Tuesday, May 25, 2021

George Floyd One Year Later


A year ago today, George Floyd was murdered in cold blood on the streets of Minneapolis  by some sadistic twit named Derek Chauvin. That is the last time I will ever mention his name on this site. He needs to be tossed upon history's eternal shit pile. George begged for his life; pleaded that he could not breathe; called for his recently deceased mother - utterly to no avail. The officer in question wanted to prove what a badass he was. He wanted to prove that he had the power over whether George would live or die. He chose the latter. He has been found guilty of George's murder and will be sentenced in June. I hope they throw the book at him.

Not since 1963 has such a ugly mirror been thrust into the face of white America. To say that the brutal murder of this (by every account) decent and gentle man forced the people of the United Stated to examine their consciences is an understatement. We were forced to confront a bleak reality too disturbing to articulate. But still, there are those among us (right wing politicians and commentators for the most part) who still insist on equating the Black Lives Matter movement with an anti-American terrorist organization; they call "Antifa" (which is merely a label, not an organization) a conspiracy to destroy America. While this has been going on, they have made near-herculean strides to deny people the right to vote, claiming that their goal is to protect the electorate from "voter fraud". The problem isn't "voter fraud". Voter fraud doesn't exist. The problem is that too many people with dark skin are casting their ballots.

Six days after George Floyd died, I wrote a piece on this  site attempting to make sense of such a senseless killing. I ended it this way:

"A number of years ago when I lived in New York City, there was a bar on Eighth Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets) that I used to stop by every day for a beer on my way home from work. One of the patrons that I struck up an acquaintance with was a member of the NYPD who would also stop for a libation after he got off duty. Late one afternoon we were discussing his line of work when he said something that completely floored me. To this day, I've not been able to erase it from my memory:
"I'm not gonna consider my career complete until I've killed at least one nigger."
This conversation did not take place in Shit-For-Brains, Mississippi; it took place in Manhattan, one of the most sophisticated spots on the planet.
The problem exists, and, unless we're not vigilant, will persist."


Indeed, and to continue to deny that there is not a very real problem in America is to continue to hide our head in the sands like demented ostriches. This is a wrong that needs to be righted pretty damned quick - if only for our children. Let's get this right.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race riot that left at least three-hundred people dead. Yesterday, CBSN did a report on it. Watch it and share it.

As the old adage says, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Bob Dylan at Eighty

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Bob Dylan

I'm going to be honest here; I never spent much time intellectualizing over the words and music of Bob Dylan. All that I ever knew since I started to seriously collect his music when I was fifteen is that I loved how he sounded and I loved what he said - even though I never always understood exactly what he was saying. His lyrics always sent my imagination into the clouds.

"Just to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free."

Something that beautiful was bound to appeal to a teenaged pothead. 

I attempt to make no cerebral analysis of the man's work. That would be a lesson in futility. This posting is only meant to acknowledge the eightieth anniversary of the birth of this extraordinary composer, whose art encompasses two centuries now. Cole Porter, George Gershwin Irving Berlin and Rodgers and Hart can't make that claim. Even in what are undoubtedly his waning years, Bob Dylan's music remains astonishing.

Happy birthday, Uncle Bobby. You still rock with ease, Buster!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


1. Blood on the Tracks (1975)
by Bob Dylan

Trying to determine his greatest LP is also a lesson in futility. This is certainly one of them.

2. Forever Young (1974)
by Bob Dylan

Stay forever young, Bob!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Critical Race Theory

The political movement that consistently clings to the jolly fiction that they are not racists are proving their racism once again. This time it involves a herculean effort to keep something called "Critical Race Theory" out of American schools. This so-called "theory" teaches that (among other things) race - or better still "Race baiting" - has been a factor in American politics and policies since the founding of the republic. This phenomenon of altering the history of this country can primarily be found in (but is not limited to) dear ol' Dixie. They are claiming that critical race theory is prejudiced against white people. Some of these clowns are even demanding that the teaching of slavery be outlawed altogether.

Where do I begin?

Since the brutal murder of George Floyd by some half-witted sadist on the streets of Minneapolis a year ago this Tuesday (My Heavens, where does the time go?) America has been having a long-overdue discussion on this topic as it hasn't had since 1963. And at a time when the voting rights of people with dark skin are imperiled in a way they haven't been since the time I was in kindergarten, what better time to get the discussion flowing again, ay?

Nine years ago on this hideous site, I wrote a piece called "Message To My Fellow White People". In the closing paragraph I wrote the following:

"It's sad that people who are not white need to wait until they are no longer "minorities" in order to receive equal protection under the law (At present they don't have that protection - and you're kidding yourselves if you think that they do. Just look at the prison population). But as long as they have waited, I don't think they'll have to wait much longer. As uncle Bobby said, 'The old world is rapidly fading. Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand'. Or as Sam Cooke sang nearly fifty years ago, 'a change is gonna come'. Sam didn't live to see that change. Bob Dylan probably will live to see it. In fact, we're damned-near there. We have no other choice but to accept it. The history of the next century will primarily be the story of how well (or badly) white America dealt with that inevitable change. Deal with it well, my friends. History will smile upon you."

For many years I have believed that if you don't have a serious knowledge and understanding of the history of the struggle of African Americans in America, then you don't have knowledge and understanding of American history. Our story hinges on the struggle of our black brothers and sisters. This is something that we need to understand if we are to move forward. Although I strongly suspect that the generation born between the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first already understands this. They are the ones who are going to save this place. My generation was handed the most prosperous nation in the history of anything you want to mention. And what have we bequeathed them? A ideological cesspool. Best of luck, kiddies!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Ten-Year Lunch; Wits & Legends of the Algonquin Round Table 

This is a period and people that I love reading about. Highly recommended.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Safely Under the Rug


What is happening this week in D.C. is barely fathomable. It was my naïve belief  that when the former president and future federal inmate finally blew town on January 20, things might lighten up jus a bit and we might all be able to experience a vague semblance of "normality" (like, say, the way things were when Dubya occupied the executive mansion). As seriously twisted as that time was, I found myself at times feeling a sense of teary-eyed nostalgia for the Age of Bush 43. All bets were off when the Trump clown car arrived in town.

This week a resolution was passed in the House to form a bipartisan committee to investigate what actually led up to the violent insurrection on January 6 that resulted in the deaths of five people. Unfortunately this proposal has yet to pass the senate, which needs a two/thirds majority to go through; and since the Dems only hold that body by the slimmest of majorities (vice-President Kamala Harris being the tie-breaking vote) it's not bloody likely to pass. The Republicans don't want the American people to know the truth of what happened on that day of infamy. This only tells me that some of them - and perhaps a whole lot of them - were in on the scheme. The fact that so many of these jackasses came equip with certain devices (like plastic hand cuffs for instance) tells me that this was a major conspiracy on a grand order. What gives?

Why is the GOP spending so much energy and credibility expressing their loyalty to the likes of Donald Trump? Are they not thinking
long term? Are they not able to understand that he - and three of his offspring - are being investigated by the Southern District of New York for serious criminal financial fraud? Has it not penetrated their soft little minds that, four years from today, Donald Trump may very well be waking up each morning in a federal prison cell - and that the political careers of every man and woman who were stupid enough to attach their wagons onto his clown car will be permanently destroyed? This makes me wonder if they don't give a damn about the answers to those questions, and that they have a far more sinister plan for holding on to power. Paranoia on my part? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We'll see.

What these knuckleheads fail to comprehend is that the truth will come out eventually. And when I say that, I don't mean in fifty years time, I mean very soon. Every investigative body of our government is looking into this matter with a finely- tuned microscope. The sun is gonna shine, baby! Lawyer up, kiddies.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Peter Sellers Story: I Am not a Funny Man

People who make their names acting funny tend to be a troubled lot. Peter Sellers was the most disturbed of them all. A brilliant and tragic comic actor.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Liz Cheney's Mountaintop Moment


Liz Cheney will stand out in history as a profile in courage.

I cannot believe that I just wrote that last sentence.

I'm not going to lie to you: I detest the Cheneys with a passion that I'm barely able to articulate. Her father should be permanently incarcerated at Leavenworth as a war criminal. His company, Halliburton, made billions of dollars from the war in Iraq that Papa Cheney was instrumental in starting nearly twenty years ago. The number of people who were killed because of that needless and stupid conflict has never been adequately counted. Some believe that the number is over a million souls. I wouldn't doubt it. Fuck Dick Cheney.

The daughter, on the other hand, at least deserves a tip of the hat this week for doing something that very few within that disgusting party have had the courage to do by standing up to Donald Trump and exposing an obvious lie that only those willfully blind can ignore: The former Psychopath-in-Chief did not win the 2020 election; and it was not stolen from him. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won that contest fairly and squarely. In spite of the fact that there is a movement underway to have her stripped of her position as the third ranking Republican in the House of Reprehensibles, the woman is sticking to her guns. I can only admire and applaud her for doing this.

On the comments section of this piece, someone who calls himself Dave Dubya has remarked that the reasoning behind her stand may be more Machiavellian than noble. This would not surprise me in the least, but - for the time being anyway - I am willing to give Liz Cheney the benefit of the doubt. She and Mitt Romney (and a small handful of others) are showing some true guts. We need to give credit where credit is due. We may never have this chance again with these people.

And now we have a movement afoot to recount the votes that has already been officially confirmed in some states. Trump sincerely believes that this effort will put him back in the White House - and I don't mean in 2024, I mean today! This is the psychological state of the dangerous and dirty old dingbat we're dealing with here, folks. Is he capable of raising another army of clueless nitwits to storm the White House as he did at the capitol on January 6? My guess is, if he has the desire to do so, yes. He can tell them that they'll all receive a pardon when he's back in powers and, of course, a lot of them will be dumb enough to fall for it. There's all matter of stupidity out there in Idiot Nation.

It's a cinch that few of the dunces who are today in confederacy against Liz Cheney have no real grasp of history. Do they not understand when historians a century from today are writing the history of the very strange times in which we live they will all look like a babbling flock of incompetent sheep, while Liz will be standing on the mountaintop? I really do not think that they do. This is a fairly clueless lot.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

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Tuesday, May 04, 2021

The Party of Crazy People

  • I was watching on YouTube this morning an installment of the old game show, What's My Line, which was hosted by the legendary CBS  News reporter, John Charles Daly. Every week they would have a mystery celebrity guest; The panelists would blindfold themselves and would have to guess who the celebrity was. On this particular program the mystery guest was the iconic Senate Minority leader (1959-1969), Everett Dirksen of Illinois. Dirksen was the type of Republican that long ago ceased to exist; although essentially a conservative, he was not an extremist by any rational argument. He was perfectly capable of reaching across the aisle in order to come up with a reasonable compromise. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would not have been passed without him. Although they were of different parties, his relationship with Democratic president Lyndon Johnson was close and amiable. They might have publically bickered at times, but they're "feud" was more akin to a Jack Benny/Fred Allen radio routine.
Watching that program made me wistful for the time (which I am barely old enough to remember) when that party was inhabited by the likes of Millicent Fenwick, Margaret Chase Smith and Barry Goldwater. Yes, I said "Barry Goldwater". As undoubtedly conservative as old Barry was, he could not be elected today as the Yuma, Arizona sewage inspector within the toxic atmosphere today's Republican Party. Things have gotten that weird.

If you are one of the few people who've been reading this site from the its inception, you know that back in the George W. Bush years, I had nothing but utter contempt for #43. At the time, I thought that the executive branch of our government could not sink any lower or get more extreme. I was wrong, of course. Eight years after leaving the White House, along came Donald Trump. 

This morning I was reading a piece on the internet where Dubya warned  his fellow party members that "G.O.P" does is not an acronym for "White Anglo Saxton Protestan". His stark warning was that the party of Abraham Lincoln will never again win a national election until it gets it act together and cleanses itself of the imbeciles and criminals that have hijacked it in recent years. I never dreamed the day would come where old George would become one of the few voices of reason among the Republicans. His place in history is a little less tarnished this morning.

Addressing a gathering of Republicans the other day. Mitt Romney was literally jeered off of the podium. At this moment, the right wing extremists in the House of Reprehensibles are attempting to destroy the political career of Liz Cheney. Their crimes? They refused deny the undeniable fact that the 2020 election was won (quite fairly and quite squarely) by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. That is a party that should make even those of us with a below average IQ tremble in fear and loathing. That is a party that needs to disappear forever.

A party crazy enough to nominate for the office of president of the United States an incoherent fool and sociopath like Donald Trump is capable of just about anything. This isn't even remotely funny any longer, folks. This is serious. 

Where have you gone Everett Dirksen?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Yesterday, CNN's Jim Acosta skewered FOX Noise for its constant dissemination of propaganda and lies. This is a segment that must be seen and shared by all. He promises that - from this day forward - he will refer to it as "THE BULLSHIT FACTORY". 

 Here is a link to watch his remarkable commentary on YouTube:

Bravo, sir.


Gallant Men
by Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen

This is a record that Senator Dirksen cut on Capitol Records in the 1960s, a few years before he passed away:

Listen to that voice! His detractors used to refer to him as "the wizard of ooze". Other than the president, his was the most recognizable voice in American politics in his time.