Rō’bear Re’por going to the dark side

Unknown.pngDear Readers

Rō’bear is going to the Dark side for a few weeks beginning Sept. 14th. Traveling south to check out rumors of a Deep State in the Central Andes along with some fly fishing and of course observance of the daily Pisco Hour.  He will procure assistance from local personas de mala reputación y conferencistas invitados residing in Rio Blanco, Portillo & Papudo Chile  …  then hopefully return with a few stories early October to share with rŌbert devotees.

While the jefe is visiting the Dark Side you can go to the bottom of each page in the Re’por to Older Posts which will take you back in time to past stories from the bad old days.

“It’s the truth even if it didn’t happen”  Ken Kesey


The Management


Ken Burns Gets To The Heart Of ‘Country Music’ NPR & OTHER STORIES …


In attempting a comprehensive look at one of the nation’s most popular forms of music, the emphasis is less on the genre than on its most enduring figures.


Bill-Monroe-Country-Music.jpgLes Leverett Collection

With few exceptions, the titles of Ken Burns documentaries serve as their own declarative statements. The prolific documentary filmmaker’s works have long had names that are unequivocal, as if there was any doubt about the subject matter contained within. “Country Music” — like “Baseball,” “Jazz,” “The Civil War” and “Jackie Robinson” before it — presents itself as a century-spanning compendium of a particular kind of music that’s been woven into the fabric of American life. While the series itself makes a compelling case for the importance of this music to a vast number of individuals across the country, it also raises plenty of questions about who decides what gets included in that sense of appreciation.

Told over eight installments, spanning 16 hours, “Country Music” is a largely chronological examination of milestone moments and figures within the evolution of the genre. The series doesn’t stray too far from the particular Florentine house style. Peter Coyote’s dependable baritone is just as much a fuel for gravitas as ever, while the stills of early genre proprietors seem tailor-made for the sepia-toned hue of history that often fill up these runtimes. Burns operates from a high floor in how this history flows from era to era, often rewarding the patience it regularly demands.

“Country Music” gets some of its greatest insights from the behind-the-scenes players who were able to shape this area of the musical world in less obvious ways. Radio DJs, producers, and session players provide their own window into their personal histories and the legends they’ve accumulated over generations. In some cases, these alternate perspectives help to puncture some of the mythology that surrounds various transformative periods and figures in this ongoing legacy. (One session musician who played on recordings that helped to define the mid-century “Nashville Sound” discusses how the sheer volume of their output meant that even with the hits, there were plenty of forgettable misses.)

Johnny Cash at his home in California, 1960.Credit: Sony Music Archives

One intriguing wrinkle to Burns’ time-tested approach to presenting the past is having various musicians play some of the songs they discuss. From the steel guitar to the fiddle to the mandolin, these demonstrations are able to illustrate particular styles and lyrical feats that feel essential to understanding why this parade of cultural artifacts is something worth examining from a 2019 vantage point. Those who don’t pick up an instrument and start playing are still able to express their admiration for the output of their musical ancestors and contemporaries with a distinct kind of reverence.

These appreciations are often as persuasive as they are subjective. What comes across less strongly is the “Country Music” approach to the individuals themselves. As the series progresses, most of the storytelling in “Country Music” is rooted in the personalities of various sizes that came to steer the industry. Most of these people are the names likely to be etched in memorial plaques around Nashville (where Ryman Auditorium, home of the long-running Grand Ole Opry, has existed in various forms for decades) or these singer/songwriters’ hometowns.

While these people aren’t exactly deified (through conversations with their respective children, it’s clear that Hank Williams and Johnny Cash were less than exemplary father figures), there’s an outsized emphasis on single players within the broader “Country Music.” By the series’ own admission, the term “country music” is enough of an amorphous label that it makes more sense to zero in on the personal stories of people generally accepted in the genre’s canon.

Through focusing on foundational figures in country movements in Tennessee, central Texas and Bakersfield, California, there’s something of a minor subconscious tug of war happening between the various testimonials, each trying their best to get at what country music means to them in its purest form. Sometimes that manifests itself as a championing of the genre’s oral tradition, of songs as the endpoint of musical gifts passed between hills and towns. Other times, it leads to musicians extolling the virtues of country artists as the ideal form of for-the-fans entertainment anywhere in the musical landscape.

Loretta Lynn Country Music

That feeling of having to insist on the qualities of country music that it alone can claim is less compelling than the historical view of how this output has permeated different parts of society. Pointing out that Bob Dylan had a great appreciation for Cash’s oeuvre feels germane to the overall thesis of country as a kind of music with roots in many others. But there’s a vein within “Country Music” that’s insisting on country’s importance — explaining how much each of The Beatles listened to country records growing up — that gives it an unnecessary chip on its shoulder. There’s enough in the archival footage and bygone recordings to stir the kind of awe that might bring out that kind of conclusion on its own.

Burns, along with writer Dayton Duncan and producer Julie Dunfey open “Country Music” with an installment that engages with the complicated history of country music’s origins, a tradition that sometimes dealt in racial stereotypes and excluded participants along similar lines. Eventual case studies of DeFord Bailey and Charley Pride show how gatekeepers within the industry have long shaped not just who gets to be included, but the ways in which performers of color had to prove themselves worthy of the country label. There’s also an acknowledgment here that the origins of the industry of recorded country music were built on manufacturing a certain kind of authenticity and commodifying it.

If “Country Music” had followed through on that idea and looked at how the past two decades have either reframed or reinforced how current singers and audiences are following in a grander tradition, the series would be closer to the comprehensive look it’s striving to be. Instead, its closing chapter ends with the rise of Garth Brooks’ megastardom and the passing of country titans like Cash and George Jones, a final hint that “Country Music” is grounded primarily in people. It’s impossible to tell the story of country without acknowledging those individual contributions. For its running time, Burns effectively steers this wagon across country music’s diverging timelines. It’s only in retrospect that “Country Music” raises questions beyond the answers its historical sweep can offer.



Country Music Is More Diverse Than You Think ~ NYT

Common stereotypes overlook the roles that blacks and women have played in shaping a uniquely American genre.

By Ken Burns and

Mr. Burns is the director and producer of the PBS series “Country Music.” Mr. Duncan is the writer and producer of the documentary and author of its companion book.

CreditCreditPaul Rogers


This spring the rapper Lil Nas X, who is black, released “Old Town Road,” a twang-inflected song that rocketed to the top of the country music charts — even though Billboard temporarily removed it from the list, saying it wasn’t sufficiently “country.”

A few months later, when the Country Music Association announced that three women — Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood — would host its annual awards show, some people criticized the choice as political correctness, as if “real” country music was restricted to good old boys.

Both controversies reflect the stereotypes that chronically surround country music. They overlook its diverse roots, its porous boundaries and the central role that women and people of color have played in its history.


So Far, Trump Is Winning the Democratic Debates ~ NYT Op/Ed

But Elizabeth Warren has revealed herself as a formidable adversary, and the president knows it.


Mr. Buskirk is the editor and publisher of the journal American Greatness and a contributing Opinion writer.

Credit Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times


Julián Castro framed the debate almost perfectly in his opening statement: The 2020 election will be won or lost in a handful of states, starting with Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and maybe a few others like Arizona, where I live. So the question for Democrats remains what it has been all along: Who can beat President Trump in those states?

That’s the thesis for the Biden candidacy. But last night showed that while Joe Biden, the former vice president, is still the one to beat, Elizabeth Warren remains the most interesting and potentially the most formidable Democrat in the race. If Mr. Biden stumbles, Senator Warren will be ready to make her move.

There was no spontaneous clamor for a Biden candidacy. It was created. He was brought out of retirement because a lot of Democrats think he is purpose built to win those three key states. That’s why Mr. Biden didn’t have to win Thursday night’s debate outright. He just had to avoid disaster, show some signs of life and allow his supporters to continue in the belief that they can cover up his frequent gaffes and the inescapable effects of age and carry him to victory on a combination of a prodigious shower of campaign cash and a media establishment desperate to be rid of Mr. Trump.

But Mr. Biden is dogged by both Ms. Warren and her fellow senator Bernie Sanders. Mr. Sanders has plenty of money, is authentic in his beliefs and has a large but ultimately limited base of loyal supporters. He’s also widely despised by Democratic insiders. His campaign can go the distance if he wants to, but he can’t win the nomination.

The Fashion Executives Who Saved a Patagonian Paradise ~ Serria

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THE MINISTER of public lands was about to arrive, a television crew in tow, so everything had to be just right. It was 8:15 on a summer morning in February, and the office of Tompkins Conservation outside the Chilean hamlet of El Amarillo was hive-busy. The philanthropy’s controller was hunched over a laptop filled with spreadsheets. A supervisor was giving orders to groups of men in blue coveralls. Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the organization’s president, sat at a conference table toggling between a pair of laptops and her cellphone.

Aerial photo shows Patagonian mountains in Chile. The image shows rolling hills, mostly treeless, and the rocky foreground has an orange hue.

For 20 years, Tompkins worked at the outdoor-clothing company Patagonia, where she became the CEO and transformed the outfit from the backyard start-up of adventurer Yvon Chouinard into a global fashion icon. Tompkins, 69, has stayed brand loyal—she was wearing a Patagonia heather-colored fleece and red puffy jacket with bits of down poking out of a hole near the right pocket. Bowls of organic almonds and blueberries were scattered about the office, leftovers from a meeting that had taken place the day before with staff from the National Geographic Society. Outside the window stretched a postcard view of Pumalín Park: unbroken temperate rainforest climbing toward the glacier-shielded summit of the Michinmahuida volcano.

One year earlier, Tompkins and then—Chilean president Michelle Bachelet had announced an agreement under which Tompkins Conservation would donate to the Chilean government the vast swaths of land acquired by the philanthropy over the course of 25 years—and the government would, for its part, put 9 million acres of southern Chile under new protection, in the process creating five national parks and expanding three others. Now, Tompkins and her staff were racing to wrap up the final details of the deal in advance of the agreed-upon handover on April 30, 2019. The meeting with the lands minister had been scheduled to introduce him to Pumalín Park, which he had never visited but which would soon be his to manage.



“Landscape without wildlife is just scenery. What we’re doing is creating national parks as a strategy toward slowing down the extinction of species.”

In just two months, the table that Kris Tompkins and I were sitting at would be the property of the Chilean people. So would the carved panels of foxes and pumas adorning the room and the framed landscape photographs and the wood-burning stove Tompkins was now stoking. The donation to the government of Chile would also include, among other things, 15 habitable buildings, 11 outbuildings such as barns, four trucks, five dozen chainsaws, 200 shovels, one museum, a fully equipped restaurant, 740 works of fine art, and 16 telephones. Then there were the roughly 725,000 acres to establish Pumalín National Park and another 206,000 acres to create Patagonia National Park in the remote south of the country.

A brown southern caracara, with a hooked beak, looks to the side.

Combined with earlier gifts—Corcovado and Yendegaia National Parks in Chile; Monte León, Perito Moreno, and Iberá National Parks on the Argentine side of the Andes—the Tompkins Conservation donations in South America mark the largest act of wildlands philanthropy in history. Altogether, Tompkins Conservation and its partners have given away an area larger than the state of Delaware. Never before has a private organization donated fully functioning parks of such scale to national governments.

Tompkins was high off the accomplishment. “I’m still truly beaming inside that we were able to pull it off,” she told me. She also admitted to being exhausted from overseeing the myriad technicalities of the handover, including a complex, eight-part agreement governing everything from land use to wildlife conservation. “Oh my goodness, as I say, I don’t know that I would have the strength to do it again. It took everything off our hides.”

The overtime endeavor had been her response to the unexpected death of her husband, Doug Tompkins, in December 2015. Doug, founder of the outdoor-gear company the North Face and a cofounder of the clothing brand Esprit, had been on a kayaking trip on a Patagonian lake with Chouinard and other pals when his boat capsized and he succumbed to hypothermia. Kris said that losing Doug was like “an amputation.” After his death, her instinct was to fulfill their shared vision of donating the properties they had amassed during their marriage. “A week or 10 days after Doug died, I decided to pick it up and just go for it,” she said.


This is low class basura Republican politics

We have a choice: Will we let socialists like be the face of our future? Or will a new generation of conservatives step up & lead us? We’re launching New Faces GOP to help identify & support the next generation of GOP leaders. Learn more:

Drop Out, Joe Biden ~ RollingStone

Democrats need an antiracist nominee to run against a racist like Donald Trump. The third debate confirmed Biden isn’t up to the task

Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas on September 12, 2019.



Democrats need an antiracist nominee against a racist like Donald Trump. The third debate confirmed that the former vice president isn’t up to the task.

Rahm Emanuel helped Chicago police cover up Laquan McDonald’s murder for more than a year, but ABC viewers Thursday night had to listen to him say he thought Julián Castro had been too unkind to Joe Biden. Since it requires the least analysis and garners the most eyeballs, the punditry after presidential debates tends to be focused primarily upon the most tense moments, not the substantive ones. Castro, an underdog candidate who once served as President Obama’s HUD secretary, gave pundits like the disgraced former mayor considerable grist when he rather bluntly questioned the septuagenarian former vice president’s memory during a discussion about health care.

“I think for Castro — he could have made the point, he had a legitimate point, but it’s a disqualifier the way he handled it,” Emanuel said shortly after ABC began its postgame coverage. “It will come across as mean and vindictive. That’s not who he is.” (He is an expert in “mean and vindictive” himself, so feigning horror at Castro’s attack is pretty rich. Emanuel is clearly better at hiding videotapes.)

I don’t know whether people like Emanuel have forgotten whom these Democrats are preparing to run against. If Castro’s point was correct, which it seems he wasn’t, how is it disqualifying if it’s only perceived as rude? Will they spend all of the general election scolding Donald Trump for being too cruel and obnoxious to their nominee?

Perhaps they will, if it is Biden, a person whom party centrists like Emanuel are already prone to coddling. Treating the 76-year-old front-runner so delicately is arguably more insulting than questioning his mental fitness, especially considering the incumbent whom he is preparing to run against.

Donald Trump is not merely a bully, but a racist one. Bigotry has been the marrow of his presidency, so whoever hopes to face him next year will need to at least be fluent in the language of antiracism, if not be practicing it. It is not enough, as author Ibram X. Kendi writes in his new book How to Be an Antiracist, to simply claim that you “not a racist.” Democrats, particularly white liberals, have skated on that for generations. There is too much institutional cruelty for the next president to undo should a Democrat defeat Trump next fall.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

Sharpie Presidency

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I really didn’t think “Sharpiegate” would have such legs. Sure, it was a ridiculous and sloppy lie, but amid all of the Trump administration’s lies I thought it would quickly become obscured. Of course Trump digs in. Again. And again.

The beauty of the blatant lie about the NOAA map of Hurricane Dorian — and the fact it was done in such a slapdash way — is probably one of the most accessible examples of what this administration is all about. Lie. Get caught. Then lie bigger. Then smear the people (in this case career government scientists) who point out your lie.

In addition to all the Trump lies and corruption that are obscured, there are so many that are done in plain sight — in this case with a cheap sharpie marker. Haven’t these people ever heard of Photoshop? But then Trump is more about bluster and lying until people move onto something else. His lies are mostly overtaken by new events . . . and then more lies.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz and the artists they inspired ~ The Washington Post

The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō'bear Re'por)

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ByWendy Smith

Alfred Stieglitz was the most famous photographer in America, and a forceful advocate for advanced art of all kinds, when a nervous 25-year-old Paul Strand brought his photographs to Stieglitz’s influential Manhattan gallery at 291 Fifth Ave. in 1915. The work gained Strand a favored position among the acolytes dedicated to the older artist’s mission of “offering new ways to see the world.”

The Stieglitz-Strand connection was the first in the tangled weave of personal and professional ambitions anatomized in “Foursome,” Carolyn Burke’s sharp-eyed group portrait of two artistic couples.

The year after Strand arrived, Georgia O’Keeffe dispatched a roll of her charcoal sketches to 291, inspired by the gallery’s exalted atmosphere. Her swirling expressions of “a woman’s feeling” so overwhelmed Stieglitz that he put them on display without telling the artist. When she stormed in to complain, it launched a charged relationship in which O’Keeffe played…

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McConnell’s career has been built by fighting gun safety laws, and $1.3 million from the NRA ~ Daily Kos

LOUISVILLE, KY - AUGUST 06: Activists hold signs while demonstrating outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on August 6, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. Protestors from Kentucky March For Our Lives held a candlelight vigil and called on McConnell to pass legislation expanding background checks for firearms purchases in the wake of shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, like mayors all over the country, has experienced firsthand the horrors of mass shootings. The Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in his city last year shocked the nation, but not enough for Republicans to do anything about it. Peduto was in D.C. this week, meeting with senators in support of some kind of action, any kind of action, on guns. One meeting stands out for him as being the “low point of pessimism”: a meeting with Mitch McConnell.

Peduto said he and his small bipartisan group of mayors in the meeting had about three minutes with McConnell, most of which was taken up with introductions and hand-shaking. While his own senator, Republican Pat Toomey, spent time with the mayors and had a real discussion, McConnell brushed them off. “If the meeting with Sen. Toomey was a high point of optimism, the low point of pessimism would have been the meeting with Leader McConnell,” Peduto told reporters. All they got out of him is what he’s been saying publicly—that it’s all up to Trump. “If the president is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly, and I know that if we pass it it’ll become law, I’ll put it on the floor.” We don’t know what he’s telling Trump privately about what he’ll refuse to bring to the floor, with the excuse that he wouldn’t be able to pass it. But we do know McConnell’s long history of fighting gun safety laws.

Even when the massacres happen in his hometown. In 1989, during McConnell’s first Senate term, a disgruntled employee killed eight people and wounded 12 others at Louisville’s Standard Gravure printing press. McConnell said at the time that he was “deeply disturbed” and that “we must take action to stop such vicious crimes.” He also gave the line that he has been parroting for three decades since: “We need to be careful about legislating in the middle of a crisis.”mcconnellguns.jpeg


It’s It’s always too soon to be talking about saving lives from gun violence for McConnell because he’s flat-out not going to do it. There will never be a time McConnell thinks is right because he flat-out doesn’t care how many people get killed. Even tiny children. When 20 first- and second-graders and six of their teachers and staff were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, McConnell led a filibuster against the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey background check bill. Then, about an hour after the vote, his campaign took this meme that Comedy Central had created to show what a monster McConnell is, and put it on its Facebookpage, gloating over it. (It has since been taken down.)

The $1.3 million the NRA has pumped into McConnell’s coffers over the course of his career (and how much of that came from Russia?) is what matters. Nothing else. Certainly not the lives of his neighbors, his constituents, the American people, or tiny children (once they’re born)