Daily Archives: January 3, 2010

Sunday Night Music Byte

Black 47 is a Celtic rock band made up of Irish expatriates, formed in the Bronx, by Larry Kirwan and Chris Byrne in 1989. Their name is derived from 1847, the worst year of the Great Irish Famine. It began as a two-piece with Larry Kirwan on vocals and electric guitar and Chris Byrne on whistles. Their first performance was in the Bronx on October 2, 1989. During the first year a horn section was added with Fred Parcells on trombone and Geoffrey Blythe on saxophones. Later they were joined by Thomas Hamlin on drums.

In 1991 the band released an eponymous independent album.

The Cars’ Ric Ocasek produced “Fire of Freedom” their first major label release in 1993. “Home of the Brave” followed in 1994 with Jerry Harrison serving as producer. In 1996 the band shifted from EMI to Mercury Records. They released “Green Suede Shoes”.

In their tenth year together, Black 47 released a limited edition compilation “Ten Bloody Years” and their first live recording “Live In New York City” which took place in the now defunct Wetlands nightclub.

In 2000, founding member Chris Byrne left the band to focus on his solo music project Seanchaí and the Unity Squad.

Black 47 have made television appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Gay Byrne’s Late Late Show in Ireland.

Tonight’s video clip is of the Black 47 song, “Bobby Sands MP”.

Robert Gerard Sands (Irish: Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh), commonly known as Bobby Sands, (9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981), was an Irish Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteer and member of the United Kingdom Parliament who died on hunger strike while in HM Prison Maze (also known as Long Kesh).

He was the leader of the 1981 hunger strike, in which Irish republican prisoners protested against the removal of Special Category Status. During his strike he was elected as a member of the United Kingdom Parliament as an Anti H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner candidate. His death resulted in a new surge of IRA recruitment and activity. The international media coverage brought attention to the hunger strikers, and the Republican movement in general, attracting both praise and criticism.

Irish Republican prisoners had organised a series of protests seeking to regain their previous Special Category Status and not be subject to ordinary prison regulations. This started with the “blanket protest” in 1976, when the prisoners refused to wear prison uniform and wore blankets instead. In 1978, after a number of attacks on prisoners leaving their cells to “slop out” (i.e., empty their chamber pots), this escalated into the dirty protest, where prisoners refused to wash and smeared the walls of their cells with excrement.

The 1981 Irish hunger strike started with Sands refusing food on 1 March 1981. Sands decided that other prisoners should join the strike at staggered intervals in order to maximise publicity with prisoners steadily deteriorating successively over several months.

The hunger strike centred around the “Five Demands”:

  1. the right not to wear a prison uniform;
  2. the right not to do prison work;
  3. the right of free association with other prisoners, and to organise educational and recreational pursuits;
  4. the right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
  5. full restoration of remission lost through the protest.

The significance of the hunger strike was the prisoners’ aim of being declared as political prisoners (or prisoners of war) and not to be classed as criminals.

Three weeks later, Sands died in the prison hospital after 66 days of hunger-striking, aged 27. The original pathologist’s report recorded Sands’ and the other hunger strikers’ causes of death as “self-imposed starvation”, later amended to simply “starvation” after protests from the dead strikers’ families. The coroner recorded verdicts of “starvation, self-imposed”.

The announcement of his death prompted several days of riots in nationalist areas of Northern Ireland. A milkman and his son, Eric and Desmond Guiney, died as a result of injuries sustained when their milk float crashed after being stoned by rioters in a predominantly nationalist area of north Belfast. Over 100,000 people lined the route of Sands’ funeral and he was buried in the ‘New Republican Plot’ alongside 76 others. Their grave is maintained and cared for by the National Graves Association, Belfast Sands was a Member of the Westminster Parliament for 25 days, though he never took his seat or the oath.

In response to a question in the House of Commons on 5 May 1981, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “Mr. Sands was a convicted criminal. He chose to take his own life. It was a choice that his organisation did not allow to many of its victims”. The official announcement of Sands’ death in the House of Commons omitted the customary expression of sense of loss and sympathy with the family of the member. Nine other IRA and Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) members who were involved in the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike also died after Sands.

Bobby Sands was survived by his parents, siblings, and a young son (Gerard) from his marriage to Geraldine Noade.

Sunday Morning Coffee (or Tea) – 23

Just of few noteworthy news bits and comments thereon from this past week.

BREAKING NEWS: Those sneaky Republican candidates are playing dirty tricks on their brain-dead supporters once again. This time it is Carly Fiorina the senatorial candidate from California that is being less than honest. You remember Fiorina don’t you? She was the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard that was fired as the result of nearly running the company into the ground. Having had enough with the ups and downs of the private sector, this failed corporate exec has decided to run for public office and live off of her state taxpayers’ dime. CNN reports that last week she sent a mass email which falsely indicated thereon that it was personally written and sent from Fiorina’s personal Blackberry. The smoking gun was that the e-mail also had embedded links and a campaign FEC disclaimer inside a box; both functions are not available on a BlackBerry. Does Fiorina really believe that her supporters are stupid enough to believe that she personally sends all of them emails from her personal Blackberry? Then again, if they support Fiorina they must be stupid.

THIS JUST IN: Speaking of liars, Ann Coulter was up to his old tricks again this week on the Fox network. While guesting on The Glenn Beck Show, he repeated the oft refuted lie that President Barack Obama attended madrassas as a child. This Coulter guy has got to come up with some new material if he wants to remain in the spotlight.

BREAKING NEWS: This week’s edition of “This Is News But It Is No Surprise” features the “Turd Blossom” himself, Karl Rove. It was announced on December 29th that Rove is now divorced. Really, did anybody truly believe that this triple-chinned nerd was man enough to be anyone’s husband for long?

THIS JUST IN: Nutjob right-wing radio comedian Rush Limbaugh was “rushed” to Queen’s Medical Center in Hawaii last Wednesday after having suffered from severe chest pains. Fill in host Walter Williams said, “the chest pains Limbaugh experienced can be an indicator of a cardiac event, but the cause of his discomfort cannot be confirmed at this time.” A cardiac event? How can an uneducated, adulterous, drug addicted, racist, Viagra chewing windbag have a cardiac event? He has no heart.

BREAKING NEWS: The Political Carnival has posted this delicious email message sent by Team Sarah to its members regarding Rush Limbaugh‘s hospitalization. Please pay close attention to the spelling and grammar. You would think that Sarah Palin penned this message herself.

A message to all members of Team Sarah


I come to you this evening with serious news about a great American who needs our prayers.

Rush Limbaigh, champion of values such as life, liberty, and the free market, was rushed to the hospital in Hawaii this evening and, according to reports, may be in “serious” condition.

Appranetly, pramedics were called when Rush complained of chest pains and he has been taken to an area hospital.

Members of Team Sarah in the Rush Limbaugh Fans for Sarah Group are following this and you can visit their group to learn more or to offer your own thoughts.

May God be with Ruish Limbaugh and his friends and family, and at this critical hour when voices such as his are refreshing and badly needed, may God be with his fans and the nation.

May Rush recover quickly,

Bill Collier
Team sarah Governace

PS we will be monitering this story and will, hopefully, be sending you and update when we learn that Rush is recovering.

Oh, Bill please, please, please send us those updates. What better way to start the new year than with a few laughs?

THIS JUST IN: CNN has published the New Year’s resolutions of many Washington insiders but former Massachusetts governor, Mitt “Mittwit” Romney’s is the best:

I need to relax more. I’m going to start by loosening my tie before I got to bed.

BREAKING NEWS:  Rush Limbaugh has been discharged from the hospital and declares that the American health care system is terrific:

Again, the treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer. And I — I — based on what happened to me, I don’t think there’s one thing wrong with the American health care system. It’s working just fine, just dandy.

And I got nothing special. I got no treatment other than what anybody else that would have called 911 and been brought in with the same kinds of symptoms. The care was extensive, it was personal, and it was complete, and it was very confidence-inspiring. And I never once I — once I got here had any fears, because of the manner in which I was treated.

Once again however, the uneducated, adulterous, drug addicted racist has missed the point entirely. The efforts at health care reform are not directed primarily at the quality of medical services, but rather at the private insurance industry’s system of limiting coverage and delivery of those services to millions of citizens. By the way, he was silent as to what his diagnosis was or what may have prompted those chest pains. Mysteriously, a Hawaiian television station’s website has been scrubbed of the initial statement that he was taking medication for his back. What type of medication? More on this story can be found at The Political Carnival here. Enquiring minds want to know.

Mockingbird song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeOqD3uMIRs&feature=related


(sung to the Carly Simon/James Taylor song “Mockingbird”)

Talk (yeah) ing (yeah) turd (yeah)
Yeah (yeah)
Talking Turd

Now, everybody sure has heard
Rush Limbaugh the big fat talking turd
That loudmouth talking turd is king
Of all those racists in the right-wing
But those in the right-wing front line
Are busy planning for their next hate crime
And that’s why I keep on tellin’ everybody
Say yeah, yeah whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, oh

Hear me now and understand
Rush lives only to hate and malign
And if ratings decline someday
Limbaugh will spread hate in another way
And if that other way makes dough
He’ll ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that’s why I keep on shoutin’ in your ear
Say yeah, yeah whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, oh

(musical interlude)

Now, everyone should doubt his word
Rush Limbaugh is just a talking turd
And when that talking turd does sing
We can tell he’s just a ding-a-ling
And when that ding-a-ling just whines
Yes, Republicans will still think he shines
And there’s a reason why I keep on tellin’ everybody
Say yeah, yeah no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

Listen now and understand
Rush Limbaugh surely has lost his mind
And though he drugged his mind away
The right-wing nuts still listen everyday
Like Sarah Palin and that Plumber, Joe
He’s a dead fish that just “goes with the flow”
And that’s the reason why he keeps on spreadin’ all that fear
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, now, now, baby