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The night the country died

In the deep of a Sunday night
In the land of the health care bill
When the free republic died
And they talk about it still

When a man named Al-Barack
Took his fascist voting bloc
And he called his gang to war
With the forces of the law

I heard my grandma cry
I heard her pray the night the country died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was
Glory be

I heard my grandma cry
I heard her pray the night the country died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed

And we took our tea in bags
Through the streets around the Hill
As we screamed at blacks and fags
Chanting, “n****r kill the bill.”

There was Boehner on the floor
And threats of civil war
But by midnight it was done
And the socialists had won

I heard my grandma cry
I heard her pray the night the country died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was
Glory be

I heard my grandma cry
I heard her pray the night the country died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed

Then there was no sound at all
But a hush upon the Mall
For as the clock struck one
The death panels had begun
And then at the break of day
Obama took grandma away*

The night the country died
The night the country died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed

_________

* Sure enough, even as he read her the relevant sections of the Health Care Rationing and Euthanasia Act of 2010, he had to use a Teleprompter.

Posted by on 03/22 at 10:41 AM
  1. Somehow I always knew Obama’s election would lead to this: the great Paper Lace revival.

    And perhaps this was Obama’s plan all along. Surely there is bipartisan consensus around the greatness of this particular morsel? At least among those members born between 1955 and 1965?

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  12:17 PM
  2. Your grandma’s bound and gagged
    And they’ve strapped her to the chair

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  01:02 PM
  3. i must say, it was rather a peculiar piece of performance art, this year-long consummation of the campaign promise to “Git Whitey.”

    But git him we got.

    And if he gets up off the ground we’ll git him again.

    Posted by neill  on  03/22  at  01:06 PM
  4. And perhaps this was Obama’s plan all along.

    Sure, what with being history’s greatest monster and all.

    I heard her grandson got a letter
    That told how Millie died that day
    The letter said that she was a hero
    He should be proud she died that way
    I heard     he     threw     that     letter     away!

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  01:13 PM
  5. Curses!  I see that JP has built up a huge lead in the annual Graham Nash / Bo Donaldson Mashup competition.  Just for that I’ll have to write another song that combines health care reform with the songbooks of David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman.

    At least Whitey has been got, and the Paper Lace comeback tour can finally begin.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/22  at  02:01 PM
  6. Ah, but see I was Mashing-up the Paper Lace version.(And I think both songs were actually written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callender .)

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  02:31 PM
  7. But it’s the Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods version that’s truly immortal, just as Aretha Franklin took Otis Redding’s “Respect” and made it her own.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/22  at  02:34 PM
  8. But it’s the Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods version that’s truly immortal,

    Hmmm, is this similar to The Supremes only citing US* Law?

    Paper Lace’s version of “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” hit number one on the UK singles chart on March 16 1974. The band made plans to release it in America but the song was covered and released by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. Their version was rushed out before Paper Lace could release and it hit no 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. on June 15. Subsequently although Paper Lace had the chart-topper in the UK, its version stalled at #96 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Bo Donaldson version failed to chart at all in the UK.

    *I confess I was completely unaware of any Paper Lace involvement in the song until researching “Billy” some months/years back for a purpose that now escapes me.
    Posted by  on  03/22  at  03:00 PM
  9. This is now my go-to site for Paper Lace scholarship.

    For what it’s worth, Googling “billy don’t be a hero” leads to the Paper Lace version. In the future, that’s all that will count.

    Posted by Dr. Drang  on  03/22  at  04:11 PM
  10. Did Sarah Palin emit any primitive clicks and whistles in the run up to yesterday’s vote?

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  04:13 PM
  11. Grandma got turned over to a Death Board
    They euthanized her right on Christmas Eve
    You can say there’s no free lunch or Santa
    But that’s not what those liberals believe

    She’d been drinkin’ too much eggnog,
    They said they’d just have to let her go
    If she wouldn’t take her gov’ment medication
    They’d turn her out to freeze out in the snow

    When they found her Christmas’ mornin’,
    Piled with the bodies in a stack,
    She had 666 stamped on her forehead
    And the Beast will never bring her back

    [repeat chorus]

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  04:37 PM
  12. I’m pushing the Doctor Benway Federal Abortorium, one in every town, two aortions for the price of one, cashbacks to favored clients.

    Posted by John Emerson  on  03/22  at  04:41 PM
  13. So just to be clear, the executive order prohibits use of federal funds for abortions unless the health of the mother is in jeopardy. Does that include the mother’s mental health?

    e.

    Captcha and I kid you not “bill”

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  04:51 PM
  14. I’m a-skeered, Pa.
    Michael: Cleaning out my office, something I do every few years or so, I finally found my misplaced copy of *Life as We Know It.* I’m giving it to a friend and her Down Syndrome brother to read. He works in a little tourist restaurant near a train museum up the way from us. He’s in his 40’s. And quite popular with customers, from what I hear.
    Quite a change, isn’t it, from how it used to be!
    The world gets better in some ways!

    Posted by Hattie  on  03/22  at  05:00 PM
  15. Look out, Grandma, there’s a white boat comin’ up the river
    With a big red beacon, and a flag, and a man on the rail
    I think you’d better call John,
    ‘Cause it don’t look like they’re here to deliver the mail

    ...ok, I’m done now

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  05:15 PM
  16. Berubay and his frat-boy centrists-on-dope rag.
    No public option, no coverage of meds, no early medicare buy-in, all at only 940 bil...: maybe change it to Win-win again, like for the DINOs at the club, after 18 holes or so, with homie Stormcow’s stock tips (health-care--a great investment), doing memories of the LBJ admin, etc etc

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  03/22  at  08:50 PM
  17. Darn it, JP, you think of all the good ones first.

    I was under the dryer when the email came:
    “Mrs. Jane C. Miller must be put to sleep today”
    Through my tears I read: “The Death Panel’s had its say
    She can no longer be treated cost effectively”

    And they say that I should be proud
    She’s savin’ money for me
    They say that I should be proud
    Those too blind to see
    She wasn’t savin’ money for me, my grandma didn’t have to die for me
    She was dyin’ for the evils of society

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  10:25 PM
  18. O O O O that frat-boy centrists-on-dope rag
    It’s so elegant
    So intelligent

    Ezra, old hound, il miglior fabbro, are you alive, or not? is there nothing in your head?

    Posted by Michael  on  03/22  at  10:43 PM
  19. Finding a way to still make the line end on “Santa” and still make sense gets nothing and Ezra’s performance gets a comment?  OK, I see how the incentives work around here.

    Posted by  on  03/22  at  10:53 PM
  20. Rich, you know I love you and your clever ABCB rhyme schemes teh most.  You had me at that incandescent third verse—honestly, your vision of RomneyObamaCare is far more apocalyptic than mine, and I mean that in a totally good way.

    More seriously, I think your decade-long quest to discover and cultivate intellectually honest conservatives has finally ended.  So far I count three, and just for the record, Erin “‘Teabagger’ is a nasty slur and James O’Keefe was totally railroaded by the liberal media” O’Connor ain’t one of ‘em.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/22  at  11:02 PM
  21. I considered something along the lines of Dr. Benway’s Federally-funded...Drive-through Aborto-Shoppe(We vacuum while you wait...)-- Emerson, official cyber-beatnik beat me to it, as per usual.  At least the mutha-f-ers could have done something reasonable and allowed for over-the-counter opiates

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  03/22  at  11:11 PM
  22. Uh oh, now I have to figure out whether “clever ABCB rhyme scheme” is sarcastic.  On the sad probability that the answer is yes, I have to point out that the rhyme scheme was in the original song, which was, of course “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”.  Which was sort of where the Beast came from too.

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky  on  03/22  at  11:35 PM
  23. A T for Texass
    A T for Bag of Tea

    A Brown can’t stop the Man
    but a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/20/tea-party-protests-nier-f_n_507116.html">Browning</i> surely Can

    (or in bag-speak, “No to Obamacare socialism and keep your red paws off my f-ing Medicare"). not quite ct/unflogged/stormcow-level talent nite, scuzi

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  03/22  at  11:43 PM
  24. In my feeble years i thought i would have forgetten those working memories from so long ago; but sadly no, Berube must bring them up to torture me. 
    songbooks of David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman.

    Do we really have to make up songs when the Confederacy has such good ones:

    The Star-Spangled Cross and the pure field of white
    Is the banner we give to the breeze,
    ‘Tis an emblem of Freedom unfurled in the right,
    O’er our homes and our lands and our seas.

    We’ll stand by the Cross
    And the pure field of white,
    While a shred’s left to float on the air:
    Our trust is in God, who can help us in fight,
    And defend those who ask Him in prayer.

    For years we have cringed to the uplifted rod,
    For years have demanded our right,
    Our voice shouts defiance, our trust is in God,
    And the strong arm that gives us our might.

    Our hills and our vales with the death shriek may ring,
    And our forests may swarm with the foe,
    But still to the breeze our proud banner we’ll fling,
    And to Vict’ry or Death we will go.

    Really, you can’t make shit like this up.

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  12:16 AM
  25. RomneyObamaCare

    OK, snark away, but at least Romney didn’t get his via “an historic usurpation of the legislative process”. (Can you imagine what we’d be hearing if any one of the half-dozen most egregious stunts used to get Medicare-D passed had happened with this effort?)

    As for Ms. O’Connor, I find myself in absolute agreement with her words from last fall:

    One of the biggest stories right now is that the MSM habitually fails to report on really big stories. That’s why James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles’ ACORN videos are so striking--they reveal a pattern of systemic bias, incompetence, and reportorial failure on the part of the journalists and news organizations that we trust to tell us what’s happening in the world.

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  12:52 AM
  26. I have to figure out whether “clever ABCB rhyme scheme” is sarcastic.

    Oh Gods no, Rich, I was simply and unsarcastically tipping my hat to your ABCB variation on the AABB CDCD structure of “The Night Chicago Died.”

    Honestly. 

    Captcha:  answer, for Act Now to Stop War and Ezra’s Rantings.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/23  at  12:53 AM
  27. This was fun, need to put this on my regular blog list.

    Hattie, I still assign “Life as We Know it” to my language development undergrads.  Every year or so, one will work up the nerve to email the author, and then will come tell me, starry-eyed, that he actually responded! (cause professors aren’t really people)

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  01:30 AM
  28. The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    His torch is at thy boardroom door,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    Avenge the patriotic gore
    Shed by Obama, Reid, and Gore,
    And be the battle queen of yore,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!

    Come! ‘tis like Red Dawn! Wolverines!
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    Come with thy frenzied states’ rights schemes,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    With Limbaugh’s spirit for the fray,
    With Glenn Beck’s tears on screen all day,
    With Bachmann’s rants and Wilson’s screams,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!

    Dear Mother! burst the tyrant’s chain,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    Grandma should not call in vain!
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    She meets her sisters on the plain-
    “Sic semper!” ‘tis the proud refrain
    That baffles minions back amain,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!

    Thou wilt not yield the vandal toll,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    Thou wilt not crook to his control,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    Better the fire upon thee roll,
    Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
    Than crucifixion of the soul,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!

    I hear the distant thunder-hum,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    The Old Line’s bugle, fife, and drum,
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!
    She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
    Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
    She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!
    Free Market, Oh Free Market!

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  01:42 AM
  29. I started out altering that song, but the last three verses were so perfect I only altered the refrain.

    Goes to show you how old a certain political outlook really is.

    I’m not sure what’s going on in the penultimate line, though.

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  01:45 AM
  30. Have you heard of the dreadful fate
    Of Grandpa P.P. Bliss and wife
    Of their death I will relate,
    And also others lost their life;
    Obamanation Bill disaster,
    Where so many people died
    Without a thought that destruction
    Would plunge them ‘neath the wheel of tide.

    Swiftly passed the quorum call,
    Hastening America to its death
    Warning not one of them all;
    It brought despair right and left.

    Among the dead are many friends,
    Condemned to death by death panels
    On one thread all may depend,
    And hope they’ve sounded the warning bells.
    P. P. Bliss showed great devotion
    To his faithful wife, his pride,
    When he saw that she must perish,
    He died a martyr by her side.

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  05:54 AM
  31. I dreamed they passed the Bill last night,
    Those friends of Mao and Ché.
    Says I, “You didn’t have no votes.”
    “We had enough,” says they.
    “We had enough,” says they.
    “When Scott Brown won,” says I to them,
    Them standing by my bed,
    “You folks were looking mighty blue.”
    Says they, “We’re turning Red.”
    Says they, “We’re turning Red.”
    “The talking heads denounced your Bill,
    They shot it down,” says I.
    “Takes half the votes to kill a Bill,”
    Says they, “It didn’t die.”
    Says they, “It didn’t die.”
    And standing there as big as life
    Each face split by a smile,
    They says, “What they forgot to kill
    Went on to reconcile,
    Went on to reconcile.”
    “The Bill ain’t dead,” they says to me,
    “The Bill ain’t never died.
    When working men are sick in bed
    The Bill is at their side,
    The Bill is at their side.”
    “From San Diego up to Maine,
    In every mine and mill,
    Where workers need some health care help,”
    Says they, “You’ll find the Bill,”
    Says they, “You’ll find the Bill.”
    I dreamed they passed the Bill last night,
    Those friends of Mao and Ché.
    Says I, “You didn’t have no votes.”
    “We had enough,” says they.
    “We had enough,” says they.

    captcha: “paid”

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  07:52 AM
  32. This thread is making me cry happy tears.

    And yes, I really do write back when people send me emails about Life As We Know It!  In fact, I write back to just about everything.  I do hope that poor Nigerian government official is having better luck these days.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/23  at  08:21 AM
  33. This is a parody site, right?

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  10:05 AM
  34. ’Cause I just can’t tell the difference anymore, ya know?

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  10:09 AM
  35. What is “parody”?  Is it like a Volvo or a latte?

    Posted by Michael  on  03/23  at  10:52 AM
  36. cloudsplitter’s version of Joe Hill was inspiring.  But come, comrades!  Surely we must be—international!

    Arise, wretched Obamanations
    Arise, convicts of plain crime
    Reason thunders out and craters
    This is the eruption of the end
    Of our grandmas let us wipe the slate clean
    Communist liberals, arise, arise
    The world is about to change its foundation
    The last rich country now has health care for all
    This is the final struggle
    Let us group together, and tomorrow
    The Death Panels
    Will take the human race!

    There are no supreme saviors
    Except Obama, that is, of course
    Producers, let us save ourselves
    From those horrible knitted sweaters
    So that Grandma expires
    So that free spirits are imprisoned
    Let us forge the fetters
    Of equality of outcome, let it rot
    This is the final struggle
    Let us group together, and tomorrow
    The Death Panels
    Will take the human race!

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky  on  03/23  at  10:54 AM
  37. I’m beginning to think this whole hiatus thing is a fake. (It takes a talented person to do something funny and inventive to the crappy seventies songbook,y the way)

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  11:29 AM
  38. I dunno about that, Chris, but I do know it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.  And Rich, I haven’t felt this way since the days of the Ballad of the Hemp Beret.  Thank you.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/23  at  11:44 AM
  39. S2pac.

    Inspired by commenter KR at Unfogged, executed by my daughter (I was thinking of something less subtle at first but it has grown on me).

    4457617016_772187be87_o.jpg

    (Someone else will have to do the song.)

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  11:57 AM
  40. You know who else was disappointed in the Republican’s performance in HCR? I’m sure you can guess.

    Captcha: “values.”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  03/23  at  11:58 AM
  41. ZOMG, I’ve caught the apostrophe = plural disease from my student’s!

    Captcha: game, as in “he got.”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  03/23  at  12:00 PM
  42. Hey - whut’s going on around here? Did I miss something?

    John P - thanks for that link. Especially loved the very last line. But of course there’s a whole list of names that would be equally if not even more painful than that one (which I won’t give away for those who haven’t watched yet).

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  12:12 PM
  43. When the spike hits yr arm
    like a big H-- C-- R
    dat’s...Amor-ay

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  03/23  at  12:16 PM
  44. Damn, JP, didn’t we do the “Brenda’s Baby” / Stupak joke last year?  Great hair, though.  Even better on Mr. Shakur than on Mr. Putin.

    But please, not Evan Bayh.

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  12:41 PM
  45. Shoot, that was here wasn’t it? Regard this as a late contribution to that thread.

    But please, not Evan Bayh.

    Don’t worry I think it’s time for that hair to be retired (although now that I think abot it, a “This Hair Kills Babies” bumper sticker might be jsut the thing).

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  12:56 PM
  46. “This Hair Kills Babies”

    Well, now that I am officially the Woody Guthrie of the teabag movement, I think I can say OK to that.  May I write it on my guitar, as well?

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  01:51 PM
  47. Suggested improvement to one of these deathless ditties:

    “The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
    Free Enterprise, Oh, Free Enterprise!
    His torch is at thy boardroom door,
    Free Enterprise, Oh, Free Enterprise! [Etc.]”

    It just scans better!

    And I swear I haven’t seen so many good parodies and satires in one place in donkey’s years, and I also swear some of them are based on really obscure songs. For example, is this:

    “Have you heard of the dreadful fate
    Of Grandpa P.P. Bliss and wife”

    ... based on Blind Alfred Reed’s “The Fate of Chris Isley and Wife?” If so, that’s some obscure shit there, man.

    I don’t have my own current parody to present, but may come back a little later, if something appeals to me. In fact, with all the court appeals being filed as we (figuratively) speak, perhaps I can re-work “Father, Dear Father,” from Henry Clay Work, to good effect.

    Ed

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  02:40 PM
  48. jingle, Digby-approved? An imprimatur of sorts.  Next, Berubay learns the secret handshake, and admittance to the next KOS solstice par-tay. Or maybe yoo already did...captcha “party”...as in DINOs

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  03/23  at  02:45 PM
  49. Ed, you’re right, but then “Maryland” has three syllables and “free enterprise” has four, so I dunno.

    As for obscurity—and thanks for saving me some Googling (now to see if I actually have the song)—I don’t think just any song would go around here. Obscure shit is the shit, man.

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  04:04 PM
  50. Ed, that was “Ashtabula Bridge Disaster” by Julia Ann Moore, the iconically horrible 19th-century poet who specialized in the sentimental and lugubrious. Mark Twain pretty much insured her immortality with a parody in Huckleberry Finn.

    OK, maybe a little obscure.

    Posted by  on  03/23  at  10:57 PM
  51. rm, you’re right about the syllables, but how about making the line,

    “Enterprise, Free Enterprise”—it maintains the “Maryland, My Maryland” scan.

    And Jeffrey, if Julia Ann Moore wrote that verse, I swear Blind Alfred must have heard her poem when he wrote “The Fate of Chris Isley and Wife.” At least to judge by the pattern.

    And I haven’t tried my hand at “Father, Dear Father” yet. Too busy (the curse of modernity—all those labor-saving devices take up all our free time).

    Ed

    Posted by  on  03/25  at  03:30 PM
  52. Ed, when I publish my version to wide acclaim, I will incorporate your suggestion and thank you in the acknowledgments.

    I’ve noticed that some songs we know as “folk” or “rural” or “country” or “country blues” from the early years of recording actually began as pop songs from 19th century sheet music (for instance, “Wildwood Flower"). So it’s worth investigating whether Reed’s song is a sentimental 19th-century ballad, rather than Reed’s original (whatever that means) composition. Or something in between.

    Posted by  on  03/25  at  09:19 PM
  53. I wrote this in honor of glibertarian Megan McArdle, with the help of the Beatles.

    When I find myself in times of trouble
    Milton Friedman comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom, markets free.
    And when my posts are faulty
    He is standing right in front of me
    Speaking words of wisdom, markets free.
    Markets free, markets free.
    Whisper words of wisdom, markets free.

    And when the libertarian people
    Living in the world agree,
    We will imagine a new world, markets free.
    For though there may be regulation
    There’s still a chance that they will see
    There will be an answer, markets free.
    Markets free, markets free. Yeah
    There will be an answer, markets free.

    And when my logic fails me,
    There is still a light that shines on me,
    Shine on until tomorrow, markets free.
    I wake up to the sound of critics,
    Milton Friedman comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom, markets free.
    Markets free, markets free.
    There will be an answer, markets free.
    Markets free, markets free,
    Whisper words of wisdom, markets free.

    Posted by Susan of Texas  on  03/26  at  09:16 PM
  54. Oh, Lordy, I was being sarcastic about “wide acclaim,” and then this. Digby is one of my favorite writers. Gee whiz.

    Commenters, though, are having a little trouble with the tongue-in-cheek context; some of them are thinking Digby is quoting a TeaBagger website.

    Posted by  on  03/26  at  11:41 PM
  55. Berube, you magnificent bastard.

    Posted by JennOfArk  on  03/27  at  10:52 PM
  56. This is great! But a tragic one. The lines are really amazing.

    Posted by Surf Clothing  on  06/17  at  05:42 PM

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