Monday, June 27, 2011

Two Songs I Remember From My Childhood

The first song I remember hearing on a jukebox was "Goodnight, Irene." It was first recorded by the American blues musician Huddie 'Lead Belly' Ledbetter in 1932. In 1950, one year after Leadbelly's death, the American folk band The Weavers recorded a version of "Goodnight, Irene" which reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on June 30, 1950 and lasted 25 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1. I was 6 years old.

Goodnight, Irene

Last Saturday night, I got married,
me and my wife settled down
Now me and my wife are parted,
I'm gonna take another stroll downtown

Sometimes I live in the country,
sometimes I live in town
Sometimes I take a great notion,
to jump into the river and drown

I love Irene, God knows I do,
I'll love her till the seas run dry
But if Irene should turn me down,
I'd take the morphine and die

Stop rambling, stop your gambling,
stop staying out late at night
Go home to your wife and your family,
stay there by your fireside bright

Here is The Weavers sing "Goodnight, Irene."

The second song – "Now and Then There's A Fool Such as I" – was written by Bill Trader and was published in 1952. Hank Snow's original version peaked at number four on the country charts in 1953. I remember it well.

Since Snow's version, the song has been sung and released by such diverse artists as Jo Stafford, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and Baillie & the Boys.

Now and Then There's A Fool Such As I

Pardon me if I'm sentimental when we say goodbye
Don't be angry with me should I cry
When you're gone yet I'll dream a little dreams as years go by
Now and then there's a fool such as I

Now and then there's a fool such as I am over you
You taught me how to love and now you say that we are through
I'm a fool but I'll love you dear until the day I die
Now and then there's a fool such as I

Now and then there's a fool such as I am over you
You taught me how to love and now you say that we are through
I'm a fool but I'll love you dear until the day I die
Now and then there's a fool such as I

Here is Hank Snow in 1965 singing the song:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

From RollingStone (A Must Read!)

Michele Bachmann's Holy War

The Tea Party contender may seem like a goofball, but be warned: Her presidential campaign is no laughing matter

Matt Taibbi
June 22, 2011 8:00 AM ET

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don't laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children's show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing "launch" instead of "lunch" inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.

Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government. She kicked off her unofficial presidential campaign in New Hampshire, by mistakenly declaring it the birthplace of the American Revolution. "It's your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world!" she gushed. "You are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard."

I said lunch, not launch! But don't laugh. Don't do it. And don't look her in the eyes; don't let her smile at you. Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau. She's trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don't, because the secret of Bachmann's success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.

In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you've always got a puncher's chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she's living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she's built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

Bachmann's story, to hear her tell it, is about a suburban homemaker who is chosen by God to become a politician who will restore faith and family values to public life and do battle with secular humanism. But by the time you've finished reviewing her record of lies and embellishments and contradictions, you'll have no idea if she actually believes in her own divine inspiration, or whether it's a big con job. Or maybe both are true — in which case this hard-charging challenger for the GOP nomination is a rare breed of political psychopath, equal parts crazed Divine Wind kamikaze-for-Jesus and calculating, six-faced Machiavellian prevaricator. Whatever she is, she's no joke.

Bachmann was born Michele Amble in Waterloo, Iowa, to a pair of lifelong Democrats, but grew up in tiny Anoka, Minnesota. By her teen years, her parents had divorced; her mother remarried and brought step-siblings into the home, creating a Brady Bunchian group of nine kids. One of Bachmann's step-siblings, Helen LaFave, would later come out as a lesbian, a fact that Michele, who became famous opposing gay marriage, never mentions on the campaign trail. For the most part, though, Bachmann's upbringing seems like pure Americana, a typical Midwestern girl who was "in a couple of beauty pageants" and "not overtly political," according to her stepbrother Michael LaFave.

Young Michele found Jesus at age 16, not long before she went away to Winona State University and met a doltish, like-minded believer named Marcus Bachmann. After finishing college, the two committed young Christians moved to Oklahoma, where Michele entered one of the most ridiculous learning institutions in the Western Hemisphere, a sort of highway rest area with legal accreditation called the O.W. Coburn School of Law; Michele was a member of its inaugural class in 1979.

Originally a division of Oral Roberts University, this august academy, dedicated to the teaching of "the law from a biblical worldview," has gone through no fewer than three names — including the Christian Broadcasting Network School of Law. Those familiar with the darker chapters in George W. Bush's presidency might recognize the school's current name, the Regent University School of Law. Yes, this was the tiny educational outhouse that, despite being the 136th-ranked law school in the country, where 60 percent of graduates flunked the bar, produced a flood of entrants into the Bush Justice Department.

Regent was unabashed in its desire that its graduates enter government and become "change agents" who would help bring the law more in line with "eternal principles of justice," i.e., biblical morality. To that end, Bachmann was mentored by a crackpot Christian extremist professor named John Eidsmoe, a frequent contributor to John Birch Society publications who once opined that he could imagine Jesus carrying an M16 and who spent considerable space in one of his books musing about the feasibility of criminalizing blasphemy.

This background is significant considering Bachmann's leadership role in the Tea Party, a movement ostensibly founded on ideas of limited government. Bachmann says she believes in a limited state, but she was educated in an extremist Christian tradition that rejects the entire notion of a separate, secular legal authority and views earthly law as an instrument for interpreting biblical values. As a legislator, she not only worked to impose a ban on gay marriage, she also endorsed a report that proposed banning anyone who "espoused or supported Shariah law" from immigrating to the U.S. (Bachmann seems so unduly obsessed with Shariah law that, after listening to her frequent pronouncements on the subject, one begins to wonder if her crazed antipathy isn't born of professional jealousy.)

This discrepancy may account for why some Tea Party leaders don't buy Bachmann as a champion of small government. "Michele Bachmann is — what's the old-school term? — a poser," says Chris Littleton, an Ohio Tea Party leader troubled by her support of the Patriot Act and other big-government interventions. "Look at her record and see how 'Tea Party' she really is."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Henry (Irwin's Grandchild) Speaks June 19, 2011

From Cinemablend

Author: Jesse Carp
published: 2011-06-20 13:10:05
Jon Stewart And Chris Wallace Debate On Fox News Sunday 
It was just over a month ago that Jon Stewart paid a visit to the "belly of the beast" more commonly known as Fox News. That appearance saw Stewart pettifog about Common with Papa Bear Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor (even the name of the show sounds ridiculous). This time he went up against the much more balanced -- well, as balanced as Fox News can be -- Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. The results? A more engaging but no less entertaining debate.

I'm of the opinion, of course, that once again Jon Stewart comes out of the wreckage victorious, but at least this was an attempt on Fox News' part to match him with a less "shouty" and more level-headed opponent. Like I said last time, though, I really wish Jon would only confront him on his own turf, because I hate contributing money to the shadowy figures behind the scenes at Fox.

Here's the so-called "full" interview via Fox News' website.

Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace airs Sundays at 2 and 6 p.m. ET and The Daily Show on Comedy Central Monday-Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

But, here is what Jon Stewart had to say about Fox's edited presentation:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox News Channel - Fair & Balanced
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Friday, June 17, 2011

From The Rachel Maddow Show

Thursday night Rachel Maddow condemned Democrats for forcing Anthony Weiner to resign – "Democrats have not only refused to hold Republicans accountable for the double standard, but they have joined with Republicans in piling on with the demands that Anthony Weiner had to resign even as David Vitter stays in the Senate . . ."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Granted, Elaine

by Dee Newman

Granted, Elaine
our bodies felt good together
the few times they touched.
But, I would've gladly given up
even the thought of being inside of you
for being beside you
right here and now.

Sure, it's true
I wanted more from you
than mysticism
than anagogic surmise
than vague spiritual speculations
from those lingering esoteric eyes.

I wanted you.
More than anything else
I wanted you to want me
beyond any Biblical control . . .
to have trusted me completely
even with your so-called
surrendered soul
to have, at least
in the grasp of circumstance
given me a chance
to let go.

At any rate
it’s not too late
for either of us to know
what it is
what it truly is to be
beyond the celestial gate
fragile, unafraid and free
free to face the consequences
with all our senses
whether in joy or sorrow
tears or laughter
not tomorrow
not in some future
far off heavenly hereafter
but right here and now.

For believe me
that’s how it is
and forever will be.
There is no river to cross
no mountain or ladder to climb
no fallen angel to fear
no place to hide
on the other side
the milk and honey are here.

And, it’s yours
it’s mine
it’s anyone’s
who is willing to pay the price
no matter what the cost or loss
for the ultimate and final sacrifice
is to die on your own cross.

I wrote this poem in 1976.

From The Environmental Working Group

EWG's 2011 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Executive Summary

Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper's Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Belcourt Theater: The Last Mountain

An important new film, The Last Mountain, is opening this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – at the Belcourt Theatre, 2102 Belcourt Avenue.

Coal generates about half of the electricity produced in the United States and is, worldwide, the largest source of climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

As you may know the primary method for mining coal in Appalachia is known as mountaintop removal mining. In order to stop this environmentally devastating practice, it is essential to raise the public's awareness of its disastrous consequences. 

According to CREDO Action, in recent years, mountaintop removal mining has destroyed over 500 Appalachian mountains, decimated 1 million acres of forest, and buried 2000 miles of streams.

The Last Mountain tells the story of mountaintop removal mining through the lens of Coal River Valley in West Virginia.  Activists there are trying to stop Massey Energy and other big coal companies from continuing to destroy their communities.

By attending The Last Mountain's opening this weekend, you can help give the film a much needed boost, as well as, help it to open in additional theaters nationwide.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roundup and Birth Defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?

Summary (from Scribd)

Concerns about the best-selling herbicide Roundup® are running at an all-time high. Scientific research published in 2010 showed that Roundup and the chemical on which it is based,   glyphosate, cause birth defects in frog and chicken embryos at dilutions much lower than those used in agricultural and garden spraying. The EU Commission dismissed these findings, based on a rebuttal provided by the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, BVL.BVL cited unpublished industry studies to back its claim that glyphosate was safe.

The Commission has previously ignored or dismissed many other findings from the independent scientific literature showing that Roundup and glyphosate cause endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and cancer, as well as birth defects. Many of these effects are found at very low doses, comparable to levels of pesticide residues found in food and the environment.

This issue is of particular concern now that Monsanto and other producers of genetically modified seed are trying to get their glyphosate-tolerant crops approved for cultivation in Europe. If the EU Commission gives its approval, this will lead to a massive increase in the amount of glyphosate sprayed in the fields of EU member states, as has already happened in North and South America. Consequently, people’s exposuret of glyphosate will increase.

All these concerns could be addressed by an objective review of Roundup and glyphosate inline with the more stringent new EU pesticide regulation due to come into force in June 2011.Just such a review was due to take place in 2012. However, shortly after the Commission was notified of the latest research showing that glyphosate and Roundup cause birth defects, it quietly passed a directive delaying the review of glyphosate and 38 other dangerous pesticides until 2015. This delay is being challenged in a law suit brought against the Commission by Pesticides Action Network Europe and Greenpeace.

Delaying the review of glyphosate until 2015 is serious enough. But in reality, the Commission’s slowness in preparing the new data requirements for the incoming regulation mean that glyphosatemay well not be re-assessed in the light of up-to-date science until 2030.  The beneficiary will be the pesticide industry; the victim will be public health.

The need for a review of glyphosate is particularly urgent in the light of the shortcomings of the existing review of the pesticide, on which its current approval rests. In this report, we examine the industry studies and regulatory documents that led to this approval.We show that industry and regulators knew as long ago as the 1980s and 1990s that glyphosate causes malformations – but that this information was not made public. We demonstrate how EU regulators reasoned their way from clear evidence of glyphosate’s teratogenicity in industry’s own studies (the same studies that BVL claimed show the safety of glyphosate) to a conclusion that minimized these findings in the EU Commission’s final review report.

The German government and its agencies played a central role in this process. As the “rapporteur” member state for glyphosate, Germany was responsible for liaising between industry and the EU Commission and reporting the findings of industry studies. We show how Germany played down findings of serious harm in industry studies on glyphosate. It irresponsibly proposed a high “safe” exposure level for the public that ignored important data on glyphosate’s teratogenic effects. Tis level was accepted by the Commission and is now in force.

Taken together, the industry studies and regulatory documents on which the current approval of glyphosate rests reveal that:

Industry (including Monsanto) has known since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses

Industry has known since 1993 that these effects could also occur at lower and mid doses

Te German government has knownsince at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations

Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?

Te EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations

Te EU Commission has known since 2002 that glyphosate causes malformations. This was the year its DG SANCO division published its final review report, laying out the basis for the current approval of glyphosate.

The public, in contrast, has been kept in the dark by industry and regulators about the ability of  glyphosate and Roundup to cause malformations. In addition, the work of independent scientists who have drawn attention to the herbicide’s teratogenic effects has been ignored, denigrated, or dismissed. These actions on the part of industry and regulators have endangered public health. They have also contributed to the growing division between independent and industry science, which in turn erodes public trust in the regulatory process.

This report provides a comprehensive review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, documenting the serious health hazards posed by glyphosate and Roundup herbicide formulations. On the basis of this evidence, we call on the Commission to cancel its delay in reviewing glyphosate and to arrange an objective review of the pesticide. The review must take into account the full range of independent scientific literature, as demanded by the new pesticides regulation, and should be started as soon as the new data requirements are in place this year. In the meantime, the Commission should use its powers to withdraw glyphosate and Roundup from  the market.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


by Jack Reeves

    Richard Drew/AP Photo

Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D) confession conference exemplifies cognitive dissonance resolution. Republicans should learn.

Weiner, whom I admired, did meltdown to try to resolve the dissonance (the disturbing clash) between his honorable, good self and his dishonorable, bad self. Resolution, he hopes, is confessing and repenting. Instructive.

Politicians tend to keep these spheres separate. Such, for example, enables opposing taxation while ignoring that two American wars are fought on borrowed money. Add, opposing raising the national debt to pay for the wars.

Too many politicians avoid dealing with cognitive dissonance. This can be pathological. And dangerous.

Yet we keep electing those who, like the Queen of Hearts, can "believe six impossible things before breakfast"--and don't have to deal with the consequences of these beliefs...until a Weiner moment.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

From Jack


by Jack Reeves

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died. He is a modern medical pioneer because of his support of physician-assisted suicide when an individual is terminally ill. Washington, Oregon and Montana allow patient choices. Vermont soon.

No religion or secular authority gives life. Neither has a right to dictate disposition. My life belongs to me. So does my death. I determine when I die. Hospice and pain palliation are important considerations.

Physician-assisted suicide should be available in every state.

When an illness is terminal and suffering marks it, the final assertion of being should not be denied by the state.

I can argue that Jesus committed suicide--even doing it for the sins of mankind. "He made his face like flint to face Jerusalem." (Luke 9:51)

For context, I have graduate degrees in religion, psychology and law.

Winner – Best Documentary – Sundance Film Festival

In How to Die in Oregon, filmmaker Peter Richardson gently enters the lives of the terminally ill as they consider whether—and when—to end their lives by lethal overdose. Richardson examines both sides of this complex, emotionally charged issue. What emerges is a life-affirming, staggeringly powerful portrait of what it means to die with dignity. –Sundance website

From the filmmaker, Peter Richardson: My hope for the film is that it opens a dialogue on this critical issue by taking a look at the experiences of a few Oregonians…. Though these individuals ultimately had a choice about when they died, a choice most others do not have, I believe there is much to be learned from their stories and the way that they approached the end. –Filmmaker Magazine

Watch it on HBO
June 4th – 10:15 am
or On-Demand at

On Vermont Digger
Filmmaker Peter Richardson and editor Anne Galloway discuss Richardson’s new documentary “How to Die in Oregon” following a special presentation of the movie in Williston. Also included are comments by Governor Peter Schumlin. The movie debuts on HBO May 26th at 8pm ET/PT.

Friday, June 3, 2011

From Truthout

Bill Moyers has a new book out – "Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues." The book is a collection of interviews of some of the best and most interesting conversations conducted during Moyers' PBS series from 2007-2010. You can receive a gift copy with a minimum donation of $35 to Truthout.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

From The Daily Show

Me Lover's Pizza With Crazy Broad

From Fanpop

Alison Krauss LIVE

May 23rd, 2011

The following is a link to a live set from Allison Krauss and Union Station.

Independent Mastering (owned and operated by my good friend, Don Cobb, and his partner, Eric Conn) did the audio:

Thanks Don for the link. 

Sorry about the ad.

From The Washington Post

For Want of a Dentist

Prince George's Boy Dies After Bacteria From Tooth Spread to Brain

By Mary OttoWashington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died.

Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.

Some poor children have no dental coverage at all. Others travel three hours to find a dentist willing to take Medicaid patients and accept the incumbent paperwork. And some, including Deamonte's brother, get in for a tooth cleaning but have trouble securing an oral surgeon to fix deeper problems.

In spite of efforts to change the system, fewer than one in three children in Maryland's Medicaid program received any dental service at all in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The figures were worse elsewhere in the region. In the District, 29.3 percent got treatment, and in Virginia, 24.3 percent were treated, although all three jurisdictions say they have done a better job reaching children in recent years.

"I certainly hope the state agencies responsible for making sure these children have dental care take note so that Deamonte didn't die in vain," said Laurie Norris, a lawyer for the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center who tried to help the Driver family. "They know there is a problem, and they have not devoted adequate resources to solving it."

Crazy Badminton

This is why I have always liked the game of Badminton . . .