Sunday, May 31, 2015

Otis, Alonzo And Theodore, And Eugene.

I think of The Dock of the Bay, written and recorded by Otis Redding and his most famous song, as the least Otis Redding-like song that soulsy bluesy superstar ever recorded. National Public Radio puts forth an explanation for why he recorded it, which is that coming off his success at the Monteray Pop Festival Redding felt the need to branch out, and cross over, and have a more folk music sound.

I'm not sure. That song was released after Otis death in a plane crash and as NPR says, there was a struggle over how it was mixed, and all those silly sea gull and crashing wave sounds were added in. Still, his vocals are very subdued compared any other song of his I've heard. Who knows.

Volt Records / Wikimedia Commons

Incidentally, I've been noticing a lot of wide photographs being posted on the internet like this one, with extraneous area on either wide of the subject, and I suspect it's because they display better on cell phones. Many people, and especially these millennial we keep hearing about and hearing about, get most of their internet over their cell phones now.

No Golpee Augusto

I've been wanting to write about a great old time Rock and Roll blog I came upon, Don't Knock The Rock, run by a guy named Augusto, who assembles collections of music and simply posts the links; there's no going on about it like I do. It's mostly if not all from, where people upload recordings of music and a myriad of other material like movies and manuscripts that are in the public domain, i.e., the copyright has expired. Since I discovered Augusto's blog though he seems to have gone on a kind of Big Band/Dixeland Jazz kick, but on the right hand column you can see all the Rock and Roll he's posted.

The blog contains no information about Augusto, that I can see. The dates are written in what my Google translator recognizes as Spanish:

viernes, 29 de mayo de 2015.

I'm thinking he's from Lithuania.

As a joke I was thinking about announcing that I was running for president on the Bull Moose Party but then remembered I knew nothing about the Bull Moose Party, except that it was the party Theodore Roosevelt ran under when he tried to regain the presidency. An internet search directed me to the Progressive Party, which to my surprise had a very radical platform, encompassing much of what eventually became the New Deal. In some ways it was even more radical. According to Wikipedia:

The platform's main theme was reversing the domination of politics by business interests, which allegedly controlled the Republicans' and Democrats' parties, alike. The platform asserted that: To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

To that end, the platform called for

  • Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
  • Registration of lobbyists
  • Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings
In the social sphere the platform called for

  • A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
  • Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
  • Limited injunctions in strikes
  • A minimum wage law for women
  • An eight hour workday
  • A federal securities commission
  • Farm relief
  • Workers' compensation for work-related injuries
  • An inheritance tax
  • A Constitutional amendment to allow a Federal income tax
The political reforms proposed included

  • Women's suffrage
  • Direct election of Senators
  • Primary elections for state and federal nominations
The platform also urged states to adopt measures for "direct democracy", including:

  • The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)
  • The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)
  • The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)
  • Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote)
Besides these measures, the platform called for reductions in the tariff, limitations on naval armaments by international agreement and improvements to inland waterways.

The Socialism Shall Rise Again

That election year was 1912. Roosevelt got 27 percent coming in second to Democrat Woodrow Wilson's 42 percent, but did better than any third party candidate ever and beat the Republican incumbent William Howard Taft's 23 percent. The Progressive Party, which had actually split from the Republican Party, also won nine US House seats, but its main affect was that it helped Democrats win a landslide of statehouse and US Senate seats.

Socialist Eugene V Debs, making one of five runs for the presidency in 1912, got almost a million votes, or 6 percent. The fact that Debs polled that well, and once slightly better, in the presidential elections he ran in, is usually mentioned in accounts about the strength of Socialism here in the US during that era.

Frank Zeidler - Milwaukee County Historical Society
In the first half of the 20th Century it wasn't all that unusual for Socialists to win local council and statehouse seats. In These Times did a rundown of that history and says two House members have been Socialists, and this rather substantial list of Socialist US mayors includes mayors of cities like Minneapolis, Berkeley, CA, Flint, MI, Burlington, VT, and Milwaukee, where Socialist Frank Zeidler was mayor from 1948-1960.

Those days are long gone, despite many dittohead and tea bagger Republicans belief that there are many elected Socialists in the US today, including the president. Bernie Sanders, nominally a Socialist, in practice has been more of a liberal Democrat, in the Senate and House and even back when he was mayor of Burlington. There's Socialist Seattle city councilwoman Kshama Suwant, and people make pretty good runs at office here and there, as did Ty Moore in Minneapolis last year, but besides Suwant I can't name an elected Socialist in the US, where a Cold War legacy remains firmly entrenched.

It's often cited that Pew Research polls have indicated that today's 18-29 year-olds, those millennials again, have a more favorable view of Socialism than Capitalism. In other words, people who didn't grow up being force fed anti-Socialism propaganda actually look into it and see what's good about it.

What's not cited in the news stories is that Blacks, and the larger, and fastest growing demographic, Hispanics, look upon Socialism even more favorably, when favorable and unfavorable views of both are considered (See far right column, the differential in %).

Pew Research 2011

It's more than possible, more than likely, I'd say, we'll see more Socialists holding public office here in the future.


  1. Remember this? Pat Paulsen was one of my favorite candidates. I don't recall him ever getting on the ballot.

    One of the funniest memories I retain is of his presidential run where he promised he would "walk on water". Millions tuned in and there was a big to do about it. When he stepped into the tank full of water we all expected some sort of trick. There was no trick, he sank like the rest of us would. the look on his face was his trade mark, loved it.

  2. That last bit of data from Pew Research certainly speaks for its self, eh? The age portion is accurate for me, the money part not so much.

    Yes, most don't realize how much FDR used his wife's uncle's ideas, or at least his cabinet's ideas.

    And I hadn't thought of Pat Paulsen in decades. Wasn't his campaign motto "Why Not Me?" or something like that?