Chamblee54

James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Race, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 22, 2017






In the spring of 1963, KQED filmed a show, “Take this hammer”, about James Baldwin. The snippet in the video above seems to have been the last three minutes of the show. Here is a transcript. Mr. Baldwin discusses a six letter insult. The n-word is more about the speaker, than the spoken of. A 2010 blogger had this to say.

What resonated with me about this particular video though, is the universal experience we’ve all had being referred to, thought of as, or called something we inherently are not. Not because of something we’ve done, mind you – but because of the way others “interpret” us. Those of us that “transgress” gender norms are often given titles and names that don’t fit who we are – but are more representative of the fears and desires of others. I’ve often felt that people’s projections of me are oftentimes just that – their projections. However, Baldwin’s ending sums up a solution to this perfectly: “But you still think, I gather, that the n****r is necessary. Well he’s unnecessary to me – he must be necessary to you. Well, I’m going to give your problem back to you…you’re the n****r, baby…not me.”

It is now 2017. (All discussions of race must mention the year.) The TV show was fifty four years ago. A few things have changed. To many white people, overt expressions of racism are seen as bad manners. The n-word is taboo in polite company. The overall attitudes may not have changed, but most white people are careful how they say things.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These men are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States.





A few weeks ago, this blog published a feature, James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word. At the center was selection of James Baldwin talking about the n word. There was a transcript available, which makes today’s exercise a lot easier.

Mr. Baldwin was discussing this nasty word, and offered an insight into who the user of this nasty word was really talking about. Now, there is another nasty word being casually tossed about these days. This other nasty word is racist. What would happen if you took Mr. Baldwin’s talk, and substituted racist for nasty? It is an interesting way to look at things. What follows is not a perfect fit, and may be offensive to some. A few times, it is very close to the truth.

Who is the racist? Well i know this…and anybody who has tried to live knows this. What you say about somebody else (you know) anybody else, reveals you. What I think of you as being is dictated by my own necessities, my own psychology, my own uhm fears…and desires. I’m not describing you when I talk about you…I’m describing me.

Now, here in this country we got somebody called a racist. It doesn’t in such terms, I beg you to remark, exist in any other country in the world. We have invented the racist. I didn’t invent him, white people invented him. I’ve always known, I had to know by the time I was seventeen years old, what you were describing was not me and what you were afraid of was not me. It had to be something else. You had invented it so it had to be something you were afraid of and you invested me with it.

Now if that’s so, no matter what you’ve done to me I can say to you this, and I mean it…I know you can’t do any more and I’ve got nothing to lose…and I know and I have always known you know and really always..…I have always known that I am not a racist…but if I am not the racist…and if it is true that your invention reveals you…then who is the racist?

I am not the victim here. I know one thing from another. I know that I was born, am gonna suffer and gonna die. And the only way that you can get through life is to know the worst things about it. I know that a person is more important than anything else. Anything else.

I’ve learned this because I’ve had to learn it. But you still think, I gather, that the racist is necessary. Well he’s not necessary to me, so he must be necessary to you. So I give you your problem back. You’re the racist baby, it isn’t me.




Babe, Hank, Barry, And Joe

Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on July 16, 2017







Barry Bonds was about to break the lifetime record for home runs. Folks said the record was tainted because of steroid use, and because Mr. Bonds was not a nice man. There were calls for an asterisk in the record book. This was odd to PG, who was in Georgia when Hank Aaron broke the home run record in 1974. Back then, the line was that Babe Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron. A lot of hateful things were said about Mr. Aaron before home run 714.

PG decided to take a look at the metrics. This post is the result. As a bonus to the reader(s), Joe Torre and Hank Aaron gets a summer rerun. It is based on a column by Furman Bisher, who went to the press box in the sky March 18, 2012. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

There is a certain controversy these days about the eminent breaking of the lifetime home run record. Currently held by Hank Aaron, the record is threatened by Barry Bonds. Before Mr. Aaron held the title, Babe Ruth was the owner.

Controversy about the lifetime home run record is nothing new. In 1974, when Hank Aaron was about to break the record, the admirers of Babe Ruth said that Mr. Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron did. Many attributed this criticism to racism, with a black man besting a white man’s record. The current controversy is two fold. There are allegations that Mr. Bonds took steroids to make him stronger, and that he “cheated”. There are also concerns about the personality of Mr. Bonds.

PG does not think steroid use is a big deal. Ballplayers are abusing their bodies to perform, and if they take the risk of using steroids, that is their business. Many people disagree.

A good question to ask is, would Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have used steroids if they had the chance? Mr. Ruth was a wildman, who drank during prohibition, and was known for undisciplined behavior. Mr. Aaron played in an era where steroid use was not as common as it is today. The answer to the first question is (Mr. Ruth) probably and (Mr. Aaron) who knows.

While you are keeping hypocrisy statistics, Mr. Aaron and Mr. Bonds played on television, where beer commercials were constant. While alcohol is *now* legal, it is a very damaging drug. Any ballplayer who plays on television promotes its use. This is both steroid users, and non users.

As for personalities, there is the widely circulated story about the college team that Mr. Bonds played on voting 22-3 to kick him off the team. At the very least, he does not charm sportswriters.

In 1917, Babe Ruth was suspended for hitting an umpire. He was known for his outlandish behavior throughout his career. It should also be noted that he played in an era when the press did not scrutinize the behavior of players. How would today’s media treat Babe Ruth?

PG once heard a radio show caller say that Hank Aaron was a mean racist, who would just as soon cut your throat as look at you. He had never heard this said out loud before, but had heard hints about Mr. Aaron’s personality over the years. People who achieve great things are not always friendly.

Mr. Aaron is the only one of the three that PG met, however briefly. In July of 1965, the Milwaukee Braves came to Atlanta to play an exhibition game in Atlanta Stadium. After the game, PG was allowed to wait outside the clubhouse, to get autographs from the players as they left. Joe Torre saw the crowd, hid behind a truck, and made a quick getaway. Hank Aaron came out, patiently signing every autograph, while smoking a cigarette.

The fact is, all three men played in different eras. Babe Ruth never played at night, never flew to California, and only played against white players…many of the most talented players of his era were in the Negro League. Hank Aaron played before free agency, interleague play, the DH, and widespread use of steroids. The only way to determine who is the home run champion is to count how many homers are hit, and award the prize to the man who hits the most.

Which of the three made the most money? Barry Bonds, by a wide margin. He played in the free agent era. Babe Ruth had the best line about his salary. In 1930 Ruth was asked by a reporter what he thought of his yearly salary of $80,000 being more than President Hoover’s $75,000. He replied “yea, but I had a better year than he did.”

Who played on the most teams to win a World Series? Babe Ruth 7, Hank Aaron 1, Barry Bonds 0.

The career of Babe Ruth was a long time ago. He made a greater impact on America that the other two combined. He was one of the first sports superstars, as America emerged from the carnage of World War One. Mr. Ruth broke the single season home run record, he hit 29 homers. The next year, he hit 54. There is a possibility of a livelier baseball.

Babe Ruth captured the imagination of America like few personalities ever have. Playing in New York (which dominated the press) did not hurt. He was a man of his times…it is unlikely than anyone could have that kind of impact on today’s superstar saturated America. While his record has been broken, his place in the history of baseball is the same.

UPDATE: As of July, 2016, the lifetime home run leaders were: Barry Bonds, 762, Hank Aaron, 755, Babe Ruth, 714, Alex Rodriguez, 696. Mr. Rodriguez is said to have used steroids.







Furman Bisher has a piece at the fishwrapper site about Joe Torre. (The link no longer works.) The punch line is that Mr. Torre “grew up” when the Braves traded him to St. Louis. PG was a kid when this was going on, and did not hear a lot of what went on.

In 1965, the Braves played a lame duck year in Milwaukee before moving to Atlanta. One night, there was an exhibition game at Atlanta Stadium, the Braves against the Yankees. PG got his oh so patient dad to take him to the clubhouse after the game, to get autographs. In those days, you could go into the bowels of the stadium and wait outside the locker room. Hank Aaron signed dozens of autographs while smoking a cigarette. Joe Torre came out, hid behind a truck, and took off running.

Mr. Torre was a raccoon eyed catcher for the Braves. In the first regular season game in 1966, he hit two home runs, in a thirteen inning loss. Soon, the novelty of big league baseball in a toilet shaped stadium wore off. Mr. Torre got at least one DUI, and a reputation as a barroom brawler. He was traded to St. Louis in 1968. Mr. Torre hit .373, and won the national league MVP in 1971.

The comments to the feature by Furman Bisher were interesting. Cecil 34 contributes
“The reason that Torre was traded is because on the team’s charter flight back to Atlanta back in 68, a drunken Torre got into a fistfight with Aaron. Aaron popped off to Torre, and thus the fight was on, broken up by the other players. Since Aaron was the face of the franchise at the time, Torre was traded. There had been bad blood between them for years before this incident anyway. Reasons vary. But the final nail in the coffin was this fistfight. I was told Torre could pack a punch and Aaron came out on the worse end of it.”
There has been whispering for years about Hank Aaron and his attitude. Furman Bisher made hints once or twice, but there was never anything of substance. It seems that Mr. Aaron does not lack for self confidence. Mr. Aaron was the subject of much racially based abuse while chasing the home run record in 1973, and some anger is justified.

Hank Aaron was known to not get along with Rico Carty. Mr. Carty is a dark skinned man from the Dominican Republic, who was popular with fans. Mr. Carty was eventually traded. Rico Carty had a barbecue restaurant on Peachtree Road in Chamblee, next door to the Park and Shop.

Joe Torre was the manager of the Braves in the early eighties. The team won a divisional title in 1982, but lost the NLCS. This was after Ted Turner bought the team. Mr. Turner fired Mr. Torre in 1984.

Getting back to the comment thread, Misterwax contributes
“Turner cut Joe Torre loose because Ted was in love with Henry Aaron and Aaron thought Joe Torre was a white supremacist….A hangover from the clubhouse days when they were teammates…still does today. And THAT is the only reason he was cut…because Hank Aaron said so.”
Hank Aaron was recently quoted on Barry Bonds and Steroids. Joe Torre retired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010. He won four World Series as manager of the New York Yankees. Furman Bisher outlived Bear Bryant by 26 years, passing away March 18, 2012. Selah.






The Revenge Of Samuel Clemens

Posted in History, Library of Congress, The English Language, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 7, 2017








Mark Twain left earth to take care of itself on April 21, 1910. Now that 100 years have passed, his uncensored autobiography is about to be published. As True Slant tells the tale, Reports of Mark Twain’s resurrection are greatly exaggerated.

Samuel Clemens is an icon of americana, his books a staple of high school english. The clever sayings of Mr. Twain are quoted to this day. On his death in 1910, President William H. Taft said
“Mark Twain gave real intellectual enjoyment to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come. He never wrote a line that a father could not read to a daughter.”
The White House predecessor of Mr. Taft was Teddy Roosevelt. Mr. Roosevelt became famous as a result of what Mr. Twain called “the iniquitous Cuban-Spanish War”. When the newly conquered Philippines did not greet the Americans as liberators, a brutal little war broke out. There were reports of massacres of women and children by American troops. This conflict led Mr. Twain to write The War Prayer, which would not be published until after he was dead. (Teddy Roosevelt became President after the murder of William McKinley. Some people speculate the Mark Twain was involved in the death of President McKinley. There used to be some youtube videos with more information, but they have been taken down. )

The truth is, Mark Twain was a rascal, with many sharp opinions about religion, big business, and war. As Henry L. Mencken wrote
“Instead of being a mere entertainer of the mob, he was…a destructive satirist of the utmost pungency and relentlessness, and the most bitter critic of American platitude and delusion, whether social, political or religious, that ever lived.” His present day image of Colonel Sanders, played by Grandpa Walton, is far from the mark.
But then, Grandpa Walton is not what many think. He was played by Will Geer, whose birth name was William Aughe Ghere . Mr. Geer, a member of the Communist Party, organized a violent dock workers strike in San Francisco. The co organizer of that strike was Mr. Geer’s boyfriend, Harry Hay.

Getting back to Mark Twain, it seems like some people don’t like to have their heroes tarnished by reality. True Slant wrote a feature that is the basis of this post. (The text part anyway. The pictures are from The Library of Congress . HT to dangerous minds. ) It seems like when the True Slant author, Mark Dery, posted a link to his article on Facebook, Chaos ensued.

Weekend Update: Apparently, some Bronze-Age bible troll reported my Facebook link to this essay as “abusive,” presumably because Twain was an atheist and Huckleberry Finn, one of the most banned books in a nation that stinks to heaven of god-bothering, is the devil’s handiwork. Now, due to Facebook’s guilty-until-proven-innocent logic—a rule of thumb that wins the Idi Amin Dada Award for enlightened online governance—I’m unable to repost. Anything. Whether you like Twain or my work or not, I hope you’ll consider reposting a link to this page on your Facebook page as a way of saying you support free speech. If that sounds like product placement, mea culpa maxima.) YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Facebook appears to have repealed its ban on my links, at least for the moment, restoring the link to this article. Heartfelt thanks to all who stood with me in free-speech solidarity by reposting a link to this essay on their FB pages. Twain would be proud of you!

In the sandbox epic Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance , a philosophical ramble detours on the concept of mythos over logos. The concept is that people, when presented with information that disproves there illusion, will continue to believe in the illusion. This would seem to be the case here. The inspiring story of Mark Twain is threatened by the reality of the writers last work. (Actually, this autobiography was dictated to a stenographer, rather than written.) People would rather feel warm and fuzzy about a myth, than read the truths of the mythmaker.

This is a repost. A few things have happened since 2010. Autobiography of Mark Twain has seen three volumes released. 13% of the Volume One comments on Amazon are one star. True/Slant has been purchased by Forbes, and links for this article no longer work. A new edition of Huckleberry Finn has been issued, with America’s favorite dirty word deleted.

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July 3, 1981

Posted in GSU photo archive, History by chamblee54 on July 3, 2017

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July 3, 1981, was another day before a holiday. The new President, Ronald Reagan, was recovering from gunshot wounds. There was talk of an era of conservatism, with possibly severe repression.

There was an article in the New York Times. RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS. “Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis…”

This was the media debut of AIDS. It would not have that name for a while. Almost nobody thought, on that summer day, just how bad AIDS would be. In five years it was obvious how serious AIDS was.

article-02 PG was on another trip to the west coast. It was becoming obvious that this would be a vacation, rather than a relocation. He was riding a bicycle, with a milk carton overloaded with camping gear. Some kids told him to get saddle bags, and carry the weight lower. If you have the weight on top, you would lose control coming down a big hill. PG did not listen to the kids.

On July 4, PG left Patrick’s Point state park, about 300 miles north of San Francisco. Coming down the first hill on highway 101, the bike shook, shook harder, and flipped on its side. PG was thrown off. The front wheel was bent beyond repair. PG gathered his gear, left the bike behind, and got a ride into the nearest town.

PG got a bus ticket to Seattle. That city was in an economic downturn, with less than half a page of help wanted ads. PG found a auto delivery service, and got a VW bug going to Oak Ridge, TN. In a few days he was in Atlanta. A few days later, a temp agency came up with a job as a driver for a blueprint company. PG worked for that company, in one form or another, for the next 24 years.

As for the gay men with Kaposi’s Sarcoma … in all probability, the patients mentioned in that article were all dead within a year. AIDS has become a dominating story in our time. At its worst, it was claiming 50,000 lives a year. With the advent of wonder drugs, the death toll has been greatly reduced. The impact of AIDS on American life cannot be adequately described. This is a repost.

Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Howard Zinn

Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on June 29, 2017












Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present, spent an hour talking on Booknotes. This is a C-SPAN show, with author interviews. The show aired March 12, 2000. Later that night was a show about the 2000 election, featuring Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. The role Mr. Nader would play in the November election was unimaginable in March.

The first serious job Mr. Zinn had was World War II. He served in the Air Force. Towards the end of the war, “we bombed a little French town on the Atlantic coast called Royon… `We’re not going to use regular demolition bombs. We have something new. We w–you’re going–instead of dropping our usual 12 500-pound demolition bombs, you’re going to drop 30 100-pound canisters of jel—jellied gasoline.’ It was napalm–the first use of napalm in the European theater.”

Later, Mr. Zinn thought about it all. “And it didn’t s–the–the thing is you’d bomb from 30,000 feet. You don’t see what’s happening down there. You don’t see people suffering. You don’t see people burning. You don’t see limbs falling. You–you just see little flashes in the–in the d–in the dark, you know. And—and you go back, and you’re debriefed and you don’t think about it. And it’s horrifying.

Later–only later did I begin to think about it, and I was horrified by what I had done, and I’m still horrified by what I did. But I think that had an effect on my thinking about war, because here I was in the best of wars. And I believed it was the best of wars because I volunteered for it. A war against fascism? I mean, how could you find a more bestial enemy? And yet it’s a–it complicated the war for me. It complicated the morality of the war, and it made me begin to think that war itself is evil. Even when it starts with good cause, even when the enemy is horrible, that there’s something about war, especially in our time when war inevitably involves indiscriminate killing … war simply cannot be accepted morally as a solution for whatever problems are in the world.

Whatever tyranny, whatever borders are crossed, whatever problems there are, somehow human ingenuity has to find a way to deal with that without the indiscriminate killing that war involves.”

Brian Lamb is the host of Booknotes. He speaks non theatrically, often with questions that are very different from the narrative presented by the author. After this talk about war, the question was “LAMB: What would you have done had you been president and those bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor? Mr. ZINN: That’s the toughest question I’ve ever faced. I … And–and I confess, I–I–I haven’t worked out an alternative scenario.

PHOTUS is known for taking a non-heroic view of our history. Regarding the US Constitution, “When they set up the new government, when they set up the new Constitution, I mean, they set up a strong, central government which will be able to legislate on behalf of bondholders and slaveholders and manufacturers and Western land speculators.”

Mr. Zinn does not discuss The War Between The States on this show. (PG has not read PHOTUS, and does not know how WBTS is treated.) This was a case where the central government was favoring the industrial interests, at the expense of the agricultural interests. How much of that conflict was economic, with abolition serving as a moral fig leaf?

After the war, Mr. Zinn went back to school. A job appeared at Spelman College, and he worked there seven years. After that, he taught at Boston University for 24 years. His next door neighbor was five year old Matt Damon, who later read the audiobook version of PHOTUS.

There is one more bit of amusement from the transcript. Mr. ZINN:`For the United States to step forward as a defender of helpless countries matched its image in American high school history books but not its record in world affairs. It had opposed the Haitian revolution for independence from France at the start of the 19th century. It had instituted a war with Mexico and taken half the country. It had pretended to help Cuba win freedom from Spain and then planted itself in Cuba with a military base, investments and rights of intervention. It had seized Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and fought a brutal war to subjugate the Filipinos. It had opened Japan to its trade with gunboats and threats. It had declared an open-door policy in China as a means of assuring the United States would have opportunities equal to other imperial powers in exploiting China. It had sent troops to Peking with other nations to assert Western supremacy in China and kept them from–kept them for over 30 years.’ LAMB: There’s a lot more in here about Colombia and Haiti and Nicaragua. Is this country at–this sounds like I’m–I’m arguing here, but has this country done anything right?

This is a repost. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress














The Last Night Of Judy Garland

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on June 21, 2017






“In march of 1969, Judy married her fifth husband, Mickey Devinko, better known as Mickey Deans, a gay night-club promoter. Judy had an unfortunate habit of marrying gay men. They lived together in a tiny mews house in Chelsea, London. The evening of Saturday June 21 1969, Judy and Mickey were watching a documentary, The Royal Family, on television, when they had an argument. Judy ran out the door screaming into the street, waking the neighbors.
Several versions of what happened next exist, but the fact remains that a phone call for Judy woke him at 10:40 the next morning, and she was not sleeping in the bed. He searched for her, only to find the bathroom door locked. After no response, he climbed outside to the bathroom window and entered to find Judy, sitting on the toilet. Rigor Mortis had set in. Judy Garland, 47, was dead.
The press was already aware of the news before the body could be removed. In an effort to prevent pictures being taken of the corpse, she was apparently draped over someone’s arm like a folded coat, covered with a blanket, and removed from the house with the photographers left none the wiser.
The day Judy died there was a tornado in Kansas…. in Saline County,KS, a rather large F3 tornado (injuring 60, but causing no deaths) did hit at 10:40 pm on June 21st, that would be 4:40 am, June 22nd, London time, the morning she died. I know the time of death has never been firmly established, but since Rigor Mortis had already set in, I think this tornado may very much be in the ballpark in terms of coinciding with time of death…. Other news articles suggest the tornado struck Salina “late at night” which could certainly also mean after midnight on June 22, or roughly 6:00 am London time…

The Toledo Blade for June 24th, also in an article located right next to a picture of Garland, in a write-up on the Salina tornado noted that “Late Saturday [June 21] and early Sunday [June 22, another batch of tornadoes struck in central Kansas.” So it seems the legend seems confirmed.”

The text for this story comes from Findadeath. You can spend hours at this site. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.






Justice Or Vengeance

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Politics by chamblee54 on June 10, 2017

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This is a double repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Some of the links used in this feature no longer work.

A jury in Florida rendered a verdict Saturday night. Some are not happy with this ruling. They were looking for the courts to punish the defendant. To many, justice has fallen through the crack.

The truth is that we have trials for a reason. The howling mob, demanding a pound of flesh, is often mistaken. The system exists to protect people from an unjust prosecution. The mobs have not sat in the courtroom, and listened to the evidence. They have not had to make a decision. It is easy to monday morning quarterback a jury, but tough to be on one. Those six women should be thanked for their service, not told to commit suicide.

Some are urging the federal government to prosecute under hate crime laws. This is where Uncle Sam is not happy with the local ruling, and brings his own charges. This is also known as double jeopardy. It is not a good idea. One trial is enough.

Many of the people demanding government sponsored vengeance are Jesus worshipers. This is the man that Pontius Pilate said had done nothing wrong. The crowd shouted Pontius Pilate down. The crowd bellowed Crucify Him, Crucify Him.

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The first mistake was reading more about George Zimmerman. PG went ahead, and read REPORT: FBI May Charge George Zimmerman With Hate Crime, Could Face Death Penalty. PG thought this was a bit weird, and did some research.
The FBI has a list of Federal Civil Rights Statutes. On several of these laws, the phrase “may be sentenced to death” appears. This expression does not appear in the description of “Title 18, U.S.C., Section 249 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act.” This is the most recent expansion of the Federal Hate Crimes legislation. It expands the definition of hate crimes to include LGTB cases. (This possibility that Trayvon Martin was killed for being gay has not been mentioned.) The Matthew Shepard Act was added onto a defense spending bill, and signed into law October 28, 2009.
PG is not a lawyer. Reading legislation and court opinions makes his head hurt. He is not sure which of the hate crime laws would apply to George Zimmerman. The idea of Mr. Zimmerman being poisoned by the Federal government is unlikely.
There is another aspect of application of hate crime law to this case that is troubling. If you believe that Mr. Zimmerman is an icky person, who deserves whatever happens to him, this might not bother you. The trouble with crazy laws, meant for icky people, is that they might be applied to you some day. Mobs demanding vengeance are not known for careful thinking.
Does federal hate crime prosecution constitute double jeopardy? The idea is that if you are acquited of a crime, you should not be tried again for the same offense. What appears to be happening is the federal government supervising the state government, and if the verdict is not satisfactory, bringing more charges.
Other people are asking the same question. National Review Online posted Hate Crimes, Thought Crimes, Double Jeopardy. This article was written while the Matthew Shepard Act was in Congress. It was before the skittles shooting.
“Among other things, the bill permits the U.S. Attorney General to initiate federal hate-crime prosecution in cases where “the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence.” In other words, if the Feds don’t like the state verdict, they will bring their own charges.
Another commenter notes
“The bill would allow people who have been found innocent of a hate crime in state court to be reprosecuted in federal court. Many supporters of the federal hate crimes bill want to allow people who have been found innocent of a hate crime in state court to be reprosecuted in federal court. As one supporter put it, “the federal hate crimes bill serves as a vital safety valve in case a state hate-crimes prosecution fails.” The claim that the justice system has “failed” when a jury returns a not-guilty verdict is truly scary and contrary to the constitutional presumption of innocence and the right to trial by jury.
But it is a view widely shared among supporters of the hate-crimes bill. Syndicated columnist Jacob Sullum pointed out in 1998 that Janet Reno, Clinton’s Attorney General, backed the bill as a way of providing a federal “forum” for prosecution if prosecutors fail to obtain a conviction “in the state court.” Similarly, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights wants to reprosecute teenagers who were found innocent of a hate crime against an illegal alien in a Pennsylvania state court.
As Sullum noted, the federal hate crimes bill exploits a loophole in constitutional protections against double jeopardy, known as the “dual sovereignty” doctrine. The Supreme Court created this loophole in its 5-to-4 Bartkus decision.








Happy Birthday Mr. Ginsberg

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays by chamblee54 on June 3, 2017








This feature was originally intended to honor the arrival of a certain poet in 1926. June 3 is also the birthay of Jefferson Davis (1808), Josephine Baker (1906), Paulette Goddard (1910), Tony Curtis (1925), Allen Ginsberg (1926). People who met their maker on June 3 include Ozzie Nelson (1975), Billy Joe McAllister (1967), Ruhollah Khomeini (1989), Rue McClanahan (2010), Jack Kevorkian (2011), Muhammad Ali (2016). There is a synchronicity to the demise of Dr. Kervorkian.

Allen Ginsberg would be 91 today, if nature had not made other plans in 1997. The son of Louis and Naomi Ginsberg arrived, in Newark NJ, June 3,1926.

Allen Ginsberg had a part in many new age dramas, with a few musicals and comedies thrown in for good measure. Hippie, beatnik, gay, artist, peace promoter, Buddhist convert…these are a few of the labels. He became famous for being famous, well known to people who never read a word of his poems. Two of the more famous were howl and kaddish.

Howl became scandalous in 1956 when it was busted for obscenity. It is mild by today’s standards, but almost landed Mr. Ginsberg in prison. PG heard about howl in the early nineties, and looked high and low for a copy. He could not find one. Today on the internet, not only is the text widely available, there are recordings of Mr. Ginsberg reading his work. (Here is an updated version, Howl 2011.)

The original plan was to listen to Mr. Ginsberg read while editing photos. PG was going to listen to the words, and think of something to say while listening to the bard. About the seventeenth time Mr. Ginsberg shouted “Moloch”, the plan began to fall apart.

The next poem was Kaddish. This is about Naomi Ginsberg, the mother of the poet, who evidently had some issues. This was tough for PG to listen to. The other night, PG had a disturbing dream about his own late mother. In this dream, a fearsome shouter came in wearing a black suit, which meant that he intended to do some scary shouting. PG went into another room, where his recently deceased mother was laying on a table.

1956 was the year of the obscenity trial for howl. This took place on the other side of america, from the Brookhaven where PG was two years old. This was the year when his brother was born, the year when the Georgia legislature voted in a new flag, for whatever reason. In 1955, President Eisenhower had a heart attack. Many wondered if it was a good idea to have Richard Nixon as the vice president.

Finally, PG could stand no more of that voice. The player was turned off, the files stored on an external hard drive, never to be heard again. PG just is not a poetry person. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.






I Sing The Body Electric

Posted in History, Holidays, Poem by chamblee54 on May 31, 2017

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1
I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
2
The love of the body of man or woman balks account,
the body itself balks account,
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.

The expression of the face balks account,
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees,
dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.

The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women,
the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in the street,
the contour of their shape downwards,
The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through
the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls
silently to and from the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats,
the horse-man in his saddle,
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles,
and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child, the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hosing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six horses
through the crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty,
good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at sundown after work,
The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance,
The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine muscle
through clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps,
The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again,
and the listening on the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv’d neck
and the counting;
Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother’s breast
with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line
with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
3
I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons,
And in them the fathers of sons, and in them the fathers of sons.
This man was a wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person,
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and beard,
the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes,
the richness and breadth of his manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also,
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were massive,
clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome,
They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him,
They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal love,
He drank water only, the blood show’d like scarlet
through the clear-brown skin of his face,
He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail’d his boat himself,
he had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner,
he had fowling-pieces presented to him by men that loved him,
When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or fish,
you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of the gang,
You would wish long and long to be with him, you would wish to sit by him
in the boat that you and he might touch each other.

4
I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly
round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them,
and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

5
This is the female form,
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor,
all falls aside but myself and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth,
and what was expected of heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed,
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it,
the response likewise ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all diffused,
mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling
and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love,
white-blow and delirious juice,
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day.

This the nucleus—after the child is born of woman, man is born of woman,
This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the outlet again.

Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest,
and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.

The female contains all qualities and tempers them,
She is in her place and moves with perfect balance,
She is all things duly veil’d, she is both passive and active,
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters.

As I see my soul reflected in Nature,
As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness,
sanity, beauty,
See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female I see.

6
The male is not less the soul nor more, he too is in his place,
He too is all qualities, he is action and power,
The flush of the known universe is in him,
Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him well,
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is utmost
become him well, pride is for him,
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul,
Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing
to the test of himself,
Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail
he strikes soundings at last only here,
(Where else does he strike soundings except here?)

The man’s body is sacred and the woman’s body is sacred,
No matter who it is, it is sacred—is it the meanest one in the laborers’ gang?
Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf?
Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you,
Each has his or her place in the procession.

(All is a procession,
The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.)

Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant?
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight,
and he or she has no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float,
and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?

7
A man’s body at auction,
(For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch the sale,)
I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his business.

Gentlemen look on this wonder,
Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough for it,
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without one animal or plant,
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll’d.

In this head the all-baffling brain,
In it and below it the makings of heroes.

Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning in tendon and nerve,
They shall be stript that you may see them.

Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition,
Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh not flabby,
good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.

Within there runs blood,
The same old blood! the same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations,

(Do you think they are not there because they are not express’d
in parlors and lecture-rooms?)

This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers
in their turns,
In him the start of populous states and rich republics,
Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodiments and enjoyments.

How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his offspring
through the centuries?
(Who might you find you have come from yourself,
if you could trace back through the centuries?)

8
A woman’s body at auction,
She too is not only herself, she is the teeming mother of mothers,
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to the mothers.

Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the body of a man?
Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations
and times all over the earth?

If anything is sacred the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted,
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more beautiful
than the most beautiful face.

Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body?
or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.

9
O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women,
nor the likes of the parts of you,
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the soul,
(and that they are the soul,)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems,
and that they are my poems,
Man’s, woman’s, child, youth’s, wife’s, husband’s, mother’s, father’s,
young man’s, young woman’s poems,
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking
or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders,
and the ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger,
finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round,
man-balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body
or of any one’s body, male or female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping,
love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand
the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips,
and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow
in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;

O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!

Text for this adventure is from the Project Gutenberg.
The text was reformatted by Chamblee54.
“I sing the Body Electric” was written by Walt Whitman.
An audio version of this poem is available from Librivox.
Reposted May 31,2017, Walt Whitman’s 198th Birthday.
Pictures from The Library of Congress.

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Anglo Persian Oil Company

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, War by chamblee54 on May 30, 2017

People are saying more and more about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. TomDispatch has a fascinating paragraph about one of the key players, British Petroleum (BP): “Originally known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, still later British Petroleum), BP got its start in southwestern Iran, where it once enjoyed a monopoly on the production of crude petroleum. In 1951, its Iranian holdings were nationalized by the democratic government of Mohammed Mossadeq. The company returned to Iran in 1953, following a U.S.-backed coup that put the Shah in power, and was finally expelled again in 1979 following the Islamic Revolution.”
If you look at the problems of the world in the last forty years, so many are affected by Iran. The 1953 revolution left great resentment, which became manifest in the 1979 revolution. Soon Iraq…whose border with Iran was clumsily drawn by the British…decides to attack Iran. A gruesome eight year war is the result, with the USA supporting both sides (as well as possibly encouraging Iraq to attack Iran). The idea was, if they are fighting each other, they will leave Israel alone.

After this war is over, Iraq has a problem with Kuwait over it’s war debt. Another war is the result, with the USA involved. Iraq is vanquished, but some in the USA are not satisfied, and after a few years the USA invades Iraq again. That war is still raging.

The biggest winner of the US-Iraq war (aka World War W) is Iran. This new influence in Persia is very troubling to Israel, which is loudly rattling it’s nuclear saber. While Israel is making noise about Iran, it takes attention away from the Palestinian tragedy.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost from 2010. TomDispatch is still open. The feature today, Beating the War Drums… Again, is about Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Memorial Day

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on May 28, 2017

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Memorial Day started as Decoration Day. During the War Between the States, people started to go out to graveyards, and put flowers on the soldiers. It is tough to say whether the custom started in the south. or the north. Waterloo NY is considered the official birthplace of Memorial Day. This is not what Abba was singing about.

WBTS was by far the most costly war in American history. There were more casualties in WBTS than in World Wars I, II, Korea, and Vietnam combined. Americans were not used to this carnage on this scale. Decoration Day was one of the results.

It was also, literally, a divisive war. The causes of the conflict are debated to this day. More men died of disease than in combat. Shitting yourself to death is not glory.

An important cause of the war was the desire, of some, to maintain their investment in slaves. In other words, the hundreds of thousands of Southern deaths were to insure that African Americans cannot be free. The lofty rhetoric of Memorial Day does not always reflect the squalid reality.

The legend is that May 30 was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any major battles. For many years after WBTS, the southern states had a separate day of remembrance. Confederate Memorial Day is still observed, though not on as large a scale as before.

The next major killing session for the United States was World War I. After this conflict, May 30 evolved into a day to remember all soldiers who died. The south began to embrace the unified holiday.

The United States lost at least 116,516 men in World War I. Almost all of these casualties were in 1918, the last year of the war. The other countries lost far more men. Not one person in a thousand can tell you today why World War I was fought. All it did was provide the causes of World War II, which was even more costly.

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There is a bit of polemic on the internet now, The revolutionary origins of Memorial Day and its political hijacking. It tells the story of an incident in Charleston SC, where newly freed slaves buried some Union soldiers who died in a prison camp. The incident is described as the first Decoration Day, which later evolved into Memorial Day. As the article tells it, this Holiday was intended as a revolutionary statement about Black freedom, and was whitewashed into an all caucasian affair. This is not a good summary of the article, but should do for now. You can read it for yourself.

PG read the article, and started to get a headache. While researching a Memorial Day. post, he came across the Charleston incident. Apparently, it did happen. There were also numerous other remembrances of the fallen soldiers. The War Between the States was an incredibly bloody affair, with many families losing someone. The urge to remember these fallen soldiers was overwhelming. The custom of Decoration Day would probably have happened with, or without, the Charleston incident. It is incorrect to say that those former slaves invented Decoration Day.

There was an exchange of messages. PG left a comment, “That article is not completely true.”

Lendon Sadler Thank you for your comment concerning the historical roots of Memorial day, but could you be so kind as to explain a bit more the inaccuracy contained in the posting.For my sake, and that of my friends, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. And please feel comfortable saying whatever is on your mind in my pages. Sincere regards, Lendon

Luther Mckinnon I will have to think about it some. Also, I am not sure that I have an interest in exploring this issue. I did some research about the celebration in Charleston. It apparently did take place. However, there were other people decorating graves before that. After the carnage of the War Between the States, there seemed to be a lot of activity towards remembering the dead. The slaves in Charleston definitely did not “invent” decoration day. That they had one of the earliest celebrations is notable, but they should not take sole credit. As to the rest of the article… i would have to think about it some, and to tell you the truth I don’t know if I am particularly interested. One of the pieces I read about the evolution of Memorial Day mentioned World War One, which was the next major war the US was involved in after WBTS. Here again, there was a lot of dead soldiers to remember. This was when the holiday evolved into a remembrance of soldiers from all wars. Anyway, I hope this is helpful, and maybe we can explore some of the other issues of that article.

The article in question is at a site called Liberation, “Newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation at LiberationNews.org.” There is a some historic revisionism, with statements like this. “In 1877, the Northern capitalist establishment decisively turned their backs on Reconstruction, striking a deal with the old slavocracy to return the South to white supremacist rule in exchange for the South’s acceptance of capitalist expansion.” Whatever, dude. The article is no longer online.

The custom of Decoration/Memorial Day is pretty much what it says it is… to remember the fallen soldiers of our wars, especially the ones with lots of casualties. According to this source, it was World War I that facilitated the transition from Decoration Day, focused on WBTS, to a Memorial Day that honored the dead of all wars. It almost certainly was not done as a gesture of white supremacy.

The so-called lessons of history are very versatile. You can find whatever facts are convenient for your agenda, and if you don’t get what you need you can make some up. After all, there is nobody alive today that can remember 1877. We have to take the word of whoever tells the tale of a “deal with the old slavocracy.” Sometimes, these stories are more plausible than others.

Sometimes, things just don’t ring true. “The concept that the population must “remember the sacrifice” of U.S. service members, without a critical reflection on the wars themselves, did not emerge by accident. It came about in the Jim Crow period as the Northern and Southern ruling classes sought to reunite the country around apolitical mourning, which required erasing the “divisive” issues of slavery and Black citizenship.”

This is a repost. Notes about the Charleston parade are showing up on facebook. This incident almost certainly took place, and is worth noting. However, it was not the “invention” of Memorial Day. Gentlemen, start your engines. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Duane Allman And The Coricidin Bottle

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on May 27, 2017





Gregg Allman appeared on Live Talks LA, selling a book, My Cross to Bear. Yes, he was coherent. Mr.Allman says something about going through rehab seventeen times. No one argues disputes that he has had an interesting life. This remarkable life ended May 27, 2017. RIP

The chat has a few parts left out. Dicky Betts and Cher are not mentioned. The title of “strangest dude I ever met” goes to Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson, aka the black guy in the group. Gregg says he used to listen to stuff by Roland Kirk.

The story of Duane Allman learning to play slide guitar is good. Duane was sick. Gregg came to see his brother, who was playing the guitar in a new way. It seems the doctor had given him some pills called Coricidin. You take the pills out of the glass bottle, soak the label off, and you have a guitar slider.

When PG was a kid, his uncle was a representative for the company that sold Coriciden. There were boxes of samples in the house, which all came in the glass bottle. PG had not heard that name for forty eight years. The spell check suggestion is Coincidence.

Not everyone at amazon was impressed by the book. “the book was so damged the binding and jacket were ripped that a did not read the book and will not buy an more nick malick.”

This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress. There are two group shots, broken down into smaller images. One is a graduating class of a nursing school at Georgetown University. The photographer lists the date as between 1905 and 1945.

The other image is a line of people waiting to vote. The well dressed citizens are in Clarenden VA. The date is November 4, 1924. The democratic presidential candidate, John W. Davis, was nominated on the 103rd ballot of the democratic convention. He lost to Calvin Coolidge.