Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Massive Resistance" in Chicago's Marquette Park (1966)

One of the dark, ugly sides of the civil rights era - and largely ignored or forgotten in the popular history of that time - was the "massive resistance" of many whites throughout the North to even modest attempts to address pervasive racial inequality, particularly when it came to housing. This massive resistance often equaled or exceded the more well-known episodes of white racist violence in the South during this period. A stunning example of this came in 1966 when Dr. King led a group of non-violent open housing advocates through a nasty gauntlet of thousands of screaming white residents in the Marquette Park neighborhood of Chicago. Throughout that summer, civil rights activists had marched through predominately white communities like Gage Park on the Southwest Side and Belmont Cragin on the Northwest Side to press local officials to enact an ordinance barring discrimination in the sale or rental of property. At each site the peaceful demonstrators were reminded of the bitter opposition to racial integration that thrived across the city and the nation. The level of hate in Marquette Park was particularly dazzling. White on-lookers hurled obscenities, firecrackers, sticks, rocks and debris. To the tune of the Oscar Meyer hot-dog song, choruses of, “I wish I were an Alabama trooper/This is what I would truly love to be/Because if I were an Alabama trooper/Then I could kill the niggers legally,” filled the air. A rock the size of a fist struck King in the face, knocking him to the ground in a daze. A knife, hurled by another counter-demonstrator, missed the minister, but lodged in the neck of a white marcher. One march organizer said of the white counter-demonstrators, "They were looking at a people of color and rejecting them at face value.” Afterward, a clearly rattled King told the media, “I’ve been in many demonstrations all across the South, but I can say that I have never seen---even in Mississippi and Alabama---mobs as hostile and hate-filled as I’ve seen in Chicago. I think the people from Mississippi ought to come to Chicago to learn how to hate.” And Chicago was not an isolated incident... overall that summer, 43 American cities were roiled by racial violence. The next year, in Milwaukee, an estimated 10,000 angry white residents poured into the streets to again oppose peaceful open housing marchers. There, they threw rocks, cherry-bombs, sticks, and even human feces. They held white power signs with hateful slogans and attacked demonstrators with their fists.

Why is this history not as well known as the stories of Selma, Birmingham, Montgomery and other southern locales? What are the implications of not telling these stories? What are the lessons and legacies of these northern stories of white massive resistance? And, in a broader sense, how do the narratives we create of the past affect the way we understand our present and where we need to go in the future?

As a society, we have yet to come to terms with this nasty aspect of our collective past, even though today our nation remains deeply segregated. At the dawn of the 21st century, it remains true that an influx of more than a couple black families in a white neighborhood more often than not prompts an exodus of white residents. Black residents in white neighborhoods continue to consistently report general hostility by white neighbors in the form of slights, racial slurs and, in some cases, acts of vandalism and even violence. To be sure, the system has "refined" white privilege by shrouding it in discriminatory loan and real estate practices, in institutional mechanisms that are often "invisible," at least to many white people. But, the general problem of segregation and white resistance to integrated housing remains.

...take a look at this brief documentary footage of the 1966 open housing marches in Gage Park Chicago, including remarks by Dr. King.

Here are a few good sources on this history:
Meyer, As Long As They Don't Move Next Door: Segregation and Racial Conflict in American Neighborhoods

Formisano, Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s

Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit

Ralph, Northern Protest: Martin Luther King, Jr., Chicago, and the Civil Rights Movement

Monday, October 29, 2007

"Black Music and Black Possibility"

When I teach about music in my African American Studies classes, I often use a framework articulated to me by one of my friends and mentors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Craig Werner. It is very useful in helping students, many of whom are not used to listening deeply to music and/or who might not be familiar with African American culture, hear "black music" in new and constructive ways.

Craig's framework starts with an assertion:

“African American music and African American history are deeply rooted in what the great novelist Ralph Ellison called the underlying ‘impulses’ of African American culture: blues, gospel and jazz.”

Here are the three impulses and Craig's descriptions:

The Blues Impulse: “The blues confront the suffering at the center of [African American history] and articulate the isolation an despair, the sense that black people have been cast adrift in a world where the devil has taken control. Rather than giving in to those feelings, blues artists ‘finger the jagged grain’ of the ‘blues experience’ and tell their stories in voices that walk the line between despair and laughter, asserting black humanity in a world predicated, as Martin Luther King, Jr., observed, on the ‘thinginfication’ of human beings.”

The Gospel Impulse: “The gospel impulse bears witness to the burdens of life, often the same experiences that gave rise to the blues. But where the blues celebrate survival, gospel seeks redemption with both individual and communal dimensions. Whatever its specific form – traditional gospel, reggae, soul, the celebratory moments of disco and house music – gospel reconnects individuals with powers larger than themselves: God and a community committed to, as Mahalia Jackson sang, ‘moving on up.’”

The Jazz Impulse: “Where both blues and gospel are grounded in the ways things are, the jazz impulse imagines what might be. Jazz impulse artists, many of whose records will never be filed in the jazz section of the record store, assemble pieces drawn from a limitless range of traditions into models of a new world. New combinations of sounds imply new ways of thinking about self, community, and their role in what Ellison called ‘link[s] in the chain of tradition.”

Now, when you listen, try to seek out these impulses...

Here are a few of Craig's books, if you are interested:
A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America
Higher Ground: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and the Rise and Fall of American Soul
Up around the Bend: The Oral History Of Creedence Clearwater Revival

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Strawberry Fields Forever

This is one of my very favorite Beatles tunes. Always makes me feel a wispy kind of positivity about the universe. Perfect for a contemplative Sunday morning.

The Beatles classic version:

Ben Harper cover on Jay Leno:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A New War Strategy?

Perhaps the folks from the Sixties have something to teach us, after all...?

Academic Speak

As my good pal TJ likes to say, there is a reason academics mostly talk to each other. This is an actual title of an academic panel that he forwarded a while back... seriously:

"At the Interstices: Engaging Postcolonial and Feminist Perspectives for a Multicultural Education Pedagogy in the South"

The funny thing is that most academics claim to want to undermine hierarchies and put themselves squarely with "the people" in their politics. Yet, with language like this, haven't we simply created a new kind of hierarchy? I mean, who other than another academic would sit through this presentation??? I bet the folks who put this together don't have much of a sense of humor, either (smile)...

Certain fields suffer from this problem more than others, but you catch my drift...

If you know of other such titles, lay 'em on me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty

Probably not surprising to those of you out there beyond the Cornhusker state borders, Nebraska is one of 38 states that has the death penalty. But, what you might not realize is that Nebraska holds the dubious honor of being the ONLY state in the U.S. to still use the barbaric electric chair as the sole means to carry out its state sanctioned murders... er... uh, I mean... executions! (9 other states still have it as a secondary means to murder people; see relevant poster below) Yet, there is hope.
A few months back, the Unicameral (yeah, we are also the only state in the nation with only one house in the state legislature!) came just one vote shy of eliminating the death penalty altogether in our state. That ain't too shabby for a red state like Nebraska! That progress is due disproportionately to the work of a grassroots organization, Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty, and the lone African American member of the Unicameral, Ernie Chambers. You may have heard of Chambers recently in the national press when he sued God... seriously.

One of the cool things about the anti-death penalty movement out here in Nebraska is that it has stirred a number of creative folks to get involved. For instance, the recent-former poet laureate of the United States, Ted Kooser, lives here and he wrote a poem about our archaic and cruel form of execution:
Electric Chair

Ours in Nebraska is not as nice as some,
but Omaha is, of course, not Boston,
and most of the furniture here was made
heavy enough to endure a long ride
on the United Pacific. Ours is, I suppose,
Mission Oak, its blocky design straight out
of the Arts and Crafts movement, but not
as nice as a Stickley or even a Morris.
really, yet one that would comfortably fit
in a high-ceilinged Victorian parlor
somewhere in Bellevue, next to a window
creamy with lace, looking out over
the smooth Missouri; the kind of chair,
straight-backed and hard-seated, that a person
might choose to sit in to work on a speech
on the meaning of life, a chair that means
business. And yet, despite its blockiness,
it's a handsome thing, with its open arms
gleaming with oil and the black straps draped
like doilies. One can imagine a matching
smoking-stand with a rack for pipes,
a leather-bound volume of verse on one arm,
a few poems marked by red ribbons of silk.
It's a chair that belongs to the ages;
a chair, as we decorators say, that makes
a real Statement; a chair that should sit
in each Nebraskan's house, for it is a part
of our dark, oppressive furniture,
and does not have a drip-pan to clean
as those in some other states do.

Or, Pawl Tisdale, in conjunction with the First Menonite Church of Lincoln, has produced an ongoing series of propaganda pieces that are really great. They are up to number 12. Here they are (click on any poster to see it enlarged; makes the text easier to read):

Take 'em down and pass 'em around to your friends... that's what they're for!

NADP has a nice website that is worth checking out:
Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty

And, here is the First Menonite Church website that maintains Pawl's posters. If you get on their email list, they'll send you a new poster each time one comes out:
Pawl Tisdale posters

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What's Wrong With the Obama Campaign?

So, what is wrong with Obama's campaign? Why has he not be able to gain traction? Why has he plateaued, or even lost ground recently in some polls? Is it that he is too "intellectual"? Is it that he is glib? Is it the Clinton/Establishment machine steam-rolling along? Is it his so-called inexperience? Is it too much focus on Iowa? Is it his unwillingness to attack Hillary directly and consistently? Is it that "he isn't black enough"? Is it the media annointing Hillary the inevitable nominee four months before the first primary or caucus? Is it something else? Or, is nothing wrong and he is doing quite well, thank you very much, given how far he's come in such a short time?

If you do think something is wrong with Obama's campaign, what is it?

If Barack called you and asked your advice to get his campaign back on track, what would you suggest? Or, is it hopeless?

I have many ideas, but one of the things I'd do first is come up with a better way to talk about and frame Obama's vision. So far, he has spoken consistently, but vaguely, about being the candidate of "change," whatever that is. At some point, he's got to put more flesh on dem bones. Obama has also put out a scattershot of "important policy speeches," many of which, in fact, contain good ideas. But, from the voter's point of view, there has been little coherence to these major speeches or the policies he advocates. Too often, these "major policy speeches" seem defensive, reactionary or, more recently, desperate. He needs to find a visionary phrase that encapsualtes his politic. He needs to be able to offer a brief, but compelling, articulation of the basic values that animate his political vision and which are captured in that visionary political catch-phrase. And, finally, he needs to have an extremely clear, bullet-point list of the "6 planks" (or however many) in this visionary new politic. The policy planks flow from the values that the candidate has laid out as the animating principles of his/her campaign. It needs to be straight, to the point, clear and memorable. There needs to be a framework within which voters can understand, situate, or make sense of the candidate and her/his ideas.

So, for example, I think Obama needs to come up with a slogan, like "the New Deal," or "the Great Society." The Republicans are particularly good at this symbolic aspect of political communication: "No Child Left Behind," the "USA PATRIOT Act," or, hell, even the "Contract With America." I suggest something like "a new American democracy" for Obama. Then, riffing off of that tag-line, he needs to articulate the values that underlie this "new democracy": renewal of the constitutional balance of power between the branches of the government; reaffirmation of due process and democratic oversight of all political institutions; a renewed commitment to diplomacy and a foreign policy based firmly on a respect for human rights, self-determination, and international mutuality; the belief that all people everywhere deserve a free and fair and equal voice in the decisions that affect their lives; a belief that government is not inherently good or bad (that is a conservative bogey-man), but that it depends on who controls it and to what end it is put; a belief that there needs to be a rational balance, or negotiation, between the needs of a dynamic, creative economy and those of the broader community and environment, and that such a view is not "socialistic," or "anti-American," but rational, sane, and compassionate.

And, then, flowing from these basic values, he needs to come up with his boom-boom-boom, 6-plank (or however many)policy platform:

Plank One: "a New American Democracy": full public financing of all campaigns; a national motor-voter registration; basic national voting rights standards, including state of the art machines in each district which employ computer technology, but are also backed by a paper trail; establishment of a national voting holiday; eliminate the electoral college (let the will of the people be expressed simply and directly); an Attorney general who respects the constitution

Plank Two: "a New American Diplomacy": a covenant which articulates a balance between national security and civl liberties, the need for secrecy along with democratic oversight, and renewed commitment to diplomacy and a foreign policy based firmly in a respect for human rights, self-determination, and international mutuality; immediate withdrawl from Iraq, period

Plank Three: "a New American Economy": a national living wage; targeted tax breaks for environmentally-friendly, sustainable new technologies, business models and industries; massive public investment in over-coming urban and rural poverty; reassertion of progressiveness in tax policy (those with more should pay more, those with less should pay less)

Plank Four: "a New American Education": merit pay for teachers; move away from obsession with testing and toward a model that encourages creative teaching and learning, and even experimentation; encourage states to move away from property taxes as the primary vehicle to fund local education systems

Plank Five: "a New American Environmentalism": "the problem of the 21 century is the problem of the environemnt!" ...the greatest challenge to humanity at the dawn of the 21st century is to find a way to live in greater balance with the natural world, to become better stewards, and to avert the environmental catastrophe that appears increasingly imminent... here is how we should start: tax incentives for ecologically friendly business practices and home practices; tough environmental standards with strict enforcement by a truly independent regulatory apparatus; massive public investment in a "Manhattan Project" for alternative energy sources; straight talk about the need to reduce our consumption of material things

Plank Six: "a New American Health System": universal, single-payer health care. period. no bullshit on this one.

This is off the cuff, so it's not polished or anything, but you catch my drift, I hope... He needs to package himself and present his ideas in a more compelling way. This might seem fairly fluffy to you, but in politics it really matters.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Across The Universe"

We went and saw Julie Taymor's 60s-fantasia, "Across the Universe," last night and really dug it. In case you haven't heard of it, the film uses 31 Beatles tunes as the connective tissue in a generational story about the 60s, a la "Moulin Rouge." You have to allow yourself to be open to the film (I suspect many will cynically dismiss it as cheesy), but if you are, it is hard not to fall in love with it. Taymor's creative vision is intoxicating in many spots. In addition to music, she uses animation and puppetry to great effect to touch on youth culture, Vietnam, anti-war activism, civil rights, LSD, music, radicalism, repression, etc. Bono makes a fun appearance as "Dr Robert" - actually, he is playing Ken Kesey! - and sings "I Am the Walrus" after everyone drinks LSD-laced kool-aid at a party. Really trippy... Selma Hayek, Joe Cocker and others make guest appearances, as well.

Here's the trailer:

Like my mom, Drea can fall asleep in the best film... shortly after the opening credits. As an indication of how interesting and groovy this film is when viewed in the right frame of mind, Drea actually stayed riveted for the entire 2:05!

Here is the NYTimes review, which I think is fair-minded:
Stephen Holden, "Lovers in the 60s Take Magical Mystery Tour"

As the reviewer wrote,
"Somewhere around its midpoint, 'Across the Universe' captured my heart, and I realized that falling in love with a movie is like falling in love with another person. Imperfections, however glaring, become endearing quirks once you’ve tumbled."

He goes on,
"Most of the historical events are lightly fictionalized in a movie that maintains only the fuzziest of timelines. Its 33 Beatles songs (two without words) have been re-recorded and sung by the actors. Yet “Across the Universe” feels emotionally true both to the Beatles, whose music today seems to exist outside of time, and to the decade it remembers. Smart, uncluttered musical arrangements help reposition the songs to address the situation at hand. As a result, music that has congealed in collective memory — especially the clever, breezy early Beatles songs — emerges refreshed."

Check it out! If you've seen it, what did YOU think?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Music of the Civil Rights/Black Power Movement

When I teach about the civil rights and Black Power movements, I like to use a lot of music. Here is the 2-CD set I put together this semester...

CD1 - "'Freedom Songs': The Music of the Civil Rights Movement"

• A few earlier “race songs” (the blues impulse):
Track 1: Hellhounds On My Trail, Robert Johnson
Track 2: Black, Brown, And White Blues Song, Big Bill Broonzy
Track 3: Strange Fruit, Billie Holiday
Track 4: Mannish Boy, Muddy Waters

• The gospel impulse:
Track 5: We Shall Overcome, SNCC Freedom Singers
Track 6: This Little Light of Mine, Odetta
Track 7: Oh Freedom, Gospel Choir
Track 8: Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, Julius Lester
Track 9: Keep Your Eyes On the Prize, Mahalia Jackson
Track 10: Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Set on Freedom, SNCC Freedom Singers
Track 11: Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, Julius Lester
Track 12: I shall not be moved (1992 version), Ry Cooder & Pop Staples (from Staple Singers)

• The jazz impulse:
Track 13: Alabama (excerpt), John Coltrane

• Songs from/about Mississippi (the folk impulse?):
Track 14: I'm Going Down to Mississippi, Phil Ochs
Track 15: Mississippi Goddamn, Nina Simone
Track 16: The Ballad of Medgar Evers, Bob Dylan
Track 17: Freedom School Song, Jack Landron
Track 18: Shadows on the Light, Mathew Jones
Track 19: Ella's Song, Sweet Honey In The Rock
Track 20: Fannie Lou Hamer, Sweet Honey In The Rock

• Soul music as freedom music:
Track 21: Keep On Pushin', Curtis Mayfield
Track 22: A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke

CD2 - "'Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)': The Music of the Black Power Movement"

Track 1: "Power To The People,” Huey P. Newton
Track 2: Living For The City, Stevie Wonder
Track 3: Chocolate City, Parliament
Track 4: Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud), James Brown
Track 5: Blackenize, Hank Ballard
Track 6: Am I Black Enough For You, Billy Paul
Track 7: Mighty Mighty (Spade And Whitey), Curtis Mayfield
Track 8: Dance to the Music, Sly & the Family Stone
Track 9: Makes Me Wanna Holler, Marvin Gaye
Track 10: We're A Winner, Curtis Mayfield
Track 11: Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead) [Live], Nina Simone
Track 12: The Backlash Blues, Nina Simone
Track 13: I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open the Door and I'll Get It Myself), James Brown
Track 14: Fight The Power, The Isley Brothers
Track 15: Give The People What They Want, The O'Jays
Track 16: (For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People, The Chi-Lites
Track 17: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Gil Scott-Heron
Track 18: Whitey On The Moon, Gil Scott-Heron
Track 19: "Change It,” Kathleen Cleaver


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Massive Change: Bruce Mau Speaks

Today, I am featuring a guest post by my good friend Justin Kemerling, who is also a really talented graphic designer and all-around awesome guy here in Lincoln. Justin has something really important to say, so I hope you check it out...

For the first time in our history we have the ability to think about the welfare of the entire human race as a practical objective. This according to Arnold Toynbee in 1957. Today we are thinking even bigger. We are thinking about the welfare of all life.

What kind of process do we use to do this? To think about the welfare of all life on this planet at this moment in history? On Thursday, October 4th Bruce Mau visited Omaha. To a crowd of 720 in the Joslyn Art Museum he spoke about Massive Change.

According to Massive Change, we will build a sustainable world. One that eradicates poverty, shifts from a culture of war to a culture of life, and provides shelter for the soon-to-be 9 billion people living on the planet by 2050. All people will have drinkable water and enough food to eat while living intelligently with all life. Harmony will be reestablished. The climate catastrophe will be averted while our energy consumption will turn to solar, wind and other renewable resources.


By setting out to find solutions to practical objectives. This isn't utopian or out of reach. This is real. This is microcredit loans. Bus transportation in Curitiba, Brazil. The Segway. The LifeStraw. Featherless chickens. Open source. Cradle to cradle. And on and on.

Never before have all the problems in the world come back to a singular source to solve them. That is the profoundness of Massive Change. Design bringing everything together. Planetary issues being looked at as a design problem in need of design solutions.

In terms of the word "design", it isn't (only) visual. It is the system. The entire process. We can no longer just design the water bottle and its form. We must look at the entire life cycle of where it comes from and where it goes. It doesn't leave anything out. As our convergence of crisis in all areas of our world present themselves, we must solve them holistically, as if everything is connected, because dear friends, it is.

As it stands now, if everyone in the world lived like we do in America, we would need an additional 4 planet Earths to sustain us. We are faced with that brutal fact and have two choices that are becoming ever more apparent. Will we hunker down, get our wagons in a row, build up the fences and let fear manifest itself into a retrograde society? Or will we focus on the reality that is out there right now, perhaps just a little harder to see, and move forward into an advanced society?

Thinking of "reality" as a newspaper a mile thick, the first quarter inch is the typical New York Times, a compilation of the world around us crumbling into an abyss of death and destruction where no one can be trusted and everyone is out to get everyone else. The rest of that mile is Massive Change.

It is hopeful. It is happening. It is massive. It is the work being done to create a global society that is advanced, intelligent and in harmony with everything that surrounds it.

And as a movement it must begin to take hold. It's looking for believers and doers. To get out there and seize these days of extraordinary opportunity.

Now that we can do anything, what will we do? In the spirit of wonderful optimism and the massive changes already taking place, we will build our world.

Here are some relevant links to further stoke the fire:

Massive Change

Massive Change In Action

Arnold Toynbee

Microcredit loans

Curitiba's Bus System

The Segway

The LifeStraw

Featherless Chicken

Open source

Cradle to cradle


Justin (who is also a part of The Match Factory)

Monday, October 15, 2007

☮ Vietnam Mix, pt. 2

Well, leave it to my students. One of them posted a recent version of my Vietnam Mix to the following links. It is a 4-CD version, so not everything listed in my previous post is here, but most of it is. If you want to download it, go for it:

Vietnam Mix CD1
Vietnam Mix CD2
Vietnam Mix CD3
Vietnam Mix CD4

These aren't permanent links ... they might only be available for a couple of days. Also, they might only have a certain amount of downloads on them before they expire, but I thought I'd post 'em nonetheless. Just unzip the files after you download and then import them into whatever audio system you use on your computer.


Sunday, October 14, 2007


OK, many weeks ago on Freedom Road, I thought the air guitar t-shirt was cool, but the "Reactable" synth-table-instrument featured in the YouTube clips below blows that silliness out of the water. Seriously, check this out:

Here is an improv session on the "Reactable":

Bjork has been using this amazing instrument on tour recently. It isn't available for consumers, yet, but plans appear to be in the works to put it on the market. I WANT ONE as soon as it is out for the masses. iPhones? Bush-league. Give me a Reactable!

Wow. Really cool...

What do you think? Anyone else know of other funky, cool instruments out there?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Music of the Vietnam Era

I am teaching my "America in the Sixties" class again this semester. Not surprisingly, students are drawn to the music of the period, so I do a lot with it in the course. Over the past few times I've taught the class, I've been expanding my Vietnam-era music mix. It is up to a 5th CD at this point. We don't deal with every track in class, but I put the following expanded mix on reserve so they can listen more broadly, if they'd like. Most do.

So, here is the list of tracks. I thought I'd share, but I am also always interested to hear suggestions for new tunes to add to any category and, I suppose, arguments to elimnate aything you think does not belong. The "patriotic/pro-war music" section is the weakest, so any suggestions there are particularly welcome...

Music about soldiers’ experiences:
• The Ballad of the Green Beret, Sgt. Barry Saddler
• Vietnam Blues, Sarge Lintecum
• Saigon, Saigon (Dinky Dow Do)
• Run Through the Jungle, Creedance Clearwater Revival
• Chain Of Fools, Aretha Franklin
• Green Eyed Lady, Guess Who
• To Susan On The West Coast Waiting, Donovan
• Battle Hymn Of The River Rats, Johnny Cash
• Izabella, Jimi Hendrix
• Oh, Camil (The Winter Soldier), Graham Nash
• Shakin All Over, The Guess Who
• Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition
• Waist Deep In The Big Muddy, Pete Seeger
• Soldiers of Peace, Graham Nash
• These Boots are Made for Walking, Nancy Sinatra

Anti-war/protest music:
• I Ain't Marchin' Anymore, Phil Ochs
• Blowin' In the Wind, Bob Dylan
• I Got a Letter from LBJ, Tom Paxton
• Hell No, I Ain't Gonna Go, Matt Jones and Elaine Laron
• Vietnam, Paul Kaplan
• Hole In The Ground, Thom Parrott
• The Times They Are a-Changin', Bob Dylan
• Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Pete Seeger
• Draft Dodger Rag, Phil Ochs
• Universal Soldier, Buffy St. Marie
• Two Hangmen, Mason Profit Band
• Agent Orange Song, Country Joe McDonald
• Kill for Peace, The Fugs
• Looks Like We're Fixin' to Die Rag, Country Joe & the Fish
• Universal Soldier, Donovan
• Masters of War, Bob Dylan
• Eve of Destruction, Barry McGuire
• It Better End Soon, Chicago
• Gimme Shelter, Rolling Stones
• Ohio, Neil Young
• Maggie's Farm, Bob Dylan
• Fortunate Son, Creedance Clearwater Revival
• Power to the People, John Lennon
• What Are Their Names?, David Crosby
• Hey Joe, Jimi Hendrix
• Rejoyce, Jefferson Airplane
• Machine Gun, Jimi Hendrix
• Ballad of Penny Evans, Steve Goodman
• What About Me?, Quicksilver Messenger Service
• Street Fightin' Man, Rolling Stones
• For What It's Worth, Buffalo Springfield
• Give Peace a Chance, John Lennon
• All Along the Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix
• War, Edwin Starr
• Vietnam, Jimmy Cliff
• Ball Of Confusion, The Temptations
• What's Goin' On, Marvin Gay
• Singing in Vietnam Talking Blues, Johnny Cash
• Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore John Prine
• What is Truth, Johnny Cash
• We Gotta Get Out of this Place, The Animals
• Paint It Black, Rolling Stones
• Who'll Stop The Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Patriotic/Pro-war music:
• Okie from Muskogee, Merle Haggard
• Battle Hymn Of Lt. Calley, C Co (Feat. Terry Nelson
• Hello Vietnam, George Strait
• Fightin' Side of Me, Merle Haggard
• Song of the patriot, Johnny Cash & Marty Robbins

Counter-cultural/psychedelic music:
• White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane
• The Unknown Soldier, The Doors
• It Can't Happen Here, Frank Zappa
• Sky Pilot, Eric Burdon & The Animals
• Insense and Peppermints, Strawberry Alarm Clock
• Good Morning Starshine, Oliver
• Volunteers, Jefferson Airplane
• That's It For The Other One, Grateful Dead
• All You Need Is Love, The Beatles
• Break On Through, The Doors
• Cream Puff War, Grateful Dead
• Mary Jane, Janis Joplin
• Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
• Tales Of Brave Ulysees, Cream
• Get Together, The Youngbloods
• Beautiful Jam, Grateful Dead
• Revolution 1, The Beatles
• Walking Blues, Quicksilver Messenger Service
• I Need a Man to Love, Janis Joplin
• Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
• Tomorrow Never Knows, The Beatles
• Dear Mr. Fantasy, Traffic
• The End, The Doors
• In The Year 2525, Zager and Evans
• Morning Dew, Grateful Dead
• Star Spangled Banner, Jimi Hendrix
• Imagine, John Lennon

I also intersperse the following 60s news clips throughout my Vietnam mix. They come from a nice 2-CD set, featuring Walter Cronkite and Fred Friendly, titled, "I Can Hear It Now":
• NEWS: Tonkin Gulf Incident & Resolution (August 4, 1964)
• NEWS: Defoliate Jungle/Bombing Restraint, 1964
• NEWS: Burning of village of Cam Ne - (with Morley Safer)...
• NEWS: LBJ rap
• NEWS: Government officials voice optimism about war
• NEWS: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings
• NEWS: New Hampshire Primary: Sen. McCarthy challenges LBJ (1968)
• NEWS: Senator Robert F. Kennedy decides to run...
• NEWS: Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, '68...
• NEWS: "I've been to the mountain top..." - (with Martin Luther King)...
• NEWS: Robert F. Kennedy Speaks Of Dr. King And Violence (1968)
• NEWS: Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy , 1968
• NEWS: 1968 Democratic National Convention...
• NEWS: Demonstrations at Columbia University...
• NEWS: Vice President Spiro Agnew castigates news media...
• NEWS: Nixon on End of War
• NEWS: Nixon policy speech, November 3, 1969
• NEWS: Reprise On Tonkin Gulf Resolution (February 6, 1970)
• NEWS: Nixon rap
• NEWS: Nixon, "We are caught in war, wanting peace..."
• NEWS: Peace demonstration/moratorium, Oct. 15, '69 & Nov. 15, '69...
• NEWS: Nixon rap

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tribe Wins! Aaahhhhhhhhhhh, Tribe WINS!!!!!!

My beloved Cleveland Indians sent the hated New York Yankees packing tonight with an exciting win in the Division Series. They now head to Boston for a tough American League Championship Series against that other dreaded team, the Red Sox. The Yankees' payroll ($195M) was three times the Tribe's ($61) and Boston's payroll ($144M) is more than twice that of the Indians. In fact, only Boston is in the top half of the payroll list (2nd to the Yanks). Cleveland is 23rd, the Rockies 25th and the Diamondbacks 26th out of 30 total teams. So, money definitely does not necessarily buy championships. But, probably, just like the Yankee series, no one will give the Indians a chance in the ALCS, in part because they are a small market team that flies underneath the national media radar for most of the season, but watch out for this young squad. There is a lot of talent there and they've got their mojo workin'...

And, hey, how can you not root for such a lovably loser city like Cleveland. No sports fans in the world have suffered more over the last 50-60 years! So, get on board. The band-wagon is heading to Beantown...

Convince Me: Hillary for President?

I would like to invite readers to convince me that I should vote for Hillary Clinton for President. I'm serious. I am having a hard time being enthusiastic at all about her candidacy. I am tired of "triangulation" and deeply suspicious of two families dominating the presidency for more than two decades. I like the idea of our first female President, but can't see that much will be different on the broad strokes of policy under a Clinton II administration.

Again, please offer the best possible argument you can come up with to support Hillary. Hit me with your best shot! I am open and ready to listen...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Krugman: "Conservatives are Such Jokers"

Recently, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have provided 3.8 million currently uninsured children with health care. Paul Krugman wrote an excellent op-ed in the NYTimes that not only addresses that issue, in particular, but also the more general unwillingness of conservatives to take even minor action to help the disadvantaged, poor or oppressed. In fact, he points out that more often than not, conservatives not only oppose and block such legislation, but also employ a rhetoric that mocks the plight of those who struggle. Not exactly "compassionate conservatism"...

Here is an excerpt:
Of course, minimizing and mocking the suffering of others is a natural strategy for political figures who advocate lower taxes on the rich and less help for the poor and unlucky. But I believe that the lack of empathy shown by Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Kristol, and, yes, Mr. Bush is genuine, not feigned...

What’s happening, presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain personality type. If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong. If you think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in.

And Republican disillusionment with Mr. Bush does not appear to signal any change in that regard. On the contrary, the leading candidates for the Republican nomination have gone out of their way to condemn “socialism,” which is G.O.P.-speak for any attempt to help the less fortunate.

Another example: every time someone mentions universal healthcare, Republicans laugh and dismiss it as "socialistic," or raise the evil specter of a "government program," as if that simply ends the conversation. Of course, our for profit health care system has left roughly 50 million citizens completely uninsured and tens of millions more with inadequate coverage. The market has not exactly solved this problem... and there certainly is demand. The reality is that conservatives are WILLING TO TOLERATE 50+ million uninsured Americans and millions more underinsured.

The kids fight back in this ad:

On a similar note, today's NYTimes had an article on an audit of the private insurers running the new Medicare prescription drug program. Here is how that piece begins:

Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

Again, understand that while Medicare is a government program, the drug benefit is essentially subcontracted to private insurers, who were supposed to bring the magic of the market to it. Instead, these private interests have cashed in on old people's misery while not delivering the services and benefits they are bound to by law.

This raises a bigger question: Aren't there certain issues/systems, like health care and education, that should not be run by the profit motive? Does it really make sense - health sense, moral and ethical sense - to have doctors making decisions based on the bottom line, rather than the best treatment for your symptoms?

As I often say, there is nothing inherently good or bad about government. The key issue is WHO CONTROLS IT and TO WHAT END IT IS PUT. Currently, our government is dominated by large corporations and wealthy individuals. As such, the policies of the government overwhelmingly represent, protect and extend the interests of wealthy individuals and large corporations over all else. Make the government more democratic by removing the dominance of private wealth over public elections and you'd see different policies that reflected different interests.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Solutions: "Natural Capitalism"?

At the outset of this blog, I wrote that we not only need to name the problems in our society and world, but we need to offer visionary solutions that are proactive and concrete. One of the massive problems we face today is a global economic system that produces vast inequalities and destroys the environment. My good friend Justin Kemerling is a big fan of "natural capitalism," a set of ideas put forth by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. At their website, they write:

Most businesses still operate according to a world view that hasn't changed since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Then, natural resources were abundant and labor was the limiting factor of production. But now, there's a surplus of labor, while natural capital - natural resources and the ecological systems that provide the vital life-support services - is in decline and relatively expensive. The next Industrial Revolution, like the first one, will be a repsonse to changing patterns of scarcity. it will create upheaval, but more importantly, it will create opportunities. Business must adjust to these new realities. Innovative companies are already doing just that. They're profiting and gaining decisive competitive advantage - and their leaders and employees are feeling better about what they do, too. They're the vanguard of a new business model: "natural capitalism"

Here is their website:
Natural Capitalism

Here is an article from Mother Jones:
Mother Jones article

A more comprehensive report on "natural capitalism" from the Harvard Business Review can be found in pdf format at the Wikipedia site on the subject:
Harvard Business Review article

Natural capitalism has its critics, particularly among progressives and environmentalists. For example, a reviewer in FEASTA Review, a journal of economic sustainability, writes,

Perhaps the most widely discussed recent book on the transition from a wasteful, unsustainable economic system to a more sustainable one is Natural Capitalism.. Unfortunately, the book is deeply flawed because, like most US books of its type, it pretends that the transition will be so highly profitable that the market alone will bring it about and that government regulation and legislation are unnecessary. Surprisingly, it maintains this position despite an excellent chapter on the ways in which markets can fail.

Here is the whole review:
FEASTA Review review

Here is another review by William Greider, a brilliant progressive economic journalist:
Greider review

Can, as the authors of Natural Capitalism claim, "business strategies built around the radically more productive use of natural resources... solve many environmental problems at a profit"? Or, is this wishful thinking, having our cake and eating it, too?

What do you think? Is this the best viable alternative to the current version of global capitalism? Or, is it a utopian pipe dream as some critics suggest?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Michael Franti and Spearhead - "Time To Go Home"

If you don't know Michael Franti & Spearhead, you owe it to yourself to check them out.

Spearhead Vibrations!

Conscious and groovable. Click above. Listen deeply. Dig it...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Obama in a Landslide!

According to my very (un)scientific blog poll, Barak Obama is the overwhelming choice of my blog-watchers for the presidency in '08; it wasn't even close! Here is the final break-down:

Obama: 56 votes (56%)
Clinton: 19 votes (19%)
Edwards: 14 votes (14%)
Richardson: 6 votes (6%)
Giuliani: 3 votes (3%)
Thompson: 2 votes (2%)
Romney: 1 vote (0%)
McCain: 0 votes (0%)
101 votes (100%)

I should probably be honest at the outset... early on, Obama was getting ALL the votes, kicking sooo much butt (with the exception of a couple of stray Edwards votes), that I logged on from two different computers and voted for Hillary twice, just to get things going a bit. So, technically, we could take down 2 of Clinton's votes.

A few comments based on the results... Obama jumped out early to a huge lead and sustained it. More recently, he didn't receive as many votes, but he did get the last four or five that were cast. Until about 2-3 weeks ago, Edwards was consistently leading Clinton for the no. 2 spot, but then Clinton surged ahead of Edwards. Edwards has not received a new vote in a couple of weeks, nor has Richardson. Beyond that, there weren't really any notable trends to report.

Clearly, given my own perspective on politics and the fact that my blog reflects those politics, it is probably not suprising that visiters here tend toward the liberal/progressive/left side of things and so the poll was stacked toward those types of candidates. But, still, how do we understand the overwhelming victory of Obama in this poll but his inability to make a move on Clinton in the national polls? There seems to be a disconnect. I experience this a lot. There is a ton of positivity and energy behind the idea of Obama across the nation, and he has raised truck-loads of money from record numbers of donors, yet Hillary has been consolidating her lead in national polls and in key early states (although a new Newsweek poll has Obama moving ahead by 3-4 points in Iowa). What is up with these numbers? Is it that many people like Obama, even prefer him to Clinton, but don't think he is electable as a black man? Does this indicate Americans are more willing to elect their first woman president than their first black president? Is there a sense of "inevitablity" among Dems about Hillary as the nominee? Is the "experience vs. change" argument being won by Clinton's camp? Is the Establishment steamroller that is so clearly backing Clinton right now just too strong to overcome for any of the other candidates? Is Obama's campaign faltering? Should he be directly attacking Clinton? Are these polls a lot of bunk because it is so early? Are things more fluid than they seem? Is something else going on here? And, what's up with Edwards. He has been swinging hard at Clinton lately, but his numbers don't seem to budge at all here or nationally. Is this truly becoming a two-person race, between Clinton and Barack?

As for the Republicans, well, that is a fairly sad field of candidates. I don't know any Republicans/conservatives that are enthusiastic about ANY candidate on their side. Seriously, they might say they are for this or that candidate, but nobody seems excited on the Right... and with good reason, I think. If Kerry was a flip-flopper, these guys have redefined and super-sized that term. You've got Romney pandering to every conservative constituency by running so hard from his established political record in Massachusetts. Pathetic. Then there is Giuliani, who has relentlessly played the 9/11 fear card, all the while continuing to cash in on the tragedy for personal financial gain. Disgusting. Thompson appears to have been a better idea than reality now that he is in the race. b-o-r-i-n-g! And, McCain is just sad and pathetic at this point. He has reaped what he sowed by hitching his wagon inexplicably to the Bush war machine in Iraq. He, too, has undermined his strongest asset (the perception that he is a "maverick") by pandering to a variety of hard Right constituencies, like conservative Christians. Overall, it looks bleak over there to me...

What do you think? Post a comment!

In honor of Barack's big win in the Freedom Road poll, I've placed an Obama widget on my blog and am posting the following video from his recent campaign stop in New York City. Dig it!