Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ludacris and the B word

Hillary Clinton Referred to with B word in Rap Song

The Obama camp has distanced itself from rap singer Ludacris whose new song, Politics: Obama is Here, refers to Hillary Clinton as a bitch, John McCain as headed for a wheelchair and George W. Bush as mentally handicap.

I hope the Obama campaign will not have to distance itself from me but I’m afraid I used the “B” word myself recently. I said, “If you think Hillary was being bitchy just wait. I think we are going to see John McCain become the queen bitch.”

The statement from Barack Obama's camp

“As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn't want his daughters or any children exposed to. This song is not only outrageously offensive to Senator Clinton, Reverend Jackson, Senator McCain, and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics."


Sunday, July 27, 2008

French Fist Bump?

What is going on here? It looks to me like French President Nicolas Sarkozy is trying a "fist bump" with Barack Obama who won't have it. Obama extends an open hand and reassuring back pat to his new French friend.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Peace Sign 50 Years Old

Peace Sign Turns 50

Speaking of anniversaries the Peace Sign is 50 years old this year. Designed for the cause of nuclear disarmament in 1958 by English artist Gerald Holtom the symbol was purposely never copyrighted. It has been used in antinuclear and antiwar protest ever since. The symbol combines the two semaphore letters N and D to create the symbol for nuclear disarmament.

source: National Geographic Aug 2008

Semaphore N (N also for negative) and D
Nuclear Disarmament or
That's a Big Negative on Nukes

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sailors - The 1940s

Jim McRae - US Navy WWII

Yesterday I sat down with a group of local historians to work on an exhibit for the upcoming San Juan County Fair that will introduce the Town of Friday Harbor's upcoming centennial celebration. We looked at some great photos owned by the Historical Museum of Friday Harbor's early years. What was needed were photos of our more recent past, mid to late 20th century. I brought in a few family photos. Here are two Island men who joined the US Navy in the 1940s after Pearl Harbor, my dad, Jim McRae and my uncle Wally Mullis. By the swarthy looks of my dad I'd guess he had already seen the other side of the equator when this photo was taken. He served as a radar man in the South Pacific.

Wally Mullis - US Navy WWII

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Idgy Vaughn at the Lopez Grange

Home on the Grange Concert Series

Idgy Vaughn

Idgy Vaughn with Will Sexton
Lopez Island Grange Hall
Saturday July 19th 7:30 PM ~ $10
All ages welcome at this family friendly venue.

Idgy Vaughn in Austin Texas ~ photo Ron Baker

"Idgy Vaughn writes and plays twisted Texamericana with all the aplomb and raw magic of an unsocialized farmkid. A single mother, Vaughn waitressed at a truckstop in Buda, Texas, until a customer won the lottery and loaned her just enough to record her full length debut, "Origin Story." After losing her hometown's talent show to Christian karaoke singers seven years in a row, Idgy finally became a winner herself at the Kerrville Folk Festival's prestigious New Folk Competition for Emerging Songwriters. Since then, she's been winning over critics, cynics, dj's, program directors, and fellow songwriters one at a time." ~ Radio Free Lopez

Lopez Grange Hall

Why It Hurts To Laugh

New Yorker cover by Barry Blitt

I first heard this weeks controversial New Yorker cover described on the radio and thought to myself, "Oh Dear". When I actually saw it I laughed out loud. Clearly cartoonist Barry Blitt is making fun of the absurdity of audacious rumours like Fox News anchor E.D. Hill calling the Obama's victory "fist bump" a "terrorist fist jab". As soon as I laughed at the cartoon I said to myself again, "Oh Dear". The New Yorker is a literary magazine aimed at educated intelligent people who understand satire. What makes some of us nervous is knowing from sad experience that many of the American voting public are, if not entirely racist and ignorant at least stupid. They elected George W. Bush...twice. They think Obama is a Muslim even as they criticize his Christian pastor. How can we expect people who take the bible so literally they will deny scientific evidence to grasp the subtleties of satire?

Actually I shouldn't say that they elected George W. Bush twice. I have not forgotten that Al Gore actually won in 2000 but that election was stolen from him by a stacked supreme court and a state where Jeb Bush, George's brother, was Governor. Then in 2004 with all the hanky-panky in Ohio again George W. Bush was not a clear winner and yet he took that election and called it his "mandate". Obama does not just need to win. He needs a landslide to secure a victory.

In times like these not only our country and our constitution are at stake. Life on Earth is itself at risk. So please, if we are not laughing, forgive us our wounded sense of humor.

Friday, July 11, 2008

September 11 ~ The Rock Opera

Not willing to leave well enough alone my discovery of the Clear Channel list of songs deemed inappropriate to play after September 11, 2001 looked to me like all the material needed to compose a playlist as a soundtrack for September 11, the great American tragedy of our time, in the form of a Rock Opera.
The events of September 11 have been so obscenely used to promote a variety of agendas from war to political campaigns. In using the banned songs to commemorate those tragic events I mean to reclaim the story with some great music.

Peter Paul & Mary ~ Leaving on a Jet Plane

Each of these songs were banned by Clear Channel after September 11

Intro - Early Morning September 11, 2001
Morning Has Broken/Cat Stevens
Leaving on a Jet Plane/Peter, Paul And Mary
The Boy from New York City/The Ad Libs
Walk Like an Egyptian/The Bangles

Scene 1: The Twin Towers
Seek & Destroy/Metallica
Wipeout/The Surfaris
Rescue Me/Fontella Bass
Great Balls of Fire/Jerry Lee Lewis
I'm On Fire/Bruce Springsteen
Free Fallin'/Tom Petty
He Ain't Heavy... He's My Brother/The Hollies

Scene 2: The Pentagon & A Field in Pennsylvania

Another One Bites the Dust/Queen
War/Edwin Starr
Knockin' On Heaven's Door/Bob Dylan
Johnny Angel/Shelley Fabares

Finale: The Aftermath
Have You Seen Her/MC Hammer
She's Not There/The Zombies
Bridge Over Troubled Water/Simon & Garfunkel
Get Together/The Youngbloods
Dust In the Wind/Kansas

Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel ~ Bridge Over Troubled Water

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reflections on an Era Through Banned Songs

The Ad Libs ~ Boy From New York City
Live In Liberty State Park

In the afterglow of a mellow 4th of July I have been enjoying a satisfying love of country conditioned by the knowledge that the Bush era is just about over. It feels like a time for national reflection, a time to review and perhaps reassess.

I look back at the beginning of the Bush era, September 11 2001 and the ensuing rationalizations as one big miserable American tragedy, a double-sucker-knock-out punch. And I’m not even talking about the war. Enough time has passed now that I think we can re-examine, possibly question some of the actions made in the name of September 11 2001, such as Clear Channel Communications sending out that list of songs NOT TO PLAY after the September 11 attacks, songs like…Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles, Neil Diamond’s America, and the Ad Lib's Boy From New York City.

The Bangles ~ Walk Like An Egyptian

I’m pretty sure these songs are codes integral to a September 11 conspiracy theory but I can’t quite pin it down. The Bangles Walk Like An Egyptian and Disco Inferno by the Trammps were off limits (apparently Disco Inferno by Tina Turner was OK). Santan’s You've Got To Change Your Evil Ways, Elvis Presley’s You’re the Devil In Disguise, and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels Devil in a Blue Dress... OK, I see a pattern developing. But Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York? and the Youngbloods Get Together? Also nixed: anything by Rage Against The Machine. Wow, somebody really does not like that band.

Some of the most beautiful and inspiring of these banned songs include Imagine by John Lennon, Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel and What A Wonderful World by either Louis Armstrong or Sam Cooke. Not to mention a personal favorite of mine, Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky. All together the Clear Channel list includes 166 songs. They are listed on Wikipedia via the link below.

Link to: List of songs deemed inappropriate by Clear Channel following the September 11, 2001 attacks

Norman Greenbaum ~ Spirit in the Sky

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Citzen Blogger in Retreat

Stupa at Sunrise

If I'm a bit scarce these days its because I'm taking a little retreat up at the Buddhist Center on Mt Dallas. I'm not entirely ignoring the 4th of July. I've been celebrating it quietly by reading Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States, highly recommended reading!

Enjoy the fireworks, parades or however you spend the weekend. Like me I'm sure a few of you will be laying low. Be safe. And don't forget to exercise you freedom of speech!