Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ve haff veys to mach joo zaloot ze banner uff freedom


In case there was any doubt left that the Republican Party has given itself over to the fascist bullying of the right, consider Hal Daub -- a University of Nebraska regent plotting his very own Night of the Long Knives against a trio of college football players.

Were they communists working undercover for Red China, plotting to destroy Husker baseball and make ping pong the national sport?

Were they deep-cover moles for Vladimir Putin, planning to hack the university's computer network and mete out 26,000 incompletes?

Did they not want to Make Football Great Again in Lincoln?

No, it was worse than that . . . at least for Daub, a Donald Trump delegate and onetime congressman who missed the House Un-American Activities Committee by this much.

What the players did was kneel in protest during the national anthem before a Nebraska road game at Northwestern last week. I think it is clear by now why they did. And for that, there must be consequences -- human rights, freedom of conscience and the First Amendment be damned.

Daub (R-Paraguay)
NU Regent Hal Daub of Omaha said he was disappointed in the Husker players because he doesn’t believe a football game is the place to express political or social views. Expressing their views is fine, he said, but not when it’s “disruptive.” 
“You don’t have to put your hand over your heart or sing, but out of respect for other people’s point of view and wishes, the respect they could show would be, at least, stand or not be on the field” when the anthem is played, he said.
Daub also said he was disappointed in the reaction from Husker football coach Mike Riley, who backed the players.
“I was not pleased with his response,” Daub said.
Daub said he believes the matter will be a topic of discussion among the regents at some point. 
“Nobody’s out to censure anybody or limit anybody’s free speech, but speech is limited,” Daub said. “Conduct is limited.” 
Daub, who served in the U.S. Army, said he’s received between 50 and 60 emails about the issue, and the majority disagree with the players’ decision.
The Lincoln Journal Star reported that Daub said the players “had better be kicked off the team.” 
But Daub denied saying that during an interview with The World-Herald.

Asked what kind of punishment, if any, the players should face, Daub said he’s unsure.

“I think that’s a debate that will unfold here,” he said.


NO, I THINK the debate that should unfold here surrounds how Daub (R-Nuremberg) even thinks he has any moral right to speak on the subject, much less condemn Husker linebackers Michael Rose-Ivey and Mohamed Barry or defensive end DaiShon Neal.

Hal Daub was mayor of Omaha from 1995-2001, presiding over this Midwestern city at a time when, thanks in part to Daub's "get tough" policy, residents of predominantly black north Omaha came to see the police department as almost an occupying force . . . in the German sense of the term. Police-community relations, in a word, were awful.

Community leaders talked of certain Omaha cops with a reputation for routinely roughing up African-Americans for no other reason than they could get away with it. The tactics did not lead to any great reduction in -- or great campaign against -- violent crime in the city.

For example, here's something that ran in the Omaha World-Herald in September 2000:
Omaha black leaders said Tuesday that they have no intention of losing the momentum for action demonstrated by people who gathered Monday at a civil-rights protest. 
The Rev. Everett Reynolds, president of the local NAACP branch, said
community leaders and members were planning to gather next Monday at Morning Star Baptist Church, 20th and Burdette Streets, to plan the next move.

"We have a lot of folks that are excited and want to do something," he said. "Our task now is to put that in focus."

More than 1,000 people gathered about noon on the steps and the grassy courtyard of the Douglas County Courthouse, protesting recent police killings.

It was a much bigger turnout than the estimated 300 people published in The World-Herald Monday evening. The lower figure was based on an estimate provided by one of the protest organizers late in the morning while the crowd was still gathering.

Calling it a "funeral for justice," about 400 cars wound their way from 24th and Lake Streets to downtown. Headlights on and horns sounding, they made downtown streets look and sound like midtown Manhattan at rush hour.

Organizers pleaded for an end to past wrongs, including the killing of black men by police officers and a lack of response by the criminal-justice system.

In particular, leaders decried Officer Jerad Kruse's shooting of George
Bibins after a high-speed police chase. Bibins, who was unarmed, had been fleeing from police in a stolen Jeep.

Kruse was charged with manslaughter, but those charges were dropped before the case went to a grand jury. The grand jury declined to file charges.

In a peaceful demonstration, speakers called for authorities to release
information about the Bibins shooting and bring charges against the officer.

"What I hope happens is they take notice that the community has had enough and that the Bibins family wants answers and the community wants answers," Eric Bibins, the brother of George Bibins, said after the protest ended.
 
Reynolds joined him - hoping that the protest put a dent in community denial and put some pressure on local authorities.

"I'm hoping they'll understand the dissatisfaction and do what is right," Reynolds said.

At the start of the protest, pallbearers carried a metallic gray coffin
through the crowd and set it at the top of the courthouse steps. Looking to the coffin, the Rev. Larry Menyweather-Woods said: "Justice, Omaha-way, is inside."

"We want to bury this justice," said Menyweather-Woods, whose Mount Moriah Baptist Church was the starting point of the procession and rally. "We want a new justice to rise up."

In words and signs, the residents unleashed a flurry of frustration about race relations in Omaha. On the one hand, they said, they're harassed by police. On the other hand, they're ignored by city policy-makers.

One sign said: "There is no justice in north Omaha. There's just us."

THE PROTESTING football players in Lincoln, I am sure, have never heard of what happened when Hal Daub was mayor of this city 50 miles northeast on Interstate 80. Michael Rose-Ivey is from Kansas City, Mo. Mohamed Barry is from Georgia. DaiShon Neal is from Omaha, but when this story appeared in the World-Herald, I don't think he read it -- he was not yet 3.

Regent Daub, on the other hand, probably would like to forget some of these inconvenient truths of the Omaha he led as mayor. More accurately, Daub probably would like us to forget what happened then.

Like another incident from deep in the Daub days, the October 1997 shooting of Marvin Ammons on a north Omaha street during an early, freak snowstorm. Ofc. Todd Sears told investigators he thought the Gulf War veteran, who was African-American, had a gun in his waistband. It was a cellphone.

A grand jury indicted Sears in 1998, but a district judge dismissed the indictment due to alleged misconduct by an alternate grand juror. The cop never faced charges -- a second grand jury declined to indict but harshly criticized Omaha police in the case.


Now, Hal Daub, NU regent, is concerned that the Husker players' actions are "disruptive." That's rich.

The man could teach a seminar on disruption. The out-of-control police department and the "get tough" political dogwhistles of Hal Daub's Omaha created a racial tinderbox that was truly "disruptive" -- not to a football game in Evanston, Ill., but to civil society and domestic tranquility right here in Omaha, Neb.


How dare Daub, with his blood-stained record, wrap himself in Old Glory to lead a self-righteous, constitutionally challenged pogrom against black football players who did nothing but take a damn knee.

A First Amendment-approved knee.

But what's free speech -- or trying to ruin the lives of three college kids -- when there's political hay to be made in Donald Trump's Amerika. Only a man so small could talk so big about a transgression so non-existent.


Only a man without shame in a country with no memory.



UPDATE: I don't know that I've ever seen the president of a university bitch-slap one of his bosses, but it just happened at the University of Nebraska. I think we have a keeper here.

God, I love this state.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Freedom of speech for me, but not for thee


Above is a thing that actually ran Wednesday in the college newspaper for which I wrote and edited more than three decades ago.

The headline: Free speech argument should not be used to justify hate speech. The headline soft-sold the column, actually.


Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Obviously, The Daily Reveille at Louisiana State University ain't what it used to be.

Let me put it this way: I read Anjana Nair's column in the Reveille, but I'm having a hard time believing that a piece arguing against freedom of speech and the First Amendment -- and let's be clear, if you're against free speech, no matter how distasteful, you are against the First Amendment -- appeared in a newspaper that would not exist but for the linchpin of our Bill of Rights.

(Trust me. This is Louisiana we're talking about . . . and LSU. Without some serious constitutional badassery covering its 6, the Reveille likely wouldn't have made it past 1934. Actually, the Reveille almost didn't make it past 1934. Interesting story. Anjana Nair probably never heard about it.)

Milo Yiannopoulos
This . . . this because of Donald Trump, Republicans behaving badly and . . . and . . . Milo Yiannopoulos was coming to town! (Cue the panicked population of Tokyo fleeing from Godzilla.)

Apparently, Milo Whocaresopoulos is some sort of ragingly gay, alt-right media whore who specializes in Internet misbehavior and pissing progressives off. And he likes Trump.

And Trumpkins like him because all the right people really, really hate him. The latter group includes Anjana Nair.


So, allow me to throw some quotes at you from this opinion piece that I have a hard time believing actually ran in a newspaper at an institution allegedly devoted to unfettered inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge.

QUOTE:
"I once thought I loved free speech. As someone involved in media, the First Amendment was my best friend. That is, until I faced the reality that people, like they do to all good things in the world, abuse it and use it as justification for reckless and hateful behavior."

QUOTE:

"Walters says it is unreasonable to limit free speech just because someone is afraid of getting their feelings hurt. In the real world, he says, there are no safe spaces or trigger warnings. 
"Walters is partly right: To stop a message because it might offend someone is not a justification for censorship. What is justification, though, is the fact that the free expression of hateful ideas has led to an environment of tension between the groups who are perpetuating such speech and the groups who are targeted by it. This in turn leads to an atmosphere in which only the ones inflicting the harmful speech feel comfortable.
"Let’s be real: The only people who feel the need to defend their freedom of expression behind the First Amendment are those who are clearly misusing it as a platform to attack censorship in its entirety.
"Even Walters admits that there are limits to free speech, such as not being able to yell 'Fire!' in a movie theatre when there isn’t one. Why does that exception exist? Because it causes a sense of panic and fear when there’s no justified reason for it — just like hate speech."
QUOTE:
"When the First Amendment was written, it couldn’t have accounted for Twitter battles and social media showdowns influencing human opinion and behavior. It couldn’t have foreseen the existence of people like Yiannopoulos and Trump, who force us to define what abusive speech is." 

END QUOTE. (Thank God.)

Oh, mercy me. Pass the smelling salts; Generation Y has the vapors.

Really? Loutishness is a modern construct unknown to our forefathers?

REALLY???

Come now. Public reprobates, demagogic invective and "hate speech" hardly were unknown in 1789.

In fact, by Miss Nair's standards, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams should have been locked up for being mean in public, what with all the "hate speech" flying around during the campaign of 1800:
Negative campaigning in the United States can be traced back to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Back in 1776, the dynamic duo combined powers to help claim America's independence, and they had nothing but love and respect for one another. But by 1800, party politics had so distanced the pair that, for the first and last time in U.S. history, a president found himself running against his VP.

Things got ugly fast. Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father." As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward. Even Martha Washington succumbed to the propaganda, telling a clergyman that Jefferson was "one of the most detestable of mankind."


AND THEN Adams' people got around to l'affaire Sally Hemmings.

It may be a novel concept to those who cannot remember a time when "social media" didn't exist, but hateful people always have been quite effective at hounding the "vulnerable." Perhaps a bit more slowly than today, but effectively nonetheless.

The only difference today is that there seems to be a market for professional cranks like Milo Whateveropoulos to get onstage somewhere and say out loud what my generation's halfwits used to scribble in men's room stalls. Yet that so threatens our precious snowflakes on college campuses that they're willing to upend our entire constitutional order to stamp out societal angst.

Yeah, that should work out really well in reducing tension on campus.

The only conclusion I can draw from this column being published in an actual newspaper on an actual college campus is that today's morally preening hand-wringers stand as complete reprobates next to yesteryear's utter libertines. I think the following Oscar Wilde quotation is apt when considering the Trumpkins and Milo Whositsopoulos:
"I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.”

COME TO think of it, it applies pretty well to this Reveille column, too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Back when country music was

I was of a mind to listen to some country music this evening. So I went back to 1972, and a classic Loretta Lynn album.

On vinyl.

I liked it when I was young, and thin, and had more hair, which wasn't gray, and it sounded exactly like country music when you put on a country LP.
Thus concludes this late-night rant by a nostalgic old man who's just sick of it all.

Friday, September 16, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: It's crazy, pally!


Charley, this week's episode of the Big Show is a real gasser. Man, I am talkin' the livin' end!

There's some stuff on 3 Chords & the Truth this go around that's just crazy. Coo-coo!

It's a real clambake. Parts of the thing will just fracture you, pally! Good as a tomato waitin' for you in every gin joint.

MAN, IT IS anything but Endsville. I'm tellin' you, whoever's behind this thing must be a big-leaguer.

What a ring-a-ding show! You're startin' out real freaky like -- you know, trippy -- and then, next thing you know, you're at the Sands. Pally, this thing's a gas!

But if you listen to the Big Show much, you knew that already, right?

Three words: Wow-ee wow wow!

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, Charley. Be there. Aloha.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dispatches from Trump's Amerika


Somewhere in Bumf****, Fla., there's a principal who apparently isn't obsessed with where one half of 1 percent of the American population gets to pee.

Unfortunately, he is obsessed with using authoritarianism to foster Americanism among his students. In other words, "Love your country . . . or else." A story Wednesday from WBBH television in Fort Myers proves that you can't make this stuff up:
A Collier County principal is requiring students to stand during the national anthem at school events or face ejection. 
Lely High School Principal Ryan Nemeth told students during video announcements they'll be ejected from school sporting events if they refuse to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner." 
Nemeth told students the issue is very important to him, and the policy applies to students at all school-sponsored sporting events. 
"You will stand, and you will stay quiet. If you don't.. you are going to be sent home, and you're not going to have a refund of your ticket price," he told them.
NEVER MIND that respect -- or love -- coming at the barrel of a gun (or the threat of being kicked out of a football game) isn't. What it is, is a lie. A Potemkin pledge. It is standing for nothing before a national symbol that half-assed dictators have turned into full-fledged idolatry.

The only legitimately American response to a half-witted, authoritarian bully like a certain Florida principal is to quite deliberately, ostentatiously and quietly sit during the Star-Spangled Banner.

And students who do will find the Constitution is on their side.

"Over a decade ago, Chief Justice [Charles Evans] Hughes led this Court in holding that the display of a red flag as a symbol of opposition by peaceful and legal means to organized government was protected by the free speech guaranties of the Constitution," Justice Robert Jackson wrote for the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1943 when it decided West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnett.
Here, it is the State that employs a flag as a symbol of adherence to government as presently organized. It requires the individual to communicate by word and sign his acceptance of the political ideas it thus bespeaks. Objection to this form of communication, when coerced, is an old one, well known to the framers of the Bill of Rights. 
It is also to be noted that the compulsory flag salute and pledge requires affirmation of a belief and an attitude of mind. It is not clear whether the regulation contemplates that pupils forgo any contrary convictions of their own and become unwilling converts to the prescribed ceremony, or whether it will be acceptable if they simulate assent by words without belief, and by a gesture barren of meaning. It is now a commonplace that censorship or suppression of expression of opinion is tolerated by our Constitution only when the expression presents a clear and present danger of action of a kind the State is empowered to prevent and punish. It would seem that involuntary affirmation could be commanded only on even more immediate and urgent grounds than silence. But here, the power of compulsion is invoked without any allegation that remaining passive during a flag salute ritual creates a clear and present danger that would justify an effort even to muffle expression. To sustain the compulsory flag salute, we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual's right to speak his own mind left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind.


REMEMBER, this ruling came in the middle of World War II. The justice continued:
Government of limited power need not be anemic government. Assurance that rights are secure tends to diminish fear and jealousy of strong government, and, by making us feel safe to live under it, makes for its better support. Without promise of a limiting Bill of Rights, it is doubtful if our Constitution could have mustered enough strength to enable its ratification. To enforce those rights today is not to choose weak government over strong government. It is only to adhere as a means of strength to individual freedom of mind in preference to officially disciplined uniformity for which history indicates a disappointing and disastrous end. 
The subject now before us exemplifies this principle. Free public education, if faithful to the ideal of secular instruction and political neutrality, will not be partisan or enemy of any class, creed, party, or faction. If it is to impose any ideological discipline, however, each party or denomination must seek to control, or, failing that, to weaken, the influence of the educational system. Observance of the limitations of the Constitution will not weaken government in the field appropriate for its exercise. 
2. It was also considered in the Gobitis case that functions of educational officers in States, counties and school districts were such that to interfere with their authority "would in effect make us the school board for the country." 
The Fourteenth Amendment, as now applied to the States, protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures -- Boards of Education not excepted. These have, of course, important, delicate, and highly discretionary functions, but none that they may not perform within the limits of the Bill of Rights. That they are educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of Constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.
WELL, this is the Age of Trump, and I suppose it's more likely than not that "to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes" is exactly what people want out of public education today.

This is precisely why we have a Bill of Rights. Perhaps it's not so much to protect us from an abusive government but, instead, to protect us from ourselves.
 
Language of fascists, racists and morons in this video definitely NSFW

IN TRUMP'S AMERIKA, the above video displays what "love of country" comes to when severed completely from any understanding of human dignity or the principles at the core of the American republic. 

It is the principles that underlie the Bill of Rights (and the Fourteenth Amendment) that define the United States of America. Not race, not region, not class, not ethnicity and not religious affiliation, but those principles define what it means to be American.

And whether we're talking about half-witted, racist vulgarians in Massachusetts or authoritarian school principals in Florida, that shared contempt for those tenets that define us as Americans call into question the loyalty of those making "patriotism" such an issue in the first place.

Traitors are as traitors do.


HAT TIP:  Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker.

Friday, September 09, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Soundscapes


Did you know you can paint with sound?

Did you know that you can create a musical landscape with a playlist?

What we do here on 3 Chords & the Truth is paint soundscapes, which is the same thing as a musical landscape, with audio equipment as your canvas and your ears substituting for your eyes. This edition of the podcast takes the concept of soundscapes and -- BAM! -- kicks it up a notch.

Bet you like it.
 
WHEN YOU look at the playlist for this week's episode of the Big Show, what you see is a spreadsheet. When you listen to the playlist for this week's show, what you hear is magic.

What you hear is pieces of music and snippets of sound creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. You hear familiar songs put together in unfamiliar ways.

You hear unfamiliar compositions take on a certain familiarity.

What you don't hear is something that you fully expect. What you cannot be when faced with a fresh soundscape is complacent.

WE HAVE a media world out there that's overrun by complacency. 3 Chords & the Truth  ain't that.

And that's an audio picture worth painting.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.



Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Cracker like me?

Zack Linly doesn't know the half of it!


Zack Linly is an African-American activist.

He also is a poet.

And a performer.

And a freelance writer.

And a community organizer.

So it's no great surprise that when a man spread that thin reconsiders the usefulness of engaging with whitey, he doesn't take the time to consider that he's just decided that George Wallace was right after all.

Gee, when you're 12 percent of the population, decide to quit engaging with anyone else, lump all white people into the same racist boat, then basically tell the whole lot to f*** off . . . I wonder where that strategy possibly might go wrong in this Age of Trump?

But if some hothead is going to be stupid, and then he decides to write down his stupidity, it would almost be wrong if some American newspaper somewhere didn't publish it for the sheer entertainment value, if nothing else. In Linly's case, it was The Washington Post's turn. To wit:

Could it be, and I’m just spit-balling here, but could it be that white folks are … completely full of it? 
This is why I submit that black people should simply disengage with white America in discussions about race altogether. Let them have their little Klan-esque chats in the Yahoo and USA Today comment sections. We need to stop arguing with them because, in the end, they aren’t invested like we are. They aren’t paying attention to these stories out of fear for their lives and the lives of their children and spouses; they are only tuned in out of black and brown contempt. This is trivial to them, a contest to see who can be the most smug, condescending and dismissive. When black people debate these issues, we do so passionately — not always articulately, and often without a whole lot of depth to our arguments — but we always come from a place of genuine frustration, outrage and fear. 
When most white people debate the very same issues from an opposing stance, they do so from a place of perpetual obtuseness and indifference. Their arguments always seem to boil down to “If it isn’t my experience, it couldn’t possibly be yours.” Even “well meaning” white folks tend to center themselves in the discussion (#NotAllWhitePeople #IDontSeeColor). Yes, there are plenty of white people who aren’t racist, who think shouting “Blue Lives Matter” is wrong, who truly do wish things would change. But the fact is, they figuratively and literally have no skin in the game. 
I understand that white people are mad. They’ve gone their whole lives being the default for social and cultural normalcy and never really had to think critically about race at all. 
Now a black first lady addresses the nation, and she talks about slavery. Now social media identifies and challenges their micro-aggressions. They’re getting the tint snatched off of their rose-colored glasses; that “Shining City on the Hill” they know as America is starting to lose some of its gloss. And they ain’t here for that — but we are. 
So we need to let them cry. Let them gripe about how white is the new black and they are now the true victims of racism because their black co-workers don’t invite them to lunch or some black guy on the train called them a cracker or because black people on the interwebs hurt feelings. (How nice it must be to have the option of simply logging off of your oppression.) We need to let them cry. And we need to learn how to just sit our intellectual selves back and enjoy it.
NO, I DON'T think black folks would enjoy it. Not at all.
The fact is, we can fight systemic racism without white validation. We can continue shutting down bridges and highways every time there’s a new Alton Sterling, Philando Castile or Korryn Gaines in the news and let white folks complain about the intrusion on their lives. We can continue moving our black dollars into black banks and keeping our money in our businesses and communities. We don’t need them to “get it” for us to keep fighting.
And likewise, white people who truly want to be allies can find their path to ally-ship without black validation and without us having to take time out of our days to educate them. They can find their own curriculum and figure out for themselves how they can do their part in fighting the good fight. And they can do it without the promise of black praise. And, I’m not about to keep checking to see if they’re doing that much. Because it’s not my job – and it’s not yours, either. 
Black people, it is long past time for us to start practicing self-care. And if that means completely disengaging with white America altogether, then so be it.
WELL, you certainly can try to fight systemic racism without white validation, but I don't know how far you're going to get. Keep telling white people to screw themselves while you scarcely treat white allies better than you do sworn enemies like David Duke, and I think -- and I'm just spit-balling here -- you're going to create even more enemies.

You're going to take people of good will and ultimately convince them that they are being targeted by blacks, and then that whole self-preservation thing kicks in.

Remember Bosnia? The United States already is well on the way to getting there in Trump's good time, and Mr. F*** Whitey proclaims that throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire looks like a solution to him.

Ensure that all the hated, innately racist white people come to see you not as fellow Americans -- or even brothers and sisters in Christ or merely part of the brotherhood of man -- and see what wonderful and immediate results come from "shutting down bridges and highways every time there’s a new Alton Sterling, Philando Castile or Korryn Gaines in the news and let white folks complain about the intrusion on their lives."

Let's take a brief moment for a brief history lesson from just my middle-aged lifetime.

IN 1963, it was the abject horror of the American public at TV pictures of fire hoses and police dogs turned on peaceful black protesters in Birmingham -- the horror of the predominantly white American public -- that made it politically possible for President Lyndon Johnson (white President Lyndon Johnson) to ram the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress (the overwhelmingly white Congress) over the strenuous objections of powerful (and segregationist) Southern members.

A year after the Civil Rights Act's passage, it was the abject horror of the American public at TV pictures of segregationist vigilantes and Alabama state troopers attacking peaceful black protesters in Selma -- the horror of the still predominantly white American public -- that made it possible for President Lyndon Johnson (the still-white President Lyndon Johnson) to ram the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through Congress (the still overwhelmingly white Congress) over the once again strenuous objections of still powerful (and still segregationist) Southern members.

Muhammad 
So, if Zack Linly would like to know how successful he and his might be after disengagement with -- and his near-blanket villification of -- honkies like lil' ol' south Louisiana-born me, that not-so-ancient history might be a reliable guide. He'd well know that if his study of African-American history had extended beyond "We were slaves" and "White people bad."

Here's my educated guess on how African-Americans might fare under the Linly Plan, which is nothing more than a less-articulate version of the Elijah Muhammad Plan.


Connor
Bull Connor would be just a warm-up; that's how well it would go. Yes, some white people are ugly nowadays. I am old enough to well remember a time when a lot more were a lot uglier. I would advise against daring white people to be that way once again.

Especially, as I said, when African-Americans are about 12 percent of the population, and white people are better armed.

Micro-agression that.

WHEN THE center does not hold, bad things happen. Given that Americans oftentimes aren't all that bright (or particularly well-versed in history), it's looking like were going to have to find that out the hard way.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: The echo chamber


It's such an echo chamber in here, you'd think 3 Chords & the Truth had gone all talk radio on you.

But no.

It's still the same good music -- the same highly eclectic Big Show mix -- just with 89 percent more echo. Sam Phillips would be so proud.

Special acknowledgment goes to TEAC A-4010S. Thank you and God bless.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

No, really. That's all I have to say. Just go and listen to the show. Shoo!


Thursday, September 01, 2016

Facts are for suckers, and reality is so passé


I just saw this "suggested" post on Facebook. Now any idiot can edit their memories with the click of a mouse.

To me, this really just sums up our present age -- reality doesn't suit us, doesn't recognize the sublime specialness that is Me . . . so we change it. We edit it. We make reality suit us.

The thing is, that's unreality. That is falsity. That is a baldfaced lie we're conning ourselves and others into believing is the truth. But that is us today. We pretend things are what we wish them to be, instead of what they demonstrably are. We are who -- and what -- we say we are, regardless of what the facts, science and your very eyes plainly tell you.

So what's changing all your cheesecakey vacation photos into versions of the "truth" that aren't? Indeed, "Forget about strangers & unwanted objects on your photos!" If we wish them not to be . . . they aren't!

USED TO BE that you physically -- like, with scissors -- cut that schmuck you used to be married to out of all your pictures. It was a pretty obvious process that left the truth out there on the periphery somewhere, but still perceivably there. Somewhere.

But with the joy of computerized fraudulence, the schmuck never existed! Yay, you! Your life choices just became 94-percent better with just a couple of clicks.

God help the historians of the 22nd century, trying to figure out who was who and what was what, circa 2016. They'll be just as in the dark as we are.

But they'll get to see how absolutely faaaaabulous you looked without any annoying people or things detracting from the view. Of you.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I'm your rumba man


This is a 1956 iPod playing a 1950s iTunes download -- Xavier Cugat's favorite rumbas, to be specific.

And I'm still doing the rumba, baby. I can't seem to quit. If Chris Brown catches us doing the rumba, Chris Brown would just pitch a fit. (With firearms.)

But I can't help myself; it's much bigger than me. If I were you, I'd hang onto a rumba man like me.

NOW, you might ask, what sort of geekery gets a rumba man like me excited? Old LP records, yes. But more than that . . . old LP records in great shape that have price tags on them from a St. Louis record store that went out of business about the time your rumba man was getting in business.

So to speak.

Don't get me started about how to figure out how old a pressing is, or where did the filler songs come from when a record company reissues a 1948 10-inch LP as a mid-'50s 12-inch LP and adds four songs to it . . . because more space.

Just don't. You ain't geek enough.


Well, that's about all for now. File this under Things That Probably Will End Up on This Week's Show.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Trying to wash us away


The rains tried to wash south Louisiana away.

Then the national media and America's cognoscenti tried to wish south Louisiana's waterlogged ruin and its waterlogged suffering away.

Both are still here, not that you'd notice if you weren't already looking hard for evidence of either.

This edition of 3 Chords & the Truth is a protest against Americans' desire to ignore -- to condescend to -- their brothers and sisters at the soggy bottom of Flyover Country. This go around of the podcast is other things, too -- sunnier things -- but the protest, our musical protest, is the heart of the thing.

Louisiana lives matter.

AND YOU -- we -- don't get to ignore that, because all Americans matter, being that no American is more American than any other American.

That's a point this episode of the Big Show hopes to makes as entertainingly as possible. While you're listening, check out the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and lend a financial hand, if you can.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The view from 10645 Darryl Drive


This is my neighborhood, the one in Baton Rouge where I grew up.

My parents built their first -- and only -- house there in 1956. I moved in at the end of March 1961 from my previous address at the old Our Lady of the Lake maternity ward.

From 1956 until three days ago, not a drop of unwanted water entered 10645 Darryl Drive unless somebody spilled a glass of it on the floor. Then we mopped it up. 

Look at the picture above, taken by the Civil Air Patrol on Sunday. 10645 Darryl Drive is in the bottom fourth, one-third from the left.
 
There's not a big enough mop in the world.

At right, thanks to Google Street View, is how the home of my youth looked three years ago -- when it was the home of my mother's old age. This picture is from May 2013, a month before Mama fell and broke her hip at age 89.

When the paramedics took her away to the new Our Lady of the Lake, she couldn't have known that she'd never see it again. A couple of months after that, she'd be here in Omaha, in the assisted-living apartment where she would spend the last 18 months of her life.

Mama lived at 10645 Darryl Drive for almost 57 years. In 2001, Daddy took his last breath in the bedroom that was once mine.

I AM grateful they did not live to see Sunday's scene at 10645 Darryl Drive -- to see their little world in their little part of Baton Rouge, La., overtaken by dirty, brown floodwater. I am grateful that, in extreme old age, they did not see the house they so loved invaded by the deluge. See their memories drowned.

I am grateful they were not faced with cleaning up a gigantic mess when they were too old and too ill to even consider putting things aright again.

Today, the scene at 10645 Darryl Drive has been repeated thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times -- much worse in most cases. Water to the countertops, water to the ceiling, water to the roofline. Water consuming everything and, in 11 cases as I write, someone's very life.

Also as I write, I've lost count of how many people I know back home, both family and friends, who got flooded out, in many cases losing everything they owned. I have cousins who now possess only their lives, their loved ones and the clothes on their backs. This is my hometown's Katrina. This is Katrina for an area spanning 20 parishes (counties) in south Louisiana.

NEXT DOOR in Denham Springs, a town of more than 10,000 just across the rampaging Amite River, 90 percent of homes were flooded. In Livingston Parish alone, where Denham Springs is the largest municipality, it's estimated that more than 100,000 people lost everything they had.

Nobody's come up with a number for Baton Rouge, the capital city of 230,000 people.


Not that you'd know any of that from the national media.

Louisiana lives matter . . . not that you could tell from watching the evening news or the cable networks, where all the airtime is devoted to more pressing things than the fate of rednecks, coonasses and black folks in a banana republic somewhere in Flyover Country.

Somewhere toward the bottom.


NO, the cable networks are preoccupied by what obviously matters in life, like panels of opposing party hacks yelling at one another over whether Donald Trump's shit stinks. Tomorrow, Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper will be hosing down the bellowing political hacks as they debate whether Trump was right to be livid that CNN suggested that his shit wasn't the best shit, the best smelling shit that anyone ever shit. Believe me.

As a former resident of 10645 Darryl Drive, I have an opinion about what these blathering, coastal media elites are full of.

But now I return to my regularly scheduled mourning, both for my people and for a country that doesn't much think their lives, their suffering and their deaths matter much at all.