I Got A Feeling

January 12, 2019

“I Got A Feeling,” written by  Brian HollandLamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, recorded by Barbara Randolph, 1967. There’s a better-known version by the Four Tops.

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Snake Farm

January 12, 2019

“Snake Farm,” written and performed by Ray Wylie Hubbard, 2013. Yes, there really is a Snake Farm, a roadside attraction on I-35 South near New Braunfels, Texas.

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Scrappy’s Art Gallery

January 12, 2019

“Scrappy’s Art Gallery,” 1934, featuring the Scrappy character created by Dick Huemer before he left the Mintz studio for Disney. Principal animator: Art Davis.

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Why Frats?

January 11, 2019

Frats are so … well, fratty. Why do colleges tolerate them? A Vox video by Phil Edwards.

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Parking

January 10, 2019

“Why we should pay more for free parking.” A Guardian video.

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National Emergency

January 10, 2019

National Emergency

Frustrated with the actual process of governing, President Donald Trump now believes he can rule by fiat like his pals Duterte, Putin, Xi, Kim, el-Sisi, and Erdogan simply by declaring a National Emergency when he can’t get his way.

More:

“Having Failed To Convince Americans There’s a National Emergency, Trump Now Poised to Declare One,” Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

“National Emergency Powers and Trump’s Border Wall, Explained,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“If Trump declares a state of emergency, he might actually cause one,” Andrea Pitzer, Washington Post

Read the rest of this entry »

Florida (of course): Give Teachers Guns

January 9, 2019

Florida (of course): Give Teachers Guns

Florida’s “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission,” largely composed of Sunshine State political hacks, submitted a report urging the arming of public school teachers. What could possibly go wrong?

More:

“Parkland safety commission’s solution to prevent school shootings? More guns in schools.” Tess Owen, VICE News

“Parkland commission recommends teachers be allowed to carry guns,”Jamiles Lartey, The Guardian

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Top image (“School Supplies”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Oval Office, Networks, and Truth Abused by the Politics of Fear

January 9, 2019

Oval Office, Networks, and Truth Abused by the Politics of Fear

President-for-now Donald Trump put in a prime-time Oval Office appearance on Tuesday in a futile effort to explain away his federal government shutdown, which locked-out 800,000 federal employees and denied services to millions of U.S. taxpayers. Stephen Miller’s sulfurous script was dark with fear-mongering, untruths, and racism, but the delivery by Mr. Trump, a former Reality TV personality, was unconvincing, even though the tale followed many of his long-time personal falsehoods. In a jaw-dropping display of audacity, Mr. Trump claimed he wanted to stop a humanitarian crisis on the Mexican border, a crisis he exacerbated by refusing entrance to asylum seekers and separating children from their families.

Fact-checkers and bookmakers are still busy counting up the president’s counterfactual assertions.

More:

“Trump tried to play a normal president on television. The result was very strange.” Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

“Trump Gets Instant Fact-Check From Fox News’ Shepard Smith After Oval Office Speech,” Matt Wilstein, Daily Beast

“The cascade of false claims as Trump makes his case for a crisis on the US-Mexico border,” Marshall Cohen, Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, David Shortell and Jeremy Diamond, CNN

“Trump Appeals for Wall, Citing Misleading Statistics of Crisis and Crime Along Border,” Peter Baker, New York Times

“The U.S. Doesn’t Have a Border Crisis. Trump’s Campaign Does.” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“The real crisis is that Trump has no idea what he’s doing,” Matthew Yglesias, Vox

“Gamblers Made $270,000 Betting That Trump Would Lie a Bunch in His Address,” River Donaghey, Vice

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Image (“Trump TV, after Dalton Avalos Ramirez”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The 8th of January

January 8, 2019

On December 23, 1814, American forces began a week-long defense of the city of New Orleans from British attackers. Neither force knew that a treaty ending the war was signed on December 24th, so the battle continued. U.S. forces under Major General Andrew Jackson were finally victorious on January 8, 1815. Frontier Americans commemorated the feat with a fiddle tune, “The 8th of January,” which entered tradition. In 1936, Arkansas schoolteacher and folksong buff James Morris (later Jimmy Driftwood) wrote a song about the battle to go with that fiddle tune, and Country-Western star Johnny Horton recorded it in 1959. If Americans know anything about the battle, it’s probably that song.

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A steel barrier is America’s greatest defense.

January 8, 2019

A steel barrier is America's greatest defense.

President-for-now Donald Trump says the U.S. needs a steel barrier to protect it from a national crisis:

Mr. Trump wants $5.7 billion in tax dollars to build a 234-mile steel wall of unknown design, a sort of pig-iron-in-a-poke situation. A project like that could require as much 3 million tons of steel, according to industry sources. That must please all the former steel company execs and lobbyists in the Trump administration.

“I intend the call the heads of United States Steel and a couple of other of our great steel companies” said the president. “I will have them come up with a template or design of a beautiful steel product, which we now may use and use that as our barrier.”

Actually, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has some very effective steel barriers, and they’re quite compact. Mr. Trump should try one out, for size. Oh wait, that might be awkward. Federal prison guards aren’t being paid due to the president’s shutdown.

More:

“Trump Offers a ‘Steel Barrier,’ but Democrats Are Unmoved,” Michael Tackett and Catie Edmondson, New York Times

“Trump Sees Border Wall As Another Boost For U.S. Steel Industry,” Jim Zarroli, NPR News

“Most illegal immigration doesn’t come through the Mexican border where Trump wants to build his wall,”Carmin Chappell, CNBC

Related:

“Trump Was Never a Great Dealmaker. The Shutdown Proves It.” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

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Image (“Beautiful American Steel”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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