CLA Radio 12/16/16: God

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What:  Songs about God.

Most of them have God in the title, until the very end of the show when there are a few that do not. And of course there are a few audio clips on The Topic.

I tried to be fair, and balance the show between pro-, con-, and agnostic, but there just aren’t many atheist or agnostic songs that are very good. Most are just snotty, and puerile, and not worth the time. (Sorry Frank.) Hopefully I struck a pleasing balance–that will please nobody.

When: Friday, December 16, 2016, 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern.

Where: Duane FM in the Hughniverse.

Spotify playlist: Here, except for additional audio marked with an asterisk (*).

Twitter info: My Twitter handle is @ConservativeLA. The show hashtag is #CLARadio.

Set List:

Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down – American V
Chris Whitley – God Left Town – War Crime Blues
* Time Bandits (1981) – Why Evil Exists
JB Lenoir – God’s Word – Passionate Blues
John Lennon – God – Plastic Ono Band
Loudon Wainwright III – God and Nature – Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet)
Blind Joe Taggart – God Gonna Separate The Wheat… – Rough Guide To Blind Willie Johnson
* Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) – Stop Groveling
Elvis Costello – God’s Comic – Spike
The Staple Singers – God’s Wonderful Love – Uncloudy Day, Will The Circle Be Unbroken
Tom Waits – God’s Away On Business – Blood Money
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – God Is In The House – No More Shall We Part
Andrew Peterson – The Silence Of God – Love And Thunder
Mavis Staples – God Is Not Sleeping – Blues Master Singers
Randy Newman – God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind) – Sail Away
* Richard Pryor – Our Text For Today – Is It Something I Said
U2 – In God’s Country – The Joshua Tree
* Animal Crackers (1930) – Africa, God’s Country
XTC – Dear God – Skylarking
The Dead Milkmen – God’s Kid Brother – Soul Rotation
Jason Isbell, Southern Family – God Is A Working Man – Southern Family
The Wallflowers – God Don’t Make Lonely Girls – Bringing Down The Horse
Lana Del Rey – God Knows I Tried – Honeymoon
The Beach Boys – God Only Knows – Pet Sounds
Lee Ann Womack – There Is A God – There Is A God
Patty Griffin – Mother Of God – Impossible Dream
The Dandy Warhols – Godless – Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia
Blind Willie Johnson – God Don’t Never Change – Rough Guide To Blind Willie Johnson
Billie Holiday – God Bless The Child – Lady Day, The Complete Billie Holiday On Columbia
Steve Earle – God Is God – I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
* Bruce Almighty (2003) – Bruce Meets God
Blind Willie McTell, Kate McTell – God Don’t Like It – Rough Guide To Blind Willie Johnson
They Might Be Giants – Kiss Me, Son Of God – Lincoln
Bauhaus – A God In An Alcove – In The Flat Field
Crowded House – There Goes God – Woodface
Blind Willie Johnson – God Moves On The Water – Dark Was The Night
* Oh, God! (1977) – Spread the Word
Blind Faith – Presence Of The Lord – Blind Faith
Christopher Tin – Baba Yetu – Selections From Calling All Dawns
Joan Osborne – One Of Us – Relish
Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers – Midnight Choir (Mogen David) – 17 Greatest Hits
Bing Crosby – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – White Christmas
Emmylou Harris – The Pearl – Red Dirt Girl

CLA Radio 12/09/16: Dan Hicks

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Yes, I know, Tribbles–another single artist show. But hey, Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks loomed large in my teenage years. So there.

What:  A tribute show to the lately-departed Dan Hicks, with heavy emphasis on my two favorite albums of his: Where’s The Money? (1971) and Striking It Rich (1972).

When: Friday, December 09, 2016, 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern.

Where: Duane FM in the Hughniverse.

Spotify playlist: Here, except for two songs from his 1989 Sunday Night gig with the Acoustic Warriors.

Twitter info: My handle is @ConservativeLA. The show hashtag is #CLARadio.

Set List:
All songs Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks unless otherwise noted.

Dan Hicks – Capo On My Brain – Live In San Francisco 1964
The Jukies’ Ball – Original Recordings
Milk Shakin’ Mama – Original Recordings
How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away – Original Recordings
I Feel Like Singing – Where’s The Money
Coast To Coast – Where’s The Money
News From Up The Street – Where’s The Money
Where’s The Money – Where’s The Money
Caught In The Rain – Where’s The Money
Shorty Falls In Love – Where’s The Money
By Hook Or By Crook – Where’s The Money
Reelin’ Down – Where’s The Money
The Buzzard Was Their Friend – Where’s The Money
Traffic Jam – Where’s The Money
Is This My Happy Home – Where’s The Money
Dig A Little Deeper – Where’s The Money
You Got To Believe – Striking It Rich
Walkin’ One And Only – Striking It Rich
O’Reilly At The Bar – Striking It Rich
Moody Richard (The Innocent Bystander) – Striking It Rich
Flight Of The Fly – Striking It Rich
I Scare Myself – Striking It Rich
Philly Rag – Striking It Rich
The Laughing Song – Striking It Rich
Canned Music – Striking It Rich
I’m An Old Cowhand – Striking It Rich
Fujiyama – Striking It Rich
Cowboy’s Dream No 19 – Last Train To Hicksville
My Old Timey Baby – Last Train To Hicksville
I Asked My Doctor – Last Train To Hicksville
Sweetheart (Waitress In A Donut Shop) – Last Train To Hicksville
It’s Not My Time To Go – Last Train To Hicksville
* Dan Hicks and the Acoustic Warriors – Hell I’d Go – Sunday Night (1989)
* Dan Hicks and the Acoustic Warriors – Shootin’ Straight – Sunday Night (1989)
Dan Hicks, Elvis Costello, Brian Setzer – Meet Me On The Corner – Beatin’ The Heat
Dan Hicks, Tom Waits – I’ll Tell You Why That Is – Beatin’ The Heat
First I Lost My Marbles – Selected Shorts
Dan Hicks, Hot Club Sandwich – Cow Cow Boogie – And If Only
Skippy’s Farewell – Striking It Rich

CLA Radio 12/02/16: Jimi Hendrix

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What:  An overdue ConservativeLA Radio show about the greatest guitarist ever, in belated honor of the anniversary of his birth on November 27th.

When: Friday, December 02, 2016, 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern.

Where: Duane FM in the Hughniverse.

Spotify playlist: Here, although it is out of sequence compared to the actual show, and is missing oodles of additional audio. Also, I only include the first cut to get sufficient lead-in for the Anthem.

Twitter info: My handle is @ConservativeLA. The hashtag applicable to the show is #CLARadio.

Set List:

American Masters – Jimi Hendrix Hear My Train A Comin’ – Trailer – PBS
Star Spangled Banner – Live At Woodstock
The Jimi Hendrix Documentary (1989) – Early Bio, Bands, BB King
Killing Floor – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
My Friend – The Cry Of Love
Jimi Hendrix – Feedback (2005 Documentary) – Rough Childhood
Spanish Castle Magic – Axis Bold As Love
Stone Free – Are You Experienced
Jimi Hendrix – Feedback (2005 Documentary)- Hailing A Cab In NYC
Crosstown Traffic – Electric Ladyland
Taking Care Of No Business – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix – Feedback (2005 Documentary) – Guitarists Never Make It
Manic Depression – Are You Experienced
All Along The Watchtower – Electric Ladyland
Jimi Hendrix – Feedback (2005 Documentary) – Jamming With Cream
Like A Rolling Stone – Live At Monterey
The Jimi Hendrix Documentary (1989) – You Should Be Interviewing Hendrix
Hear My Train A Comin’ – Rainbow Bridge
Jimi’s Former Girlfriend Kathy Etchingham – BBC
The Wind Cries Mary – Are You Experienced
Frank Zappa – Lost Interview – Hendrix
Izabella – Live At Woodstock
The Jimi Hendrix Documentary (1989) – He Was The Best Because We Worked At It
Love Or Confusion – Are You Experienced
The Jimi Hendrix Documentary (1989) – Noel Redding’s Brush-Off
Who Knows – Band Of Gypsies
Room Full Of Mirrors – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix (1973) – Warner Brothers – Trailer
The Jimi Hendrix Documentary (1989) – MLK
If 6 Was 9 – Axis Bold As Love
Jimi Hendrix – Feedback (2005 Documentary) – Death Of The Sixties
Little Wing – Axis Bold As Love
Jimi Hendrix – Feedback (2005 Documentary) – BBC Death Announcement
The Jimi Hendrix Documentary (1989) – News Of Jimi’s Death
Castles Made Of Sand – Axis Bold As Love
The Jimi Hendrix Documentary (1989) – Clapton, Jimi Outro
Belly Button Window – The Cry Of Love
Angel – The Cry Of Love
Hendrix Was An Alien (Bill Hicks) – Rant In E-Minor (EXPLICIT)

Emmylou Harris, Songwriter

I started working on a draft of a future CLAR show focusing on Emmylou Harris’ as a songwriter.

The good news is, there’s a lot of material to choose from.

The bad news is, I have four hours’ worth of material, but I only need two hours, so I’ll be doing some cutting.

But before I create a copy of the current list and start chopping away, I thought I’d post the original raw list here, for those who might be interested.

I’m not sure that the list is exhaustive, but I think it’s fairly close to being complete.

The Spotify playlist is here.

Here’s the song list:

All songs are written or co-written by Emmylou Harris. Co-writers’ names are noted parenthetically. The albums are listed in chronological order as to release date, and the song sequencing is left intact within the albums–but, of course, only her compositions are included below.

Enjoy.

Boulder To Birmingham – Pieces Of The Sky (Bill Danoff)
Amarillo – Elite Hotel (Rodney Crowell)
Tulsa Queen – Luxury Liner (Rodney Crowell)
The Ballad of Sally Rose – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Rhythm Guitar – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Heart to Heart – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Woman Walk the Line – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Bad News – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Timberline – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Long Tall Sally Rose – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
White Line – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Diamond in My Crown – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
The Sweetheart of the Rodeo – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Sweet Chariot – The Ballad Of Sally Rose (Paul Kennerley)
Sweetheart Of The Pines – Thirteen (Paul Kennerley)
When I Was Yours – Thirteen (Paul Kennerley)
Heartbreak Hill – Bluebird (Paul Kennerley)
The Light – Cowgirl’s Prayer (Kieran Kane)
Prayer In Open D – Cowgirl’s Prayer
Deeper Well – Wrecking Ball (David Olney, Daniel Lanois)
Waltz Across Texas Tonight – Wrecking Ball (Rodney Crowell)
Raise the Dead – Western Wall with Linda Ronstadt
Sweet Spot – Western Wall with Linda Ronstadt (Jill Cunniff)
All I Left Behind – Western Wall with Linda Ronstadt (Kate McGarrigle, Anna McGarrigle)
The Pearl – Red Dirt Girl
Michelangelo – Red Dirt Girl
I Don’t Wanna Talk About It Now – Red Dirt Girl
Tragedy – Red Dirt Girl (Rodney Crowell)
Red Dirt Girl – Red Dirt Girl
My Baby Needs A Shepherd – Red Dirt Girl
Bang The Drum Slowly – Red Dirt Girl (Guy Clark)
J’Ai Fait Tout – Red Dirt Girl (Jill Cunniff, Darryl Johnson)
Hour Of Gold – Red Dirt Girl
My Antonia – Red Dirt Girl
Boy From Tupelo – Red Dirt Girl
Here I Am – Stumble Into Grace (Kate McGarrigle, Anna McGarrigle)
I Will Dream – Stumble Into Grace (Kate McGarrigle, Anna McGarrigle)
Little Bird – Stumble Into Grace (Jill Cunniff)
Time in Babylon – Stumble Into Grace (Malcolm Burn)
Can You Hear Me Now – Stumble Into Grace
Strong Hand – Stumble Into Grace (Paul Kennerley)
Jupiter Rising – Stumble Into Grace
Plaisir d’Amour – Stumble Into Grace (Daniel Lanois)
Lost Unto This World – Stumble Into Grace
Cup of Kindness – Stumble Into Grace
Love and Happiness – All The Roadrunning with Mark Knofler (Kimmie Rhodes)
Belle Starr – All The Roadrunning with Mark Knofler
Gold – All I Intended To Be
How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower – All I Intended To Be (Kate McGarrigle, Anna McGarrigle)
Take That Ride – All I Intended To Be
Not Enough – All I Intended To Be
Sailing Round the Room – All I Intended To Be (Kate McGarrigle, Anna McGarrigle)
The Road – Hard Bargain
Home Sweet Home – Hard Bargain
My Name Is Emmett Till – Hard Bargain
Goodnight Old World – Hard Bargain (Will Jennings)
New Orleans – Hard Bargain (Will Jennings)
Big Black Dog – Hard Bargain
Lonely Girl – Hard Bargain
Six White Cadillacs – Hard Bargain (Will Jennings)
The Ship on His Arm – Hard Bargain
Darlin’ Kate – Hard Bargain
Nobody – Hard Bargain

How To Tell Your Family To STFU About Politics This Thanksgiving*

Find a way.

 

* (Title in honor of endless think-pieces on the Left telling you how to talk politics on Thanksgiving. IT’S A TRAP!)

CLA Radio 11/25/16: Emmylou Harris (Part 1, Live)

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What: An evening of (mostly) live performances by Emmylou Harris (and friends), comprised mostly of songs from Emmylou Harris and The Nash Ramblers Live at the Ryman (1992), and The Life & Songs Of Emmylou Harris: An All-Star Concert Celebration (2016).

When: Friday, November 25, 2016, 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern.

Where: Duane FM in the Hughniverse.

Spotify playlist: Here.

Twitter info: My handle is @ConservativeLA. The hashtag applicable to the show is #CLARadio.

Set List:

Buddy Miller – One Of These Days – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Cattle Call – Live At The Ryman
Mavis Staples – Will The Circle Be Unbroken – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Guess Things Happen That Way – Live At The Ryman
Chris Hillman, Herb Pederson – Wheels – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Hard Times – Live At The Ryman
Holly Williams, Chris Coleman – Orphan Girl – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Mansion On The Hill – Live At The Ryman
Steve Earle – Sin City – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Scotland – Live At The Ryman
Rodney Crowell – You’re Still On My Mind – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Montana Cowgirl – Live At The Ryman
Lee Ann Womack – Born To Run – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Like Strangers – Live At The Ryman
John Starling, Emmylou Harris – When We’re Gone – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Lodi – Live At The Ryman
Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris – Blackhawk – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Calling My Children Home – Live At The Ryman
Mary Chapin Carpenter, Vince Gill – All The Roadrunning – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – If I Could Be There – Live At The Ryman
Martina McBride – When I Stop Dreaming – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Get Up John – Live At The Ryman
Vince Gill – Together Again – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – It’s A Hard Life Wherever You Go – Live At The Ryman
Patty Griffin – Prayer In Open D – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers – Smoke Along The Track – Live At The Ryman
Alison Krauss – Till I Can Gain Control Again – The Life And Songs Of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris – Darlin’ Kate – NPR Tiny SXSW Concert 2011 (live in studio)
Emmylou Harris – The Road – Hard Bargain (studio)
Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris – Love Hurts – Country Baptizing (live in studio)

CLA Radio 11/18/16: More Punk! (Or Power Pop, Whatever)

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What: A follow-up to my Punk show from January, 2015. This one meanders a bit more into Power Pop on occasion, though.

When: Friday, November 18, 2016, 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern.

Where: Duane FM in the Hughniverse.

Additional Info: Intro by Kurt Schlichter. There’s that. HOOYAH!

Spotify playlist: Here.

Twitter info: My handle is @ConservativeLA. The hashtag applicable to the show is #CLARadio.

Set List:

Mission Of Burma – That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate – vs.
X – I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts – More Fun In The New World
Husker Du – Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely – Candy Apple Grey
Social Distortion – Story Of My Life – Social Distortion
Fugazi – Waiting Room – 13 Songs
The Clash – White Riot – Sound System
Dead Kennedys – California Uber Alles – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
Fear – We Destroy The Family – The Fear Record
The Runaways – Cherry Bomb – The Runaways
The Jam – In The City – Snap
The Replacements – Bastards Of The Young – Tim
Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl – The Punk Singer
Screaching Weasel – Cool Kids – Bark Like A Dog
Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster – Inflammable Material
Teenage Bottlerocket – Skate Or Die – They Came From The Shadows
The Damned – Sick Of This And That – 35 Years Of Anarachy Chaos And Destruction
Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love – Love Bites
The Ataris – The Boys Of Summer – So Long, Astoria
Adolescents – Amoeba – Adolescents
NOFX – Bob – White Trash
Green Day – Basket Case – Dookie
Rancid – Black Lung – Life Won’t Wait
The Jam – ‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street – All Mod Cons
Sugar – Gee Angel – File Under Easy Listening
Bob Mould – If You’re True (Live) – Workbook
The Dead Milkmen – Smokin’ Banana Peels – Death Rides A Pale Cow
Butthole Surfers – 22 Going On 23 – Locust Abortion Technician
X – 4th Of July – See How We Are
Sex Pistols – Steppin Stone (live) – Filthy Lucre
Fear – Foreign Policy – The Fear Record
Ramones – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker – Rocket To Russia
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner – The Modern Lovers
The Deviants – Deviation Street – Ptooff!
The Weirdos – We Got The Neutron Bomb – We Got The Neutron Bomb
Fugazi – Suggestion – 13 Songs
Sugar – Explode And Make Up (Live) – File Under Easy Listening
Paul Westerberg – Down Love – 14 Songs

CLA Radio 11/11/16: Coen Brothers

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What: A repeat from 2012, because I need a week off–on a theme that has nothing to do with politics, which I am utterly burnt out on at this point.

When: Friday, November 11, 2016, 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern.

Where: Duane FM in the Hughniverse.

Additional Info: Jesus!

Spotify playlist: None this week.

Twitter info: My handle is @ConservativeLA. The hashtag applicable to the show is #CLARadio.

Set List:

Sons Of The Pioneers: Tumbling Tumbleweeds
“Leads?”
Johnny Ventura: El Sueno
Jefferson Airplane: 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
“Looking for some action.”
Yma Sumac: Ataypura
Emmylou Harris, et al: Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby
“Any of you boys smithies?”
Toots & The Maytals: Louie Louie
Johnny Cash: God’s Gonna Cut You Down
“A beautiful day.”
Chris Thomas King: Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
Captain Beefheart: Her Eyes Are A Million Blue Miles
“The whole brevity thing.”
Gypsy Kings: Hotel California
“I don’t get it, big Dan.”
Nina Simone: I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good
Duke Ellington and John Coltrane: In A Sentimental Mood
“Certain things have come to light.”
Four Tops: It’s The Same Old Song
Kenny Rogers: I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
“He was funny looking.”
Xavier Cugat: Lady In Red
Iris Dement: Leaning On The Everlasting Arms
“These men are nihilists, Donnie.”
The Fairfield Four: Lonesome Valley
Jimi Hendrix: Machine Gun
“I can get you a toe.”
The Four Seasons: My Eyes Adored You
Elvis Costello: My Mood Swings
James Carter And The Prisoners: Po’ Lazarus
“We sat right here in this room and went over this and over this.”
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Run Through The Jungle
Patsy Cline: Sweet Dreams (Of You)
“He fixes the cable?”
Bob Dylan: The Man In Me
Alison Krauss: Down To The River To Pray
Nancy Sinatra: These Boots Are Made For Walkin’
“The Dude abides.”
Townes Van Zandt: Dead Flowers

CLA Radio 11/04/16: Disaster

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What: A show which is vaguely about the election coming up: No matter what happens, it will be a disaster.

(The election, not the show–although who knows…)

When: Friday, November 4, 2016, 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern.

Where: Duane FM in the Hughniverse (which is currently less than a buck for the first month).

Spotify playlist: Here (material marked with an asterisk not included).

Acknowledgements: Thanks to the kind folks on Twitter who suggested material to include in the show!

Twitter info: My handle is @ConservativeLA. The hashtag applicable to the show is #CLARadio.

Set List:

* Hail To The Chief meets Here Comes The Flood
* Category 7: The End of the World (2005) Trailer
R.E.M. – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It
The Louvin Brothers – The Wreck On The Highway
Johnny Cash – Five Feet High And Rising
* Nature Unleashed: Avalanche (2004) Trailer
The Jam – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
* Dead Kennedys – Nazi Punks F—- Off
Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball
William Statner – Space Oddity
Crosby Stills Nash & Young – Ohio (Live)
* Titanic II (2010) Trailer
Charley Patton – High Water Everywhere, Part 1
Prince Buster – Earthquake
Johnny Cash – Wreck Of The Old 97 (Live)
* Earthquake (1974) Theatrical Trailer
Rodney Crowell – California Earthquake
Motorhead – Brotherhood Of Man
Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around
* Nature Unleashed: Earthquake (2005) Trailer
The Jam – ‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street
Public Enemy – Welcome To The Terrordome
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood
* Killer Flood (2003) Trailer
Led Zeppelin – When The Levee Breaks
Drive-By Truckers – Assholes
Willie Mabon – I Don’t Know
Steely Dan – King Of The World
Talking Heads – (Nothing But) Flowers
Bob Dylan – High Water (For Charley Patton)
Lonnie Johnson – St Louis Cyclone Blues
Drive-By Truckers – Tornadoes
Bessie Smith – Homeless Blues
Ray Wylie Hubbard – The Way Of The Fallen Is Hard
* Marlon Brando – The Hollow Men – How Cultures Die – T S Eliot

About that California National Guard story…

What a difference six years make.

Sacramento Bee, October 2010: “Massive fraud at California Guard, officials allege”:

From 1986 until her retirement last year, Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe’s job with the California Army National Guard was to give away money – the federally subsidized student-loan repayments and cash bonuses the Guard is supposed to use to tempt new recruits and entice Guard members to sign on for another stint.

Instead, according to a Guard auditor turned federal whistle-blower, as much as $100 million has gone to soldiers who didn’t qualify for the incentives, including some who got tens of thousands of dollars more than the program allows.

That’s an entirely different perspective than the stories this week about the hardships suffered by those forced to repay incentives that they should not have received.

The article continues (emphasis added):

Early in the audit, Clark said, he became concerned that officers implicated as recipients or enablers of improper payments might attempt to interfere with his work. So for the first time in his career, Clark said, he became a whistle-blower. He secretly contacted the Internal Revenue Service and FBI.

“I don’t like grifters,” Clark said. “And I’m disgusted – at times, ashamed – to wear the same uniform as those who steal taxpayer funds or protect thieves.”

It’s quite a read. The article concludes (emphasis added):

His concern was heightened, Clark said, when he heard about California National Guard Maj. Jeffrey Nichols. Guard documents show that Nichols received $45,000 in loan repayments in 2008 without the required contract on file. The amounts exceeded program limits, the loan was obtained too far back to qualify, and Nichols’ officer commission date made him ineligible.

Around the time his student loans were repaid, Nichols was picked to head the national incentives program at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. Nichols, who now works to reduce National Guard attrition, declined to comment.

Clark said he began to worry that the National Guard Bureau might exercise its legal right to forgive improper payments, to avoid embarrassment and possible impact on recruiting. At that point, he said, he contacted federal agents.

“I came to realize that this criminal matter would be multi-jurisdictional, and would require vast resources to investigate,” Clark said. “Soon National Guard officials will know this is for real and that there are no more lumpy rugs to hide stuff under.”

What an interesting choice to head the National Guard Bureau incentives program!

Also, the phrase “legal right to forgive improper payments” flies in the face of more recent assertions that the DoD’s hand are tied vis. possible forgiveness of innocent over-payments.

Three years later, via the Merced Sun-Star: “Guard figures involved in the incentive fraud”:

From 2000 to 2010, thousands of California National Guard members improperly or illegally received enlistment incentive payments. Guard audits to date have found that at least 115 service members – most of them officers – committed fraud or acted improperly. Following are some of key players who benefited from or led the problem program, which The Sacramento Bee exposed in October 2010. Many have faced discipline under the Guard’s current leader, Adjutant Gen. David S. Baldwin.

At that point (in 2013), the emphasis of the reporting was still on the fraud angle.

This week, the story suddenly reappeared, but with an entirely different cast:

From The New York Times comes “Soldiers Struggling to Repay Enlistment Bonuses Issued in Error,” with a particularly manipulative first paragraph:

After 21 years in the military, three deployments, and a roadside bomb blast that left him bleeding and unconscious, Christopher Van Meter got a letter from the Pentagon saying he improperly received enlistment bonuses and now owed the government $46,000

Similarly, from The Los Angeles Times: “Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war”:

Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Please forgive my cynicism if I read that as an attempt by the Times to frame the whole thing as apple-cheeked innocents, cruelly used by the war machine, in over their heads. The piece isn’t much for subtlety, any more than its headline.

And now, of course, comes the political fallout: “Pentagon: ‘Looking at’ National Guard bonus complaints” (emphasis added):

The Pentagon on Monday said complaints about California National Guard troops forced to repay old bonuses have “the attention of our leadership,” while a San Diego County congressman’s staff says current law allows waiver of the debt.

So we have a both a National Guard auditor and a San Diego area Congressional office both assuming a right to waive. Interesting.

I tend to agree with Josh Earnest and the White House, which doesn’t happen very often:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday he did not believe Obama would support a blanket waiver of repayments, but said California National Guard members should not be held responsible for “unethical conduct or fraud perpetrated by someone else.”

Of course, that presupposes that said individual members were not among those who knew that the fraud was occurring, and chose to look the other way–or worse, chose to directly enable it.

But if you’d merely read the headlines, you’d likely have an entirely different perspective on this story.