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Friday, June 29, 2018

Carbon trail.

Where the hell is that thing. It looks like, I don't know ... a futuristic space gun, or someone's concept of what a 1980s weapon would look like back in 1953. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Oh, hi. Just digging out the old technology here at the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, which (oddly enough) appears to contain every object I have ever owned and then some. It's like that house you keep returning to in your dreams - you know ... the one that looks kind of like the house you grew up in but that has a whole extra wing built onto one side that you never knew existed. You've been there, right? Or is that just me? I think it must be me. (I've been answering that very same question for decades now.)

Okay, so today, I asked Marvin (my personal robot assistant) to dig up my old demagnetizer. It's a plastic thing that looks like a cross between an electric iron and a glue gun, and it's used to service the heads on analog tape recorders, which tend to get magnetized after scraping against that magnetic tape for hours upon hours. Why is that a bad thing? I haven't any idea. All I can say is that, when Marvin gets magnetized, it can be extremely problematic ... especially if he's outside when the street cleaning machine comes along. (We had to pry him off that thing with a snow shovel once. It wasn't pretty.)

Go easy, Marvin.Small wonder the heads on my antiquated cassette tape machine have picked up a charge; I've been running hours of tape through that thing as part of my summer project to archive and restore Big Green's early recordings (1984-96) as well as some even more primordial stuff from the early 80s. Since practically all of the songs were recorded on analog audio cassette, which doesn't hold up all that well over the decades, it's just as well that I'm getting to this now. By the end of the process, I hope to have remastered early mixes of 150 to 200 songs, the vast majority written by my illustrious brother, Matt. That shiny tape makes for a bewildering trail (which is, in fact, pretty close to the title of one of those 200 songs).

You folks have heard a few examples from our early work. After this project is done, I expect you'll hear more, but don't quote me. I may get demagnetized before that happens.

In the white room.

Three big Supreme Court decisions this week, all stemming from one big electoral decision we all made two years ago. If one were to make the point that elections have consequences, one could hardly do it more effectively than by offering these disastrous judicial outcomes as evidence. For the life of me, I will never understand why Americans on the left side of the political spectrum do not consider the makeup of the Supreme Court (and the federal judiciary more broadly) as a voting issue of primary importance. I may be thinking about a lot of things when I mark that ballot, but no single item more than that of who will be deciding these cases for the next 30 years.

Trump's new BFF.This fact is about to be brought home to us all in a far more profound way: Justice Kennedy has announced that he will retire at the end of next month, and I have no doubt that Trump and McConnell will ram a nominee through the confirmation process faster than anyone can imagine. That will lock in a 5-4 reactionary majority on the Court that will be with us for a generation, reversing Roe v. Wade, detonating the remnants of the Voting Rights Act, and generally demonstrating that the Court cannot be relied upon to serve as a bulwark against aggressive extremism. I was never a big fan of Kennedy. Sure, he was the fifth vote on some crucial cases affecting LGBTQ rights and so on, but he is a stingy old stick who apparently isn't even giving a second thought to allowing this unstable president to choose his successor.

It's revenge of the white people. With the demographic tide turning against Republicans, the only way they can continue to win elections is through gerrymandering, voter fraud accusations, and an attack on the franchise wherever and whenever brown people dare to exercise it. They've made their way into power, and now they are bending every effort to close and lock the door behind them. They are able to keep us in their little white room because, since 2009, we have been either unable or unwilling to stop them from building and consolidating their control of government at every level.

So, what we have now is the same problem we had two, four, eight, and ten years ago. We just need to be willing to fight back in as many ways as are available to us. One is voting. Another is protest. But first and foremost, contact your senators and tell them to dig in, pull out the stops, and do whatever they can to keep Trump from appointing another Gorsuch.

luv u,

jp