Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Records & Rarities

I have owned records for more than forty years now, though I only became a serious collector about three years ago. The longest continuing record in my collection is the LP Moonlight Feels Right by Starbuck, that I bought in 1976. I still purchase and listen to LPs but I "collect" 45 rpm records in the sense that I'm always looking for rare and unusual artists, labels and songs in that format, and I have little difficulty finding them, mostly at a trio of local records stores in Knoxville.

The embedded playlist below has videos of a few of my favorite rarities. Some of them feature recognizable songs, including one co-written by Merle Haggard and another made famous by Jim Reeves. A few of them were from labels based in East Tennessee and presumably received only a regional release.

My favorite part of sharing these records on YouTube is receiving feedback from viewers, especially those for whom the old records have sentimental value.  I have heard from the daughter of one artist and from a persistent gentleman who bugged me until I sold him a record that he hadn't seen or heard in more than forty years.

Monday, January 21, 2013


The January/February issue of The American Conservative will soon be out with my review of Manufacturing Hysteria. It is appropriate that it come out near the Martin Luther King holiday as the FBI' COINTELPRO harassment of King was one of my topics. I wrote:
The most famous target of Hoover and the FBI was Martin Luther King. The investigation of King was based the assumption that some of his associates were Communists, but the FBI’s level of attention suggests a more personal motivation. Hoover intervened to keep Marquette University from granting King an honorary degree and was especially agitated at King’s winning a Nobel Peace Prize. The bureau’s most egregious abuse of power in this case was a crude attempt to wreck King’s marriage by sending him illegally recorded tapes of his marital in"infidelities, accompanied by a crudely forged letter encouraging him to commit suicide before his “filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”
Writing in the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald discusses King's opposition to militarism and the Vietnam war, which should be highlighted along with his views on racism, poverty and civil rights:
King argued for the centrality of his anti-militarism advocacy most eloquently on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City - exactly one year before the day he was murdered. That extraordinary speech was devoted to answering his critics who had been complaining that his anti-war activism was distracting from his civil rights work ("Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask?"). King, citing seven independent reasons, was adamant that ending US militarism and imperialism was not merely a moral imperative in its own right, but a prerequisite to achieving any meaningful reforms in American domestic life.
Here is audio of one of speeches on the war:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

800 Pound Gorilla . . .

Somehow Glenn Reynolds and Michael Barone talk about polling and the election for more than thirteen minutes and never get around to discussing Nate Silver:

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Damaging Romney Footage . . .

This won't help the Romney campaign:

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Operation Shift Blame

In the near term, at least, Barack Obama is a solid favorite to win the 2012 election. Since the economy is weak and the president is a KENYANSOCIALISTCHICAGOALINSKYITEMARXIST, his rightwing critics are straining for reasons that he is in the lead.

John Hindraker (via Memeorandum) thinks he has found it, and apparently, the fact that Republicans brought about the disaster in the first place and people don't trust them has nothing to do with it:
I am afraid the answer may be that the country is closer to the point of no return than most of us believed. With over 100 million Americans receiving federal welfare benefits, millions more going on Social Security disability, and many millions on top of that living on entitlement programs–not to mention enormous numbers of public employees–we may have gotten to the point where the government economy is more important, in the short term, than the real economy.
I would give his argument more credence if he defined his terms and used hard data—how much "over 100 million" and what does he mean by "welfare"? The term "public employee" is reasonably precise, but as Paul Krugman notes, government payrolls have shrunk under Obama.

William Jacobson sees another cause—a Liberal Media Conspiracy to demoralize Republicans and conservatives:
It’s November 7.  Barack Obama has won.  The Republican presidential strategy has failed.  The media is jubilant.  The right-blogosphere is going through a serious introspection.  The left-blogosphere is dancing on our graves and shoving it down our throats.  Four years of fighting the Obama agenda was for nothing.
Oh, I’m sorry.  Let me correct that.  It’s September 9, not November 7.  The rest of the paragraph above can remain as originally written.
 The most absurd part is Jacobson's assumption that right-blogosphere is capable of "serious introspection."

I don't know how the election will come out, but I'm becoming more confident that Obama will prevail and I'm certain that far from introspection, the rightwing will become more detached from reality and blame the Liberal Media, or Hollywood or fraud: anything but their own failings.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gotta Have Somebody Serve . . .

I read Michael Brendan Dougherty's article on Obama's Right Wing with interest. I would qualify as a member of that category except for the fact that I didn't vote for Obama in 2008 and I doubt I qualify as a conservative anymore.

I came close to voting for Obama in 2008 (I opted for Nader) and I favored his victory. This fall, I plan to vote for the President, which will be my first presidential vote for a Democrat and my first for a major party candidate since Reagan in 1984. I have little doubt that I will regret my vote, assuming that he wins, like I did after voting for Reagan.

The Obamacons Dougherty interviewed cite a variety of reasons for their apostasy but I was disappointed that none of them discussed the state of the broader conservative movement. I can think of many terms to describe the right-wing in the age of Obama, but the ones that spring to mind are "repulsive" and perhaps "insane." This applies to the leadership of the Republican party at the top, down to the creeps who at Weasel Zippers who think that Michelle Obama is some sort of fat cow.

Republicans amply demonstrated that they are terrible at governing between 2001 and 2008, and have attempted to make the country ungovernable in the Obama years. Since Mitt Romney seems to have no fixed beliefs other than that the rich are better than you and I, it's difficult to predict how he will govern.  I suspect that Romney will prattle about abortion, etc. just enough to placate the rubes and will appoint the most conservative judges confirmable; but his primary concern will be the care and feeding of corporations. The only upside of a Romney victory will be that Republicans will stop actively trying to destroy the country.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stabbed in the Back!

The cultish nature of modern conservatism is obvious. Dan Riehl's response (via Memeorandum) to NRO's call for Willard to release more tax returns is simply example # 1,387,176 or so. For Riehl, National Review's editorial isn't simply a tactical error, but a betrayal:
Next time you opt to stab a GOP candidate in the back, how about having the balls to put your name on it? I don't think that's too much to ask. 
I really, really want to play nice with everyone on our side, but when I see this high minded BS from people who've never even run for anything, it smokes my butt. . .And don't give me this, well, we can disagree BS, either. 
You aren't even on any team you're a got damned cheerleader on the sidelines and right now you look silly in that frilly skirt you're wearing. So STFU if you don't have anything good to say, or just go the hell away. It isn't like anyone would miss most of NRO if it did, frankly. (emphasis added)
Get it NRO?—Mitt is now Leader of the Cause and the Cause must be served.