Thursday, October 30, 2014

Election update: Ervin drops out, Haley defends confederate flag, the circus continues

Tom Ervin, Independent candidate for governor, has dropped out of the race and thrown his support to Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen. I was genuinely surprised by this move, although some cynics believed this was the game plan from the beginning. Four million dollars of his own money, spent just to help Sheheen? I hardly think so, but then, stranger things have happened in South Carolina politics.

From Dennis at PoliticsUSA:
You all know the back story of the South Carolina governor’s race. The current governor, Nikki Haley, an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) puppet, wants to continue the states abysmally low rankings in almost every social and practical category of meaning. As I’ve written many times before, in a highly competitive field, Haley is, based on these rankings alone, the nation’s most inept governor. But, in the Palmetto state all that’s required of a governor is hate.
Then there’s Haley’s arrogant disdain of human life in refusing to expand Medicaid to a certain group of low-wage earners. A move that is not only heartless, but will kill people. A Harvard study estimates as many as 1,300 annually in South Carolina alone. What kind of governor doesn’t care about killing people? We should throw her ‘hatred’ of environmental regulations into the mix. Regulations that minimize and control chemical releases that kill who knows how many of her fellow citizens.

This is not only a worthless, unfeeling governor; this is a worthless, unfeeling human being. And yet she commands comfortable double-digit leads in virtually every legitimate poll over her holdover opponent from her last gubernatorial run, State Senator, Vincent Sheheen.

Back to Ervinized and why that recent phenomenon is suddenly creating a modest opening for Sheheen in the governor’s race. Those who have followed this race are aware that there are five candidates. The two major parties, Independent Republican petition candidate, Tom Ervin and two political ciphers. The latter two are meaningless in terms of the outcome. Ervin is definitely meaningful, especially in light of recent developments. Tom Ervin is a 62-year-old former two-term state house member as a Democrat and a 14-year circuit court judge who currently practices law with his wife. He is philosophically still a moderate Democrat, though a few years ago, he declared himself a Republican to run for a couple of offices he craved. He lost both elections, but remained a Republican. Given that Haley won the Republican primary, Ervin was, by law, forced to run as an Independent in the general election.

He was a very effective candidate, giving both the major party candidates a dressing down on assorted issues. He was especially hard on Haley. His presence created vote switching that one would think would benefit Sheheen, the Democrat. As indicated earlier, while Ervin gained supporters, Sheheen lost them and Haley made a big move.

Now, all that could change. The ball, as they say, is squarely in Sheheen’s court. Ervin, who funded his own campaign to the tune of $4 million, suddenly dropped out of the race freeing roughly 8-10% of the total vote. I guess he felt he had made enough of an impression on the electorate and fully realized that, while certainly influential, he stood no chance of winning. One of his first post-dropout steps was to email an expression of strong support to Sheheen contributors under the Sheheen letterhead. The obvious question is, what difference will it make? Won’t Republican Ervin votes simply find a home in the Haley camp?

Maybe, but, as in TV reality shows, there’s a twist. Ervin has officially endorsed Sheheen. Some voters are now going to take a close look at why. In a local phone interview with reporter Jason Spencer, Ervin made the following statement, “It was a difficult decision, but I felt like it was time to put aside my personal ambition and try to do what’s best for our state.” Gee, what a novel approach to public service.

And Ervin has spelled out three reasons that it makes more sense to vote for the Democratic State Senator. According to the local press, those reasons are, ethics reform, domestic violence and economic development. He actually used the word “dishonest” in condemning Haley’s leadership on the issues.
Ouch! He actually called her DISHONEST?

Will any of this work? Haley is estimated to have a 10-point lead in the polls, or at least those are the figures I hear dutifully repeated everywhere, in most South Carolina media outlets. I heard it down at the coast, in Columbia, and here in the upstate. This is the OFFICIAL figure that the ruling class of SC has agreed upon.

Despite Sheheen's attack ads (which came FAR TOO LATE in the campaign to suit me and others in the opposition), it is a forgone conclusion that Sheheen will still lose, but probably by a lower margin than expected.

Unless, unless...

It would be great if we could get out the African-American vote for this election. In addition to her ongoing attempts to deny thousands of the state's black residents the right to vote, Haley has just defended the confederate battle flag. Is it possible that African-Americans will finally reach a boiling point? Or has all that creative gerrymandering in SC finally done its job and that simply can't happen now? (Note: This is the real reason Mark Sanford was handily elected in SC's District 1.)

And my God, Haley is utterly shameless in pandering to the white vote.

From Talking Points Memo:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said that voters should not be concerned that the statehouse flies a Confederate flag because she has gotten no complaints from the CEOs.

During the Tuesday night gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate state Sen. Vincent Sheheen called for the state government to no longer display the Confederate flag, noting that many young people leave South Carolina "all too often."

Haley retorted by claiming that the Confederate flag has not kept companies from coming to the state.

"What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state. I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag," she said.

She also said that she herself has helped combat the state's image problem.

"But we really kind of fixed all that when you elected the first Indian-American female governor," Haley said. "When we appointed the first African-American U.S. senator, that sent a huge message."

Libertarian candidate Steve French said that while he doesn't mind if individuals display the Confederate flag, he doesn't think businesses should be able to.

"So, if you want to paint your house in the Confederate flag, I am completely fine with that," he said.
She has totally forgotten that in 2001, on her voter registration, she claimed she was white. Oh wait, she wasn't running for office back then. Never mind. She's back to being an Indian-American now.

Outside of making her a laughingstock (which she never seems to mind), will the confederate flag comment hurt her chances?

At least she is honest that the continuing racist insult to black people doesn't concern her, only what the rich say and do.

Sums her up perfectly, doesn't it?


Stay tuned, sports fans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Got music?

Its been awhile since I shared some old music with yall.

This first one was on the soundtrack to the movie "Car Wash" (1976)--which I once reviewed for the (very) long-defunct Focus Rock Entertainment, back in the day. I wrongly predicted it would be a hit; instead, the theme song "Car Wash" was the big hit. (sigh) But it did become a funk classic and was popular in the discos, as the B-side of the hit ballad from the film, "I wanna get next to you."

Produced and written by the late, great Motown-powerhouse, Norman Whitfield, this song features the legendary funk bass of Lequeint 'Duke' Jobe--an amazing groove. All punctuated with beautiful big brass noise, which defines 70s funk for me.

To this day, now and forever, when someone says "put your money where your mouth is"... I mentally finish the sentence: "or you ain't said a damn thing"...


Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is - Rose Royce


I know I have played this here before, probably more than once. Its one of my favorite pieces of instrumental music, ever.
(PS: Link for those who missed the old instrumentals post! I never did get around to posting part 2, so consider THIS part 2.)

Although I love the original studio version (and most live renditions), the Allman Brothers video clips currently on Youtube have some fuzzy audio and are not as good as simply listening to (Allman Brothers guitarist) Dickey Betts play it as an 8-minute guitar lesson (with his son Duane) for Guitar World magazine... elegant, spare, and oh so lovely.

They have to slow down at around the 3:45 mark (the "second theme"), where it gets somewhat complicated and psychedelic. Other than that, this version is almost good enough to stand on its own.

In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - Dickey Betts

Aside: I didn't know Betts had named his son Duane, which gets me rather choked up.


Time for working class proletarian bluegrass. You can blame the election. Class consciousness uber alles!

This is an old union song I grew up with. The Blue Diamond mines in Kentucky are still going strong, in case you didn't know. The union? Not as strong.

You old black gold you've taken my soul
And your dust has darkened my home
And now that we’re old you're turning your back
But where else can an old miner go

It’s Big Leatherwood and it’s Algoma Block
And now it’s Blue Diamond too
The pits they are closing - get another job
But what work can an old miner do

John L. had a dream but it’s broken it seems
And the union is letting us down
Last night they took away my hospital card
Saying why don’t you leave this old town.

The union didn't let you down, the Rockefellers did. Now they have decided they were wrong; they are divesting and fast-dissociating themselves from fossil fuels. And how many miners died to make them rich?

A day late and a dollar short. Not our dollar, though.

Blue Diamond Mines - Jean Ritchie

Monday, October 27, 2014

Senate candidate Thomas Ravenel drops baby into pool

DEAD AIR officially confirms that this IS the baby that was dropped in the pool. (from Thomas Ravenel's senate commercial)

South Carolina residents, you've been looking at that baby long enough, yes? I even got a complaint on my last blog post, remarking about the ubiquitous, never-ending, look-at-my-cute-baby!-i-might-be-on-Bravo-but-I'm-heterosexual! ad campaign, featuring infamous Reality TV star, Independent senatorial candidate, former SC Treasurer and celebrated convicted cokehead Thomas Ravenel and his adorable little offspring. He assures us, he cares so much about the little darling, you should definitely elect him. After all, he comes from a rich family with a fancy-ass bridge named after them and he's on TV!

These annoying, cloying commercials have been non-stop, the little Ravenel darling foisted on us morning, noon and night.

And then, he... well, he dropped the baby in the pool. Something about a stylist. And then... well, he has since broken up with his long-suffering babymama, Kathryn Dennis, 29 years his junior. People are shocked, shocked I tell you. (okay, not really)


During our trip to Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island, Mr Daisy and I decided to drop in for a bite at the aptly-named Page's Okra Grill in Mount Pleasant, for some delicious fried okra and other southern goodies. And at the next table, I heard some old fellas with deep low-country accents, chortling in a decidedly Democratic fashion, about Rav-inn-nell and what he had done last Frad-dee (low-country version of Friday), whilst passing around their iphones for emphasis. Chortle, chortle, snort, and one fella collapsed in a true belly-laugh. I was dying to know, and nearly interrupted their lunch to ask what Rav-inn-nell had done THIS time.

Luckily, I didn't have to wait long... it was all over the low-country, from Democrat to Democrat and from iphone to iphone.

Ravenel's baby, the dearly beloved infant in the commercial, fell into the pool. With Ravenel, apparently. (Everybody keeps adding, the one in the commercial!)

You know, some convicted cokeheads might actually get arrested for blundering into the pool with a seven-month-old, but then, most cokeheads do not come from one of the most powerful Republican families in the state.

From Charleston City Paper:
A woman told Charleston police that Thomas Ravenel, a U.S. Senate candidate and star of the reality show Southern Charm, assaulted her last Friday night at his Charlotte Street home. According to the Charleston Police Department, an investigation into the incident is ongoing and Ravenel has not been arrested.

The alleged victim, Lauren Moser, told police that she is a friend of Kathryn Dennis, Ravenel's girlfriend and mother of Ravenel's child, and is also Dennis' stylist. Moser says she was invited to Ravenel and Dennis' residence at 29 1/2 Charlotte St. on the evening of Oct. 17 "but was concerned about going because she had had previous run-ins with the offender [whose] behavior is unpredictable especially when under the influence," according to a police incident report.

Moser says she arrived at the house at about 11 p.m. and relieved the nanny since Ravenel and Dennis had not yet arrived home. She told police that "everything was fine for a while" after the couple arrived home until later in the night when she was sitting outside the residence talking with Dennis. At that point, Moser told police that Ravenel "stormed out of the house with the 7-month-old juvenile and yelled to Kathryn that she needed to take care of the sleeping child," according to the report.

Then, as Ravenel was walking toward Moser and Dennis, he reportedly slipped and fell into the pool with the baby. Ravenel reportedly pulled the baby out of the pool and handed her to Dennis. At this point, Moser says she pulled out her cell phone and started recording the incident "because she felt that more was about to transpire," according to the report.

The report continues:
The victim stated that as she was walking behind the offender into the house he swung the door hard (as to close it) when he cleared [the] doorway and it bounced off of the victim's knee. The victim stated that when the offender saw that the door did not close he turned and swung the door again and this time the door struck the victim on the inside of the right arm due to the fact that her hand was raised because she was videoing the episode. The victim stated that the door hit her so hard it caused her to topple backwards down three steps and into some bushes.
Moser told police that Ravenel then went to the second floor of the house, and she went into the living room to sit down and "gather her thoughts and to make sure that the baby and Kathryn were fine before she left," according to the report. Then Ravenel reportedly returned to the living room naked and screamed, "Bitch, get your stuff and get out" while bringing Moser's belongings to her. Moser says she gathered her belongings and left.

Moser did not report the incident until Monday night at about 8 p.m. She says she waited to file the report because she "wanted to think about the incident and to wait until her emotions died down." She told police she was in pain the next day but did not have any broken bones. Police observed bruising on the inside of her right arm.

Ravenel did not immediately return a request for comment at his office. The police report indicates that Moser shot video of the incident, but a Charleston Police Department spokesman says police do not have a copy of the video.
They don't??!? Nah, go on.

That same memory hole that allowed Ravenel to abuse coke for years, see it? The rich, as we see, can do whatever the hell they want.

The update on this story, from Thomas Ravenel himself:
UPDATE, 5 p.m.: Thomas Ravenel released the following statement in response to the allegations:
I learned through a news report that the Charleston Police Department is investigating this incident, and I am totally confident that once the investigation is completed, the truth will come out and any allegations against me will be found to be without merit. I look forward to meeting with any member of law enforcement if they believe it will be helpful to their investigation.
Reached by phone, Ravenel also said he would not participate in filming any further episodes of Southern Charm until after the Nov. 4 election.
And so, there it is.

Some fun mental exercises: imagine if this was you or me. Now, change the race of the perp, and the neighborhood. I can imagine somebody actually getting shot over this, if they were the wrong color. Imagine if this was a black hip-hop star or NFL player. Mix and match, play the privilege game. Always remember: THIS IS AN ALREADY-CONVICTED COKEFIEND, not someone without a police record. He was arrested only a year ago for drunken driving, as well. (guilty)

Some people, with a record like that, would have their babies taken AWAY from them for this behavior. Not Ravenel. Never Ravenel.

It just makes for good TV.

Being rich means never having to say you're sorry.


We will be discussing Ravenel and other stuff tonight on Occupy the Microphone, WOLI radio, 910AM and 105.7FM on your upstate radio dial. Join us at 8pm and weigh in! You can listen live here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Michael Thompson for SC House District 34

TONIGHT on Occupy the Microphone----Michael Thompson, Democratic candidate for South Carolina House District 34, will be joining us. LISTEN LIVE HERE at 8-9pm, WOLI radio, 105.7FM and 910AM on your upstate radio dial.

This will be Michael's third week on our show, which is where I took the above photo. THREE WEEKS! (((trumpets))) Such a brave man, to take on the Green Party extremists/talk radio crazies! That alone, should be sufficient to impress you.

An upholder of Democratic values, a veritable MAN OF THE PEOPLE, an intrepid laborer in the halls of democracy and the House Democratic Caucus... and a most hardy soul indeed! DEAD AIR unabashedly and enthusiastically endorses Michael Thompson~!

Vote for him, Sparkle City residents and others in District 34. (map of district - PDF) He will serve Spartanburg and the surrounding areas very well.

(Michael on Facebook, Michael on Twitter.)


Rumors of this blog's demise have been greatly exaggerated!

My energies have been scattered.

Mr Daisy says, "The internet was cool before social media took over." Whether you agree with him or not, blogging as the standard certainly has gone by the wayside in so many respects.

I tweet my various pop-culture distractions and share old-school historical footnotes and strange art on tumblr. I now take my musician-photos straight to Flickr and no longer announce them here. Facebook and Google+ take up the rest of the slack, as I prefer to share personal information only with friends and not the entire world.

The longer one blogs, the more the Blue Meanies take aim, and the less one can feel welcome, even (unbelievably!) in one's own space.

I now blog here when I specifically have something important to say that it seems few (or no) folks are saying online. Since everybody is now talking at once, that tends to be my yardstick. It concentrates the mind wonderfully, and focuses on what is genuinely crucial, not just whatever catches my fancy.

The main thing that brings people to this blog is: information here that you simply can't find anywhere else, although you once could. Now we have paywalls, broken links, countless bad acts dropped down the memory hole, bloggers disappearing into the ether, mainstream media (newspapers and magazines) folding left and right, etc. It has a been a real surprise for me to learn: the much-heralded information superhighway makes it just as easy to "lose" facts and figures as it ever was, maybe even easier. (If the net is "wiped clean" of someone, it truly seems as if they never existed; if there is no internet account of an event, it can be judged never to have happened.) The more facts and events one can report in such an environment, the better.

And then, there is the fun fact that bloggers can focus on whatever we choose; we can report gossip in the manner of the NATIONAL ENQUIRER: rumors say _____. Rumors are good enough for us. Bring on the rumors. Sometimes, we have often learned, the rumors are TRUE. Boo-yah!

When the Bravo network, for example, started airing the rich-people-porn show "Southern Charm"--suddenly everybody wanted to know about (former SC Treasurer) Thomas Ravenel's history as a cokehead. Back in the day, the mainstream news organizations, obediently kissing the ass of both government AND the rich, were very polite about that sordid mess and tip-toed around it. If you wanted the real dirt, you had to go to alternative media and bloggers. Thus, that is where the story remains today. I got tons of hits when "Southern Charm" first aired, and I just got a ton more now that Ravenel has announced he is leaving the show. (Ravenel is currently running for the Senate as an Independent against Lindsey Graham)

New blog slogan: All the news that's fit to print, that (mostly) nobody has yet. (Plus old music. When I get to it.)

I think that is a fine tradition to continue, so I will.

Off to the coast, see you in a week or so. Join us on the show tonight!