March 31, 2011

The Dying of the Right: Republicans WILL Believe Anything

If it’s about Obama, Clinton or poor old born-again Jimmy Carter, nothing is too absurd for the gullible right-wingers, as long as it’s defamatory. Some of these dizzy neocons, in a massive exercise in psychological projection, seriously believe liberals and progressives are fascists who want to see them in camps or dead, even though no evidence of this exists outside of the empty spinning flywheels of right-wing propaganda. (And these are the same bubbleheads who enthusiastically thumbs-up such Republican reptiles as WI Gov. Scott Walker, OH Gov. John Kasich, NJ Gov. Chris Christie, and MI Gov. Rick Snyder, the latter actually trying to secure the power to nullify local elections and run towns from the governor’s office. If that’s not fascism, I don’t know what is.) They didn’t learn the lesson of the Junior Bush years: There is a steep price to pay for those who create their own reality, and disinformation and delusion inevitably lead to ruin. The current incarnation of the GOP as a minority Christopublican-Tea Party is already sliding down the slippery chute; in ten years, both of these addled factions will have been shunted to the sidelines where they belong and a true conservative secular Goldwater Republican Party will reemerge to own the brand.

“Stupid or ‘lop-eared’ marks are often played; they are too dull to see their own advantage, and must be worked up to the point again and again before a ray of light filters through their thick heads. . . . Always they merit the scorn and contempt of the con men. Elderly men are easy to play because age has slowed down their reactions.”
– Excerpt from “The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man” by David W. Maurer, published in 1940, (pgs.103-4). The film “The Sting” was based on Maurer’s book.

“Put together any ten Americans at random and get their honest opinions — odds are at least two of them are going to be scary dumb.”
– Mac Carroll

Will Republican Voters Believe Anything? The Right’s Hyperbolic, Dysfunctional World

To have credibility within the Republican Party is to have none outside it. They act as if all their Kool-Aid has been spiked.

By Gary Younge
Comment is Free
The Guardian (UK)
Via AlterNet
March 28, 2011

Polls suggest there are between one in three and one in four Americans who would believe anything. More than a third thought President George Bush did a good job during Hurricane Katrina; half of those thought he was excellent.

Throughout most of 2008, as the economy careered into depression, just over one in four believed Bush was handling the economy well.

As Bush prepared to leave office in January 2009, bequeathing bank bailouts, rampant unemployment, and Iraq and Afghanistan in tatters, a quarter of the country approved of his presidency.

These are national polls that span the political spectrum. So you can imagine how concentrated the distortions become when filtered through the tainted lens of the right. A poll earlier this month revealed that a quarter of Republicans believe a community rights organisation called Acorn will try to steal the election for Barack Obama next year, while 31% aren’t sure whether it will or not. It won’t. Because Acorn does not exist. It was defunded and disbanded after a successful sting operation by conservatives a couple of years ago.

Meanwhile, a poll last month showed that a majority of Republicans likely to vote in the primaries still believe Obama was not born in the United States. He was. But no number of verified birth certificates will convince them.

Read the rest here.

The Democrats’ Dilemma

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:38 pm

worlds-fair-building“Swing,” Rupert Holmes mystery novel about the adventures of a musician in a swing band who is also an amateur detective investigating a death at the 1940 Worlds Fair held on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, left the World’s Laziest Journalist with an extreme case of regret about missing out on visiting that year’s West Coast alternative World’s Fair, which had to strive mightily to be noticed in the media shadow of the other one in the New York area. The chance to rectify that gap in the columnist’s cultural resume had been relegated to a place in the “things to do when time travel becomes a reality” file, but then we recalled reading somewhere that the final vestiges of the Fair was available in the form of the Treasure Island Museum which was supposed to still be operating on the site.

On the morning of Wednesday, March 30, 2011, there was a plethora of column topics demanding immediate attention. Listening to the Stephanie Miller radio show, it seemed like using the day to write a column in support of the Mooks’ right to castigate the President for giving his approval to the continuation of the Bush Crime Family agenda was a top priority.

A column making comparisons between the new adventures of the Legion of Libya Liberators and the Bay of Pigs fiasco would need some fact finding. There would be an ironical difference: the Bay of Pigs was lost because the United States failed to provide the rebels with air cover and the setbacks being suffered by the rebels in Libya, are happening despite the fact that the new rebels are being provided with their own Air Force, courtesy of the current Regan Democrat in the White House. Such a column could be produced if a fact finding trip to the Berkeley Public Library’s Main Branch was conducted followed by an afternoon of intense keystroking.

If the columnist spent the sunny spring morning (March had produced 21 rainy days in the Berkeley area) rereading and jotting down pertinent information from Ian Patterson’s book, “Guernica and Total War,” the afternoon could be devoted to producing a brilliant and perceptive column comparing the Spanish Civil War with the efforts of the American led Libyan Liberation Falangists. Can Gaddafi be compared to Franco? Do civilians in Libya refer to the American air cover as something involving “the Condor Legion”? Would that sobriquet sting the German contingent participating in the war for humanitarian reasons?

Should we write a column noting that Australia, which has provided troops every time they were asked to do so by America, was given a pass this time because they were not invited to participate in this new American military adventure?

Should the day be spent pounding out a column urging popular support for Monday’s Day of Action in support of the unions in Wisconsin?

Would it be spurious to inject a plug for the efforts of a fellow Berkeley based photo blogger at the What I saw in Berkeley today website, into a three dot journalism style column?

Our desire to explore the last traces of the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939 – 1940 overwhelmed our dedication to duty and so we yielded to temptation and called in sick for the day so that we could travel there and gather information for a column on that non-political topic.

Treasure Island was built by the Army Corps of Engineers specifically to serve as the site for the Exposition and was expected to serve as the location where Pan Am Airline’s China Clipper would be housed after the Fair closed. When the United States was pulled into World War II, the island provided a convenient location for a large new navy base.

Some conspiracy theory nuts are very skeptical of the fact that Treasure Island just happened to become available at the very same time when America needed to build a big naval base on the West Coast to conduct the Pacific faze of WWII. Apparently they just don’t appreciate the fact that some coincidences come along at a very appropriate time.

The fairgrounds, on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, were deserted and void of tourists and walking down the empty streets was reminiscent of the opening sequence in the movie “Twelve O’clock High.”

Late fair visitors can find a coffee shop and a pizza (was that invented by 1939?) place called the Oasis Café and two small convenience stores.

We did wind up in the Naval base brig, which now is the site for The Fat Grape Winery, where the congenial staff (owner Patrick Bowen) welcomed this Fair visitor and gave us a brief tour of the facility even though the writer hasn’t had an alcoholic drink for a good number of years.

We were disappointed to learn that Sally Rand’s Dude/Nude Ranch didn’t deliver and hedged by featuring a cast of ladies who were “almost” naked.

The Fair headquarters building is the location of a leasing office, today, and the surrounding area features a variety of sports fields which have had the same effect on real estate developers as a waving a red flag has on high strung bulls. We were told that next month residents will learn what the next step toward in a redevelopment movement, with promises of high rise apartments with spectacular views of either San Francisco or the East Bay, will be.

Like most tourists, we took a good number of snapshots with our trusty Coolpix before hopping on the two busses which would return us to the World’s Laziest Journalist’s home office.

When we got back there we began to have some feelings of guilt about (figuratively speaking) calling in sick for the day and felt inclined to bang out a column on a topic that would be more appropriate for use as content that would be posted on sites that feature political punditry.

However, President Obama has effectively put professional liberals (such as Stephanie Miller and Randy Rhodes) into a bind or what chess players would call a fork dilemma because they can no longer criticize George W. Bush and ignore Obama’s duplication of Bush’s war and torture policies. Does that mean that Democrats can accurately say that they are being forked by Obama? Liberals must either condemn both Presidents or drop the topics of torture and wars initiated by a President without Congressional approval.

Republicans see no contradiction if they condemn Obama for doing the exact same things that their hero, George W. Bush, did. Liberals are hesitant about praising the one and condemning the other for identical conduct. If they do, they will appear to be hypocrites susceptible to the charge of being racists unfairly disparaging the President from Texas while condoning the conduct of another President from Illinois.

Drat! War and torture would have made such nifty campaign issues in 2012, but, thanks to Obama’s precious stunt regarding the Libyan Civil War, the topic is now moot. Will the El Segundo Blue Butterfly become the hot debate topic in 2012?

We will have to stick with our decision to go with a column about a rather tardy visit to the 1940 event.

Dang! If we actually had been able to do a real time travel visit to that event, we would very much have also wanted to stop at a Ford Dealer on the way home to buy a 1940 DeLuxe Ford convertible coupe.

We did the best we could under the circumstances and enjoyed our “sick day” anemic attempt at time travel immensely. The man made island was named “Treasure Island” because the author of that adventure classic, Robert Louis Stevenson, had been an area resident in the past for a portion of his life. Perhaps, some other day, we will write a column about the long list of authors who have spent some time in or around the San Francisco area.

Pierre Jean Francois Joseph Bosquet, who died in 1861, may have made the best prediction of President Obama’s philosophy regarding the humanitarian effort involving helping the Libyan Rebels, when he said (he was referring to the Charge of the Light Brigade): “It is magnificent, but it is not war.”

Now the disk jockey will play “In the mood,” “A nightingale sang on Berkeley Square,” and “Age of Aquarius” (Just to see if you are paying attention). We have to go send a “Mook Power!” e-mail to Jim Ward. Have a “strange days, indeed, mama” type week.

March 28, 2011

Fear and Loathing in the Democratic Party

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 8:25 pm

In response to requests to explain why the USA has intervened in a civil war in Libya, the President asserted that the reason was to protect American interests. He followed that up with a smorgasbord of campaign style patriotic platitudes. He did not present any evidence to prove his contention that American interests “were at stake.”

His speech brought to mind Lord Byron’s snarky assessment of a Wordsworth poem: “I wish he would explain his explanation.”

The progressive radio station in the San Francisco Bay area cut away from the speech before the “God Bless America” ending.

In California, the speech was heard live at the end of the work day right before the start of the evening commute hour.

It seems to this columnist that the President’s “whole lotta nada” speech will not assuage his Republican critics nor will it satisfy the skeptics in his own party.

In the morning preceding the speech, this columnist wrote up some additional material in anticipation of the speech. Here are our expectations for the speech:

There is a very vulgar colloquialism which accurately describes the challenge facing the President in his speech delivered on the night of Monday, March 28, 2011, but we won’t quote it verbatim. Bush’s successor has “soiled the nest” and will attempt to use his (alleged) eloquence and charm to convince the Democrats who voted for him to forgive and forget his war crimes record, just as he has done with and for George W. Bush.

The best indicator of the most likely result of President Jackass’ attempt at a Myth of Sisyphus task was contained in an article for Esquire magazine written by Norman Mailer in response to an appearance by Madonna on a late night TV show. In it, Mailer made the assertion that Americans will forgive a celebrity any transgression so long as it doesn’t involve a “going against type” aspect regarding the celebrity’s public image.

Mailer pointed out that Andrew Dice Clay, who was known for making caustic remarks, fell from grace when he apologized for one of his quotes. Conversely, since Americans expected scandalous behavior from Madonna, Mailer (accurately) predicted she would quickly be forgiven the appearance on the Letterman show which was marked by repeated use of the “f-word.”

If Mailer’s theorem is correct, the President’s attempt to convince his supporters that he is still the same old hero worth of their love and campaign donations will fall on deaf ears. Rather than preaching to the choir, it will be as warmly received by the rank and file Democrats as would be accorded to a missionary’s attempt to proselytize to a gang of inebriated members of a famous motorcycle club. The challenge facing Scheherazade pales in comparison to the task that the Democratic Party’s choice has chosen for himself (and his legacy).

The President, very early in his term, suggested that he would be comfortable with being a one term entry in the history books. It’s a very good thing that he feels that way because his supporters might soon have to interpret his previous remark as a self fulfilling prophesy with a dash of the “be careful what you wish for” aspect to it.

George W. Bush often used America’s Free Press to help substantiate his newest “Black is White” lie. The press would dutifully relay an endorsement of the fallacy and the public would be left scratching their heads. Is the media doing a good job of spreading the “war for humanitarian reasons” oxymoron or are they being skeptical?

There is an old journalism tradition for writing two diametrically opposed stories in anticipation of a binary choice event. The most egregious example of the danger of such a practice came in the news photo image of a triumphant Harry S. Truman holding up a copy of the Chicago Tribune that featured a headline proclaiming: “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

With that in mind, this columnist wrote a preliminary draft of this version of this column on the morning of Monday, March 28, 2011. It is possible that, like the forgiving wife of an abusive husband, Democrats could respond to the Monday night speech with the political version of “make-up sex” and welcome the President back into their good graces with open arms. We won’t waste the time and energy needed to do the keystrokes for a column comparing the President’s speech to the first appearance of the Beatles on live TV in the USA.

The Democrats may be dumb, but this columnist’s pre-speech opinion is that the Democrats can’t be that stupid.

The Democrats who voted for the incumbent wanted a viable alternative to the Bush Dynasty and not a carbon copy of Dubya.

There was one popular speaker who could literally turn water into wine, but for a guy to expect to use one speech to sell a capricious and very expensive new war to supporters, who projected a “peace maker” image onto a fellow who subsequently gave his imprimatur to his predecessor’s war crimes and then decided to go him one better, isn’t just a difficult challenge it (IMHO is now officially, according to the Oxford Dictionary, a real word) is a stellar example of insanity in action.

The advantage of the situation is that it makes the task of being prepared to analyze speeches where the incumbent says whatever will rationalize the Bush-Obama War Crimes Agenda so much easier because all that’s needed is some old anti-Bush invective with the names changed to update the diatribe.

The current President once made a casual remark about expecting liberal bloggers to provide approval on demand because that was what they were paid to do. Since this columnist has no fiduciary relationship with the current occupant of the White House, we feel free to blurt out our opinions much as if it were part of a Rorschach test and not a opportunity to display unquestioning party loyalty. Has America become the land of: “One Country, one Party, one Dynasty!”?

[Wouldn’t it be überironic if both Uncle Rushbo and Mike Malloy peruse these columns looking for relevant insights and clever metaphors? Shall we test our theory? If he is reading this; here’s a bone for Uncle Rushbo: Have American troops ever before in their history been under the command of any leadership that was not that of the American President?]

To cynics, it might seem as if the current Commander-in-chief has not only taken over where George W. Bush left off, but he has also taken over a military effort that will begin almost exactly where General Erwin Rommel’s career reached the turning point in a military career that had, up to that point, been described as “brilliant.”

Most Americans are familiar with Abraham Lincoln’s words of wisdom about fooling the people. The current resident in the White House should refresh his memory and become aware of the sentence preceding the famous often quoted one. It says: “If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.” Lincoln did not elaborate about how that advice might apply to an effort to be reelected.

Now the disk jockey will play several of Madonna’s albums. We have to get up early and scramble out to a place with a wifi connection to post this column. Have a “What’s so civil about civil war?” type week.

Afterword: We were able to post this column on Monday night.

Bachmann, Gingrich and Pawlenty: Three Who Won’t


March 27, 2011

Illegal immigrants: God’s gift to America

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 6:48 pm

You see them all over America, standing in front of big-box hardware stores looking for work or selling oranges on the corner or doing our dishes in the kitchens of fancy restaurants or fixing our roofs or making our beds or raising our children.

Thank God for illegal immigrants!

“But Jane,” you might say, “those people are stealing our jobs!” Yeah right. Jobs we don’t want. We’re talking about diligent workers who are more than willing to perform the sh*t-work jobs that nobody else wants at a pay rate that no one else in America would ever consider accepting.

I’m currently reading Soledad O’Brien’s new book, “The Next Big Story,” wherein she states that while researching her documentary on Latinos in America, she asked a fairly broad sample of “legal” Americans if they had ever lost their job to an Illegal immigrant. O’Brien then goes on to say that she had been unable to find even one person who had lost their job to a Latino. Not even one. But I digress.

What I really want to discuss here is not what illegal immigrants take away from Americans but rather what it is that they ADD to the American experience.

We are not only blessed but also downright lucky to have these people living and working here — no matter how many exaggerated negative stereotypes Lou Dobbs has dreamed up.

The main ingredient that “illegal” immigrants continue to bring to our American table is one of the most valuable assets that this country has. When illegal immigrants cross that southern border, they bring hope along with them. And hope is more than just some political snake oil sold to us during the last presidential election. Hope is the stuff from which we build our future — and America’s “illegal” immigrants add this one chip to the pot that America so sorely wants and needs right now in these current war-torn and depressive times.

“Illegal” immigrants bring hope with them now, just like ‘illegal” immigrants always have — in the back of their covered wagons, stuffed into their cardboard suitcases and knapsacks and sewed into the hems of their skirts.

I myself am a direct descendant of one of the first waves of “illegal” immigrants that first brought hope to America’s shores — the original native Americans who arrived here over 10,000 years ago. And they arrived here illegally, trudging stolidly across the frozen land-bridge that is now the Bering Strait. And these immigrants brought with them two of the greatest sources of hope that we have — democracy and respect for the land.

My great-great-great-grandfather, Chief Ballard, “illegally” immigrated to the Oklahoma territory — after surviving a horrific Trail of Tears.

My great-grandmother, Mary Ballard, married the deputy US marshal at Tahlequah, the one who brought in the outlaw Frank James (Frank’s brother Jesse busted him out of jail the next day but it’s the thought that counts. My grandmother, Alta Purpus, remembered Frank being handcuffed to her parents’ brass bedstead overnight when she was a girl).

I am also a direct descendant of another wave of “illegal” immigrants — the Puritans who founded Massachusetts and Thomas Hooker who founded Connecticut and James Hooker who fought in the American Revolution. I think there is also a Tudor family connection back in there somewhere so perhaps all my daughters and granddaughters actually really ARE princesses!

Through the Thompson side of my family, I am related to the next wave of “illegal” immigrants to come over here — African slaves who built the American South with their own hands.

I am also a direct descendant or am tied by marriage or blood to many of America’s 19th-century “illegal” immigrant groups, the Eastern Europeans (through my favorite great-aunt Dixie Cohen), Danes (my grandmother married a Janssen), Germans (my great-great-grandfather was a Purpus, used to be a forester in Bavaria, had a son who was hung as a horse thief in Missouri), Chinese (the Jo family first arrived in California in 1849 and have been here ever since. Mena Jo Stillwater is a sixth-generation Californian. There aren’t many other “legal” Californians who can claim that — unless they are Mexican!), and Mexicans too (yep, I’ve got them in my family tree as well — the Lozano and Hernandez families). But I digress. Again.

“So what’s your point here, Jane?” My point is this. All of us Americans used to be “illegals” at one time — or are descended from illegals. And thank God for that!

And America’s latest generation of illegals, like all the other generations before them, brings with it a new sense of renewal — and of hope.

So enough of this “illegal” crap!

PS: Soledad O’Brien also stated that Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants [and also Muslim immigrants and Muslim-Americans too, as far as I can tell] have now taken the place formerly held by African-Americans — as America’s most hated, despised and segregated race. And she’s right. That’s just pathetic.

All too many Latinos here [and Muslims too] have been spit upon, not allowed to attend schools, denied the right to buy homes and even lynched — just like in the bad old days of the Klu Klux Klan and Bull Connor. I marched in Montgomery with Dr. King for nothing? It looks like I have.

Someone — perhaps a Latina Rosa Parks? — ought to organize a bus boycott here until things change and our newer immigrants, immigrants just like your fathers, get more respect. Or perhaps we can hold a one-day general strike where every Latino [and Muslim] in America refuses to go to work. If that were to happen, America would come to a screeching halt, wanna bet?

Plus it’s time for Americans to grow up and stop all this hatin’. Nothing good has ever come from hate. It eats at our souls.

PPS: Where does it say anywhere in our Constitution that it is legal to have an INS? Did George Washington have an INS? Were INS agents there to meet the slave ships in Charleston? What about the Scots who came here after Culladen? Were they met by the INS too? And were INS agents hovering around in Alaska when our first Eskimo ancestors finally made it across the Bering Strait? I think not.

PPPS: And where did this whole concept of “citizenship” come from anyway? When did citizen requirements ever become “legal”? But if I actually am a “legal” citizen of the United States, then why can’t I just appoint others to citizenship as well? Sort of like “Each one teach one” or like spreading a virus around?

Is catching U.S. citizenship something like catching the flu?

But if you are a so-called “illegal” immigrant in America and you are reading this now, then by the power vested in me as a United States citizen and with the love and mercy of God — who has freely given America a whole tide of hopeful “illegal” immigrants all down through the centuries as His (or Her) own great gift to us — then I hereby declare and affirm that you too are hereby made LEGAL as well.

Sorry that I don’t have any fancy certificates made up for this occasion — but if any of you new American hopefuls happen to have designed one of your own, I will officially present it to you with great ceremony — and even give you a big hug. Welcome to America! Amen! Achoo.


The penny wise pound foolish budget

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:43 pm

One of the guys who does volunteer work for the Marina (del Rey) Tenants Association (MTA) asked this columnist if we could help him in his private cause of trying to restore the level of karate instructions his daughter was receiving at the Sun Valley Park Recreation Center in Los Angeles County. There had been three classes a week and it had been reduced down to two a week and he wanted to see if he could get it back to three. (Cue the “putting toothpaste back into the tube” analogy?)

The Marina Tenants Association has, since its inception in the Seventies, been battling the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors over rent rates because the history of the world famous boating marina has lead the local voters and several newspaper reporters to ask for various investigations over the years because the fact that the developers who build in the county run area make profits that are deemed “excessive” while being regular campaign donors to the very politicians who are assigned the task of overseeing the possibility that the people who provide their own financial political support are too enthusiastic in setting new rent rates in that area. To some, it would seem that the voters think that the politicians, who assure their constituents that they will be impartial, are being disingenuous.

The fact that many voters are confused by the elimination of many budget items at a time when the question of financing new military operations in support of a civil war in Libya is being glossed over in a perfunctory manner is causing them to question the disparity of a “penny wise and pound foolish” agenda.

The President is scheduled to address the nation on Monday evening and explain his reasoning.

To cynics, it seems like the President is assisting the Republicans in their new “Take-away” strategy. The Republicans take away citizens rights and benefits while simultaneously taking away the tax burden for the corporations and rich individuals.

To some, it looks like the Republican agenda in Michigan amounts to taking away (AKA disenfranchising) the voters right to representation via mayoral and city council elections by installing “viceroys.”

The challenge, for the President in Monday night’s speech, will be to explain the apparent fiscal policy contradictions in terms that the average voter can understand. If President Obama can do that without sounding like a parody of the standard Bush war speech full of assurances that the task is hard work and that progress is being made; then he will (in effect) have kicked off his re-election campaign with another example of his famous speech-giving style (as St. Ronald Reagan often went to the people to use his charm to win the voters’ hearts). If, however, he fumbles and comes off sounding like a college professor explaining calculus to a grade school mathematics class, he could face a more formidable reelection challenge than most of his cheerleader-pundits currently expect.

The degree of difficulty for the President’s task has been further increased by a recent New York Time article that asserted that the new American military activities directed against Libya was based on some resentment for what American business men perceived as “extortion” on the part of the Libyan leader in return for commercial opportunities inside that country on the African continent. That would leave the war open to some snide commentary using the old mafia concept of “this is nothing personal, just business” regarding the new hostilities. Even just the idea of such a possibility contradicts the President’s assertion that the new “war” is being waged for strictly humanitarian reasons.
(Doesn’t the concept of “war for humanitarian reasons” sound rather Bush-esque?) [Note: efforts to find the article online were unsuccessful. Readers are invited to do their own fact checking on this possible news story explantation.]

If this new “conspiracy theory,” from the New York Times, is ever proven to be a valid explanation, that could further complicate the President’s attempt to win the hearts and minds of American voters for a second time.

Unfortunately for voters, each and every cause (such as the level of karate class instructions in Sunland Park) needs an individual restoration effort, while the Republican program can be as cold and unemotional as the stroke of a pen crossing the item off a local budget.

Somewhere in Berkeley, we noticed a bumper sticker that drolly noted that you will never see an Air Force Base holding a bake sale so that they can buy a new fighter jet.

Conspiracy theory nuts will have their usual song and dance ready if the Republican Supreme Court Justice in Wisconsin wins reelection on Tuesday. The Democrats have been trained to respond to any new allegations that the Republicans have stolen (i.e. take it away from the Democrats) an election by saying in unison: “We just didn’t get enough voter turn out. We’ll have to try harder next time.”

It is not clear if the President will use the Monday night speech to assuage the voters fears about some tangential subjects such as assurances that there is no need for concern on America’s West Coast over malfunctions at some electrical generating plants thousands and thousands of miles away in Japan. Only disloyal subjects – make that word “citizens” – would be suspicious enough of such reassurances to go to the Internets site that reports radiation levels in the USA to fact check their own President.

Do Republicans want to take away from the country’s support of the Commander-in-chief?

Another part of the Republican “Take-away” agenda is to reduce the excessive amount of disposable income in the voters’ pockets (via lowering wages) so that the rich can have their fears about lower profits during hard times taken away from their list of worries.

One intrepid conservative has incurred the wrath of her lackeys by pioneering the “you should donate your labor to my business” trend and is ignoring the workers’ “strike.” Why strive to get them to work for “less” if you can get them to work for free?

In the old days, rich business moguls used to hire thugs to come in and use baseball bats to knock some sense into the hard hearts of the financially motivated “firebrands,” who often were outside agitators and not actual workers. Actually, the instigators usually did the “observe and report” routine from the sidelines while the workers themselves took the actual physical punishment.

Voluntary work opportunities abound for liberals. Hired gun writers, by definition, tend to only join the causes (such as lowering the tax burden of the rich) that will provide them with a paycheck.

When the tax rate for corporations and rich individuals is reduced to absolute zero, will they stop their lobbying efforts or will they then proceed onward to an effort to provide “tax reparations” for (what they perceive as) past taxation injustices? Would people actually think that capitalists could be that greedy?

The fact that the (so-called) Liberal Media has become more and more subdued in their attempts to foster the various causes embraced by Democrats tends to indicate that the Republican efforts to dismantle FDR’s “New Deal,” can now proceed unhindered, especially since most of the issues will be sent to conservative dominated appeals courts.

If Conservative Christian Republicans gain control of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of American government, what will Rush Limbaugh have to use as the basis for a (rather one-sided) debate on the public air waves? We may soon find out.

Quote wranglers debate about the legitimacy of a quote often attributed to Collis Huntington: “Whatever is not nailed down is mine. What I can pry loose is not nailed down.”

Now the disk jockey will play the song “Money (That’s what I want)” done by both the Beatles and the Stones (the only song recorded by both groups), the Flying Lizzards, and ? We have to go find a copy of the Jefferson Airplane song “Volunteers.” Have a “just say ‘Thank you, masked man’” type week.

March 25, 2011

Wisc. collective bargaining law published despite court order

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 9:47 pm

Author’s note:
The GOP will do whatever it takes to feed the bankers and corporations, starve the poor and crush the middle class. And that includes breaking the law…

Gov. Walker’s controversial measure curbing collective bargaining rights for most public employees may become law tomorrow, despite a temporary restraining order issued by a Dane county Circuit Court judge last Friday blocking its publication.

The law was published today by the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB). The temporary restraining order issued by Judge Sumi specifically blocked Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law, but did not name the LRB. While the state constitution states that laws must be published before they go into effect, it does not specify by whom.

The Walker administration, therefore, was able to take advantage of a separate law that requires the LRB to publish legislation within 10 days of enactment. Since no action by the secretary of state is required for the LRB to act, and since La Follette did not direct the publication of the law, today’s action by the state legislature is not in violation of the court order.

While there are uncertainties regarding the implementation of the law at this time, it is certain that there will be more court proceedings in the near future regarding this matter.

Legal questions aside, the words of a demonstrator puts the issue in a larger perspective:

Slavery used to be the letter of the law in this country, but we all know that was wrong. Denying women the vote was once the letter of the law in this country, and we all know that was wrong. Making black folk ride in the back of the bus was once the letter of the law, and we knew that was wrong. Interning Jewish people in concentration camps was once the letter of the law in Germany, and the world knew that was wrong! Walker may claim that his ending of collective bargaining is the letter of the law, but we know that is wrong too. So Walker is on thin ice if he tries to hide his looting of the people to feed the corporations and bankers behind a thin veneer of legality.

It will be interesting to see how many people who have similar beliefs show up at the Capitol tomorrow.

Read more and get links here:
Madison Independent Examiner – Wisc. collective bargaining law published despite court order

The GOP Master Plan


March 24, 2011

The Tattlesnake — Wordy-Gurdy Name Quiz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:40 am

Just for fun, grab a pencil and paper and try to find the three-word name combinations of prominent people in politics, history and the arts from each clue.


Clue: Hit the road, Congressman

Name: Ray Charles Rangel

1. Clue: Piano Man Sun-Tanned

2. Clue: Shrugged the Aqua Buddha Senator

3. Clue: Blond-Haired De-Angler

4. Clue: Offbeat Comedian Astroturfer

5. Clue: Code Pink Prime Israeli

6. Clue: Disaster Progressive News Anchor

7. Clue: Chess Records’ Okie Senator At Last

8. Clue: Enthusiasm Curbed Tea Party Billionaire

9. Clue: Oscar General Badger Governor

10. Clue: Traitor for Gold and Golden Bear Musclehead

Answers below


March 23, 2011

Antarctica TMI: My penguin toilet-training mission & visit to Port Lockroy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 10:19 am

“And what did you learn from your recent trip to Antarctica?” someone asked me the other day. I learned that penguin colonies smell really bad and that penguins have no indoor plumbing. So I dealt with this problem as best I could — rented a penguin costume, made a toilet-training video for penguins and posted it on YouTube. It was the least I could do.

“And how did that work out? Are penguins now using the potty-chair regularly or at least wearing diapers?” Who knows! And I’m not about to go back down there to find out. It’s COLD in Antarctica! After spending time in to Antarctica, I’ll never feel cold here in Berkeley again — no matter how many hail-storms we have and no matter how bad climate change hits the Bay Area.

PS: Here’s my penguin toilet-training video. Penguins, listen up!

PPS: Speaking of climate change, apparently the Berkeley Bowl produce market is not selling tomatoes any more — or at least not very many. You used to be able to walk into the Bowl’s vegetable section and find bunches of shelves and bins filled with tomatoes. But not any more. Not since the big freeze of 2010-2011. Now they only gots a few shelves devoted to selling big reds and Romas, and the price of cherry tomatoes from Mexico is now $3.69 a basket.

Between the price of gas now hitting four dollars a gallon, the various ice sheets hitting our tomato supply line and our deficit hitting new highs due to the cost of our new “war” on Libya, it’s apparently time to resign ourselves to the price of stuff that we need going up — and up and up. But who the freak can make spaghetti without tomatoes?

But if America actually really is seriously broke and has as huge a deficit as the governor of Wisconsin and Rush Limbaugh claim that we do, then America could never afford to continue to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan — let alone up and bomb Libya. Lord knows that bomber fuel ain’t cheap!

PPPS: While down in Antarctica I also stopped at Port Lockroy, which used to be a British intelligence-gathering radio outpost during World War II, but is now a museum and gift shop. And I have the bumper-stickers, calendars, post cards, T-shirts and key chains to prove it. Sorry, but they were all out of refrigerator magnets.

Imagine six or eight Brits huddled in a flimsy wood hut for several years, trying to spy on enemy battleships and U-boats that might try to sneak through the Drake Passage — and you’ve pretty much got the idea of what Port Lockroy was like. Talk about your last outpost of Empire!

It was interesting to see how the old British spies lived back in the day — the place was completely preserved right down to its tin bathtub, radio room, bunk beds, boxes of Marmite stored in the pantry and pin-up drawings of Diana Dors on the dorm wall, painted back in the early 1950s. I guess that the spies liked it there so much that they decided to stay on after the war? No accounting for tastes.

Anyway, the hut’s major attraction was this huge vintage-1943 radio called The Beastie, which was one of the largest radios in the world at that time. I took lots of photos. Here they all are, in a fabulous new YouTube slide show exclusive:

PPPPS: While at Port Lockroy, I also mailed a post card to my three-year-old granddaughter Mena. However, I’ve been back home in Berkeley for almost a month now and the freaking post card still hasn’t been delivered.


March 22, 2011

Pundits doing a Turnabout?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 4:12 pm

Thorne Smith’s 1930 novel, “Turnabout,” was recommended to this columnist, before the Vietnam war began to spin out of control, as a hilarious romp for several reasons and, since the suggestion to add it to our reading list came from “a reliable source,” we commenced an effort to locate a copy of the book.

When it looked like a win in the California primary would give Bobby Kennedy a big boost in momentum and a good chance to win the Democratic Party’s Presidential Nomination, we were seized by a strong premonition while entering a used bookstore in downtown Los Angeles. We were certain that we would find a copy of the sought after novel there. As we left, we noted that our hunch had been bogus, but then we suddenly rekindled our effort by going back in and looking in the “humor” section. Success!

The book tells the story of a married couple whose spirits, due to a mysterious magical statue, exchange the host bodies. The man is in the wife’s body and she finds herself inside the man’s body. The guy is immediately paralyzed by the prospect of becoming pregnant and enduring the challenges of childbirth. The woman is plunged into the world of bonding with the other “guys” at work.

Smith had a short but productive career and many of his novels were turned into profitable films. To the best of our knowledge, “Turnabout” wasn’t filmed. The basic plot-line has been turned into a Hollywood cliché, but in all the examples of mind-exchange films, “Turnabout” has been overlooked.

Some time after reading “Turnabout,” we learned that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had written a short story about a similar mystical event that involved a college professor and one of his students, who had a school boy crush on his teacher’s wife.

[Smith’s “The Bishop’s Jaegers” is still too far ahead of its time to be movie-ized. Perhaps some avant-garde French director will show Hollywood, how it can be done.]

What brought this to mind while we were hypnotized by a tea kettle making ominous seductive noises at Oh-dark-thirty in the morning was the recent bit of political philosophy disorientation produced when a nominal member of the Democrat Party used a page right out of the Bush Family White House Instruction manual and sent thousands of bombs and cruise missiles into Libya to protect that country’s citizens from being killed by its leader.

The Democrats are recycling all the Republican pro Invasion of Iraq arguments to answer the Republicans’ recasting of the old “Bush is a war monger” Democrat talking points from earlier in this century. Talk about bringing “Turnabout” to life on the evening news broadcast.

For example, when a fellow member of the Berkeley Brigade of Bloggers (at the Berkeley Press Club?) asked this columnist to explain why Barry Bush (AKA code name “Obama”) had authorized the use of depleted uranium ammunition in the new jingoistic military adventure, before we could take a deep breath, we had blurted out this question: “If the American goal is genocide, doesn’t it make sense to use radiation to sterilize the males that can’t be killed?”

All the confusion brings up a question with disturbing psychological implications: “Are the Republicans being hypocritical when they use old recycled anti-Bush material to disparage Obama?

If some Republicans assert that Obama should be impeached for ignoring the Constitution which specifically states that Congress should vote to authorize any new wars rather than letting the President use the military in a “king’s army” capacity, do they realize that they are opening themselves up to the allegation that Bush committed an impeachable offence when he ordered up a search for Iraq’s non-existent WMD’s?

If the Republicans are using old Democratic talking points inadvertently, then they would seem to be blissfully ignorant of the nature of Bush’s offences, but if they are fully cognizant of the fact that they are spouting old Democratic talking points then that means they could be doing so with extreme sarcastic intent.

Are Democrats that anxious to believe that the Republicans who, under the direction of Field Marshal Karl von Rove, have spent years preparing for the time when a conservative majority judicial system might come in handy, have now made an inept and impulsive error? Could it be that plans for a Democratic party dupe (knowingly or unknowingly?) who would use the Bush strategy to start a new and unauthorized (by Congress) war, were at the ready when the first day of “Shock and Awe” was presented on network Television?

Perhaps the recycling of old Democratic talking points was part of a long term strategy and it is being implemented now with an extra added amount of “rubbing salt in the wounds” enthusiasm just for spite?

At this point giving Republicans credit for being sly as a Fox (news?), while playing “dumb,” to make a subtle point might remind some fans of the comic strip “Peanuts,” of the series where Charlie Brown, on the pitcher’s mound, tries to out-think the opposing team’s batter. “If he knows that a fast ball would work well now, but he knows that I would figure out that a fast ball would work well now, and I know that he knows that I would figure that out . . .” Strategy gridlock? Isn’t war for completely humanitarian reasons a bit of an oxymoron?

On Tuesday, March 22, 2011, Uncle Rushbo was asking if any listeners could tell him why the United States is “in Libya.” If the Democrats and Conservatives run the emotional level of discussion up enough, could there be a Twilight Zone type twist ending waiting in the wings? When the Democrats start delivering fever pitch defenses of the Obama decision to defend Libyans would it be a Rod Serling ending if the Conservatives suddenly say: “We fully agree with the Democrats, we just wanted to hear them enthusiastically promoting a new war in the Middle East.”?

If America uses a private company to provide support services to the military and if a new war will produce greater gross revenue for such a private company, what (if any) are the drawbacks for a new and profitable military venture . . . especially if it can become a perpetual war providing that company with an infinite supply of profits?

Isn’t it time for some clever editor to write a “Yes, Virginia, Americans are still ‘the good guys’” editorial? Of course a conservative might want to wait until a Republican is elected President to “straighten out the Obama mess” before running such a hypothetical opinion. The Republicans have all the time it will take, if the wars become perpetual.

Isn’t a perpetual war a lot like increased radiation levels? You either learn to live with it or die in the attempt.

In “the Bishop’s Jaegers” (Pocket Books Inc. November 1954 17th printing paperback edition [25 cents for “the complete book” {“Illustrated with many wonderful drawings by Herbert Roese”}]) on page 64, Thorne Smith wrote: “It was this latter possibility that brought Peter to a full realization of his position. For the first time he saw himself as indubitably he would appear in the eyes of others. He saw himself not as an innocent man but simply as a stark naked coffee importer dazzlingly greeting his guests at the door of his ancestral home.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Lady Godiva,” “Night train,” and Janice (“It’s all the same f*****g [Remember what Col. Kurtz said about that word?] day, man”) Joplin’s “Get it while you can.” We have to go apply for press credentials for this year’s Nudestock Music Festival. Have a “let it all hang out” type week.

March 21, 2011

GOP Big Daddy Knows Best


Justice Prosser’s outburst may influence Wisc. Supreme Court election

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 1:39 am

Author’s note:
The state Supreme Court election on April 5 in Wisconsin may be a key turning point in the state’s (hopefully) short experiment with being a red state. Now that a key Republican Supreme Court Justice has been called out for his misogyny, you may think he’d apologize for his outburst. Rather, like a typical Republican, he blames it on the recipient of his temper tantrum.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser may have several liabilities that make him vulnerable in the upcoming election on April 5. The most recent are emails and interviews that have revealed that Prosser exploded at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson behind closed doors, calling her a “bitch” and threatening to “destroy” her.

According the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one of the emails obtained was written by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley to Prosser and other court officials on Feb. 18. “In a fit of temper, you were screaming at the chief; calling her a ‘bitch,’ threatening her with ‘…I will destroy you’; and describing the means of destruction as a war against her ‘and it won’t be a ground war.’ …In my view, a necessary step to address the dysfunction [in the court] is to end these abusive temper tantrums.”

Prosser recently acknowledged the incident, saying “In the context of this, I said, ‘You are a total bitch.” Prosser explained, “I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted….They [Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley] are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing.”

Prior to joining the court, Prosser was the Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly. He has been recently linked to Governor Walker by an ad put out by the progressive Greater Wisconsin Committee who claim, “In the legislature, Prosser and Walker voted the same way 95 percent of the time – both voting against the middle class.” His reelection campaign recently promised that he would “protect the conservative judicial majority and act as a common sense complement” to Gov. Walker if he is reelected.

The Supreme Court election has taken on a much greater significance in light of the recent Circuit Court decision to place a temporary restraining order on the publication of a controversial anti-union law. That decision is almost certain to be appealed and may ultimately be ruled on in the state Supreme Court, as Prosser stated in an interview with a local conservative talk show host.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court currently has a 5-4 conservative majority. On April 5, Prosser, a Republican, is facing a challenge from Assistant Attorney General JoAnn Kloppenburg. Before the budget battle that has taken place over the past few weeks, Prosser was favored to win the election. Now there are no clear favorites.

Read more, get links and video here: Madison Independent Examiner – Justice Prosser’s outburst may influence Wisc. Supreme Court election

March 20, 2011

Extraordinary ordinary people: Rosie the Riveter, Wisconsinites & Tokyo firefighters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 5:47 pm

My daughter Ashley needed a ride out to Richmond (CA) yesterday because of the pouring rain. Oh, okay. But while I was out there, I also went to visit the city’s relatively new Rosie the Riveter/Home Front National Park. In the rain. And I also talked with park ranger Betty Soskin while I was there.

“I like the way this park looks,” I told Ranger Betty, “but isn’t all this talk about how wonderful Rosie the Riveter was just one more way to mythologize and glorify war?”

“That’s not true,” replied RB. “I’d never ever work here if it was. This park is very important to me — but not because of its connection with World War II. This park has meaning because it makes a record in time and shows an example of what ordinary people such as you and I can achieve — just by working together. In the Richmond shipyards here, in the course of just a few years, American workers — many of them female — built over 747 vessels in a mere three years and eight months. That is a more massive achievement than the pyramids of Egypt.” Or even the Great Wall of China. “And that achievement has meaning.”

Ranger Betty stated that the Richmond shipyards’ example offers a vision of what people can do if they work together — ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things.

“Yes, I think that I see what you mean,” I replied. “It’s like what the people of Wisconsin did when they stood up in defense of their unions. Or when the young people of the Middle East achieved regime change armed only with their laptops and a burning passion for freedom. And like what the extraordinary ordinary firefighters of Tokyo did when they got into their firetrucks and drove off to Fukushima to try, against all odds of succeeding, to put out the terrible nuclear fires there — knowing that they might never come back alive,” mirroring the heroism of the first responders at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Ranger Betty seems to believe that people are basically good — and will eventually do the right thing. “It may take a while, perhaps decades or even centuries, but eventually it happens.” And that is the story of how I left the rain-soaked city of Richmond with more hope for the future than I ever had before I arrived. Thanks RB.

And Rosie’s important lessons of the 1940s are still pointing us in the right direction even today. “We can do it!” said Rosie back then. And she’s still right. Not only that but, by working together in this time of crisis, we extraordinary ordinary people today can take even more steps forward.

We can stop building pyramid schemes for the pharaohs on Wall Street and start building a better world for ourselves and our kids.

We can invent and construct so much solar, wind, thermal and other alternative energy that we’ll all look back on our former dependency on oil, coal and nuclear and just chuckle at those past follies — much in the same way that we now do toward those who thought the world was flat.

“We can do it!”

We can repossess our government too — take it back from the rich. We can limit campaign contributions, shut down the lobbies and impeach anyone in the executive, legislative and judicial branches who still believes that corporations are persons. We can put our government back to work building infrastructure, funding education, making healthcare work and protecting and serving — instead of just handing out OUR money to oligarchs and war profiteers. And we can hand-count our own freaking ballots.

We can stop giving tax breaks to huge corporations, billionaires and weapons-peddlers and start giving tax breaks to ourselves. We can take our money out of usurious banks that lie to us for profit and put it in credit unions that work for us instead. We can shut down banksters “too big to fail,” shut down the casinos on Wall Street that happily gamble away our money and shut down those counterfeiters at the Federal Reserve. Let’s make our hard-earned money work for US for a change.

“We can do it!”

And we can stop building warships for blood-thirsty, fear-mongering politicians and war profiteers — and start building plowshares for ourselves.

PS: My father enlisted in the US Navy during World War II (anything to get out of the house!) and was stationed first in the Pacific and later at Yokohama Harbor where he was in charge of the Navy’s fleet post office there.

My father’s letters home from Occupied Japan (now donated to the Rosie the Riveter/Home Front National Park’s archives BTW) were heart-felt and moving. “Today I was one of the very first Americans ever seen by residents of a small town outside of Tokyo. I think that they had been told to expect monsters and were probably surprised that we didn’t have horns and tails.”

When Pop came back from Japan, the ship he was on — which was more than likely had been built by the Rosies — got detained at Coronado and so my mom, who was a VERY determined young woman and who was sick and tired of her husband being gone, rented a rowboat, stuck us two kids in the prow, rowed out to my father’s ship and waved to him from our boat.

You shoulda seen it — hundreds of returning sailors, leaning over the rails, cheering, waving back at us and kidding my poor father. “Hey, Lieutenant Purpus! Look! There’s your wife!”


American Journalism MIA

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:33 pm

Americans who read their daily papers very assiduously during the week of March 13 – 19, 2011, were informed that something bad happened in Japan and that a “no fly zone” had been authorized to be implemented over Libya, but there were some aspects of the news that were (like the rest of the Cheshire cat in back of the smile) missing.

This week, a Democrat President did what George W. Bush tried and failed miserably to accomplish; Obama got America into a new military venture without a word of dissent from any Democrat politician.

There was (ironically) a series of demonstrations marking the anniversary of the shock and awe TV special that marked the beginning of America’s continuing invasion of Iraq. Since the paucity (paw city = cat pun?) of news coverage of the war’s various birthday parties left news junkies to wonder did those “protests” really happen?

The writers’ strike against the Huffington Post was mentioned by Romenesko’s Media News, the Columbia Journalism Review’s website, and in a column by the World’s Laziest Journalist, but since Rupert Murdock has nothing but distain for the journalist’s mission, he used “interline courtesy” rules and his band of clowns will stay mum and not embarrass fellow mogul Arianna Huffington.

Other than feature stories about some radiation in food which is at “no cause for alarm” level (why bother mentioning it then?), has anyone reported any other facts about the nuclear disaster in Japan? There was an erroneous report that the frantic workers had been given the “abandon ship” order, but that was later denied. They are trying to cool the reactors down.

If the workers were trying to exacerbate the situation, that would be news, but spending all that money to send reporters into the danger zone just to come up with “trying to cool the reactors down” stories seems a bit too obvious to warrant network evening news round-up time.

Has any major media reporter done a sidebar story about the possibility that the surrounding area might (like happened in the Chernobyl region?) become a radio active leper colony?

The academics who teach atomic science at the University of California at Berkeley have been reported to be measuring the fallout in that city of the radiation coming from Japan. There are no specific details about the readings, only the “second the motion” platitudes about Obama’s announcement that there is nothing happening that merits alarm. They can’t or won’t say what the readings are, but no worries, mate, don’t sweat that bit of unnecessary news.

A judge in Wisconsin ordered a stay on that state’s law to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Uncle Rushbo was urging the governor of Wisconsin to choose to ignore the stay, just as (he asserted) President Obama had ignored a ruling on the Health Care Package that was passed last year. Why upset union workers with breaking details on that story when it was clearly important to run stories telling them that there were no worries about the situation in Japan?

It’s not like the news media failed completely during the week of March 13 – 19; on page E-1 of the San Francisco Chronicle, for Friday, March 18, 2011, David Wiegand reported that Charlie Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option” tour will feature an appearance in San Francisco (on April 30). Perhaps Charlie will reveal details about the cooling efforts in Japan?

Adolph Hitler used the threat of physical torture to keep journalists in line during the Third Reich era. He had an official state run newspaper (just like Uncle Rushbo would like to see in the USA?) and journalists who wished to stray outside the prescribed boundaries did so at their own peril. His torture specialists had a high “complete recant and sincere apology” level rating.

In the USA, Freedom of the Press is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, but the journalists seem to be very willing to accept an unwritten “ya gotta go along to get along” codicil to that scrap of paper.

Perhaps, if America’s journalists offered to voluntarily subscribe to the Volkischer Beobachter standards of reporting, a nasty round of lay-offs could be avoided? If the reporters want a Dan Rather-Keith Olbermann ticket to oblivion, that can be arranged. Is any news story worth the loss of facetime on the networks?

Apparently there will be no effort on the part of the news media to relay to the public assurances from a reputable politician that: “It isn’t about oil.”

Speaking of scraps of paper, have you read about the 29th Annual Napkin Art Contest being held by Mama’s Royal Café, in Oakland CA?

On page 539 of “Murrow: His Life and Times,” (Freundlich Books hardback ©1986) A. M. Sperber quotes Edward R. Murrow: “Surely we shall pay for using the most powerful instrument of communication to insulate the citizenry from the hard and demanding realities which are to be faced if we are to survive. I mean the word ‘survive’ literally . . . .” Has anyone thought that Murrow might have been a very early example of the conspiracy theory nut?

[Can anyone explain why the annual list of the names of the individuals being inducted, this year, into the Conspiracy Nuts’ Hall of Fame are being kept secret?]

Now the disk jockey will play “Zippidy Do Dah,” “I’m the Pied Pipper,” and “The Warsaw Concerto.” We have to go check and see how the Fremantle **ckers (An American pants company won’t let us use their team name) are doing. Have a “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” type week.

[Afterword] After writing this column, we bought the New York Times Sunday edition for March 20, 2011, and learned, in the lead story on the front page, that in order to protect the citizens of Libya from their leader, a series of air strikes had begun. How many citizens of Libya will be inadvertently killed in the effort to protect them was undetermined.

We learned on page 12 of the front news section that questions were being asked about the possibility that the Tokyoy Electric Power Company executives may have wasted time in their response to the emergency.

On page 23, in a photo caption, the Sunday Times informed readers that “protesters were arrested in Washington on Saturday.”

March 19, 2011

Serfin’ USA with Ollie and Molly Oligarchy!


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