Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Guns and Butter, Ani DiFranco, Coretta Scott King . . .

"I'm not sure there's anything these guys wouldn't do to stay in power."

Dr. David Ray Griffin said that on today's Guns and Butter. Let me do the set up. Bonnie Faulkner is the host. Guns and Butter airs each Wednesday at one o'clock pm (Pacific) on KPFA.

This was part two of Dr. Griffin's March 30th speech and he also took questions at the end. He examined the claims of the 9-11 commission and turned them upside down. He addressed the collapse of the towers and what Cheney could have or could not have done on 9-11. What was authorized and when? He really takes apart the 9-11 commission report. He also notes that the commissioners don't appear to have done work but instead to have farmed it out to staff. I made a note on that, so let me dig it out from my purse.

"What do you see Bush doing in October '06?" is one of the questions. I wrote that down. I've also got written down that there's a Guns and Butter benefit on May 2nd at seven pm. It's a showing of the film Loose Change. Where? Somewhere in Oakland but I obviously thought I'd remember where and didn't write it down. I'll find out the location and note it the next time I blog here. I'm thinking it was at the Grand Lake Theater. But I'll check that out.

Mike may try to grab time to blog tomorrow. He's thinking maybe in the early morning hours. It's going to be sad to see everyone go. I was sad just taking Elaine to the airport Sunday. It's really been a wonderful week. Betty's kids are so smart and so much fun. Everything that's new to her daughter is "wonderful." "That's wonderful" she'll say holding something. It's a new word she picked up a few weeks back, Betty said.

Her eyes will go wide when she sees something new and she'll look at you with a hint-hint-hint. When you hand it to her, she'll just study it for the longest and then say, "That's wonderful."
She's so cute doing that. And she loves perfume. Betty warned me not to put on any around her unless I wanted to give her a dab or a spray. She always wants it on her left wrist and she'll bring it up to her nose and do this long sniff. Then look at you smiling and say, "That's wonderful."

The boys are great too but she's the youngest and everything is new to her. It must have rained repeatedly but everytime she'd smile and pronounce it wonderful. She also wants to introduce herself and shake hands everytime she meets someone which Betty says is something her grandfather (Betty's father) taught her. She'll give her name and extend her hand while saying, "And how are you?"

Betty said she's been on her best behavior and not to be fooled into thinking she's always a little angel but that's all I saw this week. Mike and Wally would both ask her after naps, "How was your nap?" "It was wonderful, thank you."

Betty's boys like Jess and Cedric best. They think they are jungle jims, the way they climb on them. Betty warned Cedric the first time he tossed her youngest son in the air that he'd regret it and I keep waiting for Jess or Cedric to say "Oh, my back!" but they've had a blast with the boys. Meanwhile, Mike's been the designated piggy-back giver. They'll take one from Wally or anyone who offers but their preferred choice is Mike because he's so tall. The other thing the boys have enjoyed is playing with Maria's kids.

In a little while, we're going to watch The Take. Mike hadn't seen it and he wasn't the only one.
If you haven't seen The Take, it's a documentary that Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis made about life in Argentina after the economic collapse, when workers began rejecting the neoliberalism that had driven the economy into the ground and taking control of their own lives.

I may end up crashing here because, if you can't tell by the way I leap from topic to topic tonight, I'm really tired. June Pointer died Tuesday and Rebecca's "june pointer 1953-2006" is a pretty good look at the Pointer Sisters career.

My favorite comment this week was yesterday when Jim was talking about how tired he was, not complaining, just talking about it, and Dona said, "Now do you get why it's too much to expect marathon sessions every Sunday?" I'm sure come this weekend, Jim will be urging us all to put in more hours but right now, at least, I think he gets that by the time the edition starts, C.I. has put in a full day and then some. By the way, I loved what C.I. dictated re: John Kerry today.

The biggest shock? To my system anyway, that everyone expects to eat by 5:30. I know it's 8:30 for most of them but I'm not used to eating that early. (8:30 if they were back east.)

I just think it's been really great for us to all get together, even for the ones that were only here over the weekend.

C.I. has the new issue of Ms. in here so let me flip through that and find something because I really feel like anyone trying to read this is going to give up because I'm so tired. Okay, in the letters, there's a comment about moving Ms., when you find it in the stores, to the front. Great idea. But don't go to a bookstore or Tower with C.I. You have to redo the whole magazine rack. Yes, Ms. goes to the front, but The New Republican goes to the back, under other magazines, The Progressive, The Nation come to the front and you're not done yet. By the time you're done, the magazine rack looks completely different. (Better in my opinion.) The first time that happened, or the first time I was along for it, we were about to check out and C.I. says "Just a second" and I'm thinking "Oh, we're going to look at magazines." No, we were going to rearrange them.

I'm flipping through the magazine and there's a really nice two page spread on Coretta Scott King entitled "A Revolutionary Woman." I'm going to offer the concluding paragraph:

When the grand narrative of American feminism is rewritten, it will be a more extraordinary "herstory" when the pantheon of women warriors is expanded. Coretta Scott King will join her fallen African American sisters -- Anna Julia Cooper, Ida Wells-Barnett, Claudia Jones, Lorraine Hansberry, Audre Lorde, June Jordan -- whose collective battles against multiple forms of oppression have been as inspirational, as compelling and as transgressive as those of the more celebrated icons of the women's movement. When we retell the story of radical African American activism in the 20th century, we can finally embrace Coretta Scott King as the truly revolutionary figure she was.

That was written by Beverly Guy-Sheftall, by the way. There's also an article on Ani DiFranco purchasing a church that was about to be torn down in her hometown of Buffalo. She's going to move her offices into the second floor and hold poetry and concerts in the auditorium -- yes, that includes her own performances so let's hope that means she's mended since she had to cancel her concert. I'm so used to seeing her in dreads, I kept passing this article. It's noted on the cover but I kept flipping through trying to find it.

Mike just ran in to say he had just blogged and that it's time for the movie so I'll stop.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Let me begin by noting that Democracy Now! will be covering the immigration demonstrations tomorrow so be sure to check that out. (By whatever means you use, listening, watching or reading the transcripts.)

The weekend was a great deal of fun with everyone together and being active. Saturday night was everyone catching up and Ruth had two of her grandchildren with her (Tracey and Jayson) so there was a great deal to talk about when you have that many people in one place.

At The Third Estate Sunday Review we wrote a piece entitled "A few thoughs on music" and I'm happy with the way it turned out but I think the moment we were trying to capture was worthy of its own feature so I'll write about that. (Ruth was invited to assist as were Tracey and Jayson; however, they begged off because they were tired -- and probably because they knew an edition tends to take longer the more people participate.)

But long before we got to the writing of that, we were pulling out CDs and talking, snacking on some chips, dips and vegetables and home cooked burritos and enchiladas, just relaxing. It was really just a nice vibe.

C.I. says I have more music and if that's true it's only because I have a tendency to hold on to it. Vinyl, cassette, CD, I don't give anything away. I even have a 4-track. I didn't even know they made 4-tracks. But one day, at an off campus, small music store, I saw this 4-track and picked it up. This was in the late 80s and I didn't own an 8-track but figured it wouldn't be too hard to pick one up -- and it wasn't -- but this was a 4-track. It didn't play on that. I still have the 4-track. I haven't looked at it in some time but it was a Mamas and the Papas collection that contained songs from The Papas and the Mamas and Deliver if I remember correctly. "Safe In My Garden" was one of the songs and I have no idea what the other ones were.

So there's a bit of something you may not have known of until today -- 4-tracks were once made. Sumner's father told me that Ford promoted them like crazy at one point -- the players in their cars.

So everyone was running around grabbing CDs and picking what to play and, most important, what to play next. We heard this wide range of music, including classical at one point (Stravinsky's Firebird in the last hours of producing the edition). It was interesting to see who pulled out what. Dona and Ava are building a joint music collection that they'll divide up upon graduation and Carly Simon is an artist they have a few CDs of but they didn't have Hotcakes so that was one of Dona's picks to play and she fell in love with that album. Mike just pulled out the White Stripes and the Mamas and the Papas and I don't think anyone was surprised by that.

At one point, Jim sneered, "Days of Thunder!" and I grabbed it to play. I don't have it on CD but I do have the cassette single of the best song on the soundtrack. (Cher's on it, Tina Turner and Guns and Roses do "Knockin' On Heaven's Door.") Best track? Maria McKee's "Show Me Heaven" which was a mini-hit in England but not really so much over here. It should have been huge. We listened to that track and nothing else from the CD. And we listened twice because as soon as it was over, Jim said, "Play that one again." I'm not going to note the lyrics to it because you really have to hear McKee sing it.

Ben Harper was played repeatedly (Both Sides of the Gun). Some of the other CDs were The Clash's London Calling, the Police's Synchronicity, the Mamas and the Papas' Deliver, the Beatles' Revolver and Abby Road, John Lennon & Yoko Ono's Sometime In New York City, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On?, Tori Amos' Scarlet's Walk, Aretha Franklin's Young, Gifted & Black, Joni Mitchell's Song to a Seagull, Tim Buckley's Goodbye and Hello, Eurythmic's Be Yourself Tonight, Jackson Browne's Lives in the Balance, Judy Collins' Wildflowers and In My Life, Nina Simone's Here Comes The Sun, Diana Ross & the Surpremes' Reflections, the Rolling Stones' Some Girls and A Bigger Bang, the Afghan Whigs' Gentleman, Ani DiFranco's Living in Clip and So Much Shouting So Much Laughter, Pink Floyd's The Wall, Van Hunt's self-titled debut, Joan Baez's Bowery Songs, Otis Redding's Otis Blue, John Mellencamp's Scarecrow, James Blunt's Back to Bedlam, Laura Nyro's New York Tenderberry and Christmas and the Beads of Sweat, Phil Ochs' All The News That's Fit To Sing, Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles, Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly . . .

We spent several hours just listening and talking (and munching) before we got started on the edition. With that many people, there were so many songs that people wanted to share. Some were like Dona and choosing something they'd never heard but a lot of the time, it was someone grabbing a CD they loved and wanting to share it. I think most people are familiar with that desire, when a song just speaks to you and want to share it, hoping that others will hear in it what you do.

Elaine's the one who pointed out to me the next day (I ran her to the airport), when I was trying to figure out who had picked what, that C.I. hadn't picked. Elaine laughed that if C.I. had only picked one, considering the mix we were hearing, it probably would have been The Doors debut album. ("Or maybe Odetta," she added.)

If you love music, you probably understand why I enjoyed the evening. And since RadioNation with Laura Flanders was a best of previous broadcasts, I didn't have to worry that I was missing something. (Not an insult to Laura just saying that if it were a new broadcast, we would have been listening to that and probably more focused.)

We all agreed that the next time we were able to all get together physically, we'd each bring at least one CD. I would've thought we would all be tired but the excitements of the protests and the music meant we sailed through the sessions in terms of energy if not in terms of time itself.

I agree with the points made in "A few thoughs on music" -- we do need to hear more of today's artists commenting on the world around. But I think we could have tried to capture that moment when music becomes another person in the room. That can happen when you're listening by yourself and it can happen fairly often. But it doesn't always happen when it's a group of people -- a lot of times like that, music becomes background -- wall paper.

Be sure to check out Cedric's Big Mix because he'll be writing some about Law and Disorder which we listened to as a podcast (or via podcast) while we ate dinner this evening. And barring computer problems, Betty will be posting at Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man. She hadn't read Saturday's column until Sunday night and she was upset because she felt that she had to rewrite her chapter that she's been unable to post. But she bounced ideas off all of us and I think she's actually glad (now) that she's rewriting.

I'll try to complete my Both Sides of the Gun review this week. But activism takes priority and then enjoying hanging out with everyone comes next. Music? It doesn't make the list. Because, if you're like me, ranking music on a list is like ranking oxygen -- it's a needed requirement to go on living.