James Retherford :

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Alice Embree :
REPORT | Houston’s historic underground newspaper…

…on the really small screen.

By Alice Embree | The Rag Blog | November 25, 2020

Space City News hit the streets of Houston in June 1969, but got a name change when a UFO group informed the paper they were already publishing under that name. By January 1970, the paper was publishing as Space City!, and it continued to publish through transformative times in Texas’ largest city, times that were a changin’ and often harrowing as an active Ku Klux Klan took aim at the fledgling paper.

The Houston cousin of The Rag published for three years. Many of its veterans had cut their journalistic teeth at Austin’s pioneering underground paper and three quarters of the board of the parent nonprofit, the New Journalism Project, hailed from Houston, so the cousin relationship was alive and well.
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Joshua Brown :

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Larry Piltz :
OPINION | Trump’s revenge: The only way he thinks
he can win

(Or, I’d rather be scared now than shocked and scared later.)

By Larry Piltz | The Rag Blog | November 12, 2020

AUSTIN — There’s nothing and no one to stop Trump from disregarding all and every convention, practice, protocol and law. If you believe otherwise, then who and what, pray tell?

And this is what I think he will do regarding the election no matter what any court says. He will violate and upend everything worth cherishing about our country and that which we require to have a viable stable nation. He’s going for the coup d’etat. Why wouldn’t he?

He simply doesn’t care what happens to the country. The only thing that matters to Trump is Trump. That’s who he is. That’s long been established.
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POLITICS | Eat the 2020 election

“Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are.”
— French writer, Jean Anthelme Brilliant-Savarin, 1825

“You Are What You Eat.” Thread on fabric by P.Nosa / Wikimedia Commons.

By Jonah Raskin | The Rag Blog | November 12, 2020

SONOMA COUNTY, California — Voters were definitely on edge Election Day, but not so edgy that they couldn’t or didn’t abstain from eating. From coast-to-coast and in what’s known as “fly over country,” Joe Biden supporters watched the results trickle in on TV, enjoyed supper, and kept it down. In many cases the results were sickening, but not really nauseating.

I can’t speak for Trump supporters. I don’t know many, though according to the political grapevine members of the Trump team enjoyed hor d’oeuvres, “White House fries” (French fries were apparently unacceptable) and sliders, perhaps hoping that the president would easily slide into a second term in the White House.
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Ivan Koop Kuper :
MUSIC | Lightnin’ Hopkins: Texas blues man

His appearance on Austin City Limits was a highlight
of Lightnin’s career.

Lightnin’ Hopkins in Houston’s Third Ward.

By Ivan Koop Kuper | The Rag Blog | November 11, 2020

HOUSTON — Texas blues legend Samuel “Lightnin’” Hopkins was 66 years of age in 1978, when he was booked by television producer Terry Lickona, to be included in the fourth season of the nationally syndicated PBS TV program,” Austin City Limits.” The idea to have Hopkins perform was pitched to Lickona by Ron R. Wilson, Hopkins’ bassist who, at age 23, was elected to the Texas State Legislature the prior year. Also, inconspicuously on board for the taping to fill out the rhythm section was Austin drumming luminary, William G. “Bill” Gossett.

“That was the year we began to branch out from the show’s roots of ‘Texas Progressive Country’,” said Lickona from his office in Austin. “When I was promoted from assistant producer to producer, I just wanted to stir things up a little bit. Lightnin’ was a Texan, but not quite like the other musicians that had been previously booked on the show in its early days.”

The engagement would be one of the highlights of Hopkins’ career; a career that spanned more than 35 years beginning in 1946, when he moved away from his hometown of Centerville, Texas, to the segregated inner-city Houston neighborhood of Third Ward. Once considered to be the epicenter of African-American business, politics, and culture, it was where Hopkins now called home and where he was celebrated by his friends and neighbors as the cultural icon he had become.
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Joshua Brown :
POLITICAL CARTOON | POTUS graciously accepts defeat

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Bill Meacham, PhD :
BOOKS | Lighting the Fire: A Cherokee Journey from
Dropout to Professor

The book traces author Steve Russell’s life from his dirt-poor
origins in Oklahoma.

By Bill Meacham, PhD | The Rag Blog | November 5, 2020

[Lighting The Fire: A Cherokee Journey From Dropout To Professor, by Steve Russell. (McLean, VA: Miniver Press, 2020); paperback; 340 pages; $15 on Amazon.com.]

AUSTIN —Regular Rag Blog readers know Steve Russell as a witty and insightful commentator on current events with particular expertise in Indian affairs. Oh, and prolific as well. I tried to count his contributions to this fine platform and gave up at around 89 because I got tired of scrolling through pages and pages of them.

Russell wanted to be a writer from an early age, and has succeeded admirably. I know of his youthful ambition because I have just finished his memoir, Lighting the Fire. My objective in this review is to convince you to acquire and read it, for two reasons: 1.) I expect you will thoroughly enjoy it, as I have; and 2.) it is an inspiring testament to grit, determination, character, and the power of love, compassion, and community.

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Alice Embree :
ENVIRONMENT | Sherwood Bishop, heroic San Marcos trailblazer

Founder of the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance and our New Journalism Project colleague wins major national award.

Sherwood Bishop, top, at Schulle Canyon in San Marcos Texas.

By Alice Embree | The Rag Blog | October 29, 2020

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Sherwood Bishop, ever humble, says it is a bit embarrassing to be elected a hero when so many real-life pandemic heroes are saving lives, keeping grocery lines stocked, and teaching children in classrooms.

The president of The Rag Blog‘s own New Journalism Project, Sherwood Bishop did receive hero’s recognition for his 22-year stewardship of the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance. The alliance received the 2020 Cox Conserves Heroes national grand prize of $50,000 as well as an additional $10,000 as a regional winner.

Although the election didn’t capture headlines the way the Trump-Biden election has, Sherwood and his compatriots won 1,495 of the 4,506 votes cast nationally. It was the first time that a Texan had been nominated. Each regional contestant put together a video about their work in the community.
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FILM | The Chicago 7 movie and me

It’s that major motion picture Abbie Hoffman lusted after.

The Trial of the Chicago 7.

By Judy Gumbo | The Rag Blog | October 22, 2020

  • This article was first published at Judy Gumbo’s site, yippiegirl.com, and was cross-posted to The Rag Blog by the author.

I attended and worked at the Trial of the Chicago 7. I think Sorkin’s movie is terrific. Here’s why: It’s a blockbuster Hollywood movie in which the Yippies and the anti-war movement come off as heroes.

Sorkin’s narrative focuses on conflict — between those who protest for a righteous cause and cops, Attorney General John Mitchell, and the Nixon administration. Sorkin raises the racist treatment of my friend, the defendant Bobby Seale, so boldly his audience is forced to pay attention. I heard that Sorkin consulted with my late friend, the defendant Tom Hayden. Which explains Tom’s movie character and the movie’s focus on nonviolence vs. violence. As a Yippie I am especially delighted that Yippie characters and history are so prominent. It’s about time.
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FILM | See the movie on the 8: Vote and protest

I wish the movie had been more historically accurate.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman and Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.

By Jonah Raskin | The Rag Blog | October 22, 2020

I would feel a whole lot better about Aaron Sorkin’s movie if he had titled it The Trial of the Chicago 8. After all it started as the trial of eight young men, all of them radicals of one sort or another.

Alhough Bobby Seale was severed from the other defendants and hardly had anything to do with the protests during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, he served as the sole/soul representative of the Black Power movement. His demands to have his lawyer present in the courtroom, and Judge Julius Hoffman’s order that he be bound and gagged, is still one of the most electrifying moments in American jurisprudence.

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Joshua Brown :

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