Mashing up NWA with an old Irish rebel song

Last year, I cracked a joke on Twitter about the surprising similarities between NWA's "Fuck the Police" and Dominic Behan's famous Irish rebel song, "Come Out, Ye Black and Tans." At the urging of my friend Darach, author and host of the Motherfócloir book and podcast, I recorded a quick video of the two songs mashed-up together, that got a couple thousand views.

This year, I decided to formally record the mashup in my home studio, and release it as a digital single. But shortly after I started working on, the Wolfe Tones' version of the song miraculously returned to the #1 spot on the Irish music charts, in response to a government proposal to commemorate the Irish bootlickers who joined the Royal Irish Constabulary — aka, the Black and Tans — in the 1920s as reinforcements against the IRA during the Irish War of Independence. That's like the US putting up a statue to the soldiers behind the Boston Massacre.

Then, the day after I submitted my song to my music distributor, I got a message from Darach saying that I got a shout-out on this week's Pogues-centric episode of the Motherfócloir podcast — and sure enough, he'd pulled the audio from my earlier video recording of my mash-up, and was already getting requests to hear the rest of it.

So anyway, here's my single version of the mashup. Hopefully all that serendipity actually means something.

"Come Out, Ye Black and Tans (Fuck The Police)" by Thom Dunn

Image: National Library of Ireland Read the rest

New FOIA'd emails reveal the chaos behind the scenes of the National Weather Service's #SharpieGate

In early September 2019, President Donald J. Trump tweeted something dumb. Specifically, this time it was about the encroaching Hurricane Dorian, and the places that it would or would not hit.

At the time, there was no indication that it was ever going to hit Alabama. But Trump's stubborn ego — so unwilling to admit to, well, anything — turned life into hell for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It reached a point where Trump literally drew on a map with a sharpie to make it look like he'd been right all along, and the central office of the NOAA was publicly disavowing efforts by the Birmingham, Alabama office of the NWA to deliver accurate information to the very same people who would potentially stand in harm's way, or who might be tempted to make irrational decisions in a panic over the president's false information.

In short, it was a perfect microcosmic storm of everything wrong with the Trump administration.

This past Friday, January 31, the NWA and NOAA released a trove of 1,000 emails relating to the incident, revealing the panic behind the scenes as different government agencies found themselves torn between protecting the public, and protecting the president's fragile ego. Read the rest