May rambling: the future

Rock ’n’ roll is a spirit


Clarence Thomas has been bought by the worst people. Harlan Crow is Thomas’ minder. Keep track here.

The Great Simplification: What HS Leaders Need to Know About the Future of Energy with Nate Hagens

Does the US have a spending problem? And Members of Congress, legal scholars, and even the union representing federal workers are calling on the White House to answer the GOP’s economic hostage-taking with unilateral action to prevent a default, citing the 14th Amendment.

Laboratories of Autocracy

Tucker Carlson’s Text That Alarmed Fox Leaders: ‘It’s Not How White Men Fight’

January 6 was an insurrection.

Male supremacy is at the core of the hard right’s agenda

Iowa lawmakers pass legislation to roll back child labor protections

The already poor health care outcomes in the United States and how maternal mortality rates have been made worse by abortion bans. SCOTUS’s abortion ruling disproportionately affects Black people with low incomes in the Deep South

Hospitals Close While Execs Made Millions

Biden & The Border and Cryptocurrencies II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Guns. For the love of guns

Florida GOP legislators agree to shield DeSantis travel records

djt wrecks himself in the E. Jean Carroll video deposition – this helps explain the verdict

More Stories

2022 Voting and Registration Data from the US Census

The Crash of College Student Populations

What Writers Can Work on During the Strike (It’s Not Much). Also, a useful video

Illinois set to become the first state to end book bans

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: May 2023

Black men killed in infamous Colfax Massacre commemorated on new monument

Climate Trouble Brewing for Coffee Drinkers

The Search for the Lost ‘Jeopardy!’ Tapes Is Over. The Mystery Behind Them Endures.

An Oral History of MTV News

Newton Minnow, Public TV Advocate and Former FCC Chief, Dies at 97

Bill Saluga, “You Can Call Me Ray” Comedian, Dies at 85

Eileen Saki, Rosie the Bar Owner on ‘MAS*H,’ Dies at 79

Now I Know: The Problem With Sudoku and The Customers You Wish You Didn’t Have, and The Canada/Philippines Garbage War of 2019 and The Uprising That Helped Create Washington D.C. and Neil And Buzz Almost Got Stuck and Google… Sheep View?

The Clearing of the Tabs


From the New York Times, something I truly believe about Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: “Purists can debate whether or not any of these artists can be classified as ‘rock,’ but I prefer the more exciting definition Ice Cube put forth in his speech when he was inducted with the rap group N.W.A. in 2016. ‘Rock ’n’ roll is not an instrument; rock ’n’ roll is not even a style of music,’ he said. ‘Rock ’n’ roll is a spirit. Rock ’n’ roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and in life.’”

Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor.

Gordon Lightfoot, the troubadour of Canada, is gone.

Coverville 1441: Tributes to Harry Belafonte and Gordon Lightfoot

Behind Harry Belafonte’s Artistry and Activism Was a Lonely Kid Longing for Connection

Variations on a Theme of Chopin by Rachmaninoff

4 Chord Song  – Axis Of Aweesome and the Ed Sheeran verdictt

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by George Szell.

Rachmaninoff: the many lives of Vocalise

Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell

The May 7 Sunday Stealing of Songs has a lot of eclectic choices by the dozen participants.

May the 4th

Greedy (1994) kid doing Jimmy Durante

Hobbit Drinking Song – Peter Hollens featuring Hank Green

Never Gonna Fall In Love Again – Eric Carmen

April rambling: No irony

Clarence Thomas

The Party of “Family Values” Sees No Irony in Axing Child Labor Protections

In an extraordinary act of political retaliation, Tennessee Republicans expelled two Democratic lawmakers,  Reps. Pearson and Jones, from the state Legislature for “breaching decorum” in their role in a protest that called for more gun control after a school shooting in Nashville.  This move has occurred twice in the state since the aftermath of the Civil War. Rep. Johnson maintained her seat. Outrageous, even though they were both reinstated,

Related: Education Week’s 2023 School Shooting Tracker. One Nation, under gun violence: America tops 100 mass shootings in 2023. Also, radicalizing against guns

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has reportedly spent decades accepting exorbitant gifts, luxury vacations, and yacht rides from a major GOP power player—none disclosed to the American public. It may be legal, though unethicalbribery. Ought he be impeached?

The djt indictment, annotated

Candace Owens—Friend of Kanye, Power Troll, Parler “Trad Wife” – Owens was the source of a bizarre family debate.

Debunking the myths and dangers of qualified immunity

From 1440: The Maryland attorney general has accused officials of covering up and failing to act in the sexual abuse of at least 600 children in the Archdiocese of Baltimore since the 1940s. The 463-page report named 156 former clergy, deacons, teachers, and other employees and revealed some children were subject to abuse by multiple abusers. Church officials were also accused of silencing victims and dismissing or ignoring abuse claims.

‘Poverty, By America’ shows how the rest of us benefit by keeping others poor

High Unemployment Continues for Young Minority Men 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Solitary Confinement and  TANF and Timeshares

A Government Witch Hunt — Masood Haque’s Film Witness. This was a terrible miscarriage of justice in Albany, NY.

‘Hopeless’: Parole denial for 71-year-old Alabama woman with terminal illness highlights ‘tremendous injustice’

More links
He Wanted to Unclog Cities. Now He’s ‘Public Enemy No. 1.’ Researchers like Carlos Moreno, the professor behind a popular urban planning concept, struggle with conspiracy theories and death threats.

Russian defector sheds light on Putin paranoia and his secret train network

If Family or Friend is Arrested

How Generative AI Will Transform the Worlds of TV, Film, Music, and Gaming versus Hollywood’s AI Anxiety Is Showing

A Scammer Who Tricks Instagram Into Banning Influencers Has Never Been Identified. We May Have Found Him.

Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the 50 Best Films of the 21st Century (So Far)

DNA Stories | Storytelling Tips and Examples. DNA Day is April 25

Seymour Stein, Sire Records Co-Founder Who Signed Madonna, The Ramones and More, Dies at 80

Mark Russell, Piano-Playing Political Satirist, Dies at 90

Louisiana Army base to be renamed for Albany’s Henry Johnson. Currently known as Fort Polk, the base in June will bear the name of the World War I Medal of Honor winner

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Best Fiction Sports Movies Ever Made, Part 1 and  Part 2

“You Must Have Learned Something in 20 Years”: reflections on two decades of blogging by Doug Muder

Kelly’s Tabular Resolution

Speedway math strikes again

Now I Know: The $1 Hotel Where Privacy Isn’t Included and The “I Don’t Care” Collect Call Scam and The Man Who Didn’t Work For a Living and When Make Up Boxed Out Makeup


Grumpy Trumpy Felon from Jamaica in Queens!- Randy Rainbow

Gordon Lustig‘s Randy Rainbow (You’re Annoying to Me) A PARODY PARODY! and Help Me, Randy (Rainbow)

Prelude in C-sharp minor and The Crag by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place) – The Choir & The Chorus

The Place Where Dreams Come True/End Titles from Field of Dreams by James Horner

A World Without Love – Peter Asher ft. Lyle Lovett, 3-14-23 City Winery, NYC

Put on a Happy Face  – Dick Van Dyke, from the then-running Broadway show, Bye Bye Birdie

Bits from You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and Guys and Dolls and Jersey Boys and Grease, and Little Shop Of Horrors, all in Japanese

Find Your People – Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Overture to The Mandarin’s Son by Cesar Cui

Coverville 1436: Cover Stories for Poison and Sugar Ray and 1437: The 60th Anniversary of Please Please Me, and 1438: Cover Stories for Pharrell Williams, The Eels, and Vangelis

Tell Me Why -MonaLisa Twins

Oh, Noah– The Jubalaires

Hi Lilli, Hi Lo – Jimmy Durante

Has “The American Experiment” failed?


american experimentUthaclena is asking:

Do you think that “The American Experiment” has failed? How likely do you think it is that the United States is headed for a breakup?

I am increasingly concerned about this. The single item that most triggered this worry is the 2022 Texas GOP Platform. It runs about 40 pages, with 275 paragraphs of positions. It also includes two resolutions, one against the gun bill brokered in part by their own Republican senator John Cornyn. I thought the bill was weak tea, though better than nothing. But they have discerned that gun control is a violation of their “God-given rights.”

The other resolution indicates that Joe Biden isn’t actually president. If we can’t agree on the manner in which we operate and oversee our elections, the whole process falls apart. I mean, I DESPISED Biden’s predecessor, but I never believed he wasn’t president, no matter I wanted it to be otherwise. And this isn’t some blowhard commentator saying this, it’s a major political party in our second-most-populous state.

Among the other positions taken by the TX GOP:

The repealing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which had already been gutted by the Supreme Court back in 2012.
Leaving the U.N.; check out paragraph 273
Banning income tax (repealing the 16th amendment) and ending the direct election of US Senators (repealing the 17th Amendment, return to the appointment of Senators by the state legislatures).
Disallowing same-sex marriage
Banning sex education – search the document for the word sex
SECESSION (paragraph 33)

BTW, Kelly covers some of this same territory.


I’m of the generation where the Supreme Court EXPANDED the rights of those who were minorities and/or less powerful, less fortunate. This court has decided that the state’s right to control guns within its own borders (10th Amendment) is superseded by the right to have guns (2nd Amendment).

Some commentators suggested that we ought not to worry that other rights might be abrogated, as Clarence Thomas suggested in his concurring opinion striking down Roe. The votes in SCOTUS aren’t there, presently. But several others pointed out, including the SCOTUS guy for ABC News, Terry Moran, an opposing view that makes more sense to me. Thomas’ opinion questioning same-gender marriage and contraception, et al. is actually more consistent with Alito’s flawed argument that there is no Constitutional right to abortion.

I came across this Neil Gaiman tweet of an NPR piece, Throughline’ Traces Evangelicals’ History On The Abortion Issue by By Rund Abdelfatah. You should read the whole thing; it’s not long. It totally surprised me.

“The Southern Baptist Convention… actually passed resolutions in 1971, 1974, and 1976 – after Roe v. Wade – affirming the idea that women should have access to abortion for a variety of reasons and that the government should play a limited role in that matter… The experts we talked to said white evangelicals at that time saw abortion as largely a Catholic issue.” It was desegregation that started the sea change.

What a country!

Look at maternal mortality rates by country (per 100,000 live births). The US stands at 17.3, worse, FAR worse than any industrialized country. Or child poverty, where the US is well above average. Rare among industrialized nations: no paid maternity leave.

The notion that the US is saving lives by overturning Roe is laughable. Quoting the late George Carlin: “No neonatal care, no daycare, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re preborn you’re fine; if you’re preschool you’re f###ed… And then they turn around and say, ‘we’re pro-life.'”

How does each of the states’ anti-abortion laws apply, anyway? As I heard or read from multiple sources, ambiguity is a design, not a flaw. How do interstate companies respond?

Vanity Fair states the decision was “a result that was born not of careful decision-making and analytic rigor, but of power.” Despite the majority of Americans feeling otherwise.

My buddy Greg Burgas thinks the Republicans have overplayed their hand; that’d be nice, but I remain unconvinced.


 We have Americans who believe the President who was elected in 2020 wasn’t elected. Many others now find the Supreme Court to be an illegitimate entity. And of course, everyone hates the do-nothing… OK, do very little… Congress. It’s not as though these issues will be resolved if we just vote in November.

Alan Singer, who I have met, incidentally, writes about fascism in Russia, the US, and elsewhere. “The United States now has a significant bitter Ethno-nationalist white Christian movement that considers itself aggrieved by Jews, Blacks, Latinos, and immigrants who they claim to want to replace them as the dominant group. It has a political party and cult-like figures who manipulate this group to hold onto power and block any attempts to address major social and economic issues…

“Corporate interests support the cult figures and their efforts to stir up mass support because it is in the interests of these wealthy capitalists to cut taxes and eliminate government regulations… It includes armed groups that threaten military action in the name of 2nd Amendment rights.”

Book bans in K-12 schools have escalated recently. Many “of the books on the list were written by Black or LGBTQ authors.”

So a breakup isn’t inevitable. But I think it’s way more likely now than I did in 2019. Jeff Sharlet, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, who I’ve known for years, has had his journey into “the far-right world of January 6 insurrectionists, QAnon-ers, and Trump cultists—who they are, what they’re saying, what they believe, and what their still-growing movement might portend (including the specter of civil war in America). Such a prospect, says Sharlet, is ‘scarier than it’s ever been.'”

Add inflation, crime, and global warming influenced extreme weather, and who knows? Of course, it would be an ugly, difficult breakup. The 1947 partition of India and Pakistan along religious lines was extremely costly, monetarily and in terms of about two million lives lost. Since we’re the USA, it’d be even worse.

SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas turns 70

Among the many dreadful aspects of Clarence Thomas becoming a member of the US Supreme Court is that he succeeded Thurgood Marshall. Marshall founded and served as executive director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, arguing several cases before SCOTUS, including the landmark “Brown v. Board of Education, which held that racial segregation in public education is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”

Thomas, on the other hand, served as chair of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and “halted the usual EEOC approach of filing class-action discrimination lawsuits, instead pursuing acts of individual discrimination,” which are much more difficult to prove. He had little judicial background when George H. W. Bush nominated him to the high court.

The confirmation hearings were reopened after “an FBI interview with lawyer Anita Hill was leaked… Hill, a black attorney, had worked for Thomas… She testified that Thomas had subjected her to comments of a sexual nature, which she felt constituted sexual harassment or at least ‘behavior that is unbefitting an individual who will be a member of the Court.'”

Thomas denied Hill’s allegations, and famously said: “From my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves… and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”

In the #MeToo era, The Boston Globe asked in 2018, Why is Clarence Thomas still on the Supreme Court? New York magazine suggests impeachment.

And the grounds wouldn’t just be over sexual harassment. Back in 2011, we learn that Thomas doesn’t just do unethical favors for wealthy right-wing donors — they also do expensive favors for him. Both he and his late colleague Antonin Scalia probably should have recused themselves in the toxic Citizens United case.

And this from 2013: “Common Cause uncovered that Virginia Thomas earned over $680,000 from the conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, from 2003 to 2007. Justice Thomas failed to include it on his financial disclosure forms… Once he was caught, Thomas amended 13 years’ worth of disclosure reports to include details of his wife’s income.”

A couple yeas ago, an article from Oyez painted a picture of the justice: “Clarence Thomas is known for his quiet, stoic demeanor during oral arguments and his conservative viewpoint that challenges, if not surpasses, even Scalia’s originalism.

“While many justices use questions to show their opinion on an issue or communicate with the other justices as to their feelings on a case, Thomas remains silent… He has shown his opinions to lean farther right than any other justice on the bench today.”

Birthday is June 23


It is difficult to acknowledge that racism still exists in the “post-racial” United States,

Once and future blogger New York Erratic asked a timely question:

Was the attack at the South Carolina church terrorism?

OK, I guess I should answer that. But I have to work through the whole incident, because, save for the school shootings in Newtown, CT in December 2012, the story of nine people murdered in their CHURCH for being BLACK has overwhelmed me more than any other story not involving me personally in over a decade.

Actually, I tried greatly not to write about it at all, but here’s the thing: I spent the first 72 hours after hearing about the event alternating between tears and rage. While putting down my thoughts doesn’t solve the problem, it helps ME try to make sense of the senselessness.

I grew up in an AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church, an offshoot of the AME church that was targeted. There might not have been an AME church at all had it not been for the racism of the Methodist church back in the 1780s – a trait no doubt shared by other churches.

I belonged to a United Methodist (UM) church in the 1980s and 1990s when there was a desire on the part of the shrinking Methodist connection to create a Pan Methodist union. After all, if Sunday morning was the “most segregated time of the week,” ought the church be a reconciling agent? The AME and AMEZ are members of the connection, but the merger that some UM members wanted at the time I don’t think is the cards. The black church has quite often been at the forefront of social change, and its white allies more than occasionally were slow off the mark.

Those folks in Charleston, at the Emanuel AME Church, I knew them. I don’t mean personally. But I understood how they operated. The church community surely celebrated their recent college graduate, Tywanza Sanders, 26. They had pride in their professionals, such as high school coach/teacher Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, and librarian Cynthia Hurd, 54, whose name will appear on a local library branch. But they also respected the hard-working folks such as custodian Ethel Lance, 70. They honored the wisdom of their older members, such as Susie Jackson, 87.

DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, was a minister at the church, while Daniel Simmons, 74, was a retired pastor. Myra Thompson, 59, received her license to the ministry the VERY NIGHT SHE WAS KILLED. And lead pastor Clementa Pinckney, 41, was not only preaching since he was 13, but was also the youngest African American state legislator in South Carolina’s history, elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1996, at the age of 23, and to the state senate four years later.

Once the story goes from “nine people murdered in a church” – the headline partially blocked in the Charleston paper by a gun ad – to those particular individuals killed, there’s a new wave of grief. Watching the relatives of the family members forgive Dylann Roof was extraordinary, and it brought me to tears yet again.

Thus, when certain people started saying what I can only describe as stupid stuff regarding their deaths, I became infuriated.

Probably most toxic: NRA board member Charles Cotton blamed Clementa Pinckney, a victim of the shooting, for his own death and the deaths of the others, because “as a state senator, Pinckney supported tougher gun regulations and opposed a bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed guns in churches.”

Another thread is that the nine people shot multiple times was NOT about racism, despite a wealth of evidence, from Roof himself to the contrary. Dylann Roof wrote in what appears to be his manifesto, filled with pictures of him with the Confederate battle flag:

“I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

The resistance to acknowledging that this is racism – hey, Roof has at least one black friend! – is, I suspect, because it is difficult to acknowledge that racism still exists in the “post-racial” United States, especially in one so young, 21. Many had comforted themselves to think the old segregationists would eventually die off, and that equality would be achieved. Frankly, I never quite believed that, though I don’t know if that was a function of cynicism or realism.

Speaking of that Confederate flag, I’ve listened, REALLY listened to the argument that the flag symbolizes “Southern heritage” and “tradition,” and I even believe that some of the people spouting this really mean it. But whose heritage? It does not, and will never, represent black Americans. It is a reminder of an oppressive system designed to maintain wealth by owning human beings. And subsequent to the Civil War, it’s been used as a symbol to incite terror, mostly on black people.

Yes, I support removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse, from the design of the Mississippi state flag, and from other government functions. Obviously, I am pleased that South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has reversed her position and called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the grounds of the state Capitol.

As Ta-Nahisi Coates put it, “Take down the flag. Take it down now. Put it in a museum. Inscribe beneath it the years 1861-2015. Move forward. Abandon this charlatanism. Drive out this cult of death and chains. Save your lovely souls. Move forward. Do it now.”

This is interesting: in June 2015, in the case of Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., black conservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas provided the decisive vote to allow the state of Texas to refuse to print a specialty license plate bearing the much-loved and hated Confederate battle flag.

Yet, I don’t have confidence that banishing the symbol to museums will rectify the racism that, for so many, it represents. The Wall Street Journal says institutionalized racism no longer exists in Charleston, a dubious claim to say the least, given the death of Walter Scott in April 2015; filmed evidence suggests he was unarmed and shot in the back by a policeman.

My great fear is that all the talking points will be rebutted and nothing will change. President Obama talks about “someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” and it becomes “Obama’s trying to take our guns.”

If the massacre in Charleston – or any number of similar events in recent U.S. history- had been committed by a foreign invader, we would practically go to war. “How many billions will we spend fighting the terrorist organization known as institutionalized racism? How many American lives are we willing to risk to protect America?”

So yes, NYE, it was a terrorist act. Per the FBI, the definition of “domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law [CHECK];
Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; [CHECK] and
Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. [CHECK]

Americans, on American soil, are being radicalized by ISIS to carry out threats against police and other domestic targets. Likewise, Dylann Roof, who had to repeat the ninth grade, had been radicalized by right-wing, white supremacist rhetoric, probably online as well.

It’s also possible that he is crazy or evil or the Manchurian Candidate. Truth is, I don’t much care what they label it. BTW, if you haven’t seen it, watch ‘I got nothin’ for you’: An emotional Jon Stewart puts the jokes aside to discuss racism in America.

One last thing: I tend to agree with Larry Wilmore about the religious aspect of this. “Four black girls were murdered in a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. Back then, no one pretended to wonder what the motivation was. If you tried to say it was about religion, even the perpetrators back then would have corrected you.”

If anyone would like to help the families of the shooting victims, the City of Charleston has set up the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to help the families pay for funerals for their loved ones, counseling services, and other needs as they continue to heal from the tragedy.

You can give to the fund at its website,

Or by mailing a donation to:
Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
c/o City of Charleston
P.O. Box 304
Charleston, SC 29402

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