November 8, 2010

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: Pop’s Quiz!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 3:40 pm


OK, New Kiddies on the Congressional Block, we have yet another, simple, one question quiz. We’ll make it easy, not that any of you are smart enough to pass anyway. The choices: true or false, and all are false. Get it? Ah, why the flibbertygiberts does Scribe even bother?

A. Your family, or your country, doesn’t have enough money. Things are tight. So you…

____1. Tell everyone to work less, make sure there’s less incoming. Got money coming in? Give it back! That will make everything better!
____2. Give money you don’t have to everyone else: especially the well to do. Borrow it from a loan shark or a country that doesn’t believe in freedom. Nazi. Communist.
____3. Spend, spend, spend on fighting your neighbors because you don’t like them, are suspicious that they might come after you; someday, maybe. Borrow to do that. From? See #2.

OK, boys and girls! Stop squabbling… as if that’s going to happen… and take the damn test. Behave while Scribe is gone. He really needs a goddamn drink. Or two. Or three. Or…

The Teabaggers Go To Washington


November 7, 2010

Tips from famous crime writers: Solving the mysteries of writing & righting

I love reading murder mysteries because they are like puzzles to be solved — and because, in these books, there are always wrongs to be righted and Justice to be served. And the constant efforts of murder-mystery heroes to identify and capture the bad guys fit right in with my own life-long passion for Justice, especially in politics. Who dun it? “Karl Rove!”

When I attended BoucherCon, a convention of mystery writers and mystery readers held in San Francisco recently, one facet of the conference that I really liked was when several famous murder-mystery authors spoke to us groundlings about how they went about writing their books. Here’s what I learned from the following authors:

EDDIE MULLER, San Francisco’s current Czar of Noir: “I wrote about 1940s San Francisco because I wanted to recapture a place that no longer exists. It was my father’s town and I wanted to live his life vicariously — World War II, Dashell Hammett, the Barbary Coast. My father was actually born in Golden Gate Park after the 1906 earthquake. This was a whole part of San Francisco that I never got to experience myself but only heard stories about.” And so he wanted to write some of those stories down before they got lost forever — that was his motivation to write. (My powerful original motivation for starting to write was that I was completely pissed off at George W. Bush for stealing the 2000 election. Now there is one who-dun-it that no one seems to want to solve.)

“My job is to make sure that the things of the past don’t disappear. I write in order to preserve this past for future generations. I write for five-year-olds. And, in addition, if you can possibly do as an adult the things that you loved to do as a six-year-old, you’ll be fine. And my best subject in elementary school was Show and Tell. You have to find something that you really want to write about. You become curious about a character and a time.” And also about how the events of the day shapes a character’s world.

“My publishers were very upset with me after a while because they wanted me to keep writing books like my first ones. But my passion had moved on.” You have to have passion about something in order to write well about it. “It’s very hard for me to just sit down and write about something. It’s got to have a visceral spark for me to do it — one where I can’t eat or sleep until I do it.”

Short stories are easier to write than novels, according to Muller. “That’s because novels have their finish lines way off in the distance. And talking your stories out is also part of the writing process. You need to try as hard as you can to make your characters distinctive. Dialog is always at the service of developing character — in every dialogue you should be able to distinguish who is talking by the tone of what they say, even without attributions such as ‘he said’ or ‘she said’.”

Muller also said that it was easier to write a novel if you do it a chapter at a time. “I always write little mini-novels, about 20 pages ahead of where I am, because I think you need to leave space for zig-zags. A writer, unlike a pilot who always flies from Point A to Point B, constantly needs to leave his comfort zone. Tell the story you want to tell, not just follow the formula. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.

“In my novels, I’ve tried to reclaim the hard-bitten dialogues of the 1940s without turning them into parody. Newspaper reporters from that time knew how to relate the facts in the shortest time possible and it is this timing that I’m trying to reclaim. That’s how newsmen wrote back then.”

Muller loved the old newspaper days. “There is nothing more impressive than an old-time newspaper office. The cacophony and urgency of those old newsrooms is gone. My dad worked for William Randolph Hearst and I myself took a job at the Chronicle because I wanted to be there when that behemoth went down. Now no one even goes to the office any more. Work is done at home. The Chronicle is still being published today but it’s just not the same. The romance is gone.

“Face it. Romance happens when people interact. And that just doesn’t happen any more. Everything now is done at home. Bars and theaters and public places are where people interact.” Now people just use the internet and rent videos.

“Always remember that It’s not how you spend your money that is important — it’s how you spend your time.”

Then Muller defined the “Noir” concept for us newbees. “In true Noir, it’s when fate is indifferent and the protagonist knows that he is doing wrong — and does it anyway. He has a tendency to self-destruct. Noir makes you feel the anxiety and despair of these people who knowingly do wrong. Thus Noir can happen anywhere. It doesn’t just happen in the Tenderloin. It also happens in the nicest part of town.”

DAVID BALDACCI: As a lawyer, I did the same thing that I did later as a writer — tell a story. It’s all about words. You do the research and then you tell the story. Transitioning between being a lawyer and being a writer was smooth. And your reader is like your jury.” I agree. I used to write personal injury settlement briefs — which is just like writing soap opera.

“I do a lot of research but don’t use 99% of it. Then after you have all the points down, you shorten it. Your final product should be all muscle, no fat. If it doesn’t describe a character or advance the plot, take it out. Distill it down to the best stuff — from 100 pages down to one paragraph if need be. But you still need to do the research.” I myself hate research — but Baldacci apparently thrives on it.

“One time I went out on a police patrol doing research and the policeman busted five criminals. And I swear this happened. As one of the criminals was lying there on the ground in handcuffs, he looked up at me and said, ‘I love your books!’ It really happened.”

When Baldacci was a lawyer, he saw a lot of justice not being done. “All of my books are about seeking justice. Sometimes my characters find it and sometimes they don’t.”

And none of Baldacci’s heroes are perfect — just as none of his villains are totally bad. “My villains can rationalize any behavior they commit. They are not a part of society so why should they care about society? And while 99% of us have a societal inhibitor that prevents us from acting on our feelings, some of us don’t. Look at Ted Bundy. His brain was just freaky. But most other villains are motivated because they have been left out of society.” Yeah, like most of Americans have been left out of the global corporatists’ grand schemes for MY country. But does that make us villains too? Hopefully not.

“My brain is always going on stories. You can’t turn it off — always thinking about writing. Even now. It’s absolutely never turned off. Wherever you go, whoever you meet, it’s all fodder for stories.”

Regarding inspiration, “The spectacular ideas, the Eureka moments, the epiphanies don’t happen often. I get ideas and extrapolate on them and distill and increase them so they will amount to a 400-page novel that someone other than your mother will read.”

Regarding many writers’ lack of self-confidence, Baldacci was hopeful. “I’m still fearful about my abilities, but that is a great combatant to complacency. Every book I write is like my first one. If you do this, you write a better book. But all people in the creative business have to have a high level of confidence. To put yourself out there to strangers is hard. Who do you write for? Your readers? No. I write for myself — not what sells, not what’s hot. I ask myself, ‘Do I want to spend a year of my life with this? Is this stuff cool?’”

Baldacci’s latest book is called “Hell’s Corner” and it’s about his regular group of characters, the Camel Club. “And it’s all smoke and mirrors, which is what Washington DC is all about. It’s my tip of the hat to DC.” Baldacci also talked about his favorite charitable project — trying to get more books into the homes of poor children.

LAURIE R. KING: “Sherlock Holmes is a terribly useful guy [for juicing up a plot]. I got about two lines into my first Mary Russell book and thought, ‘Oh crap. I really should learn more about Holmes.’” And apparently she did. I love king’s series about Mary keeping bees with Sherlock and later becoming his wife.

“I first sat down to write when my son had just gone off to pre-school for three glorious days a week. I wrote my first book on paper, typed it up and sent it off. Publishers’ reaction? Silence. I was such an ignoramus when I first started submitting manuscripts. I didn’t have an agent. Many publishers don’t take unsolicited manuscripts. I sent the thing out to publishers for three years with no luck, and then the Linda Allen agency took me on and I started selling manuscripts — but it only took me six years from writing my first book to its publication.” And it’s even rougher now to find a publisher than it was back then.

Sometimes readers stop and ask, “Would a character really do that?” Apparently books that have too many weird things happening in them usually don’t work. But the Mary Russell series certainly does.

JOSEPH FINDER: “My standards for what I write have grown higher over the years. Unfortunately, however, my skills have remained the same — except that now I have a better sense of structure and a better idea of what I’m trying to do. And being a published author now and doing all that it entails takes away from my writing time.”

Regarding having a book turned into a movie, Finder said, “I’ve sold a number of books to Hollywood that never got made into films. In Hollywood, writers are so low on the totem pole that they are below the ground. One time I tried to get an acting part in my movie [like Hitchcock did] and that was really strange. In Hollywood, they have a false respect for novelists but they mistrust us. Once, someone actually told me that I didn’t understand what my own novel was even about. They leave out all the good novelistic stuff in my books there, so now I just write what I think they will cut out. First they buy the script. Then they laugh at it. I don’t need that.”

And Finder actually likes to do research for his novels too. “When writers go to a place to do research, we go with heightened senses. But research is a dangerous drug for me. I love research. It’s like heroin. I start out with insecurity, knowing not much. And what you learn, you can’t show it off — it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what finally ends up going into the book.” I hate research.

“I read Robert Ludlum and John Forsythe when I was just starting out. I read a whole bunch of different thrillers. As writers, we start out imitating someone else and then we find our own voice.”

But Finder doesn’t waste his time writing on subjects that are familiar to him. “I hate the advice, ‘Write what you know.’ That’s crap. I always write what I want to find out. And someone said, ‘Suspense is undermined by humor.’ Screw that. I want to write what I want to write. Write what you like to write. If it clicks in the marketplace, that’s a plus. If publishers don’t like it, too bad.” Totally!

“The biggest struggle is actually just sitting down to write. But you have to keep writing because once you get into it, it’s really wonderful. I wish someone had told me that the first book is not the end-all and be-all. Just keep writing! But I still fear the empty document screen. Just shut everything else off and write. But if you get blocked, just take a look at your outline the night before, sleep on it and work on it in the morning.”

I’ve heard that before — that our brains sort stuff out for us in our sleep and we do our best creative work when we first wake up in the morning because our brains have already done most of the dirty work for us while we slept.

ANDREW KLAVAN: At first I wasn’t going to review Klavan’s suggestions on writing because I didn’t agree with his politics. However I have changed my mind about that. Why? Because of something that some guy I correspond with on the internet said recently. Internet Guy and I have such completely polar opposite views about how America should be run that, frankly, I almost hate him. I mean really! Teabaggers like him have just sold out our country to foreign interests and global corporations solely because the Supreme Court decision regarding Citizens United now allows our former democracy to go to the highest bidder — whoever can pay for the most libelous and mendacious campaign ads. But I digress.

Anyway, I thought I would NEVER have anything in common with Internet Guy, who I considered to be a completely ignorant schmuck, a willing victim of corporate brainwashing — but then I suddenly discovered that he and I were both murder-mystery fans! So maybe Internet Guy isn’t such a dumby after all (except for in politics of course, where he is clueless). And so perhaps I should give Klavan a chance too.

“I like screenwriting because it gets me out of the house,” said Klavan. “Writing novels is a lonely business — but I still love writing them. But the results of writing for Hollywood are so random. Sometimes they are good, sometimes bad.”

Klavan’s influences? “Raymond Chandler. He is the portrait of what a man should be like. And when I was 19, I read ‘Crime and Punishment’ and it changed my life. Someone just said of my latest book, ‘It’s like Chandler meets Dostoevsky.’ And I started out with no mentors, just walking around New York City with a manuscript box under my arm, literally getting thrown out of publishing offices.” Apparently this is the story of every writer’s life.

“One of the dangers of writing is that other stuff that you need to do keeps creeping in and grabbing up you time. I’ve been setting aside four hours a day to write since I was 14. And I still have to do that.”

MARTIN CRUZ SMITH: This man is one of my favorite writers — him and Janet Evanovich. “Writing is harder for me these days. It seems like everything interrupts me now. There’s either too much noise — or else too much quiet.”

Regarding Hollywood? “Hollywood has a technique that is debasing. It’s like you have a raincoat, they take it, jump up and down on it and throw it in the gutter. After that, do you really want it back? One main actor even apologized to me for what they did to my book.”

Regarding research? We have to evoke Donald Rumsfeld when we write — we have to know what we don’t know. The key to a good research interview is to just listen. Let it flow. I went to Russia to write and Moscow was such a fantastic city that I had to throw away my planned American character for a Russian one.”

Smith was most influenced by “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold,” and James Caan is his favorite American writer. “You have to find those tiny little bits of detail that come together and make the character come to life. My advice is to don’t listen to anyone else, just write. Write until your butt is sore. Stay home from those writers’ conferences and just write.”

And as a writer, you have to be hyper-aware. “A pitcher sees only home plate — but a writer see everything. And you put everything into your book.” And then you go out and look for a publisher — and press your luck.

LEE CHILD: He was at the convention too, mingling. Unlike some other writers, Child seems to like mingling with his fans. I saw him in the hotel lobby. He’s really tall. But I missed his presentation because I was off babysitting Mena the Kid. However, I am now reading his books and trying to catch up on his hero Jack Reacher, the impossibly perfect man, almost an American version of James Bond.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of international-spy-ring, CIA assassination, testosterone-laced who-dun-it types of murder mysteries, as a result of learning about them (and getting free copies of them) at BoucherCon — and also because I’m still trying to figure out what is REALLY going on in that clandestine American nether-world of black ops, assassinations, skulduggery and unaccountability that most of us Americans know nothing about — but still have to pay for. And this type of mystery writer lets us in on the ground floor of what is really going on behind all those closed doors. And it ain’t pretty. Or democratic. Or American. But Karl Rove would definitely approve.


To see photos of the murder-mystery authors and Clifford the Big Red Dog giving Mena an interview, click here:


November 6, 2010

“Nothing can be a real cool hand.”

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , — Bob Patterson @ 2:15 pm

One short week ago, predictions that JEB Bush would be the winner of the 2012 Presidential Election were regarded as Exhibit A for proving that the guy who made that statement was a conspiracy theory lunatic who had no concept of the reality of the contemporary American Political scene; this weekend as President Obama makes offers to negotiate with the Republicans and Nancy Pelosi makes plans to be considered for the post of House Minority leader, the idea that Karl “the Architect” Rove could pull it off is one of the possibilities for a complex and rapidly changing battle field situation.

Looking at that harsh prediction from the other “flip side” viewpoint might underscore the potential for any or all Republican candidates with their “eye on the prize” for 2012 would mean writing a column that offers the opinion that “President Obama has completed the scut work necessary for the mid-term elections and has now magnanimously offered to negotiate with the Republicans while he prepares to coast to reelection in 2012.”

Of the two ideas, which sounds more impossible: A. President Obama will coast to reelection or B. In January of 2013, Karl Rove will be the dignitary with the biggest smile as he sits with the elite watching the Inauguration on the temporary structure used every four years?

If political pundits are skeptical about this scenario, why don’t they just ask Karl Rove for his take on this prediction?

Is it too early for a JEB prediction? Can an accurate prediction ever be made “too soon”? At the end of 2009, on a different website, the World’s Laziest Journalist tried to sound the alarm (“clear the bridge, dive! Dive!”) for the readers of liberal web sites, by writing: “Meanwhile, the Republicans are very vocal in their assertions of being the true living patriots, while voting against every motion in sight. Do you suppose that they know something about the unverifiable results that the electronic voting machines will produce next fall, that (t)he Democrats don’t see coming? Maybe they should emphasis the point by making Merle Haggard’s ‘Sing Me Back Home’ their official song for next year’s elections and each time they play it, dedicate it to the Democratic candidates?”

We don’t intend to write a column reiterating the same prediction over and over from now until the results of the Iowa caucuses are announced. We will open up the focus of the columns and address other topics in the hopes of amusing and entertaining any regular readers. We may, throw a “brush back pitch” style column (or two?) about the possibilities that, early next year, a student loan application may come back (in the form of impeachment for perjury?) to haunt a certain high profile Democrat.

Naturally, there will be some politically oriented items along the road to the next Presidential Election, such as the fact that on Friday, November 05, 2010, Rush Limbaugh was goading the Republicans into spurning and ignoring President Obama’s generous proposal to consider any and all compromise offers from the Republicans. Instead, Uncle Rushbo was inciting the conservatives to consider it as being similar to a chance for (hypothetical) negotiations between the Allies and Japan and Germany before they signed the documents agreeing to unconditional surrenders.

Maybe we’ll write a column about the disconnect and, for the headline, run the famous quote from the movie “Cool Hand Luke:” “What we have here is . . . failure to communicate.”

Maybe we’ll write a column about the “Electronic Voting Machine Club” and the fact that their second rule is the same as the first: “You can never talk about the unverifiable results.”

We could maybe go back to doing movie reviews. The new action adventure flick “Unstoppable” seems interesting. Hmmm. Wouldn’t it be great to do a column that was both a review of that movie and a way to interpret it as a political metaphor?

We noticed that the famous film critic, Roger Eber, seems to be preparing for a return to TV early next year. Would paring the Pulitzer Prize winner with a conspiracy theory lunatic be a way to claim that the program featured “fair and balanced” reviews?

Nancy Pelosi endorsed the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy by indicating that she will seek the chance to be selected for the position of being the minority leader in the House.

An example or a more trivial matter that deserves mention in the interim might be the fact that the Peterson Auto Museum in Los Angeles will conduct a tribute “Evening with Don ‘the Snake’ Prudhomme” Wednesday night.

In all the columns leading up to the mid-term elections, this columnist didn’t have the time to run a plug for Keith Richard’s new book titled “Life.”

Hmmm. I wonder what Keith Olbermann would think of the World’s Laziest Journalist’s prediction about JEB?

For do-it-yourself fact-checkers click these links,_1st_Viscount_Grey_of_Fallodon,CST-NWS-lew20.article

Edward Grey (AKA 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon) is reported to have said (right before the British voted to enter World War I): “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time.” We think that quote also applies to the concept of Democracy in the USA.

Now the disk jockey will play Waylon’s “Ain’t Living Long like This,” Frank’s song “That’s Life,” and Hank Williams’ version of “A Picture from Life’s Other Side.” We have to go attend a memorial service for Pontiac. Have a “it’s just a flesh wound” type week.

Paladino’s Weird Love


November 5, 2010

The Tattlesnake – Jon Stewart WTF?!? and Other Miscellaneous Head-Slappers Edition

– What is Jon Stewart playing at? I’m a big fan of The Daily Show star and think he’s done a great job in the past, so it pains me to write this, but WTF?!? Okay, so to make his point at the Rally to Restore Sanity he tossed Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz under the same bus reserved for Glenn Beck and Fox News. Last Monday, Olbermann graciously took his point and even cancelled indefinitely one of my favorite Countdown segments, “Worst Persons in the World.” But the other day on TDS, here’s Stewart heaping honey on Chris Wallace of Fox News and agreeing to appear on Wallace’s “Fox News Sunday.” Yes, he took a few mild swipes at Fox’s obvious Republican partisanship, but he also equated MSNBC, the home of Olbermann and Schulz, to a AA ball club compared to the Big Leaguers at Fox. He didn’t mean that in a complimentary way, but Jon can’t seriously believe there is any parity between what Fox does and what MSNBC does. (For one thing, Fox doesn’t give a liberal Democrat a three-hour weekday morning program, as MSNBC has with conservative Republican Joe Scarborough.) Put simply: Fox lies, as Stewart well knows, and MSNBC’s progressive hosts, even though they may display passion for their side, don’t. You can’t possibly have a restoration of sanity without fact, and Jon Stewart knows that, as well. So, why is Stewart trying to make them both seem equal? A few possibilities:

(H/T to the Bartcop main page for the graphic)

H/T to the Bartcop main page for the graphic

1. Since the hosts at MSNBC won’t be invited on Fox – even Ed Schultz is banned now, I’ve heard – perhaps Stewart sees himself as the voice of reason who can parry the thrusts of the Noise Machine and inject some truth into Fox’s stream-of-conspicuous nonsense. To do that, he must maintain some semblance of being ‘reasonable,’ which means to the right-wingers attacking MSNBC and progressives. Note: If this is the case, Obama has tried this tactic for the last two years and just had his head handed to him. It doesn’t work.

2. Maybe Stewart just has some personal animosity toward Olbermann and Schultz and he’s taking it out this way. That would be mighty petty of him, but nobody’s perfect, particularly in an ego-driven arena like show business.

3. This is the ugly one: Comedy Central is owned by corporate media giant Viacom and it’s possible they finally noticed TDS and Stewart have had quite an impact on recent elections and the voting trends of those under 30. Was Stewart brought in by Bush-backer and Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone for a pointed “Network” reminder of who signs his paychecks and told to back off? I have noticed Jon has been much more civil to right-wingers this year, even bottom of the barrel types like Bill O’Reilly. I’d hate to think the reason he’s promoting this ‘equivalency’ is that he doesn’t want to end up back humping the comedy club circuit doing 300 “Hey, I’ll be at McLaughington’s in Akron on Friday!” road gigs a year. He’s now a middle-aged man with a home, wife, family and a pile of bills – powerful reasons to toe the corporate line.

4. And this is the really horrible one: Perhaps his head is being turned by the ‘charm’ of the right-wing corporatists; they can be very persuasive ‘good guys’ in person, unless you remember the whole fetid history of the Republican Party of the past 30 years. I recall when Dennis Miller had his HBO show years ago: first he brought on right-wingers to lightly mock them, as Stewart does; then he had them on to explain their positions while he nodded his head; then he became one of the Pod People himself. Miller should be a warning of what happens to those who turn their backs on sanity and the facts – they end up losing their core audience, and money, as they perform for a bunch of dimwit thumbsuckers who don’t get their jokes.

5. Even more horrible than the last one: Stewart is angling for a nice, long-term berth at Fox hosting a TDS-style political satire show. It’s no secret Roger Ailes has been looking to compete with TDS; what better way than to back up Murdoch’s money truck and hire away Stewart? (Think Karl Rove: attack their strong point.) I’d hate to think this is Stewart’s motivation, but it’s a possibility.

Whatever the reason is, I wish Stewart would, in the interest of fairness, have Olbermann and Schultz as guests on his show to present their side, as he does with the Fox Newsers. (And Olbermann and Schultz should reciprocate by having Stewart on their shows to explain himself.) Let’s clear the air.

I hope this is all a tiff among friends, rather than the creation of another Miller monstrosity or Ailes attack dog.


November 4, 2010

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: Pop’s Quiz

Filed under: Quote — Ye Olde Scribe @ 12:05 pm


“If you forget the past, you’re a dumb ass, Barack.”

Mr. President: please select A or B. We will make it easy for you since you seem to have a severe learning disability. ALL of them are false.

  1. ____If a bully keeps beating on you, if you say to him: “You may have a point. You can have my lunch money this time,” he will never bother you again
  2. ____ If the opposition wins by claiming you won’t work with them while they won’t work with you: even proudly calls themselves “the party of ‘no,’”  once they win they will work with you.
  3. ____Both are true.

Fox Insider Comics

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:15 am


November 3, 2010

The Tattlesnake – Sifting Through the Post-Election Ashes Edition

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion — Tags: , , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 6:14 pm

First off, in my previous ‘Toast and Coast’ pieces, I accurately predicted that Republican Teabaggers Linda McMahon, Carl Paladino, and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Palins, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, were all toast, along with the Billionaire Girls Club of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. G.I. Joe Miller in Alaska and Ken Buck in Colorado are still undecided at this hour. That leaves two where the Tattler’s crystal ball was cloudy – Rand “There’s Something About an Aqua Buddha Man” Paul in Kentucky and Mark “Captain Blight” Kirk in Illinois – but 6 out of 8 ain’t bad. Ron Paul’s offshoot was the biggest surprise, but probably should not have been in a Red State that elected a turtle wax replicant like the sour-lipped Mitch McConnell to the Senate.

As I watched the televised bulletins from the Planet Xenon otherwise known as the Mainstream Media carve up and autopsy What This Election Means today, of course the MSM managed to bungle and bypass any realistic diagnosis as they became trapped in the humbug of their own quackery and delusion. A blur of the Pundit Class’ finest recruits for Perdition hilariously kept sawing on some iteration of this soggy paper-maché log: “This election will show Obama he has to cooperate with the Republicans to get things done!” Really? What has he been doing so far?

The official DeeCee Democratic Party, naturally, will take the wrong lesson from this drubbing – “We need to be more conservative!” rather than, “We have to stand for our progressive principles and stop backing down!” So, have no worries, Teabaggers, the GOP, even though a majority only in the House, will get everything it wants out of the Senate, from budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy and further corporate deregulation to, perhaps, some curtailing of unemployment benefits and elimination of the minimum wage, hastening our final plunge off the economic cliff.

And you won’t hear John Boehner solemnly announcing, “Impeachment is off the table!” To the contrary, the Republicans will be conducting proctological investigations of every person who ever spoke to Obama in an effort to find some scrap of sleaze with which to remove him from office, aided and abetted by Fox News and the other media gangsters on the right. (Orly Taitz, get ready for your Congressional appearance!) While the GOP likely won’t be successful at actually impeaching Obama, they will so muddy his name and reputation that they’ll get their wish – he’ll be a one-term footnote in history, ‘first African-American president,’ with no other accomplishments listed.

In the Tattler’s occasional Unscientific Barroom Polls, I ask tipplers of various ages and colors to state, in a few short words, what they think conservative Republicans believe in: “Tax cuts,” “Small government,” and “Strong defense,” were the most frequent answers. I then ask the same question regarding the Democrats. Most people stared at me agape, unable to think of a thing, although one respondent said “Weakness” and another uttered “Big government.” During the time of FDR, most Americans presented with the same query about Democrats would have said, “Saving the economy,” “Fighting for the little guy,” “Creating jobs.” Will the Dems learn that lesson? You have to stand for something.

In two years America will be sick of the Republicans, or what’s left of America anyway, and ready to toss the conservatives out in favor of Democrats who think they should be more conservative, and the dance will continue until the global economic collapse that is certain unless a miracle happens and Obama starts taking tips from FDR instead of Lincoln.

© 2010 RS Janes.

Fasten your seatbelts, boys!

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:07 pm

Liberal pundits now face a nightmare binary choice: they can agree with Fox News that the voters of America have just given President Obama a chillingly ominous signal (similar to the “black spot” message in Treasure Island?) or they can subscribe to the lunatic conspiracy theory that the election results were skewed somehow – with the possibility that the electronic voting machines are the Occam’s Razor style leading contender for a theory explaining the sudden about-face in American politics.

Teabaggers would be quick to denounce any attempts to blame the electronic voting machines for the losses, because such arcane explanations are suspiciously similar to the incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo of the scientists who promote the global warming theory that attempts to refute the Bible.

Pundits, who repeat the Republican talking points about a mandate to reduce the size of government and the deficit, security, and the promotion of the traditional American philosophy that individuals can achieve their full potential in the freedom loving society of the United States of America, will be given a tumultuous round of applause for their efforts and, perhaps, warm words of praise in their next employee evaluation accompanied, of course, by a terse reminder that a reward in the form of increased monetary remuneration is, regretfully, temporarily impossible during the current period of economic challenges to his employer. You know how that goes: “Nice work, boys, pass these cigars around; then let’s get back to work!”

The lunatics, who make snide accusations that the fault lies in the secret computer programs used by the electronic voting machines, will be put in a metaphorical straightjacket and sent to the Internet Isolation Ward without supper.

To think that the Republicans were and are accountable for war crimes, carnage and slaughter in the Middle East, extreme cruelty via fraudulent home foreclosures, and religious hypocrisy, is complete luncacy, but to accuse the Republicans of tampering with the sacred tradition of free elections is tantamount to accusing them of treason.

Speaking of reviving the House Un-American Activities Committee, we recently noticed (“Martin Dies” by William Gellermann The John Day Company hardback edition 1943) that it has been said: “(Martin) Dies explains that individuals have certain God-given rights and that ‘the destruction of one fundamental right is always followed by the destruction of all others.’ The ‘real answer’ is to restore ‘Christian influence’ in America. The teachings of Karl Marx are diametrically opposed to those of Jesus Christ.”

Pundits of the lunatic conspiracy theory kind can question the validity of the results produced by the electronic voting machines, but they do so at their own peril.

We would like to direct the attention of those potential agent provocateurs to this passage: “He (Martin Dies) considered it a fact that many well-intentioned people in the United States had been misled by Communist slogans and had taken part in the Communist movement thinking they were promoting liberty.” (Ibid page 110)

It is time for President Obama to signal his readiness to work with the new Speaker of the House and he can do so by waving the white flag of surrender. Then the country can devote its full attention to the daunting tasks at hand.

In 2008, the Democratic candidate promised Change. Well, if he doesn’t show any willingness to compromise with the newly elected Republican House, he will be called “intractable” and thus conclusively prove that he is a hypocrite.

Hunter S. Thompson was always saying “Big Darkness Soon Come.” He didn’t live long enough to see just how correct his assessment was.

We enjoy lunatic conspiracy theories as much as the next pundit and so we will keep a sharp eye out for the first signs of any such behavior on the Internets, such as a fixation with a new Impeachment via an old student loan application.

Would President Obama agree to a quid pro quo? He won’t veto the new Republican Health Care Bill and they, in turn, won’t start impeachment proceedings on that basis?

In 1943, the Democrat Martin Dies said: “I am not a maudlin internationalist who believes that I or my Government can go all over the world and make people democratic, whether they want to be democratic or not.” That certainly wasn’t the case regarding the liberation of French Indo-china, was it?

Now the disk jockey will play Waylon and Willie’s version of “I Don’t Care (If Tomorrow Never Comes),” Janis Joplin’s “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” and Hank Williams’ “My Son Calls another Man Daddy.” We have to go collect some bets and make some new ones. Have a “straighten up and fly right” type week.

Getting used to the new reality: Cheap Labor

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:10 pm

This past election hasn’t been about protesting undocumented aliens who work for cheap.

This past election has been about getting YOU to work for cheap instead.

What are you going to do when the new Republican majority in Congress votes to eliminate Social Security, cut jobs, raise taxes and screw you (again) on both Wall Street and Main Street? You’re going to start looking for any kind of job you can get — any kind of income, any kind of salary, any kind of work.

And this past election also wasn’t about Repubs winning because they tinkered with our electronic voting machines either. Sure, those evil electronic voting machines may have stolen your votes once again — but does it really matter what happened if almost no one in America protests?

Americans voted with their feet in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004, when they accepted documented fraudulent voting results without hardly a whimper. Almost no one in America protested getting mugged by Diebold. “God bless President Bush,” they cried instead, as Republicans drove your jobs overseas, vacuumed out your savings accounts and foreclosed on your homes.

Every time Americans allow Republicans to take control of our country, it’s almost as if you are actually crying out, “Cut our salaries! Steal our pensions! Outsource our jobs! We WANT to be your new and convenient source of cheap labor!”

And Americans are getting what they appear to want really badly — the right to replace undocumented aliens with themselves.

(Photo is of me and one of my daughters posing in an old chair back in 1976 and looking very Dorthea Lange.  If the Repubs have their way, we’re going to get a chance to look that way again — but for real.  Sigh.)


November 2, 2010

Vote for Your 2010 Republican Tea Party Candidates!


November 1, 2010

Difference of opinion is what makes a horse race

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , — Bob Patterson @ 4:00 pm

On Sunday, October 31, 2010, the front page of the New York Times presented its readers with a graphic, on the top of page 1 indicating that there were 19 Senate races in the mid-term elections which would determine the makeup of the Senate from now until the Presidential Election in 2012.

Isn’t it odd that so many American political pundits use horse race metaphors for stories about the elections but don’t mention the coincidence that America’s Election Day coincides with Australia’s version of Kentucky Derby Day because the annual Melbourne Cup race is held on the first Tuesday in November?

Frank Rich, on page 8 of the Week in Review Section in that same edition of the New York Times, wrote: “One dirty little secret of the 2010 election is that it won’t be a political tragedy for Democrats if a Tea Party icon like Sharon Angle or Joe Miller ends up in the United States Senate.”

In the past one assessment of Republican strategy asserted that they like to take two steps forward and one step back and achieve a slow but continuous movement towards their goals. Later in the first sentence of the fifth paragraph: “Karl Rove outed the Republican elites’ contempt for Tea Partiers in the campaign’s final stretch.” Rich casually adds that the Rove’s remark was made “when speaking to the European press.”

Wasn’t denouncing one of your own an old Geheime Staatspolizei (AKA Gestapo) trick?

If the Republican steering committee (Rove himself?) has become impatient with the pace of slow but inexorable progress, is it not possible that they might, in an effort to speed things up, be crafty enough to go to a tactic of letting the Tea Party advocate three steps forward, denounce that as moving too fast, and (reluctantly?) settling for a compromise of two and a half steps forward rather than the three advocated by the Tea Party?

Surely the Democrats, who are leaking the aforementioned “dirty little secret,” have in their younger days, received their grandmother’s admonition to: “Be careful what you wish for.” (Grandmothers are permitted to end a sentence with a preposition.)

Have many/any of the nationally recognized political pundits offered their audience the idea that perhaps all the instances of home foreclosures could be looked at from the Republican point of view and be called extreme voter suppression?

Isn’t it difficult for the homeless to register to vote? How many of the newly homeless would believe that the Republican candidates are on the side of the little guy and vote for the fat cats? Is it possible that some of the new homeless would, if they could, cast votes that repudiate the politicians who authorized bank bailout money? What, if any, effect would the votes of the homeless have on this year’s mid-term elections? Well, it’s too late now to wonder about that because we’ve reached the point that is similar to the moment in the annals of music when Bill Graham would say: “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s all about to happen!” and, indeed, it is.

The New York Time’s front page color coded assessment of the Senate races was a bit vague on specifics. They did say that all tossup seats are held by Democrats and highlighted the races in the states of Washington, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. Saying that 19 of the races are “in play” will make it a bit difficult to asses their clairvoyant-accuracy rating on Wednesday morning, but most folks, Republican and Democrat, will be so absorbed with assessing the “meaning” of the results, predictions from the previous weekend will be mostly irrelevant, except to Giants or Texas fans.

Does anyone remember that on the morning of the 2000 Presidential Election, CBS radio’s World News Roundup ran a spoiler item about the fact that there were three times as many TV news trucks gathered at the Bush home than there were at the Gore family residence?

This columnist maintains that the Republicans use the electronic voting machines to micro-manage the results and that contention is a bit too radical even for Berkeley. Using our unpopular and much maligned criteria for making winner projections, we will try to be a bit more specific than the New York Times. Please note that these projections, like the horoscope feature in newspapers, is presented for amusement and entertainment purposes only.

There are at least three good metaphors to use to frame the mood at the election desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s World Headquarters as it prepares to project the winners in the 2010 mid-term elections. Similar situations would be:
The way French citizens felt as the Nazi army of occupation rolled into Paris.
The way the German generals felt when their leader denied them permission to retreat out of Stalingrad.
The way the men felt who stepped over the line in the sand at the Alamo.

Here are the World’s Laziest Journalist’s predictions/projections:

The Republicans will gain 75 seats (and a majority) in the House.
The Republicans will gain ten seats (and a majority) in the Senate.
Senate wins will be scored by Chistine O’Donnell, Sharon Engle, Pat Toomey, and Dino Rossi.
The big upset will be Alvin Greene who will simultaneously cause President Obama added grief in the effort to present a coherent picture of accomplishment, but will also rid Karl Rove of a challenge to his authority as the de facto Republican quarterback, by easing Senator Jim DeMint out of the limelight and into the footnote in history level of relevancy.
The Democrats will have some other good news. We project Jerry Brown as the winner of the Californian governor’s race and that Barbra Boxer will hold on to her seat in the Senate.

Wait! There’s more: Assuming that the Republicans have a hole card that will deliver the impeachment of President Obama, then Joe Biden will be sworn in and will, during his time in office, have to contend with (according to our projections) Senators O’Donnell, Engle, and Greene, a few extra challenges such as a New York governor name Paladino, a Congress trying to repeal the Health Care Act approved by its predecessor, a Republican majority agenda that will deliver one humiliation after another to the Democratic occupant in the White House.
Last but certainly not the least of our predictions; since we believe that Jeb will become President, it’s piece of cake to make a long-term prediction that when the coach (Karl Rove) signals the bullpen for Jeb to take the “frontrunner” mantle and for Sarah Palin to “hit the showers,” at that point Sarah Palin will become a contestant on the next season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

[Note: For more on this year’s Melbourne cup see:]

John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural address, said: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” On Tuesday, America will bet that it can.

Now the disk jockey will play the Grannies’ “We Ruined It for Everyone” (off their Hot Flashes album), Johnny Clueless’ “I Don’t See Why” (from the Kissed in Kansas album), and the Galactic Cowboys’ “No Problems.” We have to go and try to get to get to an Anti-Vietnam War rally. Have a “So You Think” type week.

What It Really Comes Down To This Election

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , — RS Janes @ 1:52 am


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