Saturday, March 30, 2013

Is Religion the Enemy of Feminism?

Wichita NOW hosted a debate between Rev. Robin McGonigle and Amanda Knief on March 5, 2013. Wichita NOW President Vicki Stangl moderated. McGonigle is Senior Minister at University Congregational Church in Wichita. Knief is managing director and in-house counsel for American Atheists.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Country Club #4: Bob Wills teaches political economy

"Take Me Back to Tulsa" is a Western Swing classic, but it also has one of the most succinct lessons in political economy. In 1940, Bob Wills and vocalist Tommy Duncan put lyrics to a Wills fiddle tune.

Aocording to wikipedia

The song is a series of unrelated, mostly nonsense, rhyming couplets, i.e.: Little bee sucks the blossom, big bee gets the honey. Darkie picks the cotton, white man gets the money. Modern covers of the song, in order to avoid racial offense, tend to replace above line with: Poor boy picks the cotton, Rich man gets the money.
I've also heard "black man picks the cotton, white man gets the money."
Wills and Duncan weren't Woody Guthrie writing political songs. Wills said the lyrics were just nonsense lyrics he had learned as a boy. So, it might be said that Take Me Back to Tulsa reflects an unconscious class consciousness' Lots of country songs do.The left should listen.

Nouveau Quintest (gypsy jazz) opens Bartlett Arboretum 2013 Concert Series

Wichita's gypsy jazz group Nouveau Quintent is performing this Sunday March 31 from 2-5 pm at the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, Kansas. It is the first of their 2013 Tree House Concert series. There are some truly excellent performers on the schedule. Definitely worth checking out. And the arboretum is an important historical, cultural, and ecological institution that deserves support.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Commonweal on the new Pope, Catholicism and Capitalism

The liberal Catholic journal Commonweal has this to say about the new Pope Francis

Catholicism has never quite made peace with capitalism, for instance, and here all sorts of esoteric Catholic objections to modern liberalism merge with a rejection of the materialism and crass commercialism of American society and the hegemony of Wall Street. The Catholic critique of the modern economy may be needed now more than ever before, and Francis’s promise to make concern for the poor central to his papacy could confound the powerful in surprising ways. 

(ht: Lawrence Gulotta )

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Country Club #3: Long Black Veil

Johnny Cash performed "The Long Black Veil" with Joni Mitchell on the first episode of his CBS show in 1969. It was originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell in 1959. It was a bit of departure from Frizzell's honky-tonk sound. In 1968, the song appeared on The Band's Music from Big Pink and Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Congratulations to Russsell Fox

Russell Fox, my friend and fellow member of Wichita Democratic Socialists, celebrated ten years of blogging at In Media Res.  It's an interesting, informative blog which I actually started following before Russell moved to Wichita. I recommend that you check it out.

I'm coming up on my tenth anniversary of blogging as well. My first posts were on November 8 and November 21 of 2003, but I didn't really start blogging with some consistency until June of 2004.  So if you don't see a tenth anniversary of NAR blog post in November 2013, wait will June 2014.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Country Club # 2: the man who started it all

Is this the first country video? Jimmie Rodgers (wikipedia allmusic website) is rightly called the "father of country music." observes

the first nationally known star of country music and the direct influence of many later performers, from Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, and Hank Williams to Lefty Frizzell and Merle Haggard. Rodgers sang about rounders and gamblers, bounders and ramblers -- and he knew what he sang about. ... In an era when Rodgers' contemporaries were singing only mountain and mountain/folk music, he fused hillbilly country, gospel, jazz, blues, pop, cowboy, and folk

Rodgers recorded with Louis Armstrong and influenced many bluesmen. He was the first inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, inducted as a fouding father in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and just this year (2013)added to the Blues Hall of Famer.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wealth Inequality in America

The information in this video has been around for a while. I've seen quite a few blogs and articles cite. But this video created in November 2012, has gone viral because it really makes the said facts well known. One quibble: socialism doesn't mean an absolute equality of income or household wealth.

The creator describes the video thusly

Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.
 He also provides these references:

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Country Club #1

I've been sharing a blues video (most) Saturdays for quite a while now and I feel the need to take a little break. Or more accurately, a shift. I might have picked jazz or soul or rock, but  I'm going to be sharing some country and western videos on (most) Saturdays now.

 Every music series requires a catchy title and I'm borrowing "Country Club" from Travis Tritt. (wikipedia   website) I don't agree with Tritt's Republican politics, but this--his first single in 1989--is a great song and his mixture of honky tonk with country-rock and southern rocks works. says "Travis Tritt was one of the leading new country singers of the early '90s, holding his own against Garth Brooks, Clint Black, and Alan Jackson. He was the only one not to wear a hat and the only one to dip into bluesy Southern rock. Consequently, he developed a gutsy, outlaw image that distinguished him from the pack."

In a future post I'll discuss the political rationale for the series.  I think a that (many) leftists, progressives, and union activists ought to put aside aesthetic and political prejudices and actually listen to the music and hear the lyrics.

Hint: there's a little bit of class consciousness in this song and spent 26 weeks on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts, peaking at number nine.

Saturday, March 02, 2013