A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
- Prairie Weather

“Protest works. Just look at the proof”

The last place you will hear about the new American labor movement is in big American outlets.

Via lambert, via susie. See them, their blogrolls, Twitter hash tag #1u and just about any other outlet where citizens can get the word out.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)

The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. Via.

Free MP3 sites

Be your own program director. Venture off the beaten path. Live a little.

2dopeboyz: Hip hop. (RSS)

3hive: Sharing the sharing. Free and legal MP3s from over 600 underground and undiscovered artists — new ones added daily. (RSS)

Amazon MP3 Download - Frequency: Weekly. Get the latest on Amazon MP3 music downloads - new releases, freshly ripped hits, and special deals.

Arjan writes - arjanwrites music blog. (RSS)

Audio Drums - A blog for rare, possibly overlooked, maybe forgotten gems of music with a slight emphasis on electronic and indie genres. (RSS)

Common Folk Music - A blog about music, not just folk music, but all music ranging from indie to alt-country to bluegrass, because music is for the “Common Folk”. (RSS)

Direct Current New Music - Adult pop, rock, singer/songwriters, folk, Americana, alt-country, adult alternative, soul, world music, crossover jazz and simply those artists that make us go “hmmm.”(RSS)

Discobelle.net (RSS)

FensePost - FensePost is an indie music blog based in the fertile lands between Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC. (RSS)

Fiddlefreak Folk Music Blog - Folk, bluegrass, Celtic, and other music of the people. (RSS)

Gorilla Vs Bear (RSS)

Hillydilly: Simply Good Music. (RSS)

I Rock Cleveland: Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock. (RSS)

KEXP Song of the Day: KEXP 90.3 FM - where the music matters (RSS)

Line Of Best Fit - TLOBF.COM | Music Reviews, News, Interviews & Downloads (RSS)

Minnesota Public Radio Song of the Day: Music lovers from 89.3 The Current share songs with you each weekday. (RSS)

Muruch (RSS)

Music Like Dirt: Music in all its many forms, mp3’s, live reviews and photography. (RSS)

My Old Kentucky Blog - a music blog that parties with unicorns. (RSS)

Nah Right. (RSS)

ninebullets.net. (RSS)

Rollo & Grady: Los Angeles Music Blog, LA Music Blog (RSS)

Said the Gramophone: a music weblog (RSS)


Sounds Better With Reverb (RSS)

Stereogum: All the MP3s on Stereogum.com (RSS)

their bated breath (RSS)

Women of Hip Hop (RSS)

Mourn ya till I join ya

The Wheel’s Still In Spin: Focusing on new music releases and reviews of individual albums as original, fictional short stories (RSS)

A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz - This site is just a way for me to have a little fun and share a little music. I’ll highlight some of my favorite artists that I play on the radio and try to expound upon their music in ways I can’t always do on the air. (RSS)

Aminal Sound

Audiofile: Music Blog, Music Articles - Salon.com

Crossfade: The CNET music blog

GarageBand.com Folk top tracks (RSS)

GarageBand.com Hip Hop top tracks (RSS)

Flawless Hustle: Urban culture blog featuring artist interviews, music reviews, legal music downloads, street art, graffiti and more! (RSS)



The Jon Swift principle: “I will add anyone to my blogroll who adds me to theirs.” Email or leave a comment to let me know.


The Hunting of the Snark

Sites participating in blogroll amnesty day

Jon Swift aka Al Weisel, may he rest in peace. Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day

skippy the bush kangaroo (Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day) (2012)

Vagabond Scholar (2012)
Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety. Keeper of the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup (The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)

Notes From Underground (2012)

Redeye’s Front Page (2012)

Wisdom of the West (2012)

Zen Comix (2012)

pygalgia (2012)

Mikeb302000 (2012)

The Agonist (2012)

Brilliant At Breakfast (2012)

Bacon and Eggs (2012)

Loyalty is the New Competence

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post

Beginning with his nomination for Attorney General I had reservations about Michael Mukasey, and he has consistently lived down to my worst expectations. I did not like the fact that the Senate seemingly had no opportunity to give advice on the selection (beyond what appears to be secret meetings with Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein), nor did I like his apparent equanimity about brutality. The best name I heard floated was Mike DeWine, the recently-defeated Republican Senator from Ohio. He is solidly Republican and consistently voted with the President (one of the reasons he lost) so it would have satisfied the “to the victor goes the spoils” nature of these things, but he was also a known quantity to the Senate. He had worked with almost everyone there and as far as I know was well regarded. But beneath the surface something I couldn’t quite pin down was buzzing around like a mosquito, and it all fell into place last week while reading The Dark Side. Jane Mayer quotes an anonymous CIA officer on page 180 as he disparages Jose Rodriguez Jr, then-head of the CIA Counterterrorist Center (CTC): “[in the] administration, loyalty is the new competence.”

It is no secret that loyalty has been the preeminent virtue honored by the White House. In some cases it is the garden variety loyalty, which basically means making an effort to cooperate and being discreet (and flexible) about differences. When one of the parties is the President it is easy to couch it in terms of “do it for the good of the party” and have it functionally mean “do it my way.” But their preferred strain of loyalty is much more insidious. A current or former member of Congress like DeWine most likely has a decent sized network of support outside the administration. Career civil servants are likely to know their way around the bureacracy and be able to fend off all but the most determined and ferocious attacks. Any loyalty people like that have will inevitably be tempered by the influence of others.

The administration wants no such taint. Reading the description of Rodriguez’ surprising elevation to the CTC made me think also of Mukasey, and Monica Goodling, and most famously Alberto Gonzales. All of them have essentially no other connections in the capitol. “His base consists of one individual” said William Schneider of Gonzales, and others made the same observation. He was widely regarded as a hack (both as the President’s counsel and as AG) but in a sense his competence level did not matter. All that mattered was this: He had no one else to turn to. If he wanted to break with the administration, where would he go? What office could he run for? Who would sponsor such an attempt? What think tank would have him? Who would want him lobbying in their name? Mukasey was confirmed as AG with a much more accomplished record, but is in the same position. DeWine would have been more like another ex-Senator turned AG - he could have remained in town after stepping down and transitioned into a lucrative private sector position.

The White House may have realized that as well, and considered it an intolerable risk. Much has been made of the cult of personality surrounding the President (summarized best by Sara Taylor). I think a lot of people - myself included - wrongly concluded that what drove the unyielding devotion of so many was for all intents and purposes brainwashing. Hiring graduates of little regarded universities, finding someone with no history in Washington or abruptly elevating those with no demonstrated qualifications all serve the same purpose: It creates a class of workers who will be with the program regardless of whether or not they agree with it. They will work perched atop a cliff, and if they want to walk away the first step will be a long fall.

In one sense it doesn’t matter. The internal dramas of various flunkies is of concern only to them; all we care about is how it affects us and our government. But it matters in this way: People hired in those circumstances comprise a significant part of the corrosive status quo, and if our representatives and institutions rejected them in principle we could prevent them from getting in place. If the Senate said to the President, you must nominate people with existing support systems at least for the big positions (cabinet, Supreme Court, etc) or we will reject them out of hand, it might help guard against such appalling performance in the future.

This Week in Tyranny

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post

LATE UPDATE: I meant to include this as well:

A new report on the documents from George Washington University’s National Security Archive also presents compelling evidence that the Bush administration pressured the CIA and other intelligence agencies to tailor their reports to back-up Bush’s desire to invade. The report suggests the bulk of this effort was run out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, backing up numerous other post-war examinations of the path to invasion that saw Cheney as the mastermind of the plan to oust Saddam Hussein.
So they began with the conclusion and walked it back from there.

First, some old news from back in May:

A report that mosques in Los Angeles and San Diego are under federal surveillance has resurrected fears in the Muslim community about government monitoring and led two civil rights groups Wednesday to call for congressional hearings.

The request for public hearings followed a newspaper article last week that cited FBI and Defense Department files pertaining to surveillance of mosques and Muslims in Southern California.

Corey Saylor, Washington spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the article in the San Diego Union-Tribune “has again raised concerns that our community is being watched.”


Council chapters in Anaheim and San Diego joined the American Civil Liberties Union and Islamic Shura Council of Southern California in asking the U.S. House and Senate judiciary committees and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for hearings. In a letter to the committee chairmen and ranking minority members, the groups said hearings are needed to determine the extent of the surveillance and whether people are being monitored because they are Muslim.


The civil rights groups also want the hearings to determine if the U.S. military has engaged in domestic surveillance in violation of federal law. The Islamic Center of San Diego, where two of the 9/11 hijackers worshiped in early 2000, was the only mosque mentioned in the San Diego Union-Tribune article. The report did not specify which other mosques in Los Angeles and San Diego were allegedly under surveillance. But Saylor said it would not be surprising if mosques in Orange County were also monitored.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, members of the Islamic Center of Irvine and other local mosques have complained about FBI agents questioning them about imams’ sermons and how often they attend services. In 2006, J. Stephen Tidwell, then-FBI assistant director in Los Angeles, met at the Irvine mosque with about 200 people who questioned him about government monitoring.

The meeting was prompted by media reports that the FBI was monitoring Muslim students at UC Irvine and USC. Tidwell denied that monitoring was taking place, telling the audience that “we still play by the rules.”
I kept waiting for more information on this, but nothing yet.

A second bit of old news (via):

The pattern has become familiar: Customs officers wave in vehicles filled with illegal immigrants, drugs or other contraband. A Border Patrol agent acts as a scout for smugglers. Trusted officers fall prey to temptation and begin taking bribes.
The “enforcement first” mentality may not take a very realistic view of human nature, and may just result in more federal law enforcement agents. Another small piece of the police state puzzle.

Sibel Edmonds is still around:

Again and again you see journalists in this country who think that their job consists of nothing more than phoning the FBI press office to ask for a comment. Only two journalists have spoken to actual first-hand sources about my case; David Rose who is British, and Joe Lauria working for a British newspaper. Why is it that only these two reporters were able to speak to sources at the Dept of Justice, at the FBI, and in Congress who are familiar with the details of my case?
Good question.

Having been in the Peace Corps I find this depressing. Peace Corps Volunteers are, among other things, wonderful ambassadors abroad. Why again don’t we need a lot more of that?

Finally, I try to stay out of the election campaign, but I’d like to make the following prediction: Sometime during the upcoming Republican convention John Sidney McCain will change his name to Pohn Oidney WcCain.

Those Who Did Not Go Crazy

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post

I am slowly reading The Dark Side and so was especially struck by this from one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers: “If there’s any comfort to be found in Mayer’s account, or in any of the stories coming out about this administration’s overreach, it’s in the stories of those who didn’t go crazy.” We are going through an extraordinarily trying time for our nation’s ideals, and while I have focused almost exclusively on the authors of these trials there are some uplifting stories as well. Some individuals have been willing to resist the cruel and authoritarian “War on Terror” mindset when confronted (sometimes unexpectedly) by it, and they deserve our admiration. Here are some examples.

Shortly after the 2001 attacks Jesselyn Radack was a lawyer at the Justice Department, and she was asked to give an ethics position on the interrogation of John Walker Lindh. As an American citizen he unquestionably deserved all rights under the Constitution and the law, and as the first detainee to go through the alternate universe of Post-9/11 Justice his case would serve as a rough template for those to follow. Short version: His family hired a lawyer, but the lawyer was not permitted to contact him. When asked about her ethical position, Radack said he should only be questioned in the presence of counsel. Instead, he was subjected to rough treatment for a week, dragged in front of FBI agents, denied a specific request for counsel (with reasoning along the lines of “why, there’s no lawyers here in Camp Rhino!”) and given a Miranda waiver to sign. With the clear implication that failure to sign would result in resumed maltreatment, he signed it.

Radack took the position that no statements obtained under such circumstances would be admissible in a court of law. On the day his trial was to begin he reached a deal - pleading guilty to “serving in the Taliban army and carrying weapons in doing so.” All other charges were dropped. The timing was no accident, either. Scott Horton reported that prosecutors “knew that Lindh had been tortured and that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was deeply implicated in the decision to torture him. If the case went to trial, and there were discovery, this would come out.” So Radack was right and she stood her ground, but ended up losing her job over it.

A quick aside: It is not fair to attribute comments on a site to the site itself, but comment sections do serve as a kind of id for the Internet. While poking around for information about Radack I came across this post, and the comment (of Lindh) “[h]e’s in prison and I have heard nothing about appeals. That’s proof enough for me.” Part of the reason our leaders have gotten away with authoritarian behavior is because of the support of a good part of the population for just such measures.

We know of several people in the military who have honorably defended their institution as well, particularly at the twilight realm of Guantánamo Bay. The FBI and CIA are used to clandestine operations, so maybe a certain amount of secrecy and obfuscation is in their organizational DNA. The ambiguous status of detainees there and singular nature of the tribunals set up by the Military Commissions Act (thanks, Congress) seems to have rubbed more than one soldier the wrong way, though. Marine Major Dan Mori, a lawyer charged with defending one of the inmates there, said “I hope that nobody confuses military justice with these ‘military commissions.’ This is a political process, set up by the civilian leadership. It’s inept, incompetent, and improper.”

Some more examples: The commission case against Osama bin Laden’s driver concluded this month, and the six-member jury seemingly said to the President, this man will complete his sentence shortly before you leave office; figure out what to do with him. And in the succeeding commission case Army Brigadier Gen. Gregory Zanetti delivered a blistering critique of the proceedings. Before the Iraq war General Eric Shinseki testified before Congress that more troops would be needed in Iraq than the party line allowed for. The administration’s response sent a clear message to the military: Failure to stay on message would have severe consequences for your career.

That Mori, Zanetti and the jurors were willing to do otherwise speaks eloquently of their high character, as does Radack’s insistence on serving the interests of justice even at substantial personal cost. A great many people have just gone along, or perhaps resigned in protest and quietly went away. The ones who did not, and chose instead to go against the prevailing culture and speak up, have rendered a great service to our country. Their names deserve to be remembered more than those of the ones they strove against.

This Week in Tyranny

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post

Has anyone been more unjustly marginalized than Scott Ritter?

On the surface, Mohammed’s story was too much to believe. I was willing to accept any account that held that specific Iraqi groups, such as Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, were opposed to my visit to the extent that they might issue threats in an effort to intimidate me from coming. But the concept of the United States government being involved boggled the mind.
He was consistently right about Iraq in the run up to the war, and now his ongoing investigations as a journalist are fraught with danger. And the maniacally secretive and vindictive nature of the Administration makes it hard to dismiss something like this out of hand.

One participant’s account of the proceedings at Guantánamo: “Spray and pray. Charge everybody. Let’s go. Speed, speed, speed.” Not to be too flippant, but when even the kangaroos in your kangaroo court are dismissive of its legitimacy you’re turning it into an open joke. More seriously, some in the military have acquitted themselves admirably in this dark time. I plan to go into more detail with Thursday’s post.

While we’re on the subject, the next trial is getting ready to begin. This time it’s Canadian Omar Khadr. How’s that shaping up?

Khadr’s Pentagon defense lawyers are seeking to have the charges dismissed on grounds a general at the Pentagon exerted unlawful influence over the prosecutor at military commissions. They are also seeking to revisit a so-called Child Soldier defense. Defense lawyers say were Khadr to go to trial he would be the first child soldier prosecuted for a war crime in modern times.
There is a reason the administration does not want these trials to happen on American soil or under the American system of justice, and it has nothing to do with the worst of the worst, preventing future attacks or being at war. Rather, we have treated these people shamefully and in direct contradiction to a humanity towards captives that goes - literally - back to George Washington. They don’t want us to know that.

Both of those last items came courtesy of the Miami Herald’s increasingly indispensable Guantánamo coverage by Carol Rosenberg. Journalism, my friends.

Marisa Taylor of McClatchy writes (via) about our terrible Attorney General’s proposal to allow the FBI to do away with post-Watergate restrictions on surveillance. She quotes Michael German, late of the FBI and current policy counsel for the ACLU:

I’m concerned with the way the attorney general frames the problem. He talks about ‘arbitrary or irrelevant differences’ between criminal and national security investigations but these were corrections originally designed to prevent the type of overreach the FBI engaged in for years…Nobody’s complaining about the FBI collecting domestic intelligence when it’s appropriate and authorized under the law. What the attorney general is doing is expanding the bureau’s intelligence collection without addressing the mismanagement within the FBI. If you have an agency collecting more with less oversight, it’s only going to get worse.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General has found that between 2003 and 2006 the FBI sought personal records of Americans by relying improperly on so-called “national security letters”, rather than seeking court approval. Last week, the FBI apologized to two newspapers for secretly obtaining reporters’ phone records without following proper bureau procedures. FBI officials have said the bureau has since instituted stronger oversight to prevent abuses, but German said recent events demonstrated that Mukasey needed to strengthen the FBI’s guidelines, not “water them down.”
And Mukasey cites a “loud demand” for these changes. He cites no sources of loudness though. What a jerk.

Finally, I’ve coined a new word - invasia (n): The inability to remember recent wars of aggression.

UPDATE: Diane on Planet Gulag. Jim Henley on where that puts us.

The Hippie White House

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post

If it is true that our earliest experiences are the most influential (child is father to the man and all that) then the sixties are the dominant years for our current leaders. It has since become a cliché that the era never really ended and continues to fundamentally shape our discourse, but I only agree to a point. After all, every generation is shaped by the events of its time and those events exert an ongoing influence. On the other hand, the turbulence then does make it more influential than other periods. Starting with the Kennedy assassination and ending with Watergate there was an unpopular draft, the Vietnam war, additional traumatic political murders and other momentous events that have cast a very long shadow. And of course the generation formed in this cauldron was also part of a huge population spike, which imprinted the swirl of controversy even more firmly on the national psyche. But even without the demographic component it was destined to be much-discussed because it was marked by contentiousness that has not been matched until perhaps recently. (Side note to today’s young people: Hope you like those arguments you’re having! You can look forward to another forty years of them.)

The resignation of Richard Nixon and the winding down of the war shortly thereafter seemed to end that chapter, and a couple of interpretations hardened into conventional wisdom. My best attempt to summarize goes like this: “The antiwar activists were basically right to protest; the war was waged under a false premise and should never have escalated as it did. They made their points very rudely though, and it would have been nicer if they had been a little more polite and diplomatic. And Nixon stepped way over the line and deserved to leave office in disgrace.” It still flares up periodically, as in Patrick Buchanan’s 1992 Republican convention speech (“[t]here is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.”) but it usually seems to be along the lines of how the sixties coarsened our culture and introduced moral relativism. The basic take on the war itself or the resignation looked settled. However, beneath the surface on the far right was a sense of rage, shame and defiance. Some like young David Addington believed (per a childhood friend) America “should have stayed and won the Vietnam War, despite the fact that we were losing”. Others like Dick Cheney concluded that “Watergate and a lot of things around Watergate and Vietnam, both during the ’70s served, I think, to erode the authority” of the President. In other words, a small but eventually influential group on the right never conceded anything.

From their perspective the only problem with Vietnam was that we left, and when they finally got to direct a war of their own there would be no such mistake. In the face of total discredit and loss of faith from the public they would continue a deeply unpopular war because to do otherwise would be to concede “we don’t have the stomach for the fight”. The domino theory was perfectly valid, and in fact lived on as a “benign domino” of democratic reform in the middle east. And Nixon was right to wiretap without warrants - period. It became impermissible to say so in polite company, but he got a raw deal. Quietly but insistently members of this group managed to get their hands on the levers of power, and they set to righting the wrongs of that prior era. And of course, it also means the next generation of Cheneys, Bushes and Addingtons are currently justifying torture, championing (and studiously avoiding service in) the Iraq war, and arguing that respecting civil liberties turns the Constitution into a suicide pact.

But like an O. Henry short story here is the upside down twist at the end: The hippies won anyway. The administration that so self-consciously distanced itself from the flower child ethos has adopted some of its most remarked upon features. Its leaders are cheerfully vulgar towards those they disagree with, and far from being apologetic they justify it with an “if it feels good do it” attitude. They are resolute authority haters, dismissive of all attempts at oversight and casually contemptuous of the law. They avoided service in a war they supported through exquisitely timed pregnancies or neglected stateside duties. They wear suits instead of tie dies, but otherwise conform perfectly to the caricature of dissolution they have taken great pains to repudiate.