I’m inspired by the Independence Day posts from Juliette & Christopher of DTG’s Magnificent crew. Each celebrated a beauty not to be found in the political world I often choose to inhabit.

In the same vein, I offer an unapologetic plug for a friend’s project, inviting all New Hampshire-area DTG readers to attend something special.

Come to hear Massenet’s oratorio “Marie-Magdaleine” on July 22. One performance will be at 2 p.m. at Northeast Catholic College in Warner, and the other will be at Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge at 7 p.m. The performance at the College is donations-accepted, while the one at Cathedral of the Pines has (I think) a $10 admission fee. Call 603-781-5695 for more information.

I’ll be going out of my way to hear one of these performances. Why?

Sheer beauty. With the first note, I know workaday concerns will fall away for awhile. The next deadline, the next gosh-forsaken tweet, the next bill to pay: all will be in abeyance for an hour or two as I undergo the attitude adjustment that’s one of music’s little gifts.

Hope. For my husband and me, Northeast Catholic College is a favorite place, dedicated to education in faith and reason. It’s a place of encouragement and challenge and laughter. The world’s a better place because it exists. Likewise with Cathedral of the Pines, which was established by grieving parents in memory of their son, who died in the service of our country during World War II. It was a true act of hope for those parents to experience such terrible loss and then go on to create a place of peace and tranquillity.

Encouragement. I think you’ll find encouragement simply by being in the same room with the producer of these performances. I’m acquainted with her. She’s a pro-life warrior, a conservative woman, an opera singer, and a patron and leader of nonprofit agencies that enrich the community. Oh, and she was formerly a volunteer legislator (which is how we roll in the Granite State). When things look discouraging – and as a legislator and a volunteer activist, she has some experience with bad days – she responds dynamically and positively. No whining.

You go, girl.

If you’re inclined to attend the performance in Warner, be aware that the College is offering Mass (11:30) and a light lunch (12:30) before the 2 p.m. show, with RSVPs requested. (More about that here.)

Let it be known that this is not a paid promotion. I just want to share good news.

The State House and the White House and my work as a writer will all still be there after the show. When I turn back to them, I’ll be refreshed and ready for whatever comes along. Beautiful music, whatever the source, has that effect on me. Maybe on you, too.

I’ll tag this one “culture victories,” not “culture wars.”

Ellen Kolb blogs about New Hampshire life-issue policy at Leaven for the Loaf and looks farther afield in ellenkolb.com

During the 2nd day of Fr Stephen Imbarrato’s visit to Massachusetts after celebrating a mass and attending a breakfast in Medford he traveled to Fitchburg. We covered his Eucharistic Procession here but there were several other items of interest both before and after that event.

He said Saturday morning mass at St Camillus church at St. Bernard’s Parish in Fitchburg and sat for an interview after mass on the events.

Linda Santo who spoke the previous night in Medford attended this mass and also consented to an interview.

From there we went to Slattery’s in Fitchburg (home of that most perfect of deserts Kentucky Derby Pie) for a luncheon to a packed house, Fr briefly spoke there as well.

Next there came the procession viewed now online by over 200K people (for context the population of Fitchburg is 40k) after the procession we traveled to the former Madonna of the Holy Rosary parish where Fr. heard confessions, celebrated the divine mercy vigil mass followed by a dinner served by the Knights of Columbus of the St. Anthony of Padua counsel and a talk.

But the there was a pleasant surprise at both this dinner and the previous one. There was a band playing at both this event and the previous one in Medford. It turns out they were a group called Musicians for life and they not only performed old guitar staples of the faith like Mighty to Save during dinner

but after an introduction by Fr. Imbarrato also performed six original songs explicit pro-life songs written specifically for these event such as Let em Live: (which was streamed life to his facebook page)

Where have all the Children Gone

I’m Here with Jesus

Listen to my Heart Beating

It’s a life (which I think is a really catchy tune)

and the Choice is Yours

At the end of the night they sat for an interview

It would be their final performance during Fr. Imbarrato’s trip as they had a commitment the next day but if I may be so bold and suggest that they and their music would be a welcome addition to any Catholic or pro-life event.

A photo gallery follows:

MORE TO COME…

Previously:

Voices of Life in Medford: Fr. Imbarrato, Pro Life Legal Defense League, Linda Santo and more

Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood Fitchburg led by Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life

Protest Prayers and Procession at Planned Parenthood Boston Led by Fr Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life


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Olimometer 2.52

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Doughboy monument, Morton Grove, Illinois

By John Ruberry

This week marks the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I, then known as the Great War. Much of Europe had been engaged in widespread slaughter since 1914 when Congress, at the request of President Woodrow Wilson, voted to declare war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

After the armistice ended the war on November 11, 1918, America was a transformed nation.

The war caused an American agricultural expressed a boom. Obliteration of farms and a lack of manpower in Europe created a huge demand American grain. After the war rural America was hit with an economic downturn that ran contrast to the robust industrial expansion in cities like Detroit–and many farms were foreclosed. Bold farmers who borrowed money to plant crops in marginally arable areas such as the Great Plains first endured falling commodity prices and then the Dust Bowl of the 1930s–and of course, foreclosures.

While the Great Migration of blacks from the South to the North may have begun a few years before the declaration of war, the demand for factory workers in northern cities clearly hastened it. Black soldiers fought the Germans in France–and like all American soldiers they were celebrated as heroes by the grateful French and Belgians. When these black troops returned home, they discovered that white American racial prejudices remained, perhaps they were even worse than before the war. A series a race riots swept America in 1919, known as Red Summer. The deadliest riot occurred in Chicago, with 38 fatalities. It began after an African-American man floating on a railroad tie on Lake Michigan unwittingly drifted into a white section of a segregated beach.

Victory Monument honoring African-American World War I soldiers, Chicago.

These riots were a precursor of the urban unrest of the 1960s.

While it’s now considered impolite to ask a person their ethnic background, especially if you don’t know that person well, it wasn’t in the 1970s and 1980s, at least in the Chicago area, where I grew up. For instance, one of my neighbors from my youth had an Anglo last name. But that name was changed, I was told, in 1917, from a German one when their grandparents had to close their business and move to a different part of Chicago because they feared for their lives after being victims of anti-German violence. Thousands of others–maybe tens-of-thousands of others–also changed their surnames and cut ties to their pasts. I know about a dozen people whose ancestors dropped their German last names during that time and picked ones that were more “American sounding.”

If you take one of those Anscestry.com DNA tests and you surprisingly find German blood in your veins, it could because you unlocked a Great War family secret.

During the war many German-Americans were jailed on flimsy evidence as America, for a while, forgot it was a free country. And that’s not all. Irrational fears of communism after the Russian Revolution, itself a result of World War I, brought about the civil rights abuses of the Red Scare of 1917-1920. Wilson, a progressive Democrat, signed the Sedition Act of 1918 into law, which made criticism of the war or the nation illegal. In response to all of this madness, the far-left American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920.

Later that year Americans overwhelmingly elected Republican Warren G. Harding as president. He promised a “return to normalcy.”

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Germans in the United States in the early part of the 20th century were stereotypically viewed as beer guzzlers and saloon owners. The Prohibition movement was already strong when the war began–but the progressive teetotalers preyed upon this new bigotry as they sealed their deal with the passage of the 18th Amendment two months after the end of hostilities. Speakeasies replaced bars–and jazz music, often performed by black musicians who were part of the Great Migration–was the music of choice in many of these illegal establishments. This was not a return to normalcy–it was a new normal.

Europe never completely recovered from World War I–America was the world’s most powerful nation after the armistice was signed.

And it still is.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Following up on last week’s kvetch regarding conservative new media talking a great game when it comes to impacting culture, yet near-unanimously failing to do so, an introduction to someone who walks the talk. And has been doing so for quite some time.

Ritchie Furay pastors a church in Broomfield, Colorado, some thirteen miles southeast of Boulder. He is an unassuming man who looks far younger than his seventy-two tours of duty on this planet might suggest. He and his wife have been together going on forty-eight years, with kids and grandkids a-plenty. And lest one wonder “gee, that’s nice and all, but what does this have to do with changing the culture …”

… he’s also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Back in the 1960s, when popular music was beginning to rediscover its long neglected role as social commentary’s voice, there was for a brief time a band that proved seminal both in its impact on a generation of music, culminating with the Eagles, and on modern culture as a whole with its lyrical bent. Even as important as the band was, its members work after disbanding proved to be crucial in musical and societal change. The band was Buffalo Springfield. One of its three-headed monster leadership? Richie Furay.

Although as far as public recognition Furay remains well behind Buffalo Springfield’s other main members, namely Stephen Stills and Neil Young, Furay was a vital element of the band’s sound on all fronts: guitar, vocals, and songwriter. His “Kind Woman” became a staple of the band’s catalog, a track that perfectly captured what at the time was a revolutionary and hitherto unimaginable fusion of country and rock. Turn on any modern country radio station and you will hear the full impact of Furay’s work. He did not singlehandedly invent country rock, but Furay was one of the first artists, if not the very first artist, to make it work.

Following Buffalo Springfield’s demise, Furay rounded up a bunch of like-minded artists for a new band named Poco. Poco never made major headway commercially, but was revered by its fans and peers for refining the country-rock genre. Furay eventually left the band to get together with fellow veteran artists J.D. Souther and Chris Hillman; it was during this period in 1974 when Furay came to Christ. Over the subsequent years Furay has focused more on pastoral duties than music, although he still records and performs. And, as the following clip from his most recent album recorded a couple of years ago showcases, he still has his songwriting chops, presented via his clear with just a touch of twang tenor, hitting the high notes without breaking a sweat:

At this point, one might think “gee, that’s nice and all, but I’m still not getting what this has to do with changing the culture.” Bear with; we’re getting there.

Richie Furay breaks the mold of rock artists by being a full-bore unapologetic conservative. He routinely speaks up about political views on his Facebook page, where he equally routinely politely and directly engages with his fans. Which in and of itself breaks the mold of most rock stars and celebrities who prefer maintaining as much of a distance from their fans as possible.

Wait, you didn’t know that? Not surprising.

Here’s the deal. Want to read more about Furay; his music, faith, and political views? Hmm, let’s see. RedState? Nope. HotAir? Nada. Breitbart? Nyet. Not a word.

Try Rolling Stone.

It unfailingly amuses and saddens how conservative blogs and the people who write them can endlessly tonguebathe themselves about the great and mighty service they are providing in molding and shaping public opinion. Problem is, they’re not. Outside the echo chamber, no one knows they exist. Even within the echo chamber they change nothing. Remember the #NeverTrump torrent that poured forth daily from the high rollers? Boy, that sure changed things in favor of President-elect Rubio and … oh, wait …

Maybe it’s time to change course. These folk know the definition of insanity, correct? Then why continue to do the same thing that has repeatedly proven to not be worth, and not work, a lick?

Try talking about someone with a good guitar lick. Try something other than another rewrite rehash of today’s talking points and MSM regurgitation. Instead of blabbing all politics, all the time, all the same, write something people actually want to read. Talk about a musician. Discuss an author. Review a movie. Tell a story about what is happening, or has happened, in your or a friend’s life. In short, give someone other than hardcore political junkies a reason to read anything you write.

No one is asking anyone to disavow their political beliefs. What is being suggested is political bloggers embracing reality. You are not changing anyone. No one knows you exist. You are a one note, one trick pony in a dog and pony show playing to an empty circus tent. Stop.

Reach out. Branch out. Write like a human being for human beings. You engage culture when you engage people. Start.

And along the way, talk up great music by a good man.

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

By John Ruberry

The leftist group MoveOn got its start as Bill Clinton was being impeached. Their initial message was along the lines of, Bubba has done a great job running the country, his affair with Monica Lewinsky was inappropriate, and now it’s time for Americans to, well, move on.

Now if only the cheerleaders in the media for the Democratic Party could do the same.

There’s a book’s worth of material out there for this post, but I’ll zoom in on just a few today. Dahleen Glanton, an African American Chicago Tribune columnist, puts the blame on the Democrats failure to keep the White House on where she feels it belongs. Yes, the headline gives the ending away, “White women, own up to it: You’re the reason Hillary Clinton lost.” Yet the first sentence of that column betrays how foolish she is, “I don’t understand women.” Her dazzling display of ignorance continues for another two dozen paragraphs.

There must be vile fumes from the Chicago River poisoning the minds of Chicago newspaper columnists, as ignorance begets insanity. I had to read Neil Steinberg’s Nazi-drenched column about Donald Trump and his advisor Steven Bannon, who, by the way, is not an anti-Semite, three times before I gave up trying to make sense of it. Well, almost.  When I am confronted with Nazis and insanity I do one thing and that is listen to avante-garde rockers the Residents’ masterpiece, “The Third Reich and Roll,” only this time I did so while trying to block out of my memory all of my knowledge of the 1960s garage pop classics that are satirized in this work, as a possible gateway into Steinberg’s rambling mess. That didn’t work either. But hey, I tried.

At the end of his column he all but claims that it will be followers of a religion who have been scapegoated for centuries who will be blamed if Trump’s economy doesn’t take off as he promises it will.

Oh, do newspaper columnists have editors anymore?

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who was exposed as a colluder with the Democratic National Committee by WikiLeaks, is calling the incoming Trump administration “the fake news presidency.” Yet two months ago Milbank was covering for Clinton’s “deplorables” gaffe by claiming that “she might have low-balled the number.”

Wrong.

Perhaps what these mainstream media hacks really need is a good cry, which is something the Residents have done as they confide in “Hitler Was a Vegetarian.”

Yes, it’s your party, I know it’s your party
And, you know that you can cry, and, it’s cool
But you have to remember that I too cried my 96 tears
And… it’s just something we all have to go through some time or another.

Get to it.

And then move on.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

A couple of weeks ago I got out of work early so I headed to Denny’s to get a bite to eat.

It was dead empty but I met a young man named Adam who waited on my table.

We talked a bit about his life and his attempt to do his best to support his young son.

During our conversation it turned out that he is a member of a Christian Rock Band named Skidbone out of Leominster ma.

One of the hardest things to do is to make it as a small band but as friend Jerry Wilson will tell you Christian Rock is a genre that is growing.

Here is a sample of their music

I’m not a judge of music but they managed to win the best EP rock at theakademia.com

Now if you like what you hear and want more of it, they are on facebook here and twitter here. You can get their music at here , here, here here and here.

And of course there is Amazon.com if you want to give me a cut of the sale.

Once you become a father, no matter what your age, if you choose to be a man, you no longer live for yourself, I wish the best of luck to Adam in his attempt to earn the support for son both by his job at Denny’s and by the band.

Unless you are in Leominster overnights you can’t help out with the first, but if you like the music you hear you can certainly pitch in on the 2nd.

Packard
Packard plant, Detroit

By John Ruberry

Two months after I returned from my urban exploration trip to Detroit David Maraniss’ Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story was published.

For me the timing couldn’t have been better, As I drove west to my home in the Chicago area I mused, “What in the hell went wrong with Detroit?”

Maraniss, who was born in Detroit, is the author of biographies of Bill Clinton, Vince Lombardi, and Barack Obama. More on the Obama book later.

After seeing Chrysler’s two-minute long Super Bowl commercial for the 200c that featured the Motor City that aired five years ago, Maraniss wondered the same thing I did and decided to write a Detroit book.

Rather than focusing on the deadly 1967 riots that hastened white flight and the exit of thousands of businesses, Maraniss zooms in on a period where Detroit seemed poised to join New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles as an American Great City: the fall of 1962 through the spring of 1964. Detroit’s Big Three were building cars than ever. The city’s long unfulfilled goal of hosting the Summer Olympics finally seemed within reach. Liberal Democrat Jerome Cavanaugh, Detroit’s version of John F. Kennedy, was forward-thinking on civil rights, as was Michigan’s Republican governor, George Romney. Motown Records was enjoying its first taste of national exposure–with greater glory yet to come. The Reverend C.L. Franklin, father of Aretha Franklin, organized a Civil Rights march led by Martin Luther King; and MLK was warmly greeted at the airport by Cavanaugh’s pick for police commissioner, another liberal, George Clifton Edwards, Jr. The president of the United Auto Workers, Walter Reuther, was a prominent supporter of civil rights too.

Downtown Detroit from inside the abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant
Downtown Detroit from inside the abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant

The foundation seemed solid for what was then American’s fifth-most populous city. But there were noticeable cracks. Shortly before the International Olympic Committee vote on its choice for host city of the 1968 summer games, an open housing bill in the Detroit Common Council was overwhelmingly defeated, which led supporters of that bill to appeal to IOC members to deny Detroit the games. Local black nationalist Albert Cleage was gaining support and Malcom X spoke at a Detroit church where he condemned King’s call for non-violence in his Message to the Grass Roots address, where the few whites in the audience were forced to sit in their own section. Edwards’ push to pivot the Detroit Police Department away from its racist legacy was meeting resistance from rank-and-file cops and the DPD brass.

Interestingly, Maraniss intersperses excerpts from letters from white racists to Cavanaugh and Romney several times in Once in a Great City. He also includes a quote from  Rush Limbaugh II about where he lived “prided itself that it never allowed a Negro to live in it and no Negro lived there permanently.”

What the heck does Rush Limbaugh’s father have to do with Detroit? Nothing. However, in his Obama biography Maraniss points out many inconsistencies–or should I say lies?–within the future president’s Dreams from My Father memoir. Rather than being happy about the unexpected publicity about the book from the conservative radio host and others, Maraniss responded in anger to those attacks on a president that he supports. Which explains the author’s end-around attack on the younger Limbaugh. Such pettiness has no place in a serious book.

Michigan Bungalows in Grixdale Farms
Michigan Bungalows in Grixdale Farms

Something else happened in 1962 in Detroit that would hasten its demise, which Maraniss mentions only twice. Three months before the timeline of this book begins, Detroit’s municipal and commuter income taxes went into effect. Those are good reasons not to live or work in such a place.

Near the end of the book President Lyndon B. Johnson, after departing from Air Force One in Detroit on his way to the University of Michigan to give what became known as his Great Society Speech, offered remarks that seem comical today. “Prosperity in America must begin here in Detroit,” he told cheering crowds brought in for the occasion. “You folks in Detroit put American citizens on wheels, you have the American economy on the move. Unemployment in Detroit is down, profits are up, wages are good, and there is no problem too tough or too challenging for us to solve.”

But for LBJ Big Government was the solution to every problem. The Model Cities program, which Cavanaugh bought into big-time, was perhaps one of the biggest debacles of the Great Society.

Despite its flaws I heartily recommend this book. Because another city–Chicago perhaps, which also recently bid on an Olympics–may be the next Detroit.

Or perhaps your city is next.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I speak to Singer Shana Mahoney (who sings under the name Shalyma) At the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her web site is here Her twitter is here and her facebook page is here You can buy her music here. You can hear a sample here.

I spoke to Fr Ray Kelly at the Catholic Marketing Trade show

Their web site is here you can find him on facebook here and twitter here