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Joey and Marky Ramone mock George Bush on Howard Stern, Republican Johnny does not
05.04.2015
05:56 am

Topics:
Politics
Pop Culture
Punk

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The partisan animosity within The Ramones is arguably the most fascinating political subtext in punk history. Most famous is the story that “The KKK Took My Baby Away” was left-wing Joey’s kiss-off song to right-wing Johnny, who had recently taken up with Joey’s girlfriend. Joey’s brother disputes this interpretation, maintaining that the song actually referenced an ill-fated romance between Joey and a black woman, but the lyrics indicate a clear streak of a bleeding heart, regardless. There is also Johnny’s famous acceptance speech at the band’s induction into the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame, where he proclaimed “God bless President Bush, and God bless America” during that oh-so-embarrassing post-9/11 era of G.W love. There were other internecine jabs and some of them were in public.

The clip below is from one of The Ramones’ memorable appearances on The Howard Stern Show—this segment from 1990 probably didn’t help ameliorate the animosity between Joey and Johnny. The sketch features Billy West—best known as the voices of Ren of Ren and Stimpy and Fry from Futurama—as an oblivious President Bush. With surprisingly good comedic timing, Joey and Marky set up West to portray Bush as cavalier and avoidant, preferring golf to the responsibilities of the presidency (sound familiar?).

One can presume from Johnny’s political record (and his lack of participation) that he was not amused by such irreverent humor at the expense of our then commander-in chief.

Note Howard bemoaning his resemblance to Joey and the reference to Dee Dee’s mercifully brief career as a rapper under the name Dee Dee King,
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
On the 45th anniversary of the Kent State massacre, a talk with one of the students who got shot
05.04.2015
04:19 am

Topics:
Activism
History
Politics

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The Kent State massacre, 45 years later, remains a red mark on our nation’s history. On a sunny spring day, May 4th, 1970, National Guardsmen attacked—with a 13 second barrage of bullets—a group of unarmed students, gathered for an anti-war protest. Nine were wounded, and four (Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheuer and William Schroeder) were killed. Those four, forever immortalized in Neil Young’s “Ohio,” bear witness to a divisive political landscape that exists as much today as it existed in 1970. The recent events in Ferguson and Baltimore make the remembrance of this national tragedy all the more timely.

Alan Canfora, a young student at Kent State, and a member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS),  was involved in the Kent protests during the days leading up to the massacre. These protests, sparked by Nixon’s announcement that the Vietnam War was to be expanded into Cambodia, came at a particularly emotional time for Canfora. A few days earlier, he had attended the funeral of his friend, Bill Caldwell, who was killed in Vietnam. As a memorial, Canfora prepared a black flag for the May 4th demonstration, declaring “I purposefully chose black material to match my dark mood of despair and anger following the recent death of my friend.”

A photograph of Canfora waving the black flag before a crouched, aiming regiment, moments before they fired 67 rounds into a group of unarmed demonstrators and bystanders, has become one of the iconic images of that tragic event and of the anti-war movement itself.
 

Alan Canfora, on the practice football field, 250 feet away from aiming Guardsmen. Ten minutes before the massacre. Photo by John Filo.
 

Minutes after that photo was snapped, the National Guard fired a volley into the crowd. Canfora, who was shot through the wrist by an M-1 bullet, claims that only eight of the thirteen victims were active in the protest. Five were simply bystanders, including Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder who were killed while walking to class.

Canfora’s website contains a heart-breaking account of the events of May 4th. What is noteworthy, throughout Canfora’s recollection, is the utter disbelief that the Guard would be using “real” bullets on unarmed students:

Just as I reached safety, kneeling behind that beautiful tree during the first seconds of gunfire, I felt a sharp pain in my right wrist when an M-1 bullet passed through my arm. With shock and utter disbelief, I immediately thought to myself: “I’ve been shot! It seems like a nightmare but this is real. I’ve really been shot!” My pain was great during that unique moment of unprecedented anguish but I had another serious concern: the bullets were continuing to rain in my direction for another 11 or 12 seconds.

Among the 76 Ohio National Guard soldiers stretched across the hilltop, only about a dozen members of Troop G—the death squad—stood calmly aiming in a firing line. They killed four Kent State University students and wounded nine others, including me. One wounded victim, Dean Kahler, remains paralyzed as a result.

During the gunfire, I was in great pain and distress but quite aware that I had to remain tucked behind that narrow, young tree which absorbed several bullets intended for me.

I then heard my roommate Tom Grace screaming his severe pain after a bullet passed through his left ankle. While the bullets were still flying, I yelled over to my best friend, Tom Grace, “Stay down! Stay down! It’s only buckshot!”

 

Canfora, wounded, kneeling behind a tree, an M-1 bullet wound having pierced his right wrist—225 feet downhill from Ohio National Guard shooters. This tree saved Canfora as well as Tom “Aquinas” Miller, who was standing behind the tree. Canfora and Miller are looking right to Tom Grace who was shot through his left foot nearby.
 

Even as he had reached the hospital for treatment of his wound:

When I got to the hospital, as I walked alone toward the emergency room door, I looked inside the open rear door of a parked ambulance. I saw my friend Jeff Miller lying dead and bloody on a stretcher. I assumed he was only unconscious from a facial flesh wound. I still wrongly-assumed non-lethal shotguns shot us.

During those terrible seconds as I stood alone gazing at my friend’s bloody form, I vainly hoped that plastic surgery would repair Jeff’s face where a gaping 2-inch bloody hole destroyed Jeff’s always-smiling face. I did not know that a powerful M-1 bullet had passed through Jeff’s head and he was killed instantly.

 

Photo by John Filo
 

Canfora went on to graduate Kent State with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies and a Master’s Degree in Library Science, and has remained a vociferous activist, both as a student organizer, and in the justice movement for the victims of May 4. He took time out of his busy schedule, working on the 45th anniversary commemoration, to talk to Dangerous Minds about the events at Kent State and their repercussions today.

The iconic photograph of you waving the black flag before a National Guard regiment, with weapons raised and pointed at you, has been compared to the image of the so-called “tank man” at Tiananmen Square. Both photographs evoke a David vs Goliath sentiment—standing up to a monstrously armed force of authority. Of course, our cultural narrative programming has us shocked that an unarmed student would be fired upon in the United States—and maybe also shocked that a man standing in front of a tank in Communist China could stop that tank from rolling forward. Do you see similarities in the two images?

Alan Canfora: The “tank man” definitely was risking his life, at a time when many students were actually killed. By standing in front of the tank he showed great courage. It’s similar to my situation in 1970 in that he did risk his life for the cause that he believed in.

So, when that image was taken, at that moment you felt that your life was in danger?

AC: Absolutely. I think any time that there’s someone aiming guns at you with their fingers on the triggers, you definitely think that your life may be in danger. I had to confront the possibility at that moment. I certainly didn’t plan for the moment. I had no idea I would be in that situation until the Guardsmen got down and started aiming at me. It seemed like an absurd situation—I didn’t think that I was doing anything to deserve being shot or to even have guns aimed at me—I was 150 feet away—it was broad daylight—they hadn’t shot anyone while the National Guard was on campus the two previous evenings, even though some students were stabbed by bayonets, and other students were beaten with clubs the night before on May 3rd. I just didn’t think that in broad daylight on a sunny Spring afternoon that they would just start shooting into a crowd of unarmed students.

At that moment I started thinking about why I was there. Only ten days prior, myself and my roommates had attended the funeral of a nineteen-year-old soldier who was killed in Vietnam—his name was Bill Caldwell—so we were at that funeral on April 24th, and we were already very anti-war, and some of us were very experienced with protest actions… and at that funeral we swore a vow that we would take action at the soonest opportunity to send our message to President Nixon that he should stop the war in Vietnam. Too many young people were coming home dead or wounded, and we understood that the war in Vietnam was genocidal—our government was killing two or three million Asians.

Six days after that funeral, Cambodia was invaded by Nixon—the war was expanded into another country. We watched the announcement on television, and we were very angry, and we said tomorrow night we are going into action. From May 1st through 4th, we were some of the leading militants on the streets of Kent. And so when I was out there with them aiming the guns at me, that was the culmination of four days of protests—and I didn’t anticipate that moment, but I had to think to myself “this is why we’re out here—to make the most powerful statement that we can about stopping the war.” So I didn’t back down, I stood my ground there, and I basically tried to communicate with the Guardsmen who were aiming at me from 150 feet away… I remember shouting at them “if you support the war in Vietnam, then why aren’t you IN Vietnam?” I said “my friend was killed there just a few days ago, and we attended his funeral, and that’s why we’re out here—we’re trying to stop the war.”

Their commanding officer ordered them to stand up and then march away—it looked like a retreat—they started going back up this hill, and then when they got to the hilltop, that’s when they got the order to turn and fire.

That’s when the shooting broke out.
 

The Guardsmen depart the practice field in what many thought was a retreat. They soon marched uphill & fired 67 gunshots downhill into a crowd of unarmed students. Canfora was shot when he ran to a tree—225 feet away from the hilltop shooters.
 
That’s what seems so absurd—there was no imminent threat to them whatsoever.

AC: They were under no significant threat throughout the entire twenty-four minute confrontation—we all knew that they had stabbed people the night before—every step of the [confrontation] is on film and you can see second-by-second that every time they marched toward the students, the students evacuated.

Just as they started to shoot, there was one student standing off to the side raising his middle finger toward the Guard—he was shot twice—once in the stomach, once in the ankle. He was 72 feet away. Another student behind him was 90 feet away, just taking pictures—he got shot in his chest. Down near the bottom of the hill is where I was—225 feet away when I got shot through my right wrist. When I heard the guns firing I thought “they must be firing blanks, there’s no reason to shoot.” But I thought “just in case these are real bullets,” I started to zig and zag as the bullets were flying around me and I jumped behind a tree, and just as I did I felt a bullet go through my right wrist.

Having read your heart-breaking account of those events, what affected me the most was the confusion you felt. The assumption that the Guardsmen would not have bullets in their guns—and then, even when you were aware that you had been shot, you were still assuming that it must have been “buck shot”—I get the sense that the realizations about the use of deadly force in that moment may have been just as traumatic for you as the physical pain of being wounded.

AC: It just didn’t seem like any kind of a shooting situation, in fact, when you consider what had happened already on May 1st in downtown Kent—about 43 windows were smashed out—about 28 of those were in one bank, and other specific corporate targets were hit like the gas company, the electric company, the telephone company, the conservative Republican newspaper—those windows were all smashed out and nobody got shot down there that night—fourteen students were arrested. The next night, the Kent State ROTC building was burned down—the National Guard arrived that evening and they didn’t shoot anybody—so, by May 3rd several students were bayoneted after a peaceful sit-in in the street. Several male and female students were slashed and stabbed by the National Guard, and a bunch of students were beaten with clubs—but no one was shot. [By comparison] the rally on May 4th was anti-climactic. We didn’t have any plan or agenda—it was just a gathering. As soon as one student got up and spoke about a national student’s strike, that’s when the Guardsmen attacked with teargas and then [shortly thereafter] began aiming guns at me and others. To attack our rally on May 4th—we were doing NOTHING wrong—we were just standing there starting to chant anti-war slogans. One kid just started to speak, and that’s when they attacked. Ultimately they shot 67 gunshots into a crowd of unarmed students—and that was the ultimate absurdity.
 

Canfora, upper right in photo, face covered by scarf, with black flag at hilltop as Ohio National Guard attack and chase students away from Victory Bell and over Blanket Hill. Note KSU student, Allison Krause, under concrete “pagoda” at hilltop. Allison was shot in the chest & killed 20 minutes later.
 
There’s no logic to it.

AC: It’s so illogical unless you understand that among the 26 Guardsmen who marched out against us, tear-gassing us, chasing us over a hill, there was a small group there called Troop G of the 107th cavalry unit, there were about a dozen of them and several of their officers—they were like the cream of the crop of the hardcore nastiest National Guardsmen on the scene. When those guys knelt and started aiming, those guys were picking out their targets, and who they were aiming at?—there were two black flags that day, I made both of them, and my room-mate was carrying the other one—who’s carrying a black flag? Who’s throwing stones? Who’s giving the finger? Who’s cursing at them? Who’s taunting them? And among the group that they ended up shooting, Jeff Miller was very active—he was killed. Allison Krauss threw a couple of stones—she was killed. I was waving a black flag—I got shot. Joe Louis was giving the finger—he got shot. John Grace was a protester standing next to me when he got shot through his foot. Eight of the thirteen victims were active in the protest. Five were just by-standers.

You had a group of Guardsmen who were on a twenty-four minute hunting expedition, seeking human prey. And once they committed that massacre, they simply turned, regrouped, and marched away. Mission accomplished.

And what did the Guard do after the shooting?

AC: They had three big lies that they tried to perpetrate. The general had two news conferences that afternoon and said, first of all, “the students were shooting at us, there was a sniper, and we returned gunfire.” That was a lie. The second big lie was “the students were about five feet from us, about to overrun us, we thought our lives were in danger, and we thought they were gonna take our guns from us.” Well, the photographs came out the next day, and the closest student was not five feet away, but 72 feet away. The third big lie was they said the students were throwing rocks, bottles, and other objects, and their lives were in danger so they fired in self-defense. That was proven to be false. When the FBI came to town over the next two months, at the end of their investigation, the Department of Justice concluded that the National Guard’s claim of self-defense was, and I quote, “fabricated, subsequent to the events.”

Some people were throwing stones, some people felt so provoked that they picked up whatever was lying on the ground—but there was such a distance between the students and Guardsmen that day, that the stones fell short—there were also photographs showing Guardsmen throwing stones at students—and those fell short too. So both sides stopped that—it was basically a stalemate. And then when the [Guardsmen] were retreating, we felt “the confrontation is over, they’re going away.” And they got to the top of the hill and that’s when there was a verbal command, “Right here. Point. FIRE.”

A student cassette recording made at the scene was found which corroborates this—verified so far by three digital audio analysts.

All of this information and evidence is on my website alancanfora.com and on may4.org.

This was an intentional massacre based on an order to fire.
 

Canfora returns a tear-gas cannister toward the attacking Guardsmen.
 
Discussion of the events at Kent State seems especially timely considering many of the events that have recently occurred in Ferguson and Baltimore. We have seen the National Guard called out, and it seems to have the opposite of the intended effect, making people much more frustrated, angry, and volatile.

AC: I think it does. For example, when we saw those 1200 Guards rolling into Kent on May 2nd, we thought it was provocative to send in armed troops against students who were only assaulting property. And we knew that same thing was happening all across the country. It was like throwing fuel onto the fire. Especially with those “weekend warriors,” as they were known. These were not full-time, professional, law enforcement personnel. They were beating the students, and stabbing the students, and ultimately they shot us. They were poorly trained, they were over-armed, and they had very poor leadership—unlike full-time professional law enforcement personnel. It’s really a recipe for disaster.

I don’t think the National Guard should be called into a civic disturbance. No longer are National Guardsmen sent into a crowd control situation armed with M-1 rifles. Now days they try to emphasize non-lethal weapons, which of course are still actually lethal. But I don’t think you’ll see another situation where they shoot 67 gunshots into a crowd of unarmed protesters. That was such an extreme example of excessive force. It was about a year after Kent State that they started using rubber bullets, plastic pellets, beanbags, and different things like that. I don’t think you’ll see the same kind of carnage on a mass scale—at least I hope not. When you consider the volatility of our country right now, when you have people that are so oppressed because of income inequality and class discrimination—people that are driven further and further down into poverty, that they are so desperate that they go into the streets—I think there’s a danger that this could be happening not just in Baltimore or in Ferguson, but it could start happening across the country simultaneously [and if this occurred] people would realize that our country had descended into a revolutionary situation.

There’s a cultural polarization that takes place that allows for events such as these, and then people are actually surprised when it happens!

AC: Our governor at the time, James Rhodes, was very hostile against civil rights protests in the urban areas, but he was also very hostile to student protests - especially the ones right before the upcoming election - he was already the governor of Ohio but he was seeking to become a US senator - and he was 8% behind in the public opinion polls [due to student protests]. So he was desperate, and he had to act like he was cracking down on the protesters. He came to Kent and gave a news conference on May 3rd, the day before the massacre, and was pounding his fist on the podium with all of the TV cameras pointed at him, and he said “these Kent State students are the worst type of people we harbor in America. They’re worse than the Communists and the Brownshirts.” And he pounded his fists and said “we’re going to eradicate the problem.” He exaggerated the situation in order to appeal to the conservative Republican voters that were going to be voting in that primary election on May 5th. And he basically provoked or incited the National Guard to commit violence that evening when they stabbed students, and also the next day when they shot us.

April 7, 1970, less than a month before the Kent State shootings, Governor Ronald Reagan in California said “these students want disruption - if it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.”

There is a real danger when a situation is polarized—and then you put guns into the hands of the people that are the most hateful, and that’s a formula for a disaster. They hated us, they didn’t understand us, they resented us, to the point where they shot us with absolutely no hesitation.
 

Canfora and roommate confront Ohio National Guard from 250-feet distance on practice football field minutes before Guardsmen march uphill & shoot.
 
Anyone who experiences a traumatic situation like this deals with effects of it for the rest of their lives. Many members of the radical left or anti-war movement of the Vietnam era have assimilated into mainstream culture. Would you say that being shot in 1970 was a crystallizing moment that kept you dedicated to activism?

AC: No. My father was a union activist in Akron, Ohio, with the UAW; and he was very political, and raised all four of his kids to be very strongly liberal and progressive minded. He led a two month strike against Goodyear in the 1950s. In the ‘60s he was on our hometown City Council as a liberal Democrat—a very progressive guy. So we were already politicized in my family from the time, even back to the 1950s when my dad opposed a “right to work” law—he had us aware of that stuff even when I was nine years old. When I saw the students beaten in the streets at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, I knew that I wanted to become an activist—to try to fight for the same cause. At Kent State, I first joined the College Democrats, and within a month I quit them and joined the SDS, because they were more leftist intellectuals - the leadership of the SDS at Kent was among the most brilliant and militant in the whole country.

Jerry Casale from DEVO  [was in the Kent State SDS, and] was there, and he witnessed the massacre. Two of his good friends, Jeff Miller and Allison Krauss were killed, and that radicalized a whole lot of people who witnessed the event including Jerry Casale who was already a radical. He formulated his theory of de-evolution—that human society was de-evolving, and the Kent State massacre helped him reach that conclusion—that society was not evolving any longer.

Terry Robbins [of the Weathermen], who got blown up in a townhouse, saw me at the SDS events and looked at me and said “you’re an action freak.” For Terry Robbins to call me an “action freak”... I consider that to be quite a compliment.

By 1969 most of the leadership of SDS had gone underground and joined the Weathermen. I did not. I thought that was a tactical mistake. I thought we had to stay above ground and continue to organize and fight against the war, out in the open. There were only a few of us from SDS still there, and we continued to remain anti-war, and when the invasion of Cambodia happened in the Spring of ‘70 we were among the most active students, sparking the protests. I don’t think that being shot made me more of an activist, but it made me more of a proponent for justice against the cover-up of murder.
 

“They hated us, they didn’t understand us, they resented us, to the point where they shot us with absolutely no hesitation.”
 
In finishing up our conversation, I mentioned, off-the-cuff, that many people consider Canfora to be an American hero. He was very quick to dismiss such praise, stating, “I’ve never considered myself to be a hero - I consider myself a foot soldier in the anti-war army.”

Canfora will be participating in the 45th annual commemoration at Kent State and is currently in final-edit of his memoir, which should be wrapped up by Summer. His website contains volumes of information on the events at Kent State, and is well worth your time and research.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Gov. Jerry Brown and Dr. Timothy Leary talk toad-licking
04.09.2015
05:15 am

Topics:
Drugs
Politics

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Jerry Brown stayed busy during the 28-year interval between his two stints as California’s governor: he made a bid for the presidency, got elected mayor of Oakland, and became the state’s attorney general. Before he was mayor, he also founded a commune in Oakland called We The People. The house at 200 Harrison Street doubled as a salon; Brown envisioned it as a place for “philosophers, artists and activists to discuss and plan ways to work change.” On weekdays in the mid-90s, he broadcast a talk show (also called “We The People”) from the commune over the Bay Area’s Pacifica station, KPFA.

On one afternoon in October 1995, Brown’s guest was Dr. Timothy Leary. Leary owed his host a favor. Two decades earlier, Leary, having already escaped prison once with the help of the Weather Underground, was doing hard time in Folsom State Prison, where he was looking at a lo-o-ong sentence (95 years, says Wikipedia). In 1975, Brown’s first year as governor, he pardoned Leary. (If you think this means Brown is some kind of hippie with an enlightened attitude to drug policy, guess again; he’s actually been a wiener on this issue.) After Leary’s federal parole was granted the following year, he was a free man. He was arrested in Texas for smoking a cigarette in protest of no-smoking rules in 1994, but he stayed out of the slams for the rest of his life. I’d think he must have had warm feelings about Jerry Brown.
 

 
Leary had sought the office of governor in California’s 1970 election. He planned to take on the incumbent, Ronald Reagan, armed with a campaign song by John Lennon. Sadly, what might have been one of the most entertaining gubernatorial campaigns in American history was cut short by Leary’s incarceration some ten months before the election. Wise elders, why didn’t you send Reagan up the river instead?

In this wide-ranging half-hour conversation, the two lapsed Catholics do not discuss the pardon or their mutual interest in the governorship, but Brown does bring up the subject of toad-licking when a caller observes that many psychedelic compounds appear in nature. Even if you have no interest in any of the above, you will certainly enjoy hearing California’s current governor exclaim: “You can SUCK THOSE FROGS that give you the good high! Did you read about them?”

H/T Psychedelic Salon

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Outlaws of Amerika’ trading cards from 1969
04.07.2015
05:08 am

Topics:
Art
Class War
History
Politics
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
At Babylon Falling I stumbled across this remarkable full-page image of countercultural satire at its sharpest and most dangerous. Fifteen trading cards for the “Outlaws of Amerika,” featuring radical rock stars like Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver and Huey Newton and less known figures like Cha Cha Jimenez and Roger Priest. This image has been variously attributed to The Chicago Seed and the Black Panther publication Lumpen. According to this article in the Atlantic Monthly, the BAMN Anthology from Penguin claims that it was created for the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

However, according to this listing on abebooks, it definitely appeared in the “Second Birthday Issue” of RAT Subterranean News, March 7-21, 1969. (This reddit thread gets this information substantially correct but blows the year.) Whether it appeared anywhere before that, I can’t say.

The artist was Lester Dore, who went by the nickname “Wanderoo” (you can barely read his signature at the bottom). The All-Stars are classified into “Social Deviants,” “Third World Revolutionaries,” and, in a single instance, “Native Americans.” The cards wittily use icons such as a raised fist (protest), a bomb (use of bombs), an M-16 (violence), a tomahawk (Indians’ rights), a marijuana leaf (drugs), an electric chair (outlaw is on death row), and an ohm symbol (resistance). On the right hand side, in small print, it reads “Save a complete collection ... If sent with a Wanted Poster or reasonable facsimile thereof, good for: a wig, a complete set of phony I.D., and am M-16.” On the bottom it reads, “Wait for the second series of Amerikan Outlaw Trading Cards ... You may be next!!!” The logo on every card is “KOPPS,” a play on Topps, which had well-nigh monopolistic control of the baseball card market for many years until rival companies entered the market in the 1980s.

(In case you are wondering, yes, Afeni Shakur is Tupac‘s mother.)
 
(Click below for a larger version of this image.)

 

 
More of Amerika’s outlaws, class of 1969, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Anti-gay pizzeria bitchslapped mercilessly on Yelp
04.01.2015
11:57 am

Topics:
Activism
Advertising
Food
Politics
Queer

Tags:


 
Ohhh boy. Yesterday, when Crystal O’Connor said that her family’s restaurant, Memories Pizza, in Walkerton, Indiana, would be obliged to deny a request to cater a mozzarella-themed wedding reception for a gay couple due to their religious “beliefs,” she surely didn’t anticipate the wrathful response on social media by homosexuals and/or fans of civil rights and “the American way.” Given that Memories is a local restaurant that serves pizza, the natural social media venue for a vigorous response was Yelp, the website that publishes crowd-sourced reviews of local businesses.

That response has been intense indeed—and hilarious:
 

 
The overall rating for Memories, at this writing based on 1,127 reviews, is hovering at about 1.5. Of course, not all of the people glomming onto the site are out to attack Memories; like Chick-fil-A, it has plenty of defenders too.

And lest we forget, Yelp allows reviewers to upload pics as well. Interestingly, there are currently fewer pictures than just a couple of hours ago, so Yelp or someone is seeking to remove the obvious trolls. Here, check some out:
 

 

 

 

 
via Salon
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
CNN declares war on annoying politicians with its own ‘Too Many Cooks’ parody
03.20.2015
08:59 am

Topics:
Politics
Television

Tags:


 
OK, this is borderline awesome. On its official YouTube account, CNN yesterday released a pretty darn good parody of Too Many Cooks, the one-off viral video that Adult Swim released late last year that poked fun at cheesy 1980s sitcom opening credit sequences. In CNN’s version, which repurposes both the title and much of the theme music of the original, the video appears to be a comment on what is sure to be a crowded and noisy primary season for the election of 2016. With no presidential incumbent in the race, the Democratic side, in terms of official candidates, features little more than the presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, although that may change (and there are theoretical challengers floating around), while the Republican side really does lend itself to a “Too Many Cooks” treatment.
 

 
The video is a good excuse to throw every embarrassing clip they could find into a single video—for instance, Marco Rubio reaching for a glass of water, John McCain dancing a weird little jig, and so forth. Since the whole point of the video is to surpass anyone’s reasonable attention span, the video lasts a little under six and a half minutes (about half of the original “Too Many Cooks”) and features pretty much every notable political figure since the mid-1990s who is still active (and a couple that are not).

CNN’s version stays surprisingly faithful to the original, as you’ll see when you give it a look.
 

 
via The Daily Dot

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Website collects the mugshots and final words of prisoners executed by the state of Texas since 1982
03.19.2015
01:16 pm

Topics:
Crime
Politics

Tags:


“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. So for the life for which I live now in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I love you, Annie. You have been the best friend I have ever had in the world. I’ll see you when you get there, okay? I am ready, Warden.” Richard Foster, 47, Parker County 
 
Presented without polemic or political commentary, the blog “Lasting Statement” collects the final statements and mugshots of individuals executed by the state of Texas since 1982. Though a quick Google often brings up the crime associated with the name, no trial information is given, so the words and faces of the convicted are separated from the events leading up to the moment before their execution. It’s one of the more affecting archives I’ve seen.

Though a few people declined to make a statement, most gave very reflective—and sometimes quite moving—final words, likely owing to the fact that most of them waited for many years on death row before their execution, giving them plenty of time to meditate and receive counseling or spiritual guidance. Gratitude, both religious and familial, is very common (a few even thank their lawyers). Many apologize to family (both the victim’s and their own) and religious sentiments are predictably pervasive. Surprisingly, very few inmates used the opportunity to insist upon their innocence. Given the frequency of wrongful convictions, it leaves one to wonder if those who still deny the crime in their final hour are telling the truth.
 

“Yes. My last statement. I was wrongfully convicted of this crime against Michael Watkins and James Williams on 10th Street on August 31, 1993. I got convicted on a false confession because I never admitted to it, but my lawyer did not put this out to the jury. I did not kill those drug dealers. I send love to my family and friends; my east side family and friends. I am being real with the real. That’s all that counts in my heart. I will see you later. That’s it.” Gerald Tigner, 29, McLennan County

 


“Mama Isabel told me to tell you hello. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee; Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity. Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty. All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea; Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity. Oh, our Father who art in heaven, holy, holy, holy be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sin as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Now, Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit. Amen.” Jose Gutierrez, 39, Brazos County

 


“God forgive them, God forgive them for they know not what they do. After all these years my people are still lost in hatred and anger. Give them peace God for people seeking revenge towards me. I love you guys, I love you guys. God give them peace. I love you Chiquita. Peace, Freedom, I’m ready.” John Amador, 32, Bexar County

 


“Tell my family I love y’all. Watch out for Momma. Don’t want to talk too much, I will cry. I’ll just cry everywhere. I’m sorry, Teach, for not being a better son and not doing better things. It wasn’t your fault. You raised me the way you should, at least I won’t be there no more. I miss you, too. I see you there, you doing alright? I sent you a letter. Neckbone, there’s a sheet, I got your name on it. Keep on writing, now. Write to the, hun. Charles, keep the right, now. You people over there. You know what these people are doing. By them executing me ain’t doing nothing right. I don’t weigh 180 pounds and 5’7”. Take care, love y’all. Did Roger come up here yet? Tell Pat and them I love them. I’m gonna go ahead and let them do what their gonna do. Help your sister, see ya later Pat, love ya Becca. Do what you do, Warden” Vincent Cooks, 37, Dallas County

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The whimsical anarchism of the White Bicycle revolution
03.19.2015
06:02 am

Topics:
Amusing
Class War
Music
Politics

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002whitebike.jpg
 
In the summer of 1965, Dutch designer and political activist Luud Schimmelpennink suggested a simple radical scheme that would eventually change the world. Schimmelpennink had an idea for creating a more sustainable environment by giving away free bicycles for communal use in Amsterdam’s city center. The suggestion was called the “White Bicycle Plan” and was part of a series of “White Plans” devised by the Dutch anarchist group Provo.

Provo is a Dutch word for “young trouble-maker” and was considered an appropriate name for a group of young anarchists to carry out political “happenings” and stunts that were inspired as much by DADA as by Herbert Marcuse. Provo was formed by artist and anti-smoking campaigner Robert Jasper Grootveld, writer and anarchist Roel van Duijn and activist Rob Stolk in May 1965. Their motivation, they explained, was to fight back against capitalist society that was “poisoning itself with a morbid thirst for money,” where its citizens were “being brought up to worship Having and despise Being.”

Because this bureaucratic society is choking itself with officialdom and suppressing any form of spontaneity. Its members can only become creative, individual people through anti-social conduct.

Because the militaristic society is digging its own grave by a paranoid arms build-up. Its members now have nothing to look forward to but certain death by atomic radiation.

Provo attracted anarchists, beatniks, activists, hippies, philosophers and even “charlatans,” “scratchers and syphilitics, secret police, and other riff-raff.”
 
00provbik.jpg
 
The group listed their beliefs as:

Provo has something against capitalism, communism, fascism, bureaucracy, militarism, professionalism, dogmatism, and authoritarianism. Provo has to choose between desperate, resistance and submissive extinction. Provo calls for resistance wherever possible. Provo realises that it will lose in the end, but it cannot pass up the chance to make at least one more heartfelt attempt to provoke society. Provo regards anarchy as the inspirational source of resistance. Provo wants to revive anarchy and teach it to the young. Provo is an image

In 1965, Provo announced their plan to stop all personal motorized transport within Amsterdam, making the streets safe for the public and only accessible by walking, cycling or public transport. Provo presented their proposal to the municipal authorities, suggesting that they should buy 20,000 white bicycles every year giving them away free for public use. This proposal was rejected by the local politicians. Provo then decided to supply 50 free bicycles themselves—this was the “Witte Fietsenplan” or “White Bicycle Plan.”

The White Bicycle Plan proposes to create bicycles for public use that cannot be locked. The white bicycle symbolizes simplicity and healthy living, as opposed to the gaudiness and filth of the authoritarian automobile.

 
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The first white bicycle is given away.
 
However, as soon as these 50 white bicycles were made freely available they were impounded by the police on the grounds the bikes were not “lockable.” Apparently, all bikes in Amsterdam at that time had to be lockable. Undeterred by the police actions, Provo waited until the bikes were returned and they then fitted each bike with a simple combination lock with the number painted on the bike’s frame. Of course, some of the bikes were stolen, but the White Bicycle revolution had begun.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Root for Gramsci, Debord, Guevara, and Trotsky in the first annual ‘Marx Madness’ tournament
03.17.2015
11:28 am

Topics:
Class War
Politics
Sports

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Did you all see John Oliver’s takedown of the NCAA on Last Week Tonight last week? If you are in any way concerned about the rapacious nature of collegiate athletics today and you haven’t seen it already, you really must. (I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post.) It’s tempting to say that they took it too far, but they simply didn’t—the NCAA deserves exactly that much vitriol and then some. They’re just that bad.

I’ve been a sports fan all my life, baseball football basketball, but it’s getting more and more difficult to reconcile any kind of progressive or left-wing identity with the cash-grab, bully-cities-into-building-expensive-stadiums, jockish wife-beating etc. mentality. It’s difficult to watch the Last Week Tonight footage of coaches abusing their charges on the court and not think that this is some sanctioned equivalent of slavery, much as (say) the nation’s prison complex is similarly enforcing a very nasty form of Jim Crow. The NCAA is so bad that it’s increasingly becoming a moral imperative to oppose it. I’ve recently made a similar decision regarding the NFL. (I’m hanging on to baseball for now, but we’ll see where that goes.)

If you’re on the Left and you can’t reconcile your love of sports with your progressive principles, then you should look into Marx Madness, the clever online bracket tournament that pits Gilles Deleuze against Angela Davis, Terry Eagleton against Mao, Louis Althusser against Slavoj Žižek, and Vladimir Lenin against Ulrike Meinhof.
 
Here’s the blank bracket:
 

(For both brackets on this page, you can click on the image to see a much larger version.)
 
The winners are decided by user votes—that’s right, you can have an impact on who wins this thing. The voting for Round 2 is open until Friday, March 20. The crowning of the champion will take place on April 20, so smoke up a doobie and invite your friends over for the Big Show (which will probably be anticlimactic because it takes just a few moments to find out who won it all).

Here’s the description of how Marx Madness works:
 

Marx madness relies on the power of the people. Click on the image of the bracket ... to zoom in at high resolution and see the match ups. Thinkers were randomly seeded into the first round. Each week, there will be a public online vote to determine which individuals move forward. Be sure to visit the site each week before Friday at midnight to cast your votes.

 
After the votes are tallied, the winners are announced and each matchup gets a little writeup in the breathless mode common to sports reporting—this is easily my favorite part of Marx Madness. For example, here’s the summary of the first-round matchup between Antonio Gramsci and Jacques Rancière:
 

Gramsci over Ranciere
In a clash European theorists of civil society from different eras, Gramsci strolled to victory over Jacques Ranciere in round 1. The little Italian theorist, dissident, and long-time prisoner quickly made the transition from war of maneuver to war of position, overwhelming Ranciere’s vaunted ‘police’ defense. Gramsci moves on to an Antonio derby in the round of 32 against Negri in a classic 20th vs 21st century match up.


 
Here’s the same bracket as the one above, with the results from the first round already filled in:
 

 
More Marx Madness after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Encyclopaedia of Ecstasy,’ incredible anarcho-goth-punk zine from 1983
03.12.2015
11:34 am

Topics:
Media
Music
Politics
Punk

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I’ve hardly encountered a specimen from the postpunk years of the early 1980s that better exemplified how mixed up and stimulating all the categories were getting, than The Encyclopaedia of Ecstasy, Vol. 1, an utterly mind-boggling zine put out by Alistair Livingston in 1983. Livingston had/has associations with the anarchist collective/zine Kill Your Pet Puppy which ran from 1979 to 1984…. he references Crass and Bauhaus and Blood and Roses. While one wouldn’t necessarily expect that a “psychedelic goth punk fanzine,” as Livingston himself termed the project, would contain visions that might have emerged from Arthur Rimbaud‘s absinthe-drenched writings, the fact is that any movement led by Crass and Psychic TV was going to be awfully erudite and aestheticized, fueled by some pretty foreboding concerns over technology and culture. It’s so “political” that it fans out into almost pure (hyperverbal, psychedelic) sensation. In keeping with the absinthe feel, one page is titled “Vivé La Decadence, Paris 1893-London 199?”

The cover, complete with an all-seeing Masonic pyramid, reminds me a great deal of Gustav Klimt, which when you consider that it appears to have been executed purely with blocky magic markers, is awfully impressive. (The Klimt association is far from accidental—page 6 features a Xerox’d shout-out to Klimt’s “Jurisprudenz,” which was later destroyed by the Nazis.) At one juncture Livingston inquires, “why aren’t crass the psychedelic furs?” (Good question!) There are suggestive cut-and-paste headlines such as “whoops there goes another nuclear plant” or “man sees world saved by robots.” At the bottom of page 1 is an exuberant shout-out to the like-minded: “There is more… Like “Kill Your Pet Puppy” (a zine)…. The Anarchy Centres, the Black Sheep Co-op, punk lives (!), the people, the music, the squats, the whole beautiful chaoticness.”

Livingston is still active, he has run a stimulating blog called greengalloway for years—in this entry from 2005 he quotes from his own diary from this same era, name-checking Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Lou Reed, Blood and Roses, et al.

This is a pretty rare item—you can get one from Portland antiquarian project Division Leap for $125.

(If you click on any image in this post, you can see a much larger version.)
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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