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It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Official Stamp of Approval ► Throwback Thursday

Further reading elsewhere:

The First 5 African-Americans to be Featured on U.S. Stamps
African-Americans on Stamps (to 2004)
Black Heritage (1978-present)
On this day in 1940 the United States Postal Service issued a stamp featuring Booker T. Washington, the first Black person to be so honoured on a U.S. stamp.

Booker Taliaferro Washington was born into slavery in April 5, 1856, and became one of the most respected men in the entire world. During the earliest years of the Jim Crow Era, when just looking at someone the wrong way was enough to get a Black man lynched, Washington was one of the leading voices against the treatment of Black folk in the country.

History channel has more highlights:
Born a slave on a Virginia farm, Washington (1856-1915) rose to become one of the most influential African-American intellectuals of the late 19th century. In 1881, he founded the Tuskegee Institute, a black school in Alabama devoted to training teachers. Washington was also behind the formation of the National Negro Business League 20 years later, and he served as an adviser to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Although Washington clashed with other black leaders such as W. E. B. Du Bois and drew ire for his seeming acceptance of segregation, he is recognized for his educational advancements and attempts to promote economic self-reliance among African Americans.
The Famous American
stamp series of 1940
:









The Washington stamp, coming 2 days after his birthday and 35 years after his death, was issued as part of the Famous American Series of stamps that included 34 other people in various categories. (See full list below the picture to the right.) As we learn from Wikipedia:
In 1940, the U.S. Post Office issued a set of 35 stamps, issued over the course of approximately ten months, commemorating America's famous Authors, Poets, Educators, Scientists, Composers, Artists and Inventors. The Educators included Booker T. Washington, who now became the first African-American to be honored on a U.S. stamp. This series of Postage issues was printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. These stamps were larger in size than normal definitive issues, with only 280 stamp images contained on the printing plate (400 images was standard for the Presidential series). Notable also is the red-violet color chosen for the 3¢ stamps, a brighter hue than the traditional purple.
This was not Washington's only honour. According to the WikiWackyWoo:
For his contributions to American society, Washington was granted an honorary master's degree from Harvard University in 1896 and an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth College in 1901.
At the end of the 2008 presidential election, the defeated Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, referred to Booker Washington's visit to Theodore Roosevelt's White House, a century before, as the seed that blossomed into Barack Obama as the first African American to be elected President of the United States.[citation needed]
In 1934 Robert Russa Moton, Washington's successor as president of Tuskegee University, arranged an air tour for two African-American aviators. Afterward he had the plane named the Booker T. Washington.[citation needed]

On April 7, 1940, Washington became the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp. Several years later, he was honored on the first coin to feature an African American, the Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar, which was minted by the United States from 1946 to 1951. He was also depicted on a U.S. Half Dollar from 1951–1954.[47]

In 1942, the liberty ship Booker T. Washington was named in his honor, the first major oceangoing vessel to be named after an African American. The ship was christened by Marian Anderson.[48]

On April 5, 1956, the hundredth anniversary of Washington's birth, the house where he was born in Franklin County, Virginia, was designated as the Booker T. Washington National Monument.


A state park in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was named in his honor, as was a bridge spanning the Hampton River adjacent to his alma mater, Hampton University.

In 1984 Hampton University dedicated a Booker T. Washington Memorial on campus near the historic Emancipation Oak, establishing, in the words of the University, "a relationship between one of America's great educators and social activists, and the symbol of Black achievement in education."[49]

Numerous high schools, middle schools and elementary schools[50] across the United States have been named after Booker T. Washington.

At the center of the campus at Tuskegee University, the Booker T. Washington Monument, called Lifting the Veil, was dedicated in 1922. The inscription at its base reads:
He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way to progress through education and industry.
In 2000, West Virginia State University (WVSU; then West Va. State College), in cooperation with other organizations including the Booker T. Washington Association, established the Booker T. Washington Institute, to honor Washington's boyhood home, the old town of Malden, and the ideals Booker Washington stood for.[51]

On October 19, 2009, WVSU dedicated a monument to the memory of noted African American educator and statesman Booker T. Washington. The event took place at West Virginia State University's Booker T. Washington Park in Malden, West Virginia. The monument also honors the families of African ancestry who lived in Old Malden in the early 20th century and who knew and encouraged Booker T. Washington. Special guest speakers at the event included West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, Malden attorney Larry L. Rowe, and the president of WVSU. Musical selections were provided by the WVSU "Marching Swarm."[52]

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Annotated Bill O'Reilly Talking Point Memo #3

Welcome to the 3rd Annotated Bill O'Reilly Talking Points Memo.  

Loofah Lad squeezes out a load like this one every single day and calls it a Talking Point Memo. It's always interesting to read between the lines in order to figure out WTF he's really saying when he's pontificating. Freud could have had a field day with him. Since Freud is not here, I'll give it a shot.

Today's topic: O'Reilly called it "White Grievance and the Republican Party." I call it, "In How Many New Ways Can I Defend My Good Buddy Donald J. Trump While Blowing Dog Whistles?" Let's get right to it, shall we?

All the polls say the same thing: Donald Trump's rise is being fueled largely by white men who are angry with both political parties.

Not to mention all that free publicity the media has given him, especially on Fox "News" with all the softball interviews he gets there. Like on your show, f'rinstance Bill O. I can't wait to see how you WHITEwash all of this on behalf of your vanilla milkshake buddy. Go on. Entertain me.

At this point 47% of Republican women say they will not vote for Mr. Trump, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.

Which merely proves women are the smarter gender, but not all women.

So it is the guys who have catapulted the candidate to the top of the Republican primary pack.

According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump is favored by 50% of Republican voters who make less than $50,000 a year, most of them men.

Also, Mr. Trump is supported by just 32% of Republicans who have college degrees, according to polling from 20 Republican primary states.

So you can see that Trump's support is largely coming from working-class white men who feel aggrieved.

I tend to think of them as working-class White men who have been brainwashed into thinking they're aggrieved. I look at them as soft racists -- if not actually hardcore racists -- who see equality as a zero sum game: If a group of folks are having their Civil Rights respected, these fools somehow think something is being taken away from them.

Now we've seen this before.  The black grievance industry is a powerful presence in America.

Wait!!! What???  Did you just change the topic to create a false equivalency?

That group sells the notion that most problems in the African-American precincts are caused by white people and historical oppression.

OH, MY!!!

You actually did change the topic to create a false equivalency. And then you blew your dog whistle. Let's unpack your White Privilege, shall we Mr. Falafel? Because only a White man who doesn't recognize his White Privilege would allow such manure to escape from his lips.

Are you saying there was no racism in the country? Or, are you saying that racism is over?

I'm so glad we're living in a post-racial society. FINALLY!!! /sarcasm

Listen, Loofah Lad: Even if one were to buy your bullshit argument that there are are no legitimate grievances in "African-American precincts" to be attributed to "White people and historical oppression," can you not see how that "historic oppression" has continued to create an uneven playing field when it comes to wealth creation and inheritances, not to mention the quality of neighbourhoods that each group tend to live within?

While the media gives that view a lot of attention, most African-Americans reject the propaganda.

And, you'll prove that, right?

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation says that 61% of American blacks believe the breakup of the African-American family is a major reason for the economic deprivation and social problems in the black community.

Wait just a gosh darn minute. You do realize that both can be true at the same time, doncha?

Just because 61% of Black folk "believe the breakup of the African-American family is a major reason for the economic deprivations and social problems in the Black community" (and, I'll assume your number is correct despite the many fibs you've told over the years), doesn't mean that Black folk don't also recognize, and fully understand, the "historic oppression" that got them there.

One fact does not negate the other. Unless you're just blowing another dog whistle in which facts are manipulated to create a false narrative.

Oh, wait!

I thought this was going to be about your good friend Trump's aggrieved constituency: Poor, uneducated, racist voters. Sorry I interrupted.

On the white side the issue is similar.

Here we go. Back on topic. Thank you.

Many white Americans believe that illegal immigration hurts their job prospects and are angered by changing neighborhoods and social patterns.

And, there's your false equivalency in a nut shell, asshole.

You've just alluded to the fact that Black folk have no right to feel aggrieved because they only have themselves to blame -- and they even admit it -- but White folk are legitimately spooked by "changing neighborhoods [sic] and social patterns". In your false equivalency you're not even giving equal weight to both sides in your false argument. You see nothing wrong with that as long as it helps Trump. Just another reason you're a hack, as I correctly called you in The Annotated Bill O'Reilly Talking Point Memo #2.

Their refrain is often, I want my country back.

Back to when Black folk knew their place, perhaps?

These voters are tired of seeing welfare doled out to people who are not motivated to succeed.

How many dog whistles you got?

They are angry that terrorists are not being contained.

Doncha mean radical Islamist terrorists? And, what does "contained" even mean in such an asymmetrical war?

Oh, and, Muslim dog whistle.

They see the Republican Party as largely cowardly in the face of political correctness.

I see the people who reject political correctness as saying, "Rude as I wanna be," just like the meme to the right I tricked up back in August.

Incidentally, I love how you're using the word "they," but you're really not only talking about yourself, but using this Talking Point Memo to excuse the worst aspects of Trump's campaign. Like weaving in "political correctness".

Remember when your friend Trump said he had no time to be politically correct? The Anti-PC Police Squad™ has long been a fixture of the Fox "News" Channel, as you must know.

Never mind. You were saying. Any more reasons why White folk are the real victims and only your pal Donald Trump can save us?

The white grievance crew also believes they are being oppressed economically and that nobody is looking out for them.

But, you're looking out for us, aren't you Mr. Falafel? You'll tell us what to believe and who to believe, won't you?

Enter Donald Trump, who vividly reflects the anger, who has criticized his own party for being weak.

Now both the black and white grievance movements have some legitimate points.

Wait! That's not what you said above. You were dismissive of the Black grievance industry.

Anyway, do go on. My eyes can't roll any farther away than they have already. How are Blacks folks' grievances legitimate? This should be good.

There is no question that in poor black neighborhoods schools are generally deficient because the property tax base is low.
So poor black children are not being educated as well as affluent children.

That's true.

Yes, it's true. And, why is that, you obtuse piece of crap?

Because of systemic and ongoing racism!!!

U.S. cities look the way they do -- and the property taxes are such -- because of White Flight, redlining, just two aspects of the "historic oppression" that you blithely dismissed out of hand as of no consequence.

You also seem to feel that systemic racism has been eradicated, when it clearly has not been. Otherwise, poor Black children would be as educated as poor White children, never mind any stupid false equivalency with affluent White children.

On the white side, here's a simple example: The Republican Party did not get behind Kate's Law, which would have harshly punished illegal alien felons who defy deportation.

WAIT!!!

How did we get from that to one of your pet projects, not to mention one of your favourite Muslim dog whistles?

It doesn't matter because you just -- once again -- pointed out your own racism. Answer me this, Sherlock, how is this strictly a White issue? If it's as important as you say it is, shouldn't it cross all racial lines? 

While GOP senators like Grassley, McCain and Cruz did actively try to get Kate's Law passed, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not.

And in general Republican politicians did not raise the flag on this issue.

I mean, when you control both houses of Congress and you cannot get Kate's Law passed, there is a serious problem.

Or, maybe it's just a stupid law that you are championing. But, again, you're just playing defense for your BFF Trump. The funniest part is that you actually believe you are in the No Spin Zone. My eyes are spinning from where you've taken this Talking Points Memo.

Again, Donald Trump has tapped into that chaos.

Thank goodness we're back on topic.

Going forward, Mr. Trump's nomination is not a lock.

Thank goodness there are still smart people in this country who are banding together to stop this demagogue before it's too late. First they came for the Mexicans . . .

He has made mistakes and will have to win over millions of Americans who do not believe he is qualified.

The majority of 'Merkins don't believe he's qualified and if he somehow manages to snag the GOP nomination, which is starting to look less and less likely, he will be destroyed in the General Election. And, the GOP will be on the endangered species list, especially if the Republican Convention becomes a brokered one. [Pass the popcorn.]

If you believe the polls, Mr. Trump is in for a rough day tomorrow in Wisconsin.

Let's hope so.

That being said, the issue of white grievance is not going away and Trump will maintain a loyal level of support.

Among the poor, uneducated, xenophobic racists that want to make 'Merka great again. Everyone else, as you have already made the case above, are fleeing from this sinking ship.

Many of his supporters are furious, and if Mr. Trump does not get the nomination, the stay-home vote next November is likely to be substantial.

Pass the popcorn.

And that's the memo. [Transcript provided by Bill O'Reilly.]

And that's my answer, 'cept:

Don't you get winded blowing so many dog whistles, Loofah Lad? After all, you're not a young man anymore. But, you're still an aggrieved racist White man.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Beatles Conquer The U.S. Charts ► Monday Musical Appreciation

Further reading at Not Now Silly:

The Beatles' Last Concert
On this day in 1964 The Beatles had the top 5 tunes on the 'Merkin Billboard charts, an amazing feat for a band that was barely known on this continent just a few months earlier. Those songs are:

5). Please Please Me
4). I Want To Hold Your Hand
3). She Loves You
2). Twist And Shout
1). Can't Buy Me Love

Let's take a quick look at all of these songs:

Please Please Me

"Please Please Me" was not only a song title, but also the name of The Beatles' first LP in the UK. It was recorded and released in January of 1963 to capitalize on the success of this song, which had burned up the British charts. There were 14 tunes on the "Please Please Me" album, and eight of them were written by The Beatles, including this one. It was also the second single ever released by The Beatles following "Love Me Do." According to the WikiWackyWoo:
"Please Please Me" has a diverse history. George Martin has stated that the original version of this song was "rather dreary", was too slow and consequently had little prospect of being the big hit the band were looking for. Martin said, "I was still thinking that we should release their [earlier] recording of "How Do You Do It?"", a previously taped Mitch Murray composition that Martin insisted the Beatles record which he had seriously considered as an alternative debut single instead of "Love Me Do". The group replied that they were only interested in recording their own material.[7] McCartney said: "It was symptomatic of our group that we turned down "How Do You Do It?". Ringo Starr commented: "I remember us all being ready to stand up for the principle of, 'We have written these songs and we want to do them'". George Martin was ultimately sympathetic to their appeals, but said later: "[I] would still have issued "How Do You Do It?" had they not persuaded me to listen to another version of "Please Please Me".[11]

Lennon first conceived "Please Please Me" as a bluesy, slow tempo song. Lennon recalled: "I remember the day I wrote it, I heard Roy Orbison doing "Only the Lonely", or something. And I was also always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went, 'Please lend a little ear to my pleas'. The double use of the word 'please'. So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby".[7] Originally it was vocally sparse, did not contain any harmonies or responses, nor did it have the scaled harmonica intro.

On the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, published by Rolling Stone, "Please Please Me" clocks in as #184.

I Want To Hold Your Hand

This tune was released at the end of November of 1963 and -- had it not been for "She Loves You" -- would have gone right to #1 on the British charts. It had to settle for the #2 spot on its release date. According to the Wiki:
It was also the group's first American number one, entering the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 13 January 1964 at number forty-five and starting the British invasion of the American music industry. By 1 February it held the number-one spot, and stayed there for seven weeks before being replaced by "She Loves You", a reverse scenario of what had occurred in Britain. It remained on the US charts for a total of fifteen weeks.[6] "I Want to Hold Your Hand" became the Beatles' best-selling single worldwide.[7] In 2013, Billboard magazine named it the 44th biggest hit of "all-time" on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[8]

This was The Beatles' first tune to be recorded on 4-track and it took 17 takes to get a version they were happy with.

She Loves You

"She Loves You" was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney while they were touring England with Roy Orbison and Gerry and the Pacemakers. They started writing the song on the tour bus, as the Wiki tells us:
In 2000, McCartney said the initial idea for the song began with Bobby Rydell's hit "Forget Him" with its call and response pattern, and that "as often happens, you think of one song when you write another ... I'd planned an 'answering song' where a couple of us would sing 'she loves you' and the other ones would answer 'yeah yeah'. We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called 'She Loves You'. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it—John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars." It was completed the following day at McCartney's family home in Forthlin Road, Liverpool.[4]

On that same Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, "She Loves You" is ranked at #64 and is the best selling Beatles' single in history.

Twist And Shout

This is the only song on this list not written by Lennon-McCartney. The Wiki fills in the rest of the story:
"Twist and Shout" is a 1961 song written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns (later credited as "Bert Russell"). The song was originally recorded by the Top Notes. It first became a chart hit as a cover single by the Isley Brothers in 1962. The song has since been covered by several artists, including the Beatles on their first album Please Please Me (1963), as well as The Tremeloes in 1962 and The Who in 1970 and 1984.

This rollicking rocker was recorded at the famous recording session of February 11, 1963, during which The Beatles recorded 10 complete tunes in 13 hours. They left it as the last song to be recorded as they knew it would tear up John's throat. They were right. The take we hear is the first one. They tried for a second, but John had no voice left.

Can't Buy Me Love

This tune was recorded partially in Paris and then finished at the famed Abbey Road studios. Once again, we go to the WikiWackyWoo:
"Can't Buy Me Love" was recorded on 29 January 1964 at EMI's Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris, France,[10] where the Beatles were performing 18 days of concerts at the Olympia Theatre. At this time, EMI's West Germany branch, Odeon, insisted that the Beatles would not sell records in any significant numbers in Germany unless they were actually sung in the German language[11] and the Beatles reluctantly agreed to re-record the vocals to "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" prior to them being released in Germany. George Martin travelled to Paris with a newly mastered rhythm track for what was to be "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" ("Come, Give Me your Hand"/"I Want to Hold your Hand"). "Sie Liebt Dich" ("She Loves You") required the Beatles to record a new rhythm track as the original two-track recording had been scrapped.[10] EMI sent a translator to be present for this recording session which had been hurriedly arranged to tie in with the Beatles' Paris commitments. This was accomplished well within the allotted studio time allowing the Beatles an opportunity to record the backing track, with a guide vocal, to the recently composed "Can't Buy Me Love".[11][10] At this stage the song included background vocal harmonies. But after listening to the first take, the band concluded that the song did not need them. Therefore, "Can't Buy Me Love" became the first single the Beatles released without their characteristic background harmonies. McCartney's final vocal was overdubbed at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London, on 25 February.[6] Also re-recorded on this day at EMI Studios was George Harrison's modified guitar solo, although his original solo can still just be heard in the background. Harrison said: "What happened was, we recorded first in Paris and re-recorded in England. Obviously they'd tried to overdub it, but in those days they only had two tracks, so you can hear the version we put on in London, and in the background you can hear a quieter one."[12] Helen Shapiro, a friend of the Beatles and present at this overdub session, says that Ringo Starr also added extra cymbals "over the top" and that "apparently this was something he did quite often on their records"[13] (Geoff Emerick, tape operator and later the Beatles' recording engineer, credits Norman Smith, the Beatles' then-current engineer, with this overdub).[14] "Can't Buy Me Love" is also the only English-language Beatles track that the Beatles themselves recorded in a studio outside the UK, although the instrumental portion of the Beatles' B-side "The Inner Light" was recorded in India by Indian session musicians.

This song was written in Paris just prior to the sessions and made #295 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Hits of All Time list.

When it hit #1 in the United States it set several records, no pun intended:
• Until Billboard began using SoundScan for their charts in 1991, it had the biggest jump to number one: (number twenty-seven to number one; no other single had ever done this).

• It gave the Beatles three consecutive number-one songs ("I Want to Hold Your Hand" was replaced at number one by "She Loves You" which was in turn replaced by "Can't Buy Me Love"). The three songs spent a combined total of 14 consecutive weeks at No. 1. This is the only time an artist had three number ones in a row. The best prior was Elvis, who had two consecutive number ones with Don't Be Cruel and Love Me Tender.[16]

• When "Can't Buy Me Love" went to number one (4 April 1964), the entire top five of the Hot 100 was by the Beatles, the next positions being filled by "Twist and Shout", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Please Please Me," respectively. No other act has held the top five spots simultaneously.

• During its second week at number one (11 April 1964), the Beatles had fourteen songs on the Hot 100 at the same time.

    This is just one of the reasons why The Beatles were the greatest band of the Rock era.