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Cooder-Skaggs-White Offer Up a Banquet of American Roots Music

Love this stuff or never heard it before, hie thee to a concert

 

The so-called music in this café would be very good for murdering giant lizards in hell. Then gutting them and eating their organs raw, and smearing yourself with their cold reptilian blood. While being flogged by Satan.

Other than that, it’s okay.

Which is to say, go and see Cooder-Skaggs-White. Hurry. It is music as good, or good as music. Well, it’s good music. It’s what music used to do, is supposed to do, for you. Not a murdered lizard in sight, no fires, no pitchforks. You know, like a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie. It is no bit of careless whimsy that the tour is billed, “For the Good People.” Me, I wasn’t sure there were any “good people” left in this country, but that’s beside the point. If you build it, they will come. . .maybe that’s the idea here.

Yes, that’s Ry Cooder, the six-time Grammy-winning, musically peripatetic champion of Cuban, African, Indian, Hawaiian, Mexican music, and blues, jazz, norteno, folk, various fare too conveniently summed up as “roots music.” Now, at 68, he is delving into an archaeology of tunes from a bygone era called the 20th century. From a country even more out of reach than Cuba was, because it no longer exists. Think you know what American music is? You might, but then again, you might not.

Among the repertory: The Delmore Brothers, Flat & Scruggs, The Louvin Brothers, Kitty Wells, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, Bill Carlisle, Merle Travis, Hank Snow, Blind Alfred Reed, Ralph Stanley. Among the tunes: “The Family that Prays,” “Take Me to Your Lifeboat,” “Sweet Temptation,” “Mansion on the Hill,” “On My Mind,” “Cold Jordan,” “Daniel Prayed,” “Hold What You Got,” “Pan American Boogie,” “A Fool Such as I,” “Above and Beyond,” “No One Will Ever Know,” “Gone Home,” “Wait a Little Longer,” “No Doubt About It,” “Wait A Little Longer, Please, Jesus,” “Pan-American Boogie,” “Unload,” “Above Yer Raisin,” “Reunion.”
Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White and Ry Cooder diggin' down to the rootsRicky Skaggs, Sharon White and Ry Cooder diggin' down to the roots (for a sample of the music, click here)
 

New to you? Hie thee to hear it. Old to you? Hie thee to hear it. Not your favorite kind of music? All the more reason to go. I did, a couple months ago in Santa Barbara, Calif., not quite knowing what to expect. Wound up with an education, and no socks. Fields of clover spread before me as I walked out of theater.

Indian Point Nuke Plant Emergency Shutdown Follows Power Loss

What will it take to close it?

 

The latest in a series of troubling mishaps at the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant a week ago Saturday prompted a shutdown or “trip” of one of the two operating reactor units on the site and the dispatch of inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office made the announcement that the reactor was “forced to shut down,” but New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., which owns the plant, claimed there was no release of radiation or chemicals from the incident. The company said magnets holding control rods failed when power was lost, causing the rods to sink into the reactor vessel as designed and shutting down the nuclear reaction. Control rods, which absorb the radiation that occurs during fission chain reactions are a critical feature of nuclear reactors that allow the nuclear reaction to be adjusted or shut down altogether.

Coincidentally, at the time of the incident, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Stephen Burns was visiting the plant. The NRC reported on Monday that the power loss was caused by a short circuit in a roof fan. Cuomo, who has been calling for closure of the 40-year old plant, said that he had “directed the Department of Public Service to investigate and monitor the situation.”

The second of the two working nuclear generating units at Indian Point was not effected and remains on line. Burns was met on his visit by a demonstration on Monday at a hotel in Tarrytown, NY where he was holding meetings. The protesters are opposed to construction of a natural gas pipeline that is intended to pass near the nuclear plant. The pipeline has been approved and construction will begun in March. Protesters say they fear a potential gas explosion might threaten the nuclear plant.

This is the second incident at Indian Point this year. In May an electrical transformer exploded releasing 3000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River. The catastrophic failure ignited the oil and black smoke billowing from the fire was visible for miles. A report by the NRC released earlier this month said that the transformer fire itself was never a threat, but the subsequent flooding of an electrical switching room may have caused a loss of power to the reactor.

 The giant nuke power plant Con Ed once planned to build right in New York City, fortunately cancelledThing could have been worse: The giant nuke power plant Con Ed once planned to build right in New York City, fortunately cancelled
 

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Jess Guh, Activist Physician Journalist in Seattle, Has a Lot to Say, and Plans to Say It Here

A new member of the TCBH! Collective:

ThisCantBeHappening! is happy to welcome Jess Guh to our news collective. Jess brings a passion for justice and equality, especially in the medical profession and in the delivery of health care, to our group, as well as a talent for making medical issues clear to the lay reader.

Of herself, she writtes:

Jess Guh hails from a home just outside of Philadelphia where two Taiwanese immigrants were delightfully surprised to have raised a queer, outspoken radical. She attended Stanford University where she officially majored in film and unofficially majored in activism, Ultimate Frisbee, co-op living, and consensus decision making. Deciding that medicine could be the perfect union of her nerdy self and her passion for community well being, she went to medical school at the University of Michigan.  She moved to Seattle for her residency in Family Medicine and has been living there ever since. Currently she works as a primary care physician at a community health center dedicated to serving people that the American healthcare system has traditionally ignored.

Jess Guh, physician journalistJess Guh, physician journalist
 

Spurred by the egregious health inequities that she witnesses on a daily basis, as well as her own experiences as a minority in the medical profession, she has found her voice through writing. She has also presented nationally about the impacts of race and implicit bias on medical outcomes and consults on strategies to diversify the medical workforce.

Jess also writes at her personal blog at: www.jessguh.com

Last Mexican of Venice

Flipped out

 

The Last Mexican of Venice is gone. The flippers got her. Yanked her like a rotten, smelly tooth. Sent L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies to do it.

Jeannine Mendoza grew up in Venice. She and her four siblings waded in the marshes before there was a Marina, built bonfires on the beach before it was illegal, delighted in its unpretentious working-class Little Rascals streets. Her parents bought an unassuming house in what avaricious realtors would one day dub “The Golden Triangle,” but it was just a sidestreet niche in 1957. And Mom and Dad had grown up in West L.A. and Santa Monica.

For that matter, the Last Mexican of Venice was descended from the Marquez family, recipients of an 1839 land grant that included Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades.

You want your “roots?” There are your “roots.”

But Jeannine Mendoza, a great-granddaughter of Old California, has been kicked out, under threat of arrest, from the home she and her late husband, Aaron Hassman, bought back in the ‘70’s. A 500-square-foot matchbox on Superba Avenue near Lincoln where they somehow managed to raise two boys, while Jeannine’s Nana lived in a mother-in-law apartment out back. Typical circumstances of old Venice, long replaced by millennial tekkie royalty, movie royalty, developer royalty.

Royalty. I remember an old bum I met on a pier long ago, declaiming. Everything in his speech somehow came back to the word, “rat.” “Royalty!” he exclaimed, spit hanging off his white stubble. “Roy. Al. Ty. RAT!”

The RATs got the Last Mexican of Venice, which is how Jeannine wryly referred to herself in recent years, just as they have gotten countless others in her heavily white gentrified neighborhood, and flipper-infested neighborhoods everywhere. The RATs smell money, and nothing else matters. Not someone’s hard work or integrity, not suffering, not tragedy. Only money. It’s really just the old Vaudeville play, “The Drunkard,” on a huge scale. The poor widow (Jeannine lost her husband several years ago) being evicted by the rich landlord.

Jeannine Mendoza grew up believing that you should give back to the community, the world, in some way. Most people used to believe this way, before college kids answered “icon” or “rich” when polled as to their career ambition. She went to Cal State Northridge on loans and financial aid for minorities (Educational Opportunity Program) in the early ‘70’s, got a degree in education. Then a Master’s degree. Eventually, an Ed. D. Right. Dr. Mendoza.

And she taught. . .kindergarten. Occasionally first or second grade. She believed this is where she could make the most impact, and that the most impact should be made here, when brains and hearts are so malleable. She was dedicated, she was effervescent, she adored her students. Many came back years later to thank her. Radiant reviews from supervisors. Always.

And so it went. She taught, she raised a family, she paid off her gigantic student loans. Her husband taught grade school, and supplemented income by becoming a boat captain for hire, piloting outings to Catalina, Baja on weekends. The Hassmans got by. They were a happy couple, in love with each other, their kids, their home, their work.

Except. . .

Venice, California, pre-gentrification in the '70s and gentrified today. Where are the People?Venice, California, pre-gentrification in the '70s and gentrified today. Where are the People?
 

Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster

Of scientists and charlatans:

 

Republican presidential aspirants Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum all describe themselves as devout Catholics and, like most Republican candidates, they argue that religion should play an expanded role in American politics and government. However, on matters related to global warming, Messrs. Bush and Rubio both agree with Mr. Santorum, stating that we should, “...leave science to the scientists.”
 
Fortunately for these Republican candidates, Jorge Bergoglio, a chemist from Argentina, has stepped forward to address the concerns of those who think that global warming issues should be only confined to scientists. Recently, Bergoglio, analyzed the available data and produced a most remarkable treatise titled “Care for Our Common Home.” His book is well worth reading.

Bergoglio has an interesting past. In 1929 his family fled fascism in Mussolini’s Italy and migrated to Argentina, where he was born in 1936. He is well credentialed. He attended Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles, a school of the Salesians of Don Bosco, in Ramos Mejía, Buenos Aires, and entered the technical school Escuela Técnica Industrial #27. After graduation he began work as a chemist at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory in Buenos Aries (to finance his education, he also worked as a bouncer in an Argentine bar). 
 
Thanks to a most magnificent, almost lyrical writing style Bergoglio's book should be be easily understandable by the general public — and even by politicians. His words are firm. He resolutely reflects on the general state of our environment, and particularly on the contribution of modern society to environmental degradation. He writes:
 

Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths.” He continues, saying that society creates a  “… pollution that effects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. 
  

Seeing little hope in industrial technology as a solution, he states:
 

Technology, which linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create another.

As global warming melts Greenland's massive ice cap, its surface exposes centuries of soot and ash, becoming ever darker and melting ever faster -- just one of myriad vicious climate change circles.As global warming melts Greenland's massive ice cap, its surface exposes centuries of soot and ash, becoming ever darker and melting ever faster -- just one of myriad vicious climate change circles.
  

OMG! The Food’s So Proletarian, and Pets are Hard to Find

The L.A. Times goes to Cuba:

 

The Los Angeles Times sent one of its managing editors to Cuba a few months ago, to report on the status of the society, culture, etc. Good that they sent a big gun, instead of just a run-of-the-mill reporter. Here are two of the stunning findings from this report. (brace yourself!):
 

If you travel to Cuba, be prepared for a squash fest. At every lunch and dinner, we were offered pumpkin soup or cooked butternut squash or squash stew. It was rarely bad but never great, which was true of much of the food we consumed.
 

Annnnnd. . .
 

Cuba doesn’t have the agriculture, the infrastructure or the economy to support anything resembling the flatbreads, house-cured pastrami and vinegared cauliflower that we’ve come to expect in Venice or Los Feliz or DTLA.
 

Well! That darn Cuba! Here the USA has reestablished relations, and Cuba does not even have the goddamned decency to offer squash stew that is "great." Sheesh. Harrumph! How dare those tyrannized, dirt-poor people! Good thing the LAT sent one of its managing editors to get this scoop. I mean, think of how an inexperienced reporter might have handled the assignment!

XXXX

And then we have the vital, earth-shattering news that Cuba does not have the "agriculture, infrastructure, or economy" to produce the "flatbreads, house-cured pastrami, and vinegared cauliflower that we’ve come to expect in Venice, Los Feliz or DTLA” (the new “hipster” way of referring to downtown L.A..) Darn that Cuba again! Here Obama went to all that trouble to let American citizens haul their fat asses down there, and my God, those Cubans don't have the courtesy to produce pastrami as good as Venice, Los Feliz, and "DTLA." Unforgivable! Didn’t they know that U.S. citizens with big, rumbling guts and discriminating palates were coming? Thank God for this hard-hitting, incisive, pithy, empathetic, moving account of life in Cuba under Castro! Can a Pulitzer be far off?

Radioactive Texas Waste Dump Threatens Key US Water Resource

Hot and dry in the heartland:

 

In a remote place in the desert of West Texas, outside the small town of Andrews, something dirty has been going on which threatens the water supply of nearly a third of America’s farmland (and perhaps the millions of people who eat the food grown using that water).  

The highly radioactive spoils of nuclear power plants from 36 states -- as well as other seriously toxic or carcinogenic substances, such as PCBs dredged from the Hudson River -- are being dumped there on a regular basis, and this will continue until the designated hole in the ground is filled.  

That designated hole happens to be right on the Ogallala Aquifer, according to environmentalists. 

At 174,000 square miles, the Ogallala Aquifer is the world’s second largest, providing water to 27 percent of the entire agricultural land in the United States.  An aquifer can be a superhighway for nuclear waste, as shown by studies of the movement of waste at polluted nuclear sites such as Hanford, Washington

The dirty dump owes its existence to dirty politics. Local residents say officials came to town to conspire with billionaires on ways to silence their opposition to the dump. Owned by Waste Control Specialists (WCS), the site was built by Harold C. Simmons, a top contributor to the campaigns of George W. Bush, Rick Perry and the Super PAC run by Bush confidant and Republican Party strategist Karl Rove.  Opponents say that WCS amounts to “a privatization of nuclear waste to help a billionaire make billions of dollars more.”  

Activists charge that the state of Texas granted WCS its license after repeated intervention by politicians bought by Simmons. And unlike most applicants for licenses, WCS bought the site even before it had performed a proper environmental study of it.

This Waste Control Specialists radioactive waste dump site in Texas threatens the nation's largest water aquifer, activists warnThis Waste Control Specialists radioactive waste dump site in Texas threatens the nation's largest water aquifer, activists warn
 

US Lost in Afghanistan, But Did Manage to Make Afghanistan the World's Top Heroin Exporter

We’re #1...in the heroin business!

 

Afghan Brigadier General Abdul Sama was accused recently of smuggling over 40 pounds of heroin.

It should come as no surprise that an Afghan general was caught smuggling heroin, the surprise is that any high official in that country should be charged with a crime for profiting from the trade in illegal drugs while under the watchful eye of American forces.

Under American occupation, Afghanistan quickly became the world's leader in opium production, producing over 90% of the world's supply. The Taliban had almost shut down opium production prior to the US invasion in 2001 to the chagrin of international drug runners, and no doubt the international banking industry, which earns big profits laundering billions of dollars in illegal drug money annually. Illegal drugs account for about 8% of all international trade.

Few Americans are aware of the long history of the CIA's running illegal drugs internationally, thanks to the untiring efforts of the mainstream press. Were citizens aware, few would be surprised that heroin production has skyrocketed under US occupation of Afghanistan.

The tragic case of journalist Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News is a case in point, and represents perhaps the widest-known attempt at suppressing the story of CIA drug-running endeavors, with the mainstream US press shamelessly and dutifullly attacking Webb for attempting to expose the inconvenient truth.
Afghan harvests opium as US Troops ignore him (or protect him?)Afghan harvests opium as US Troops ignore him (or protect him?)

Have Millions of Deaths from America's 'War on Terror' been Concealed?

We don't do body counts

 

How many days has it been
Since I was born?
How many days
'Til I die?

Do I know any ways
I can make you laugh?
Or do I only know how
To make you cry?

― Leon Russell, Stranger in a Strange Land
 

The US invasions of Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001 have produced holocausts in both countriesThe US invasions of Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001 have produced holocausts in both countries
 

The mass media in the US have covered up the most important fact in America’s ongoing wars: the number of people slaughtered. Even before the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the mainstream media served as cheerleaders for the bloodshed, spreading the major lies that led us to war.

As a combat vet still shocked by what I saw almost 50 years ago in Vietnam, where we earlier slaughtered millions in another war based on lies, I decided to look into what is happening in the current wars. I discovered that as many as seven million innocents may have been slaughtered in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I say "innocents," because even most combatants American forces have killed were merely defending their homelands from invasions by foreigners (that is us). The invasion of Afghanistan was avoidable ― the Taliban had offered to give up bin Laden if the USA would show them proof that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
The invasion of Iraq meanwhile violated international law and was little more than genocide.

I first looked for government or mainstream media reports in researching this article, but found little help there, forcing me to conclude they are not at all interested in counting victims. Anything they've put out to date is so simplistic that it should be ignored by anyone seeking facts. They wouldn’t even report on or take seriously a 2006 report by the respected UK medical journal, the Lancet, which, based upon household surveys and other data, concluded that between the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the beginning of 2006, Iraq had suffered over 650,000 war-related deaths, representing an astonishing 2.5% of the country’s population.

It should go without saying that nobody has a completely accurate count of the dead. But over the years, the impact of a corporate media and National Security State have taken their toll on the truth, warping it to imply that relatively few people have died in America’s phony "War on Terrorism."

The charge of a cover-up by the mass media seems obvious, as it is unconscionable that major media, a multi-billion dollar industry, could not find the numbers if they made even a feeble attempt. It seems obvious as well that such numbers would shock the public and turn them against the wars, which probably explains the silence of the mainstream, which is in line with their avid war support and simply echoes the words of General Tommy Franks that "We don't do body counts."

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Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

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