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HOW MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. INFLUENCED SAM COOKE’S ‘A CHANGE IS GONNA COME’
BY PETER GURALNICK
It is impossible to calculate the full effect that watching this on television, listening on the radio must have had on Sam. These were people that he knew. This was the world from which he came. Mahalia had called the Highway QCs “her boys” when Sam was just starting out, at the age of seventeen, and the Soul Stirrers had cut a new version of “Free At Last” for SAR no more than six months ago. He and Alex had been talking with student sit-in leaders in North Carolina on the spring tour. And when he first heard “Blowin’ in the Wind” on the new Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album J.W. had just given him, he was so carried away with the message, and the fact that a white boy had written it, that, he told Alex, he was almost ashamed not to have written something like that himself. It wasn’t the way Dylan sang, he told Bobby Womack. It was what he had to say. His daughter was always telling him he should be less worried about pleasing everyone else and more concerned with pleasing himself—and maybe she was right. But like any black entertainer with a substantial white constituency, he couldn’t help but worry about bringing his audience along.
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But he didn’t hear back for almost five months, and then it was from an assistant community relations director, who suggested that he give her a ring so they could discuss just what he might have in mind. “We didn’t count,” was the matter-of-fact assessment of Lloyd Price, like Sam, an independent businessman and solid Movement supporter. “They wanted high-profile artists like Sammy, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, artists like Nat ‘King’ Cole—but what could have been more high-profile than rock ’n’ roll singers selling millions of records and playing interracial music, interracial dances?”
“I’m going to write something,” Sam told J.W. But he didn’t know what it was.
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The traveling show arrived in Shreveport at 7:30 in the morning after an all-night drive. Sam had called ahead to make reservations for Barbara and himself at the brand-new Holiday Inn North just outside of town, but when they pulled up in the Maserati, with Charles and Crain trailing in the packed Cadillac limo, the man at the desk glanced nervously at the group and said he was sorry, there were no vacancies. Charles protested vehemently, but it was Sam who refused to back down. He set his jaw in the way that Barbara knew always meant trouble, and, long after the clerk had simply gone silent, Sam kept yelling at him, asking, Did they think he was some kind of ignorant fool? He had just as much right to be there as any other damn body. He wanted to see the manager. He wasn’t going to leave until he got some kind of damn satisfaction. Barbara kept nudging him, trying to get him to calm down. They’ll kill you, she told him, when the desk clerk’s attention was distracted. “They ain’t gonna kill me,” he told her, “because I’m Sam Cooke.” Honey, she said, down here they’d just as soon lynch you as look at you, they don’t care who you are. Finally the others got him out the door, but he sat in the car fuming, staring at the desk clerk who just stared coldly back, and when he drove off, it was with the horn of the Maserati blaring and all four occupants of both cars calling out insults and imprecations.
The police were waiting for them when they arrived at the Castle Hotel on Sprague Street, the colored guesthouse downtown where the rest of the group was staying. They were taken to the police station, where they were charged not with attempting to register at the Holiday Inn but with creating a public disturbance. They were held for several hours and finally let go, but not before the contents of Crain’s small suitcase had been carefully scrutinized and counted: it amounted to $9,989.72 in coins and wrinkled bills and represented, Crain told a skeptical police captain, “the receipts collected from recent performances.” The Maserati’s horn had stuck, Crain explained to even greater skepticism, because there was a short in the electrical system that caused it to go off whenever the automobile turned sharply to the left. Crain posted a cash bond of $102.50 apiece shortly before 1:30 P.M., and they returned to the Castle Hotel.
- snip -
He played it through once, singing the lyrics softly to his own guitar accompaniment. After a moment’s silence, Alex was about to respond—but before he could, Sam started playing the song again, going through it this time line by line, as if somehow his partner might have missed the point, as if, uncharacteristically, he needed to remind himself of it as well.
It was a song at once both more personal and more political than anything for which Alex might have been prepared, a song that vividly brought to mind a gospel melody but that didn’t come from any spiritual number in particular, one that was suggested both by the civil rights movement and by the circumstances of Sam’s own life—J.W. knew exactly where it came from, but Sam persisted in explaining it nonetheless. It was almost, he said wonderingly, as if it had come to him in a dream. The statement in its title and chorus, “A Change Is Gonna Come” (“It’s been a long time comin’ / But I know / A change gonna come”), was the faith on which it was predicated, but faith was qualified in each successive verse in ways that any black man or woman living in the twentieth century would immediately understand. When he sang, “It’s been too hard living / But I’m afraid to die / I don’t know what’s up there / Beyond the sky,” he was expressing the doubt, he told Alex, that he had begun to feel in the absence of any evidence of justice on earth. “I go to the movies / And I go downtown / Somebody keep telling me / Don’t hang around” was simply his way of describing their life—Memphis, Shreveport, Birmingham—and the lives of all Afro-Americans. “Or, you know,” said J.W., “in the verse where he says, ‘I go to my brother and I say, “Brother, help me, please,”’—you know, he was talking about the establishment—and then he says, ‘That motherfucker winds up knocking me back down on my knees.’
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Posted by Hissyspit | Sat Mar 7, 2015, 02:32 PM (7 replies)
Thousands of women are throwing a guy a dance party after he was body shamed
BY ANDREA ROMANO
6 HOURS AGO
The Internet is taking a stand: no one should ever be shamed for trying to have a good time.
In February, a user on 4chan posted about their encounter with a man at a concert, who was ridiculed for dancing and quickly stopped when he noticed people were laughing at him. The user posted before and after photos of the man, saying "spotted this specimen trying to dance the other week. He stopped when he saw us laughing.”
The photo was reposted onto Imgur on Wednesday by a user called FrozenBadger. They wrote, "I find this behavior fucking despicable. If you're out there big man, fuck those kids. Keep dancing."
Many other people on 4chan, Reddit and social media shared the user's opinion, who called out the original poster for bullying the man when he was simply trying to have a good time.
The Free Thought Project writer Cassandra Fairbanks decided to launch a personal campaign to find the dancing man and arrange "something special" for him. In a mere 24 hours, thousands of female Twitter users joined Fairbanks in her search, using the hashtag #FindDancingMan.
An open letter to the dancing man began to circulate, detailing a major dance party the women wanted to throw to not just boost the man's self esteem but also send a strong message against body shaming.
Hope Leigh @HOPELEIGHMUSIC
Body shaming is awful & people hide behind social media. Help me and my 2,000 girlfriends #FindDancingMan #dancefree
1:28 AM - 6 Mar 2015
278 RETWEETS 254 FAVORITES
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Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Mar 6, 2015, 06:38 PM (123 replies)
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 09:52 AM (8 replies)
Source: Omaha World-Herald
@BreakingNews: US district judge strikes down Nebraska's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage - @LJSNebraskaNews http://t.co/rdKwBcSX4b/s/75zF
Judge strikes down Nebraska's gay marriage ban
POSTED: MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2015 8:00 AM
By Robynn Tysver / World-Herald staff writer
A federal district judge in Nebraska effectively struck down the state’s gay marriage ban today, but don’t expect same-sex marriages to happen any time soon.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon gave the go-ahead for gay couples to wed beginning March 9, which gives the state time to file an appeal.
It was a bittersweet ruling for the gay community, but a victory for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, who had asked Bataillon not to create a situation in Nebraska where gay marriage was legal for a few days or weeks.
Peterson argues the state likely will win on appeal before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and that, in order to avoid “chaos,” Peterson asked Bataillon to stop his own order from taking effect immediately.
The same-sex couples who filed the lawsuit challenging the state’s gay marriage ban had opposed the request for a stay of Bataillon’s order. They had sought immediately “relief,” asking Batailon to issue a preliminary injunction and stopping the state from enforcing its gay marriage ban.
Read more: http://www.journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/nebraska/judge-strikes-down-state-s-ban-on-same-sex-marriage/article_dc5c8dfd-e8c6-5771-8e35-004708505a7a.html
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 09:31 AM (15 replies)
Source: Associated Press
Iraq state TV: Large-scale military operation to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown begins
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 02, 2015 - 12:55 AM
BAGHDAD — Iraq's state TV says government forces backed by allied Shiite and Sunni fighters have begun a large-scale military operation to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown from the Islamic State extremist group.
Al-Iraqiya television said Monday that the forces were attacking the city of Tikrit, backed by artillery and airstrikes by Iraqi fighter jets. It said the militants were dislodged from some areas outside the city, but gave no details.
Hours ahead of the operation, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on Sunni tribal fighters to abandon the extremist group, promising them a pardon.
Read more: http://www.startribune.com/world/294608711.html
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 01:52 AM (7 replies)
FEB. 28 2015 1:02 PM
Murdered Russian Opposition Leader Was Planning to Release Information on Ukraine Conflict
By Daniel Politi
Thousands of shocked Russians gathered on Saturday to lay flowers and light candles on the bridge where opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed in Moscow on Friday in what amounted to the country’s highest-profile killing of a political figure in more than a decade. And even though the investigation into the murder is just getting started, several reports claim Nemtsov was preparing to release information about the Kremlin’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko himself put forward the theory on Saturday. "He said he would reveal persuasive evidence of the involvement of Russian armed forces in Ukraine. Someone was very afraid of this ... They killed him," Poroshenko said, according to Reuters. He’s not alone. The New York Times talks to the New Times magazine editor who met with Nemtsov two weeks ago. Nemtsov reportedly told his old friend he wanted to publish a pamphlet titled “Putin and the War” about the country’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict. He knew the risks. “He was afraid of being killed,” the editor, Yevgenia Albats, said. “And he was trying to convince himself, and me, they wouldn’t touch him.”
For its part, Russia’s top investigative body said it is looking at several possible motives for the killing, including “murder as a provocation to destabilize the political situation in the country.” The Investigative Committee said it was analyzing whether he had been killed as a "sacrificial victim for those who do not shun any method for achieving their political goals," reports the Associated Press. The thinking is that fellow members of the opposition could have killed Nemtsov in order to create a martyr, an assertion that many immediately dismissed as ridiculous. The Investigative Committee is also examining whether the killing had anything to do with Ukraine, or if there was any connection to Islamic extremism.
World leaders, including President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, condemned the killing and have called for a thorough investigation, notes the Guardian. “I am shocked and sickened by the callous murder of Boris Nemtsov as he walked in the heart Moscow last night,” Cameron said in a statement on Saturday morning. "This despicable act must be fully, rapidly and transparently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice." Obama also called on “the Russian government to conduct a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his murder and ensure that those responsible for this vicious killing are brought to justice.”
Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/02/28/boris_nemtsov_murdered_russian_opposition_leader_was_going_to_release_information.html
Posted by Hissyspit | Sat Feb 28, 2015, 07:20 PM (19 replies)
“My folks came to the United States as immigrants, aliens, and they became citizens. I was born in Boston a citizen; I went to Hollywood, and I became an alien. Spock called for exactly the kind of work I was prepared to do. He was a character with a rich and dynamic inner life – half human, half Vulcan. He was the embodiment of the outsider, like the immigrants who surrounded me in my early years. How do you find your way as the alien in a foreign culture? Where does your identity and dignity come from? And how do you make a contribution?”
"Spock learned he could save himself from letting prejudice get him down. he could do this by really understanding himself and knowing his own value as a person."
"I supported McCarthy for President and have worked with Operation Head Start and Vista. I do what I can for Bootstrap, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Job Corps, the Peace Corps and so forth. I do as much as I can handIe."
I was really moved by the man’s concern and more so by the fact that he was doing something about it.
So, l just grinned and gave him the peace sign.
In 2007, Nimoy donated to Barack Obama’s campaign, and to Al Franken’s campaign for Senate. He donated to Barbara Boxer in 2004. He gave $2,000 each to Howard Dean and John Kerry in 2004.
"The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have."
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Feb 27, 2015, 01:01 PM (7 replies)
CHICAGO’S “BLACK SITE” DETAINEES SPEAK OUT
BY JUAN THOMPSON
TODAY AT 12:32 PM
On Tuesday, The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman reported on the “equivalent of a CIA black site” operated by police in Chicago. When computer program analyst Kory Wright opened the story, he told me, “I immediately recognized the building” — because, the Chicago resident says, he was zip-tied to a bench there for hours in an intentionally overheated room without access to water or a bathroom, eventually giving false statements to try and end his ordeal.
A friend of Wright’s swept up in the same police raid described his own brutal treatment at the facility, known as Homan Square, including attacks to his face and genitals. The experiences of the two men line up with the way defense attorneys described the “black site” warehouse to Ackerman: as a place where detainees were held off the books, without access to lawyers, while being beaten or shackled for long periods of time.
Wright claims that nine years ago, he spent “at least six hours” at the Homan facility on his 21st birthday. He says that he was never read his Miranda rights, and that his arrest was not put into the police system until after his ordeal was over. Wright was reminded of the facility again this week when he noticed a tweet from a writer he admires, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, linking to Ackerman’s story. Ackerman compared Homan Square to the network of shadowy torture centers built by the CIA across the Middle East — but focused “on Americans, most often poor, black and brown,” rather than on purported overseas terrorists.
Also unlike CIA black sites, Homan Square wasn’t a completely furtive enterprise. Several lawyers and anti-police brutality advocates with whom I spoke knew that suspects were routinely detained at Homan. The facility houses many of the police department’s special units, including the anti-gang and anti-drug task forces, along with the evidence-retrieval unit. Once suspects arrived at Homan, they did not have to be booked immediately, at least not as far as the police department was concerned, according to the people with whom I spoke. In fact, it was possible that a suspect’s arrest report wouldn’t show that he or she had ever been to Homan. Further, police could detain individuals at Homan for hours, or disappear them, before shipping them off to a district station for processing.
Posted by Hissyspit | Thu Feb 26, 2015, 02:28 PM (2 replies)
Official Reports on the Damage Caused by Edward Snowden's Leaks Are Totally Redacted
But explicit details about the alleged damage Snowden caused, identified in the 39-page report as "grave," were omitted from that document as well. In fact, the existence of the DIA's report had been unknown until the White House secretly authorized the declassification of select portions of it so two Republican lawmakers could undercut the media narrative painting Snowden as a heroic whistleblower.
The Government Refuses to Prove Snowden Damaged National Security
Did Edward Snowden actually damage national security? There's no way in hell to tell from official documents released to the press—they've been thoroughly redacted to the point of uselessness.
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The idea that Snowden has jeopardized national security and the lives of troops is the linchpin for arguments that the ex-NSA contractor is a treasonous villain, not a whistleblower. That's why Vice sought out proof of this jeopardy in government documents:
In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) recently released to VICE News more than 100 pages of internal reports prepared by a task force made up of two dozen DIA analysts that examined the alleged damage to national security resulting from Snowden's leaks.
The pages are largely blanked out (save for the Vice watermark slapped on to let everyone know that Vice knows how to file an FOIA). They reveal nothing about the impact of Edward Snowden's decision to reveal information about widespread state surveillance programs targeting wide swathes of the population or than the fact that there were internal documents about it.
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The only ways these documents could be more redacted is if they were simply not released.
If the Snowden leaks have caused grave damage to national security, it'd make sense if the government wanted proof of the damage in the public view, to back up its assessment that Snowden should be punished for his crimes, to back up the assessment that his actions were treasonous. The party line here is that the government can't reveal more because any additional information will screw up national security even further. (Yet it selectively leaked parts of a report to Congress to shore up anti-Snowden sentiment.)
Here's another option: The government isn't revealing more because doing so would run counter to the narrative that Snowden's decision hurt Americans more than it helped them. It is awfully strange that absolutely none of the specific ways that Snowden has damaged national security can even be summarized without fueling terrorists. Obviously ongoing threats need to be treated with sensitivity, but the breadth of this No Explanation edict is hard to swallow.
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Feb 25, 2015, 06:19 PM (30 replies)