Baron Dave Romm
Farewell to the Thief
By Baron Dave Romm
Shockwave Radio Theater podcasts
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Hail to the Thief! I, II, III
Almost immediately after the election of George W. Bush, the left knew he was a crook. Before 9/11 changed the political landscape, a Bush Backlash was forming. The first Hail to the Thief CD is "fun and only a little cruel", to quote my review.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the liberal Democratic president said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." When terrorists attacked on 9/11, the conservative Republican president said, "Run! Hide! Panic! Shop!" We all came together as a country, and slowly realized how we had been betrayed by our leaders. George Mann and Julius Margolin always knew, never forgot, and continually reminded us. We should have listened harder.
I don't have 2004's Hail to the Thief, Vol. II: Songs to Send Bush Packing, but did get George Mann & Julius Margolin's 2003 solo effort Just A Few Bad Apples, a good political statement on Bush as well as reviving old union songs.
Hail to the Thieves, Vol. III: Songs To Take Our Country Back! came out just before election day in 2006. Whether it was part of the surge or helped create the political climate, their aim was true and the Democrats took back the House and Senate. I wish the Democrats had been as forceful as the collected artists. Alas, that would have to wait another couple of years... until now.
Farewell to the Thief! Vol. IV
Like Vol. III, Farewell to the Thief! Vol. IV came out just before the election. (Sorry, I was too busy covering the campaign to do music reviews.) George Mann, Julius Margolin and Friends bring old folkies out of the woodwork for protest songs with a tinge of union- and Depression-Era music. Some of the songs are timely, and hence now dated. Most of the songs are anti-Bush, but few of them feel dated even after the election. The ill effects of the Bush administration will be felt for a long time, and the outrage should remain in public consciousness for many election cycles to come. The album is very strong, the best of the ones I've heard. And that's saying a fair bit.
Farewe to the Thief! Vol. IV is so good, it has two subtitles. Officially, it has none. Emblazoned across the picture on the front cover is "Mission Accomplished". But wait! There's more! Open up the case, and on the CD are the words "Free At Last!" Two Farewells for the price of one!
All the songs are good, and are offered in dedication to the late Utah Phillips, who died in 2008. Let me briefly touch on some of my favorites. The Seattle Labor Chorus covers a holiday tune in gorgeous a cappella:
Oil for the World
The war drags on.
And we're still number one
Let everyone rejoice
The West has made its choice
We're patriots one and all
Let's all drive to the mall
In Humvee's and SUV drive to the mall.
Seattle musician Jim Page channels some talking blues and smoothly sings "It's a cynical proposition. It's been that way from the start... Petroleum Boneparte." The Citizens Band mourns the loss of country ballads because individual pain seems to trivial when the nation is being trashed. Anymore is from their CD Just Desserts, available for download:
I can't sing about the torment of a love that's left behind
When our leaders can't agree on a future for mankind.
I can't praise those good old prison days, there's too much to fight for,
Just gets hard to sing those songs anymore.
I grew up with Hank Williams and the music of my dad,
Singing songs about the outlaws and the heroes good and bad.
When the lessons of the past have become something to ignore,
Just gets hard to sing those songs anymore.
And finally, the last cut of the set ends where the first began, nearly eight years earlier: An instrumental version of Hail to the Chief on kazoo and saw.
Hail to the Thief! Vol. IV is highly recommended. Songs by Tom Paxton, Garnett Rogers, Roy Zimmerman, Utah Phillips, Anne Feeney and others including, of course, George Mann and Julius Margolin. Sixty-One minutes of music to keep reminding you of why we so desperately needed change.
Even John McCain ran on a platform of Change, repudiating much of the Bush administration policies even as he couldn't bring himself to tell the truth about the president. Many on the right, even those who voted for Bush in 2000 or 2004 are suffering buyer's remorse, and if they're at all honest with themselves, many Republicans will appreciate Farewell to the Thief! Free At Last!.
But wait! There's more!
George and Julius run their online store, and you can purchase these CDs plus others, including their radio interviews, and they even have a DVD.
Whether the economic crisis will bring back Depression songs, or the massive unemployment caused by the crisis will bring back unions, I cannot say right not. But the tides of history have washed these same problems back. George Mann and Julius Margolin haven't forgotten. And neither should you.
Baron Dave Romm is a conceptual artist and a noble of Ladonia who produces Shockwave Radio Theater, writes in a Live Journal demi-blog, plays with a very weird CD collection and an ever growing list of political links. Dave Romm reviews things at random for obscure web sites. You can read all his music recommendations from Bartcop-E. Podcasts of Shockwave Radio Theater. Permanent archive. More radio programs, interviews and science fiction humor plays can be accessed on the Shockwave Radio audio page.
Thanks to everyone who has sent me music to play on the air.
Will Lester: Obama Promises "Immediate Action" On The Economy (AP)
President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday outlined his plan to create 2.5 million jobs in coming years to rebuild roads and bridges and modernize schools while developing alternative energy sources and more efficient cars.
Nat Hentoff: The New Commander in Chief Can Take on the CIA (villagevoice.com)
The case disturbing the British courts is that of Binyam Mohamed, held since September 2004 at Guantánamo. Mohamed's British lawyers have sued British intelligence forces for their involvement in his imprisonment and torture by the CIA in Morocco and in the secret CIA "dark prison" in Afghanistan before being caged in Guantánamo. In the course of his shackled itinerary, Mohamed claims, CIA inquisitors often slashed his penis with razor blades.
Froma Harrop: Keeping Cool Over Joe Lieberman (creators.com)
You don't have to venture too far left in the Democratic Party to find people who dislike Joe Lieberman. But wander yonder into the liberal blogosphere, and the feeling more approximates detestation.
SUSAN ESTRICH: Leaving Home (creators.com)
As the fires burned across Southern California this weekend, the all-news radio station I listen to kept running tape of a guy advising people about what to put in their "grab-and-go" boxes. He was from some insurance association, so - big surprise - his focus was on insurance documents.
"The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong: by John Lloyd: A review by Doug Brown
The book is laid out as an alphabetic bestiary, from aardvarks to worms. Each critter gets a couple of pages, allowing more than just a cursory glance. Lloyd and Mitchinson have good eyes for entertaining tidbits and present them with dry British humor. For instance, we learn that Adelie penguins excrete with a rectal pressure about four times that of humans, or looked at another way, "the same as a keg of lager." We also learn that a quarter pound of bat guano "contains more proteins and minerals than a Big Mac."
Roger Ebert: Siskel & Ebert & the Jugular (blogs.suntimes.com)
What does it feel like to resemble the Phantom of the Opera? You learn to live with it. I've never concerned myself overmuch about how I looked. I got a lot of practice at indifference during my years as the Michelin Man.
Roger Ebert: "Virginia, Michael & Elaine Madsen: From Chicago to their dreams" (from June 13, 1986; Revised 11/17/08)
Back in the 1960s, I used to get these long, thoughtful letters from a woman named Elaine Madsen, who lived on the Southwest Side and was married to a Chicago fireman and was raising three kids. She was a movie fan and she wanted to be a writer. One letter asked me what I thought about letting her kids see "Night of the Living Dead." Michael was about 9, and Virginia was five years younger. I wrote back that I thought it was a bad idea. "But I sneaked out and saw it anyway," Michael Madsen confessed. "When you were 9?" Elaine said. "Yeah. You were right. I shouldn't have seen it."
Dennis Perrin: The Smothers Brothers: Now More Than Ever (huffingtonpost.com)
Ed Sullivan and Carol Burnett have been cited as possible influences on Rosie O'Donnell's new project. But if she really wants variety, Rosie should get a hold of "The Smothers Brothers."
Their life in my hands (guardian.co.uk)
Just how easy is it to get a star to spill the beans for their 'autobiography'? We ask seven ghostwriters.
SARAH E. BROWN: Sheryl McDougald (curvemag.com)
Sheryl McDougald puts the gay back into Renaissance art.
"Sylvia," by Nicole Hollander
The Weekly Poll
Barack Obama - The Movie Edition
If you were to cast the lead for a movie about Obama's life, campaign and election who would have in the role?
A. Will Smith
B. Denzel Washington
C. Eddie Murphy
D. Samuel L. Jackson
E. Forest Whitaker
Send your response, and a (short) reason why, to BadToTheBoneBob ( BCEpoll 'at' aol.com )
Re: Cat Guidelines
After checking out the link "Cat Guidelines" you had on your page yesterday, I was inspired to write a few of my own guidelines, based on my experiences with my cat, Charlie (The World's Worst CAT)! I sent them to the author of that site and he added them to the list within an hour! I hope you and your cat-loving readers like them:
Cats as humanitarians - Humans have a very tenuous hold on reality and it is up to the cats to help them maintain their grasp on said reality. For instance, humans often speak to imaginary friends while holding a small object up to their ear, with no other humans in sight, obviously losing touch with the real world! A cat must put a stop to this as quickly as possible! Climb on the human and get your face right up in theirs and meow very loudly until the human acknowledges you, therefore bringing them back to reality. If that fails, you can use the top of your head to try and knock the small object out of their hand/away from their ear, which almost always succeeds in stopping their talking to thin air.
Human inconsistency - Humans spend many hours sitting in front of a box with moving pictures, tapping tiny squares on a board with their fingertips...it is rumored that this is actually how humans sharpen their claws! Considering how sanctimonious they are when they catch cats sharpening their claws, humans obviously need a lesson in consistency. One of the best ways to do this is to walk on the board with the tiny squares...that will always get a huge reaction from the human, a good indication that you're actually teaching them something! If that doesn't work, lay on the board or throw up a furball on it! There's no good reason why humans should be allowed to sharpen their claws while forbidding cats to do so!
Cat speak - Humans will sometimes try to speak in cat language, attempting to 'meow' at you while having no real idea what they're saying! Cats can either meow back and try and fool the human into thinking that there is a real connection going on, or they can stare at the human with a puzzled look on their face...after all, the human just told you that your mother was the whore of every tomcat in town! Did they mean that or did they simply not understand the implications of their attempting to meow? It's hard to say, as the level of human advancement in this area is very limited...about the only 'catspeak' they actually understand is "I'm starving" and "Let me out...NOW!" If they have truly insulted you or your family, feel free to either tell them how stupid they are in cat language or walk away indignantly.
The eternal question - When faced with the age-old question, "Is it love, or is it Fancy Feast?", we all know that it is Fancy Feast, of course. However, it is absolutely crucial that cats not let the humans know this, or the humans might stop sharing this treat with us! Always convince the human that your sudden, intense attention showered on them is LOVE! You can go back to normal behavior after the treat has been consumed!
Guidelines for Cats
Great job, Tiera!
Re: Recommended Reading from Bruce
In reading the Recommended Reading from Bruce yesterday, his first recommended reading was Video: World Leaders Won't Shake George Bush's Hand (youtube.com) . In my reading BAGnewsNotes last night, the BAG explained what really appears to have happened.
I am not the one to defend Bush in any of his policies or behaviors, but I am interested in how the media reports incidents that happen and perhaps give us a not-quite-right interpretation.
Michael Shaw, at BAGnewsNotes, has a different take on the Supposed G-20 Handshake Incident. He feels that the reporter, CNN's Rick Sanchez, "interpreted the scene as Bush being ignored by the other leaders and then sulking about it." However, if one watches the expanded C-SPAN report, a somewhat different interpretation of the scene is to be had.
For more, see: BAGnewsNotes
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Overcast and cool.
Thailand's three-year political crisis has divided friends and families, but few can have felt the strain as much as the Sawadipol clan.
The daughter, 27-year-old lawyer Khattiyaa, is an ardent supporter of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the royalist protest movement that has occupied the Prime Minister's compound for three months in a bid to unseat the government.
Her father, widely known by the nickname Seh Daeng, is a maverick major-general, who has threatened to counter the PAD with bombs, rifles -- and snakes dropped from helicopters. Yet, according to a joint interview in the Bangkok Post published on Thursday, serenity rules under the Sawadipol roof.
"At home, my dad is lovely. He always makes me happy," said Khattiyaa, pictured getting a hug from her combat fatigue-wearing father. "Despite our differences, we need not fight. We must be open-minded and respect each other's freedom."
Mexican Fiesta Rocks Indigenous Town
Attaching flowers to a ribbon headdress, pulling a lace slip under an embroidered skirt and draping a necklace of gold coins over his head, Pedro Martinez puts the finishing touches on the traditional costume of Zapotec women in southern Mexico.
"When I get all dressed up like this my father always says, 'Oh Pedro! You look just like your mother when she was young," beams Martinez, 28, gluing on fake eyelashes in front of a mirror.
Martinez spent two hours in the hair salon he owns getting ready for this weekend's festival of the "muxes," indigenous gays and transvestites in the town of Juchitan who have found a haven of acceptance in Mexico's macho society.
The muxes (pronounced moo-shes), mostly of ethnic Zapotec descent, are widely respected in the southern town where a dance and parade that crowns a transvestite queen and celebrates the harvest has been held annually for the last 33 years.
Anthropologists say the tradition of blurring genders among Mexico's indigenous population is centuries old but has been revived in recent decades due to the gay pride movement.
Solar Panels In Cemetery
Santa Coloma de Gramenet
Santa Coloma de Gramenet, a gritty, working-class town outside Barcelona, has placed a sea of solar panels atop mausoleums at its cemetery, transforming a place of perpetual rest into one buzzing with renewable energy.
Flat, open and sun-drenched land is so scarce in Santa Coloma that the graveyard was just about the only viable spot to move ahead with its solar energy program.
The power the 462 panels produces - equivalent to the yearly use by 60 homes - flows into the local energy grid for normal consumption and is one community's odd nod to the fight against global warming.
The concept emerged as a way to utilize an ideal stretch of land in a town that wants solar energy but is so densely built-up - Santa Coloma's population of 124,000 is crammed into four square kilometers (1.5 square miles) - it had virtually no place to generate it.
Santa Coloma de Gramenet
What's Italian For 'Asshole'?
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi brushed aside international outrage from earlier this month on Sunday to make reference once again to US president-elect Barack Obama's "suntan."
He told ANSA news agency his initial remark was intended as a "compliment," adding that he is equally "envious" of black supermodel Naomi Campbell.
"My compliment to Barack is a little envious," said Berlusconi, who had what he described as a "long, cordial" telephone conversation with the new occupant of the White House -- instigated by Obama -- on November 7.
"We would all like to be tanned like Naomi Campbell and Obama," said the self-made billionaire, who sports a permanent tan, during a press conference in Pescara, Italy.
Flunk American History Test
US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.
Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).
The exam questions covered American history, the workings of the US government and economics.
Asked about the electoral college, 20 percent of elected officials incorrectly said it was established to "supervise the first televised presidential debates."
Michael Jackson has reached a settlement with a Bahraini sheik who says the singer owes him $7 million after breaching a signed contract, the pop star's spokeswoman said Sunday.
The out-of-court settlement means Jackson will not be giving evidence at London's High Court as scheduled on Monday, Celena Aponte said.
Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa said he gave the singer millions and planned a series of collaborations following Jackson's acquittal on child molestation charges in June 2005. Al Khalifa, 33, invited Jackson to the small, oil-rich Gulf state to escape the media spotlight.
Jackson's lawyers have maintained the money was a gift and argued that the musician wasn't bound by the deal because the contract was signed on behalf of 2 Seas Records, a venture which never got off the ground.
Working On Second Act
Earlier this month, a guest took the pulpit at Open Bible Fellowship in Morrison, Ill., a 350-member church surrounded by cornfields. The speaker was an insurance salesman from Colorado named Ted Haggard.
The former superstar pastor, disgraced two years ago in a sex-and-drugs scandal, had returned - this time as a Christian businessman preaching a message that was equal parts contrition and defiance. Haggard linked his fall to being molested in second grade and apologized again.
While his exact plans remain unclear, Haggard is unmistakably making himself a public figure again, nine months after his former church said he walked away from an oversight process meant to restore him.
The man who confessed to being a "a deceiver and a liar" is asking for another hearing, finding encouragement from a loyal circle of supporters, skepticism from those evangelical leaders who think it's premature and complex emotions at the Colorado Springs church he betrayed.
A security guard shot and killed a man wielding a sword Sunday on the grounds of a Scientology building in Hollywood, police said.
The unidentified man approached the guard around noon in the parking lot of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, said Officer April Harding, a police spokeswoman.
The guard "felt threatened for his life" and fired at the man, Harding said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The Celebrity Centre includes a seven-story Norman-revival landmark that towers over the Hollywood freeway and used to be a residential hotel for movie stars.
Weekend Box Office
The vampire romance "Twilight" drained the box office in its opening weekend, taking in $70.6 million. Catherine Hardwicke's film also enjoyed the biggest opening ever for a female director, blowing away the previous standard of $41.1 million set by Mimi Leder's "Deep Impact" in 1998.
The tremendous take for "Twilight" far exceeded expectations, which had been set around $50 million.
The other major debut of the weekend, Walt Disney's 3-D animated "Bolt," made $27 million to take third place. Featuring the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, "Bolt" follows the cross-country journey of a dog who plays a superhero on television, but sadly realizes he has no magical powers once he gets separated from his "person."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Twilight," $70.5 million.
2. "Quantum of Solace," $27.4 million.
3. "Bolt," $27 million.
4. "Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa," $16 million.
5. "Role Models." $7.2 million.
6. "Changeling," $2.6 million.
7. "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," $2 million.
8. "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," $1.7 million.
9. "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," $1.67 million.
10. "The Secret Life of Bees," $1.28 million.
Betty James, who co-founded the company that made the Slinky and beat the odds as a single mother in the late 1950s to become a successful executive, has died. She was 90.
She died Thursday, said a spokeswoman for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
In 1945, James and her husband at the time, Richard, founded the company that would later make Slinky, the toy for which she was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2001.
She took over management of James Industries Inc. 14 years after the company was founded, after her husband left her to follow a religious cult in Bolivia. Richard James died in 1974.
Initially, James would leave her six children with a caregiver from Sunday through Thursday while she oversaw operations in Philadelphia. But in 1965, she moved the company to her hometown of Hollidaysburg, where although it was sold in 1998 to Michigan-based POOF Products Inc., it remains today.