Chamblee54

The Burning Of Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 14, 2017

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Around this time 152 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.

The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire Scarlet O’Hara flees in “Gone With The Wind”.

After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.

Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress

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About this time every year, there is a post about the burning of Atlanta. One of the sources is a lecture by Marc Wortman. If you have an hour to spare, this talk is worth your time. One of the stories told is the tale of Mr. Luckie.

“According to folklore, two stories abound as to how Luckie Street was named. The first is that its moniker came from one of Atlanta’s oldest families, and the other, probably closer to the truth, regales the life of Solomon “Sam” Luckie. Luckie, as it turns out, wasn’t so lucky after all. When General William Tecumseh Sherman first came marching through Atlanta in 1864, Luckie, a free Black man who made his living as a barber, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown talking to a group of businessmen. A burst from a cannon shell wounded him; he survived, but later died from his injuries. Folklore suggests that he may have been one of the first casualties of the assault on Atlanta during Sherman’s March to the Sea, and Luckie Street, an extension of the city’s famed Sweet Auburn Avenue, was later named in his memory.”

Marc Wortman wrote a book, The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. The one star review, and comments to that review, are unusually detailed. Here is a selection.

“…People forget – or were never taught in school – that most Confederate soldiers descended from Revolutionary War patriots or were up-country poor sons of farmers. Many Confederate soldiers were relatively recent new arrivals to the U.S., semi-literate dirt poor immigrants from Ireland and Scotland who’d never had the chance to own even an acre of their own land in Europe. In the mix were well-educated, elite merchant business owning French Huguenot refugees of the Catholic Bourbon genocide of Protestants. These immigrants had nowhere else to go, 9 times out of 10 never owned a slave, and fought for the CSA to keep what little they’d hardscrabble carved out over a decade of arrival into the U.S.”

The War Between The States continues to be a source of controversy. After the Charleston church killings, many comments were made about the Confederate battle flag. (If you can’t talk about gun control or mental health, you talk about a symbol.) This led to discussions about the war itself. There were ritual denunciations of slavery, which was assumed to be the sole cause of the conflict. The fact that the vast majority of white southerners did not own slaves was dismissed.

The notion of autonomous states in a federal union was novel when the United States Constitution was written. The debate over federalism versus states rights continues to this day. States that want to legalize marijuana may be the next battleground. (Few are expecting secession over bong rights.) Many in the CSA saw the Union as being a conquering army, and fought to defend their homes. While slavery was certainly a factor in the creation of the CSA, it was not the only Casus belli. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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November 11

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 11, 2017






Veteran’s Day is a bad day for a cynic. On the one hand, I do appreciate living in The United States. With all its flaws, I have had a good life here. The role that Veterans have played is to be honored. On the other hand, those who profit from wars often exploit Veterans for political mojo. Many of these people did not serve.

Veterans are often not treated well after they are through with their service. It is estimated that a quarter of the homeless are veterans. The services offered to wounded veterans returning from War are often lacking. These wounds are both physical and mental.

When I typed the second sentence, I thought of my great grandfather. He served with the Georgia State Troops in the War Between the States. I do prefer the USA to the CSA (or whatever would have happened). Yet, the Union army had to prevail over the various Confederate Armies for this to happen. Do I dishonor my great grandfather by saying I am happy the other side won?

Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. This was the day, 90 years ago, when the War to End All Wars ended. World War I was a ghastly bloodbath, in which millions died. It created many of the problems that plague us today. And I would be willing to bet that not one person in ten thousand today knows what it was about. And yet, the men who fought in that conflict (I don’t think they had women soldiers then) deserve the same gratitude as those who fought in any other conflict.

The soldier…many of whom were drafted…doesn’t get to choose which war to fight in. The sacrifice of the World War II soldier was just as great as the Vietnam fighter, but the appreciation given was much greater. I grew up during Vietnam, and saw the national mood go from patriotic fight to dismayed resistance. By the time I was old enough to get drafted, the Paris accords had been signed. For better or worse, there went my chance.






Veterans day was originally Armistice Day. On November 11, 1918, at 11 am (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) a cease fire went into effect for “The great war”. Officials of the major armies agreed to the ceasefire at 5 am (European time). There were an estimated 11,000 casualties in the last six hours of the war.

At 11:59 am, U.S. army private Henry Gunther became the last soldier to die in World War I.
“According to the Globe and Mail this is the story of the last soldier killed in WW1: On Nov.11, 1918, U.S. army private Henry Gunther stood up during a lull in the machine gun fire and charged the enemy. “The Germans stared in disbelief,” says the Daily Express. “They had been told that morning that the fighting was about to stop; in a few minutes they would stop firing and go home. So why was this American charging at them with his bayonet drawn? They shouted at him to stop and frantically tried to wave him back but… he hadn’t heard anything of the ceasefire.” A German gunner released a five-round burst and the soldier lay dead, at 10:59 a.m. In his recently published Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour, U.S. Military Historian Joseph Persico notes that Private Gunther had previously been a sergeant but was demoted after an Army censor read his letter to a friend back home, urging him to steer clear of the war at all costs. Gunther, who was in no-man’s land when the ceasefire news arrived, had been trying to prove himself worthy of his original rank.”
This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.





Arlo Guthrie

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on November 7, 2017

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This is a rerun post, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The original post was half about Arlo Guthrie, and half about Ralph Reed. Today, only the part about Arlo Guthrie will be shown. If you absolutely must read about Ralph Reed, you can follow the link above, or read Lisa Baron And Ralph Reed TMI.

The entertainment today is about Arlo Guthrie . Thanksgiving is intimately connected to Mr. Guthrie. Unlike the turkey, Mr. Guthrie has gone on to have a flourishing career. He probably will not come down with Huntington’s Disease, which killed his father Woody Guthrie.

The video that goes with this text was the first time PG saw Arlo Guthrie. This was broadcast January 21, 1970. PG was an unhip fifteen year old, who had not heard Alice’s Restaurant, seen the movie, or been to Woodstock. He did see the Johnny Cash show this night, or at least the part where Arlo Guthrie did the motorcycle song.

To quote the digital facility PG is borrowing from:
” Born Arlo Davy Guthrie on July 10, 1947, in New York, NY; son of Woody (a folksinger) and Marjorie Mazia (a dancer; maiden name, Greenblatt) Guthrie; married Jacklyn Hyde, October 9, 1969; children: Abraham, Cathyalicia, Annie Hays, Sarah Lee.” Abraham and Sarah Lee play in Arlo’s touring band.
The Alice’s Restaurant Masacree is a part of Americana now. There are two bits of knowledge, that are as true as anything told to a Persian king. When trying to dispose of some garbage, and finding the city dump closed, Arlo found some litter by the roadside, and made a value judgment…One big pile of garbage is better than two little piles.

The second is about the draft, and the business of choosing people to fight our wars. There is a regulation today that says that Gays and Lesbians are not supposed to be soldiers and sailors. In the tale of the thanksgiving dinner, it was litterbugs. (There was also a draft, and a different war. Lots of Americans were coming home in boxes.) The bottom line: Mr. Guthrie is confused about not being considered moral enough to kill people, because he was a litterbug.

A few years into his career, Arlo Guthrie had a hit record called “City of New Orleans”. It was about a train, and said “Good Morning America”. “City of New Orleans” was written by Steve Goodman, who is no longer with us. Mr. Goodman also wrote the perfect country and western song .

PG heard a story about Steve Goodman.
“The songwriter is Steve Goodman. He gave a show at the Last Resort in Athens GA, that a friend of PG attended. Mr. Goodman tells a story about performing on a train, during a series of concerts supporting Hubert Humphrey. It seems like Mr. Goodman had to use the restroom on the train. Now, in those days, the trains did not use holding tanks, but just ejected the matter by the tracks as they rode by. Mr. Goodman was told, do not flush the commode while the train is in the station. Mr. Goodman forgot the instructions. Mr. Humphrey said ”I am going to give the people of this country what they deserve”, Mr. Goodman flushed the commode, and sprayed the crowd. PG is not sure if he believes this, but it is a good story.” ( A biographer of Mr. Goodman said said that the candidate was Edmund Muskie. He also says that David Allen Coe had nothing to do with the last verse of the perfect country and western song.)
As previously noted, this is a repost from five years ago. In that time, the policy against gay people serving in the military has been dismantled. The Ralph Reeds of the world are more upset about the concept of gay marriage, than by gay people killing Muslims. Vietnam is a peaceful country, and is enjoying economic good times. The draft is something old fogies remember. The current fashion is to support war by demanding a tax cut.

Arlo Guthrie continues to make music. USA Today had a feature recently, Arlo Guthrie celebrates 50 years at ‘Alice’s Restaurant’. Arlo Davy Guthrie has a twitter account, @folkslinger, and a full head of white hair. His wife of 43 years, Jackie Guthrie, died Oct. 14, 2012. The Lenox Square theater was torn down to make way for a food court many years ago.

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Smedley Butler

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 2, 2017









There was a feature the other day on the innertube called War is a racket . It was about a man with the unlikely name of Smedley Butler . Pictures for today’s adventure are from The Library of Congress. The video features an actor named Graham Frye in the role of General Butler. The video is courtesy of Smedley D. Butler Brigade Chapter 9 Veterans For Peace. This is a repost.

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler was a star of the U.S. Marine Corps. He lied about his age to enlist during the Spanish American War. Mr. Butler served in Philippines, China, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and World War I. With the exception of World War I, most of these conflicts are forgotten today.

Smedley Butler received the Medal of Honor twice.
“His first Medal of Honor was presented following action at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21-22 April 1914, where he commanded the Marines who landed and occupied the city. Maj Butler “was eminent and conspicuous in command of his Battalion. He exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22nd and in the final occupation of the city…The following year, he was awarded the second Medal of Honor for bravery and forceful leadership as Commanding Officer of detachments of Marines and seamen of the USS Connecticut in repulsing Caco resistance on Fort Riviere, Haiti, 17 November 1915.”
After his retirement in 1931, Mr. Butler had a change of heart, and decided that killing for Uncle Sam was not such a great idea. He wrote a book, “War is a Racket”, and became a popular speaker. Here is a “money quote”…
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.”
Smedley Butler died June 21, 1940. Eighteen months later, America was at War again. How he would have reacted to that conflict is a mystery.

Man Trap

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 25, 2017

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John Booth was an actor, and firearm enthusiast. He was a ruthless critic of productions that did not include him. When something displeased Mr. Booth, it was necessary to let people know about it. Someone told the actor that boo was short for Booth. He believed this, and was forced to find other ways to express his displeasure. This is a repost.

A play called “Our American Cousin” gave a performance in Washington DC in 1865. In act two of OAC, a lady called another lady “you sockdologizing old man-trap.” The crowd roared with laughter. Mr. Booth thought the line insipid, and looked for a way to express his anger.

When Mr. Booth was through with his commentary, he jumped out of the balcony. The riding spur on his boot caught a drape. Mr. Booth landed with all the weight on one leg. The leg was badly broken. It would have been less painful if Mr. Booth swallowed his pride, and said boo. Pictures for today’s entertainment are from The Library of Congress.

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Oscar Wilde

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

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October 16 is Oscar Wilde’s birthday. On that day in 1854, he appeared in Dublin, Ireland. He is one of the most widely quoted people in the english language. Some of those quotes are real. Since he was a published author, it should be easy to verify what he really said. This birthday celebration is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.

One night in 1974, PG was talking to someone, and did not know who Oscar Wilde was. The conversational partner was horrified. PG became educated, and learned about a misunderstanding with the Marquess of Queensberry. Soon the “Avenge Oscar Wilde” signs made sense.

Mr. Wilde once made a speaking tour in the United States. One afternoon, in Washington D.C., the playwright met Walt Whitman. Thee and thou reportedly did the “Wilde thing”.

The tour then went to Georgia. A young black man had been hired as a valet for Mr. Wilde on this tour. On the train ride from Atlanta to Augusta, some people told Mr. Wilde that he could not ride in the same car as the valet. This was very confusing.

After his various legal difficulties, Oscar Wilde moved to Paris. He took ill, while staying in a tacky hotel. He looked up, and said “either that wallpaper goes, or I do”. Soon, Oscar Wilde passed away.

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Pauline Kael, Gina James, And James Broughton

Posted in History, Library of Congress, The English Language, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 12, 2017

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Pauline Kael was the rockstar film critic. James Broughton was the radical faerie poet laureate. They were lovers, and had a daughter, Gina James. Pauline and James were not married, contrary to what some naysayers would tell you. This is a repost.

Much of the information in this feature is taken from online reviews of Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, a 2012 biography written by Brian Kellow. Gina James, also known as Gina Broughton, was not interviewed for the book. Neither did she participate in the making of Big Joy, a movie about James Broughton. (A wig store, Gina Beauty Supply is located at 25 W Broughton St, Savannah, GA 31401.)

Pauline Kael was born June 19, 1919, Petaluma, CA, died September 3, 2001, Great Barrington, MA, and stood 4 feet 9 inches tall. James Broughton was born November 10, 1913, Modesto, CA, and died May 17, 1999, Port Townsend, WA. Neither one had a middle name. Both used their birth name throughout life. Both had lives, before meeting in the late forties.

When she met James Broughton, Miss Kael was living what would later be called the bohemian life. After moving to New York, and being dumped for composer Samuel Barber, Miss Kael moved back to California. “Returning to the Bay Area with her tail between her legs in 1945, Pauline became involved with the incredibly effeminate avant-garde filmmaker James Broughton. He managed to impregnate Pauline but threw her out as soon as she told him, whereupon she moved to Santa Barbara to give birth to her daughter, Gina, in 1948″

“Like her early career, Kael’s personal life was also fraught with failures. Kellow says “she had a habit of falling for gay men” earlier in her life because “they tended to share her passions and enthusiasms.” She had a daughter … with one of them, experimental filmmaker James Broughton.”

“For a time, during the 1940s, he lived with future film critic Pauline Kael. She encouraged his filmmaking endeavors but their relationship ended after she got pregnant. … Pauline Kael thought that Broughton made the biggest mistake of his life when he turned down a studio film after winning the prize at Cannes.” (Apparently Mr. Broughton was from a wealthy family, and could afford this attitude. Regarding his movie The Bed, Mr. Broughton said “It was the only film I created that ever made any money.”)

“Which brings us to the strange tale of Pauline’s only child, Gina James. … In 1948, at age 29, Kael got pregnant after she “talked her way into moving in” with James Broughton, a bisexual poet living in Sausalito. By Kellow’s account, Broughton was furious at the news of Kael’s pregnancy; he felt trapped and tricked by her. One of Broughton’s friends reported that he kicked Kael out of his house. She moved to Santa Barbara to have the baby. The birth certificate listed the father as “Lionel James, a writer”. It is one of the disappointments of the book that Kellow shines little light on Kael’s passion — or whatever it was — for Broughton, on how she processed that cruel rejection and on whether Broughton ever recognized Gina as his daughter.”

James Broughton moved on with his life. He made experimental films, got married, and fathered two more children. At some point he met Joel Singer, and began the romance that would last the rest of his life. It is tough to say whether he was genuinely bisexual, or whether he was playing the role society expected of him.

This review of Big Joy continues: “But interviews with Singer, waxing poetic about his years with the artist, are balanced by reminiscences from Broughton’s ex-wife and his abandoned son. Rather than only celebrating silliness, I found it admirable that the directors didn’t gloss over the pain he caused his wife and children. After all, when you think about it, he spent all of his life unable to decide if he was gay or straight; leaving a lot of broken hearts in his wake.

We learn from Kael that he flirted with everyone he met. “He rode off into the sunset with some guy,” his wife, Suzanna Hart tells us. “That was very sad for me, but not for him, which was…very irritating.” In her segments, Hart keeps her emotions in check but you can clearly read the sadness and anger in her face. The son doesn’t have much good to say about his absent father and the two daughters (the first by Kael and the second by Hart) both refused to be interviewed for the film. Singer has a lot to say about their blissful decades together, but he also comes off a bit heartless when he shows no guilt over breaking up what he calls Broughton’s “loveless” marriage.”

The baby daddy leaves, and the struggling writer becomes a single mom. “… Kael’s relationship with her actual daughter was something out of a Tennessee Williams play, and not in a good way. Kael home-schooled Gina and, as the girl grew up, kept her close, as a typist, projectionist, driver and right-hand man, and she banished any friend who actively encouraged the young woman to break out on her own. Though she was in many ways a loving and committed mother, helping to raise Gina’s son and always living nearby, one senses a Gothic selfishness in her mothering.”

Gina James declined to talk with Kellow for his book, but the author says Kael and her daughter had a sort of symbiotic relationship. “Pauline did not type, Pauline did not drive — Gina performed both those functions for her. And Gina was a very good critic of Pauline. She got to see Pauline’s copy before anyone else did and she often had very, very important and influential things to say. But Pauline really wasn’t wild about the idea of Gina breaking away and having her own life apart from her, and she didn’t do anything really to encourage her in that direction as far as I can see.”

Amazon one star comment: And her poor daughter – what a fate – TYPING all that. Poor Gina, — I can see her – Kellow described sitting silently in some coffee shop while her mother raved on and ON with her pet directors.

An affair with the experimental filmmaker James Broughton produced a child, Gina, whom Kael raised by herself, Mildred Pierce–like, heroically supporting them with a number of odd jobs, including running a laundry. Gina’s heart condition required expensive surgery, and Kael ended up enticing Edward Landberg, the owner of a local art-house theater, Berkeley Cinema Guild. They had begun as co-programmers. As Landberg tells it: “One day, when I was over at her place, I happened to graze her breast with my hand, and she kind of looked up and said, ‘What have you got to lose?’” Their marriage proved a fiasco, but Landberg agreed to pay for Gina’s operation, which Kellow suspects had been Kael’s motive all along…. Kellow shows more independence in assessing Kael’s treatment of her daughter Gina, whose ambitions to become a dancer or a painter she did little to encourage, preferring to keep her on “a silver cord . . . she had also grown accustomed to the steady, dependable role that Gina played—as secretary, driver, reader, sounding board—and she was loath to give her up.” Gina, for her part, was mistrustful of the dynamic she witnessed between Kael and her acolytes.“

“The closest and longest-lasting partnership of her life was with her daughter, Gina James … James considered speaking to Kellow, but finally declined, leaving a blank space at the center of this otherwise vividly detailed biography. Gina lived with her mother till she was over 30, typed up her reviews after Pauline stayed up all night writing them in longhand, and gave up both college and a shot at a dance career to serve as her mother’s caretaker, companion, and driver….

Kellow cites the text of the breathtakingly passive-aggressive eulogy that Gina delivered at her mother’s funeral in 2001: “My mother had tremendous empathy and compassion, though how to comfort, soothe or console was a mystery that eluded her … . Pauline’s greatest weakness, her failure as a person, became her great strength, her liberation as a writer and critic . … she turned her lack of self-awareness into a triumph.”

One more chapter remains. “Gina lived with Kael well into her thirties … That she married and had a child, Will, seemed to catch Kael by surprise, though she ended up adoring her only grandchild, someone with whom she could watch action movies with.

Kael died in 2001, when Will was about 19. Unfortunately, and Kellow made no mention of this in his book whatsoever, there’s a horrible postscript, one that may well have been the reason for why Gina declined to be interviewed for the book. On October 6, 2007, Will, then 25, went hiking in the East Mountain State Forest in the Berkshires. He was an avid hiker, not to mention a devoted martial artist. He had a girlfriend. He never came back. Gina reported him missing, but his body wasn’t found for more than week, on October 15. … “authorities found camping equipment nearby and while cause of death has not been determined, foul play is not suspected.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. UPDATE These two comments were made to the original post. Anonymous said, on June 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm Your piece on Kael and Broughton is rife with misinformation and judgements galore and unbelievably badly written. Get a life and stop spreading falsehoods. And next time you put your fingers to a keyboard do your due diligence! James’ son was NOT ABANDONED! He lived happily with the two of us after the divorce. You fail to recognize that James’ ex-wife was a classic fag hag who had been married to another gay man before her relationship with James. She had been in psychotherapy for years before they got together and for many years after they split up. James certainly did not spend the rest of his life uncertain about his sexuality. Read his autobiography COMING UNBUTTONED and you’ll discover how misinformed your take on him is. You have done a great disservice to your readers by publishing such homophobic nonsense. Joel Singer ~ Sterling Wilson said, on August 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm Curious about this autobiography, I found the following from a Publishers Weekly review “Broughton forsakes introspection for literary gossip and name-dropping: Kenneth Rexroth, Pauline Kael, Dylan Thomas, Anais Nin. The birth of a daughter is dispensed with in two sentences. Broughton’s insistence on making himself the center of attention increasingly intrudes.”

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Dick Nixon TV Critic

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 30, 2017






The text below is a conversation between Mr. Nixon, John D. Ehrlichman, and H. R. Haldeman. The tape was made May 13, 1971. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

NIXON: … CBS … glorifying homosexuality.

EHRLICHMAN: A panel show?

H. R. HALDEMAN: No, it’s a regular show. It’s on every week. It’s usually just done in the guy’s home. It’s usually just that guy, who’s a hard hat.

NIXON: That’s right; he’s a hard hat.

EHRLICHMAN: He always looks like a slob.

NIXON: Looks like Jackie Gleason.

HALDEMAN: He has this hippie son-in-law, and usually the general trend is to downgrade him and upgrade the son-in-law–make the square hard hat out to be bad. But a few weeks ago, they had one in which the guy, the son-in-law, wrote a letter to you, President Nixon, to raise hell about something. And the guy said, “You will not write that letter from my home!” Then said, “I’m going to write President Nixon,” took off all those sloppy clothes, shaved, and went to his desk and got ready to write his letter to President Nixon. And apparently it was a good episode.

EHRLICHMAN: What’s it called?

NIXON: “Archie’s Guys.” Archie is sitting here with his hippie son-in-law, married to the screwball daughter. The son-in-law apparently goes both ways. This guy. He’s obviously queer–wears an ascot–but not offensively so. Very clever. Uses nice language. Shows pictures of his parents. And so Arch goes down to the bar. Sees his best friend, who used to play professional football. Virile, strong, this and that. Then the fairy comes into the bar. I don’t mind the homosexuality. I understand it. Nevertheless, goddamn, I don’t think you glorify it on public television, homosexuality, even more than you glorify whores. We all know we have weaknesses. But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids? You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that. So was Socrates.

EHRLICHMAN: But he never had the influence television had.

NIXON: You know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. Neither in a public way. You know what happened to the popes? They were layin’ the nuns; that’s been goin’ on for years, centuries. But the Catholic Church went to hell three or four centuries ago. It was homosexual, and it had to be cleaned out. That’s what’s happened to Britain. It happened earlier to France. Let’s look at the strong societies. The Russians. Goddamn, they root ’em out. They don’t let ’em around at all. I don’t know what they do with them. Look at this country. You think the Russians allow dope? Homosexuality, dope, immorality, are the enemies of strong societies. That’s why the Communists and left-wingers are clinging to one another. They’re trying to destroy us. I know Moynihan will disagree with this, and Mitchell will. But, goddamn, we have to stand up to this.

EHRLICHMAN: It’s fatal liberality.

NIXON: Huh?

EHRLICHMAN: It’s fatal liberality. And with its use on television, it has such leverage.

NIXON: You know what’s happened [in northern California]?

EHRLICHMAN: San Francisco has just gone clear over.

NIXON: But it’s not just the ratty part of town. The upper class in San Francisco is that way. The Bohemian Grove, which I attend from time to time–it is the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine, with that San Francisco crowd. I can’t shake hands with anybody from San Francisco. … Decorators. They got to do something. But we don’t have to glorify it. You know one of the reasons fashions have made women look so terrible is because the designers hate women. Designers taking it out on the women. Now they’re trying to get some more sexy things coming on again.

EHRLICHMAN: Hot pants.

NIXON: Jesus Christ.






Greeted As Liberators Part Two

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, War by chamblee54 on September 17, 2017


Paul Wolfowitz has been a government player for years. After finishing his education, he got a job in the Nixon Administration, and worked with Ford and Reagan. He became a star under GHWB and GWB. Mr. Wolfowitz never served in the military.

Under George W. Bush, Mr. Wolfowitz was Deputy Secretary of Defense. After 911, he became a forceful advocate of War in Iraq. He is regarded by some as the “Architect of the War in Iraq”.

On February 27, 2003, Mr. Wolfowitz testified before congress.
“There has been a good deal of comment—some of it quite outlandish—about what our postwar requirements might be in Iraq. Some of the higher end predictions we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq, are wildly off the mark. It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take … to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army…”
The conquest was the easy part. The occupation, the act of putting humpty dumpty back together, has been the tough part. More than a few people saw this in 2003.

Mr. Wolfowitz gave an interview to Vanity Fair magazine May 9, 2009. The interview had a quote about WMD.
“The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.” The possession of WMD by “next Hitler” Saddam Hussein was one of the leading reasons for the invasion. Iraq was known to have used poison gas against the Kurds (while he was an ally of the United States). The warehouses of WMD have never been found.
In 1941, The United States was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor. A declaration of war was issued within a week. There was no settling on an issue for bureaucratic reasons.

PG found a transcript of the complete interview. The link no longer works. HT to Tom Dispatch. Apparently, Mr. Wolfowitz likes to talk. The part that interested PG concerns the Cruise missile, and other “smart” weapons. It seems as though the research on these weapons was almost suspended. The United States was negotiating arms control with The Soviet Union. The Cruise missile was almost abandoned as a concession to the Soviets. The Navy supported this, as they felt that the torpedoes on submarines were taking up too much room already.

This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress. The pictures were taken in Omaha NE, in November 1938. The photographer was John Vachon, working for the Farm Security Administrative.

Slavery And The Star Spangled Banner

Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on September 14, 2017






There is a terrific Backstory episode about the War of 1812. This is a conflict that is not much thought about, even during its bicentennial. It was not a good war for people of color. Native tribes fought with the British in Michigan, and were soundly defeated. After this war, the attitude of the white man towards the natives got worse.
Perhaps the most famous product of the War of 1812 is The Star Spangled Banner, a.k.a. the national anthem. There are a few legends about writing this song that skeptical bloggers like to shoot down. At the 43 minute mark of the backstory episode, another aspect of TSSB is discussed.
It seems as though slaves were escaping their owners, and fighting with the British. Washington lawyer Francis Scott Key was a slave owner, and thought that the slaves would be better off with their owners. This is the sentiment behind the third verse of TSSB.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The image of F.S. Key has been cleaned up over the years. This biography omits the third verse of TSSB, and does not mention his slaves. Wikipedia tells a different story. “President Jackson nominated Key for United States Attorney for the District of Columbia in 1833.”

“In 1836, Key prosecuted New York doctor Reuben Crandall, brother of controversial Connecticut school teacher Prudence Crandall, for “seditious libel” for possessing a trunk full of anti-slavery publications in his Georgetown residence. In a trial that attracted nationwide attention, Key charged that Crandall’s actions had the effect of instigating enslaved people to rebel. Crandall’s attorneys acknowledged he opposed slavery but denied any intent or actions to encourage rebellion. In his final address to the jury, Key said “Are you willing gentleman to abandon your country, to permit it to be taken from you, and occupied by the abolitionist, according to whose taste it is to associate and amalgamate with the negro? Or gentleman, on the other hand, are there laws in this community to defend you from the immediate abolitionist, who would open upon you the floodgates of such extensive wickedness and mischief?” Crandall was acquitted.”

The Huffington Post has a story about F.S. Key, ‘Land of the Free?’ Francis Scott Key, Composer of National Anthem, Was Defender of Slavery.

Buying and selling humans remained a respectable business in Washington City. The slave holding elite of the south had a majority in the Congress and a partner in President Andrew Jackson…
To reassert the rule of law, Key set out to crack down on the anti-slavery men and their “incendiary publications.” Informants had reported to the grand jury about an abolitionist doctor from New York who was living in Georgetown. Key charged Rueben Crandall with bringing a trunk full of anti-slavery publications into the city.
In the spring of 1836, Key’s prosecution of Rueben Crandall was a national news story. In response, the American Antislavery Society circulated a broadsheet denouncing Washington as “The Slave Market of America.” The abolitionists needled Key for the hypocrisy of using his patriotic fame to defend tyranny in the capital: “Land of the Free… Home of the Oppressed.”
Key shrugged off his liberal critics. In front of courtroom crowded with Congressmen and correspondents Key waxed eloquent and indignant at the message of the abolitionists. “They declare that every law which sanctions slavery is null and void… ” Key told the jury. “That we have no more rights over our slaves than they have over us. Does not this bring the constitution and the laws under which we live into contempt? Is it not a plain invitation to resist them?”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The Star Spangled Banner was written September 14, 1814. It is controversial today. This is a repost. The original Backstory episode is no longer available. However, this story makes many of the same points.






Nine Eleven Story

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on September 11, 2017

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This is my 911 story. I repeat it every year at this time. If you saw it last year, it has not changed. Feel free to skip the text and look at the pictures, from The Library of Congress.

I was at work, and someone called out that someone had run a plane into the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it, until I heard that the second tower had been hit, then the Pentagon, then the towers collapsed, then a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

I focused on my job most of the day. There was always drama at that facility, and concentrating on my production duties helped to keep me saner. This was roughly the halfway point of my seven year tenure at this place.

One of the other workers was a bully for Jesus. He was a hateful loudmouth. After the extent of the damage became known, he shouted “They are doing this for Allah,” and prayed at his desk. The spectacle of the BFJ praying made me want to puke.

I became alienated from Jesus during these years. Once, I had once been tolerant of Christians and Jesus, as one would be with an eccentric relative. I began to loath the entire affair. I hear of others who found comfort in religion during this difficult time. That option simply was not available for me.

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Hair

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Race by chamblee54 on August 26, 2017

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There is a tasteful feature on the innertubes now, A Few Good Reasons Why White People Should Not Wear “Mohawks” or Dreadlocks. Yes, this is another polemic about cultural appropriation. If you want to skip the text, and look at the pictures, no one will get mad. Or get even. If you read the text, you might get odd. It is your choice.

The gist of the tract is
“When white people wear “Mohawks” or dreadlocks it twists those hairstyles into symbols of privilege rather than symbols of survival and resistance.” Little is known about why the Natives of Upstate New York wore their hair the way they did. Isn’t calling this hair choice “symbols of survival and resistance” playing into the game of misunderstanding non European cultures? Anthropology is not an exact science.
The tract is not well written. Maybe the author feels like using good grammar is appropriating someone else’s culture.

There is one part of the tract that had PG shaking his buzz cut head.
This is a free country. Can’t I do whatever I want? This country has never been free for people of color/non-white people. Certainly, you can choose wear your hair however you want. Historically, however, people of color have not been able to make that choice. This is not why the Bronner Brothers are multi millionaires. Black Americans spend more on hair care products than the gross national product of many African countries.
Both mohawks and dreadlocks are high maintenance affairs. After his struggles with shoulder length redneck curls, PG is not about to shave the sides of a beaver tail every day. And dreadlocks have always seemed to be just a bit on the dirty side. The rastas are welcome to wear dreadlocks, as long as they pass the spliff.

One thing PG has wondered was answered as a result of this polemic. Did the Mohawk tribe really wear their hair that way? When you type “Did the Mohawk… ” into google, the rest of the phrase to pop up is “Did the Mohawk Indians have mohawks?” Someone else has wondered the same thing. Wikipedia has more information.

The mohawk (also referred to as a mohican in British English) is a hairstyle in which, in the most common variety, both sides of the head are shaven, leaving a strip of noticeably longer hair in the center. Though mohawk is associated mostly with punk rock subculture, today it has entered mainstream fashion. The mohawk is also sometimes referred to as an iro in reference to the Iroquois, from whom the hairstyle is derived – though historically the hair was plucked out rather than shaved. … The Mohawk and the rest of the Iroquois confederacy (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Tuscarora and Oneida) in fact wore a square of hair on the back of the crown of the head. The Mohawk did not shave their heads when creating this square of hair, but rather pulled the hair out, small tufts at a time. … Therefore a true hairstyle of the Mohawks was one of plucked-out hair, leaving a three-inch square of hair on the back crown of the head with three short braids of hair decorated.

They didn’t shave the sides of the head, they plucked the hair out. That does eliminate the need to shave the sides of your head every day. This is not the way the fashion conscious hair people do the modern mohawk. The question arises if this non authentic hairstyle is really cultural appropriation.

Part of the polemic took a question and answer format.
“But, I wear my hair this way as a statement against oppressive cultures and governments. How is that racist?” “You can take a stand against oppression and dominant cultures without appropriating the cultures of the people being hurt by them. Appropriation actually enforces oppression, it does not stand against it. Appropriation is part of the problem, not part of the solution”
To paraphrase this, you can be anti racist without proudly avoiding high maintenance hairdoos. Especially one that bears little resemblance to the actual article.












There was a statement in yesterday’s post . “Black Americans spend more on hair care products than the gross national product of many African countries.” This was tossed out in a careless moment, which is not a good thing to do. Today’s post is an investigation. For purposes of this report, America’s gross national product is the republican party.

Finding out how much African Americans spend on hair care is more google intensive than this slack reporter imagined. Madame Noire has a feature, Black Women Spend Half a Trillion Dollars on Haircare and Weaves! Why? “Black women spend half a trillion dollars to keep our hairstyles tight, our weaves looking good and our “kitchens” tamed. Why do we do this?” The $500 billion figure might include pain and suffering. Target Market News is more conservative, reporting “Personal Care Products and Services – $6.66 billion”.

In the chatter about a Chris Rock movie, Good Hair, the phrase “9 billion dollar hair trade industry” is used. The Magazine Publishers of America report that advertising spending on “Hair Products & Accessories” was $1,242,700 in 2007.

The short answers are “a lot”, and “we don’t know”. It is probably less that $500 Billion. For the purposes of this feature, we will go with a conservative estimate. This would be Target Market News. Since not all “Personal Care Products and Services” are hair related, we will call our number Five Billion. This is probably a conservative figure, but for our purposes it will do.

The second part of the statement was “Black Americans spend more on hair care products than the gross national product of many African countries.” The numbers come from Wikipedia and the International Money Fund. There are sixteen African countries with GNP less than $5 billion. They include: Mauritania, Swaziland, Togo, Eritrea, Lesotho, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Liberia, Seychelles, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, and São Tomé and Príncipe. The last seven have a GNP less than the amount spent advertising hair products and accessories for Black Americans.

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

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