September 29, 2011

Seven Reasons Why Chris Christie Won’t Be the GOP Nominee

1. He’s a Media Darling. Aside from the fact that Christie keeps saying ‘NO’ to a presidential run and the Beltway Punditocracy keeps looking at it upside-down and seeing ‘ON,’ the chattering classes apparently have missed one salient fact: they are not popular with the GOP base who regard them, at best, as the ‘liberal media’ and at worst as keepers of the black antichrist Obama’s socialist flame. Quick, think of a presidential candidate in the 2008 election who was beloved by the media. That’s right, it was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, grandiloquently dubbed ‘America’s Mayor’ by the fawning habitués and sons of habitués that inhabit the glass-walled towers of Big Media Manhattan and the press cubicles of the crepuscular nation’s capital. The MSM loved themselves some heroic Rudy, almost as much as he loved himself, and were sure Republican primary voters could be persuaded to adore him as well. The stars in their eyes didn’t allow for Rudy reality to penetrate — he was a lisping, sweaty, East Coast quasi-liberal (he had supported abortion rights and funding for the arts, at one time), who gave tedious speeches and wasn’t popular on his home turf when he tossed his cookies in the ring. The fabled Giuliani ended up getting a single primary vote in Florida and is best remembered for Biden’s trenchant swipe, “A noun, a verb and 9/11” to sum up Rudy’s desperate attempt to outline a reason he should be president. Perhaps Christie’s smart enough to know that the Tony Soprano tough guy image being promulgated by the media is a fabrication neither he nor his record can live down to, and, like Rudy, he’s unpopular in his own backyard. Also like Giuliani, there are bumps and potholes in his past that will be highlighted in relief by a presidential bid; Rudy had Bernie Kerik and other curious financial entanglements; Christie has his record as a US Attorney and his pattern of caving in to corporate interests.

2. The Republican Elite Love Him. The Teabaggers and Christopublicans who make up what remains of the GOP out in Fly-Over Country aren’t enamored of the candidates endorsed by the various shills, operatives and Wall Street moneybags that occupy the skyboxes of the Republican Party. These are simple clodhoppers who melt at the sight of a crucifix held aloft by a guy in cowboy boots waving a pistol, not some slickster in a designer suit and Italian loafers waving down a cab. Multi-millionaire Mitt Romney, it should be pointed out, was ‘The Man’ to the GOP Elite until recently, but now his trail of pinball-machine flip-flopping on every issue and oleaginous persona, not to mention revealing to the rubes that he thinks ‘corporations are people too’ (Mitt, you’re supposed to hide that from the Proles), have left the USS Romney taking on water in open sea, vulnerable to the waterline torpedoes of every GOP flavor of the month and a clear sign the base distrusts the Chosen One as picked by the likes of a David Brooks or Bill Kristol. Romney may eventually stumble across the GOP primary finish line the winner, but he’ll be horribly damaged goods, ripe for the final landslide humiliation from Team Obama. Christie might also be politically savvy enough to envision this bleak future for himself, if he ran.

3. Christie Has Denounced the GOP Base: Perhaps the Pundits are too deeply entrenched in the redwoods of the inbred Washington conventional wisdom they help create to notice the forest of jabbering incoherent discontent beyond, but GOP primary voters this year are all as crazy as blind bus drivers and East Coaster Christie’s comment disparaging them will not endear him to the rural areas of the South, West and Midwest where these slack-jawed yokels and bitter bigots mostly reside. Christie said unequivocally, “I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.” So, why would Christie put himself through a process where he’ll have to deal with nothing but crazies for the next fourteen months? Moreover, once this remark makes the rounds, as his political opponents will ensure it does, the New Jersey Governor will sink to Michele Bachmann numbers in the polls.

4. ‘Liberal’ Viewpoints. If he becomes a candidate for president, Christie may very well change his positions ala Romney but, in the past, he’s taken decidedly unRepublican stances on issues important to the GOP base such as guns, immigration and hatred of Muslims. Here’s an exchange on gun control between Christie and Sean Hannity on Fox News:

HANNITY: “Should every — should every citizen in the state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one?”

CHRISTIE: “In New Jersey, that’s not going to happen, Sean.”

Imagine that repartee repeatedly appearing in negative ads in GOP primary states, likely sponsored by the NRA. Christie has also shown insufficient passion in detesting illegal immigrants and catering to Islamophobia. Ideological apostasy on any one of these issues would lose the GOP base in 2012; Christie’s managed to hit a triple play.

5. He Believes in Climate Change and Agrees with Scientists That It’s Mainly Caused By Human Activity. Need I say more? To the Dark Agers who vote in GOP primaries, and the wealthy Republicans who keep them in the dark, Christie might as well be saying that if Jesus returned he’d be a Jewish liberal and denounce Israel for the way it treats Palestinians.

6. The Jersey Smart-Ass Act Only Works to a Point. Sure, the GOP base gets a giggle from tough guy Christie telling some poor voter it’s none of their business where his kids go to school, or shutting down questions by swatting some good-government type with an offhand insult, but then, these are Charles Addams caricatures who are so through-the-looking-glass mean-right that they cheer executions and young men dying from lack of medical insurance and boo Iraq War veterans. To the electorate at large, that act doesn’t have legs. Whatever Americans think of President Obama’s skill as president, most of them believe he cares about them and he tries to answer difficult questions fully; contrast that with Christie’s annoyed reactions and flippant or angry answers to any challenging query. After a while, voters in the rest of the country would join New Jersey residents in wondering why they should elect someone who obviously cares so little for most of his constituents, preferring to reward the rich and prosperous corporations at their expense.

7. His Health. I have nothing against chubby people; I myself am the caretaker of a prominent beer gut, and not enough of a hypocrite to criticize anyone else in similar shape. However, Chris Christie is bordering on the morbidly obese — he must have, at least, a 60-inch waistline — and he’s experiencing physical problems such as a recent asthma attack that landed him in the hospital. A presidential campaign is a grueling death march that requires the candidate be in good enough physical condition to withstand the congealed chicken dinners, cold coffee, rampant hand-pumping and lack of sleep required to hoodwink the public into voting for you. Despite his tough-talk front, I don’t think Christie has the stamina for such a run. Aside from that, we are a nation that loathes fat people, except for fictional gift-givers like Santa Claus. Not since one-term Republican William Howard Taft a century ago have we had a president who weighed in at over 250 lbs. Those who vote for a candidate based on their looks, and we have far too many of them, would not be marking the ballot for the bulbous Christie. It’s not fair, of course, but it’s our present reality.

There are those, like Jimmy Zuma at, who speculate Christie may be angling for a VP slot, but that doesn’t strike me as credible; I’d bet instead he’ll be defeated in his reelection bid for NJ governor and won’t mind a bit retiring to the comfortable life of a well-paid Wall Street lawyer or corporate board member or even Fox News host. Not everyone in politics actually enjoys the game once elected, and I think Christie’s one of them.

Copyright 2011 RS Janes

The Search for the World’s Greatest Bridge

Sydney Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge

Would anybody in their right mind, put all their stuff in storage, give notice to the landlord in the Mar Vista section of Los Angeles thereby becoming homeless, and then go running off to Australia in search of material for their blog?

Obviously using a left-handed shirttail grab to save a fellow’s life in Sydney will make for a great page or two for the memoirs, but would people want to read a column online detailing how such a maneuver stopped a fellow who was in the falling down stage of inebriation from attempting to stand on a precipice that was four floor above the street and urinate into the void? When he decided to redirect his efforts to a nearby potted plant and fell face first into the bush, didn’t that constitute saving his life? Some of the more immature travelers thought it might have been hilarious to let him try his face-plant efforts from on top of the fence that would have provided a more majestic visual than the crass spectacle of the “watering” of the shrubbery did

A large number of books and several magazines find eager audiences willing to spend money to read about far away places with strange sounding names so why is it that the Internets hasn’t spawned a digital Kerouac? Can crossposting columns on Digihitch lead to a book deal? Would “No good blog goes unread” be the corollary for “No good deed goes unpunished!”?

What if a fellow traveled extensively and then boldly asserted that the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco area was more photogenic than the Sydney Bridge? That might stir up one or two posts in the comments section challenging the contention, but (hypothetically) do any potential readers in Concordia Kansas really care about determining which of the two is a better photo op? Wouldn’t they be more interested in getting the final score of the Friday night high school football game?

Would it be worth all the time the time, effort, and expense required to get photos of the two contenders, just to push a troll in the King’s Cross Section of one of the bridges’ home towns into going to all the trouble of posting an “au contraire” message in the comments section?

Isn’t that like the moment in “Rebel without a cause” when James Stark (James Dean) asks the other guy: “Why do we do this Buzz?” The answer was “We gotta do something.”

Since that first step of walking out of the apartment building in Los Angeles happened on October 1 of 2008, we’ve been thinking about the way things have changed since then.

Many Americans pay for a tour to a foreign country and come back with enthusiastic accounts of forming friendships on the trip . . . with their fellow American travelers. Business men who get paid to go to Australia usually get to stay at a chain franchise hotel and get to mingle with other businessmen from around the world.

When they come back to the USA folks will ask: “What are the Australians like?” and those folks will reel off a list of Kodak moments (such as shots of Bon Scott’s statue in Fremantle) and spout travel platitudes.

Staying in Hostels we did not encounter very many fellow Americans nor did we get a chance to chat with many Australians. We mostly got to talk to fellow vagabonders from throughout the British Empire plus a goodly number of European youths. We made an effort to talk to Aussies so that we could blog our reply in more detail to the “What are Australians like?” question.

If you love New York City (and who doesn’t?), you will feel quite at home in Sydney, but are New Yorkers just like the folks in Concordia Kansas? The Sydney vs. Perth debate is very similar to the rivalry between New York City and the City of our Lady Queen of the Angeles (AKA L. A.).

At a hostel in Kalgoorlie, (the Word spell check challenges the name of that city in the W. A. [AKA Western Australia]) you are more likely to encounter a Kiwi seeking work than a person from Sydney.

Regional loyalty is an interesting phenomenon. Somebody in Australia thought it would be better to reshoot episodes of “The Office” with local geographical references rather than showing reruns of the American series (which was inspired by a series in England).

If the Aussies make a joke about Skimpie’s being the most famous saloon in Australia would that be better than a reference to the Amereica’s best corner bar? When Johnny Carson was hosting the Tonight Show from a studio in New York, he helped Hurley’s achieve that distinction, but now that he’s gone and Hurley’s is too; what is the most famous gin mill in the USA?

Australians make as much of a fuss about the Melbourne Cup as Americans do for the Kentucky Derby. Can your American neighbor who has taken a tour of Oz tell you when that race is held?

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Australia is the National War Museum in Canberra. Americans who visit it can learn during World War II, just as the Australians were preparing for an invasion by Japan, the Americas won the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway in rapid succession and thereby crippled the Japanese military’s plan to plant their flag on Australian soil.

Australians we met made efforts to explain that they loved America and Americans for preventing the Japanese invasion, but they disagreed with what George W. Bush was doing with torture, invasions, and attacks on personal liberty.

We went to an (American) Election Results (Why does America insist on holding their elections on Melbourne Cup Day?) viewing party at the University of Sydney and the tumultuous reaction to Obama’s victory seemed genuine. When the polls closed at 9 p. m. on Election day, on America’s West Coast, it was 3 p.m. Wednesday in Sydney.

Lately as we notice that while some beautiful Indian Summer days in Berkeley indicate that Winter is drawing neigh, the jacaranda bushes will soon be blooming in Sydney and their country will prepare to celebrate Christmas in the traditional Australia way, i.e. in a bathing suit on the beaches from Bondi to Cottesloe

In late October of 2008, Australians were very enthusiastic about the election of President Obama and we can’t help but wonder if “change” has occurred in their assessments of America’s leader. Hmmm. Would it be better to go back to the University of Sydney to watch the 2012 Election results get posted or should we try going to Harry’s New York Bar in Paris to see the reaction there?

Being a cynical self-subsidized American political columnist means that ultimately that decision will be up to the World’s Laziest Jounralist and no one else will get to participate in the final results. Which brings us back to Buzz’s question in “Rebel Without a Cause.”

At Christmas time in 2008 we recall one evening sitting in the smoking and drinking area of a hostel in Fremantle Western Australia chatting with some young ladies from Stockton England (Home of the Northern Blues) and they asked this columnist why he had gone to all the effort to travel there.

Seeing the Fords, Ferraris, and Chaparrals compete at Sebring had been fun. Going to the Oscars™, Emmys, and Grammies had been a real hoot (should we double back on our tracks and see if they have changed much since Nixon was in the White House?). We had asked John Wayne for his autograph and gotten a business card with a reproduction of his signature. We gave our autograph to Paul Newman. We flew in the Goodyear blimp.

Would a blogger have to be crazy to try to attempt to do something with a blog that Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, and Jack London didn’t achieve with their books? We explained that we were searching for a colorful character who had been everywhere and done everything. The Brits enthusiastic response was to say that was precisely why they had come there and that was why they were glad they had met the World’s Laziest Journalist.

In all the intervening days we’ve lost track of the “on the road” aspect of our quest for material for the columns we write. It seems that we have settled into a routine of bashing the Bush-Obama political agenda. Now we have to ask ourself another question. “Why (allegedly) do more sailors jump ship in New Zealand than any other country in the world?”

In “A Personal Record,” Joseph Conrad wrote: “I had given myself up to the idleness of a haunted man who looks for nothing but words wherein to capture his visions.”

Since some music will now always remind us of our trip to Australia, the disk jockey will now play Bobby Bare’s “Five hundred miles away from home,” Johnny Cash’s “Live at Fulsome Prison” album, and the 1812 Overture (what will the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra play at this year’s Christmas Concert under the stars?). We have to go check the expiration date on our passport. Have an “I remember it well” type week.

September 27, 2011

Another electronic voting machine miracle?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 4:09 pm

Writing an eloquent and well reasoned column pointing out the logical shortfall when a straw poll has been held by the Party that has stated their game plan is to limit the occupant of the White House to one term because they hate him for his ethnic background and the results awards a win indicating that there could be a Presidential race featuring two candidates of Pan-African heritage is too much of a challenge for the World’s Laziest Journalist.

Would Republicans be content to let the conservative majority United State Supreme Court sit idly by and let democracy in action embody provide an example of their nightmare scenario coming true?

Attempting to explain the apparent hypocritical aspect of such an unexpected result would require an elaborate example of in-depth journalism that would blend an extensive knowledge of psychology with speculation about the deep subconscious motivation for the result that blatantly contradicts the attitude revealed by numerous Republican attempts at ethnic humor that offends many Democrats.

Aren’t the Fox Views propagandists the only performers qualified to give instant analyses displaying an extensive knowledge of the mood of the electorate? Wouldn’t a liberal pundit be challenged for producing anything describing what the voters are thinking that is unsubstantiated by extensive (and expensive) polling results?

It would be easier to write a column about an attempt at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory to fabricate a new item that makes a nefarious effort to link the ideas that college educated liberals support teachers’ unions and that high school dropouts who may not have had courses where they learned to dissect a frog are the staunchest critics of the global warming evidence presented by “scientists.” What possible connection could they suggest at the aforementioned factory? Doesn’t it sound stupid to think that the longer a person stays in school the more likely it will be that they think that all polar bears (Ursis maritimus) will eventually drown in the Artic Sea? Can we get a WTF?

Isn’t it great that after President Obama lectured the Congressional Black Caucus and told them that they should take Archie Bunker’s advice to “Stifle!,” his ardent Liberal critics (such as Mike Malloy) didn’t resort to a trite metaphor about making them eat some cookies that carry a racial slur connotation in their brand name?

Someday we are going to write a column about the list of radio personalities that became cultural phenomenon. We can remember hearing Arthur Godfrey, Don McNeill, Cousin Brucie, Harry Harrison, and Dr. Demento. We seem to remember that Don Sherwood had a brief gig at a Lake Tahoe radio station and we heard one or two examples of that show. AM radio reception in the Tahoe basin was poor but Wolfman Jack came in loud and clear. We were too young to have the chance to hear Father Coughlin. We missed Jean Sheppard. Liberals and Conservatives have diametrically opposed reasons for listening to Mike Malloy, but someday we are going to put on our Pop Culture hat and do a column asserting that as the USA morphed from democracy to fascism, Malloy functioned as the last Liberal voice standing.

Someday folks who were youngsters during the Obama era will be reading history books (are they on the endangered species list yet?) and might regret that they had the chance to hear what a Liberal rant sounded like but that they put it off and thereby missed a chance to participate in cultural history as it was happening.

We assumed that the unwashed phenomenon performing at the Village Gate would always be there and we intend to catch it next time we are in the Big Apple.

We didn’t realize how long it would take but since we assumed that Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground would always be the house band at Maxwell’s Kansas City, we figure that we should go there at the next available opportunity.

Can you hear Radio Caroline on the Internets?

Should one of the Internets radio sites call itself XERB dot com?

Why did Liberal media types hail the British Invasion of America in the Sixties and condemn the American Invasion of Iraq in the Bush era?

Why don’t the Conservative trolls refute the assertion that the current Republican game plan sounds like a “Waiting for Godot” revival and that existentialism and Theater of the Absurd are close approximations of Republican values?

Speaking of “Waiting for Godot,” some skeptics have challenged our contention that JEB will be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012. When is he going to make his move?

Why is it that, when the Rolling Stones, who have touring down to a fine science, are scheduled to take the stage at a concert, they always run late? The audience gets restless and rowdy and just when the crowd seems on the verge of a spontaneous riot, the announcer (who did they get to replace Bill Graham?) will introduce the world’s greatest band and the crowd will give them a very enthusiastic reception. Could Karl Rove be intending to do the same thing for JEB?

Remember the time in Los Angeles when Bill Graham told the crowd that if they didn’t stop booing Prince, they wouldn’t get the Stones? Boy, that shut the rude boys up real fast.

The is a folk axiom that says “If you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t really there.” Back then people had to work hard to be well informed about the contemporary culture. The Village Voice, the Berkeley Barb, and the L. A. Free Press worked diligently to keep people informed about what was happening. The older WWII vets thought that the kids and their opposition to “Tricky Dick” were amusing.

People who rely on Fox Views to be well informed might some day look back on the Bush-Obama era and realize that there was an ideological explanation for questions about why the Occupy Wall Street movement didn’t get noticed by the mainstream media until there some good old Sixties-style mass arrests were made.

Political chicanery may be ubiquitous but it is never amusing – except to existentialist cynics. Fool the voters once, shame on you. Fool them every time and it is time to reassure the rubes that the electronic voting machines are unhackable.
The Cain win in Florida is exhibit A for making the case that the Republicans are not racists. The Obama win in 2008 is exhibit A for proving that the results from the electronic voting machines are reliable.

Part of Karl Rove’s strategy has always been to attack the opposition’s strong point. Does that mean that if JEB is nominated his ads will feature a sound byte of his brother’s quote: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”?

Now the disk jockey will play the Del Vikings “Don’t get slick on me,” the Kink’s “Who will be the next in line,” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “What a heck of a mess.” We have to go find our draft card. Have a veto proof type week.

Tea Party Christian Patriot Gazette Ads for Sept. 2011


September 26, 2011

The ultimate intimate experience: Holding hands

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 8:46 pm

Anyone can have meaningless sex. Guys go to prostitutes. Ladies can pick up one-night-stands in bars. And then there’s rape. I rest my case. But to experience the ultimate in human intimacy and contact, you just can’t beat holding hands.

According to the ancient Japanese medicinal art of Jin Shin Jyutsu, hand-holding is a healing act as well as an act of intimacy. So you get 2 for the price of 1 here.

Many studies have shown that in order for babies to thrive — or even to survive — they must have human contact, skin on skin. And what makes anyone think that we ever outgrow that need?

You just can’t have meaningless hand-holding. You can’t rape a hand.

Holding the hand of another human being will humanize them — and will probably humanize you in the process too.

Hand-holding is the best medicine. So just do it.

Not only that but imagine if, instead of dropping bombs on Baghdad, George W. Bush had just told Saddam Hussein, “If you don’t immediately give me all your oil, I’m going to threaten to HOLD YOUR HAND!” Perhaps if that had happened, we would have re-written history — and all too many American vets would also still have their hands today.

And what if Barak Obama had simply told Muammar Gaddafi, “Here’s the deal. You give me all your oil and I promise to hold your hand twice a day for a week in return.”

Let’s train our Marines in various hand-holding techniques. After all, since God and Allah are two words for the same person and Christians and Muslims alike honor the non-violent teachings of Jesus, a Prince of hand-holding himself, then even the Taliban would be pleased.

And as for Congress? Hand-holding would work well here too. Instead of Congressional representatives making asses of themselves by always trying to legally steal from the public coffers rather than doing their jobs? They could all just join hands in a big circle, have a Kumbaya moment and then get back to what really matters — serving the folks who elected them.

No wonder people always shake hands.

And as a public service to humanity, I am hereby offering to hold YOUR hand for 20 whole minutes — for only 20 dollars. That’s a magical dollar per minute. Such a deal! You’ve heard of the famous Hugging Saint of India, right? Now you’ve got the famous Hand-Holding Saint of Berkeley as well.

Just don’t ask me to hold hands with a Koch brother. Yuck!

PS: Speaking of prostitutes, for many years I worked as a substitute teacher at our local juvenile hall. The boys were mostly in jail for gang-banging. The girls were mostly in there for prostitution. But on the whole, most of the inmates were bright kids — and these were only the ones that got caught.

Imagine how much smarter the ones who got away with it must have been.

I always said that if any of these kids had been born into a middle-class family in the suburbs, they would have been competing to get into Harvard instead of competing to get into the best gangs or competing for the best pimp.

PPS: Has anyone but me started to notice that lately one of the major budget line items in America these days doesn’t go toward repairing infrastructure or making improvements in our lives by pooling money so that we can get services at a group rate that we otherwise couldn’t afford individually — or even line items going toward educating our children so that future Americans won’t all be dumb-asses.

One of the top budget line items these days seems to be dedicated to financing police riot squads that beat up America’s protesting citizens. Democracy at work here? I think not.

Just today, for instance, there were protests at UC Berkeley over outrageous tuition hikes, protests on local public transit because transit cops keep shooting people, protests over the illegal lynching of Troy Davis, and protests on Wall Street about taxpayers getting raped by the banks.

There seems to be a new trend here. On any one given day somewhere in America, people who are expressing their displeasure with corporatist rule are getting beaten down.

And the act of beating down all these disgruntled American citizens is getting freaking expensive!

Wouldn’t it just be cheaper to go back to being the way we were in the old days — before banksters, corporatists and happy lobbyists began to openly run our country?

Plus just think of all the money we could save by not having to constantly pay out for riot gear and police overtime — if all these demonstrators and police would just sit down together and start holding hands!


September 25, 2011

Bible College Psychologist


September 23, 2011

My 9-11 detective novel: Investigating the broken chain of custody of evidence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 1:35 pm

At the recent BoucherCon ( murder-mystery writers’ and fans convention held in St Louis this year, I’m still getting all fired up by the “Who Dun It” question.

When we first arrived, everyone who attended was given a ton of free books — nothing better than that. Then at one event I attended, they honored Robert Randisi, an excellent crime-novel writer who, among other things, has written 550 books. “At one point, I could finish an entire book in only three days,” he told me later, “but I’m getting older now and can only manage writing a couple of books a month.” The man wears out four keyboards a year, he types that fast. Genius.

Next, I went to an interview with Charmaine Harris, a gentle kindly well-mannered typical Southern lady — who also just happens to write vampire books. She is the creator of that hot new HBO series, “True Blood”. And she doesn’t feel bad about killing off any of her characters either, “because it’s fun to write death scenes.” But sometimes she resurrects them if she likes a particular character a lot. “In vampire mysteries, you can always do that.” Plus her kids now think that she’s actually cool.

Then I went to a panel discussion on how to write books in the post-9-11 era. That was interesting, sure, but I think perhaps that the panelists missed one very important point.

One author stated, “I’m British. We are used to terrorism in Britain. But Americans before 9-11 lived in LaLa Land.” Too true.

Another author said, “People have an arc to their lives and some of them who worked at the Twin Towers never finished that arc. And that’s one way of approaching a book on this subject. But whatever you write on this subject, someone is going to misinterpret it. No matter what you write, you will be in for a kicking by someone because 9-11 is still too fresh and too new. Like Vietnam, we have to distance ourselves from the event before it can be approached through literature unemotionally.”

A third panel member said, “With all the coverage it has received, there is little to add to the actual event per se — but you can tell individual stories about people who were involved.” Another author was disgusted by the rampant commercialism of the recent tenth anniversary events.

One of the authors also said that, “As writers, we have chosen to make things up in order to put life events into perspective. So isn’t it our duty to write about 9-11? It is our job as writers to make sense of things that happen. And things have changed irrevocably after 9-11. It’s much darker now. For instance, we all had to go through security lines at the airports in order to get here. Writing has become much darker since then.”

Someone also commented that, “It is the job of a writer to take you where you cannot go in real life. The best example of this is still ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. If you can’t be inside a war, this books shows you the absolute horrors of war. Your characters can bring these events to life and give your readers a better feel for what it was like on September 11, 2001.”

Another comment: “Detective novels are written at street level — which is why detective novels don’t work for big-themed events.”

And, “The real book waiting to be written is about how we now live in a world where there is always a war — where for young Americans, being a soldier is now a common career choice. And returning soldiers are now becoming a new under-class, violent, perhaps with drug problems. You could also write about what happens when the vets come back home.”

These are all good observations. But no one on the panel nailed it regarding what could possibly be the greatest detective story of all, the ultimate Who-Dun-It — who was really responsible for 9-11. For all too many thoughtful American citizens, this question has never been answered satisfactorily. So I started outlining my own detective novel on this subject.

“Jane Stillwater, hard-boiled NY private detective, was hired by a mysterious stranger to investigate what actually occurred on 9/11/01. Stillwater was dubious abut this assignment but started rounding up the usual suspects — the Saudis, Osama bin Laden, the CIA, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

“Stillwater, just another street-level down-on-her-luck gumshoe, had grudging taken on this difficult task for several reasons — her love of justice, her love of country, being patriotic as hell, and her burning desire to finally discover once and for all what actually had happened at the Twin Towers that day — but, most importantly, her rent was due and this huge new retainer would keep her landlord from throwing her out in the street.

“The first thing Stillwater did was check out the chain of custody of evidence: What kind of evidence was involved here and who had been in charge of it. ‘Time to start doing some legwork,’ she sighed, starting with obvious — the New York Stock Exchange. Who had bought up all those put-options on United and American stocks right before 9-11? The banks? Weapons dealers? Oil companies? The Saudis? The Cheney-Rumsfeld-Papa-Bush rat pack? Who had motive, means and opportunity? Dead end trail there. The chain of custody of evidence had been broken.

“Stillwater would have just loved to have grilled Osama bin Laden about 9-11, but the chain of custody trail was broken there too. Now the only ones who can give OBL the third-degree are some fishes.

“Next Stillwater went out to the landfill at Fresh Kills to see if she could find any evidence from the WTC building material itself. Clearly the chain of custody had been highly contaminated here. Burial in a landfill will do that. Plus how can one maintain a chain of custody of evidence after it has been hauled around Staten Island in a dump truck?

“‘What about all those airplane black boxes?’ Stillwater next asked herself. Maybe she could get her hands on a Black Box? But apparently American citizens’ right to know stops somewhere far short of the chain of custody of evidence here. And, frustrated, Stillwater couldn’t get a hold of any videotapes of a plane hitting the Pentagon either.

“But what about that L.A. Times report that Mohammed Ata and others had been training at U.S. military installations? That Saudis were flown out of the country after the attacks? Or the bizarrely-coincidental NORAD training exercises staged the very same day? Who even HAS the chain of custody there? And, since the chain has obviously been broken many times, then who broke it?

“Next, Stillwater tried to put a tail on Dick Cheney — but that trial led nowhere. That trail was as covered up as a Yeti in a snowstorm. That trail was cold. And unbeknownst to Congress, Cheney had already put a shadow government in place just hours after the attacks. How could Stillwater possibly shadow a government that was already a shadow itself?

“Next Stillwater tried to check out the air traffic controller interviews right after the attacks. Broken chain of custody of evidence there too. They’d disappeared without a trace.”

So. How is my new 9-11 crime novel going to end? Can’t tell you that! Because if I did, I would be instantly labeled a conspiracy theory nutcase instead of the next Dashiell Hammett. Or else I would have to be killed. So you’re just gonna have to wait until after my new book comes out (if I can ever find a publisher, that is.)

No wonder nobody ever writes murder-mystery novels about 9-11!

PS: The next exciting and wonderful BoucherCon convention is going to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2012. See you there! And maybe we’ll be able to see Cleveland’s congressional representative Dennis Kucinich there too. He’d fit right in at BoucherCon — because Rep. Kucinich is absolutely the best crime detective in the U.S. House of Representatives today — or ever!


Dereliction of duty, incompetence, and Republican nihilism

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:28 pm

Aren’t the audiences for live TV events usually expected to react on cue? Aren’t they supposed to applaud only when the “Applause” light is lit? Did the debate audience flash the inverted hitchhikers sign (which very closely resembles the movie reviewer’s hand signal trademarked by Roger Ebert?) to indicate their suggestion to the “Give me Liberty or give me death” binary choice while they uttered their verbal bit of Gladiator nostalgia? “Could the studio audience’s shouting of ‘Let him die!’ have been a scripted moment?”

Isn’t it deadly serious and not the least bit funny when the right to life segment of the Republican Party sits in silence while a man of Pan African heritage is executed for a murder for which there is reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt? Did uncle Rushbo play the “Let him die!” sound byte on the day of the Troy Davis execution? Are the “Right to Life” advocates just playing “dead dog” on command or are they a dying breed? Will the Republicans keep the “Let him die!” philosophy in mind when it comes time to apply some stringent budget cuts to the Veterans Hospitals programs? (Do Republicans laugh when they hear Elvis sing “Old Shep”?)

Isn’t it logical to conclude that either the “Right to Life” or “Let him die!” is a false flag operation for the Republican’ts? Or have they mastered the concept that George Orwell dubbed “double think”?

Will any bleeding-heart liberal pundit ask: “Is it really surprising to find Gestapo values in a war crimes nation?”

Read John Powers book “Sore Winners” and then try to make the point that a scripted spontaneous moment couldn’t have been the case. Aren’t all the famous Republican moments well scripted? (Such as: “We hear you!”?)

Could it be that pundits for mainstream media are no longer expected to do anything but act as part of a bucket brigade for conservative talking points?

If the paid pundits have morphed into subservient propagandists, then they won’t risk their weekly paychecks to ask impertinent questions about the piss-poor job performance of the Republicans in Congress. Why should they?

If America has become an “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” nation, why should a media personality risk his job just to bring up the possibility that voters negotiating to save their homes from foreclosure are dealing with the same kind of hardhearted desperados as were featured in the famous example of Arab folklore.

There is an old bit of American folk wisdom warning that the one sure way of avoiding a divorce is to never get married. Using that logic, if people don’t want to deal with a bank foreclosing on their homes, then they shouldn’t buy one.

If the wife does get sick, new wisdom says: “have a divorce lawyer deliver the adios papers!” Was Newt afraid to do that?

Isn’t it selfish (and a fine example of sewing the seeds for class warfare) for foreclosure victims to begrudge bankers their generous Christmas bonuses? Do they want the foreclosure henchmen to be paid salaries just to sit and ignore past-due mortgage payments?

Didn’t a John Steinbeck novel prove that you can’t move to California and take the family farm in Oklahoma with you?

Aren’t über-cynical pundits saying that it is very poignant to realize that the author of “Generation of Swine” died long before the spectacle of this year’s P. T. Barnum style Presidential race began to unfold?

Is it true (who doesn’t love the Jim Healy sound bites on the Norman Goldman radio show?) that the JEB Bush campaign staff is giving away free copies of Agatha Christie’s classic “Ten Little Indians”?

JEB has not been littering the debates with embarrassing sound bytes. JEB has not been participating in kindergarten level squabbles. JEB will look absolutely statesman-like in comparison, when the Vermont primary is held.

Isn’t the underlying reason for the pitiful Republican field the same clever bit of game-playing that causes manager of the headline acts at a rock concert to take extreme measures to make sure that the opening acts don’t eclipse his guys? If an opening act gets boo-ed off the stage, isn’t the contrast much greater then when the headliners do take the stage?

Sure it would be fun to open for the Rolling Stones during their next tour. What band could turn down such an invitation? What critic really cares who opens for the Stones? Isn’t it mind-boggling to realize that the greatest rock and roll band in the world will soon be celebrating their 50th year in business? Will they play a gig at the Marquise Club just to draw attention to the milestone? How much money could such a hypothetical gig raise for charity?

Did Tony Bennett just get some adverse publicity for calling for a new investigation into 9-11?

A soldier who doesn’t fight on the battle field is subject to a court-martial for dereliction of duty. (Wasn’t there some talk in Washington this week about reinstituting the draft?) A worker who lacks diligence can be fired for incompetence. A nihilist who lacks energy can express his philosophy of life by goofing-off. Can the Republicans who were elected to work in the legislative branch of government be impeached for their sit-down strike tactics?

Voters in America are free to use the electronic voting machines that leave no verifiable results to (try) to vote the rascals out of office. Cynics are still free (for how much longer?) to ask if that isn’t like the concept in a David Bowie song of putting out a fire by dousing it with gasoline.

Didn’t the Nazis use a minority party to control a majority of citizens who didn’t approve of their political program? In many Arab countries isn’t it often the case that a Shiite minority rules over a Sunni majority of citizens (or is it the other way around?)? What Republican would object on moral or political philosophical grounds to the suggestion that they use the electronic voting machines to permit a minority party to rule over a much bigger number of citizens in a majority party?

Doesn’t the Vince Lombardi philosophy apply to the use of electronic voting machines with unverifiable results? “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

The term “false flag operation” has been bandied about frequently recently and it makes this columnist wonder if perhaps somehow people in a smoke filled room were inspired by that concept to engineer a way to get a Republican mole into the White House cleverly disguised as a precedence setting Democrat.

Will some of Pan Am’s airplanes turn into time machines? Is it true that Leonardo DiCaprio will make an uncredited cameo appearance on the new TV show? We are going to try to catch that if we can.

Closing quote: Kurt Weill said: “Wherever I found decency and humanity in the world it reminded me of America.”

Now the disk jockey will get a little esoteric by playing: “Somehow I Never Could Believe” (from “Street Scene”), Marlene Dietrich’s “See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have” (from “Destry Rides Again”), and Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife.” We have to cut out. Have a Weimar Republic type week and keep the “Applause” light lit while the credits roll.

Georgia’s Death Penalty: A Century of Progress

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 5:15 am


September 22, 2011

The Ghost of Ronald Reagan on Class Warfare


September 21, 2011

Matching Prominent Republicans with Appropriate Film Titles

The story is Dan Quayle saw the 1972 Robert Redford film ‘The Candidate’ and thought it was a primer on entering politics instead of a warning about selling out one’s principles. Ronald Reagan is said to have had a regular weekly ‘movie premiere night’ while in the White House. Then we had GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy using a clip from the 2010 Ben Affleck crime saga ‘The Town’ to make a point to Teabaggers in Congress. For a party that has so much enmity towards Hollywood, seems the GOP loves itself some flicks, which got me to wondering what movie titles would accurately reflect certain prominent Republicans. For better or worse, here’s what I came up with, in no particular order:

– Rick Perry: ‘They Live!’

– John Boehner: ‘The Lost Weekend’

– Mitch McConnell: ‘Hell Comes to Frogtown’ (or, ‘White Hunter, Black Heart’)

– Mitt Romney: ‘Liar, Liar’

– Michele Bachmann: ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’

– Tim Pawlenty: ‘The Incredible Mr. Limpet’

– Sarah Palin: ‘Mars Needs Women’

– Allen West: ‘Watermelon Man’

– Paul Ryan: ‘Throw Momma from the Train’

– Herman Cain: ‘Blackula’

– George W. Bush: ‘Moon Over Parador’ (or, ‘Wag the Dog’)

– Dick Cheney: ‘Above the Law’

– Scott Walker: ‘Gone with the Wind’ (or, ‘The Great Dictator’)

– John Kasich: ‘Joe Dirt’

– Rick Snyder: ‘Shadow on the Land’

– Rick Scott: ‘The Hucksters’

– Rupert Murdoch: ‘Citizen Kane’

– Rush Limbaugh: ‘It Came from Outer Space’

– Glenn Beck: ‘Dumb and Dumber’

– Bill O’Reilly: ‘The Mouse That Roared’

– Sean Hannity: ‘Frances the Talking Mule’

– Ann Coulter: ‘Heathers’

– Michael Savage: ‘Home Alone’

– Frank Luntz: ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

– David H. Koch: ‘The Magic Christian’

– Karl Rove: ‘Revenge of the Nerds’

– Ron Paul: ‘Dr. Strangelove’

– Rick Santorum: ‘Look Who’s Talking Now’

– Newt Gingrich: ‘No Country for Old Men’ (or, ‘Goldfinger’)

– Donald Trump: ‘Mr. Bug Goes to Town’ (or, ‘Hairspray’)

© 2011 RS Janes.

September 20, 2011

Class Warfare Comics


Libya & NATO: The biggest murder mystery of all

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:58 pm

Here I am, off in St. Louis, Missouri, attending the 41st annual BoucherCon convention, a hugely entertaining and highly informative gathering of over 1,800 murder-mystery writers and their fans. It’s pretty much crime-novel heaven here. I bet you would love it.

The first thing I did after arriving in St Louis was to take the MetroLink in from the airport and chase chickens around my friend Patrick’s back yard. Then I went off to attend a BoucherCon panel discussion on why murder mysteries are important.

“Crime novels give us the freedom to explore characters’ deepest dimensions,” stated one author — was it Colin Cotterill, Sara Paretsky, Laurie R. King, Joseph Finder, Ridley Pearson, Robert Crais, Val McDermid, Charlaine Harris or Kelli Stanley? I forget. “They also give us a chance to express values, uncover the truth about past occurrences and to pursue social justice. Mystery stories are the voices of social justice today.” Hey, that’s deep.

Then another author stated that, “Writing about killing off bad guys or getting revenge on them is cheaper than therapy….” And probably better than Prozac.

So after listening to all these authors go on and on about how wonderful their craft was, I decided to try my hand at writing a murder mystery myself. Here it is:

“As winter approached, all of Europe lay under a chilling black haze of economic free-fall. Greece was hovering close to the nightmarish throes of bankruptcy. Britons were rioting like soccer fans because they were upset by all the Victoria’s Secret ads they had watched on TV without having the money to buy enough push-up bras to keep themselves from sagging (economically speaking). And jobs in America were disappearing like popcorn at a B-movie.” So far, so good.

And now that I’ve luridly described the crime scene, all I have to do now is track down the bad guys who are causing all this misery and then put them in check. Means, motive and opportunity, right?

However, at this point my exciting new crime novel begins to go off the track and wanders into a tangled web of smoke screens thrown off by the bad guys — who are now committing another horrendous crime somewhere else in order to distract attention from their original crimes. Aha. The plot thickens.

“Before brave Inspector Stillwater can finish solving the crimes in Europe and America, the bad guys have gone off and bombed Libya!”

Hey you guys, no! I’m supposed to be bringing you to justice here, not letting you run hog-wild off in the Sahara, becoming serial killers yet again and cold-bloodily slaying even more people and even more seriously ruining the economies of Europe and America!

The cost of even a few of those deadly NATO bombing raids on Tripoli alone could have put Greece back on its feet for a year or employed every jobless guy in Florida and Ohio between Christmas and the 2012 election.

“Now D.I. Jane is really up against it. Now she has to find and apprehend these bad guys for committing even more heinous crimes. Will just a single street-level detective be able to stand between the Free World and crime sprees on an unimaginable scale?” And will I also be able to find a mainstream publisher for my book? More than likely not — even though there’s definitely a lot of mystery and murder in my story. And definitely a lot of bad guys.

But this book probably wouldn’t sell very well anyway. Why? Because what self-respecting murder-mystery fan would ever believe for an instant that so many Europeans and Americans would be so stupid as to be so complicit in all these crimes — turning a blind eye while these truly evil bad guys get away with the Crime of the Century.

What decent crime-fiction fan in their right mind would ever believe a plot that allows evil bad guys to steal hundreds and hundreds of billions of tax dollars and then waste them on murdering complete strangers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Libya — while our own economies are being murdered back home? That just wouldn’t make sense.

Is “boring news event” an oxymoron?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:37 pm


Tourists who visited San Francisco on the afternoon of Monday September 19, 2011 were rewarded with a warm (Indian Summer?) day with clear blue sky that provided snap-shot shooters with postcard perfect conditions that brought Paul Simon’s song “Kodachrome” to mind. You don’t have to speak their language to know when a skyscraper has impressed some foreign travelers.

News Photographers who were at San Francisco’s BART Civic Center station to cover this week’s installment of the regularly scheduled No Justice No BART political demonstrations came away from the event with images that might have disappointed many of the photo editors in the area because the latest protest did not disrupt BART service and no arrests were made.

Pictures of the protesters handing out leaflets outlining their assertions about the BART Police Department made it seem like the demonstrators have achieved celebrity status and their efforts naturally drew a contingent of paparazzi to record their everyday activities for posterity.

The very fact that any blogger covering Monday’s “demonstration” has to ask if images of some mundane advocacy efforts are newsworthy may indicate that digital journalism is mature enough to face the same question that have been being asked at city desks for years: what is new?

According to hearsay evidence the concept of digital images was developed by some computer pioneers who worked on the second floor of their building and wanted to be able to tell if the coffee maker on the first floor had finished its chore. If those images are still available, they will have some historic value.

When Mario Savio leaped into the headlines with an extemporaneous speech almost fifty years ago, the citizens in Berkeley had a specific example that a cusp area where political activism and celebrity often overlap does exist.

The aim of political activists is to draw attention to a specific cause and so spokespersons faces a double edge sword when they start to become a certified celebrities. They can draw massive news coverage but they also risk drawing attention away from the cause they are working to achieve.

Meanwhile bloggers have to start thinking like photo editors.

If there are approximately three dozen people who cover activists handing out flyers does that mean that the photos have news value?

If bloggers are becoming concerned with questions of news value is that evidence that the phenomenon of citizen journalism is maturing?

Local TV stations have been accused of adopting an “if it bleeds; it leads” philosophy of journalistic judgment.

If a local event doesn’t produce eye catching dramatic images does it deserve play?

If the Internets are providing a venue for citizen journalists to cover issues that the national media ignore, doesn’t that mean that protests that don’t result in mass arrests deserve coverage?

Are the No Justice No BART protests getting coverage on Fox Views (AKA Fox News) Network?

What if the next No Justice No BART demonstration features an adorable kitten playing the Kingston Trio’s song “(Charlie on the )MTA” on a piano? Would an online video of that “go viral”? Would it be newsworthy? Would folks fwd that to their friends on Facebook? Would it help publicize the effort to disband the BART cops?

When it becomes obvious that without a large number of arrests an event loses news value, then some home-truth aspects of journalism start to become apparent.

Maybe before covering the next No Justice No BART event, we should read the classic short story “The Lady or the Tiger” to see if there is some subtle journalistic symbolism in it?

September 19, 2011

Latest Hairstyles for Republican Women (and Men)


September 17, 2011

Afghanistan: A war fought with flesh and bone

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Jane Stillwater @ 6:37 pm

Stop it! Just stop it! Haven’t we seen enough raw meat and sinew and bones sticking out of raw human flesh in Afghanistan yet? Apparently not.

The war in Afghanistan is not being fought with IEDs, Stinger missiles, helicopters, M-16s, F-16s, AK-47s or even drones. The war in Afghanistan is being fought with twisted ligaments, broken cartilage, seeping bone marrow, bloody intestines and bits and pieces of human eyeballs and brains — hamburger meat that used to be Taliban, school girls and American GIs.

How long will this madness go on? Until all of Afghanistan looks like the meat counter at Safeway?

Americans and Taliban alike, have you no shame?

I am currently in St. Louis, Missouri, to attend BoucherCon, a murder-mystery convention being held at the Grand Renaissance Hotel. At least in crime novels we only read about blood and guts. We don’t go out and spew them all over the landscape like all the American and Afghan Hannibal Lector wannabees in the Middle East are now doing on a daily basis.

How can anybody claim to be human beings — let alone patriotic or religious human beings — with their hands elbow-deep in the body parts of babies?

Speaking of which, on the plane to St. Louis I sat next to a sleeping baby. “That baby sure is good,” I commented to his grandmother.

“Oh that’s because he travels on airplanes a lot. He’s been across country from San Diego to Washington DC and back at least 15 times.” Really? A one-year-old jet setter? So, me being me, I just had to ask why.

“Because his daddy was in the military and got injured in Afghanistan. He’s now in Walter Reed Hospital.” I hope that he wasn’t injured too badly? “He has lost three out of four of his limbs.”


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