Paul Krassner, countercultural ringmaster and leader of the Yippies, dies at 87

Author, comedian and Yippie co-founder Paul Krassner, in 2009, at his home in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. (Eric Reed/AP)

July 22 at 7:29 PM

He was a standup comedian encouraged by Lenny Bruce, a biting satirist celebrated by Kurt Vonnegut, and a swashbuckling drug enthusiast who took a “trip” with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, dropped acid before testifying at the Chicago Seven trial, and “ingested those little white tabs” with Groucho Marx in Beverly Hills.

In those heady years of 1960s radicalism and experimentation, Paul Krassner was also an irreverent ringmaster of the counterculture, known for battling censorship and decency laws, coining the term “Yippie” to describe his anarchic cohort, and founding the Realist, an influential magazine of satire and social criticism.

An FBI agent once described him in a letter to Life magazine as “a raving, unconfined nut,” a phrase that Mr. Krassner gleefully adapted for the title of his memoir. “The FBI was right,” comedian George Carlin later said. “This man is dangerous — and funny, and necessary.”

Art Neville, A New Orleans Icon, Dead At 81 ~ NPR

One of New Orleans’ iconic musicians has died. Art Neville — a founding member of both the Meters and the Neville Brothers, died Monday at age 81. His death was confirmed by his nephew Ivan Neville (the son of Art’s brother, Aaron) and his manager of two decades, Kent Sorrell. According to, he had been in declining health for years.

The keyboardist, singer and songwriter known as “Poppa Funk” was born December 17, 1937. Growing up, he loved doo-wop and the pianism of such New Orleans giants as Fats Domino and Professor Longhair. During high school, in 1953, he joined a group called the Hawketts. Just a year later, at age 17, he sang lead vocals on the Hawketts’ version of a country tune called “Mardi Gras Mambo.” It became a carnival classic.

Neville soon joined the Navy, and served in the late 1950s and early ’60s. But he didn’t give up his musical dreams: Even during his time in the service, he recorded a string of R&B singles. By the middle of the 1960s, he led a band called Art Neville and the Neville Sounds, a group which legendary New Orleans producer, pianist, singer and songwriter Allen Toussaint tapped as house musicians for his label, Minit. Soon, the Neville Sounds were renamed the Meters.

As the late Toussaint told Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross in 1988, Art Neville was “a natural leader because every time he’s ever put a band together, it’s been very special and very unique. And the Meters was no exception, of course.”

With songs like “Fire on the Bayou” and “Cissy Strut,” the Meters became popular both in New Orleans and much further afield. They toured Europe and North America with the Rolling Stones; Paul McCartney hired them to perform at one of his album release parties. In 2018, The Meters were given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammys, which cited the band as “the founding fathers of funk … Their trademark sound of syncopated layered percussion intertwined with gritty grooves on guitar, bass, and organ, blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe that is regarded as one of the most influential in music history.”

By the late ’70s, Art Neville — along with brothers Aaron singing, the late Charles on saxophone and drummer Cyril — had joined forces to record with their uncle George “Jolly” Landry on his 1976 album The Wild Tchoupitoulas. It gave the siblings the springboard to form their own band: the Neville Brothers.

The group became a New Orleans institution. They were such an epitome of the city that for years, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival closed out with a Neville Brothers set.

The Neville Brothers released their last studio album in 2004, and took part in a farewell concert in New Orleans in 2015. Most recently, he had been performing as a founder of the funky METERS, a band that brought him back together with two of his longtime collaborators: original Meters bassist George Porter Jr., and a former guitarist for the Neville Brothers, Brian Stoltz. Last December, Art Neville announcedhis retirement.

Trump is building a chaos machine ~ The Washington Post

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Opinion writer
July 22 at 1:13 PM

In 2016, it was common for everyone watching the presidential campaign — operatives, pundits, journalists, voters — to remark that the whole thing was just crazy. Donald Trump had smashed all the spoken and unspoken rules about how a mature democracy was supposed to conduct an election, leaving much of the country shaking their heads in wonder, alternately amused and bemused, when perhaps more of us should have reacted with horror and panic.

But that was nothing. For his 2020 reelection campaign, Trump is building an engine of chaos. That engine has the president at its head but will also rely on the efforts of his allies, the media outlets that have devoted themselves to his cause, and in all likelihood more help from abroad, especially the Russian government.

All these participants will try to convince voters that Trump has been an excellent president who deserves reelection, but alongside that straightforward attempt at persuasion will be a comprehensive and far-reaching effort to sow mayhem and madness across the entire political landscape so that lies swallow truth and nobody has any idea what to think.

That effort is just beginning to roll, but we can already see it at work in the political story of the moment.

Right now Trump is whipping up racist animosity against four Democratic congresswomen while simultaneously arguing that his attacks have nothing to do with race. When, for instance, he argues that he never spoke about them with the aid of talking points, though there are photographs of him holding the talking points, it’s hard not to think he’s trying to send the media chasing one bizarre lie after another, to drive us all mad.

He’s also fabricating and distorting quotes the congresswomen allegedly said, and those are being repeated and magnified on the news outlets that have devoted themselves to Trump’s service.

You know about Fox News, and you may know about the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative company that requires many of its stations to air pro-Trump commentary. But there’s also the One America News Network, a more recent addition to the cable dial that is almost comically pro-Trump, which he has repeatedly promoted on Twitter.

Kevin Poulsen of the Daily Beast reports on this colorful aspect of OANN’s coverage:

If the stories broadcast by the Trump-endorsed One America News Network sometimes look like outtakes from a Kremlin trolling operation, there may be a reason. One of the on-air reporters at the 24-hour network is a Russian national on the payroll of the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik.

That’s right, a “reporter” who is literally on the Kremlin payroll works at a news network endorsed by Trump, where he airs stories alleging bizarre conspiracy theories, including one claiming that “Hillary Clinton is secretly bankrolling antifa through her political action committee.”

Meanwhile, BuzzFeed reports that major Republican donors with ties to Ukraine are still working with Rudolph W. Giuliani in an effort to convince that country to help dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

Now let’s step back for a moment. One of the things that emerged from the Mueller investigation was that the joint effort by the Russian government and the Trump campaign was not a “conspiracy” in the way the movies have taught us to think about it, a tightly choreographed and highly efficient operation. They both pursued the same goal, but in many ways it was haphazard and ad hoc, involving a lot of people of varying levels of knowledge and competence.

If anything, the 2020 Trump reelection effort will likely be even more randomly organized, a seething carbuncle of misinformation oozing out in all directions. Some of it will come directly from Trump himself, some will come from his campaign, some will come from the army of trolls and bots that Russia will likely employ on his behalf once again. At times it will seem formless and random, with no clear intent other than the creation of mass confusion and uncertainty.

Much of it will be directed at the Democratic nominee, whoever it is, a cloud of conspiracy theories and ludicrous allegations intended to follow them wherever they go. And while I’m sure the Trump campaign will be happy if it can create a new version of But Her Emails, a single unifying attack that the mainstream media enthusiastically amplify, the Trump campaign may be almost as happy just to create that cloud.

As of yet we’ve seen no evidence that either the Democratic Party or the media themselves have any idea how to to deal with that kind of campaign. They’re both still built for a more “normal” affair, in which the two sides offer biographical stories and policy arguments, and yes, there is deception and demagoguery from time to time, but it’s kept within reasonable limits and we’re able to maintain something resembling an agreement on what’s true and what isn’t.

Now imagine it’s October of 2020. Every day, Trump comes out with some preposterous new lie about the Democratic nominee, making up things they supposedly said and did. As soon as he does so, the lies are pushed through every arm of the conservative media and repeated by Republican politicians. And while news organizations are dutifully writing their factual rebuttals, Trump debuts another, even more preposterous lie a day later.

Meanwhile, voters’ social media feeds are inundated with fake organizations and fake people offering a dizzying array of misinformation, leaving them stumbling from one supposed blockbuster revelation to the next and utterly unable to figure out what is real. The whole thing begins to take on a feeling of madness, where the only safe harbor lies is in the tribe that offers you belonging and the conviction that the people you hate are even worse than you thought.

That’s what’s coming. And it hasn’t even begun.

Monsoon update from Joe Ramey, Mountain Weather Master and former meterologist with the NWS

Remember me? Climate is nearly always more interesting in the rear view mirror. It has been a very interesting year so far with the startling cool wet winter and spring that completely erased drought from Colorado. Now we have this overdue monsoon that has dried all those early-season grasses into kindling. Monsoon seasons too are best resolved in the rear view mirror. Perhaps we will say the third week in July was the beginning.
At the NWS offices here in GJ and down in southern NM, we had an adage: the monsoonal moisture won’t get pulled up into the Rockies until mountain snow melt is complete. The idea is, it is difficult to create a Four-Corners thermal Low while the sun’s regional energy is still being used to transition ice to water and vapor. And since Low pressure sucks, its hard to suck in the subtropical moisture without it.
So I was surprised in late June when the CPC outlook showed above normal precipitation chances for western Colorado while the high-mountain snowpack was still impressively deep and the 10-day forecast models still looked dry. Since I had no finger on the pulse I thought those climate guys must be onto something interesting. Well we are still waiting for something interesting.
The new one and three month outlook is no longer excited about the Southwest monsoon.


But there is some reason for hope. The vast majority of the mountain snowpack is in the rivers and the wee rest will follow shortly. The weather pattern turns more favorable: the subtropical High has been suppressed to our south but begins to rebound northward this weekend as a trough comes in off the Pacific. So this will produce a S-SW flow. There is an inverted trough that looks to work up from Mexico next week perhaps up into western Colorado by mid-week. This could bring deep moisture with it. Of course that will render my swamp cooler useless here in GJ so I will venture out in the early morning only. Lets hope it happens! Water is life.
Hope your summers are going well.
Joe Ramey

Late Night Skewers Trump Over ‘Send Her Back’ Rally Chant

“Merriam-Webster dictionary tweeted that the most searched-for words following President Trump’s campaign rally last night were racism, fascism and xenophobia,” Seth Meyers said on Thursday. ”Well, at the rally, that was the calendar of events.”

By Trish Bendix

Welcome to Best of Late Night, a rundown of the previous night’s highlights that lets you sleep — and lets us get paid to watch comedy. If you’re interested in hearing from The Times regularly about great TV, sign up for our Watching newsletter and get recommendations straight to your inbox.

The hosts pounced on President Trump’s response to criticism of his Wednesday rally in North Carolina, where people in the crowd chanted “send her back” — referring to Ilhan Omar, the Somali-born congresswoman from Minnesota. Trump later claimed he’d tried to stop the chant; the hosts raised their eyebrows at that, as well as his remark at the rally that he had “nothing to do.”

“He started the rally saying he had plenty of time because he had ‘nothing to do.’ That might be the first factual statement he’s made since becoming president.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“Nothing to do? The guy is president of the United States and he sounds like your buddy who just got laid off. ‘Where’s the party at, bro? It’s Tuesday morning and I’ve got nothing to do!’” — TREVOR NOAH

‘Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?’ ~ NYT Op/Ed

Voters have reason to worry.

President Trump in June at the launch of his 2020 campaign in Orlando, Fla.
Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times


I’m struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, “Trump’s going to get re-elected, isn’t he?” And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I think a lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard there. I was.

I was shocked that so many candidates in the party whose nominee I was planning to support want to get rid of the private health insurance covering some 250 million Americans and have “Medicare for all” instead. I think we should strengthen Obamacare and eventually add a public option.

I was shocked that so many were ready to decriminalize illegal entry into our country. I think people should have to ring the doorbell before they enter my house or my country.

I was shocked at all those hands raised in support of providing comprehensive health coverage to undocumented immigrants. I think promises we’ve made to our fellow Americans should take priority, like to veterans in need of better health care.

The Gold King Mine Has Been Leaking Since 2015. Here’s What To Know About What Comes Next ~ Interview with old friend Jonathan Thompson

Water flows through a series of sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident outside Silverton, Colo., in this August 2015 photo.Brennan Linsley/AP
Water flows through a series of sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident outside Silverton, Colo., in this August 2015 photo.

In August 2015, the Gold King Mine blew out.

When it did, more than 3 million gallons of orange wastewater spilled into the Animas River in southern Colorado.

The accident occurred at an inactive mine where polluted water had been accumulating for years before an Environmental Protection Agency crew accidentally released it during cleanup work.

The EPA declared the mine, and 46 others near it, a superfund site. Since then, the agency has been waging fights over who is going to clean up the site — and who is responsible.

The water has led to environmental hazards that some say have severely hurt fish and wildlife populations in the river.

Sunnyside Gold Corp. has spent millions of dollars trying to clean up the site. This month, it told the EPA it won’t carry out the cleanup work ordered by the agency.

Jonathan Thompson is the author of a book on the disaster. Here’s what he said you need to know about the mine.




This interview has been edited for clarity.

What’s the latest?

The EPA recently ordered the Sunnyside Gold Corp. to do some drilling work to investigate where the water originates to help with cleanup. But just a few days ago, Sunnyside Gold sent a letter to the EPA essentially saying, “No, we’re not going to do it.”

What’s their rationale for refusing?

Back in 1992 when Sunnyside Gold Corp. closed their mine and started cleaning up, the company came to an agreement with Colorado that they would plug the mine and do a certain amount of cleanup.

Sunnyside Gold also agreed to clean up unrelated, neighboring mines to offset the pollution in the river. In a way, they were like pollution credits.

The company spent well over $20 million on clean-up. Now they’re basically saying, “Look, we came to this agreement with the state — the EPA signed off on the agreement — and we did everything that we were supposed to do.”

So what’s the next step?

We’ll it’s going to be another court battle, likely. So far, it has been the subject of a number of ongoing lawsuits. This is just going to add to that legal quagmire. In the meantime, it’s just going to delay progress on the superfund cleanup.

Do you foresee the cleanup will eventually finish?

It will take place, it’s going to take a long time. And that’s not totally surprising. Superfund designations tend to be very long, drawn out processes. Don’t expect them to wrap up the cleanup any time in the next 10 years, maybe not the next 20.

What are the detrimental effects to the environment?

Mostly it’s to aquatic life: bugs and fish. It’s bad for them. We’ve seen that dramatically on the Animas River, where the mine spilled into. The number of species of fish downstream for maybe 40 miles downstream has declined.

Are people threatened by these kinds of spills?

Not necessarily. People were certainly affected because they had to close the river and they had to shut off irrigation ditches. And it was also emotionally and psychologically traumatic for people, to see the river turn that color. As far as health effects go, there wasn’t enough lead or mercury in the spilled water to really affect human health, and many wastewater treatment facilities downstream are able to clean these things out.