap. When she refused, he got angry and put another pencil in. The trap did not snap shut.

If she couldn't trust the people God put over her, how could she trust God? she recalls him asking.

"I kept being told how unspiritual I was," she said.

The counseling ended when he told her he couldn't help her and God couldn't help her either.

"His counseling was more harmful than the abuse," she told The News.

In his interview with GRACE, Berg acknowledged that his counseling was often hurried due to his heavy workload and that he did not have extensive training in counseling sexual abuse victims. He said he did not know until 1992 that South Carolina had a law that required certain professionals, including educators, to report abuse, despite the law having been passed in the 1970s.
Really? Because *I* knew, and I think most people know, due to LAW AND ORDER SVU reruns... which I forgot, they are not allowed to watch over there.

That finger-in-the-rat-trap game is something worthy of Carrie's mom, doncha think? (ASIDE: Cathy, if this scene ends up in a horror movie, as it surely will, you could probably sue for copyright violation and make some bucks.)

This passage, Cathy Harris' harrowing horror-movie counseling session, is like Bette Davis serving Joan Crawford a rat for dinner in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE; it is definitely in the same neighborhood as Margaret White yelling that Eve was weak! Eve was weak!


Stephen, if you ever want this done up properly, let me know. We might be able to take some donations and rustle something up, like a plaque, certificate or whatever, you know, for your wall. I am sure you are proud of this award and will want to show everyone, so I will do my best to make it pretty. I mean, you do want to impress your new right-wing politician friends, doncha?

Just remember something.

The end of the film instructs us: "Carrie White burns in hell."

And whose fault was that? Will Margaret White burn there too, for driving her daughter crazy? I think that's an easy call, even for you.

Take heed and repent, Pettit.


Warnings for graphic violence, probable heresy and so on.

You knew I couldn't resist posting that... dirty pillows at 20 seconds!



1) Please see Camille Lewis' refutation of Pettit's lies/fuck yous. As usual, Camille is the go-to on this subject, as one who knows where all the bodies are buried.

2) All photos in this post are from THE ORIGINAL Brian DePalma version of Carrie--except no substitutes, especially inferior remakes of perfect horror movies.

Unbelievably, I started writing this just as AMC decided to show CARRIE, which I take as a sign of divine intervention, just so I could get some good shots.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

50th Anniversary of Selma: All Lives Matter

Below, my photos of yesterday's upstate South Carolina march and rally, honoring the 50th Anniversary of the famous Civil Rights march in Selma, Alabama.

The Greenville rally was called "All Lives Matter"--building on recent events and the popular slogan "Black Lives Matter"--with a deliberate emphasis on inclusion highlighted by organizer Traci Fant and participants from the Empowerment Zone (host of the galvanizing yearly event Voices Against Violence, that we have sponsored at Occupy the Microphone).

It was Traci's hope to include active law enforcement in the march, and many decided to attend the march on their own time and brought family members. Other rally speakers familiar to our radio listeners include repeat-guest Reverend Jack Logan of Put the Guns Down Now, Young People.

This event was huge and well-attended, quite a contrast to the NAACP's small but prayerful Spartanburg event on February 7th, also attended by radio personnel.

As I have said countless times, Traci is a human dynamo. She did an outstanding job. Her upstate radio show REAL TALK is on every Sunday afternoon on WOLI FM (our station!) at 3pm, so don't miss it.


First photo features my fabulous radio co-host, Double A, on left, and that's me on the right. (His sign got him into almost every video, including the Fox Carolina footage linked above.) You can click all photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jonathan Chait is right, sorry

Jonathan Chait's much-discussed New York magazine piece titled Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say created such a spectacle throughout the lefty-internet last month, I momentarily believed there might be a real live discussion about it. SALON appeared to be collectively in shock, and printed Chait-hate pieces every hour for awhile, it seemed. There was a lively hashtag-debate that said it all: #Chaitgate. There are still periodic Two-Minute Hates being blasted at Chait for daring to express this opinion; it was a scandal.


Free speech, free inquiry, demanding the Left explain the disgusting, ineffectual witch-hunting and open provocateur behavior of the past few years... is now regarded as a SCANDAL. Sit down and suck it up, obedient left-leaning androids, or go join the Right. (And you know, I think lots of disgruntled free-speech-purists indeed might choose to do that, but now I am getting ahead of myself.)

Most of the response to Chait was the same response I got when I mentioned Engels in an old Tumblr discussion: White hetero privileged guy! Bleat, bleat, bleat, WHITE HETERO PRIVILEGED GUY!

That's the response.

That's their WHOLE REPLY. That's IT.

None of these self-appointed "social justice activists" [1] (aka SJWs) actually explain WHY or HOW Chait's piece radiates or replicates whiteness or maleness, as (for example) James Baldwin or Kate Millett did in their social criticism. That requires actually engaging with the text. To some of the SJWs, the words of certain genders or races are automatically inferior and do not even rate direct replies. (And what does THAT remind me of? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.) In a recent discussion, I deliberately centered old people in my responses [2] and asked what SJWs thought when a certain historic event occurred (I was fully aware most hadn't even been born yet) and they instantly became furious. Thus, we see, some groups are worthy of being "centered"--and some are clearly not. [3]

In other words, if I just mindlessly bleated "you're young! you're young!" to END a discussion, in this same fashion? I'd be laughed at. It doesn't work for everybody, only for those with properly-trendy identities. (PS: Many young Jews are learning that in social justice circles, they do not have a trendy identity, as Christians also do not.)

From Chait's piece:
After political correctness burst onto the academic scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it went into a long remission. Now it has returned. Some of its expressions have a familiar tint, like the protesting of even mildly controversial speakers on college campuses. You may remember when 6,000 people at the University of California–Berkeley signed a petition last year to stop a commencement address by Bill Maher, who has criticized Islam (along with nearly all the other major world religions). Or when protesters at Smith College demanded the cancellation of a commencement address by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, blaming the organization for “imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.” Also last year, Rutgers protesters scared away Condoleezza Rice; others at Brandeis blocked Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s-rights champion who is also a staunch critic of Islam; and those at Haverford successfully protested ­former Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who was disqualified by an episode in which the school’s police used force against Occupy protesters.

At a growing number of campuses, professors now attach “trigger warnings” to texts that may upset students, and there is a campaign to eradicate “microaggressions,” or small social slights that might cause searing trauma. These newly fashionable terms merely repackage a central tenet of the first p.c. movement: that people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses. Stanford recently canceled a performance of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson after protests by Native American students. UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.” A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on The Vagina Monologues in part because the material excludes women without vaginas. These sorts of episodes now hardly even qualify as exceptional.

Trigger warnings aren’t much help in actually overcoming trauma — an analysis by the Institute of Medicine has found that the best approach is controlled exposure to it, and experts say avoidance can reinforce suffering. Indeed, one professor at a prestigious university told me that, just in the last few years, she has noticed a dramatic upsurge in her students’ sensitivity toward even the mildest social or ideological slights; she and her fellow faculty members are terrified of facing accusations of triggering trauma — or, more consequentially, violating her school’s new sexual-harassment policy — merely by carrying out the traditional academic work of intellectual exploration. “This is an environment of fear, believe it or not,” she told me by way of explaining her request for anonymity. It reminds her of the previous outbreak of political correctness — “Every other day I say to my friends, ‘How did we get back to 1991?’ ”

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity. A year ago, for instance, a photographer compiled images of Fordham students displaying signs recounting “an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.” The stories ranged from uncomfortable (“No, where are you really from?”) to relatively innocuous (“ ‘Can you read this?’ He showed me a Japanese character on his phone”). BuzzFeed published part of her project, and it has since received more than 2 million views. This is not an anomaly.

In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. “All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps,” Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.
For sure, let's not forget the wages of sin: blogswarms, mass defriendings, social isolation, flaming, the spreading of inaccurate rumors, doxxing, streams of sicko emails, etc etc. This shit has real-life consequences. (I once got this treatment over ONE QUESTION--not even a statement!-- in a post.) It is disgusting, evil, bullying behavior, and there is NO DEFENSE from anyone who imagines themselves about social justice. Social justice is not about threatening to torture people, in case you didn't know.

Chait continues:
Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation. [Hanna Rosin commented] “You do immediately get the sense that it’s one against millions, even though it’s not.” Subjects of these massed attacks often describe an impulse to withdraw.

Political correctness is a term whose meaning has been gradually diluted since it became a flashpoint 25 years ago. People use the phrase to describe politeness (perhaps to excess), or evasion of hard truths, or (as a term of abuse by conservatives) liberalism in general. The confusion has made it more attractive to liberals, who share the goal of combating race and gender bias.

But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves.
And this is a major reason why its wrong--this demand for perfection is never directed at the enemy. It is always directed at other leftists and allies.

In this way, it is counter-productive and makes the Right stronger. As Chait says,
Under p.c. culture, the same idea can be expressed identically by two people but received differently depending on the race and sex of the individuals doing the expressing. This has led to elaborate norms and terminology within certain communities on the left. For instance, “mansplaining,” a concept popularized in 2008 by Rebecca Solnit, who described the tendency of men to patronizingly hold forth to women on subjects the woman knows better — in Solnit’s case, the man in question mansplained her own book to her. The fast popularization of the term speaks to how exasperating the phenomenon can be, and mansplaining has, at times, proved useful in identifying discrimination embedded in everyday rudeness. But it has now grown into an all-purpose term of abuse that can be used to discredit any argument by any man. (MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry once disdainfully called White House press secretary Jay Carney’s defense of the relative pay of men and women in the administration “man­splaining,” even though the question he responded to was posed by a male.) Mansplaining has since given rise to “whitesplaining” and “straightsplaining.” The phrase “solidarity is for white women,” used in a popular hashtag, broadly signifies any criticism of white feminists by nonwhite ones.

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called “tone policing.” If you are accused of bias, or “called out,” reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of “ally,” however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed “safe.” The extensive terminology plays a crucial role, locking in shared ideological assumptions that make meaningful disagreement impossible.
Read the comments, boys and girls. There is NO argument about the accuracy of ANY of these outrageous stories of censorship.... just a torrent of self-satisfied white guys streaming forward to brag that they can "handle it" and aren't "threatened" the way Chait is. There is absolutely NO discussion about whether this mode of "take no prisoners" discourse is decent or self-destructive behavior for the Left to engage in, just that THEY are cool about it all. Chait's piece provided the perfect opportunity for a veritable TORRENT of strutting, unbridled narcissism from the "social justice activists" -- as they all congratulated each other for not being like him and not agreeing with him... or if they did agree with him, they tried to make it sound like they didn't.

I have been so upset by the invasion of the Left by these fascist wannabes, that I have lost considerable sleep over it. I have considered not bothering at all, leaving the net entirely to the bullies. Only my sheer stubbornness keeps me coming back.

And I know I am not the only one. Chait reports--
“It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing,” confessed the progressive writer Freddie deBoer. “There are so many ways to step on a land mine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them. I’m far from alone in feeling that it’s typically not worth it to engage, given the risks.” [Michelle] Goldberg wrote recently about people “who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in [online feminism] — not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists.”
And is that what we want the Left to be? The land of the Thought Police?

How on earth can we arrive at solutions if we are not allowed to discuss anything?


As one on liberal talk radio in the most conservative county in the USA, I can't use esoteric internet political in-group terminology and expect the local Baptists to understand me. Further, as an older person, I frequently use unfashionable or antiquated words. This crime alone, in the current hyped-up politically-correct climate, is enough to get a well-meaning but unsuspecting newcomer savaged [4], as I have witnessed numerous times. Once the social justice police have applied the Mark of Cain, it means anything the stigmatized say (or any political event we report on) is either attacked relentlessly or totally ignored. Remember the early internet, where people argued for days at a time? Where minds were actually CHANGED? (and mine was one, so I know) Well, that's all over now. Many once-lively, fun places are now just battlegrounds where no ideas or nuance can be seriously developed or mulled over [5]. For example, the once-exciting FEMINISTE blog is now mostly a place for trans women to police cis women for various ideological crimes; a blog that once might have hundreds of comments per thread, now routinely gets 3-10 per thread, if that. Reddit calls the political correctness situation "Metareddit Cancer" (since it has spread to the moderators). And as Chait reminds us, this phenomenon now extends to powerful news organizations; The New York Times and CNN both censored the Charlie Hebdo cover with the drawing of Mohammed, showing themselves to be craven cowards, and giving the terrorists exactly the censorship they demanded. (No negotiation with terrorists, huh? Major news organizations excepted!)

I have become so upset with the Left in this regard, I could barely summon up the strength to blog... I've simply entered my snarky comebacks on Tumblr, enjoyed the cute animals photos (the main reason Tumblr exists) and grumbled. It is Chait and his guts that made me decide to speak up here, now that the smoke has cleared.

He's right. The Left is becoming a cartoon of itself.

And another thing... a message I got from a sister Tumblrite, after another of the fabled arguments in which I was told how dumb I am, how wrong, how bad, please go away. Remember how I once said Women's Movement pioneers are mostly shit on, while Civil Rights pioneers are lauded and praised as precious? (And I wonder what that's like?)

I really don't understand so much about this epidemic of self-righteousness and narcissism (which is what I think characterizes so much of the most extreme PC babbling), and began chatting with another feminist who had some amazing insights (and shall hereby remain anonymous).

She certainly inspired some deep thinking here at DEAD AIR:
The social justice sector may skew younger, because the ethos of instant moral certitude and endless identity-gazing would appeal to adolescents, the profusion of stupid neologisms less offensive to eyes and ears that haven’t known much discourse. It helps my sanity to bear in mind that a lot of these people are 9th and 10th graders who’ve never had a moment of real-world political activity (or offline interaction with the identity communities they claim to represent, for that matter) in their lives. What’s more, many of them probably never will. Because it is a subjective enterprise conducted primarily by those who are privileged to endlessly indulge their subjectivity.

For many reasons, “social justice” cannot be equated with what we would have once called the radical left. I’ve been thinking about your comments on sabotage and agents provocateurs. Sadly, I think very few of them are being paid or otherwise extrinsically motivated. I think most of it is organic and sincere, which is worse.

For the past week or so I’ve been coming across posts warning white people away from police brutality protests because “it’s not about you,” accompanied by extensive instructions for all the self-examination white people should do it rather than join the movement. What a brilliant trick that would be from a deliberate saboteur! But horribly enough it’s absolutely sincere - SJWs who don’t understand that it’s not “about” any of the protestors; who honestly mistake mass protest for an arena for the elaboration and display of identities. Which again, suggests less than robust experience with actual protests.

The emphasis on subjectivity and invisible ideological purity is, I’m sure you realize, the reason they attack people who are “on the same side” - if your subjectivity isn’t PERFECT, you aren’t actually on the same side. They are for the most part just too dumb (or less uncharitably, too naive) to comprehend the opportunity that the endless goalpost-moving and ratcheting up of standards creates for those who are up to no good.
And here is where I remind everyone that there are still wars going on. Obama is seeking further war authorization as we speak. Here is your golden opportunity to GET OFF YOUR DERRIERE and start a real live anti-war movement, instead of a pretend-movement on Tumblr.

Let me know when you are ready for real politics. As long as this extended silliness continues, I will treat it as the mindless din that it is.

I have serious work to do.


[1] I put quotes around the term since this is what they call themselves, even though as I have pointed out before, the vast majority have actually done NO activism at all. (Asking for a resume is a good way to shut them up and call out the hypocrisy.) "SJW" is nothing more than a label and requires no one do anything risky in real life, otherwise we wouldn't have 2-3 wars going on at once, apparently without missing a beat or noticing this imperialism enough to even remark about it on their extra-special SJW sites... let alone actually attempt to, you know, STOP THE WARS.

[2] Social justice activists habitually claim they are "centering" this or that oppressed group and therefore do not have to argue with any political criticism on the opposite side of the divide. So, I decided to use this tactic myself as an old person, and re-center baby-boomer experience.

And I guess you know how well THAT went over.

[3] I was told that I am too old to be on Tumblr, and that it is automatically "suspect" (!) when any older person is there. Also: "ageism is not a thing"--yes, I swear, these two statements came from the SAME PERSON. But in short, treating old people like shit is still fine, same as it ever was. Somehow, age has not entered that sacrosanct category of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and all the other social justice status-labels.

[4] It has been deemed "racist" to use the word "savage"--even as a verb. I tell them: stop doing it, I'll stop using the word. What other words do you prefer? Barbarism? Bullying?

I am committed to bringing back the word McCARTHYISM.

[5] When I asked some critical questions of anti-sex-work feminists, it was assumed (with a nasty, snarky vibe) that I must think sex work is fabulous and great. Um, no, I don't, I just think sex workers need basic protections from arrests and harassment. It was then decided that I must believe women are "empowered" by sex work (language I don't even use!) ... In short, SJWs assume everyone is sharply PRO or CON (meaning: their very limited version of PRO and CON positions, usually a rehash of what they've seen on CNN or something)...they never see political positions as evolving, undecided, nuanced, changing, learning... which is where the vast majority of people live out their political realities on a day-to-day basis.

The SJWs live on Planet Certainty, and most people don't. Further, most people aren't sure they want to live there.

And on that note, let me clarify: JUST BECAUSE I AGREE WITH JONATHAN CHAIT ABOUT THIS SUBJECT, does not mean I agree with everything he says about everything. It seems obvious and ridiculous to have to say such a thing, but in the climate we are describing, it is required. If you like a blog post, its obvious you must love the author and love everything they say (see above)-- so you are accountable for something they wrote in 2006 too.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas Everybody

Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade

Monday, December 15, 2014

GRACE investigation outcome rocks Bob Jones University to its foundations

After much gnashing of teeth, inside-intrigue and at least one publicly-threatened cancellation, the investigation of Bob Jones University by the independent religious organization called GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) has at last concluded. (pdf file here)

It was officially presented last week, and the Baptist community of upstate South Carolina was promptly thrown into convulsions.

There is nothing in this report that would surprise followers of religious fundamentalism, or those who intimately know how deep-fundamentalism works on the psyche. I first heard stories about how Bob Jones University shames victims of sexual assault, when I arrived in Greenville over 26 years ago and attended AA meetings here. Women who abuse alcohol make excellent victims, and I heard about the shaming of these women (for both drinking and then for having been victimized), up close and personal... over and over.

It has taken all this time for these stories to come to light.

The tales were rampant, and yet, I didn't really understand the authority of BJU and how these places work psychologically. Can't you just leave?!-- I would ask them, uncomprehending.

I might as well be asking the Amish to leave. I think that's a good comparison for the lack of preparation young fundamentalists (often homeschooled) have for the real world. They are frequently very unworldly, confused, overprotected, sheltered... again, the perfect victims, who will stay silent. And so they have.

Until now.

The much-awaited report came out last week. There are now several follow-ups from the Greenville News, suggesting legal action is not out of the question. (More here and here.) And hey, let's count it as a small miracle and nothing short of AMAZING that the once-reticent Greenville News is finally getting with the program. This is the same Greenville News that studiously and deliberately IGNORED all reports of questionable, hinky behavior from BJU since I first started reading it. As I have complained countless times, our local paper of record mostly talks about how WONDERFUL Bob Jones University is; lots of special-interest stories about alumni and their opinions, business ventures, gardens, whatever... not to mention their super-duper Arts Department, Music Department ... just one long GUSH GUSH GUSH.... you'd think it was freaking Oxford, the way they have constantly extolled the virtues of the place.

Sometimes I have felt like the Greenville News is one long combo education/travel brochure advertising Bob Jones University.

Well, not this week. A editorial gives them what-for, in no uncertain terms:
Bob Jones University will be challenged over the next few months to prove it truly understands the devastating nature of the findings from a two-year investigation into how the school for decades handled reports of sexual abuse on and off the campus. The school's response will demonstrate whether it is committed to helping vulnerable people failed by school leaders who handled sexual abuse disclosures in a manner that for many victims deepened their pain and stalled or made impossible their efforts to recover from traumatic experiences.

GRACE began its long-awaited, 301-page report that was released Thursday with a compliment to BJU for taking a "bold step forward" to examine "how it may have caused deep hurt in the lives of students who had suffered from the ravages of sexual assault." GRACE is a self-identified Christian organization based in Lynchburg, Virginia, and its full name is Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. BJU under former President Stephen Jones does deserve credit for undertaking the independent GRACE investigation and agreeing to make public its findings.

Others deserve even more praise, however, and that includes the former students who have forced the university to acknowledge and address its failures when it comes to how allegations of sexual abuse were handled. Former students and even some current ones recognized the injustice that has taken place and have refused to back down even in the face of criticism and some hostility. The courage displayed by alumni and former students who insisted on the GRACE investigation is even surpassed by that required of the sexual abuse victims who participated in this study. They are the heroes here for agreeing to share their stories of the original abuse and then the revictimization that followed as they were struggling to deal with what had happened to them.

The two-year investigation produced an unflinching report into how BJU failed to provide a safe environment where students could seek help and begin the healing process after they arrived on campus dealing with childhood sexual abuse or were assaulted during their student years. Part of the investigation included a confidential survey, and in it more than 60 percent of the self-identified abuse victims who responded said the college's attitude toward victims was one "of blame and disparagement."

One of the most damaging findings was that key college leaders were slow, by decades, to understand their legal requirement to report alleged sexual abuse in many cases. Laws were developed more than four decades ago, and refined and sharpened over the years, to require adults in positions of authority to protect innocent children who are being abused. It is absolutely appropriate for Solicitor Walt Wilkins to begin his own investigation, which was announced Friday, into the way BJU handled the sexual abuse reports.

Wilkins has an opportunity to put an exclamation point on the brutal report by holding BJU officials accountable if his investigation finds violations of legal requirements to report sexual abuse. "If they were convincing individuals not to report crimes that could be considered obstruction of justice," Wilkins told Greenville News reporter Lyn Riddle. "We need to see if it rises to that level."

One key finding of the GRACE report stated, "The survey findings support a possible conclusion that BJU representatives may have sometimes discouraged the reporting of sexual crimes to the proper authorities." Although school officials have reported a different interpretation of some comments or counseling advice, some victims said they were told the abusers should be forgiven and not reported to law enforcement authorities, and that they would be selfish if they shared their experience with others and in doing so hurt the school.

Victims also reported how they were made to feel ashamed for what had happened to them, and they came away from sermons or counseling sessions thinking they had contributed to the abuse. "Women and girls were taught they must 'confess' the part of sexual abuse they enjoyed, that they probably enticed the abuser," was among the viewpoints expressed.

One victim reported she was abused by her grandfather from the ages of 6-14, according to the GRACE report. When she went for counseling, she later reported being asked, "Did you repent for your part of the abuse? Did your body respond favorably?"

Daisy interjects: OH GROSS.
Two school leaders were held out for especially strong criticism in the GRACE report: Bob Jones III, who led the school for many of the years covered by the investigation, and Dr. Jim Berg, dean of students during much of the period covered by the investigation and the man, who with an educational background in theology, helped develop the counseling program for students.

The GRACE study led to a number of recommendations, some already implemented, that include timely reporting of suspected abuse, a recognition that victims should never be blamed for abuse or assault, and an agreement to separate counseling services from the disciplinary process.

BJU President Steve Pettit and others who hold the university dear to their hearts now carry the burden of implementing GRACE report recommendations, trying to salvage the school's reputation, and reaching out to vulnerable people hurt first by their abuser and again by how their confidence was betrayed and their case mismanaged. There's more the school should do, too.

The extraordinarily damaging views about abuse that were uncovered in the GRACE report have hurt more than the victims who participated in this investigation. Those views were shared over the years with young men going into the ministry, with students preparing to be teachers or counselors, and with boys and girls who now have their own children who are venturing into a world that can be unsafe and downright cruel. A step toward redemption should include BJU's heartfelt and comprehensive effort to make its closest allies understand how much horribly wrong information was spread for many years and how critically important it is to change a fundamentally flawed view of sexual abuse.
I really can't add anything to that. I am proud of them for finally saying it.

And for my part, I wanted to rip the BJU administration a new one, but I figure I will save that for the radio tonight. (TUNE INTO WOLI AM/FM, listen live at 8pm!) But more than that... I have had an epiphany. (Kevin Spacey voice: I hate when that happens.)

The people who have given me so much grief over the years? These Bob Jones mavens who have written me up on the job and started fights about Jaysus (credit to Tom Wolfe for spelling) and made pests of themselves at the Black Sabbath concert and at the bookstore where I worked??? I now see that many were suffering. Perhaps, suffering greatly, and directing this pain outward was what they were taught to do, the only way they knew how to cope. And there I was, an available target.

Not unlike the way THEY were an available target.

And so, the pain is passed on.

I have decided not to do that this time. I want to be better than that.

It is my hope that fundamentalists will learn from this, that they have plenty of problems of their own to deal with, and they should probably stop pointing at other people and deal with themselves. I think plenty of people have figured this out in the past week--maybe more than I ever believed possible. And for all of you, I offer an olive branch. (holds up two fingers) PEACE!

Please speak out and share. And organize for change. My love to you all at this difficult time.


EDIT #1: One person already speaking out, sharing and providing excellent analysis is survivor Dani Kelley, who is doing a series on the GRACE report. Please check out her blog.

EDIT #2: My friend Camille Lewis offers some inside-baseball on the situation, for all of us to peruse: Bob Jones University rewrites recent history to ward off federal investigation, PART ONE and PART TWO. (The timeline featured in PART TWO, is indispensable for those who want the step-by-step of how the investigation came to be.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Got music?

Haven't had as much time for blogging, since its the holidaze.

But I have been storing up songs, so you're in luck.


First, a song about Daisy's childhood. Yes, this is about MY MOTHER, and all those other mouthy beehive-hairdo white trash ladies of the 60s ... I miss yall so much. (And especially during the holidays, I always miss my mama terribly.)

In my lifetime, I have gone from embarrassment over this song (amazingly accurate, thought the 12-year-old me, how did Tom T. Hall KNOW THIS ABOUT US??????), to giggling-glee and pride, to tearful nostalgia. Its from another time. This could never happen now.

But hey, really: it used to happen. My mother was a bit more colorful in her language than ole Tom's lyrics could be in 1968.

I included a version with the lyrics:

Jeannie C. Riley - Harper Valley PTA


Speaking of nostalgia, any comments I attempt on this one, would probably degenerate into blubbering... so I won't.

Cassidy - Grateful Dead


A sentiment I have often had, about people I love... it was such a surprise to hear the same feelings come from a man.

Delightful, sweet and very honest.

I wish I was your mother - Mott the Hoople


For you headbanging kidz, I remembered to bring the punk.

This song comes highly recommended; it once destroyed one of my friend's car speakers.

New Rose - The Damned


Next up, a song about my husband's hometown:

Little Feat - Oh Atlanta


Big finish!

Despite copious promises, I never have updated my old INSTRUMENTALS post, which continues to get hits from desperate music-lovers looking for the names of ancient, wordless tunes ... and so, as a consolation prize, here is a stunning instrumental tune you have probably heard many, many times, done with consummate class and finesse by Jeff Beck.

My very favorite version of the jazz classic first written and recorded by Charles Mingus in 1959.

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat - Jeff Beck

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

There be no shelter here

Photo of Ferguson on fire, from PBS.

We played "Killing in the name" at the end of our radio show last night, which was right before 9pm, the time of Prosecutor Robert McCulloch's press conference in Ferguson, Missouri. In this incendiary (but rather bizarre) press conference, he announced the grand jury had not returned an indictment, and there would be no trial for the murder of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th.

All three of us are seasoned activists, and we knew what was coming. Even though 99% of grand juries return indictments... we knew THIS CASE would be an exception.

And so, driving home, I thought of the song we had played ... and then I thought of Rage Against the Machine's "No Shelter"--which I heard in my head, over and over... there be no shelter here/the front lines are everywhere. I wondered, is that really true?

Apparently so.

By the time I got home, America was burning.

I was going to write a post-election synopsis, but I think this post is going to stand in for it. My feelings about Ferguson and the 2014 election are forever entwined. One has in fact brought about the other. You are seeing the results of the election in action: the arrogance of power.

Rarely has an election had such a catastrophic effect on my morale. I have been plagued with self-doubt and disgust at the Left (or what passes for the Left in the USA), particularly the young folks who didn't vote and thus turned over the election to the Republicans. The election of Ronald Reagan left me deeply depressed, and this has been almost as bad. I just have to keep remembering: most people didn't vote, midterms belong to the base, it wasn't an actual mandate, blah blah blah. But right after the election, I was most upset at all the pseudo-radical tumblrites, the kids who talk a good game and do nothing, those people who claim there is no difference between the parties, when the lack of Medicaid expansion here in most southern states means that thousands will die with no health care.

They don't seem to care about that, or at least, not enough to vote.

Now see, when you put it that way, they howl in disagreement and indignation. But that is exactly what they did. They chose to sit out the election, and as David Brooks smugly reminded us on PBS, not voting is a vote, and the Democrats "failed to mobilize the base." Both true.

But see, the youth are all fired up over Ferguson. They tweeted furiously, almost more than I did. What's up with that? Drama attracts attention, but boring elections don't? (Do they understand the election was also a matter of life and death?) I was amazed at all the young people I saw in the Ferguson footage, all races, raising fists in the air and blocking the interstate. I once helped block an interstate highway (at the 1980 Republican convention in Detroit that nominated Ronald Reagan) and it is a powerful feeling. (We delayed Reagan's acceptance speech by almost an hour.) GODDAMMIT, PAY ATTENTION is what these actions scream out loud. It is as if they have decided elections are old school, and yet, the only way to get more minority cops and minority representation, IS ELECTIONS. However, considering all the votes habitually dropped down the toilet, along with gerrymandering and right-wing hijinks, we ALSO see that elections are stolen regularly, and that has created an epidemic of electoral cynicism.

I feel like the country is going down the road described so frighteningly in the (very entertaining, highly recommended) novel California, by Edan Lepucki. She describes a time when "the internet goes dark"--scary but totally believable, since it is obviously a threat to hegemony. People pay to live in "communities" that are safe and protected. If you can't afford to live in one of these, too bad. In Margaret Atwood's trilogy, Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood and MaddAddam, there are likewise "compounds" populated by the employees of the international corporations, and if you can't make it into one of these, you are consigned to the "pleeblands"--which are pillaged, torched and trashed with regularity.

Watching the news reports last night, I momentarily felt like I was in a compound, while Ferguson is a pleebland.


At left, Curtis McLaughlin on our radio show right before the election. He was the Libertarian Party candidate for congress in South Carolina's 4th district, against Trey Gowdy.

There was NO Democratic challenger.

Gowdy won 85% of the vote. Welcome to the South.


There is also some good news, as the first gay marriages in South Carolina have now become legal. I went to the demonstration last week at Greenville County Square, to cheer on those couples going in to get their licenses and thereby make history.

A little light in the darkness. A little bit. Some light, but no shelter.

There be no shelter here.

No Shelter - Rage Against the Machine

Comments welcome, but pro-Wilson/pro-cop comments will be dealt with harshly, and possibly deleted. Be advised.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Election update: Ervin drops out, Haley defends confederate flag, the circus continues

Tom Ervin, Independent candidate for governor, has dropped out of the race and thrown his support to Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen. I was genuinely surprised by this move, although some cynics believed this was the game plan from the beginning. Four million dollars of his own money, spent just to help Sheheen? I hardly think so, but then, stranger things have happened in South Carolina politics.

From Dennis at PoliticsUSA:
You all know the back story of the South Carolina governor’s race. The current governor, Nikki Haley, an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) puppet, wants to continue the states abysmally low rankings in almost every social and practical category of meaning. As I’ve written many times before, in a highly competitive field, Haley is, based on these rankings alone, the nation’s most inept governor. But, in the Palmetto state all that’s required of a governor is hate.
Then there’s Haley’s arrogant disdain of human life in refusing to expand Medicaid to a certain group of low-wage earners. A move that is not only heartless, but will kill people. A Harvard study estimates as many as 1,300 annually in South Carolina alone. What kind of governor doesn’t care about killing people? We should throw her ‘hatred’ of environmental regulations into the mix. Regulations that minimize and control chemical releases that kill who knows how many of her fellow citizens.

This is not only a worthless, unfeeling governor; this is a worthless, unfeeling human being. And yet she commands comfortable double-digit leads in virtually every legitimate poll over her holdover opponent from her last gubernatorial run, State Senator, Vincent Sheheen.

Back to Ervinized and why that recent phenomenon is suddenly creating a modest opening for Sheheen in the governor’s race. Those who have followed this race are aware that there are five candidates. The two major parties, Independent Republican petition candidate, Tom Ervin and two political ciphers. The latter two are meaningless in terms of the outcome. Ervin is definitely meaningful, especially in light of recent developments. Tom Ervin is a 62-year-old former two-term state house member as a Democrat and a 14-year circuit court judge who currently practices law with his wife. He is philosophically still a moderate Democrat, though a few years ago, he declared himself a Republican to run for a couple of offices he craved. He lost both elections, but remained a Republican. Given that Haley won the Republican primary, Ervin was, by law, forced to run as an Independent in the general election.

He was a very effective candidate, giving both the major party candidates a dressing down on assorted issues. He was especially hard on Haley. His presence created vote switching that one would think would benefit Sheheen, the Democrat. As indicated earlier, while Ervin gained supporters, Sheheen lost them and Haley made a big move.

Now, all that could change. The ball, as they say, is squarely in Sheheen’s court. Ervin, who funded his own campaign to the tune of $4 million, suddenly dropped out of the race freeing roughly 8-10% of the total vote. I guess he felt he had made enough of an impression on the electorate and fully realized that, while certainly influential, he stood no chance of winning. One of his first post-dropout steps was to email an expression of strong support to Sheheen contributors under the Sheheen letterhead. The obvious question is, what difference will it make? Won’t Republican Ervin votes simply find a home in the Haley camp?

Maybe, but, as in TV reality shows, there’s a twist. Ervin has officially endorsed Sheheen. Some voters are now going to take a close look at why. In a local phone interview with reporter Jason Spencer, Ervin made the following statement, “It was a difficult decision, but I felt like it was time to put aside my personal ambition and try to do what’s best for our state.” Gee, what a novel approach to public service.

And Ervin has spelled out three reasons that it makes more sense to vote for the Democratic State Senator. According to the local press, those reasons are, ethics reform, domestic violence and economic development. He actually used the word “dishonest” in condemning Haley’s leadership on the issues.
Ouch! He actually called her DISHONEST?

Will any of this work? Haley is estimated to have a 10-point lead in the polls, or at least those are the figures I hear dutifully repeated everywhere, in most South Carolina media outlets. I heard it down at the coast, in Columbia, and here in the upstate. This is the OFFICIAL figure that the ruling class of SC has agreed upon.

Despite Sheheen's attack ads (which came FAR TOO LATE in the campaign to suit me and others in the opposition), it is a forgone conclusion that Sheheen will still lose, but probably by a lower margin than expected.

Unless, unless...

It would be great if we could get out the African-American vote for this election. In addition to her ongoing attempts to deny thousands of the state's black residents the right to vote, Haley has just defended the confederate battle flag. Is it possible that African-Americans will finally reach a boiling point? Or has all that creative gerrymandering in SC finally done its job and that simply can't happen now? (Note: This is the real reason Mark Sanford was handily elected in SC's District 1.)

And my God, Haley is utterly shameless in pandering to the white vote.

From Talking Points Memo:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said that voters should not be concerned that the statehouse flies a Confederate flag because she has gotten no complaints from the CEOs.

During the Tuesday night gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate state Sen. Vincent Sheheen called for the state government to no longer display the Confederate flag, noting that many young people leave South Carolina "all too often."

Haley retorted by claiming that the Confederate flag has not kept companies from coming to the state.

"What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state. I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag," she said.

She also said that she herself has helped combat the state's image problem.

"But we really kind of fixed all that when you elected the first Indian-American female governor," Haley said. "When we appointed the first African-American U.S. senator, that sent a huge message."

Libertarian candidate Steve French said that while he doesn't mind if individuals display the Confederate flag, he doesn't think businesses should be able to.

"So, if you want to paint your house in the Confederate flag, I am completely fine with that," he said.
She has totally forgotten that in 2001, on her voter registration, she claimed she was white. Oh wait, she wasn't running for office back then. Never mind. She's back to being an Indian-American now.

Outside of making her a laughingstock (which she never seems to mind), will the confederate flag comment hurt her chances?

At least she is honest that the continuing racist insult to black people doesn't concern her, only what the rich say and do.

Sums her up perfectly, doesn't it?


Stay tuned, sports fans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Got music?

Its been awhile since I shared some old music with yall.

This first one was on the soundtrack to the movie "Car Wash" (1976)--which I once reviewed for the (very) long-defunct Focus Rock Entertainment, back in the day. I wrongly predicted it would be a hit; instead, the theme song "Car Wash" was the big hit. (sigh) But it did become a funk classic and was popular in the discos, as the B-side of the hit ballad from the film, "I wanna get next to you."

Produced and written by the late, great Motown-powerhouse, Norman Whitfield, this song features the legendary funk bass of Lequeint 'Duke' Jobe--an amazing groove. All punctuated with beautiful big brass noise, which defines 70s funk for me.

To this day, now and forever, when someone says "put your money where your mouth is"... I mentally finish the sentence: "or you ain't said a damn thing"...


Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is - Rose Royce


I know I have played this here before, probably more than once. Its one of my favorite pieces of instrumental music, ever.
(PS: Link for those who missed the old instrumentals post! I never did get around to posting part 2, so consider THIS part 2.)

Although I love the original studio version (and most live renditions), the Allman Brothers video clips currently on Youtube have some fuzzy audio and are not as good as simply listening to (Allman Brothers guitarist) Dickey Betts play it as an 8-minute guitar lesson (with his son Duane) for Guitar World magazine... elegant, spare, and oh so lovely.

They have to slow down at around the 3:45 mark (the "second theme"), where it gets somewhat complicated and psychedelic. Other than that, this version is almost good enough to stand on its own.

In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - Dickey Betts

Aside: I didn't know Betts had named his son Duane, which gets me rather choked up.


Time for working class proletarian bluegrass. You can blame the election. Class consciousness uber alles!

This is an old union song I grew up with. The Blue Diamond mines in Kentucky are still going strong, in case you didn't know. The union? Not as strong.

You old black gold you've taken my soul
And your dust has darkened my home
And now that we’re old you're turning your back
But where else can an old miner go

It’s Big Leatherwood and it’s Algoma Block
And now it’s Blue Diamond too
The pits they are closing - get another job
But what work can an old miner do

John L. had a dream but it’s broken it seems
And the union is letting us down
Last night they took away my hospital card
Saying why don’t you leave this old town.

The union didn't let you down, the Rockefellers did. Now they have decided they were wrong; they are divesting and fast-dissociating themselves from fossil fuels. And how many miners died to make them rich?

A day late and a dollar short. Not our dollar, though.

Blue Diamond Mines - Jean Ritchie