Benny's World

Friday, May 26, 2006

New Look for Benny's World

Greetings Lurkers and Readers,

Today I had to change the template for Benny's World. I was forced to do it. I tried adding another cool thing for the side bar, and somehow, when I did it and tried to reindex, Blogger crashed on me, and it caused a permanent problem whereby the formatting was totally screwed up. I tried to be troubleshoot, but my efforts proved fruitless. Thus, the only way to save the blog was to choose a new template.

I regret that I do not have a blogroll at this time and it will be awhile before I get that back up, along with some blogads. As we all know, free software is great, but the downside is there is little or no technical support. I'm far from understanding XML code. Everything I had --I borrowed code from someone else--with this new template, I will have to go to other sites and observe what is being done and borrow again. It will take time.

Meantime, I apologize to those who have linked me to your site and I cannot do so in return--but I will work on it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Network of Spiritual Progressives in DC Last Week

Two OAC bloggers and with great blogs of their own, attended the Network of Spiritual Progressives Conference last week in DC. Rather than re-cap their blogs, I am posting links to both of their blogs and you can read for yourself. Scroll down for both on their sites.


They got to mingle with some real cool folks: Ray McGovern, the guy who called Rummy on the carpet for his "truthiness"; Jim Wallis, the author of God's Politics: Why the Left Don't Get It and the Right is Wrong ; and Cindy Sheehan, my 2005 change agent choice.

JRE: Not Looking Back

From the KC Star blog (hat-tip to NC Dem for this):

In Kansas City Wednesday afternoon to stump for a bump in the minimum wage,John Edwards pointed to a litany of issues bedeviling the country:

Health care. Poverty. Iraq. Spiking gas prices. Hurricane Katrina.

President Bush, he said, "doesn't have the respect of the American people."

So the question I put to him in an interview after his talk at a Midtown union hall was: In your private moments, do you ever look back and wonder how you managed to lose to this guy in 2004?

The 2004 vice-presidential nominee wasn't biting.

"Well, actually, what I wake up thinking about these days is what should we do about people who live in poverty? What should we do about people who don't have health care coverage? And (I think about) so many middle-class families like the one I grew up in who are struggling to surivive every day.

"Because we're better than this. America can do better than this."

And that was that.

JRE, I agree. We have too many problems to solve that our current president ignores.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The New Outlaws of Country Music

Back in the 70's, Willie Nelson, Jessie Coulter, and Waylon Jennings called themselves the Outlaws. One of the reasons is that they decided they didn't have to live in Music City to make music and didn't have to be married to the Establishment anymore. Willie moved back to Texas and through him, a whole new progressive country-- grassroots type-- music flourished around Austin and Kerrville. PBS's Austin City Limits was born and is still kickin' with artists of all kinds, but mainly ones who were influenced by Willie and Waylon. Some of my favorite artists were part of that movement such as Nancy Griffith, Lyle Lovett, and Joe Ely.

Some of these outlaws' kids have grown up and in some instances, have become the new Outlaws. In the case of Joe Ely and his band which included Lloyd Maines, a very fine musician, one of the daughters of Maines, Natalie, joined the Dixie Chicks in the 90's and they have become a very successful band.

Dixie Chicks have been the subject of controversy in the past 2 years, after Maines said she was embarrassed her President was from her state of Texas on the eve of the Iraq War. Uh-oh. Talkin' about politics. Many country music fans who generally are supporters of the Republican party, got angry, called Clear Channels and a few other radio station chains, or even locals, and requested they not play Dixie Chicks any more. CD sales went down and even death threats were sent to Maines. They backed off and went into the "Easy Silence" (one of the tunes on their new CD).

But the Chicks are back--and I think they will rebound big. They are on this week's Time magazine cover. They did an interview with 60 Minutes, which looked a bit biased to me, and just kept attacking Maines. She fought back, and decided to be, just like their new release, "Not Ready to Make Nice." Their new CD, Taking the Long Way, is terrific. It's a very personal album for them, but also it is about the hypocracy of many country music critics, listeners, and has a very progressive viewpoint. Lots of social commentary, especially "Lubbock or Leave it". That song has angered a lot of Texas Techans. I am TTU grad, and that song doesn't offend me in the least. I am from Lubbock too. My only comment is that the music, which is very Joe Ely/Lloyd Maines influenced, overshadows the singing and the words aren't easy to understand unless you read them as you listen. The title cut and "Not Ready to Make Nice" do resonate with me.

The Dixie Chicks are the new outlaws of country music. And it's great that they are "taking the long way" around all of the hypocracy. Long time listeners of country music can choose not to buy their music or play it on their damn Clear Channel stations. The Chicks know there is a new audience out there. Progressives are buying their music, via iTunes, Circuit City, Target, or other places. But whoever thought progressive country music would take on a new meaning in our country.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Elizabeth Edwards Speaks at PDF

Personal Democracy Forum finally releases podcast of Elizabeth's talk from last Monday.

Elizabeth mentions me by name in her talk in the discussion about the chat room on OAC.

Thanks, EAE. I agree with the audience you are a maverick!

Hat-tip to Ed Cone, who Elizabeth and John have connected with about blogs and ideas, and he is fondly mentioned in the Tar Heel Tavern group. Recently, I have been blogging on his site too.

Update: I posted a synopsis of the podcast at JREG.