Now this is my idea of a handsome stamp. So elegant. So iconic. So perfectly American. And so sad and so rabidly ironic that it was released one week into the Trump Administration with the Constitution in flames and our democracy on a roller coaster careening off a cliff.

But what a beautiful stamp, right?

Terrence W. McCaffrey was the art director of the project. Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA designed the stamp

Original flag photograph:
© Tom Grill/Corbis

UPDATE: Until you see the stamp in real life, you don’t appreciate that the stamp is a rectangle and not a square. As a rectangle it is shit; a square is the correct (and indeed perfect) format.

Mary Tyler Moore, 1936 - 2017



RIP Laura Petrie, my TV mom crush over a half-century ago.

My memories of The Dick Van Dyke Show are strictly black and white; that color photo at top, taken on set, is almost jarring.



Make America America Again.

I hadn't seen that phrase turned before, not during the campaign and not after, not until this morning in this photo. I probably just missed it along the way, somehow it got filtered out in all of the election noise.

But it's perfect. It is absolutely perfect. Profound.

Women's March | San Francisco




Pussy grabs back in San Francisco tonight, with marches in Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Berlin, and 600 more around the world offering a noisy rebuke to the installation of King Donald the Worst.

Past and Future, Tense


It is done.

Buckle your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.


Less than an hour after Trump took the oath of office today, the White House’s webpage on climate change disappeared. The site's Issues tabs on LGBT rights and civil rights are also gone.

Erasing the past, erasing the future.

Photograph: Dominick Reuter | Getty Images | Trump Tower, January 16 2017



Nadya Sez

Fighting to Save Obamacare


Rally to save the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), at San Francisco City Hall, Sunday January 15 2017, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Keith Ellison, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Listen to Joan Baez’s acapella performance:



The Circus Is Leaving Town


Sad news for the clowns, other artist performers, and all support personnel but great and long overdue news for the animals. A century-and-a-half of animal abuse and torture remains a national disgrace.

Fifty Years Ago (Tomorrow)

Tomorrow (Saturday Jan 14 2017) will be the 50th anniversary of the Human Be-In ("A Gathering of the Tribes") in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, which sort of inaugurated the "Summer of Love" and featured the likes of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company (including Janis Joplin), Quicksilver Messenger Service, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsburg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gary Snyder (friends of my wife’s parents when they were all living in San Francisco in the 50s), Michael McClure (he and his wife used to babysit my sister-in-law), Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass), Dick Gregory, Yippie! Jerry Rubin, the Hell's Angels, legendary LSD pioneer/entrepreneur Owsley Stanley (he donated thousands of acid tabs and turkey sandwiches), and a crowd estimated between 20,000 and 30,000. If you weren't on the planet yet or were barely sentient at the time (I'm looking at you, Miho Kato Tyszka---and Matthew and Hana as well), it's a sliver of American cultural history worth studying a bit (see links below) and reflecting upon this weekend.

And if anyone happens to be in the Bay Area this weekend, of course there is going to be a commemoration/celebration of the anniversary ("A Rededication to the Values of the 1960s – Peace, Love, Community & Activism"). It won't be in Golden Gate Park, and it won't have all the cool people onstage from 1967 (his name isn't on the official program but I've heard that Michael McClure will be there, which would be a neat tie to the past), and it isn't free (but costs only $20), and it surely won't have 20,000 to 30,000 attendees, but it will have Wavy Gravy as the Master of Ceremonies and resident clown (he of "What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000 people" fame at Woodstock in 1969; he lives in Berkeley where I see him occasionally at my neighborhood bank branch, and his SEVA Foundation offices are around the corner from my favorite breakfast joint on Fourth Street); Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow (now almost equally well known as a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation); video messages from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Michelle Phillips, Dr Jane Goodall, and others; and a first-and-last-ever performance by the 1960s Allstar Band consisting of members of iconic San Francisco rock bands including Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, The Blues Project, Sons of Champlin, Electric Flag, and The Youngbloods.

We'll be in San Francisco tomorrow but will be commemorating and celebrating the occasion with lunch, a movie, and some shopping instead. We’re old now.


The Last Election

A few words from Greil Marcus earlier today:

When Reagan was elected I was so depressed I lost a year of work. On the other hand, the rage, disgust, loathing, and anger I felt at the dismantling of the republic I trusted and the country I believed in drove the book I had just started working on, even if, at the same time, in terms of thinking and writing, l left the country, and the present, working my way back through the tangles of the European avant-garde, through the 20th century and, by the end of the book, past France, England, Germany, and Italy, to the Levant in the 12th century.

With Trump, where the dangers may be far deeper—because of the foundation of destruction that Reagan built and that Republicans have been maintaining and extending ever since—a black cloud falls on me every few days or so, but in a way that it sometimes takes me half a day to realize why I’m moving in slow motion. It hasn’t gotten in the way of writing. I am not sanguine that things will be so bad so quickly that the country will rise up as one, that representatives will realize they’ll be thrown out of office if they kill Medicare and Social Security, and this will all be over in four years, or less if Trump is impeached for obvious constitutional violations, if not treason itself, and much of his cabinet sent to jail for self-dealing, bribery, and theft, as the New York Times editorial page so blithely assumes. Impeached by who? This congress? Prosecuted by who? This attorney general?

Trump has created a government that on paper is only steps away from realizing the dream of generations—the repeal not merely of Obamacare—the name of which trivializes it, as if it’s merely one man’s vanity project, not national policy, part of the republic—but of the New Deal and everything that flowed from it, the repeal of any notion of the Federal government playing an affirmative role in national life, “to protect the general welfare”: the repeal, in essence, of 20th century democracy. That means Social Security, the FAA, the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Disease Control, the National Weather Service, and countless other institutions of American life. It means the dismantling of laws and institutions against discrimination of any and all kinds, to the point, perhaps, of allowing states and municipalities to re-institute de jure racial segregation along with the abolition of abortion rights, the abrogation rights of women to legal equality with men, and the criminalization of homosexuality (none of that sounds that far away for me; that was the America I grew up in). It means the junking of the national highway system, a New Deal successor under Dwight Eisenhower, in favor of selling it off to private companies. It means the abolition of Medicare, the most important New Deal successor program, and Medicaid, the Head Start, food stamps, and a thousand other programs. Oh, pundits say, all of that will hurt so called red state voters, Trump voters, right where they live, and they’ll be outraged! No they won’t. They voted for this. They voted for Trump—not out of some narrow sense of what pundits call their own interests, by which is meant their own narrowly defined economic interests, but because Trump embodied the kind of country they wanted to live in and the kind of people they wanted to think they are—and they will support him again. Many people on Medicaid and so many other linked government programs don’t vote, and merely cutting a lifeline won’t lead many of such people to vote. That is at the heart of American electoral history.

What I find scariest is something that Rudolph Giuliani said at the Republican National Convention, seemingly in a moment of out-of-body mania in the midst of an hysterical speech: “This is the last election!” You could hear it in the moment as meaning, if it meant anything, that if the Democratic Party won it would render all future elections meaningless, from a Republican standpoint, because they would, by institutional buttressing of demographic change, lose them. But it means something different now.

The Republican prospect of erasing the New Deal—a regulatory state with a commitment to the general welfare of the citizenry—reminds me of the fall, or the erasure, of the Soviet Union. Suddenly the USSR ceased to exist and membership in the Communist party was made illegal, and what filled the gap of regulation, exploitation, and oppression was organized crime. The result in the USA could be the same, because the destruction of New Deal institutions will mean that the gap in the governance of everyday activities will fall into the hands of unregulated corporations, and unregulated corporation are a form of organized crime. Much is made of Trump having no core beliefs beyond a faith in his own sacredness, no comment to any set of principles other than the various elements of his own vanity, and so on. That’s an illusion. His whole life, from childhood on, has been a matter of absolute hostility to any authority, agency, or law that in any way impinges on his ability to do exactly as he pleases and make as much money as possible. Franklin Roosevelt put it squarely at his great campaign rally in Madison Square Garden on October 31, 1936, in a speech so powerful that, listening to it today you can feel the words echoing across the roof of the hall like shots: “Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.” That is precisely the future Trump believes in. That is what Making America Great means.

Greil Marcus
Ask Greil
9 January 2017




Going Down


40 Years Ago Today

2017 is going to be a big year of anniversaries for Apple.

40 years: Apple II
30 years: Mac II, HyperCard
20 years: G3 line, OS8
10 years: iPhone

But let’s start with the most important one:

January 3, 1977, Apple’s date of incorporation as Apple Computer, Inc., and its first offices.

40 years ago tonight, Woz got the key to 20863 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite B3-C, which we had leased for the first Apple office.

He called me and [Randy Wigginton] and invited us to come over. The room was mostly empty. Carpeting on the left side, linoleum on the right.

The only thing in the room was a lot of Bell 2565HK five-line phones. They were wired to a Centrex system in the PO.

Woz, of course, knew all about these phones but had never had a Centrex of his own to play with. So he invented a game for us.

We’d each take a phone and start with it on-hook, then try to dial each others’ extension. You have to hand up to redial, leaving you open.

If you got rung 5 times you were out. We played that game for an hour, then went to Bob’s Big Boy down the street.


Pussy Strikes Back

Playing Now: Fantastic Negrito


Playing Now: Various Artists


Companion CD to the Winter 2016 music issue of The Oxford American.