Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tennessee Tech Can't Breathe, an editorial


We have all heard of fake news, but what about fake research? Last year, Tennessee Tech published the findings of a “study” conducted by an unnamed grad student in a letter to Congressperson Diane Black. The communication was signed-off by President Oldham and VP Tom Brewer, before finding its way via Black to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Scott Pruitt, where the inconclusive data has been used to influence policy and allow pollution.


Subsequent reports criticizing Tech and its study appeared from leaders in the trucking industry, respected environmental groups, the attorneys general of other states, news sources like the Washington Post, NPR, and the New York Times, and finally by experts in the very EPA which is using our suspicious data to justify fewer restrictions on polluting trucks, including those made right here in Tennessee by Fitzgerald Glider Kits.


Even though the data and methodology used by Tech have been thoroughly debunked by experts, Tech refuses to renounce it or take action against those responsible for it. Unfortunately this is true because of a cozy relationship between Fitzgerald (who requested and sponsored the study), the Tech administrators named above, Tech trustee Millard Oakley, Congressperson Black, Pruitt, and the Trump administration.


This is not only a case of academic integrity being undermined to make a buck, but of our university aligning itself with the big business, anti-regulation ideology of a far-right government. If this were about profit alone, that would seem shady enough. But this is about willfully changing federal law in ways that will harm humans and the environment, all to save some dollars for a company that is only a small portion of the US trucking industry.


Despite demands from the Tech faculty senate for an external investigation, President Oldham has launched his internal investigation to be chaired by someone directly subordinate to him. Despite demands to suspend Brewer and sever ties with Fitzgerald, it seems the internal investigation will produce more fake results and attempt to quiet public outrage. In an email sent last Thursday, President Oldham implies that we should curtail meaningful debate on this topic to protect the confidentiality and objectivity of the investigation, all the while giving interviews to the media saying that the investigation could “exonerate the innocent.”


Meanwhile, trustee Oakley and Tommy Fitzgerald give massive amounts of money to the gubernatorial bid of Diane Black, who will ostensibly be one of Oldham’s bosses, if she is elected. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community -- we must demand a real external investigation, supervised by an outside body such as the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and including vetted experts in the academic study of vehicle emissions.


The result for us is that Tech can’t breathe. The eagles can’t soar. Our wings have been clipped by the tired old narrative where human greed crushes global need. What is happening at TTU is outrageous, and sadly, we have seen this coming. From the FOCUS Act that separated us from Board of Regents accountability to repeated promises of increased privatization, Tech under Oldham has drifted further and further away from our roots as a regional university with a compassionate campus culture. The top administration has apparently lost the intellectual and moral integrity to lead an institution of our stature, all for the sake of profit, politics, and pollution.
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Note: this editorial has been sent to multiple individuals, news outlets, and organizations. It may be reproduced and distributed freely. However, the author requests that no changes be made to the content without his permission. 


Andrew William Smith is a member of the Tennessee Tech faculty, the Faculty Head of the Treehouse Environmental Village, a local Presbyterian pastor, and a lifelong environmental activist. This editorial represents his views alone, and not those of his professional positions, which are listed for context and identification.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Breathe / Air (TOTR 323)

The Staple Singers - For What It’s Worth
U2 - Breathe
Cold War Kids - Free To Breathe
Pink Floyd - Breathe (In the Air)
Pearl Jam - Just Breathe
Mat Kearney - Air I Breathe
HAIR Soundtrack - Air
CSNY - Ohio
Pete Seeger - My Rainbow Race
Pete Seeger - Letter To Eve
Pete Seeger, Bernice Johnson Reagon, & Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Everybody’s Got A Right To Live
The Cities Are Burning
Water is Wide (O Waly Waly)
Green Day - Still Breathing
Yellowcard - Breathing
Snoop Lion, Drake, & Cori B. - No Guns Allowed
Json & Monty G - Preacha Man
Sho Baraka - Soul, 1971
Solange - Weary
Ed Sheeran & Beyonce - Perfect Duet
MC Yogi & East Forest - Breathe Deep
Alexi Murdoch - Breathe

Anna Nalick - Breathe (2 AM)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Let It Be (TOTR 322)


Joan Osborne - Love’s In Need Of Love Today
Billy Raffoul - You Be Love
Judah & the Lion - Love In Me
Son Volt - Windfall
Bob Seger - Against The Wind
Sam Cooke - Blowin’ in the Wind
Sandy Denny - Candle in the Wind
Melanie - Dust in the Wind
Indigo Girls - Get Together
The Dixie Cups - Iko Iko
Mumford & Sons - Friend of the Devil
The Doors & Eddie Vedder - Break on Through
Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires - Born in the USA
Marah - John Brown’s Body
Bill Withers - Let It Be
Train - Sunshine On My Shoulders
Rickie Lee Jones - Sunshine Superman
Jack White & the Muppets - You Are The Sunshine Of My Love
Chris & Morgane Stapleton & Southern Family - You Are My Sunshine
Birdy - Fire & Rain
Eric Burdon & the Animals - Ring of Fire
The Gaslight Anthem - Miles Davis & The Cool
Elizabeth Mitchell - This Little Light Of Mine
Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer - Redemption Song
Soweto Gospel Choir - Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Joan Baez - Biko

Mavis Staples - Go Down Moses

Monday, February 5, 2018

Upside Down (TOTR 321)


(special thanks to Jesse Filoteo for the annotations)

1. “Ruby”
 Ali Ibrahim "Ali Farka" Touré (October 31, 1939 – March 6, 2006) was a Malian singer and multi-instrumentalist. His music is regarded as a point of intersection between traditional Malian music and North American blues. Touré was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and number 37 on Spin magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". 
Toumani Diabaté (August 10, 1965-) is a Malian kora player. In addition to performing the traditional music of Mali, he has also been involved in cross-cultural collaborations with flamenco, blues, jazz, and other international styles.

2. “Upside Down” (Edit)
The band Afrika ‘70 (formerly the Nigeria ‘70  formerly know as  Koola Lobitos) was established by the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, Afrobeat pioneer, and human rights activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997). Having released their 1977 hit album Zombie, the group was the target of criticism and attack by the Nigerian Government. 

3. “"Nànnuflày"
Tinariwen (meaning “deserts” in Tamasheq) is a Grammy Award-winning group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. Formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset, Algeria, the group first started to gain a following in 2001 with the release of The Radio Tisdas Sessions, performances at Festival au Désert in Mali, and the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Their popularity rose internationally with the release of the critically acclaimed album Aman Iman in 2007. NPR calls the group "music's true rebels”, and Slate calls the group, "rock 'n' roll rebels whose rebellion, for once, wasn't just metaphorical."

4. “Desert Melodies” 
Songhoy Blues is a desert blues music group from Timbuktu, Mali. The band was formed in Bamako after they were forced to leave their homes during the civil conflict and the imposition of Sharia law. The band released their debut album Music in Exile with Transgressive Records in February 2015 while Julian Casablancas' Cult Records partnered with Atlantic Records to release the album in North America in March 2015. The group is one of the principal subjects of the documentary film They Will Have To Kill Us First.

5. “Tahabort”
The Algerian Tuareg desert rock sextet Imarhan, meaning ‘the ones I care about’, was formed in 2008 by a loose collection of friends who played together. Their music reflects their cultural and generational backgrounds; dry guitar riffs, pop melodies and pan-African rhythms which draw on traditional Tuareg music, African ballads, and the pop/rock the band heard growing up.

6. “Tisnant an Chatma”
The band Tamikrest (Meaning junction, alliance, or the future in Tamasheq) was formed in 2006 by a group of musicians who belong to the Tuareg people. They mix traditional African music with Western rock and pop influences and sing in Tamasheq. Their music is characterized by electric guitars and vocals, youyous, bass, drums, djembé and other percussion instruments.

7. “Zvichapera” 
Chiwoniso Maraire was a Zimbabwean singer, songwriter, and exponent of Zimbabwean mbira music. She was the daughter of Zimbabwean Mbira Master and teacher Dumisani Maraire. She describes the mbira, “- like a large xylophone. It is everywhere in Africa under different names: sanza, kalimba, etc. For us in Zimbabwe it is the name for many string instruments. There are many kinds of mbiras. The one that I play is called the nyunga nyunga, which means sparkle-sparkle.” 

8. “Amidinine” 
Omar “Bombino” Moctar is an internationally acclaimed Tuareg guitarist and singer-songwriter from Agadez, Niger. His music frequently addresses Tuareg geopolitical concerns and is sung in the Tuareg language of Tamasheq. He is also a lead member of the group Bombino. The band is the subject of the documentary film Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion.

9. “Bul Ma Miin” 
Orchestra Baobab is a Senegalese Afro-Cuban, Wolof, and Pachanga band. Organized in 1970 as a multi-ethnic, multinational club band, Orchestre Baobab adapted the craze for Cuban music in West Africa to Wolof Griot culture and the Mandinga musical traditions of the Casamance. One of the dominant African bands of the 1970s, they were overshadowed and broke up  in the 1980s, only to reform in 2001 after interest in their recordings grew in Europe.

10. “Mona Ki Ngi Xica”
José Adelino Barceló de Carvalho or Bonga, (born September 5, 1942 in Kipiri, Angola) is a folk and semba singer and songwriter from Angola who started his music career at 15. He has released over 30 albums, singing in Portuguese and traditional Angolan languages. His tracks are a mixture of Portuguese folk sounds, semba, kizomba and latin elements.

11. “Laidu” 
Rokia Traoré (born January 26, 1974) is a Malian singer, songwriter and guitarist.
Her 2003 album Bowmboï won the Critics Award category at the BBC Radio 3 for World Music in 2004,  and the album Tchamantché (2008) won Victoires de la Musique Album of the Year in 2009. 

12. “Soul Makossa”
Emmanuel N'Djoké Dibango (born 12 December 1933) is a Cameroonian musician and songwriter who plays saxophone and vibraphone. He developed a musical style fusing jazz, funk, and traditional Cameroonian music and is best known for his 1972 single, "Soul Makossa".  His father is part of the Yabassi ethnic group and his mother was part of the Duala.  

13. “Sweet Mother”
Nico Mbarga (1 January 1950 – 24 June 1997), better known as Prince Nico Mbarga, was a highlife musician, born to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father in Abakaliki, Nigeria. He is renowned for his hit song "Sweet Mother", recorded with his band Rocafil Jazz. 

14. “Grazing in the Grass”
Hugh Ramapolo Masekela (4 April 1939 – 23 January 2018) was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer. He has been described as "the father of South African jazz." Masekela was known for his jazz compositions and for writing well-known anti-apartheid songs such as "Soweto Blues" and "Bring Him Back Home". He also had a number 1 US pop hit in 1968 with his version of "Grazing in the Grass".

15. “Wish You Were Here”
Alpha Blondy (born Seydou Koné; January 1, 1953 in Dimbokro, Ivory Coast) is a reggae singer and international recording artist. Many of his songs are politically and socially motivated, and are mainly sung in his native language of Dioula, French and in English, though he occasionally uses other languages such as Arabic or Hebrew.

16. “No Mercy in This Land” 
Benjamin Chase Harper (October 28, 1969- ) is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Harper plays an eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, reggae and rock music, and is known for his guitar-playing skills, vocals, live performances, and activism. Harper is a three-time Grammy Award winner, with awards for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album in 2005 and Best Blues Album in 2014.
Charles Douglas "Charlie" Musselwhite (January 31, 1944- ) is an American electric blues harmonica player and bandleader and one of the non-black bluesmen who came to prominence in the early 1960s, along with Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, or bands such as Canned Heat. Though he has often been identified as a "white bluesman", he claims Native American heritage. Musselwhite was reportedly the inspiration for the character played by Dan Aykroyd in the Blues Brothers.

17. “Up on the Hollow Hill (Understanding Arthur)”
Robert Anthony Plant, CBE (August 20, 1948- ) is an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin.
Plant is regarded as one of the greatest singers in the history of rock and roll. In 2006, Heavy Metal magazine Hit Parader named Plant the "Greatest Metal Vocalist of All Time". In 2008, Rolling Stone editors ranked him number 15 on their list of the 100 best singers of all time. In 2011, Rolling Stone readers ranked Plant the greatest of all lead singers.

18. “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”
Paul Frederic Simon (October 13, 1941- ) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Simon's musical career has spanned seven decades, with his fame and commercial success beginning as half of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, which was formed in 1964 with Art Garfunkel.
After their breakup, Simon began a successful solo career as a guitarist and singer-songwriter, recording three highly acclaimed albums over the next five years. In 1986, he released Graceland, an album inspired by South African township music, which sold 14 million copies worldwide on its release and remains his most popular solo work.
In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006 was selected as one of the "100 People Who Shaped the World" by Time magazine. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine named Simon as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists. In 2015, he was named as one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time by Rolling Stone. 

19. “There Will Be Time”
Mumford & Sons are a British band formed in 2007. The band consists of Marcus Mumford (lead vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboard, piano, synthesizer), Winston Marshall (vocals, electric guitar, banjo) and Ted Dwane (vocals, bass guitar, double bass).
Baaba Maal (12 November 1953- ) is a Senegalese singer and guitarist born in Podor, on the Senegal River. Maal plays  acoustic guitar, percussion, and sings primarily in Pulaar. He is also the foremost promoter of the traditions of the Pulaar-speaking people, who live on either side of the Senegal River in the ancient Senegalese kingdom of Futa Tooro.

20. “Merciful God”
Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye MFR, popularly known as King Sunny Adé, (September 22, 1946) is a Nigerian musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a pioneer of modern world music. He has been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time. In March 2017, he was appointed as the "Change Begins With Me" campaign ambassador by the Nigerian minister of Information Lai Mohammed.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Life Is Confusing (TOR 320)


Alexi Murdoch - Some Day Soon
Ray LaMontagne - Empty
Langhorne Slim - Life Is Confusing
Jackson C. Frank - My Name Is Carnival
Laura Marling - Blues Run The Game
Dave Rawlings Machine - Short Haired Woman Blues
Benjamin Tod - Hungry For You Blues
Chris Knight - Nothing On Me
Chad VanGaalen - You Fool
The Cave Singers - Distant Sures
Jack White - Connected By Love
The Decemberists - Severed
The Killers - Change Your Mind
Moon Taxi - No More Worry
Lowland Hum - Winter Grass
The Oh Hellos - Torches
Courtney Marie Andrews - Put the Fire Out
Hooray for the Riff Raff- Hungry Ghost
Manchester Orchestra - The Grocery
Peter Bradley Adams - Who Else Could I Be
Jason Isbell - Live Oak
Chris Stapleton - Friendship
Greta Van Fleet - Flower Power
The Barr Brothers - Song That I Heard
Jimmy Collier -Everybody’s Got A Right To Live

Hollis Watkins - I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table