SEP 25, 2012 - (Photo credit: CC/JayUzi) The classic southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, known through the years for using the Confederate flag on their album covers and onstage, have finally decided to stop using the flag as a symbol onstage and on any further albums. The current members sat down with Fredricka of CNN for a "Face to Face" interview (watch below) and spoke about the band's evolution and the decision to stop using the Confederate flag that is so highly offensive to many people. One of the original founding members, Gary Rossington, says in the video, “Through the years, people like the KKK and skinheads kinda kidnapped the Dixie or Southern flag from its tradition and the heritage of the soldiers, that’s what it was about. We didn’t want that to go to our fans or show the image like we agreed with any of the race stuff or any of the bad things.” The decision has angered some of their fans, and have accused them of "selling out" or being "too politically correct". One note, the "flag" they always have used over the years is actually the the "battle flag of the Army of Tennessee", not the CSA National Flag. This is what the actual CSA Flag looks like (well the main one, they went through 3 versions):
Personally, I feel it is about time. I will admit, I was a huge Lynyrd Skynyrd fan growing up in Virginia in my teens, and I unfortunately have to admit I also hung a confederate flag in my room next to their poster. Later, when I realized how offensive and horrible it looked, I took it down and haven't displayed one for 30 years. I support their decision. It's a shame for them to be caught up in this, because in their early years they wrote some good, progressive songs, such as "Things Goin' On" about poverty and the ghettos; and then of course the gun control song, "Saturday Night Special" saying "Lert's dump 'em all people, to the bottom of the sea". In the song "All I Can Do Is Write About It", Ronnie laments about over-development and the environmental impact: "Cuz when I see the concrete, a slowly creeping, Lord take me and mine before that comes." "The Ballad of Curtis Loew" was a song against racism.
Also, Lynyrd Skynyrd was booked to play the Republican National Convention in Tampa, but Hurricane Isaac forced them to cancel. It came up that two of the band members are "Democrats" and were kind of upset about the possible gig and it caused a little stir in the band, but they aren't breaking up or anything. It was mostly for a concert for wounded soldiers that was going to take place in Liberty Plaza that they wanted to play for, not the politics Gary Rossington told ABC News. Below is the CNN Interview:
SEP 24, 2012 - Tomorrow, September 25, 2012, will be National Voter Registration Day. JTMP urges everyone to register to vote, and Get Out and Vote! Even if you think you are registered, it is a good idea to verify and update your voting registration information, and to check out and new voter ID state laws that may require you to bring a photo ID or some form of identification. JTMP is totally against these voter suppression efforts, but for now let's make sure your vote is heard. Meanwhile, we urge you to contact your elected officials and tell them to stop these voter suppression efforts such as voter ID laws.
Usher has gotten together with Our Time and made a PSA video urging his fans and others to take part in the political process. In the video he says, "When you really understand the effective change that happens as a result of coming together, pooling an effort, that is when you begin to see the difference. This is when your voice really matters. This is the time that you should engage. This is the time when you can make a difference." Register to VOTE on Our Time's website by clicking here. Host an event and register voters in your area! To find out how, check out the National Voter Registration Day website HERE, and watch the Usher video below.
SEP 24, 2012 - JTMP took part in the International Observe the Moon Night, where millions of people gathered around the world to observe the moon through telescopes, mostly comprised of amateurs in their backyard with small telescopes. The event hoped to spark interest in observing the moon, stars, and other celestial objects, and also to generate support funding for the sciences which is so important as a nation, which JTMP supports fully.
Also, the event was dedicated to Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the moon and who passed away recently. The moon is one of the most recognizable, familiar and easy objects to observe with a telescope, and it is always a good starting point for beginners to start their astronomical hobby. But, not on a full moon as one would suspect, but on the "quarters". A full moon is too bright and the details are washed out. Twice a month, the moon has phases called "quarters", and it is much better to view the moon. So, we all gathered on September 22, 2012 on the third quarter of this month's lunar phase, and pointed our telescopes skyward. Find out more on http://observethemoonnight.org/.
If you are considering getting a telescope and looking at the moon, just make sure you get familiar with the telescope in the daytime, and set it up correctly and align the small finder scope with the large telescope; you can find out how here. If you get the alignment done before you go out at night, you will have better success. JTMP urges our followers to contact their state and federal representatives, and urge them to protect and expand funding for sciences in our classrooms, universities and government programs. Watch the video of my moon viewing here, but for better clarity get an amateur telescope yourself and check out the moon and stars!
SEP 21, 2012 - Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, who was chased out of his party by extremist Tebaggers, joined Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder at an Obama fundraiser in Florida this week. They and others were at the home of songwriter Eddie DeBartolo Jr., and Eddie Vedder even sang a few songs. He said, "This is the most songs I have ever played with a suit on!" Read more on Tampa Bay Times. (Photo credit: CC/Metal Chris)
SEP 21, 2012 - Burma's (or "Myanmar's) Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been a champion of democracy and free speech in her country, is currently on a US tour, meeting with President Barack Obama and others. During a recent Town Hall event by Amnesty International, she defended Pussy Riot and called for their release saying, "I don't see why people should not sing whatever they want to sing." Read more about it on NBC News, and watch the entire Town Hall video and Take Action on Amnesty International's website by going here.
AUG 20, 2012 - John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, and of course Neil Young, along with Tim Reynolds, Kenny Chesney, Jack Johnson, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jamey Johnson, ALO, Pegi Young and the Survivors, and others will play music in support of small American farmers in Hershey, PA this Saturday 22, 2012. Watch the LIVE webcast - Saturday, 8PM-11PM EST - streamed on the Farm Aid website by clicking here.
Farmers have been hit hard by not only large agri-businesses pushing them out of the market, but also drought has devastated their crops this year. Farm Aid states their one mission is "keeping family farmers on their land", but they have also expanded to include the "Good Food Movement" that promotes "Honest, real food grown by people who care about their land, their community, and their future." They show how when you buy locally-grown produce, more of the money stays in the hands of the small farmers.
SEP 20, 2012 - DEVO has come out with a "political" song called "Don't Roof Rack Me Bro! (Seamus Unleashed)", even though they say it is more of a statement against Romney, and not necessarily in support of President Obama. Jerry Casale of DEVO comes at it from more of an animal lover angle, which many people are, and we were all absolutely horrified when we learned Mitt Romney put his dog Seamus in a doggie cage, strapped it to the roof of his car, and drove hundreds of miles with the poor critter in terror for hours.
Jerry Casale tells Rolling Stone, "This isn't a red-state thing or Devo stumping for Obama," he says. "But I think any animal lover that hears the story will learn so much about the character flaw of Romney. It's just a deal-breaker about the man. My God, the world is a scary place with seven billion people. What you want in a leader is a guy with some humanity at his core. I just don't feel that Mitt does."
RS also asked Jerry if he approved of President Obama's job performance for the past 3 years, and he said, "No!" he says. "Absolutely not. Devo are not naive people. If anyone still thinks that the President of the United States of America runs things, they really live in the Wizard of Oz-land. My God, we're a plutocracy. We're owned and leveraged by global corporations." Read more on RS here, and watch DEVO's music video of "Don't Roof Rack Me Bro!" below.
AUG 13, 2012 - During a live broadcast of his meeting with the United Russia party, Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev came out in favor of freeing Pussy Riot saying the action made him sick, but keeping them in prison would be "counterproductive". He added, "In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody." Read more on HuffPo here.
AUG 12, 2012 - Last week at the DNC Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, musical activist James Taylor performed live on stage in support of President Obama and even said to the crowd, "I don't get it. I'm an old white guy, and I love Barack Obama!" and the crowd erupted into cheers. Watch some video clips below of James from the DNC Convention below, from his remarks, to his performance.
AUG 12, 2012 - The musical activist group calling themselves "Guitarmy" that is closely allied with the worldwide Occupy Movement have plans all this week for special actions and concerts in New York, from marches to bring attention to the plight of the 99%, to protesting the Spectra "Fracking" gas pipeline. Tom Morello and even street musicians will all unite and push for the 99%.
Guitarmy also responded to the moronic comment by Jay-Z the other day when he said about the Occupy Movement, "“I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want? Do you know?” Guitarmy posted this on their website in response:
"We have spent one year on the streets organizing for exactly the things Jay rapped about in his early days, ending urban poverty, ending Stop & Frisk and police use of lethal force, of returning dignity and hope to the everyday people of New York City. These are simple civil rights issues we know Jay-Z must support, and we would love to help open his heart and mind to the work Occupy has helped do in his own former communities.
On SEPTEMBER 28th we will arrive at his sold-out Barclays concert to lovingly show Jay-Z what we want and how he can help: by encouraging his fans to take action for social justice in their communities, schools, workplaces, and homes.
Join us September 28 at Barclays at 6pm for an Occupy Wall Street teach-in and musical performance. Let’s be a sincere answer to Jay’s question. In turn we will ask on of him, one Florence Reece wrote in the 1930s and still matters now, “Which Side Are You On?”"
For more information on Guitarmy and all their events, check out their website here.