Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The fools in your grill: Jim Crow's bayou bastards


Like maggots on three-day-old road kill, the bastard children of Jim Crow consume all debate in Louisiana about any and every aspect of how New Orleans is driving ol' Dixie down.

Nowadays, the Facebook page of Channel 4 looks more like 4chan. Specifically, the alt-right -- and all-white -- netherworld of that discredited web forum. A few days ago, someone actually posted a meme calling Mayor Mitch Landrieu a "cuck."

The attacks against Landrieu are of the ferocity you'd expect from people whose entire identity has been mortally threatened by his rhetoric and his removal of Confederate monuments. That's because he's just mortally threatened their entire self-understanding, self-worth and worldview.
 

Click for full-size version
I don't know that people who aren't from the Deep South understand that at all. "Proud, patriotic Southerners" perceive this as an attack not only on "history" (history in the Orwellian sense of the word -- literally) but also on their very being.

Landrieu delivered a momentous speech Friday in Gallier Hall as crews pulled Robert E. Lee down off his pedestal. The address was the bravest I had ever seen from a Southern politician -- especially a white Louisiana politician. It also was the most explicit and prophetic anyone has given about the South's peculiar "heritage," which is inextricably bound up with its former "peculiar institution."


That, of course, would be slavery. America's original sin remains burrowed in Southern brains like political and cultural syphilis, and it has driven untold generations of my people mad. I think we all know what comes for the syphilitic after the crazy.

Because of the crazy enveloping my native state, Landrieu's political career is over, barring his appointment to some post in some future Democratic administration. Even if he weren't term-limited as mayor of the Crescent City, enraged whites from Shreveport to Chalmette would empty their figurative magazines into his body politic.
 
AS THE monumental battle has dragged on in New Orleans, across Louisiana and across the South, some outraged Lost Cause cultists have threatened to empty literal magazines into the mayor. A Mississippi lawmaker has taken to Facebook to suggest that Landrieu and those like him ought to be . . .  "lynched."

This is how far the South apparently has come in my 50-something years on Earth. Not very.


I was born a Southerner. I lived almost three decades in the South. And I've lived in the Midwest even longer; if anyone is bi-culturally adept at code-shifting, it is me.

Yet . . . yet. . . .


Yet, I struggle to express to non-Southerners the gravity of what happened here with Landrieu's speech, which now -- finally -- has been noticed by the national press.
You see — New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling caldron of many cultures. There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one. But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were bought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture. America was the place where nearly 4000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp. So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.

And it immediately begs the questions, why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame... all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans. So for those self-appointed defenders of history and the monuments, they are eerily silent on what amounts to this historical malfeasance, a lie by omission. There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it.
For America and New Orleans, it has been a long, winding road, marked by great tragedy and great triumph. But we cannot be afraid of our truth. As President George W. Bush said at the dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.” So today I want to speak about why we chose to remove these four monuments to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, but also how and why this process can move us towards healing and understanding of each other. So, let’s start with the facts.
The historic record is clear, the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity. First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy. It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots. These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city. Should you have further doubt about the true goals of the Confederacy, in the very weeks before the war broke out, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy. He said in his now famous ‘cornerstone speech’ that the Confederacy’s “cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

Now, with these shocking words still ringing in your ears... I want to try to gently peel from your hands the grip on a false narrative of our history that I think weakens us. And make straight a wrong turn we made many years ago — we can more closely connect with integrity to the founding principles of our nation and forge a clearer and straighter path toward a better city and a more perfect union.

UNLESS you're from there, it's difficult to grasp exactly how much white Southerners' self-conception is tied up with the Lost Cause -- the cult of the Lost Cause. Those of my generation and older were brainwashed (and that is not an exaggeration, in my first-hand estimation) into that worldview from the day they emerged from the womb. 

And in this worldview, "Southern heritage" means "white Southern heritage," because the history and "heritage" of black Southerners aren't even on the radar screen.

That is how Mitch Landrieu got to be regarded as "Yankee trash" and a "traitor" by his own people. Give the Age of Trump a few more months, and "proud Southerners" will be calling him -- openly, without apology -- what he would have been called by a great many Louisianians within my living memory.

It starts with an "N" and ends with "lover." Must I spell it out?


AS A SOUTHERNER who has made a home in the Midwest, I feel nothing but fury, loathing, disgust and shame right now. The psychotic, spiritually syphilitic South -- in its ancient hatreds and its hereditary denial of the truth of its "heritage" -- has driven me to shame and embarrassment for what I am and where I was born and raised.

I am embarrassed for me, and I am ashamed of those who I once thought were "my people." If the new iteration of the same old filth is what really counts for Southern "pride" and "history" after all these years and all that shame, Dixie can shove it up the south side of one of its northward-facing brass sentinels.

If the standard white "Southern patriot" definition of Southernness "is what it is," these are my people like German Nazis were German Jews' "people."


Go. To. Hell. And say "heil" to Hitler when you get there.

God of the wide horizon and the center pivot


Loma, Nebraska
May 14, 2017

Donald Trump doesn't give a tweet


What aren't we seeing right now from the tweeter-in-chief?

I'll give you a moment. Take another look.


Uh . . . condolences . . . anything about what happened in Manchester, England last night? After all, this is the man who, saddled with the demands and responsibility of leading the free world, can find the time to tweet about this:


But not about this:


MEANWHILE, many others in politics (and every other pursuit) have taken to Twitter to express condolences, outrage and sorrow. Like Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo.

But not the president of the United States, the Twitteriest of them all. At least as of this posting, nearly 11 hours after the murderous attack. Good to know.

But we already knew, didn't we?


 * * *

UPDATE: Himself finally said something, during a speech in Bethlehem. From The Guardian:
Speaking in Bethlehem, where he was meeting the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, Donald Trump said: “I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack and to the many killed.”

The US president said “evil losers” and a “wicked ideology” were responsible, going beyond what British police and politicians have thus far said in attributing responsibility for the bombing.“I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term,” he said. “They would think it was a great term. I will call them from now on losers. Because that’s what they are – losers. We will have more of them but they are losers. Remember that.”
I YI YI, Forrest Trump just can't help himself, getting way out ahead of the facts as we know them . . . while he sounds a lot more like Orange Donnie from Queens calling in to Rush Limbaugh than he does president of the United States of America.

On the other hand, maybe he just let something else slip that he learned from Israeli intelligence.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Race is the reason for the season . . . of hate


WWL-TV in New Orleans had to ask.
Here are some facts about the Robert E. Lee Monument: 
Are you for or against its removal?
That probably wasn't the best idea in Louisiana, as a Democrat mayor takes down Confederate monuments in a state where a great many native-born whites have no idea who they are, apart from being the aggrieved progeny of "persecuted" mid-19th century slaveholders. Above is a meme that's emerged anywhere on Facebook where the subject of removing the Lost Cause tributes surfaces.

In fact, everything you'll see here is representative of the aggrieved-Caucasian opinion dominating every New Orleans television station's or newspaper's social-media comments sections.

Click pictures for full-size versions
In Louisiana, racism is still a thing. A big thing. And the reactions of these keyboard crusaders to removing some statues -- edifices erected by late 1800s and early 1900s white-supremacists honoring luminaries of a failed rebellion against the United States in defense of slavery -- is justification enough for why they must come down.

Thankfully, the Crescent City's last big one, a large statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee atop a 60-foot obelisk in Lee Circle, comes down today. It's not going quietly, as scores of protesters --  pro and con -- gathered there to argue and emote through the wee hours of the morning.

I've been sitting here watching the WWL live feed from Lee Circle and cyberswimming through a fetid pool of combox racism and societal resentment as good for clicks as they are deadly to a nation's soul. At one point, my very Midwestern wife came into the room to take in the scene.

She had one question.

"Why are all these people that upset over taking down those monuments?"

MY ANSWER was what I've already said: Lots of Southern white people have no idea who or what they are apart from the aggrieved identity they have in relation to the North and from having fought and lost the "War Between the States." Thus, all the talk about "Southern history," "Southern pride" and "Southern heritage."

Left out of all this "history, pride and heritage," of course, is about 40 percent of the South's population -- the descendants of those enslaved, degraded, tortured and killed by "Southern history," "Southern pride" and "Southern heritage." Those folks do not get warm fuzzies from all that blessed heritage as they drive around Lee Circle.

And that doesn't matter worth a damn to those obsessed with the "loss" of their history, pride and heritage. The reason that doesn't matter worth a damn is rather obvious, I think.

My history, important and noble. Yours, not really.

Naturally -- because men usually marry up, not down -- my wife is as tenacious as she is cute and smart and, therefore, had a follow-up:

"Why is being Southern such a huge part of your identity and your self-worth? I'm a Midwesterner, but there are a lot of things more central to who and what I am than being from the Midwest."

Great. Why not ask me why being a pissed-off Serb, Muslim or Croat is so central to Balkan identity? Actually, that was my answer, which I put as a question. Sounds better than "Beats me."

To my credit, though, I did also mention the perhaps better example of the centrality of being Protestant or Catholic in Northern Ireland, and then hating the other side because it isn't. That, she got a little more readily.

Not that it makes any sense, just like devotion to the Lost Cause or that particular definition of Southernness makes no sense . . . or how the overriding importance of one's Southernness, in the end, makes no damned sense. Of course, one of the hallmarks of being human is not making any damned sense much of the time.


WHAT MAKES absolutely no sense, though, is Southernness as defined not only as whiteness, a fallacy in itself, but as whiteness characterized by antipathy toward and contempt of a race your ancestors demeaned and oppressed. It's as if white Southerners' true religion, for all their vacuous protestations of Christian devotion, is really nothing more than some ooga-booga variant of ancestor worship . . . with the caveat that those one worships never could have done anything wrong or been gripped by evil.

Therefore, slavery must have been the fault of the black slaves. Somehow.

White man, good. Black man, bad. The end. Now, for a stirring rendition of "Dixie!"

As God is my witness, back when I was a fourth grader and first allowed to attend public school with black kids, I thought the South might be over this kind of thing by the time I was old like my parents. Well, now I'm notably older than my late parents were in 1970 -- yes, 1970 -- and this sort of hatred and bigotry is still very much a thing in Louisiana.

Obviously. That's one among several reasons I am happy to be long gone from Louisiana . . . not that the Midwest, particularly in the Age of Trump, doesn't have its less-than-edifying moments.





AND SPEAKING of Donald Trump, Louisiana's Lost Causers also use standard Republican "kick the poor" ideology in service of "Southern heritage."

This variation on the theme of African-Americans as deadbeats wonders "how many of the people whose support [New Orleans Mayor] Mitch Landrieu relies on to remove monuments actually pay state income taxes?" There are two assumptions implicit in this odious bit of dog-whistling.

One is that no decent white Southerner would be against removing paeans to the Confederacy and the Old South. Another is that people getting government benefits would be pro-Democrat, anti-"Southern heritage" . . . and largely black. That is because, as defined by the aggrieved Lost Causers, "Southern heritage" is a white thing, inextricably intertwined with reverence of the Confederate States of America and its heroes.

That's just how it is. Uhhhh . . . except when the pro-monument, pro-Confederate crowd is trying to convince the world that 1) tens of thousands of slaves and free blacks fought for the Confederate army (not so much, and usually not by choice), and 2) there were more free-black slaveowners than white slave owners (there were black slavemasters . . . but come on!).


SO . . . when considering the point where white-identity politics intersects with right-wing quasi-libertarianism in the racially aggrieved and Republican-dominated Gret Stet, I have a few public-policy thoughts that dovetail with the whole Confederate-monument conflict.

Given the righteous (and right-wing) convictions of the good, white "Christian" people decrying the villainous, minority poor who so oppress them, so suppress their "heritage" and so endeavor to erase their "history," I put forth a modest proposal. Put simply, I think Louisiana ought to be forced to live by the principles the majority of its voters are hell-bent -- and I mean that literally, by the way -- on forcing upon "the least of these," their perceived oppressors.

It is well known that Louisiana and other Southern states famously suck at the federal teat, largely because they've never been able to get their shit together. Ever. A vast, free labor source (slaves) and the lack of concern about any manner of civil society at all only masked that basic societal incompetence in antebellum times.

Therefore, we Americans who live in states that get back only what they pay into the federal treasury -- or not even that -- should just cut off America's proud, Southern, freeloading parasites. If they want "secession" and freedom from Yankees' mores, fine. They can have it, if only fiscally, alas.

And when, say, Louisiana has yet another hurricane or flood its residents and government never adequately prepared for -- even though epic floods came regularly before anyone knew of global warming and come ever more frequently now -- it need not come begging Yankees for help. Louisiana should have made better "lifestyle choices."


Tough shit now. Does it actually contribute to the fiscal well-being of the government? Federal ledger says no.

Or, as the Bible says -- and Louisianians luuuuuuuv to invoke the Bible on behalf of all kinds of stuff, particularly in service of the kinds of evil the Good Book actually condemns outright -- "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Reap away,
Reap away,
Reap away, Dixieland.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The death of us

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pure Nebraska. Straight, no chaser.


In south Louisiana, where I was born and raised, you have Cajun music at Fred's in Mamou on Saturday mornings.

In way-rural eastern Nebraska -- by way of a couple of gravel county roads and a winding dirt one, if you're coming from the nearby metropolis of Brainard  (population 330) -- there's a polka band at the Loma Tavern on Sunday evenings.

You don't stumble across Loma, an unincorporated hilltop village of 30 souls, a handful of houses, a church, an empty hardware store . . . and the Loma Tavern. No, you have to look hard for Loma.

Ever see the 1990s cult movie, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar with Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo? The fictional Snydersville, the middle-of-nowhere burg where they get stranded, is really Loma. And the bar is the Loma Tavern, which used to be the Bar-M Corral.

If you didn't know that before you find your way to the Loma Tavern, you'll know it before you leave.

Anyway,  in this stretch of Nebraska -- Butler County, like many stretches of Nebraska -- you have two kinds of people: Czechs and more Czechs . . . though I did see someone who copped to being German. And on this seasonable spring evening in Little Bohemia, 13-year-old accordionist Addie Hejl (pronounce Heil) was fronting the band for the first time. Then again, she's only been playing for a year.

Sounds like she's been playing for 20 but, no, just a year.


BEING FROM bayou country and having been force-fed a Saturday-night diet of Lawrence Welk during my formative years, I am not unfamiliar with accordions. Or -- thanks again to Mr. Welk -- polka music.

But polka is a Midwestern thing. In eastern Nebraska, polka music on small-town radio stations every Sunday afternoon is akin to Cajun music on small-town Louisiana radio stations every Saturday morning. I think, truth be told, that the DNA of folks on the Czech and German plains of this state has developed a polka mutation, much as my swamp-Gallic DNA has the extra Jolie Blonde chromosome.

The shared trait of the two mutations is the accordion. That and little roadhouses in the middle of nowhere that, on warm and lazy weekend evenings, become the center of the musical universe. Ask Addie Hejl, who still is eight years shy of being able to knock back a legal cold one.

When I was still eight years shy of being able to knock back a legal cold one, I, too, found myself in a few centers of the musical universe in parts of southeastern Louisiana more familiar to bullfrogs and bream than actual people.

A few of them, to tell you the truth, made the Loma Tavern look like the Cocoanut Grove. One in Whitehall -- in deepest, darkest Livingston Parish -- had a drop ceiling . . . with the bottoms of beer cases substituting for tiles.

I REMEMBER sitting at a table drinking my Coca-Cola as my parents and my aunt and uncle sat and drank their beers. It was a quiet Sunday evening -- not much going on except for another 45 dropping on the jukebox.

It was Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Knock Three Times."
Hey girl what ya doin' down there
Dancin' alone every night while I live right above you
I can hear your music playin'
I can feel your body swayin'
One floor below me you don't even know me
I love you . . .

Oh my darling,
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh my sweetness,
Means you'll meet me in the hallway
Twice on the pipe means you ain't gonna show
AT THIS, Aunt Ceil looked up at the ceiling.

At the cardboard beer-case bottoms that were the ceiling. At the Budweiser and Schlitz and Dixie and Falstaff and Miller High-Life "ceiling tiles."

"Knock three times on that ceiling, and the damn thing'll fall on you," she deadpanned.

I don't think Coca-Cola blew out of my nose, but it had to have been close. That may have been when I decided that Aunt Ceil was -- by far -- the funniest person in Daddy's German-Dutch-Irish family.




I THOUGHT of these things as I stood in the back of a century-old country bar in Nebraska listening to a teenage accordion wunderkind and a couple of guys a generation and two older playing polka music -- things half a country and a lifetime ago made present here and now by musical ties that bind.

As I looked across the tavern, through the dancing couples and toward the band, I saw something else entirely. I saw Mama and Daddy, alive again and younger than myself, two-stepping across the dance floor to a country band in Killian, La. I saw a time when a little honky-tonk between river and swamp seemed like a big thing to a kid.

To me.

The thought of trying to explain to strangers why a 50-something man was crying in the back of a little bar in Loma, Neb., kept the tears -- and humiliation -- at bay.

Maybe geezers like myself could be forgiven for thinking that, maybe, 13-year-old girls instead should aspire to play in a Runaways tribute band. Call it the Queens of Noise.

It's just that those accordions will get you every time.

Every. Damn. Time.

Friday, May 12, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: The Electric Kool-Aid Bad Acid Trip

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


Next on the Big Show


I think you may get the gist of this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth just from the incredibly bizarre goings-on in Washington the past 48 hours.

There are two explanations for this: 1) We all took some really bad s***, and it's all a bummer of a trip, man! 2) It's real, and Americans voted for some bad s***, man!

Either way . . . bummer, man.

It's the Big Show, y'all. Be there in a while. Aloha.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pray with me, Henry!

"Henry, you are not a very orthodox Jew, and I am not an orthodox humanoid, but we need to pray."

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

That does not compute





"Let me ask you this; if you were a resident of New York, how would you feel if they all of a sudden decided to take down the Statue of Liberty, would you be against that?"
Nolaspicedesigns
Louisiana's commissioner to the Texas Secession Convention explains, in February 1861, why it seceded from the Union the previous month.
To the Hon. O.M. Roberts, President of the Convention of the People of Texas.

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the people of Texas.

I have the honor to address you as the commissioner of the people of Louisiana, accredited to your honorable body. With this communication, by the favor of your presiding officer, will be laid before you my credentials, the ordinance of secession, a resolution in regard to the Mississippi river and the ordinance to provide for the appointment of delegates to a convention to form a Southern Confederacy. These ordinances and the resolution were adopted at their respective dates by the people of Louisiana in convention assembled, after serious debate and calm reflection.

Being desirous of obtaining the concurrence of the people of Texas in what she has done, Louisiana invites you to a candid consideration of her acts in resuming the powers delegated to the government of the late United States, and in providing for the formation of a confederacy of "The States which have seceded and may secede." The archives of the Federal Government bear ample testimony to the loyalty of Louisiana to the American Union. Her conservatism has been proverbial in political circles. The character and pursuits of her people, her immense agricultural wealth, her large banking capital, her possession of the great commercial metropolis of the South, whose varied trade almost rivals that of the city of "ten thousand masts" present facts sufficient to make "assurance double sure" she did not take these grave steps for light or transient causes. She was impelled to this action to preserve her honor, her safety, her property and the free institutions so sacred to her people. She believed the federal agent had betrayed her trust, had become the facile instrument of a hostile people, and was usurping despotic powers. She considered that the present vacillating executive, on the 4th of March next, would be supplanted by a stalwart fanatic of the Northwest, whose energetic will, backed by the frenzied bigotry of unpatriotic masses, would cause him to establish the military despotism already inaugurated.

The people of Louisiana were unwilling to endanger their liberties and property by submission to the despotism of a single tyrant, or the canting tyranny of pharisaical majorities. Insulted by the denial of her constitutional equality by the non-slaveholding States, outraged by their contemptuous rejection of proffered compromises, and convinced that she was illustrating the capacity of her people for self-government by withdrawing from a union that had failed, without fault of hers, to accomplish its purposes, she declared herself a free and independent State on the 26th day of January last. History affords no example of a people who changed their government for more just or substantial reasons. Louisiana looks to the formation of a Southern confederacy to preserve the blessings of African slavery, and of the free institutions of the founders of the Federal Union, bequeathed to their posterity. As her neighbor and sister State, she desires the hearty co-operation of Texas in the formation of a Southern Confederacy. She congratulates herself on the recent disposition evinced by your body to meet this wish, by the election of delegates to the Montgomery convention. Louisiana and Texas have the same language, laws and institutions. Between the citizens of each exists the most cordial social and commercial intercourse. The Red river and the Sabine form common highways for the transportation of their produce to the markets of the world. Texas affords to the commerce of Louisiana a large portion of her products, and in exchange the banks of New Orleans furnish Texas with her only paper circulating medium. Louisiana supplies to Texas a market for her surplus wheat, grain and stock; both States have large areas of fertile, uncultivated lands, peculiarly adapted to slave labor; and they are both so deeply interested in African slavery that it may be said to be absolutely necessary to their existence, and is the keystone to the arch of their prosperity. Each of the States has an extended Gulf coast, and must look with equal solicitude to its protection now, and the acquisition of the entire control of the Gulf of Mexico in due time. No two States of this confederacy are so identified in interest, and whose destinies are so closely interwoven with each other. Nature, sympathy and unity of interest make them almost one. Recognizing these facts, but still confident in her own powers to maintain a separate existence, Louisiana regards with great concern the vote of the people of Texas on the ratification of the ordinance of secession, adopted by your honorable body on the 1st of the present month. She is confident a people who so nobly and gallantly achieved their liberties under such unparalleled difficulties will not falter in maintaining them now. The Mexican yoke could not have been more galling to "the army of heroes" of '36 than the Black republican rule would be to the survivors and sons of that army at the present day.

The people of Louisiana would consider it a most fatal blow to African slavery, if Texas either did not secede or having seceded should not join her destinies to theirs in a Southern Confederacy. If she remains in the union the abolitionists would continue their work of incendiarism and murder. Emigrant aid societies would arm with Sharp's rifles predatory bands to infest her northern borders. The Federal Government would mock at her calamity in accepting the recent bribes in the army bill and Pacific railroad bill, and with abolition treachery would leave her unprotected frontier to the murderous inroads of hostile savages. Experience justifies these expectations. A professedly friendly federal administration gave Texas no substantial protection against the Indians or abolitionists, and what must she look for from an administration avowedly inimical and supported by no vote within her borders. Promises won from the timid and faithless are poor hostages of good faith. As a separate republic, Louisiana remembers too well the whisperings of European diplomacy for the abolition of slavery in the times of annexation not to be apprehensive of bolder demonstrations from the same quarter and the North in this country. The people of the slaveholding States are bound together by the same necessity and determination to preserve African slavery. The isolation of any one of them from the others would make her a theatre for abolition emissaries from the North and from Europe. Her existence would be one of constant peril to herself and of imminent danger to other neighboring slave-holding communities. A decent respect for the opinions and interests of the Gulf States seems to indicate that Texas should co-operate with them. I am authorized to say to your honorable body that Louisiana does not expect any beneficial result from the peace conference now assembled at Washington. She is unwilling that her action should depend on the border States. Her interests are identical with Texas and the seceding States. With them she will at present co-operate, hoping and believing in his own good time God will awaken the people of the border States to the vanity of asking for, or depending upon, guarantees or compromises wrung from a people whose consciences are too sublimated to be bound by that sacred compact, the constitution of the late United States. That constitution the Southern States have never violated, and taking it as the basis of our new government we hope to form a slave-holding confederacy that will secure to us and our remotest posterity the great blessings its authors designed in the Federal Union. With the social balance wheel of slavery to regulate its machinery, we may fondly indulge the hope that our Southern government will be perpetual.

Geo. Williamson
Commissioner of the State of Louisiana
City of Austin Feby 11th 1861.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"



-- The New Colossus
Emma Lazarus

* * *

LONG STORY SHORT: When the people of a state -- and Louisiana unfortunately often is the prime example of this condition -- have lost their f***ing minds, their brains aren't very far behind.

It's a scientific fact. Twisting your mind into a pretzel in the defense of your culture's honoring and fetishizing of evil makes you stupid. Tragicomically, mouth-breathingly, knuckle-draggingly stupid.

I suggest that New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu just dynamite the remaining damn Confederate memorials before the state's collective IQ slips into negative numbers.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: Record party in the kitchen!


HOUSE PARTY


LOCATION: 3 Chords & the Truth kitchen.


WHEN: Whenever you show up. We'll be around.


WHAT: I set up my portable phonograph on the kitchen table. Bring records, BYOB. We'll
play music and have refreshments.

Just make yourself at home A good time will be had by all.

Especially Uncle Buddy.


Yes, he's bringing his Jerry Vale records.


UNTIL: Uncle Buddy gets three sheets to the wind.



IT'S THE BIG SHOW!
ALOHA!



Friday, May 05, 2017

Tempting the whirlwind in Jesusland?


Good, white, Jesus-lovin' people in Louisiana -- which clearly loves dead Confederates much more than live children and poor people -- are quick to tell you this is a Christian nation.

They'll tell you how the gays and the liberals and the politically correct are ruining this nation. They'd be quick to tell you how nothing's more important than family.

And then they'll go out and vote for the scoundrels who -- when they're not picking their pockets after yelling "Look! Welfare Cadillac! Baby mama with an EBT card! -- will construct budgets that savage the poor and the sick as they deconstruct civil society and the infrastructure of self-government bit by bit by bit. Year after year after year.


Louisiana State Capitol
This, because it's in the Bible (somewhere in the back) that the good, white, Jesus-lovin' people of Louisiana are absolutely entitled to another new pickup truck or another goddamned bass boat, but under no circumstances are obligated to pay one more penny in taxes. No matter what.

Our schools are crumbling. No new taxes.

Our roads are worse. No new taxes.

Our state universities have been savaged by budget cuts, people are laughing at us . . . and you don't want to know what people are wading through in the basement of LSU's library.

Does any of that affect football?
No, not at LSU -- that's self-supporting.


No new taxes.

Our social services and our health-care system have been cut to the bone. Actually, we had to remove a leg and a few fingers as well. If we cut any more, lots of people will die -- especially the disabled.  Blame Obamacare! No new taxes.

THE LATEST chapter of The State That Cut Off Its Nose Because It Already Cut the Budget for Soap and That Smelly Stuff That Goes Under Its Arms is told in the pages of today's edition of The Advocate in Baton Rouge:
The Louisiana House has agreed to a nearly $29 billion spending plan that has full funding for TOPS scholarships in the coming year but doesn't fund the state agencies that oversee health and social services to the levels that leaders say is needed to pay for critical programs.

House Bill 1 now heads to the Senate, where it will likely be changed in the coming weeks as lawmakers work to reach an agreement on the budget that begins July 1.

(snip)
Huey P. Long's grave, state capitol
During the course of the debate, House Democrats had pushed back on areas that affect health care, prisons and social services, including foster care, but there was little movement.

"It's a transparent attempt to cut the budget deeply and hide those facts by telling the Division of Administration to do the dirty work," said House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans.

After the Appropriations Committee had advanced its spending plan earlier in the week, leaders in Gov. John Bel Edwards decried the proposal as "draconian," "gruesome" and "a nonstarter."

Edwards, himself, said Thursday after the entire House approved the budget in a mostly party-line 63-40 vote that he was looking forward to working with the Senate to craft a more bipartisan proposal. He said the House Republican-backed measure is "flawed" one that "would send us tumbling backwards."

"We can't move Louisiana forward if we're standing still," Edwards said. "Their budget guts health care, children’s services and veteran services to levels that endanger the health and welfare of the people of Louisiana. When politicians craft policies without the input of the experts in a field, you know you’re getting a bad deal, and that’s how this budget was drafted."

Edwards had originally recommended a budget that boosted the Department of Health by an additional $235 million to fund optional and behavioral programs. Part of that money originally meant for LDH was then shifted to fund the popular Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, a scholarship program for Louisiana high schoolers who attend college in state.
TOPS was funded at about 70 percent in the current year's budget.

Edwards, a Democrat, had listed TOPS as his No. 1 priority for funding if the Legislature agreed to tax proposals that would generate more revenue.

Edwards administration has argued that the funding levels offered in the House budget proposal would threaten the state's compliance with federal orders regarding behavioral health services and cut the number of psychiatric beds; eliminate jobs that deal with child welfare; and lead to furloughs for some prison inmates.

"This impacts people's lives," said Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin. "This is life or death."
HOW DOES one describe this budget, this approach to governance in a state whose day job appears to be protecting old statues of dead traitors and slavers, and whose hobby seems to be steamrolling the disabled, the sick and the poor? Many of whom, by the way, happen to be the descendants of those slaves victimized by the memorialized dead traitors.

How's this for a start?

Despicable. Wicked. Depraved. Blasphemous. A budget from the bowels of hell in a state bucking to become hell on earth.

"For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written."


I think that covers it.

Do you remember what various fundamentalists -- notably TV preacher John Hagee -- and others said about Katrina being punishment from God, because New Orleans?

Assume for a moment that's how God rolls -- that He's still in the business of Large-Scale Smiting. Assume also that Jesus, who is God, meant every word He said about "blessed are the poor," "suffer not the little children" and "whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

Assume the Lord was making a point central to His plan of salvation -- and the nature of good and evil -- when He related the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

FINALLY, let us assume that the Savior of the World, the Creator of the Universe, wasn't shitting people in Matthew 25:31-46:

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Gov. Huey P. Long

FOR THE SAKE of argument, what if we're accountable not only for what we do individually, but also the governments and societies we craft through our individual actions, activism and votes? What if those political entities, states and nations also are subject to divine scrutiny and divine judgment?

Louisianians -- particularly the white, conservative ones -- are fond of telling the world how God-fearing they are. One can assume a great many of them are quite well-pleased with the Republican-imposed budget bill now headed to the Senate. Because taxes, big gummint and leeches sucking at the taxpayers' teat.

How do they square the circle of loving what Jesus clearly hates? How do they so embrace the laundry list of ways to torture the poor, the halt and the sick (while devoting the savings from that to benefiting the rich and middle class) -- quite literally all those things that holy scripture devotes so much space telling us Jesus so hated.

God-fearing? I'm not so sure the South -- Louisiana -- is even Christ-haunted anymore.

And what if the crazy preachers and doomsayers are right about "acts of God" really being acts of God's wrath?

According to that model, New Orleans got drowned and 1,577 Louisianians killed because of gays, trannies and titty bars. What the hell do you think God will do to the Gret Stet because of this? Or, for that matter, this?

Lord, have mercy . . . because my home state surely has none.