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The Ballot Brawl of 1924

Posted by devilsapprentice on May 21, 2008

Relive the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, at the Democrats’ Deadlocked Convention

By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2008; C01


Those TV yappers are in a tizzy about the upcoming Democratic convention. They keep jibber-jabbering about how neither Clinton nor Obama will have enough delegates to win the presidential nomination and they’ll need to woo the high-powered superdelegates. They keep yakking about a deadlocked convention! Or, better yet, a brokered convention !

These young whippersnappers don’t know doodley about a deadlocked convention. Most of them weren’t even born the last time a convention fight went beyond the first ballot, which was in 1952.

Back in my day, Democrats had real conventions with real nomination fights that went on for dozens of ballots. It took 46 ballots to nominate Woodrow Wilson in 1912, and 44 ballots to nominate James Cox in 1920. Jeez, it took four ballots to nominate Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 — and he was FDR, for crying out loud!

In those days, people weren’t in such a damn hurry. They liked to vote for their state’s “favorite son” candidate for a few ballots just to show some local pride. In 1932, FDR’s campaign manager asked Sam Rayburn, who was the campaign manager for John Nance Garner of Texas, if he could get the Texas delegation to vote for FDR after the first ballot.

“Hell, no,” Rayburn said, “we’ve got a lot of people up here who’ve never been to a convention before, and they’ve got to vote for Garner a few times.”

But you didn’t come all the way out here to the old folks’ home to hear me beat my gums about the good old days. You want to hear about the greatest deadlocked convention of them all, don’t you? That would be 1924, when the battle went on for 103 ballots and even governors were getting into fistfights on the convention floor.

Give me a minute to put my teeth in and I’ll tell you all about it.


* * *

It was the Roaring Twenties, the days of hot jazz and bathtub gin, and the Democrats met in Madison Square Garden, which was packed to the rafters with New York characters, described in The Washington Post as “Tammany shouters, Yiddish chanters, vaudeville performers, Sagwa Indians, hula dancers, street cleaners, firemen, policemen, movie actors and actresses, bootleggers . . .” Plus 1,098 delegates and 15 presidential candidates.

To win, a candidate needed the votes of two-thirds of the delegates and, as the convention opened on June 24, nobody was even close. But the obvious front-runners were Al Smith, the governor of New York, and William McAdoo, a California lawyer who had been Woodrow Wilson’s Treasury secretary and was Wilson’s son-in-law.

Smith and McAdoo represented the two sides of America’s cultural divide — what today’s TV yappers would call the red states and blue states. Smith’s backers tended to be Northern, urban, Catholic and “wet,” meaning anti-Prohibition. McAdoo’s supporters tended to be Southern or Western, rural, Protestant and dry.

Just to make things more interesting, a lot of McAdoo’s rooters were members of the Ku Klux Klan, which was then at the height of its power. The Klan hated Catholics and Smith was a Catholic. (Needless to say, there were exactly zero black delegates.)

It wasn’t going to be easy uniting these factions, but the party bosses tried. They managed to finesse the Prohibition issue with a compromise that called for the enforcement of all laws but avoided mentioning the hated law against hooch. They tried to finesse the Klan issue in the same way, writing a platform that denounced violent secret societies but neglected to actually mention the Klan.

That didn’t work. The anti-Klan folks balked, demanding a resolution that named the Klan. This sparked an anti-Klan demonstration on the floor that led to fistfights as pro- and anti-Klan delegates fought for possession of various state banners. Believe it or not, the governors of Kentucky and Colorado got into fistfights trying to keep their state banners out of the hands of anti-Klan delegates.

Governors throwing punches — now, that’s the kind of convention high jinks you just don’t see anymore!

Ultimately, the anti-Klan resolution that didn’t mention the Klan beat the anti-Klan resolution that did mention the Klan by exactly one vote.

And then this seething, angry crowd settled down to try to pick a presidential candidate. First came 15 windy nominating speeches, followed by 15 windy seconding speeches. This torrent of oratory produced only two words that anybody still remembers: FDR calling Smith the “happy warrior.”

When FDR ended his speech, the crowd went nuts. Smith’s Tammany machine had packed the galleries with thousands of hacks armed with drums, tubas, trumpets and a bunch of ear-piercing electric fire sirens that were so loud that people scooted out of the hall with their fingers in their ears.

“It sounded,” The Post reported, “like 10,000 voodoo doctors in a tropical jungle beating 10,000 tom-toms made of resonant washtubs.”

The hacks in the galleries weren’t so friendly to McAdoo. Anytime a speaker uttered his name, the hacks chanted, “Oil! Oil!” — a snide reference to the fact that McAdoo had received two mysterious payments from an oil baron implicated in the Teapot Dome scandal. It was as if Obama delegates greeted any mention of Hillary by hollering, “Whitewater! Whitewater!”

Anyway, after all this folderol, they finally called the roll for the first ballot and, needless to say, nobody got the 732 votes needed to win. McAdoo led with 431, followed by Smith with 241, and 13 other guys, mostly favorite sons with delusions of grandeur, each with fewer than 60 votes.

What happens when you get no winner? Those TV yappers probably don’t know but the answer’s simple: You vote again. That first day, which was June 30, they took 15 roll-call votes and still nobody was anywhere near victory. The next day, they came back and took 15 more roll-call votes and still nobody won.

This was the first convention broadcast on radio, and all over America people listened to the endless roll calls, each of them beginning with an Alabama delegate drawling, “Al-a-ba- ma casts twen-ty fo-ah votes fo-ah Os-cah Dub-ya Unnn-der-wood Soon, everybody in America was mimicking that drawl, saying, ” Os-cah Dub-ya Unnn-der-wood!”!”

The voting was weird, even for Democrats: On the 20th ballot, the Missouri delegation switched all 36 votes from McAdoo to John W. Davis, the favorite son from West Virginia, which got everybody all excited, but on the 39th ballot, they all switched back to McAdoo.

On Wednesday, the third day of voting, William Jennings Bryan asked the chairman for permission to explain his vote for McAdoo. Bryan was the grand old man of the Democratic Party, which had nominated him for president three times. He was the “Great Commoner” who’d delivered the legendary “Cross of Gold” speech at the 1896 convention. But when he started orating for McAdoo, he was drowned out by angry boos from the gallery and chants of “Oil! Oil!”

“His voice, which had competed in the past with foghorns and tornadoes, sounded like the hum of a gnat,” The Post reported. “For the first time, Bill Bryan’s larynx had met its master.”

Listening on the radio, Americans were shocked to hear the rabble of evil New York shouting down a good Christian gentleman like Bryan.

On and on the voting went — 50 ballots, 60 ballots, 70 ballots. The convention was supposed to be over but it still hadn’t nominated a candidate, so it went into extra innings, like a tied baseball game. Some delegates gave up and left, others wired home for more money. The McAdoo people complained that rural delegates couldn’t afford New York prices and urged the party to pay their hotel bills, which caused the Smith people to accuse the McAdoo people of trying to bribe the delegates by paying their hotel bills.

“This convention,” wrote H.L. Mencken, the most famous reporter of the age, is “almost as vain and idiotic as a golf tournament or a disarmament conference.”

But still it continued, day after day — 80 ballots, 90 ballots, 100 ballots. Finally, both Smith and McAdoo gave up and released their delegates and on July 9, after 16 days and 103 ballots, the Democrats nominated John W. Davis of West Virginia for president.

The band played “Glory, Glory Hallelujah” and the delegates limped home, weary and bleary, their self-loathing exceeded only by their loathing of the other Democrats.

In the November election, Davis was creamed by Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge, a laid-back dude who didn’t let the duties of his office interfere with his afternoon nap.

* * *

What? Speak up, young fella, I don’t hear too good. Those Tammany fire sirens ruined my ears.

Fun? You wanna know if the 1924 convention was fun? Well, it was fun for the first 20 or 30 ballots, but after 50 or 60 it got a tad tedious, and by the 80th or 90th even the driest of the dry delegates longed to take a swan dive into a bottle of bootleg bourbon.

People said the 1924 convention was so ugly it would kill the Democratic Party. It didn’t, but it did kill the romance of the deadlocked convention. After 1924, Democrats hated deadlocks even more than they hated rival Democrats.

At the 1932 convention, the party leaders started to panic after three ballots and McAdoo got up and urged the convention to avoid “another disastrous contest like that of 1924.” FDR’s people offered the vice presidency to anybody who controlled enough votes to break the deadlock. John Nance Garner took the deal, delivered the Texas delegation and ended up vice president, a job he later reportedly described as “not worth a bucket of warm spit.”

The last time a convention went more than one ballot was 1952, when the Democrats took three ballots to nominate Adlai Stevenson, who was trounced by Dwight Eisenhower. These days, both parties confine their brawling to the primaries and by the time the convention rolls around they’re cooing and kissing like newlyweds. Now, conventions are just long infomercials for the candidates. They’re so dull they make you pine for a deadlock.

Maybe that’s why the TV yappers are jabbering about a deadlocked Democratic convention. If Clinton wins Texas and Ohio today, they say, then neither she nor Obama may have enough delegates to win, so the nomination will be decided by the 796 superdelegates, the people we used to call the party bosses.

Well, I think they’re full of baloney, but I hope they’re right. A little deadlock livens things up, and the prospect of floor fights, fistfights and backroom wheeling and dealing quickens the blood.

Two ballots, five ballots, 10 ballots — that would give an old geezer a reason to go on living. But, please, not 103 ballots. Take it from me, young fella, that’s a little too much of a good thing.


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Hillary Clinton and John McCain join Forces:

Posted by devilsapprentice on April 14, 2008

Hillary Clinton and John McCain join Forces:

Supporting Terrorism:


By Andrew Stergiou


Comments, “posted Friday on The Huffington Post Web site, set off a blast of criticism from Clinton, Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain and other GOP officials” (Associated Press, By JIM KUHNHENN and CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writers, April 13, 2008)


Hillary Clinton’s recent attacks on Barack Obama are Republican style attacks that the Republicans joined in on, showing her complete lack of understanding of the problems in small towns of America, and America in general. They show a complete opportunistic side of the Clintons Democratic favored brand of Republicanism where they have good conservative bed fellows in the Republican Party.


Obviously Hillary Clinton, her staff, top Democrats, and their counterparts in the Republican Party have not watched the Michael Moore Movie Bowling for Columbine, or if they watched it sharply disagree or pay lip service to the message of Michael Moore because they are in denial of the problems really facing America. That on one hand rabidly speaks of crime and terror domestic and foreign and then denies it exists.


It was said that “A political tempest over Barack Obama’s comments about bitter voters in small towns has given rival Hillary Rodham Clinton a new opening to court working class Democrats 10 days before Pennsylvanians hold a primary that she must win to keep her presidential campaign alive.”


But the facts are that the Barack Obama has been endorsed at this point by the majority of organized labor and represents the best interests of American working people.


While successive Republican (and to a lesser degree Democratic party) administrations has catered to American fears, fears of crime, fear of terrorism, fear of the races, fear of what is foreign and big cities, in their wrapping themselves in the American flag and denying there are any problems with America:


So as to avoid they own guilt and responsibility for the last 40 forty of Republican subversion that began with Nixon and is a clear line to the present administration of George W. Bush that escalates the fear factor year after year thru a corporate media that has long lost its independent intellectual capacity to think without catering to the dumbing down of America which they have created.


The National Rifle Association and similar like minded organizations and individuals remind us constantly how the honest citizen is overwhelmed especially by crime in our communities, as long as they can use that as an excuse to increase spending on what has become more or less a gulag of gulags, and a police state in what can not be described as “The Free World”.


 Just as the conservative minded police and news constantly remind us of crime in the community but when Barack Obama goes to the root of those problems in order to address them, of what are delusions and illusions of those conservative bulwarks that prevent America from constructively changing he is attacked.


American conservatives do not want to resolve the crime, violence issues in America for in such problems resolution goes the issues that have kept them in power for the last forty years as they retreated from their forbearers policies support of racism and segregation.


In showing the Clinton camp’s insincere and opportunistic hypocrisy:

“One of Clinton‘s staunchest supporters, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., acknowledged there was some truth in Obama’s remarks. But he said Republicans would use them against him anyway.”


And as so does Hillary Clinton in her attacks on Barack Obama which are preludes to the Republicans attacks in the current presidential campaigning, in which Barack Obama has been attacked without any greater reason except they do so for their own advancement and good but not the country’s betterment and improvement.


Barack Obama stated in what was attacked that:

“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”


In what is admittedly a truthful statement as stated by Sen. Bayh, but was hypocritically attacked by the Clintons and the Republicans at the same time, those conservatives Democratic and Republican alike emphasize security and protection from crime. Crime invading small towns and cities in what spills over from larger cities and urban centers  because the mainstream corporate America and politicians have exported it due to the failed polities of the last forty years much like Wal-Mart imports the prison made goods it sells from China, and exports into our local communities economies to destroy our local economies, jobs, and businesses.


Barack Obama stated “people don’t feel like they are being listened to.”


And that is absolutely true across the broad political Spectrum as American society has broken down if not collapsed in many areas of the country.


There is some indication the Clinton campaign has used this opportunity as an unfounded and unprincipled basis to draw attention away from the lie related to her stating she landed at “an airport” *** in Bosnia 10 years ago” under enemy fire when she didn’t. Clinton is known for her embellishments of speech as she started her campaign with the slogan “let the communication begin” when it has been anything but communication on her part in what is a onesided monologue in which she has more than once sided with the Republican Party and has played fast and free with the truth, and  continues with such distortions and misspeaking to undermine the American people.


In reality the Clinton campaign’s latest comments shows how Hillary Clinton being completely out of touch with the American people, and how hypocritically she addresses issues with a genuine cynicism of a evil nature merely to score political points.


As a democrat or merely a Democrat i must object to Hillary Clinton and her mannerism that represents business as usual as she is most unreal and insincere.

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Just blog off!

Posted by devilsapprentice on February 6, 2008

In Response to Janet Street Porter Editor at Large The Independent, UK, Sunday, 6 January 2008, OPED piece of the same title.

by Andrew Stergiou

Admittedly, though albeit said generally without specifications of anything more, as a long time blogger, one who has blogged from a time before it was even referred to as blogging since 1988:

In comment of Janet Street-Porter article published: 06 January 2008

In all honestly much of her criticisms of bloggers are a most courageous stand, of the highest distinction for which the people of the UK should feel some what proud, but will not, since her article specifies with a manner, mindset, wording, and definition, as tainted as they come, and also rather revealing enough so we can not call her completely honest.

Up until now, other critics have taken note of her headlines, and generalities, but have not addressed the substance of her motivations.

Now we can quibble, as to her exact meaning, but where a higher standard of literal meaning prevails, she is insultingly referring in class bias to the working class where:

“Thousands of hackneyed opinions about books on Amazon written by people who can’t use a three syllable word *** as interesting as watching cheese develop mould or Gordon Brown crack a joke”

Now often I must write with out benefit of time, money or editors babysitting me watching over my shoulder but she has no such excuse.

What she said might be quite true, but it is the ruling elite, which she represents in class, education, in mindset, and financial demeanors, whom produced such shining examples of western civilization, whom as commoners, plebians and working class members, saluted in that their efforts are today addressed. Amazing? No!

As the common joke goes, called the infinite monkey theorem stating what I find offensive as a human being, as I would not dare say:

“That a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a particular chosen text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare”, (Quoted from some irrelevant wiki in the internet).

In what was thought up (by Ms. Janet Street-Porter perhaps), in some quiet moments after work, when she too rambled freely, and with much of which I can agree whole-heartedly, but only if I am allowed my qualifying remarks: regarding a modern decadent civilization that seems to require a greater sense of propriety, dignity and honesty.

The hackneyed, and hackney, petty in their ways are the mainstay and backbone of western civilization, regardless of how angry they can get or make us, they are loyal to every man woman, and child for they do not have the vested interests which create political ambitions.

Like I said, she is admirable in her views of courage, because:

Who really wants to read blogs, and listen in chat rooms to the petty vulgar gossip spread like manure by unlettered unskilled farmhands?

Whom for the most part I would not hire them to clean my dishes. They are ignorant as is shown and characterized by their poor sense in their commentary, while she I will respect and expect more from in her views as brilliant, though misguided, as her partiality indicates she has higher (“Greater”) “expectations” for them, than they have of themselves.

Where they should be ashamed of their comments without a doubt, as they are the intolerant incompetent wretches they are, as I also apologize, for if it were not for this technology I most like could not type, nor be able to afford a secretary-typist to do so for me, with or without a title.


PS the too bad the commercial media is so self-serving, that it can not see reality even as it gets paid for it: For neither love nor money but for the hell of it do what it is supposed to representing the public’s interests but when has the mainstream media criticszed themselves like Ms. Porter criticizes bloggers?


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Posted by devilsapprentice on February 6, 2008


In Perspective by Andrew Stergiou Feb. 03, 2003

Words 1979, characters 10216, paragraphs 47, Sentences 65,

Sentences per paragraph 1.9, Words per Sentence 24.6,

Characters per word 5, Flesch Reading Ease 35,

passive Sentences 7%, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 12

In mention of W.C. Fields, the juggler, the actor, the Vaudevillian, radio performer, he is spoken often spoken of fondly,; and, irreverently with the fervor of hypocritical preachers all too ready to makes cracks about the next man without appropriate consideration of themselves their actions or their actions affects.

I have listened and heard W.C Fields spoken of as “often inebriated” and called “a drunk”, I have heard people denigrate Elvis as “racist”, and Sinatra as Sinatra (and god knows what), Dean Martin also as “a drunk”, and Sammy Davis as “a house N****r”, without any reason or specific good cause to do so when those five gentlemen though excessive in their own human manner great contributors to not merely American culture but world culture as they changed singled handed in their own manner the world.

I stand to defend them so as to give no one the impression that I condone the intolerance of such aforementioned statements which is translated into a threat against each and every working class man, woman and child: Where such petty back biting callous remarks are the ammunition of a regressive politic reactionary that is founded in dysfunctional pathological perspectives that is inbreed into generation after generation of working class people.

As a poet member of ASCAP, known amongst musicians, writers, and the public alike, at I could speak at great length of many instances where people have fallen from grace including my self.

The first to come to mind is that exceptional socialist man of personal note, Thomas McGrath, whom I feel was also maligned in the aid of McCarthyism by slanderous gossip was spoken, and on whom a biographical article in reference appears at the bottom of this article, and of which I only make quick mention that:

THOMAS Mc GRATH born 1916, four younger brothers, one sister, parents were second generation farmers, working Ransom County, North Dakota, University studies at Moorhead State University. University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, awarded a B.A. , in 1939. Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, World War II veteran, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. published first book poems, The Swallow Press, 1940-1941 taught Colby College in Maine, worked the Kearney Shipyards, until he entered the armed forces in 1942. He was discharged with rank of sergeant, 1945. resumed studet on Rhodes Scholarship, spent 1947-1948 at New College, Oxford, England; faculty Los Angeles State University, 1951 to 1954.

Dismissed from this institution was directly connected with his appearance as an unfriendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, when that infamous body brought its hearings to Los Angeles in 1953. 1954 to 1960 McGrath a secondary school teacher at a private institution, for a company that manufactured carved wooden animals, and at other jobs that might earn him his keep. He wrote film and television scripts from time to time, several of the former for director Mike Cimino. In 1960 he resumed his academic career, teaching at C. W. Post College (now part of Long Island University) in New York. At about this time he founded, with his wife Genia, the journal Crazy Horse.

Comrade McGrath was privately know to have been a drinker to what extent I am unsure and not privy but am sure justified in mentioning in his passing that the avove referenced remarks made in an off hand manner is why the socialist in America do not pass beyond marginalization:

Where W.C. Fields, Mr. Thomas McGrath, and myself can be attacked though being victims of the savage brutality of the capitalist system, harming no one:

But some claiming to be “socialists” refuse and resist explaining and accounting for their conduct, behavior, and involvement on higher levels beyond mere personal faults in their corrupt practices of leaderships that have been indicted for crimes against the people.

E.g. Elaine Brown, associated with socialist of the Green Party and ipso facto the Socialist Party USA, in regard to Huey P. Newton’s debaucheries in a conduct of abuse tyrannical while use of drugs, and drink paid for with party funds (while Chairman of the Black Panther Party); as erstwhile she maintains ambitions, even as a Green Party Presidential candidate who rationalizes her conduct by means of attacking her opponents, cloaked in the deceptive garb of allegedly revolutionary rhetoric, while never admitting faults, of any significant proportion in self-criticism.; and to a lesser degree Angela Davis.

It is time to have an accounting on the socialist for what are criminal acts in the service of counter revolution! To remove the weapons of deception from the arsenal of capitalism where on one hand people are encouraged to pursue normal healthy lives and pushed at the same time into illnesses.

One dramatic affect of alcoholism is on the children, who become adults mainly of the working class as it it is the working class that has no universal health care, and poor heath care when they do have it that effects the course of progress towards socialism which if it is to succeed must address these issues::

Dr. Janet G. Woititz identified in her book, Adult Children of Alcoholics, thirteen primary characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics:[3]

* Guessing at what normal behavior is.
* Difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
* Lying when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
* Judging themselves without mercy.
* Having difficulty having fun.
* Taking themselves very seriously.
* Having difficulty with intimate relationships.

* Overreacting to changes over which they have no control.

* Constantly seeking approval and affirmation.

* Usually feeling that they are different from other people.

* Extreme responsibility or irresponsibility.

* Extreme loyalty, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

* Impulsivity – tending to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

W.C. Fields is well known, and many people relate to him, that Paul A. Cantor wrote of in “Fields of Glory: The absurdist anti-politics of W.C. Fields”.

At first glance I was going to be highly critical of W.C. Fields being spoken of in that manner, but then found some mitigating information. Information, that presents the above referenced quote in the light of being merely one sided, opportunistic, self-serving, myopic, and self-defeating as it was in some context not a complete lie but a half truth that I address as I am not know to try to speak in that manner normally.

Quoting from

“Fields’s screen character was often fond of alcohol and this trait has become part of the Fields legend. In his younger days as a juggler, Fields himself never drank, because he didn’t want to impair his functions while performing. The loneliness of his constant touring and traveling, however, compelled Fields to keep liquor on hand for fellow performers, so he could invite them to his dressing room for companionship and cocktails. Only then did Fields cultivate a fondness for alcohol. This did not have a negative effect on his film persona because Hollywood, in the 1930s and thereafter, glamorized alcohol.”

Though W.C. Fields career was prematurely ended, when he fell into a conflict with the studio system, and film studio moguls who governed Hollywood, and the motion picture industry in that epoch of time where drinking were rampant as drugs is today.

“With a presidential election looming in 1940, Fields toyed with the idea of lampooning political campaign speeches. He wrote to candidate Henry Wallace, intending to glean comedy material from Wallace’s speeches, but when Wallace responded with a warm, personal fan letter to Fields, the comedian decided against skewering Wallace. Instead, Fields wrote a book entitled Fields for President, humorous essays in the form of a campaign speech” (Wikipedia, Fields bio).

“Fields often fought with studio producers, directors, and writers over the content of his films. He was determined to make a movie his way, with his own script and staging and his own choice of supporting players. Universal finally gave him the chance, and the resulting film, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, (1941) is a masterpiece of absurd humor in which Fields appeared as himself, “The Great Man.” Universal’s singing star Gloria Jean played opposite Fields, and his old cronies Leon Errol and Franklin Pangborn served as his comic foils. But the film Fields delivered was so nonsensical that Universal recut and reshot parts of it and then quietly released both the film and Fields. Sucker turned out to be his last starring film”. (Ibid.)

Dean Martin was first known as construction worker, and then as an alcoholic when actually in fact didn’t really drink, though was much maligned for it as a celebrity as he and frank Sinatra together with Sammy Davis Junior also known as (aka) “the Rat Pack”:

“was largely responsible for the integration of Las Vegas. Sinatra and Martin steadfastly refused to appear anywhere that barred Davis, forcing the casinos to open their doors to African-American entertainers and patrons, and to drop restrictive covenants against Jews.’

In also what is fondly remembered by many real honest working class American people even progressives and socialists, especially, in retrospect with the present.

Elvis Aron Presley, who started his life as a truck driver, befell victim in death to prescribed abuse in the form of prescription drugs dished out to an unwary Elvis.

It is well known that Elvis was often threatened in his early career by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) types, for what they perceived as advancing as a performer “Satanic”, “race mixing”, “nigger music” culture that as part of their vision of the future should not exist. A vision which they sought to to enforce with in the “white” community by the use of exactly such extortionistic slanders adopted by many so called progressives from fascist Klan rhetoric.

Where in later years widespread slanders have been found pervasive to accuse him of racism and the like when no substance to that can be found beyond a normal search and beyond normal conduct for the time; and, in that ironically he was the reason that all the black and white artists were enbled to perform today whatever music they like:

All due to Elvis’s courage to be open minded enough to hear and adopt the music he performed which has its roots in traditional folk music shared by white and black people’s culture in his hometown of Tupelo Mississippi

Elvis Presley was of German, Scottish, French, Jewish (from his maternal great-great-grandmother, a fact that would have classified him as Jewish in Nazi Germany however not in the Jewish religion) and Cherokee ancestry.Presley’s father, Vernon (April 10, 1916–June 26, 1979), had several low-paying jobs, including sharecropper and truck driver. His mother, Gladys Love Smith (April 25, 1912–August 14, 1958) worked as a sewing machine operator. They met in Tupelo, Mississippi, and eloped to Pontotoc County where they married on June 17, 1933. (Ibid)

In closing how can common ordinary poor working people expect fair treatment at the hands of those professing to be “socialists”, in all sincerity many comrades have no sincerity as they have become all to accustom to fighting improperly?

Where some comrades treat other’s questions statements without subjecting themselves, to the same discipline, any given time to the same rules, that they demand adherence, to as responsive pleadings require.

So they so lightly speak in manners so as to distort all; using self-serving deceitful statements rather than respond appropriately in what are merely the tip of the iceberg. Maybe they are descended from alcoholics whom any group must address appropriately in the present climate if those groups expect to continue to exist and expand…





Fredrick C. Stern

A Biographical Sketch of Thomas McGrath

THOMAS McGRATH WAS born in 1916, the oldest son of James and Catherine (Shea) McGrath. There were four younger brothers, Jim (killed in World War II), Joe, Martin, and the youngest, Jack. His sister Kathleen was born between Joe and Martin. His parents were farmers, the second generation of them, working the land in Ransom County, North Dakota, near the town of Sheldon, about forty miles west of the Minnesota border, between the Maple and Sheyenne Rivers.

McGrath went to grade and high school in Sheldon, and then started somewhat delayed and intermittent University studies at Moorhead State University. Eventually, he attended the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, where he earned a B.A. in 1939. Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, he found that he could not use it immediately, because of the outbreak of World War II. He had received offers from a number of universities to begin work on an advanced degree—as had the other Rhodes Scholars that year—and accepted an offer from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. There he studied, most intensely with Cleanth Brooks, was involved in radical political activity, wrote, and met Alan Swallow, who published McGrath’s first book of poems as part of the development of The Swallow Press.

In the 1940-1941 academic year McGrath taught at Colby College in Maine, but he did not find teaching there entirely satisfactory and thus left at the end of the academic year to go to New York City. There he wrote, organized, did legal research for attorneys engaged in “political” cases, and worked at the Kearney Shipyards, until he entered the armed forces in 1942. Most of his time in the service was spent on Amchitka Island. He was discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1945. After a period of adjustment he was finally able to undertake the year of study provided by the Rhodes Scholarship and spent 1947-1948 at New College, Oxford, England.

Returning to the United States after some travel, McGrath engaged in various occupations and eventually found a faculty position at Los Angeles State University, where he taught from 1951 to 1954. His dismissal from this institution was directly connected with his appearance as an unfriendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, when that infamous body brought its hearings to Los Angeles in 1953.

From 1954 to 1960 McGrath worked variously as a secondary school teacher at a private institution, for a company that manufactured carved wooden animals, and at other jobs that might earn him his keep. He wrote film and television scripts from time to time, several of the former for director Mike Cimino. In 1960 he resumed his academic career, teaching at C. W. Post College (now part of Long Island University) in New York. At about this time he founded, with his wife Genia, the journal Crazy Horse.

In 1962 he returned to North Dakota, where he taught for five years at North Dakota State University at Fargo. In 1969 McGrath accepted a faculty position at Moorhead State University in Minnesota, where he had first begun his studies as an undergraduate. At the end of the 1982- 1983 academic year, he retired from Moorhead State and moved to Minneapolis, where he now lives.

McGrath has held a variety of significant editorial positions and has been awarded a variety of distinguished prizes and fellowships for his work as a poet. Among the former, in addition to his founding editorship of Crazy Horse, he has been a contributing editor of Mainstream (later Masses and Mainstream) and has served on the editorial board of the California Quarterly. He has held an Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship in Poetry (1965), has twice been awarded National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1974, 1982), was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1967, and was twice a Bush Fellow (1976, 1981). In May 1981 the University of North Dakota awarded him a Doctorate of Letters. In 1977 he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Western Literature. In 1986, The Associated Writing Programs presented McGrath an award at a dinner in Chicago, at which tributes to him were presented by author “Studs” Terkel and poets Philip Levine and Michael Anania. In the same year, a “Ceili” was held by Minneapolis‘s “the loft,” at which many distinguished poets and writers celebrated McGrath’s seventieth birthday.

McGrath has been married three times, to Marion, Alice, and Eugenia (Genia), all of whom appear in his poetry. He is the father of a son, Tomasito, to whom much poetry from McGrath’s later work is addressed and dedicated.

From The Revolutionary Poet in the United States: The Poetry of Thomas McGrath. Copyright © 1988 by the Curators of the University of Missouri. END THOMAS MCGRATH

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Stanzas in Remembrance by Louis Aragon

Posted by devilsapprentice on February 6, 2008

Stanzas in Remembrance

Source: Le Roman Inachevé, 1954, Paris, Gallimard;
Translated: by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2007

Aragon wrote this poem in honor of the resistance fighters of the Manouchian Group on the occasion of the naming of a street in Paris in their honor – MA.

You asked for neither glory nor tears,
Not the sound of the organ or the prayer for the dying;
Eleven years already, how quickly they pass, eleven years;
You did naught but use your weapons:
Death doesn’t dazzle the eyes of partisan.

Your portraits were on the walls of our cities,
The black of beards and night, wild-haired, threatening;
The poster seemed like a stain of blood, and
Because your names were so hard to pronounce
It sought to strike fear in those who passed.

No one looked on you as French by preference,
The whole day people passed without a glance;
But at the hour of curfew
Wandering fingers wrote under your photos:
And the dismals mornings were no more the same.

All had the uniform color of frost
At the end of February, at your last moments;
And then it was that one of you calmly said:
I wish happiness for all, Happiness for those who will survive
I die without hatred for the German people.

Adieu pain, adieu pleasure, adieu roses
Adieu life, adieu light and wind;
Marry, be happy and think of me often,
You who will remain among the beauty of things
When things are over later in Erevan.

A great winter sun illuminates the hill
How beautiful is nature, and how my heart breaks;
Justice will follow upon our triumphant steps
My Melinée, oh my love, my orphan girl,
I tell you to live and to have a child.

They were twenty-three when the gun barrels blossomed,
Twenty three who gave their hearts before their time,
Twenty three foreigners and yet our brothers,
Twenty three who loved life to death;
Twenty three who cried out “La France” as they were struck down.

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Apolitical Intellectuals by Otto Rene Castillo

Posted by devilsapprentice on January 6, 2007

Apolitical Intellectuals by Otto Rene Castillo

One day
the apolitical
of my country
will be interrogated
by the simplest
of our people.

They will be asked
what they did
when their nation died out
like a sweet fire
small and alone.

No one will ask them
about their dress,
their long siestas
after lunch,
no one will want to know
about their sterile combats
with “the idea
of the nothing”
no one will care about
their higher financial learning.

They won’t be questioned
on Greek mythology,
or regarding their self-disgust
when someone within them
begins to die
the coward’s death.

They’ll be asked nothing
about their absurd
born in the shadow
of the total lie.

On that day
the simple men will come.

Those who had no place
in the books and poems
of the apolitical intellectuals,
but daily delivered
their bread and milk,
their tortillas and eggs,
those who drove their cars,
who cared for their dogs and gardens
and worked for them,
and they’ll ask:

“What did you do when the poor
suffered, when tenderness
and life
burned out of them?”

Apolitical intellectuals
of my sweet country,
you will not be able to answer.

A vulture of silence
will eat your gut.

Your own misery
will pick at your soul.

And you will be mute in your shame.

–Otto Rene Castillo


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