Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 10th, 2011

The Chitlin’ Circuit: And the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll

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Sounds like an interesting book:

It’s 1951, and a group of teenagers who call themselves the Kings of Rhythm are motoring up Highway 61 from the Mississippi Delta, their instruments tied to the top of the car. A 19-year-old named Ike Turner is driving, and he and the band are on their way to Memphis when they hit a bump that sends their equipment flying. Turner and the others hail from Clarksdale, where poor folks make instruments out of wire and broomsticks, so when they discover a fracture in their amplifier, they just patch it and shoulder on.

The story begins with a musician and entrepreneur named Walter Barnes, a mover and shaker who crossed racial lines to buddy up with Al Capone, who taught him how to organize. In the Jazz Age, so-called territory bands played out of hotel ballrooms and broadcast over low-watt radio stations but also traveled as far as their reputations (and broadcasts) carried them. Barnes contacted dance-hall operators, promoters, colored-friendly hotels and restaurants, and took the territory band to a whole new level; like Capone’s Italian ancestors, he fused a bunch of separate city-states into a cohesive whole.

Just before and during World War II, entertainers like Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five showed that a handful of musicians could make just as much noise as an entire orchestra. As men and resources went into the war effort, Jordan became the model for every black pop group from Little Richard and Fats Domino to B. B. King and James Brown. These entertainers roughed up Jordan’s svelte style as swing became rhythm ‘n’ blues and the word “rock” began to appear in one form or another in song lyrics, like Roy Brown’s 1947 “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” as well as newspaper write-ups that described audiences as “rockin'” to the new sound.

The key to the chitlin’ circuit was “the stroll,” the main . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 August 2011 at 12:47 pm

Executive Branch: “With state-secrets privilege, we can do whatever we want.”

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Obama’s administration continues to flee the law. Hamed Aleaziz reports for Mother Jones:

The state secrets privilege—perhaps the most powerful weapon in the government’s legal arsenal—has a complicated history. For years, Democrats, including then-Sen. Barack Obama, accused the Bush administration of overusing of the privilege, which allows the government to quash cases that involve national security before a court even hears evidence. Then, after Obama took office, his Justice Department used this get-out-of-court-free card repeatedly.

Last week, the DOJ invoked the state secrets privilege yet again. But this case, civil liberties groups say, is different.

Most of the post-9/11 cases that the government has killed with the state secrets privilege have either involved foreign-born terrorist suspects or the government’s actions abroad. The case the Obama administration tried to quash last week doesn’t explicitly involve either. The case in question, which was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), focuses squarely on domestic intelligence-gathering targeting Americans—namely the FBI’s allegedly widespread use of informants and surveillance against Muslim Americans.

The FBI’s involvement in the case—and the fact that it involves Americans—makes it stand out among the other state secrets cases, says Ameena Qazi, CAIR’s deputy executive director. “We’re surprised at the government’s shocking move in invoking the state secrets doctrine in this case of all cases,” Qazi says. Since this case “involves domestic intelligence-gathering on US soil against Americans,” she explains, “it’s an unprecedented move to our knowledge.”

The case, Fazaga v. FBI, stems from . . .

Continue reading. I’m no longer shocked, but it is revealing how strenuously the current and previous administration worked to keep their actions from review in a court of law. I’m sure they have reasons, but I’m not convinced the reasons are good. I suspect it’s more a matter of covering up bungling, incompetence, and outright breaking of the law. But I guess we’ll never know.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 August 2011 at 12:42 pm

The real story on the bin Laden raid: Interesting if true

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Via Ed Brayton, this report by R.J. Hillhouse:

Forget the cover story of waterboarding-leads-to-courier-leads-to bin Laden (not to deny the effectiveness of waterboarding, but it’s just not applicable in this case.)   Sources in the intelligence community tell me that after years of trying and one bureaucratically insane near-miss in Yemen, the US government killed OBL because a Pakistani intelligence officer came forward to collect the approximately $25 million reward from the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program.

The informant was a walk-in.

The ISI officer came forward to claim the substantial reward and to broker US citizenship for his family.   My sources tell me that the informant claimed that the Saudis were paying off the Pakistani military and intelligence (ISI) to essentially shelter and keep bin Laden under house arrest in Abbottabad, a city with such a high concentration of military that I’m told there’s no equivalent in the US.

The CIA and friends then set about proving that OBL was indeed there.  And they did.

Next they approached the chiefs of the Pakistani military and the ISI.  The US was going to come in with or without them.  The CIA offered them a deal they couldn’t refuse: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 August 2011 at 10:16 am

Synthetic bristles and Mitchell’s Wool Fat

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I decided to go with artificial badger (in this case, the Omega Lucretia Borgia model) and Mitchell’s Wool Fat, which some take to be, if not the Mount Everest of shaving soaps, at least the Mount Shasta. I worked up a plentiful, rich lather with no problem at all—not quite Creamy Lather, but close. (Creamy Lather seems to require bristles with more resilience than badger can muster: horsehair or boar work well. I’ll try horsehair tomorrow just to check.)

I’ve been missing the iKon OSS asymmetric razor so I decided to take it out for a spin this morning. With a much-used Swedish Gillette blade, it did a fine three-pass job. A glide of the alum bar, a final rinse, and a splash of Paul Sebastian. Very fine shave—and I continue to enjoy shaving and look forward each morning to the process (and the result).

I ordered a proof copy of the 5th edition. I’m excited.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 August 2011 at 7:50 am

Posted in Shaving

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