July 31, 2010
An actual news report Scribe heard described recent conclusions from the medical community that fat people raise our cancer rates because, they claim, being obese causes cancer. Since Scribe has noticed his whole life that only fat people get cancer, and only fat people get all the diseases and maladies that curse humanity, he would like to reveal other possible conclusions from all this obsession with perfecting humanity through diet and weight control. Well, “perfecting” everyone other than those who push such conclusions.
As we all know now the Black Plague was caused by fat people, and since many male Klansmen tend to be over weight the obvious conclusion is that racism and antisemitism is caused by being obese. So all you thin folks who helped lynch niggers and Jews: you’re forgiven. We owe you reparations. You obviously were under the EVIL spell of fat people.
9/11? The fault of all those fatties who couldn’t run out of the building fast enough, just like all those fat people didn’t escape New Orleans fast enough. They DESERVED to be shot by Blackwater, Z, Q, LMNOP… whatever BS name they have for themselves now.
Did you know Lee Harvey Oswald had gained 10 pounds pre-Dallas 63? Yup. You got it.
The pilot in the recent, fatal, crash in Pakistan? A fattie.
This evil has been amongst us for so long. Maybe we should expand the kind of game one can hunt, reopen Auschwitz or, to quote our deity, Montgomery Burns: “RELEASE THE HOUNDS!!!” …before the most evil: the morbidly obese, take too much Kaopectate and then they, “RELEASE THE CRACK-EN!!!”
July 30, 2010
Author’s note: This is good example of how 9/11 first responders have been kicked to the curb and why congress cannot get anything done. Wow, after all the patriotic hoopla about remembering 9/11 and those who made sacrifices, the Republicans sure are quick to forget that once Democrats want to do something for them. Damn hypocrites!
A House bill designed to aid 9/11 first responders who have health problems or were directly impacted in the aftermath of the attacks was killed in the House late Thursday.
According to the New York Times, while most legislators supported the measure, the 255-to-159 vote fell short of the two-thirds margin needed under special rules that were used to bring the measure to the floor. In the end, 243 Democrats and 12 Republicans supported the measure; 155 Republicans and 4 Democrats opposed it.
The bill would have provided $3.2 billion over the next eight years to monitor and treat injuries stemming from exposure to toxic dust and debris at the World Trade Center site. The bill also would have set aside $4.2 billion to reopen the Victim Compensation Fund to provide compensation for any job and economic losses and make another $4.2 billion in compensation available through 2031.
In addition, the bill contained a provision that would have allowed money from the Victim Compensation Fund to be paid out to anyone who receives payment under the pending settlement stemming from lawsuits that 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers filed against the city. Currently, anyone who receives a settlement from the city could not receive compensation from the fund
The funding would have come from closing tax loopholes on foreign subsidiaries that do business in the United States, and from the city of New York picking up 10 percent of the health care costs.
The arguments against the bill ranged from the usual calling it a “slush fund” and a “massive job-killing entitlement program” to objections about the procedure used to pass the bill. Here are some quotes compiled by the NY Daily News:
“This legislation as written creates a huge $8.4 billion slush fund paid by taxpayers that is open to abuse, fraud and waste,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), arguing that it would be raided by undeserving scammers with tenuous links to 9/11.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) cast it as a money grab for New York because the bill would pay for care at higher rates than Medicare. “What this is is politics,” Shimkus said. “What this is is enfranchising a bunch of New York City hospitals.”
“This fund is bloated,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
Texas Republican Joe Barton, leading debate for his side, said the GOP would back a smaller program, such as the $150 million a year the White House would like to spend. But he said the rest of the country should not bear the brunt of helping New Yorkers cope with the aftermath of the terror attacks.
“We support it, without raising taxes on the rest of the American people,” said Barton (R-TX), who recently won infamy by apologizing to BP.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) objected to the bill on the grounds that democrats brought it up for vote on the suspension calendar, which speeds up the voting process and is commonly used for non-controversial legislation. Suspension prevents the minority party from adding unrelated legislation, but also requires a two-thirds majority for passage.
After Rep. King called it “cruel hoax and charade” and other Republicans said they would consider supporting the bill only if they could add amendments, it elicited a harsh response from several Democrats.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), whose constituents include many directly affected by this legislation, wasn’t especially impressed with the Republican argument and went into a rant that has been called a You Tube moment by some, “It’s Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans, rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes! You vote yes if you believe yes… if you believe it’s the right thing. If you believe it’s the wrong thing, you vote no.” He later sparred with Rep. King on Fox news (see videos here).
In question here are the health and well-being of hundreds of people who put aside all politics and worked tirelessly in hazardous conditions to clean up the mess at ground zero, only to lose their jobs, health care and in some cases, their lives as a result. Enabling the government and the country to give them something in return is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of righteousness. It is a shame our politicians cannot work together as well as the 9/11 first responders had in the months following 9/11.
Read more, get links and videos here: Madison Independent Examiner – Bill to aid 9/11 first responders with health problems fails to pass in House
This week Fox News had people (and the Mamas and Papas in song) asking about where has all the oil gone? When will they ever learn that Houdini didn’t really make the elephant disappear? It had to go somewhere. In all the time that Americans have been fighting, dying, and losing assorted limbs to bring Democracy to Iraq, the oil industry there may have lugged along in second gear, but it has never shut down completely; so where the hell did all that oil go? Somebody had to be paying for it; so where did all that money go? Was BP earning up the financial reserves to pay for unexpected, unforeseen future expenses such as the ones cause by the Gulf oil spill? For nine years, the Iraq oil fields have been coughing up “Texas tea,” so inquiring minds want to know: “Where did all that oil go?”
Could America be doing all that fighting in Iraq just so that BP could pump out oil to be sold in China?
Has America vaulted past existentialist thinking and begun the epoch of post-absurdism?
Any country that conveniently forgets about the dispersants and embraces nonsense about oil eating bacteria causing the oil spill to disappear deserves to be swindled into believing that Houdini used elephant eating bacteria or that when (not “if”) Jeb Bush gets inaugurated in January of 2013, it will have been the result of a legitimate win in the 2012 Presidential election.
When a news story about billions of missing dollars is reported, the reaction is: “That only proves that the Bush tax cuts for the super wealthy need to be extended!”
Isn’t it ironic that Americans shrug off the conspiracy theory lunatics’ idea that George W. Bush committed war crimes but they bristle at any hint that the Republicans would sanction anything that would compromise the sacredness of free elections in the U. S. A.
Americans, who take complacency to heights of achievement undreamed of by the Third Reich, accept the fact that President Obama has continued the war crimes policies of the Bush Administration but they react furiously to the possibility that the Republicans, if they are “given” a majority in the House and Senate via the 2010 midterm elections, will start impeachment proceedings against President Obama by producing a foreign student loan application that swears the applicant was not a native born American.
That idea might make some liberals gag, but eventually with repeated haranguing from Fox News, the Americans will (like Monica Lewinsky?) swallow it and get used to breathless impeachment updates around the clock in lieu of actually doing what the House and Senate is supposed to be doing. Has any pundit ever speculated on the possibility that Monica was deliberately sent (Mata Hari style) to sabotage Bill Clinton’s presidency?
Americans might assume that if such a hypothetical news development about a possible student loan perjury existed, Andrew Breitbart would already know about it and would not hesitate to rush the allegation onto the Internet and not wait until it’s just about time for the new Congressional representatives to be sworn in next January. Is it a conspiracy theory to think that he must wait for the Minister of Propaganda to give (like a maestro for a symphony orchestra) the signal to push the “post” button for this (hypothetical) example of citizen journalism in action?
With major elements of the so-called pro-Liberal mainstream media, like trained seals performing on cue, making the case for the oil eating bacteria, the Conservatives will consider any attempts by online pundits to point out that the dispersants caused the oil to dissipate with the same level of amused distain as would be assigned to a cough during a performance of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. Where is Arturo Toscanini when Fox News truly needs him?
Have you noticed that now that Bush isn’t President the Conservatives don’t need Ann Coulter to act like the rodeo clown to switch the media’s attention away from a possible chance to debate war crimes?
Isn’t it a bit inconsistent for Republicans to say that the unemployed don’t need an extension of benefits but that the Rich must have an extension of the tax cuts? In the one case adding to the cash flow coming into the U. S. treasury would be a bad thing, but stopping money from coming into the bank accounts of the unemployed would be a good thing. How can cutting off the flow of money (into the U. S. Treasury) be bad and shutting off a weekly check into families’ bank accounts be a good thing?
The silver tongued devils have convinced America that having the rich’s tax dollars go elsewhere (like into their bank accounts) would have a positive effect on the economy but that putting a few bucks into the hands of folks waiting for the next unemployment check to arrive would not help stimulate the economy. The apparent paradox is ignored by “journalists” who do not try to explain the difference.
The allure of being a Republican member of Congress in 2011 and 2012 is something that the World’s Laziest Journalist can readily appreciate. The fact that Republican politicians will be well paid just to make sure that no work gets done, makes this columnist green with envy.
Speaking of the Beach Combers’ Hall of Fame, this week this columnist was unable to ascertain if Garland Roark, author of the novel which was the source material for the John Wayne film “Wake of the Red Witch,” ever actually traveled to the South Pacific or if he did his research in the Nacogdoches Public Library. Say, isn’t that the town where this columnist’s newest hero, Joe R. Lansdale, lives? Speaking of Texas, whatever happened to Kinky Friedman? Did he go back to writing mysteries?
Which, of course, brings us to this nagging question: Will the new James Bond Cars Museum have taped guided tours and will those tapes feature the voice of Sean Connery? If not; why not?
Writing columns for the post-absurdism era won’t be much of a challenge for this writer.
In the introduction to his own book, “The Hoax,” Clifford Irving wrote: “I believe that the past is fiction, the future is fantasy and present for the most part is an ongoing hoax.”
Now the disk jockey will try to embarrass the columnist by playing Peter, Paul, and Mary’s version of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” and then throwing The Beverly Hillbillies theme song, and the soundtrack album from “Giant” on the turntable. It’s time to go and take Buzz’s “chickie run” dare. (Isn’t a “chickie run” when fraternity brothers are sent on an emergency mission to find more young ladies to populate a Saturday night party?) Have a “Match me, Sidney!” type week and remember that if Jesus and Fox News can forgive BP’s sins, so can you.
July 29, 2010
July 28, 2010
July 27, 2010
The Sharron Angle
Combine equal parts chunky peanut butter, gunpowder and sacramental wine in an unclear empty vessel. Using an old blender in a narrow, dimly-lit room, mix until the consistency of baby poop. Serve in cracked teacups. Refrain from sharing the recipe with the media.
The Michele Bachmann
Mix together grapeshot-flavored Kool-Aid, sexual abstinence, Biblical nonsense, Nutty Buddy candy bars and wormwood alcohol with a thousand teabags and let ferment in a fevered brain. Serve to anyone who’ll pay attention until you’re hired by the Family Research Council after you lose your Congressional seat.
The Glenn Beck
Combine chopped nuts, saccharine, VapoRub, Victory gin, Goldschlager, white lightning, horse pucky and turpentine in a large vat lined with hundred-dollar bills. Drink until you drown.
The John Boehner
Mix equal parts Tang and cheap vodka.
Serve warm in a crockpot, after heating under a sun lamp.
The Andrew Breitbart
Mix equal parts caustic lye, near beer, used tea bags, hair of Rove, pus from a dog bite, aged McCarthyite bile and edited videotape in an Internet website. Whine until someone drinks it, but don’t attend the funeral after they do. When it eventually kills you, refuse to admit you’re dead.
The Jan Brewer
Prepare a standard pitcher of Margaritas and then add a cup of raw sewage and a cup of flop-sweat political desperation. Stir until the stench drives you away. Serve hot to morons with J. D. Hayworth crackers, Joe Arpaio pink prisoners and Tom Tancredo dip and hope for the best next election.
The Jeb Bush
Combine Southern Comfort, Rebel Yell, light tequila, orange juice, your father’s tears, family money and bought-off media contacts in a no-paper-trail electronic voting machine. Strain lightly through an old Klan robe and stir well while pretending to be affable and moderate until you’ve seized the GOP nomination for president. Just smile confidently when your drunken friends in the media write you’re nothing like you’re dumber older brother, really.
The Sean Hannity
Stir together equal parts Brylcreem, moonshine, sleaze and Preparation H, and force through a fox’s alimentary canal. Drink through a fire hose until belly is distended, then retire proudly on all of that money you stole that was supposed to go to the families of the military.
The Sarah Palin
Mix equal parts cold duck, Russian vodka, old Navy grog, Christian Bros. brandy, Slim Fast, baby formula, iced tea, mashed lipstick, grizzly bear fat, a diced dictionary, steaming bullshit and chopped currency in a Facebook-approved container. Half bake and serve cold to the media and your adoring fans while striking a pose.
The Rand Paul
Tilt your head back at a steep right angle, pour gallons of Kentucky sour mash bourbon and searing hot tea on your face, swallowing what you can of it, while furiously masturbating to a photo of Ayn Rand holding hands with Bull O’Connor. Do this until you are defeated in November.
© 2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.
July 26, 2010
July 24, 2010
Author’s note: There is a huge problem with BP using dispersants to keep the oil out of sight and out of mind. Chemical dispersants may have kept most of the oil from floating on the surface and washing up on beaches, but it is still in the water and the problem with that is that it is impossible to clean up and may be even more toxic when mixed with dispersants. Furthermore, the FDA is not testing seafood for the presence of dispersants even though they are bioaccumulative.
In May, when scientists reported the existence of giant underwater plumes of oil, it was argued that it is uncertain that those plumes came from the leak at the Deepwater Horizon site. Researchers have now confirmed that the underwater oil plumes are, indeed, from BP’s leak.
According to the New York Times, scientists from the University of South Florida matched samples taken from the plumes with oil from the leaking well provided by BP. The findings were the first direct confirmation that the plumes were linked to the spill, although federal scientists had said there was overwhelming circumstantial evidence tying them to BP’s well.
The discovery of the plumes several weeks into the oil leak alarmed scientists, who feared that clouds of oil particles could wreak havoc on marine life far below the surface. The underwater plumes also confirm that the heavy use of chemical dispersants have kept much of the oil from rising to the surface, where it may be out of sight and out of mind, but is still poisonous to marine life.
While the underwater oil plumes consist of microscopic droplets of dispersed oil that are invisible to the naked eye, they are extremely large. In May, one was reported to be 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. Another is 22 miles long and more than 6 miles wide.
According to USF chemical oceanographer David Hollander, “What we have learned completely changes the idea of what an oil spill is. It has gone from a two-dimensional disaster to a three-dimensional catastrophe.” Little is known about the effects of subsurface oil and chemical dispersants on marine life.
The oil droplets could coat fish gills, be eaten by larval fish, or kill fish eggs. “The plume reaching waters on the continental shelf could have a toxic effect on fish larvae, and we also may see a long term response as it cascades up the food web,” Hollander said. The toxins in both oil and chemical dispersants are bioaccumulative, which means that they become more concentrated higher in the food chain. Furthermore, while the FDA is testing seafood from the Gulf for the presence of oil, the NOAA has admitted that it is not being tested for the presence of chemical dispersants, which may be even more toxic than the oil (see video here).
“The only oil we thought we had to worry about was the floating oil,” said Richard Dodge, the dean of the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. “Now we have this still really undefined mass of submerged oil. … It’s another pool of oil that could impact Florida in yet unknown ways. “We’ve been lucky so far,” he added. “But it still gets scarier.”
Read more, get links and videos here: Madison Independent Examiner – Scientists confirm underwater plumes of oil from BP leak
The water here in Las Vegas sucks eggs. My tea tastes like metal. And the sad thing is that the water power to the 27th floor of the Rio hotel is so weak that I have to run my bath water for 15 minutes before it becomes even warm — let alone hot. What a waste of the Ogalala aquifer. It breaks my heart to see all that water go down the drain. But will I just break down and take a cold shower? Would you? Er, no.
With a shower or not, it was still time to go listen to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talk. Would she convince me that Congress isn’t being run by special interests and theat she, Harry Reid and President Obama haven’t sold out? Will they convince you? Let’s see. Here are my quickly-typed-up notes — from the front row. They may not be completely accurate, however. Blame that on my tenth-grade typing teacher.
When Nancy Pelosi came onstage, the first big question was whether her right-wing detractors were correct and she did have a face-lift. It was hard to tell. She does have a big smile. Maybe she was born that way?
“Pushing the gate open on healthcare was a big job but we did it. The leverage in Congress had to change from being in favor of the insurance companies to being in favor of the people. And we couldn’t have done it without you.” Without me? Am I finally getting some recognition? That would be nice.
But wait. Has Rush Limbaugh gotten a face-lift? Do I get the right to ask that about him? And what about Dick Cheney? How come I don’t look as good at that age? “Because Cheney eats babies…” someone once said. But I digress.
OMG! They are gonna play a tape sent to us by President Obama! “We’ve been working hard for the past 18 months but I know that, for many of you, change hasn’t come fast enough. But it took a long time to get here and it will take a long time to make it happen. But in ways large and small, we are working to make changes happen.” Then the Pres showed a tape of Rachel Maddow listing all of this administration’s accomplishments.
“We’re moving America forward,:” the President continued. “And that’s the challenge we face in November. Keep holding me accountable. Change doesn’t come from the top down. It comes from the bottom up. Let’s finish what we’ve started.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so-Uuooz-Zo
At the news stand here, the Globe (a National Enquirer wannabe) is pushing a front cover story that Obama was actually born in KENYA. They are still pushing that story? Give me a break.
“Will we see passage of ENDA any time soon?” someone asked Pelosi.
“It’s almost embarrassing that it took Congress so long to pass a bill eliminating hate crimes. We’re very proud that we passed a repeal of ‘Don’t ask Don’t tell’ in the house. When we started work on hate crimes, it was 22 years ago and we’re still against any form of hate crime.”
Pelosi then encouraged us to be leaders in this field of ending all discrimination in this country. “We won the ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal by 40 votes. That’s a big majority.” And there’s an education bill in the works too — the Promise Act. Good.
“Republican senators have held up many job-creation bills, so we never know what will go on in the Senate — so we been pushing education bills into other bills as well. But we are still pressing for a comprehensive education bill.”
Pelosi is also pressing for comprehensive immigration reform. “What is happening in Arizona shouts out for getting a comprehensive bill passed. We have to keep the heat on for that.”
Protecting Social Security? “I am opposed to raising the retirement age. Here’s the context. We must be fiscally responsible and subject our spending to harsh scrutiny and are moving on all fronts to remove the deficit. But talking about Social Security and the deficit is like between apples and oranges. To change Social Security in order to balance the budget, they aren’t the same thing in my view. As we make it more solvent, it will have a positive impact on the deficit. But we support Social Security. Our senior citizens should know that. This is its 75th anniversary.”
When Social Security was first implemented, Frances Perkins went to Pres Roosevelt and told him about her plan, and he replied, “You’ve convinced me completely. Now make me do it.”
“We can do only so much maneuvering,” Pelosi continued, “but we really do need outside persuasion. Just ourselves alone can’t make this happen. If you want these changes to come, make us do it.”
In 2008, the president was inaugurated and he called for swift action. One week and one day after that, this congress passed the recovery act that saved 1.6 million jobs. “And we are going forward, not going back. Our goal is to reduce the deficit, reduce taxes for the middle class and to create jobs around climate change.”
The House passed the unemployment bill last December but the Senate held it up until now. “We have a whole list, all of it paid for, but they dropped all the job incentives and just sent us back the bare bones. They demanded cuts to this unemployment bill but then demanded 700 billion dollars in unpaid-for tax benefits for the rich. Thank God we made the bill retroactive. But how many people can wait the additional six weeks for that check to arrive? This delay was due to the obstructiveness of the Senate. But. We are going forward, not going back. Obama has created more jobs so far than Bush did during his entire eight years in office.
‘Jobs are important but people need to see what the Republicans are doing about this. Nothing.”
“We want more manufacturing in America — as a way to develop more jobs in America. Where our manufacturing heartland had been, we must stop the erosion of these jobs. 39 Republicans voted against our ‘Fairness to American Manufacturers’ bill. Anyone can bid on contracts here in the US so we are trying to get some reasonableness on this. In China you can’t bid on contracts if you are from outside the country. We need to do that here too. This is very exciting.”
The House is also working on a bill that will differentiate between crack and powdered cocaine.
“When I became Speaker, my flagship interest was energy self-sufficiency and climate change legislation. This is not an issue the Senate can walk away from. It is a national safety issue, a health issue. We are either going to lead the world on this issue or be left behind. We have a moral commitment to pass this planet onto the next generation.” Billions of dollars go out of the country each day because of foreign oil. The emissions continue. We have to continue this fight.”
“Do you plan to challenge big money’s special interests?” someone asked.
“No use bringing up a bill unless you can show strength. You can’t show weakness. Get up and show Congress how much this is of interest to you. It’s fundamental to a democracy. Make your voices known on this subject. We can maneuver and persuade and this and that — but remember Pres Roosevelt. Citizens United was a horrible decision. Foreign countries can now be having a large influence because of this, because there is now no full disclosure. PEOPLE [not corporatists] need to be in charge of our government. So let’s grab that ball and run with it. I like to show strength going to the floor. In 2006 and 2008, the leverage changed — to the consumers. The finance bill was the most important financial change in decades. And the most consumer protection in history. The leverage has changed. And in health too. For instance, it’s no longer a liability to be a woman.”
Regarding energy? “The oil patch, coal patch, every patch in the world was coming against us. This next election is very important. We need to have no regrets — that we took responsibility. One in fifty kids in America is homeless. We need to bring education and jobs to every level in America. Prosperity on Wall Street at the cost of jobs on Main Street? How dare they?”
Some Senators look with fondness on the Bush administration, according to Pelosi. “But we are not going back. We now represent the American middle class.”
Someone asked Pelosi about the role of women. “Running for office is not for the faint of heart. It’s all about power. Know your power. If you go out there to run, it’s difficult. But know who you are and don’t let anybody diminish your knowledge or experience. Women hold the key to our future. I was a mother of five kids in six years — so I got a sense of discipline and organization that way. We need young women at the seat of power. Some may not chose to go the family route but whatever your path, do it. Your presence at the seat of power is very important. Know YOUR power. What you bring to it. There is a whole change in what your daughters can do now. Young girls can go on to do anything and everything. And it’s their patriotic duty to step up.”
Pelosi is inspired by the women who went before her. “I went to the White House for my first meeting as a representative of the Democrats. I had no apprehensions because I’d been there before. I was sitting at the table of power and I felt packed and jammed on my chair. Sitting on the chair with me was Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Stanton, [etc.] All on that chair. And I could hear them say, ‘At last we have a seat at the table.’ And then they were gone. My first thought was, ‘We want more.’ We all understand our responsibility to women. We have every difference among us that we can name — but because we are different, we build a very strong fiber listening to each other. We all want to do great things for our country. We all strive for common ground. But if we can’t get bipartisanship, if we can’t get it, we are still not going back!”
And the speech was over and we applauded. But what did her speech mean? Did it mean that she is still a progressive and is merely being held back from creating a true American democracy by Republican fossils who regret that they can no longer live off of America’s blood and sweat like the vampires they are (no wonder vampire flicks are so popular among our youth!) Or has Pelosi, like so many of our other legislators, sold out to the corporatists who think that they own America — and probably do.
Time will tell. But for right now. Nancy Pelosi is pretty much all we’ve got standing between us and complete oligarchy and the total end of our American Dream. For this reason alone we may need to give her more support — and more snaps.
And last night I went to the Rio Hotel’s fake Mardi Gras celebration and caught two strings of beads from the krews. I would have caught another string but just as I reached out, so big young muscular guy elbowed me aside and snagged it for himself. Hmmm. Was he going to end up becoming a Republican senator too? More than likely. Edging out Social Security recipients is already his specialty it seems.
July 23, 2010
I love watching Big Brother on TV. Why? Because all the lying and scheming, back-biting, greed and general nastiness that happens on the show reminds me of the way that Republicans tend to act. Watching Big Brother is definitely helping me to become a better progressive blogger.
And so when a conflict arose Thursday night between me watching Governor Bob Schweitzer speak to the Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas or me hightailing it up to my hotel room to see if Matt or Monet would get voted out, I was torn — that is, until Governor Schweitzer actually started speaking. And then I became riveted. A herd of elephants couldn’t have dragged me out of my seat. The man is a born orator — or at least the best raconteur that I’ve ever heard.
First the governor spent a slow and leisurely ten minutes telling us about his 112-year-old friend Walt. Then he told us all about how he won the 4-H competition at the county fair when he was nine years old. Then he told us in colorful detail about how his grandmother had come over from Ireland all by herself at the tender age of 17. “Her name was Hannah — and she was the original Hannah Montana.”
Unlike the kind of “country folk” who live in suburban tract houses outside of places like Houston, Atlanta and Nashville but still try to pass themselves off as rural cowboys and who listen to multi-millionaire Rush Limbaugh as he too tries to act “down-home,” Governor Schweitzer has been a farmer and rancher all his life and actually is the real thing. And, even better, the governor doesn’t have to build his own self up by putting other people down.
Governor Schweitzer wants the best for Montana — and for America too. And he didn’t need to sell out his American ideals and become a narrow-minded bigot or a cold-hearted compassion-challenged “me-first” scrounger or a greedy corporatist in order to get elected either. Go him!
However. Would the governor’s true American values of honesty, integrity and hard work have won him a place in the Final Four on Big Brother? Probably not.
And when I finally did get back to my hotel room that evening, I turned on the TV in vain hopes of getting at least a tail-end glimpse of Matt and Monet on the block. Too late. But I did get to see a commercial paid for by Sharon Angle, a senatorial candidate here in Nevada. Angle looked like some sincere-but-seedy Sally Fields wannabe as she told a roomful of sweet-looking old people that government interference was ruining their lives.
Yeah sure, Sharon.
You say that you want to help all of America’s old people by getting rid of MediCare and Social Security? And just exactly HOW is that going to help us? If you truly want to get rid of Big Government, then just get us out of those pointless and meaningless “wars” in the Middle East — those bloody sink-holes that are eating our budgets and our souls alive. And you could also help us get rid of all those bailouts for bankers.
Then Van Jones spoke this morning and he said that progressive bloggers need to take the high road and set good examples for others by living up to America’s highest ideals. What? You want me to stop bashing those lying corporatists, neo-cons and talk-show hosts who have stolen our country, our morality and our ideals? Me? Nah.
Well, maybe I MIGHT consider being just a little bit nicer. Because, after all, I do want to get into Heaven — if for no other reason than because there won’t be any corporatists, liars, bigots, hard-hearted “me-first” types or right-wing radio talk-show hosts in Heaven at all.
PS: I just stuck my head into a room where the “Afghanistan: Where do we go from here?” workshop was being held. “How many Al Qaeda operatives are there in Afghanistan right now?” the moderator asked.
“50 to a hundred.”
“And we are spending one billion dollars a year in Afghanistan on capturing these 50 to a hundred Al Qaeda operatives?”
“That is correct.”
Then another reporter in the media room commented that when the U.S. military offered to give arms training to Afghan women, 10,000 women showed up. Those women are truly pissed off at Afghan men. Maybe we should send Afghan women out to Kandahar instead of the Marines. Just a thought.
July 22, 2010
One of the most untouchable issues in America today is the Israel-Palestine situation. Whenever I blog about this subject, I seem to lose friends — not to mention getting irate e-mails and death threats. No other issue in politics today seems to have such a third rail. But now things seem to actually finally be changing.
For instance, this is the first year that Netroots Nation has actually agreed to host an Israel-Palestine caucus, which I attended — being very interested to see who would show up and also what their positions would be. Would we have right-wing rabbis screaming at us about Hamas rocket attacks? Would we have sad-eyed Palestinians in black and white checkered scarves mourning a homeland that they could never return to? Would there be confrontations or what?
But what we actually got were about ten participants, mostly from J Street. And we actually had a very nice talk. No one even yelled at anyone, not even me. But there were a hecka lot of issues to bring up and discuss. Too bad we only had the room booked for one hour.
“How can we make this issue less of a third rail so we can discuss it rationally and maybe even find some solutions?” was our first question. Good luck with that one.
“We need to talk about how Israel’s behavior is effecting our own national security,” was the next question. Okay. Let’s talk. “Israel and some of the policy-makers there are actually starting to change their position on Hamas.” But in which way?
“Israel is America’s foothold in the Middle East,” said an Israeli at the caucus. Ah. There’s the crux. You can’t exactly expect the Israeli power structure to behave itself when the American power structure does not. Torture? Land grabs? Illegal attacks? Even illegally dumping nuclear waste. Could Israel simply be copying the US’s bad behavior? Er, yeah.
“The right wing in America does something very well — they raise the cost of bringing this subject up, raise it to the point where the cost of discussing it becomes too high and the subject is then dropped. They change it into an emotional issue.” But the Right is now finding this harder and harder to do. “For instance, J Street has now become suddenly cool. We now get about a bizillion new resumes. We have tried to move this issue away from emotionalism. For instance, when you bring up cap and trade, no one calls you anti-Semitic. We want to see it that same way regarding policies about Israel.”
A rep from Media Matters was also at the caucus. “We are going to start delving into this area more — so things really ARE changing.” You mean that this area is finally becoming less of a third rail and that we can finally start discussing this issue intelligently? Yeah right.
“And what about the fallout from the flotilla?” I asked. “And what about dual American-Israel citizenship? Can we discuss that too?”
But just as I’m typing up the replies to my questions, Brad Friedman and John Fund walk into the media room and start arguing about Fund’s speech against ACORN on Fox News. Fund was upset by Friedman’s aggressiveness. But I’m upset because I’m trying to concentrate and write this I-P caucus stuff up before I forget it.
But no one seemed to want to discuss Israel’s brutal treatment of the humanitarian aid flotilla where nine people were killed in cold blood and many more were beaten and tortured. And what about dual citizenship? If the spit hits the fan, will these American side with America’s interests or with Israel’s? No one wanted to touch that question either.
“The Right offers the illusion of facts,” said another caucus participant. Not facts themselves — but the illusion of facts.” Then someone else added, “The urgency issue here is also being ignored.”
And I’m still trying to ignore Friedman and Fund, who are now yelling at each other again. “Do you think it was right to secretly videotape the ACORN interview?” Friedman is asking. Do I think it is right for Israeli commandos to secretly videotape their illegal attack on the humanitarian flotilla to Gaza!
Back to the caucus.
“The Israel-Palestine conflict is now under slow burn, even despite the flotilla media coverage. It’s like the environmental issue — where if we wait until it’s too late then it WILL be too late.” Yes, an Israeli attack on Iran could start World War III. That would definitely heat things up.
“There’s a polemic of fear in Israel regarding Iran. Plus U.S. behavior since 9-11 has created the feeling that regarding the ‘War on Terror,’ anything goes. And Israeli policy-makers have followed that cue. So it’s now like a piano falling from the sky — the way that anti-Israel sentiments are building up in America. But if we don’t continue this debate, then the child will continue to be spoiled.” Yes. And America needs to be stopped from acting like a spoiled child too.
Then Friedman stalked out and Fund went on blogging. And I went back to writing up my notes.
“The Israeli government always justifies their actions by bringing up Gilad Shalit. But even Shalit’s family is starting to feel that he is being used by the Israeli hard-liners.”
“We need to change the frame of the debate,” was the general consensus. Sure, but to what? To what is best for America, perhaps? And to what is best for Israel and Palestine too — because someone around here has to represent justice and democracy and not just to be out there grabbing up land and selling useless piles of weapons and trying to get a jump on the next decade’s resource wars. Oops. Too late. We are already engaged in the next decade’s resource wars now.
Then our caucus decided to ask Nancy Pelosi a question when she speaks at NN on Saturday — and the question that most of us finally agreed upon was this: “Do you support President Obama’s view that a two-state solution is in the U.S. national interest and that U.S. leadership is essential to achieving that goal?”
Me? I just wanted to ask her what she thought of Bibi Netanyahu’s statement that he could make the U.S. do whatever he wanted it to do — but that suggestion was shelved.
And then the caucus ended. Whew! And now that we’ve managed to solve all the problems of the Middle East, and Friedman and Fund are friends again (sort of), I gotta go run off to hear the next speakers.
How disconcerting would it be if Rush Limbaugh, Randi Rhodes, and Mike Malloy agreed on something? – Anything? On Wednesday, July 21, 2012, this columnist was totally flummoxed to hear that all three of those radio personalities were telling their respective audiences that Journalism in America is kaput.
Rush was asserting that the “state owned” media was giving President Obama a pass on criticism and letting a villainous politician get away with dastardly deeds. Rush has started to sarcastically refer to the media as “The Ministry of Truth.” Obviously all the teabag party members will get the sly reference to Orwell’s novel “1984.”
Conversely, Randi Rhodes was very critical of the media for their role as accessories in the Shirley Sherrod brouhaha because they (according to Randi) helped the Republicans take a deceptively edited video and inflated it from a virtual lie up to the major gaff level news story.
Mike Malloy was charging Fox News in general and Glen Beck in particular of inciting violence on an individual level and attempting to incite race riots.
One of this columnist’s (if not the most) favorite metaphor is the parable of the six blind Hindus touching an elephant and drawing some very diverse conclusions based on the information they had available. The first touched the tail and thought an elephant was like a rope. The second ran his hands over the trunk and said that an elephant was very similar to a snake. Three felt the ear and thought elephants were like a leafy tropical plant. The stomach made four compare an elephant to a wall. The guy who felt the leg jumped to the conclusion that elephants were like trees. The last guy touched the tusk and said with certainty that elephants are like swords.
[For a totally irrelevant aside, we must note that this writer’s favorite book title is “An Elephant is Soft and Mushy.”]
The three radio talkers may not agree on the conclusion to be drawn, but it does seem that on Wednesday July 21, 2010, they were agreed that in the USA Journalism is DOA.
It also seems to this columnist that one of the best reasons to live in Berkeley is that the University of California Berkeley has a journalism school, and that may explain why a goodly number of great books concerning journalism turn up in the Berkeley Public Library’s Used Book store (at very affordable prices). Hence, when we decided the topic and commenced to write this column, we quickly skimmed through a recently acquired copy of a paperback book we read (approximately) 50 years ago, “Citizen Hearst” by W. A. Swanberg.
William Randolph Hearst made a big success out of the San Francisco Examiner by striving for sensationalism. Swanberg describes the underlying philosophy of journalism (Bantam Book paperback page 68) thus: “Any issue that did not cause its reader to rise out of his chair and cry, ‘Great God!’ was counted a failure.”
To build his audience, Hearst exposed political greed and corruption, which sometimes embarrassed his father who was a U. S. Senator.
Hearst imbued journalism with a tone of sly mischievous rascality that in more recent times was personified by Hunter S. Thompson and not Rupert Murdock.
An incident in Swanberg’s book gives a hint of the devil may care attitude Hearst fostered. Examiner employees were prone to overindulging in liquor and Hearst was very indulgent in forgiving anyone who became inebriated. “One day Hearst met a reporter who was perfectly sober, yet was supposed to be on a spree. ‘On the scamp’s assurance that he had honestly intended to get drunk, but lacked the price,’ (Ambrose) Bierce recalled, ‘Mr. Hearst gave him enough money to reestablish his character for veracity and passed on.’” (Ibid page 71)
Would William Randolph Hearst or Rupert Murdock be more prone to sending a reporter to the Gulf Region to get arrested in a National Park for snooping on BP?
During George W. Bush’s Reign of Terror, wasn’t Rush Limbaugh very enthusiastic about shutting up the “pro-liberal” media, but now that a Democrat is in the White House, he seems to be a champion of the free press’ right to criticize any and all Presidents and he seems bent on excoriating the media for not doing so with President Obama. If the sudden reversal was sparked by party loyalty doesn’t that contradict Limbaugh’s self proclaimed right to be called “America’s Anchor Man”?
Is it fair to expect a cheerleading squad to be nonpartisan?
During the Bush regime conservative talk show hosts were always admonishing their audience to avoid any rush to judgment when sensational news was announced. When the torture at Abu Ghraib prison was first reported, didn’t the entire roster of conservative radio personalities stress the importance of withholding judgment until someone had been convicted in a court of law? When the Shirley Sherrod scandal erupted, didn’t the conservatives respond like a lynch mob?
After Bright Bart was confronted with photos of signs at tea party rallies that indicated that racism was alive and well at those events, didn’t he just ignore reality and second the Amy Sample McPherson attitude: “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!”?
Was the “honest mistake” attitude provided for Bright Boy, also extended to Dan Rather when he fell victim to some planted false evidence regarding George W. Bush’s National Air Guard attendance record, which indicated that the (then) President had been a deserter?
Failure to adhere to reality is fine for writers who hope to emulate Hans Christian Andersen or to produce something that would delight the Brothers Grimm, but when it comes to a standard for reporters why has America suddenly given a pass to Fox and let reality become gelatinous? Oh, wait! Mike Malloy pointed out that Fox has established a legal president proclaiming that Fox News has a (God given?) right to lie. It seem, after refreshing our memory with a skim of the Swanberg book, that even William Randolph Hearst would want to debate Rupert Murdock on that point.
Does that mean that if Fox News reports a sudden “groundswell” of approval for Jeb Bush, that it doesn’t have to be true?
It seems that Fox has made a newscast into a “play along at home” version of the shell game. It is up to viewers to ascertain which statements are facts and which are lies. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of a newscast?
When a manager asked permission to fire the Examiner’s Managing Editor, Samuel S. Chamberlain, Hearst replied: “If he is sober one day in thirty that is all I require.” (Ibid page 77.) Is it too much to ask Fox News to be unbiased for one day in thirty?
Now the disk jockey will play “Dark side of the moon,” the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” and the “Mickey Mouse Club” theme song. We have to go see if the Berkeley Public Library Bookstore has a bargain copy of Budd Schulberg’s “What Makes Sammy Run?” Have an “if I saw it on TV; it must be true” type week.