According to Chicago journalist Monroe Anderson, Barack Obama and his family have resigned their membership in Trinity United Church of Christ.
Follow this link to see a breaking-news video clip on CNN, with Roland Martin commenting by telephone.
“What worries me is this: Can we expect a President Obama to cave in to the whims and will of the right on policies and issues he knows are important...? Can we expect him to genuflect to negative reports by an uninformed, misinformed or ill-willed media? Is the candidate of change willing to go-along in a willy-nilly get-along fashion?
“I hope not, but I’m not sure.”
I say: After the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a left-wing Catholic priest, acted a clown last Sunday as a guest speaker at Trinity United... mocking Hillary Clinton and drawing more negative attention to Obama... Obama had to make a break.
Or else spend the next five months having to answer for the next loudmouth who decides to pop shit from that pulpit.
I’m curious to see how much pushback there’ll be from black folks. You know... calling Obama a punk or a sellout for abandoning his faith community because of Fox News.
If Barack Obama is so naïve that he didn’t understand the political ramifications of belonging to a black-nationalist church, then he’s not as sharp as he appears to be.
If you recall the name Luther Ingram, it’s probably because of his big hit single from 1972 – “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right.” One of the great soul ballads of the 1970s.
I remembered the hook vividly. But until I heard it again recently, I didn’t remember the intro. It’s a real sweet intro, with a weeping guitar, and it made me think: “Those ’70s soul records were put together well!” The unsung heroes were the arrangers and sessions musicians.
Anyway, Luther Ingram passed away last year. And his music has been hard to find.
His LP “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right” was digitally reissued this month. But here’s the deal: It was ripped from vinyl, with a few crackles and pops.
Personally, I’d find it hard to spend money on that... especially because there’s a new “Best of Luther Ingram” CD, which evidently was made from the original master tapes. (It’s downloadable from iTunes.)
For a FREE MP3, however, I can tolerate a few crackles and pops.
Click here to hear how the old single sounds on my Vox blog. If you want to download it, click the song title below.
I had no idea the Bee was back upon us! I am so happy now!
(Shonda Rhimes, creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” has been live-blogging the early rounds at ALOTT5MA.)
So... 45 kids have reached the semifinal round. At 11 a.m. Eastern Time (8 a.m. Pacific), ESPN will broadcast all the action and the drama LIVE from Washington, D.C. ... with ABC presenting the finals tonight in prime time.
And guess what, y’all? There’s a Jamaican girl still in the mix! Yep, a little racial rooting interest for those who might need it. Her name is Sade Dunbar.
Go, Sade! Don’t let the South Asians intimidate you.
(Oh, you know those 45 semifinalists include little Shiva, Sameer, Sidharth, Samia, Akshat, Arushi, Kavya, Jahnavi, Mouctika and Vaibhav. The Indians don’t bullshit!)
Lordy... it’s gonna be like trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve now...
UPDATE (05/30/08): They’re dropping like flies, and it’s only 8:30! Canadian crew’s getting wiped out by words like tonneau and hooley.
10:02 a.m. (Pacific Time) – They’re down to the Top 24... and the black girl’s still in it. ...
10:34 a.m. – Yeah, girl! Sade Dunbar just advanced to the next round. She nailed galbulus... a devilish word I’d never heard of. Look like she struggled with it, too. But she got it! She is one of the Top 16. ...
11:22 a.m. – Aw crap. Sade’s gone. She missed hidradenitis, talkin’ about “H-Y...”
But that’s all right. She finished No. 15 out of 288 competitors this year. And she bore the hopes and dreams of a people on her wee shoulders. I salute you, Sade Dunbar.
Today, I revisit the concept of “eccentric blackness,” which I blogged about here and here. I have a warm place in my heart for black musicians who do their thing with a difference.
Off the wall? Out to lunch? Bring it on!
In March I pointed to two free downloads by Lightspeed Champion, a.k.a. Devonte Hynes. Born in the U.S.A. but raised in England, Hynes is a quite idiosyncratic indie rocker. I mean... look at him.
Lightspeed Champion returns to America next week for a club tour in support of his debut album. He’ll hit D.C., Philly, New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, L.A. and more. A busy month indeed.
In eccentric fashion, he is hyping his tour with a nutty 2-minute YouTube video (below). And he says he’ll be on “Conan O’Brien” on June 6... a week from tomorrow. Yay for eccentric blackness!!
More black eccentricity coming later this evening... You have been warned!
Do a Google blog search for the phrase “walking gaffe machine.” That’s the latest line of attack against Barack Obama from the right-wing noise factories.
Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, in a column last week, described Obama as a “walking, talking gaffe machine”... because Obama does things on the campaign trail like mixing up Sioux Falls (South Dakota) with Sioux City (Iowa).
Now “walking gaffe machine” is spreading across the blogosphere like a rash on a baboon’s ass.
Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show today, pumped up the meme. He called Sen. Obama a “walking gaffe machine” for claiming that his uncle had helped liberate the Auschwitz concentration camp. (Actually, the Soviet Red Army did that; Obama was referring to Buchenwald.)
“Don’t we think these guys running for president ought to know something about their own country?” Limbaugh ranted.
I have two things to say. Number one: Compared to Scott McClellan’s fresh reminder that the Bush Administration plunged us into war with a campaign of deception and propaganda... Obama’s misstatements don’t seem like much.
Number two: Rush Limbaugh isn’t qualified to police other people’s gaffes. That genius didn’t even know that polio and smallpox are caused by viruses. Seriously... Rush has never heard of “the polio virus”!
On April 24, Rush Limbaugh talked about a news report that said scientists are pessimistic about the development of an AIDS vaccine.
“We’re talking about a virus, are we not?” Limbaugh said. “Do we have a cure for any virus? ... We don’t have a vaccine against the common cold, which is a virus. ... My common sense is, we don’t have a cure for any virus.
“And so the notion that we were ever gonna have a cure for AIDS, or even a vaccine for it...”
At this point, someone informed Rush that smallpox is, indeed, a virus. “Smallpox is a virus,” he said. “So we do have a vaccine for that. ... But polio, that’s not a virus.”
YES IT IS, DUMB-ASS!
The greatest achievements of modern medicine – the eradication of smallpox and the near-eradication of polio – Rush Limbaugh is totally ignorant about.
Click here to hear a 3-minute audio clip of Rush revealing this ignorance. It’s quite comical... unless you happen to have HIV or know someone who does.
Speaking of comical, let’s remember that sweet day in 2004 when Michelle Malkin got OWNED by Chris Matthews on “Hardball.” The subject: Sen. John Kerry’s war wounds:
Soul-jazz pioneer Jimmy McGriff, a master of the Hammond organ, died Saturday in a New Jersey nursing home. It took a few days for the word to spread to the mainstream press.
McGriff was 72. His prolific recording career stretched from the early 1960s to shortly after 9-11.
James Harrell McGriff was born and raised in Philadelphia, and even served as a Philly cop in the ’50s before devoting himself to the music.
There is a jazz-organ brotherhood that McGriff is smack in the middle of. He desired to learn the instrument after watching Richard “Groove” Holmes. McGriff took lessons from Holmes’s mentor – the great Jimmy Smith.
Eventually, McGriff inspired a young sax player named Charles Earland to switch over to the Hammond B3.
Click here to hear “The Worm,” which was a hit single for Jimmy McGriff 40 years ago.
Funeral services will be held next Tuesday at the Harold O. Davis Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
As you all know, I like searching the internets for the best free (and legal) music downloads out there. Over the past 10 months, I’ve linked to more than 180 FREE MP3s.
Today’s freebie is the coolest ever. For one thing, it’s 28 minutes long! It’s so long, I can’t stream it all on my Vox blog. (Vox limits the size of audio uploads.)
It’s a live performance by the legendary folk singer Odetta. Her 1996 set at the Kerrville Folk Festival is available on a budget CD called “Odetta.” (It was originally released under the title “To Ella.”)
The 28-minute track – “Suite: Ancestors 1” – is an extended medley. Click here to hear a 13½-minute excerpt which combines the prison songs “Another Man Done Gone” and “Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos”... the slave lullaby “All the Pretty Horses”... the “white spiritual” (as Odetta and others call it) “Poor Wayfaring Stranger”... and the folk ballad “900 Miles.”
The complete track – which you can download by clicking the title below – also contains “Red Clay Country,” “Oh Shenandoah,” “I Just Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Sometimes” and “I Be’s Troubled.” Nothing but Odetta and her guitar. It is quite breathtakingly beautiful.
Movie director Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood hitmaker for four decades, died this afternoon from cancer. He was 73.
Mr. Pollack will be best remembered for “Tootsie,” a classic American comedy. But I’m embarrassed to realize how many of his films I haven’t seen, such as “Three Days of the Condor,” “Absence of Malice” (even though I was a journalist) and “Out of Africa.”
His first feature film as a director – “The Slender Thread” in 1965 – starred Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. I never saw that one either, but I’ve embedded the trailer below to honor his passing.
Sydney Pollack was one of the celebrities Elvis Mitchell interviewed for his upcoming chat show on Turner Classic Movies, “Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence.” That show is due to premiere in July.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai returned today to Zimbabwe, where he will face President Robert Mugabe in a run-off election next month.
Reports of political violence – specifically the beating and killing of Tsvangirai supporters by government-backed thugs – have been coming out of Zimbabwe for weeks.
In that context, consider this headline from an editorial published yesterday in the Zimbabwe Herald, the government-run newspaper:
“Let’s Disembowel Tsvangirai on June 27.”
Not till the end of that editorial do you realize the word “disembowel” is meant figuratively. (Or is it?)
According to the Herald, Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are sock puppets for the “regime change agenda” of Britain and the United States.
“[I]f some among us continue giving the Westerners hope by voting for the MDC, they will only be too eager to keep ratcheting the pressure in the hope that one day, we will capitulate,” according to the Herald.
“However, if we send a clear message to them that we have seen through their ruse by shunning Tsvangirai and overwhelmingly endorsing President Mugabe, they will be compelled to leave us alone.
“June 27 is the day we should send that message, let it be the day we disembowel the neo-colonial project.”
Follow this link to watch a 1½-minute BBC news report on Tsvangirai’s return to Zimbabwe.
Yes, Keith Olbermann is the most self-important jackass on American television.
Whenever he unburdens himself of another so-called “Special Comment,” I prepare to be astounded yet again by his graceless prose, his ham acting, his pretenses to historical wisdom and his overarching tone of disrespect.
Still, I am mightily entertained whenever Keith goes off on Hillary Clinton... as he did tonight.
Thomas “Fats” Waller – one of the great jazz musicians of all time, and probably the funniest – was born on May 21, 1904. He had a fruitful recording career, but he died too young – in December of 1943.
I’m streaming one of Waller’s final recordings on my Vox blog. Click here and check out “The Reefer Song,” alternately titled “You’re a Viper.” (“Viper” was a slang term for marijuana smoker.)
Curiously, this pro-pot ditty was recorded under the direct sponsorship of the U.S. government. It was a V-Disc... made specifically for U.S. armed forces overseas as a morale-booster.
I can’t believe I’ve never been to New Orleans. I have two good friends who love that city – one for the food and the weirdness, the other for the music and the food. (And I love music, food and weirdness.)
One of these days I’ll get it together and check out Jazzfest. Until then, let me tell you about DigitalSoundboard.net... in case you don’t know.
That’s a site where, if you register, you can purchase and legally download good-quality MP3s (or, if you prefer, FLAC files) of live gigs.
They got hip artists such as Will Bernard, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Steve Kimock. And they got festival shows... including sets from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival a few weeks ago.
I’m streaming some of that Jazzfest funk on my Vox blog, by way of DigitalSoundboard... because it’s never the wrong time to get your NOLA on. Click the song titles below to listen.
Also known as PBS, Porter Batiste Stoltz (pictured below) is a spinoff of the Meters. Bass player George Porter was an original member of that legendary groove band; drummer Russell Batiste and guitarist Brian Stoltz joined the Meters during the 1990s. You best believe this is a hard-funking power trio. (All three share singing duties.)
UPDATE (05/19/08): Hmmm. Turns out it’s a goof and it’s sincere. Eli Braden of Pistol Opera fancies himself a bit of a comedy writer. Four months ago, he blogged: “I’m Totally Gay For Barack Obama.” It’s an amusing post.
A couple of years ago, I tracked down and bought a copy of Bill Cosby’s doctoral dissertation.
Y’all know Cosby likes to flaunt his doctorate, right? He even puts “Ed.D.” on some of his television credits. You ever wonder what his thesis was about?
Here’s the title: “An Integration of the Visual Media Via ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’ into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning.”
Cosby presented this dissertation in September 1976 at the University of Massachusetts.
Here’s what’s interesting about it. Whereas Dr. Cosby has lately been stressing personal responsibility and the failure of black folks to lift themselves up, he was humming a different tune 30 years ago.
Back then, it was all whitey’s fault.
“Schools are supposed to be the vehicle by which children are equipped with the skills and attitudes necessary to enter society,” Cosby wrote in his introduction. “But a black child, because of the inherent racism in American schools will be ill prepared to meet the challenges of an adult future. The ‘American Dream’ of upward mobility is just another myth.”
Yeah. Bill Cosby wrote that.
He was wrong then. He’s right now.
“Far from being prepared to move along an established career lattice, black children are trained to occupy those same positions held by their parents in a society economically dominated and maintained by a white status quo,” Cosby continued in his dissertation.
“Because urban children come from a poor socio-economic environment, teachers – instilled with their own racist attitudes – are quick to make assumptions about the cognitive abilities of their students.”
“The failure that minority children experience from the very outset can only reinforce the debilitating sense of worthlessness whites convey in a variety of ways,” Cosby wrote, “and so feed the self-hatred produced by discrimination and prejudice.”
Damn. He was on some Jeremiah Wright shit! He even quoted from Stokely Carmichael’s book “Black Power” to define the scope of white racism in American society.
According to Cosby, “[t]he ferociousness with which racism is perpetuated transcends all class levels.” And white people “are raised with a counter myth of white supremacy (power and domination) and intellectual superiority (by which to assert their power and domination).”
Of course, with the passage of time it’s now evident that no matter how high you pile the leftist horseshit, it won’t make black kids do better in school... and it won’t decrease the rates of black violent crime.
Mark your calendars; “The Black List” opens May 30 at the Laemmle’s Grande 4-plex in downtown Los Angeles. It will open in New York City two weeks after that, and it’s due to premiere on HBO in August.
Variety has praised the film as “a rich and revealing work of portraiture.”
Below are Elvis and Tim talking about “The Black List” at the Sundance Film Festival.
Detroit’s own Thornetta Davis flew across my radar screen a dozen years ago. She was an indie rocker backed by a white funk band called Big Chief.
Now she is a full-on blueswoman.
Follow this link to Ms. Davis’s MySpace page, and you can download a FREE MP3... if you have a MySpace account also.
It’s a live performance of “Damn Your Eyes,” a tune that’s been recorded by Etta James, Bettye LaVette and Sinead O’Connor. This version is from Thornetta’s 2001 CD “Covered Live at the Music Menu.”
Click here to stream “Damn Your Eyes” on my Vox blog.
Last August, I streamed a track from Thornetta’s 1996 indie-rock album “Sunday Morning Music” (downloadable from iTunes). I want to do it again. So click here to hear “And I Spin”... a track I would use in a TV show in a heartbeat. (Especially the chorus.)
The government of Zimbabwe has set a date for the runoff election between longtime ruler Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the challenger who got more votes than Mugabe the first go-round.
The new election will be held on June 27.
Tsvangirai has been out of the country for weeks while his supporters have faced a violent crackdown by pro-Mugabe forces. But Tsvangirai is due to return to Zimbabwe tomorrow to renew his campaign for the presidency.
Below is a 4½-minute profile of Morgan Tsvangirai produced by the U.S. government’s Voice of America. It was uploaded to YouTube two weeks ago.
UPDATE (05/19/08): Tsvangirai canceled his return trip to Zimbabwe, citing a supposed assassination plot against him. It’s a damn shame, because now it’s starting to look like Tsvangirai might lack the courage to see this thing through.
In the words of one political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe: “If he doesn’t come back, he will be demonstrating that he is fearful of Mugabe, therefore he is less of a leader than Mugabe.”
A blogger I hadn’t heard of – former CIA officer Larry C. Johnson – is spreading a rumor about Michelle Obama. To wit:
“I now have it from... four sources (three who are close to senior Republicans) that there is video dynamite – Michelle Obama railing against ‘whitey’ at Jeremiah Wright’s church.”
Johnson continued: “Republicans may have a lousy record when it comes to the economy and the management of the war in Iraq, but they are hell on wheels when it comes to opposition research. ... I am told there is a clip that is being held for the fall to drop at the appropriate time. ... It is their October surprise.”
Sounds like bullshit to me. I’m willing to bet that this smear will go the way of the Hillary Clinton lesbianism rumor. That is, nowhere.
Even my favorite Obama-hater, Lawrence Auster, seems to suspect this is worthless hype.
According to Wikipedia, Larry Johnson is a Republican, but has posted at the liberal blog Talking Points Memo to bash right-wingers. Johnson is a Hillary Clinton supporter.
The pro-Clinton blog HillBuzz was all over Johnson’s rumor last night, with a post titled: “Michelle Obama Caught On Tape At Trinity United Making Racist Remarks.”
The rumor has spread this afternoon among conservative websites such as Townhall.com. (“If this is true, it could be lethal.”)
One of my longtime commenters, Matt Norwood, mentioned something curious in the Jim Jones thread.
He’s convinced that the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” originated not with Jonestown... but with Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters in the 1960s.
Matt says there’s an “edit war” raging on Wikipedia over this matter.
I was gonna let Matt’s comment slide, even though it riled me up. I mean, damn... it’s so fricking obvious by the way people use the term, it’s a reference to the Jonestown Massacre.
Then a British website linked to my Jim Jones post. And a commenter there wrote that “the cliche itself – Drink the Kool Aid – predates Jonestown by about twelve years, and refers to the use of LSD – a psychoactive drug – forty years ago as chronicled by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Acid Kool Aid Test.”
Enough of this bullshit! Let me prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that “drink the Kool-Aid” became an American colloquialism only after the mass suicides at Jonestown.
Just check the archives of the New York Times, America’s newspaper of record.
The first appearance in the New York Times of the phrase “drank the Kool-Aid” was on January 20, 1989.
It was uttered by Jack Solerwitz, a lawyer who’d represented striking air traffic controllers (and was ruined professionally as a result). “I was the only lawyer who kept the doors open for them,” Solerwitz told the Times, “and I thought I’d get a medal for it. Instead, I was the one who drank the Kool-Aid.”
“Drank the Kool-Aid” didn’t turn up again in the New York Times till 10 years later. But since 1999, it has appeared more than a dozen times.
Variations of this phrase became popular after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. Consider the first appearance of “drinking the Kool-Aid” in the Times... in an op-ed column by tech journalist Rodes Fishburne:
“The saying around San Francisco Web shops these days, as companies run out of money, is ‘Just keep drinking the Kool-Aid,’ a tasteless reference to the Jonestown massacre. For some, there isn’t much Kool-Aid left.”
That was published in April of 2000. “Drinking the Kool-Aid” had never appeared in the New York Times before that.
As for plain old “drink the Kool-Aid,” that first appeared in the Times in January of 1997. Business executive Richard D. Parsons (pictured), a former friend to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, said this about Giuliani’s staff:
“The Mayor doesn’t necessarily surround himself with the creme de la creme. They’re well-meaning, but I’m not sure terribly long on judgment. It’s kind of like if the Mayor says, ‘Hey, let’s all drink the Kool-Aid,’ they all go ‘bottoms up.’ ”
To maintain this blog’s longest-running gimmick – a catalog of Misidentified Black People in the media – I occasionally do the tedious work of searching through newspapers’ online corrections pages (via Regret the Error).
I should be happy when I don’t find any MBPs. Instead, I get a little bit frustrated. (I know they’re out there somewhere!)
For the past week or so, the Los Angeles Times has been misidentifying everybody except black folks.
On Monday, the Times ran a photo of novelist Michael Tolkin but mislabeled it as filmmaker Henry Bean.
The Times last week misidentified a photo of L.A. Laker Sasha Vujacic as Vladimir Radmanovic.
And the Times misidentified a photo of Taiwanese official James Huang as Chiou I-jen (a different Taiwanese official).
The L.A. Times even misidentified a photo of a Kentucky Derby horse. But no MBPs.