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How "Ha" Sings the Blues

When I was a kid, around 14-15, I was in my parents basement in the summer trying to bench press a measly 50 lbs when a new video came on BET. I never put the weight locks on, so when I heard what I considered trash at the time, one arm gave in, tilting the bar to the right as a 25 lb weight slid off and ran into the wall. My mother screamed down from the kitchen, “Derek, what was that?” I was appalled. It was the official video for what became a breakout hit, “Ha,” by the rapper Juvenile.  I was used to a different kind of MC. I was tuned into the type that was influenced by the likes of Rakim and Kool G Rap. I was used to the powerful delivery of KRS-One, the cadence of O.C., or the smooth and monotone voice of Guru. Juvenile’s sound was foreign to my ears.  A kid who had grown up on the Golden Era of hip hop, creative wordplay and thought provoking lyrics over boom bap beats, I thought Juvenile couldn’t rap. How wrong I was, thinking back now. Here I am in my late 30s and I can the

A Veteran’s Story From Alabama

 The most important and moving phone call to Washington Journal this week happened on Thursday: Veterans Day. Audrey, a veteran from Alabama, called in to tell her story, and it wasn’t long before listeners could hear the emotion in her voice, and sympathize with her experiences. Audrey served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1995 and fought in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. “I don’t know what you want to ask me?” Audrey said. Host Great Brawner replied, “Audrey, I’m interested in, what did you do exactly? What were your responsibilities when you served?” Among her many experiences, the hardest thing she said that she ever had to do was write a letter to a soldier’s family when she worked for two days in a hospital ward (“Charlie ward”) for disabled vets. She said she could not tell the soldier that he was going to lose his arm. With sorrow and regret in her voice and tears one could picture, Audrey revealed “he was 19 years old.” Toward the end of her phone call, Audrey said “All of us

Bush, the Butcher in Chief

 The George Bush rehabilitation tour. You might know it simply by the presence of that major war criminal (I just couldn’t help myself) as he’s paraded around from one legacy media relic to the next, telling stories about his life, promoting his books, painting war veterans who’ve lost limbs because of his lies. It’s proof of the fallacy of the so-called liberal media. It’s even more proof that the mainstream media is a corporate-run circle owned by billionaires & managed by millionaires and senior executives who live in gated communities and are actively trying to bury the truth that’s right before our eyes.     Bush left office in January 2009 with a sad approval rating of around 34%. Reports in recent years of his return to the spotlight as a counter to the other type of Republican, the type now exemplified by Trump, showed a post-presidency favorability rating that would make any sitting president ecstatic, that of 61%. Recently I saw a video of an Iraq War veteran being escort

"It Was Not a Flawed Election Process" in Maricopa County

 Today, October 7, 2021, the House Oversight & Reform Committee held a hearing where Arizona election officials testified about the outcome of the Cyber Ninjas audit of the election results in Maricopa County. Among those testifying was Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Sellers. “I daresay if you are a student of Maricopa County Republican election history, you were not surprised by the results. It was not a flawed election process; not a lack of security. It was a candidate that many Maricopa County Republicans simply did not support.” In a different time, this would be all that was needed to assure Americans that there was no election fraud in 2020. The supervisor’s words would be all that were needed to swat away the former president’s baseless claims. But as you know we are not living in a more sensible time. I encourage you to share this with anyone in your circle of family and friends who remain skeptical of the integrity of the 2020 election and without saying

A Review of 'Party of One', a Memoir by Former MTV Contributor Dave Holmes

 “Hey, I remember that guy!” are the words that rang in my head when I read the synopsis of Party of One by Dave Holmes and saw his picture on the back flap on the inside of the jacket. The name sounded familiar also. “He was the guy who tried out to be a veejay on MTV a few decades ago when the channel still played music. He should have won, but even second place landed him a job.” That last part of the dialogue I shared with my wife. If you’re looking for a book that’s both lighthearted and entertaining, this is it. Holmes is actually a very witty writer. One of my favorite stories from his memoir involves Jesse Camp, the guy who actually won the veejay competition. As Holmes put it, they were seated on a plane together, and Holmes was half asleep when Jesse attempted to sneak past him, presumably to go to the bathroom, and in the process of doing so, he stepped on Holmes’ foot, spilled a glass of wine on his chest, and “broke wind directly into my open mouth” (as far as he could te

Keep on Rockin' in the "Same Old"

Yesterday (8/15/21) it was reported, just weeks after President Biden announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, that the Taliban had taken over the country's capitol, Kabul. As America's longest war of 20 years, Washington Journal devoted all three hours to the question, “What does the war in Afghanistan mean?” (August 16, 2021) Near the last hour, Bob from Jacksonville, Texas called in with his take. “I think this trillion dollar price tag [the cost of the twenty year war in Afghanistan] is propaganda...People have forgotten, I guess, that we went over there on a lie about weapons of mass destruction.” The caller was evidently referring to the Iraq War (more on that in a minute). Host John McCardle asked if he thinks people will remember August 15, 2021, the fall of Kabul. “I doubt it. Now the event might be remembered, but I doubt very seriously if people will remember the date like they have December the 7 th , 1941 [Pear Harbor]".  McCardle then asked i

As the World Burns, Billionaires Explore Outer Space Free of Charge

As the western United States burns up with over 70 forest fires in 13 states , and Germany deals with the aftermath of devastating floods, the world's richest man, not counting Vladimir Putin, rocketed himself up to outer space for 10 minutes at a cost of of $2.5 million every sixty seconds. A Democracy Now! segment on Thursday looked at the irony and dangers of billionaires fighting to privatize and monopolize space infrastructure while the earth burns due to the man-made climate catastrophe. As an example of his utter lack of self awareness, Bezos' own comments after returning from his space adventure admitted that his wealth is created by, not only his customers, but his workers. This of course reminds readers of the ProPublica story that exposed how little he and the billionaire class pay in taxes . They are all the undeserving recipients of corporate socialism, making their space tours (I'm looking at you, Richard Branson) just another taxpayer funded giveaway to