Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mister Cheney's Program

As the president has come out in the press putting an end to water boarding and other horrible experiences offered by the Bush/Cheney regime, Dick Cheney, himself, has piped up loud & clear about the Wonders of Water Boarding, and all the benefits gleaned thereby. What Mister Cheney seems to be missing is that this mentality and method of Prisoner Treatment, including holding suspects for 'espionage', sometimes for years on end, and without charges or legal council, is not restricted to his Realm of Power. Or what was, anyway. (You're out of that job now, dude. And nobody asked you to run for the Big Chair.) Perhaps Dick has not figured that this, too, could happen to Americans abroad, or worse, he just didn't care, thinking of them only as 'collateral damage' in his ongoing war against Human Rights. I offer you the current case of journalist Roxana Saberi's imprisonment in Iran, also for espionage. While folks in her hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, tie Yellow Ribbons to trees and put magnets on their cars in support of her plight, are they aware that Private Citizen, Dick Cheney, is publicly extolling the Wonders of Water Boarding? "Roxana Saberi, who grew up in Fargo, was convicted of espionage in Iran last week after a one-day trial behind closed doors and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Friends and colleagues maintain she's a political pawn and not a spy." I have no doubt that this scene has played out in villages all over the middle east, and in fact, in western europe, where the CIA kidnapped the wrong guy from the roadside, in Italy, mind you, a popular vacation spot, and held him for two years before admitting their mistake and setting him free, without any recourse for action. No Morris Bart law suit, no apology for stuff 'that never happened', nothing. My question is simple: How the fuck do you sleep at night, knowing that by shooting off your big fat mouth to the press, you condemned this woman to years of torture, probably at the hands of those who's relatives you've been torturing? One American 'suspect' was water boarded 183 times in one year. I'm guessing that if he didn't give up the truth after the first 50 or 60 times, it just wasn't there. Is this how you're making the world 'safe' for Americans? The America I know, since it's inception, has been a beacon of truth and safety to the world. A bastion of freedom; in movement, beliefs and ideals. Even Superman stood for Truth, Justice and the American Way. I can't imagine him standing with his cape in the wind, saying; "Oh yeah, and if we think you're a terrorist or spy, you'll lose all your rights, and be held without charges or legal council until we prove your guilt by torturing you in to a confession." Freedom has many interpertations. Try this one on for size, Dick; It includes freedom from tyranny and oppression, freedom from the fear of reprisals for horrible acts of inhumane suffering, freedom from false inprisonment, to name a few. As long as we are guilty of these crimes against freedom, we are, as a society, Not Free. It's one thing to be huge and powerful and stand up for human rights. That's a really tough call to make, but admirable to a point. Once this huge and powerful entity starts torturing and kidnapping, it becomes nothing but the biggest thug on the block. It then has no leg to stand on when the other, smaller, thugs gang up to bring it down, and not a friend left in the world to help. It has no freedom left to offer, only a Nation of Slaves, too addicted to money, TV and fast food to care or do anything but obey their masters and vote for American Idol, as thier Thug Rulers decimate every shred of humanity and good will we've ever had. When some of us are slaves, none of us are truly free. And I know there are those who will disagree, rattle their sabers and cry out, "We have to do this to be safe!" Really? Did it save Roxana Saberi? Is she safe now? Or should we all stay hidden under our collective beds as the Dick Cheneys of the world cast a pall of torture and doubt across our Nation? For those who would demand that this kind of 'interogation' go on unchecked, picture Roxana getting the full measure of your request, for the next 8 years of her life. Live with that in your partiotic mind's eye. For eight fucking years. If someone truly deserves to meet the full measure of this horrible, horrible crime, I suggest it is not Roxana Saberi, or even some of those detainees we've heard so much about, who have still not been charged. I think it's you, Dick Cheney. Let's keep the world safe from you. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans ROXANA SABERI

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mirror, mirror....

Better to stare down one's fears, than to lose touch with one's heart.

Please leave a message, I'm not answering....

"The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, April 18, 2009

French Quarter Festival; My Favorite Picks.

I love watching Coco Robicheaux play by The River. It just seems like the most natural place in the world for him to be, standing up there, dressed like a cross between Johnny Cash and Steven Tyler, arms raised to heaven, singing to the world. He was joined today by the usual suspects, including Irene Sage, Mike Hood & Dave Easly, as well as the standing members of his club band (sorry about the names, guys) and much of the material I have heard before.At the same time, that’s a lot of what brought me here, the prospect of hearing the stories, the testimony, the blessings that fall from Coco like water from a rain cloud. At one point a couple next to me turned and said, “He ought to be a preacher.” “He is”, I replied. “He’s performed weddings at my house”, I told them, a true fact. “But are they legal?” asked the man. “Everything is legal here”, I answered, “as long as you don’t get caught.” While my joke about New Orleans may be untoward in certain company, it is true New Orleans. Just like Coco Robicheaux. By the time he got to playing Walk With the Spirit, from his Spirit Land album, a landmark of hoodoo blues and swampy rock and roll that set him apart by a distance too great to measure, well, let’s just say that Church was in session. The offerings here are as diverse as the cultures that bred them, and as the paths that have led Coco to this time & place. There is, in the collection plate today, old time soul music, and the R&B of the Chitlin Circuit, the gospel known only to the rural south, and the blazing guitar interplay, sounding much like Jerry Garcia and Muddy Waters, mixed madly in the same cocktail. There is pain & truth, suffering and salvation, the voice of mortality and the wisdom of ages. So there he is, standing before the mighty Mississippi, arms raised to the heavens, growling to the sky about the purity of spirit that carries him, me, you, all of us, through the world we think we know, and we are transformed by his presence, as he is transformed by ours. Something Is Happening Here. The band moves along like a giant rippling muscle hidden deep beneath the Spanish moss, the guitars and keyboards swelling and voices filling out the cloying jasmine and humid air, as we are led Back Home, wherever that may be, by this growling preacher’s somehow lilting words. As the song rose to a fever pitch near the end, a large flock of birds began circling over the stage, flying in tighter and tighter patterns. I turned to my friend and warned him then; “This is either turning in to a chapter from The Stand, or somebody dropped their fries.” In the end, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we were there the day that Coco sang by The River. ——————————————- IF there were such a thing as real pirate music, it would be The Zydepunks. There are many great Zydeco players in southeast Louisiana, too many to try to name here. Somehow, the Zydepunks transcend that genre, and open the doors to other lands, from Klezmer music to eastern European gypsy jazz, Mediterranean dance music and beyond. The combination of accordion and violin is not uncommon in The Peoples’ Music, as it appears in smatterings across the globe. The uses of electric bass and drum kit are not that far removed from the stand up bass and trap kit that one might find in a strange underground cabaret, or around a gypsy fire. The fervor with which it is embraced here is the key. Passion is given melody, and mania a rhythm. The Zydepunks do not transform themselves to accommodate the crowd or room they play to. They transform the crowd to accommodate the music that they play. It becomes impossible not to shout to the choruses, or stomp the rollicking beats, and the swell of the accordion and violin join the song until one realizes it is their own voice they hear shouting with it. This is the song of freedom, of wild hearts and passionate abandon. This is a language all it’s own, that will speak to anybody willing to listen, telling them to throw off their coil of propriety and dance madly, long into the night. This is the sound of the Zydepunks. ——————————————- R. Scully is either a complete fucking idiot savant or a mad genius. There may be no difference between the two, and if there were, would it matter? Having spent a decade as part of the driving force behind the Morning 40 Federation, a new band had some staggering shoes to fill, and the Rough 7 does just that. Like the two previous bands listed above, this show was all about the passion. But this time it was no sermon or gypsy camp fire, but total abandon that poured out on to the floor of Cafe Negril. Somehow, Scully squeezes truth out of wrangled phrases, often disconnected, even if one were to try to understand them. But why bother? Each is an emotional touch stone, creating a network of images and feelings, one by one, letting you in on the complexities of the simple truth. “A sledge hammer can break your heart.” - R. Scully These simple words, having very little literal meaning, speak volumes about the lives we lead. What is the sledgehammer in your life, and what is it that stops one’s heart from breaking? The images they conjure are different for each of us, but somehow the same. Chances are, before you can ponder them, another phrase of meaningless truth has caught you and the stringing together of emotional images makes you FEEL IT in ways that understanding lyrics could never do. And then there’s the band… Somewhere along way, a potion was mixed, of Sam & Dave and Hank Williams, of the Replacements and The Clash, of the late night howling from a lost asylum and the screams of a roller coaster crowd on a down hill run. This is no less a drunken Malay than Morning 40 Federation, but a more mature, perhaps jaded vision, chiseled, perhaps, out of a decade of on the edge performances, skulking on the verge of success, the bitter fruit of seeing the edge so close, and the glorious satisfaction of knowing you didn’t quite slide over. I have seen R. Scully perform with Morning 40 since it’s inception, and seen his solo shows since he began doing them. What’s most interesting here is his obvious inclination to Let It Happen. To let the musicians he’s chosen for this new brand of musical talking-in-tongues speak for themselves entirely, knowing they somehow share the message of these messy and brilliant emotions, poured out on the barroom floor. They all Let It Happen. And it does. Let it happen to you. Go see R. Scully and the Rough 7. This, my friends, is a band to watch grow and evolve. Along the way, hold on to your fucking hat. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Note To Self:

Epiphany for inception. Steerage for manifestation.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

There's An Eclipse In My Closet

I am a fan of National Public Radio, commonly know as NPR, and available in New Orleans at 89.9 FM. I enjoy classical music in the mornings often enough, and when I can’t yet think or function, there They are, and there It is. I trust their news reporting well enough, too, in that they often broadcast news from other countries and distant lands by rebroadcasting the actual reports from those same places. In dealing with conflicting information or theories, especially in the political arena, they always seem to let me hear from both sides, and do so without drawing their own conclusions. This, and the fact that they draw most stories from the Associated Press & UPI, who deal with news globally, make them an acceptable listen to me. (I must point out here that I urge double & triple checking before doing anything hasty, like evacuating) The other day, it was put to me by someone I know, that they’d “stopped listening to NPR since they went liberal.” I was very surprised to hear this, since I think of them as a ‘Fraiser Crane’ sort of station, with lots of Lake Wobegone sagas, Theater & Ballet news, Cadillac advertisements, shows about Priceless Veneer and English Gardens, and of course, there’s the Mozart. Christ, they sometimes even slip in some Rachmaninoff, those wild devils. Anyway, I thought I could trust their news to be middle of the road enough to gleen some truth from it. I went back and listened again, and hearing nothing untoward or anything that was not eventually reported everywhere else, I returned to my friend and told him so. “Oh, no, ” he replied. “It’s not at all what’s going on. I get the news somewhere else.” And that someplace else is…wait for it…..we’re almost there…… Rush Limbaugh. My dear friend; National Public Radio has not ‘gone liberal’. It reports the news as acurately as it ever did. I know you like sending me messages endlessly lampooning Barack Obama, and you’re worried, like most Americans, what the New Deal is going to cost each and every one of us. Remember that G.W. Bush was 8 months in to office before doing anything except embracing the Ultra Right Wing Christians & taking more vacations that any other President had in their entire first year, when he sat reading My Pet Goat as 3500 Americans were killed by a terrorist attack he should have known about. I’d say that sets the bar pretty low to begin with, but still, most of what we’ve gotten from Barack Obama is ideas, so far. Except maybe when he ordered the shoot that saved the American Ship Captain from pirates, killing 3 of them. Hardly the wimp Rush says he is, I’m thinking… Anyway, my message is this; NPR hasn’t changed, you have. You don’t want any good knews from our President’s handiwork, because you don’t like him. You’ve chosen a serial liar with an ‘entertainment’ talk show (previously feuled by illegal narcotics his illegal alien maid scored for him) as your ‘News Source’. Now you tell me things are bleak, we’re all doomed, the President is a Socialist and he stole your wallet and now he’s after mine. The Real News is this: It’s not as dark as you think it is. We’re coming up on four months, and life looks possible, albeit at a distance. What’s dark is your choice of immersion therapy in a delusional realm of hate. There is no eclipse in progress, with the sun fading away as we all prepare to die. No, not even close. You’ve simply climbed in to the back of your closet and turned out the light. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Governing By Chaos; a City in Shambles

Mayor Nagin is convinced he's done nothing wrong. He only took a trip paid for by technology firms who had huge city contracts. For cameras that still don't work. And ran $4 million over budget. But he didn't know. He took lies at face value. Greg Meffert also had private contract employees running his department at City Hall, representing themselves as City employees, even having their own City of New Orleans business cards printed. This is fraud, of course. But C. Ray didn't know that either. Peoples' houses have been torn down illegally. City Hall even has a form to fill out for this, it happens so often. Because they didn't know. The Feds are now looking into the Mayor's missing emails. Mister Nagin doesn't know what happened to them, or why the City Council's emails were still on the server he claims was erased. He also doesn't know why owning 40% of a counter top company who gets contracts from Home Depot, at the exact time when Home Depot got tax breaks and a big piece of property from the city at below market rates, would be wrong. He says he didn't do business with that particular store. I guess he doesn't know that Home Depot stores are connected. I suppose he thought they just happened to have the same name. I haven't heard anything yet, but I'm guessing he doesn't know his brother-in-law, who collected funds from NOAH for work that was never done, and is now under investigation. He probably thought it was just some guy who hung around his wife's family. "Brother-in-law? I don't know where you get that..." I can almost hear him say. Now this kind of Not Knowing is contagious. Veronica White doesn't know where millions of dollars of Trash Department money went. She also didn't know she shouldn't steal city emails without contacting the City Attorney. Or give them away without checking if they contained legally confidential information. But that's okay. The Mayor doesn't know if she'll be disciplined. I wonder if we could find her missing millions in there? Probably not. That would involve Knowing Something. Now Police Superintendent Warren Riley has caught The Bug. Council Woman, Shelly Midura has been asking him what his plan is to fight crime in New Orleans. He says he has one, he just doesn't know what or where it is right now. The Mayor says that Riley talks to other police chiefs, from other cities, all the time. So he must have a plan. Perhaps Warren Riley should be talking to the City Council and the Citizens of New Orleans who are getting shot down at an alarming rate. While they're still alive, anyway. They actually live here and pay his salary. Maybe he doesn't know that. Like the Mayor, Mister Riley seems very concerned with his political future, how he is seen on a National Stage, and how many boards he can sit on. Perhaps he, too, can get his developer friends to give him an award for Bravery in the Rebuilding of New Orleans. The Mayor did. But maybe Riley doesn't know about that, either. Mayor Nagin & Superintendent Riley recently boasted that there had been only 42 murders in New Orleans in the first quarter. Mister Calculator says that's 168 by years end, assuming the Summer Heat doesn't spur an outbreak, like it does every other year. Anyway, that's down by about 20 from 2008. I guess that twenty random people in Orleans Parish have reason to celebrate. I wonder if the families of the other 168 people will be there to cheer them on. I don't know. I do know this, however. One of you rotten bastards better start knowing something soon. You've robbed us. You've almost completely destroyed our city, hopes and rebuilding efforts to further your own greed. You've made backroom deals with all your friends and given away the farm for your own profit. You've blamed the Times-picayune, WWL-TV, Lee Zurik and Stacey Head. You've hurled the name 'RACIST' at anyone who stood up to your criminal bullying. And now the Federal Government is going to know stuff. About you. And your friends. And all of the things you've done. As for Knowing Stuff, you'd better know how to spell INDICTMENT. And if we're at all lucky, INCARCERATION. So tell me, punk; Do you feel lucky? I do.