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More of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far

More of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far

Many people are not familiar with Terry Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band. I think I first heard him on KEXP’s Swingin’ Doors show around twenty years ago when Don Slack played “Gimme a Ride to Heaven” from the the 1983 album Bloodlines. I bought that album and have been following him ever since. No Depression describes his new album, Just Like Moby Dick, like this;

Instead of a voyage on the Pequod, Allen takes his listeners on a journey that covers a lot of ground, from Houdini facing death after life in “Houdini Didn’t Like the Spiritualists” to a town lamenting the loss of its last local dancer in “Death of the Last Stripper.” Allen brings clown-killing vampires into the light on “City of the Vampires” and delivers the storytelling masterpiece “Pirate Jenny,” which serves as a nod to Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s original of the same name.

Here is “Sailin’ on Through”. Enjoy!

Drive By Truckers have been putting out great southern rock music for decades now. They are not shy about expressing their political views, so it’s no surprise that during this year of a presidential election they have released their most political album ever, The Unraveling. Here’s their response to the nutjob, Christian, second-amendment crowd who won’t do anything about the epidemic of mass killings committed with ridiculously powerful automatic weapons except offer up their “Thoughts and Prayers”.

Stephen Malkmus has put out several solo albums, and they all sound a little different – some sound similar to his seminal band Pavement, some a little like Sonic Youth, some are bit electronic, and this new one titled Traditional Techniques is less rock, less electric, more acoustic, and maybe sounds a little bit like Wilco.

This next one is the title track from Tré Burt’s new album, Caught it From the Rye. You will probably find that the instrumentation and vocals sound very much like someone you know. Sean Jewell over at American Standard Time, in a somewhat amusing fashion, goes to great lengths not to name that singer/songwriter, because well… Sean has his own set of principles to which he must adhere.

I, on the other hand, will name that person. He happens to be an artist I have been listing to quite a bit lately. Bob Dylan has released two new songs on YouTube in the past three weeks. I won’t post the actual videos, because they are already ubiquitous on the internet. “Murder Most Foul“, about the assassination of President Kennedy and what it means to the American psyche, was released a few weeks ago. Today he released “I Contain Multitudes” which seems to be about all the things that have influenced his work.

John F. Kennedy was proud to be a Liberal

John F. Kennedy was proud to be a Liberal

Conservatives started bashing Liberals Around the time John F. Kennedy ran for president, but he did not dodge the label. He embraced it.

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal”? If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal”. But if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal”.

Not many of today’s Democrats would dare say out loud what Kennedy said over fifty years ago.

On this fiftieth anniversary of his death, we Democrats need to honor his spirit and not shy away from the “L Word”.

John F. Kennedy’s “Church and State” Speech Makes Rick Santorum want to Puke

John F. Kennedy’s “Church and State” Speech Makes Rick Santorum want to Puke

Article VI, Clause III of The Constitution of the United States of America.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

 On September 12, 1960 John F. Kennedy addressed a group of Protestant clergymen concerned about the influence of his Roman Catholic faith and whether, as president, he could make important decisions independent of his church.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

 Rick Santorum as reported on by The Washington Post:

In remarks last year at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, N.H., Santorum had told the crowd of J.F.K.’s famous 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up. You should read the speech.”

I just read JFK’s speech, and it reflects exactly how the founders intended our elected representatives to act. Yet upon reading Kennedy’s landmark speech, Rick Santorum found the words so abhorrent that he wanted to throw up – presumably on Article VI, Clause III of the Constitution that follows a clause stating that the Constitution, not The Bible, is “the Supreme Law of the Land.”

What I find abhorrent is that Rick Santorum would not make the same pledge that John F. Kennedy did in 1960, and that Mitt Romney made in 2008. Any candidate who claims to be a Christian and has as narrow a mind as Santorum’s on equality, sexuality, and social issues ought to be the one justifying his religion and guaranteeing that he would not try and impose his dogma on the rest of us. If he can’t do that, then he’s unfit to hold the office of the President of the United States of America.

Visit President John F. Kennedy’s Virtual Desk Today

Visit President John F. Kennedy’s Virtual Desk Today

The JFK library site has a new feature that allows you to sit behind President Kennedy’s desk in the oval office.  From there you have a view of the office and all the items on his desk.  You can click on items to learn about what was going on while he was president.

JFK, Jr. peeking out FDR's panel in the Resolute desk in 1962
JFK, Jr. peeking out FDR's panel in the Resolute desk in 1962

The Seattle Times reports that the “replica of the desk, which was made from the timbers of the British ship the HMS Resolute and given to President Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1878. The original desk, which is still used by President Obama, was in the White House broadcast room until first lady Jacqueline Kennedy discovered it and had it installed in the Oval Office in February 1961.”

Kennedy taped many of his conversations, and you can listen to the tapes if you click on the wood-carved ornament just to your right on the vertical side of the desk.

Other clickable items include the phone, family photos, a coconut, a scrimshaw, campaign button, and the White House diary.

Scott Brown – the New Republican Moral Degenerate in the Senate

Scott Brown – the New Republican Moral Degenerate in the Senate

Say hello to the new senator from Massachusetts.


He’s the newest senator representing the G.O.P. – the party of fiscally irresponsible, xenophopic, war-mongering, freedom-hating, money-loving, hypocritical Bible thumping, mendacious moral degenerates.

He is the the pawn on the Republican side of the board that they will use to kill healthcare reform.

But the Democrats still have a big majority, so the stalling tactics of 41 Republicans and one douche bag from Connecticut shouldn’t be a big problem for the 58 Democrats, right?


Jon Stewart explained it best:  “Democrats will only then have an 18-vote majority in the Senate.  Which is more than George W. Bush ever had in the Senate when he did whatever the fuck he wanted to.”  (watch it here)