February 28, 2011

Some of the best actors . . .

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 6:11 pm

Once again, Hollywood has managed to survive the ordeal of voting awards to themselves, but if they really wanted to hand out awards for outstanding acting, why didn’t they honor some of the world class performances in Washington D. C., which they overlooked?

In Hollywood it’s easy to please your friends and upset your enemies, but there is one fellow in political arena who played the part of a liberal change of pace Presidential Candidate and managed to earn the undying hate of the Republicans and simultaneously displease the true lefties base. Barry Obama’s role as the personification of change was a very convincing performance by a Reagan Democrat who let war criminals (who are wanted men in other countries) walk and then continued their illegal methods that earned them the distain of many citizens in ally countries.

The Australians are very well informed about celebrity news from Hollywood, perhaps because the Australian film industry seems to be functioning as a “farm club” for the American film industry. The Australians were disappointed (to put it mildly) with the “who knew?” acting job turned in by George W. Bush and Company. (Explaining the intricacies of American Politics brought a “Who is Rush?” response all over Oz.)

Would folks outside “the Industry” (AKA Hollyweird) appreciated the sarcasm if this columnist wrote a column asking: Is the Bush family the Charlie Sheen of American Politics?

The level of excitement over the Oscar™ telecast in the Los Angeles area is quite a bit more intense than it was during the preceding week in Berkeley CA. In the San Francisco Bay area, the attitude was “Who’s nominated this year?” In Los Angeles, it’s “where are you going to watch the show?” and “What parties will you attend?” In Hollywood, it’s like the home team is playing in the World Series every year. It is a news event reported around the world.

While taking a Saturday stroll on Ocean Front Walk, we encountered a film crew talking to a young man. We asked what was going on and learned that the Danish news crew was interviewing William Jøhnk Nielsen who was in the Danish film competing for the Best Foreign Film Oscar™.

A woman (his mother?) suggested that we ask the young man for his autograph, so in the spirit of interline courtesy, we did and the Danish film crew had some additional footage for their story.

We snapped a few paparazzi shots for our photo blog and continued on our way. It then occurred to us that young Mr. Nielsen had something in common with John Wayne: they are the only two actors whom this columnist has ever asked for an autograph. (John Wayne handed out business cards with a copy of his signature on it.)

John Wayne won his Oscar on the same day that California Governor Ronald Reagan held a small impromptu news conference. The Los Angeles Times buried the governor’s news conference on page 3 and splashed “the Duke’s” Oscar™ all over the front page. The world will little note nor long remember what was said by the Governor that day. What’s not to love about a governor who says: “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.” Would he give the same words of wisdom to the governor of Wisconsin tomorrow, if he could?

On our walk, we discovered that the topic of the homeless in Venice these days has the potential to be very disturbing to a cynical IrishCatholicDemocrat who hears one philosophy from the mouths of Conservative Christian Capitalists and then sees that sweeping the homeless under the rug and out of Venice, contradicts what they say. We will have to do some additional fact checking so that we can write a column about the relevant facts for yet another column that asserts that hypocrisy is one of the Seven Cardinal Virtues for Republicans.

American politicians can give glib explanations for wars of aggression and then turn around and blithely dismiss any concerns about the “what ever you do to the least of my brethren” who lack a sleeping bag to cope with a cold night on the beach.

Shame, it seems, is a quant facet of nostalgia just like silent movies. Do TV addicts know what “slapstick comedy” is?

Speaking of nostalgia when was the last “anti-war in Vietnam” rally held? We see that some old hippies will be gathering next month in Washington D. C., for a rally against the Iraq-Afghanistan military adventures. Maybe by the time it occurs they can toss in their objections to a new adventure in Libya?

We have been advised that if we wish to understand the apparent disparity between millionaire actors giving awards and “air kisses” to each other one day and engaging in cut-throat business deals the next (which may necessitate the actors doing research on the homeless so that their next film [a musical comedy look at life on the ragged edge?] will have a veneer of authenticity to it); we should read Ayn Rand’s “the Fountainhead.”

What ruthless corporate mogul wouldn’t appreciate seeing his merciless conduct portrayed in film that rationalizes his ruthlessness and portrays his immoral conduct as the work of a benevolent crazy uncle who is loved by all his devoted employees?

Isn’t Ayn Rand’s philosophical take on morals similar to Andy Warhol’s definition of art? He said “Art is whatever you can get away with.” If you don’t get arrested; apparently, it wasn’t a crime. Sin no longer exists.

Unless a film competes in the Documentary categories, isn’t it considered a work of fiction?

If the Republicans are looking for a theme song for their next convention to select a Presidential Candidate, perhaps they should consider using Don Henley’s song “Kick ‘em when their down.” Ya think?

It’s “buy Girl Scout cookies” season again. How many boxes will the Koch brothers buy?

The Razzie Awards honoring the lousiest films of 2010 was held on Saturday.

Marshall McLuhan said: “Affluence creates poverty.” Could the Republicans believe that it’s the other way around? “Poverty creates affluence.” For them, it does. More foreclosures means more profits for the banks. Hence the banks have an obligation to continue the trend.

Now the disk jockey will play some of the Oscar™ winning songs from years past, such as “When you wish upon a star,” “Whatever will be will be,” and “High hopes.” We have to go try to find out what has happened to the hippies who have been kicked out of Venice. Have a “we may look ragged and funny” type week.

February 27, 2011

Is Kalgoorlie Sydney’s lost twin brother?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:26 pm

(Venice CA) After traveling from Berkeley CA down to Los Angeles, this columnist sent an e-mail out to the posse to let them know that things went as planned. We attempted to use humor to convey the message and wrote: “L. A. is just like Berkeley only bigger with ocean beaches.”

Cities in close proximity can have very different personalities. Pasadena and Santa Monica are both in the same county. They both have the same state level politicians. They both are served by the same large members of the media. The locals watch the same local TV channels. The audiences for various radio shows in have fan/listeners in both cities. The Los Angeles Times has a large number of subscribers in both cities. It would be ludicrous to say that Pasadena and Santa Monica are twin cities.

Although the two are only about thirty miles apart, on a sunny summer day there can be a noticeable difference in temperature and that can have a psychological impact. It can be “June Gloom” cloudy along the beach in Santa Monica in early summer while Pasadena may concurrently be sweltering in a hot sunny cloudless day.

The smaller local papers cover different issues.

The two cities each have rival NPR outlets.

Santa Monica College and Pasadena City college are both highly regarded, but some Santa Monica citizens consider UCLA local while in Pasadena, that school is “out on the Westside.”

If these two relatively close cities in California can be distinctly different, it doesn’t take a sociologist to figure out that Kalgoorlie in Western Australia is quite different from being in the Kings Cross Section of Sydney.

It is extremely convenient for anyone who wishes to manipulate the citizens of a country to use the lowest common denominator factors to influence them.

Hence if there was some hypothetical fiend (Auric Goldfinger?), who wanted to subtly manipulate voters, would find it efficient, economical, and effective to use a generic pundit who worked on listeners all over the country on a basic level such as inciting jealousy. It would be easier to hire one guy to magically (like the miracle of the loaves and fishes) appear on a multitude of local radio stations around the country and tell all of his listeners that the unions were exploiting them as taxpayers. If a gullible audience became convinced that something unfair was afoot, then it would be easy to push them further and put it in more graphic terms: “The unions are stealing from your tax dollar.” All people in the Congressional Districts across the three time zones could be urged to call their Congressional representative and urge them to put a “stop to this robbery.”

If the hypothetical bad guy, Goldfinger, with ulterior motives, and the imaginary ubiquitous voice from the radio were able to bust unions so that Goldfinger could more easily reduce the pay of his workers and bank more money . . . oh well, caveat emptor should explain that bit of diabolical manipulation. Wouldn’t it be über-ironic if the voice was a union member decrying unions? Didn’t your grandmother always say that “All’s fair in love, war, and politics”?

Let’s imagine the USA as an old West Saloon. (Skimpy’s Bar in Kalgoorlie had the old fashioned double swinging doors when we were there in 2008. When was the last time you saw a tavern entrance like that in California?) Suppose someone plays cards in the saloon and suspects there has been some cheating going on to fleece the victim of all his cash. The sheriff asks you to tell him what happened and how it was done. He can’t arrest a winner just because you lost. You complain to the Preacher and he says you shouldn’t have been gambling in the first place. You complain to the editor of the Tombstone Epitaph (or whatever the daily paper is named) and the editor says: “When you have a choice of printing the truth or the legend, always go with the legend.” America, you’ve been had and the general opinion in the corporate owned media is that you should “suck it up” like a man.

You’ve been fleeced of your money. No one wants to hear your sad lament. You should have known better before you sat down at the poker table, eh?

The streets are filling up with homeless people asking for donations. Jobs are getting very scarce. Banks just make too much money from foreclosures so stopping them from doing more just doesn’t make sense to them. Look into foreclosures more closely and you will see that they make excessive amounts of money by foreclosing and asking them to give up a big profit just isn’t logical. If the home’s owner stops making payments how can they make money on that? Did Houdini really make the elephant disappear? Check it out, slick, just ‘cause you don’t know how to do it doesn’t mean the trick can’t be performed.

Why would conservative talk show hosts belong to a union and tell listeners that the political impasse in Wisconsin is the fault of unions? Check it out, slick, just ‘cause you can’t explain it doesn’t mean it ain’t happening.

Folks in Los Angeles don’t like the joke about how they are like a bowl of granola (it’s full of nuts fruits and flakes). Folks in New York City don’t like other people imitating a Brooklyn accent. People in flyover country (everything “down there” for people who do business in both L. A. and New York City) don’t even like to hear their area referred to in that flip manner.

When a young man from Western Australia said he was from Perth, we asked if he ever went to hear rock music at Mojo’s in Fremantle. When he realized that this columnist knows the subtle difference between those two cities (Fremantle is to Perth as the ‘bu (ie. Malibu) is to Los Angeles), he was happy to admit he was a Fremantle citizen.

The same thing happened more recently when a young lady raising funds for Green Peace in Berkeley had to admit that Fremantle is separate and distinctly different from the bigger city farther up the Black Swan River. Being a port city, Fremantle is to Perth as Long Beach is to Los Angeles.

People who live New York City are more likely to enjoy Sydney more than Fremantle, but that doesn’t mean that New York City and Sydney are “twins separated at birth” similar. Nor should Australia be considered “Canada without snow.”

If you think different cities are alike and you think that standup comedians spouting Republican talking points are Edward R. Murrow clones, we double dog dare you to get some news from a foreign based member of the media. Der Spiegel and Deutsche Welle both have English language web sites. Do you really think that conservative talk show hosts (who reportedly are union members) want you to get your news and information from any other source? If they don’t want you to do some “comparison shopping,” then you have to also recall that Germans during World War II were forbidden (under penalty of death) from listening to foreign radio stations.

If they don’t want “comparison shopping” for news, then you gotta ask yourself another question – No, not: “Do I feel lucky?” – you should ask “Why would they do that?” At this point in American history, you won’t risk death by dialing up some other point of view and to see what they have to say. What have you got to lose by taking the dare?

Do you think that the German voters passed a ballot initiative to give up that freedom?

Adolph Hitler, in Mein Kampf wrote: “ . . . never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.” Doesn’t Uncle Rushbo unfalteringly follow that advice?

Now the disk jockey will play Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York,” and “Chicago,” and Randy Newman’s “I love L. A.” We have to go for yet another walk on Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach. Have a “don’t do as I do; do as I say” type week. This has been the World’s Laziest Journalist reporting live from Venice CA.

Bum’s Rush From Walker


February 26, 2011

Leave it to the Boy Beaver


Corporatists & penguins: Both poop in their own nests

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 3:18 pm

I just got back from Antarctica and it was the Commute from Hell! First I had to endure three-and-a-half horrible days almost solely devoted to seasickness and fear while crossing back to Ushauaia through the infamous Drake Passage in a boat originally designed to cruise up and down the Danube. It was like being trapped in a washing machine 24/7. Terror in a Maytag.

Next came my air transportation nightmare. I mean seriously. How long can you spend in a succession of faceless terminals while trying to sleep on plastic chairs or limping from wrong gate to wrong gate on swollen feet and bad knees while living on airplane food and watching grade-B Hollywood movies through loop after loop in order to try to take your mind off of turbulence that sounds like the wings on your plane are about to fall off — without going crazy?

And now I know the Lima (Peru) airport and the Santiago (Chile) airport and the Buenos Aires and Ushauaia (Argentina) airports intimately — after spending three days sleeping with them, waiting for my delayed luggage and trying to find out which gate I’m supposed to be hobbling off to next.

But that’s okay. The experience was worth it because of Antarctica’s majestic untouched beauty, my renewed sense of urgency regarding global warming, marching with the penguins, scoring multiple souvenir T-shirts and having gained much deep knowledge learned the hard way.

So. Exactly what kind of deep knowledge did I acquire down there?

“An ice shelf is a glacier that extends out into the sea. Glaciers in Antarctica are 100 times larger than glaciers in Alaska and after they reach the edge of the land, they continue on out into the ocean and create enormous ice shelves the size of New Jersey. And two of these gigantic ice shelves have recently broken off from their bases as a result of pressures on them caused by global warming.”

And these two huge ice shelves the size of New Jersey are now happily melting and floating our way. Why? Because in the last ten years alone, global temperatures have spiked up more than 800 percent higher than from their original documented baseline, set approximately 150 years ago when temperatures first started getting recorded.

And as a result of these gigantic new post-industrial temperature increases, Antarctica is melting, water levels all over the world are rising and Americans are all stuck in what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross calls the “First Stage of Death — Denial”. And instead of trying to bail out our poor planetary ship before it’s too late, we just sit around on our hands while our global Titanic goes down — hit by an iceberg.

While on this trip, I also learned something about penguins that I had never known before. Penguins are rather smelly birds. When visiting a penguin colony, you first start to get unpleasant whiffs of it from miles away out at sea. Penguins have no latrines. They poop in their own nests. Yuck!

“Wanna go ashore and look at penguin colonies today, Jane?” No thanks.

And after coming back to America, I also discovered that the corporatists and oligarchs who now own my country are like penguins too — pooping where they live, heaping excrement down on the workers who support them. And just how long do the corporatists actually expect this situation to last? Penguins can always migrate elsewhere. Corporatists cannot. Corporatists have pretty much pooped in every nest here in America and have also moved on to poop in every nest in the rest of the world too. And now they have nowhere else to go.

“Wanna go visit Wall Street and K Street and the Cayman Islands and the Federal Reserve Bank today, Jane?” No thanks to that either. Can’t stand the smell.

PS: In every single airport that I was stuck in on the way home to Berkeley, I could always count on seeing hundreds of flashy, elegantly-designed, glamorous and fabulous posters and displays and billboards that advertised all kinds of useless consumer stuff that nobody really needed — so much stuff!

I must have seen over a thousand ads during my five flights toward home.

In every airport I waited (and waited) in, glossy in-your-face hard-sell ads campaigns and marketing blitzes covered almost every square inch of their walls, ceilings, counter-space and aisles. “Buy this! Buy that!” Then you too will be happy.

And the oligarchs and corporatists (and us too) continue to sell and buy all this stuff and to poop in our own nests just like the penguins — while silent, white, deadly icebergs float closer and closer to New Jersey.

PPS: If you want to donate a pizza to the heroic protesters in Madison, Wisconsin, first click here for more information:!5765822/egyptians-are-buying-pizza-for-wisconsin-protestors. And then click on Ian’s Pizza FaceBook page to actually purchase the pizzas:

In America today, our government and our media have been almost completely bought out by corporatists and oligarchs — and our unions are the only real organized voices we have left that are strong enough to stand up to these creeps. But if we silently stand by and watch our unions go down too, then we will obviously get what we deserve — a nest filled with corporatists and oligarchs, happily pooping on us.

To see a photo of penguin poop and me trying to toilet-train a penguin, click here:


February 25, 2011

Walker – Lexus Ranger


February 24, 2011

Looking at California’s 36th Congressional District

When this columnist read on the Internets that Jane Harman was going to resign from her job as the Congressional representative from California’s 36th Congressional District, we spent a moment wondering who would replace her and made a note to get back to that topic. Recently while looking for a column topic we spied something written by Marcy Winograd and figured that we had the answer to our question because the school teacher has been doing well as a Democratic Party candidate trying to wrestle the office away from the incumbent.

On February 7, 2011, Ms. Harman announced that she would be resigning from Congress to become the head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. We learned online that Jane Margaret Lakes Harman had graduated from Harvard Law School in 1969.

Since we lived in that area for several decades, we figured a closer look might yield the ingredients for a good column.

The District was created in by redistricting caused by the 1990 census and there was no incumbent in 1992. We went to a meet and greet event for the candidates hoping to win the new seat which was held at Loyola Marymont University. We saw the array of hopefuls. Ms. Harmon did a credible job of presenting her case and seeming personable.

Marcy Winograd has in two past primary seasons given the incumbent reason to campaign very hard and not take the incumbency advantage for granted. Ms. Winograd got Gore Vidal to speak at one local rally attended by this columnist. She too did a noteworthy job of sounding both sensible and dependable, but she now lives in Santa Monica which is outside the district (according to something Ms. Winograd posted online).

We then learned that Los Angeles City council representative Janice Hahn may seek to become the new congressional representative from the 36th Congressional District in California. Her brother has been the mayor of L. A. and her father was a member of the L. A. County board of supervisors. We wondered if we could do a column about the possibility that political dynasties in the USA are becoming the American version of a title in Great Britain.

Most Americans are aware of the big name dynasties such as the Kennedy family, the Gore family and the Bush family (which may try for a revival via JEB’s bid to become the next Republican Presidential Candidate.) How many other American Political Dynasties are in play but are not as well known. How many voters (for example) in Berekeley CA would know (or care) about the Hahn family history down in SoCal? How many other similar mini-dynasties are there around the USA? Since when does a family have a right to a big name factor advantage in free elections? And why?

We can see the potential for a book in using the topic of American Dynasties but we were only looking for a column’s worth of information.

Then we learned about yet a third Democrat, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who has expressed an interest in running for that particular congressional seat. Ms. Bowen has battled against the use of electronic voting machines. It was beginning to look like there might be enough material for a book about the political maneuvering in just this one Congressional District and sadly that much material in columns aimed at a national audience would tend to bore readers outside the district.

You can just bet that some Republican political strategists are paying very close attention to many facets of this complex district with a smorgasbord of voters. The district includes portions of Venice, Marina del Rey, part of Mar Vista (it might be only a tiny sliver), Playa del Rey and (as I recall) portions of the South Bay. There are still some hippie/beatniks living in Venice. Marina del Rey seems to have gone a bit more Yuppie than it was in the “swinging singles” era in the Seventies. (We knew people who were not challenged when they said they attended the famous LSD party reported in Sports Illustrated in the late Sixties. [We never did find out why Sports Illustrated ran a trend spotting article about the fact that the baby boom generation was entering their courtship phase.])

The South Bay is a conservative enclave with folks employed by both the Defense and Aero Space Industries. Don’t know how they are dong in the Bush era but supposedly old voting habits die hard.

To even a causal observer the workers in the Defense and Aero Space industries seem to be the antithesis of the voters living in close proximity to Ocean Front Walk.

In a time when being well informed seems to mean that folks skim a large variety of web sites, it may be asking too much to suggest that there should be complex analysis of each and every Congressional District available online.

Will political junkies really read bios and synopsis of the political views of three Democratic candidates just to prepare for one local primary contest? If you think that then please explain the success of Senate candidate Alvin Greene in South Carolina. (Isn’t he running for a new office?)

What about the Republican efforts in that District? We’ll have to research their efforts to win a seat this year and maybe have the incumbent advantage in the general elections in 2012.

While we were collecting information for a nostalgic look back at that particular Congressional District where we spent a few decades, we got the “bat-signal” from the President of the Marina (del Rey) Tenants Association. He’s a long time friend and he wants some volunteer help on a local issue and so as we will answer the call and go back “on the road” to go help him.

Other than talking to local residents involved in the area’s issues, fact finding will be a challenging chore. The Santa Monica Outlook suspended publication and their “morgue” is probably in a storage room somewhere in Torrance CA. It is available on mircrofilm at the Santa Monica Public Library. The Argonaut newspaper, which did a commendable job of covering local politics still has an office in the area (and their archives are available online) but the effort necessary to get a closer look at the background for one particular Democratic Primary race is a formidable challenge if one hopes for a comprehensive roundup article. We realize that a good amount of facts may go unreported in a great many races around the state and that only tends to increase our pessimistic outlook on America’s political future. The Republicans tend to rely on sloppy voter preparation and a heavy advertising budget to win political races.

Maybe while we are helping the Marina (del Rey) Tenants Associaton we can use some spare time to pick up enough facts for a “behind the scenes” look at this one particular special election.

If we get to L. A.; isn’t there a blog entrepreneur who holds weekly literary salon parties up in Brentwood? How do we go about getting an invitation? Is there room for a visiting columnist from Berkeley at the “in crowd” events held close to the UCLA campus?

What “sells” online these days? How can an outsider get a bigger online audience? The task facing liberal web sites and citizen journalists brings to mind an old expression about using a sieve to bail the water out of a leaky old row boat. The conservatives “own” the airwaves.

That, in turn, reminds us of the “rumor” that there is a possibility that the bloggers whose work appears on a certain recently sold high profile website are going to have their salaries doubled (2 X 0 = ?) and that makes us think of the old joke about some good news and some bad news for the guys pulling the oars on the Emperor’s boat. The good news was their food ratio would be doubled. The bad news was: “This afternoon the emperor wants to go water skiing.”

Which comedian is credited with the line: “That joke is so old it was found carved on the Rosetta Stone!”? Bah-dump-bump.

Has it come to be that the only material available for use by liberal media is recycled half century old jokes? If so, the Democratic platform may start to sound like articles of surrender.

In case you are wondering why Jane Harman is stepping down, according to information found online, she will be appointed by the President to the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
Once she “steps out of the picture,” most national web sites will not want to expend valuable time and effort to track her career at a think tank.
Getting a shipload of information into a short easy to read column that folks will skim over reminds this columnist of the long lost concept of “a blivet.” If you don’t know, go down to the local workman’s bar and offer to buy an old guy a beer in return for the definition.

Doing volunteer work for the Marina Tenants Association might present us with the chance to call Reverend Dan while he is on the air with his “Music for Nimrods” show and request Elvis’ “Old Shep.”

Should this columnist be lest flippant? The way we assess the situation for the Democrats, the unions, the decrepit remains of the New Deal (isn’t the New Deal on life support?), and women’s rights, it can best be summarized by quoting W. C Fields: “The time has come to take the bull by the tail and face the situation.”
Speaking of unions, this columnist, when he isn’t “on the road,” gets days off only when public libraries are closed because we need them to get access to the web to post our columns and photos. When they are not open, we get a day off. When we are “on the road,” it’s never a sure thing. We are well acquainted with the hours of operation for the various Libraries on L. A.’s Westside, so stay tuned.

Until then, we’ll leave you with the almost thirty five years old words of Howard Beale: “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad.”
Now the disk jockey will take us back to the swinging singles era by playing Disco Tex and the Sex-o-lettes’ “Get Dancin’” Barry White’s “Can’t get enough of your love, babe,” and Johnny Cash’s 1976 comeback hit “One piece at a time.” We have to go find a copy of a 1936 Army Corps of Engineers report. Have a “Stayin’ Alive” type week.

The Tattlesnake – Jon Stewart Interviews Hermann Goering Edition

STEWART: My guest tonight served as Adolf Hitler’s air force chief and one of his closest advisors — let’s welcome to the program former German Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering! (They shake hands and sit down while the audience applauds.) Let me just say, sir, thanks for being here, and you look pretty damn good for a man over one hundred years old who supposedly died in 1946! What is that – Oil of Olay or Botox or something?!

GOERING: Ha, ha! Goodness gracious, no! I never died, I just moved to Argentina! I also lied about my age to get in the military and have taken good care of myself in my old age! And it’s amazing what modern medicine can do! Ha, ha!

STEWART: Goodness gracious?!? What – is this a 4-H Club convention?!

GOERING: Ha, ha! Millions of good solid Americans from the heartland of the country talk like that, Jon!

STEWART: Oh, yeah, and out on the coasts all we do is yell ‘m**her-f**ker’ and ‘go for the gay’!

GOERING: (Grinning) You said it, I didn’t!

STEWART: In your book, you say the Nazis were misunderstood. You say they had doubts about everything they did. You were one of the Nazis close to Hitler – it sure didn’t seem you guys had any doubts when you started World War II!

GOERING: Wait, let me address this Nazi thing – in Germany back then, everybody was a Nazi – you had to be one to do business, it was just a fact of life. Besides, the Nazis were just the name of a political party, like the Republicans today. I mean, we had good Nazis and bad Nazis. It’s wrong to condemn all Nazis for the extreme fanaticism of a few. You know, we really weren’t all fascists!

STEWART: But you were one of the head Nazis, convicted of war crimes like condoning torture!

GOERING: Tut, tut. I had documents in my desk at the time that show how much doubt I had about the decisions we were making and listed all of the things that could go wrong. We were just trying to protect the nation and acted on bad intelligence! Everything we did, we did for our country! Our top military staff believed that intelligence, incidentally.

STEWART: So you invaded Poland based on lousy intelligence reports?

GOERING: There was all kinds of paper flying around back then, pro and con. But we couldn’t take a chance with the nation’s security that Poland or another potential enemy like France might attack us, so we invaded first. The respected Gen. Jodl made the case to the public at the time.

STEWART: But you established a special office to provide you with the intelligence you wanted!

GOERING: I had no special intelligence office – somebody else set that up. There were three million men in the German military back then – any one of them could have done it.

STEWART: What about the torture? Are you saying you didn’t order torture?

GOERING: Not torture like you saw at your Abu Ghraib prison. That kind of thing was done by bad apples – you know, low-level noncoms acting without orders. We ordered enhanced-interrogation techniques that our best legal minds said were acceptable in order to defend the country from terrorists. This was after the Reichstag fire remember, where Communists and other undesirables conspired to undermine the government and attack the public violently. We couldn’t afford to let any technique for getting information out of the bad guys go unused.

STEWART: What about the concentration camps? Are you going to deny the Nazi concentration camps that killed millions of innocent people?

GOERING: Look, we had socialists, Communists, unionists, liberals, gays and other malcontents all bent on destroying our way of life. This was during the worldwide economic depression and we were trying to get people back to work, and those groups were fighting us on balancing the budget and creating more jobs. We only put people in camps who refused to work and would rather laze around collecting welfare from the taxpayers, like freeloading teachers and bottom-feeder nurses! Those were just work camps for unionists and commies who wanted to suck off the taxpayer and collect a paycheck for doing nothing!

STEWART: Ha, ha! ‘Suck off the taxpayer,’ huh? Now I know why you liked those camps! (Laughter.)

GOERING: Ha, ha! I didn’t mean it quite like that!

STEWART: But, seriously, what about the Jews — why did you target them for annihilation?

GOERING: We never targeted the Jews, Jon. That’s all revisionist history written by the liberals. We were just trying to protect the Jews from angry Germans who were blaming them for all the nation’s problems by putting them in camps, but things got out of hand when some rogue elements took it upon themselves to start executing people. I mean, you go to war with the army you have, and we had some kooks in the Wehrmacht at the time. Certainly if I had been aware of what was going on in those camps I would have put a stop to it, and so would have Hitler, but we were busy defending our country against several powerful aggressors, fighting in a two-front war.

STEWART: What about Adolf Hitler? He’s now acknowledged by the world as one of the biggest monsters in history, yet you loyally served him. Are you telling me you don’t think he was a monster?

GOERING: Oh, fiddle-dee-dee! The man was a vegetarian who loved animals and didn’t drink, and he only had one testicle – does that sound like a monster to you? (Laughter.)

STEWART: Did you guys, like, call him ‘One Ball’ behind his back? (Laughter.)

GOERING: Ha, ha! No, he would have had us shot! Ha, ha – just kidding! (Laughter and applause.)

STEWART: Well, our time is up. Okay, folks, the book is ‘Soaring with Eagles’ by former Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering. Thank you for coming in, sir! (They stand and shake hands.)

GOERING: Thank you, Jon, for helping me sell my book and rehabilitate my image by portraying me as a feisty old grandpa instead of a vicious war criminal responsible for the death, dismemberment and torture of millions!

(Applause. Cut to commercial for Burger King’s new Super Lethal DOA Beef ‘n’ Bacon Triple-Stack Axis of Evil Whopper with Cheese.)

Watch Jon Stewart’s Feb. 23, 2011, interview with Don Rumsfeld here.

© 2011 RS Janes.

February 23, 2011

Blogger battles bogus ballots

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:26 pm


Just as we were noting a possible rise in the number of homeless people, we encountered a new worthy cause seeking donations. The Suitcase Clinic has been a “humanitarian student organization and volunteer community” which offers free health and social services to the underserved population since 1989. They are a source of items such as toothpaste, razors, safety pins, aspirin, and other such “household items” for the homeless. We offered to add some buzz boosting their efforts rather than donate an insignificant buck because isn’t that what being a Gonzo Bloger is all about?

According to Doug Brinkley (as quoted on pages 125 – 126 of “Gonzo: the Life of Hunter S. Thompson” Little Brown and Company hardback edition 2007): The Internet is full of bogus falsehoods propagated by uninformed English professors and pot-smoking fans about the etymological origins of ‘gonzo.’” Brinkley adds that it comes from Cajun slang in the New Orleans jazz scene and means “to play unhinged.” (Ibid.) This we know because we scored a mint condition copy of that book on one of our frequent book safaris in Berkeley CA, which we contend (mindful of the Golden Days when the Book Row of America was located in New York City) is the used book buyers Valhalla.

The legendary Cody’s Books in Berkeley is closed. That gave us an opportunity to write a column headlined “Memories of Cody’s Books,” which helped lure some Jack Kerouac fans into our realm of Gonzo blogging. There are other marvelous bookstores still available for the seekers of the great white whale of books.

Every time we go into the Shakespeare and Co. on Telegraphy Avenue, we wonder if the charming fellow who owned the similarly named store in Paris is still offering writers a rent free year in an apartment in the City of Light. We learned about that marvelous opportunity while visiting Paris in 1986. Do Gonzo Bloggers qualify as writers? We’ll get back to you on that.

Are the young folks asking for money on that Berkeley street aging beatniks? Kerouac and Ginsberg lived in Berkeley CA during 1955 and some familiar street names pop up in the “Dharma Bums” book. We refuse to take this opportunity to besmirch Berkeley’s image by speculating about any possible walking around DNA evidence of the “free love” philosophy those writers promoted. (We missed a great opportunity a few decades back when a coworker in Santa Monica claimed that his mother had been a member of Kerouac’s SF Posse.)

Sometimes when there is an anti-war demonstration in Berkeley, you have to wonder: which war are they protesting?

We scored a trade paperback copy of Rupert Holmes big band era mystery titled “Swing” and learned that students in Sproul Plaza had demonstrated in the Thirties against the FDR foreign policy which (they asserted) would lead to involvement in the war in Europe.

Living in Berkeley has taught us the futility of bragging. We recently stopped to chat with a young film-head photographer and when we tossed in the fact that Paul Newman had once asked for our autograph, the kid responded: “Who is Paul Newman?” (Look it up on the Internet, kid. Maybe he can’t if he isn’t into digital photography?)

Did you hear Uncle Rushbo make a reference to the World’s Laziest Journalist today? Me neither too.

We have recently asked some Berkeley students if they knew who Mario Savio was. A streak of negative responses quashed our enthusiasm for continuing work on that informal survey.

What was it that the kids at UCLA used to say (back in the pre-Bush era)? “If you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t really there.” That reminds us of a passage we found in our bargain bin copy of “Johnny Cash.” He wrote (HarperPaperbacks 1998 page 49): “Sitting down with pen and paper (or tape recorder and Microsoft Word), the words ‘I don’t remember’ and ‘I’m not sure one way or the other’ don’t seem adequate, even if they do reflect reality more accurately than whatever you are about to write.”

Getting up at 6 a.m. to bang out another blog column berating bogus voting machine ballot results is getting very boring, especially when it becomes obvious that should the predictions be judged to be very accurate in retrospect, the fact that all liberal media will have vanished in America will mean there will be no chance to post any “We tried to warn ya” columns and gloat.

Do readers of liberal blogs care if the first time a columnist sees a Rolls Royce in Berkeley CA it has a flame paint job? We double dog dare you to look at a photo of that and not think of the Beatles band member named John Lennon.

We’ve only seen one Ferrari in Berkeley CA. We can’t locate the digital file for the photo showing the time that we spotted two Ferraris sitting side-by-side at the traffic light at Windward and Pacific in Venice. In L.A., no one else noticed that co-inky-dink. Is Uncle Rushbo referring to our car-spotting efforts on our photo blog when he mentions the drive-by journalists?

It may be boring to be the blogger battling bogus ballots, but we becalm ourselves by the thought that we are on the brink of a boredom busting breakthrough.

George Noel Gordon (AKA Lord Byron) wrote: “I’ll publish right or wrong: Fools are my theme, let satire be m song.”

Now the disk jockey will play the Blues McGoos “Psychedelic Lollipop” album, Johnny Bond’s “Hot Rod Linclon” album, and Molly Bee’s “Swingin’ Country” album. We gotta go look for the new Johnny Cash album featuring rarities such as the B-sides of his hit singles records. Have a “Biutiful” week.

February 22, 2011

Some Madison protest photos

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 2:29 pm

















The biggest difference between 68,000 Union supporters protesting and 200 teabaggers, besides the numbers, is that the signs are spelled correctly!

HUGE THANKS to TheArcadeFlame, MarkonF1re, MarkTasman, pinku_pinku, and Lost Albatros for taking these INCREDIBLE pictures. Please check out all of their photos on Flickr!!!!!!! (These are not the photos in the slide show from the article in a previous post).

Trend-spotting and the end of Liberal Media?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:19 pm

Two years ago while visiting Australia, one of the bits of cultural differences we noticed was that sports on TV was ubiquitous. Enthusiasm about cricket matches and rugby games was rampant. Monday night football games from the USA played well being seen live during the day on Tuesdays in Sydney. Fox Sports seemed to have a cash-cow with their corner on the sports fans market in Australia.

This columnist preferred to take the Ronald Reagan philosophy for giant sequoia trees when it came time to assess chances to spend portions of the excursion glued to the boob tube watching rugby or cricket: “If you’ve seen one match/game, you’ve seen them all.”

Lately we have noticed a new trend on the media horizon: The conservatives aren’t satisfied with the preponderance of their presence in the media world, they want to banish all vestiges of liberalism in contemporary American culture. They seem to regard a grain of truth with the same amount of tolerance as if seeing it appear anywhere, at any time, would be comparable to a doctor finding a case of the bubonic plague. Has any writer ever used a plague as a metaphor for the truth?

The Mike Malloy radio show is often preempted in the San Francisco area by basketball and on Presidents’ Day we heard Stephanie Miller note that in a Florida market, the station that carries her has gone all sports and she’s MIA.

On the Malloy program for Monday, February 21, 2011, he mentioned that his hours were being curtailed in the Madison Wisconsin area on the radio station there. He also had a caller who referred back to a call from “Blue” on Friday night, but we hadn’t heard that because Malloy had been preempted by Cal’s Women’s Basketball.

Could it be that the Republican philosophy will not be satisfied with a strong numerical superiority over liberal talk radio? Could the Republicans want to shut down progressive radio completely and are they willing to spend the money to get their way?

Back in the day, this columnist had a continuing debate going with a maiden aunt who stoutly maintained that the wrestling matches on TV were rigged. We did our best to refute her wild and irresponsible assertions and prove that she was subscribing to a conspiracy theory that was reprehensible because it attacked the veracity of a pillar of American culture.

We assume that if she were alive today, she would be reading some of the well known Internets sites for conspiracy theory lunatics and joining with them in the unpatriotic questioning of the elections which delivered a Republican landslide last fall and are presenting the Republicans with a voter mandate to eradicate collective bargaining for state employees in Wisconsin.

According to Ozzie Osborne, the “Wobblers” disorder manifests itself when small problems take on the aspect of the End of Time. (We heard about that bit of medical news on the aforementioned Stephanie Miller Show on Monday morning.) If you listen to any liberal talk radio this week, they are making it sound like events in Wisconsin are a union worker’s version of the End of Time events. Is it time for the liberal talk show hosts to call Dr. Ozzie and find what he recommends as a cure for the “Wobblers”?

We only heard our maiden aunt utter the word ********** (10 letter word meaning oral sex [Uncle Rushbo prefers to use the term “a Lewinski.”) once when the topic was Nixon’s “expletive deleted” mystery. We think we can guess what her assessment of George W. Bush would have been.

In the movie “Jaws” a brief reference was made to a horrible ordeal involving sharks suffered by some American sailors during World War II. The cruiser Indianapolis was on a top secret mission (delivering an atomic bomb to an AAF base in the Pacific) when it was torpedoed by the Japanese. It sunk rather quickly and the crew had no time to launch the life boats so they jumped into the ocean. Since their mission was top secret their radio silence was not questioned. The sharks attacked the guys one at a time and inflicted a high number of casualties. Would that obscure facet of naval history provide an adequate analogy for what is happening to progressive media these days? Some of the crew managed to survive.

Would the fate of the Americans who fought at the Alamo be a better example of appropriate symbolism? They were wiped out. So was the cavalry unit which fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

When will Mike and Stephanie see their heresy and recant so that they may receive absolution and attain the large monetary remuneration and throngs of adoring fans that await them if they (like the prodigal son?) begin to spout Murdock approved Republican talking points?

My aunt was a bit of a bigot. She wouldn’t acknowledge that folks with dementia had just as much right to be President as any of the other candidates. She refused to discuss the possibility of voting for St. Ronald Reagan for re-election.

Would my dear aunt maintain that Obama has done for the Republicans what a desperate boxer does when he agrees to “throw the fight.” Did he squander his legacy by taking a long time to write a law that was bound to flunk the Supreme Court test?

Did the weekend Teabagger rally in Madison Wisconsin evoke references to the concept of solipsism?

[Note: Uncle Rushbo (on his Monday program) declared that throat cancer is caused by “Lewinskis.” That’s good news for fellows who may have experienced one before Clinton invented that bit of perversion, eh, Rush? Uncle Rushbo ridicules “scientific” opinions about global warming and the possibility that the polar bears are in peril, but he accepts and disseminates the Lewinski story because of the scientific supporting evidence. Could that be an example of the Republican Philosophy that hypocrisy is one of the seven cardinal virtues, along with lying, cheating, stealing, etc.? ]

Bartlett’s attributes to Voltaire this quote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Apparently that was amended to apply only to Republicans’ right to free speech. Democrats need not apply.

The disk jockey will play the “Jaws” soundtrack album, “Please Mr. Custer,” and “Eve of Destruction.” We have to go prepare to hear some Dons Basketball. Note: Berkeley’s Rugby team has escaped elimination via budget cuts (baseball didn’t) and so maybe we will soon have the chance to hear some of those games on Progressive Talk Radio in the SF Bay area? Have a “T-t-t-that’s all f-f-f-folks!” type week.

Crapitalism Rules?


February 21, 2011

Gov. Walker awakens Madison, WI

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 2:05 pm

Author’s note:

It’s been a while since I have published anything. Perhaps Scott “Hosni” Walker has awkened me as well. Since the epicenter of what may become a populist movement is my hometown, I had to write something. I have several friends who were at the protest and all have said that it was completely peaceful. The Teabaggers were largely silent and vastly outnumbered. While mainstream media alluded to their numbers being in the thousands, everyone that was there on Sat. the 19th assured me that could not have been more than 200. The total number of people present was estimated at 68,000. The article I am posting a link to has a slide show of photos taken on that day.


After the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Admiral Isoroko Yamamato said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

The new Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, may want to keep those words in mind as he wages a war on Wisconsin public employees and the middle class of America. Approximately 68,000 Wisconsinites were awakened last weekend and showed up at the state capitol to protest Walker’s budget plan (see slide show).

Wisconsin has many creamy traditions that go far beyond milk, cheese, beer, brats, and the Green Bay Packers. One of those is organized labor and the right of public employees to collectively bargain.

Like most states and middle class citizens, Wisconsinites are struggling in the recession, but the state government is not bankrupt. The so-called budget “crisis” was not handed to Gov. Walker, it was created by him. Walker claims his power grab is an attempt to close a budget gap, but the budget “crisis” was engineered by Walker as soon as he got into office.

The state legislature’s fiscal bureau estimated the state would end the year with a $121 million balance. Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit, but it is not because of an increase in worker wages or benefits. According to the Capital Times, it is because “Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for corporate and special-interest groups in January.”

A number of the big business interests standing with Walker are beneficiaries of his administration’s tax giveaways. The greatest ally to Walker, however, is the dirty energy company Koch Industries. In response to the growing protests in Madison, the Koch front group, Americans for Prosperity, bused in Tea Party protesters to support Walker and his union-busting campaign.

Koch Industries is a major player in Wisconsin: Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant:

Many people do not follow politics, but many hate corporations – and for a good reason.

A common refrain against the public employees under siege in Wisconsin is that if private sector workers cannot have the same benefits, then public sector workers should not get them. The truth is that hurting public workers will not get you a better job. It is not true that public workers are better off. They usually get lower salaries in exchange for better benefits.

More important, though, is the idea that we should try to bring one another up, rather than continue this race to the bottom. Perhaps anger should be directed at the companies that are downsizing and outsourcing jobs, not at teachers and the lunch lady.

What is happening in Wisconsin is more than what is apparent on the surface. What happens this week in Madison has national ramifications.

It is more than about unions, collective bargaining, contributions to pensions, health care and worker’s rights. This is about public education, affirmative action and basic human rights. This is about how much the Radical Right thinks they can get away with. This is about drawing a line in the sand between what amounts to corporate fascism and the future of your children – if first they come for the unions, who will they come for next? If they can force this through relatively progressive Wisconsin, your state could be next.

The real Badgers of Wisconsin have drawn the proverbial line in the sand. It is our state, our lives, and once again, our moment in history to proudly stand up and change the course of this nation.

Read more, get links, video and a slide show here: Madison Independent Examiner.

Still in deep trouble here: Heading for Ushauaia

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 8:48 am

On the Beaufort wind scale, we are now at 9 — 50 mph winds, huge waves, crockery flying, barf bags everywhere, Dramamine the drug of choice for sure. Generator still out, going 8 knots per hour, 140 nautical miles left to go before we reach the Beagle Channel. What an adventure! Yahoo!

The food onboard is great but who wants to eat it.

Our boat holds 100 passengers, most of whom are in their rooms, praying and turning green. But the crew is amazing, steady as rocks.

This trip has really taught me a lot about myself — that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And I’m definitely going! To pray to the porcelein god!

Johnny Discovers His Big Future in Meth Sales

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 5:04 am


February 20, 2011

Waves in the Drake Passage as high as the ship!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Jane Stillwater @ 8:15 am

Here’s the update I just e-mailed to my daughter Ashley:

The waves here are humongous. Our boat creaks and howls like its very nails are screaming to get out. A wastebasket and a shoe just rolled past my bed. Dramimine is causing nightmares — I was stalked by an alien truck driver and Ruby served me with a lawsuit in the Willard Junior High School gym. Two more days of this yet to go. We look out the window and see 25-foot waves. Crawled to the bathroom on my hands and knees this morning because I couldn’t stand up due to the roll. But somehow it all seems kinda fun.

The captain says that we can still plan to make our flight back on the 23rd — but who knows for sure.

PS: Things just got a whole lot worse. I’m typing this in the ship’s library with books and chairs flying across the room behind me. Two more days of this. Thank goodness for Dramamine. I’m still shaking from looking out the window and seeing nothing but water where the horizon used to be.

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