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Archive for November, 2010

WAR IS A RACKET: U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler’s 1935 Disclosure

Friday, November 12th, 2010




Courtesy photos ………………..
Click on book cover
U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (1881-1940)

Chapter One

War is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.


THOM MADDEN (November 6, 1939-August 16, 2010) ~ In Memoriam

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010


Courtesy Blue Note Records

Art Blakey: “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.”

© Richard Mayer

Thom Madden: “What he didn’t say is that it doesn’t sell a lot.”

Tribute in progress …

© Richard Mayer

Thom Madden’s Jazz Quarter, the one-of-a-kind music Mecca at 20th Avenue and Irving (at the edge of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco), where the quirky, lovable artist and collector presided for three decades.


By Edward Guthmann
© San Francisco Chronicle, January 14, 2009

Photo: Mike Kepka/SF Chronicle

When Tom Madden was 12, he started going to jazz clubs in San Francisco. The best of them, the Black Hawk, had a food license, which meant that minors could attend as long as they didn’t drink.

“I saw the two house bands, which were Dave Brubeck and Cal Tjader,” Madden says. “I saw Coltrane, Miles, Cannonball, Bill Evans.”

Those were golden years for live jazz. Madden, a San Francisco native, was lucky to catch them. Today, he’s keeping the flame alive as owner of Jazz Quarter, a record store in the Sunset District.

Arguably the city’s resident expert on jazz recordings, Madden, 69, sees his customer base getting older and, inevitably, shrinking.

“They’re mostly old and gray,” says Madden, a 6-foot-5-inch bearded hipster with a long, dreaded ponytail. Several of his regulars are too old to visit the store. “A couple of them had hip operations and don’t like to go anywhere. And they can get stuff on Amazon now.”

An old, overhead heater groans and rattles as Madden speaks. The counter spills over with yellowed jazz magazines and piles of CDs. One wall is papered with newspaper obits on jazz musicians, others with old concert posters. His inventory, arranged in a maze of bins and stacks and boxes, is two-thirds LPs, one-third CDs.

Madden opened Jazz Quarter in the late ’80s, after years of working at the Magic Flute and other long-gone record emporia. On 20th Avenue near Irving, the store doesn’t feel like a business so much as a cluttered, unkempt, musty salon for Madden and his clientele.

“You walk in there and see this tall, imposing figure,” says August Kleinzahler, a San Francisco poet and Jazz Quarter habitué. “Not at all friendly initially. He doesn’t smile or say, ‘Have a look around.’ He just sort of shambles around.

“If you ask him a question, he might give you a direct answer,” Kleinzahler says. “But often as not he’ll give you a sideways answer. He’s certainly not the Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year.”

Madden was wearing a Jules Broussard T-shirt, polyester vest and sneakers when Kleinzahler visited the store recently. He put on a CD of Sacha Perry, a New York bebop pianist, and poured a glass of Diet Pepsi from a jumbo-size container. During a one-hour conversation, only one customer entered the store.

Madden’s stock is low right now. In September, a Japanese collector flew into town and bought 900 LPs for $3,500. “Some of my regular customers say, ‘The bins are low!’ ” Madden says. “Like I’m just gonna turn up new records, abracadabra.”

The store is full of treasures, covering a wide range of jazz idioms. “He stocks what he likes,” Kleinzahler says, “not what he thinks will move.”

If Madden doesn’t like a customer or notices that “they buy all kinds of crap,” he’ll refuse to sell them his good stuff. “There are people who shouldn’t even deserve records that good,” he says.

“Everyone has this enormous respect for Tom’s knowledge,” says Larry Letofsky, a longtime friend and fellow jazz enthusiast. “He’s also kind of a record detective. He’ll go to Amoeba on his hands and knees and go through all the cheap stuff and find some obscurity that’s just phenomenal.”

Enigmatic and sleepy-eyed, Madden doesn’t say much when asked about his past. He joined the Merchant Marines as a teenager, worked part time as a process server, drove a cab “for about an hour.”

His dad, an attorney who worked for Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, was a Fats Waller fan who turned him on to jazz. Madden says he’s never married, “but there’s a few women who still talk to me.”


WORKING WORDS: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams | Edited and introduced by M.L. Liebler

Sunday, November 7th, 2010


Just out from Coffee House Press | Fall 2010

Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams

Edited and introduced by M.L. Liebler

Paperback: 563 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1566892481
ISBN-13: 978-1566892483

© Linda Koutsky: Cover photo, cover and book design

M.L. Liebler

M. L. Liebler is the poet laureate of America’s working class. The collection he has assembled rings out with truth, intensity and love. In a world full of despair, it is comforting to have writers so gifted and generous singing our song of rebellion and hope. Make no mistake about it: the voices of the working class are shut down and snuffed out—and for good reason. Should they truly be heard, all hell might break loose. This book is the kind of spark we need these days—a rich, intense and inspiring collection for and about those who get their hands dirty every single day so the wealthy elite never have to. At least for now.” — Michael Moore

“This book is not ‘fresh-air.’ It is a mighty wind. . . . While the nightly news continues to ‘do the numbers,’ as if we were all investors, here’s the larger part—the real grit and savor of American life. Spelled out in plain English.”— Peter Coyote


From the White Stripes’ “The Big Three Killed My Baby” to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”; from the folk anthems of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie to the poems of Walt Whitman and Amiri Baraka; from the stories of Willa Cather and Bret Lott to the rabble-rousing work of Michael Moore—this transcendent volume touches upon all aspects of working-class life.

A collection about living while barely making one, about layoffs and picket lines, about farmers, butchers, miners, waitresses, assembly-line workers, and the “Groundskeeper Busted Reading in the Custodial Water Closet,” this is literature by the people and for the people.

Amiri Baraka
Bonnie Jo Campbell
Willa Cather
Andrei Codrescu
Dorothy Day
Emily Dickinson
Diane di Prima
Bob Dylan
Woody Guthrie
Allison Adelle
Hedge Coke
Lolita Hernandez
Philip Levine
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Bret Lott
Thomas Lux
Thomas Lynch
Michael McClure
Michael Moore
Mark Nowak
Edward Sanders
John Sayles
Quincy Troupe
Mick Vranich
Diane Wakoski
Jack White
Walt Whitman
Al Young

. . . and many more

— a taste of the very last piece in this juicy new anthology

Booker T. & the MG’s, 1962

Al Young

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© 1982 and 2010 by Al Young