May 15, 2012

Mitt Romney’s Bully Pulpit


May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day 2012


May 12, 2012

Romney the Smiling Sociopath

“According to several on-the-record classmates, Romney led a posse of boys to pin down a presumptively gay student, John Lauber, and Romney snipped off his bleached blond hair while Lauber cried and screamed for help.”
– From “Mitt Romney’s ‘cruel and nasty’ high school bullying: 5 ways it hurts him,” The Week, May 11, 2012.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!”
– Mitt Romney, age 18, to his friend Matthew Friedemann right before he assaulted and cut classmate John Lauber’s hair against his will.

“The [Washington] Post reports that five former classmates of Romney’s recalled the incident independently. The former classmates, who span the political spectrum, called the act “vicious,” “senseless,” and “idiotic,” among other things.”
– Lauren Kelley, “…Story Emerges of Romney Tackling, Cutting Hair of Boy He Believed to Be Gay,” AlterNet, May 10, 2012.

“I don’t recall the incident myself, but I’ve seen the reports and not going to argue with that. There’s no question I did some stupid things when I was in high school, and obviously if I hurt anyone by virtue of that, I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.”
Mitt Romney, reacting to the Washington Post story and offering a tepid apology for something he doesn’t remember. After prep school, he went to Paris, France, to be a Mormon missionary. Perhaps he had an epiphany after he graduated. (BTW, in at least one interview, he chuckled after he said “I don’t recall the incident…”)

“Asked specifically about having interrupted a closeted gay student in English class, Gary Hummel, by shouting, ‘Atta girl!’ Romney said, ‘I really can’t remember that.’ “
– Philip Rucker, “Mitt Romney Apologizes for High School Pranks That ‘Might Have Gone Too Far’,” Washington Post, May 10. 2012.”

“What matters is not what Romney did then, but what he does today. And, today, he denies any recollection of the event. That’s a character flaw. It doesn’t seem like anyone else that was there that day ever forgot it.”
– The Booman Tribune, “Memory Loss Defense Makes it Relevant,” May 11, 2012.

“’For [Romney] not to remember it? It doesn’t ring true. How could the fellow with the scissors forget it?’ the former classmate said.”
– Josh Marshall at TPM, quoting an ABC News interview with a former Romney classmate.

“Leading a blind teacher into a door is cruel, but it’s still within the category of prank, in part because it targets authority. Bart Simpson pranks.” [...]
“I do not believe Romney has no memory of this. I believe he is lying. His absurd statement that he has no memory of the event but that he didn’t target the boy for being gay is hilarious for its self-contradiction. A boy who routinely snickered ‘Atta girl!’ when one young gay kid in his class spoke up is not just bashing hippies. I went to an all-boys high school in the 1970s. What Romney did was a gay-bashing.”
– Andrew Sullivan, “Pranks,” The Daily Beast, May 10, 2012. [I don’t agree with Sullivan -- leading a blind man into a door isn’t within ‘the category of a prank’ for a teenager old enough to serve in the military.]

“Recklessness is a common side-effect of adolescence — drinking too much, driving too fast. Meanness is another matter. Yes, teenagers are more prone to displaying the primal cruelty of ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Lord of the Flies’ than their grown-up selves. But the Queen Bees of middle school have an unpleasant tendency to grow into the Real Housewives of Wherever.”
– Ruth Marcus, “Romney’s troubling reaction to the bullying story,” Washington Post, May 11, 2012.

“Far more disturbing to me than Romney’s teenage viciousness is his insistence it didn’t happen. Scariest kind of bully.”
– Jeff Sharlet, journalist and author, in a Tweet.

“Compulsive, pathological lying, and due to this frequent self-contradiction especially about the fact of personal history; invented past and or excessive boasting about his successes…” […]
“[Sociopaths] Often demonstrate aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals…”
– From “List of common sociopathic traits that help to alert you to the danger” at The Psychopath in the Corner Office website.

“Psychopaths have a profound lack of empathy. They use other people callously and remorselessly for their own ends. They seduce victims with a hypnotic charm that masks their true nature as pathological liars, master con artists, and heartless manipulators.”
– Alan Deutschman, “Is Your Boss a Psychopath?” Fast, July 1, 2005.

“Antisocial Personality Disorder results in what is commonly known as a Sociopath. The criteria for this disorder require an ongoing disregard for the rights of others, since the age of 15 years. Some examples of this disregard are reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others, failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors, deceitfulness such as repeated lying or deceit for personal profit or pleasure, and lack of remorse for actions that hurt other people in any way.”
– Derek Wood, RN, BSN, from “Antisocial Personality Disorder Overview

“What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron — or what makes the difference between an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer — is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity.”
– From “The Psychopath — The Mask of Sanity,” a Special Research Project of the Quantum Future School.

“There is a class of individuals who have been around forever and who are found in every race, culture, society and walk of life. Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them, and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought. These often charming but always deadly individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths. Their hallmark is a stunning lack of conscience; their game is self-gratification at the other person’s expense. Many spend time in prison, but many do not. All take far more than they give.”
– Excerpt from “This Charming Psychopath: How to Spot Social Predators Before They Attack,” by Dr. Robert D. Hare.

May 11, 2012

Newt and Rick ‘Endorse’ Mitt


Emotional reactions or logical analysis?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:32 pm

Will this Hughie take you back to 1968?
Walter Cronkite reports (via video tape) from Saigon.
This poster was ubiquitous in 1968.

The Conservatives’ prayers have been answered and this year’s Presidential Election will ignore jobs, taxes, and wars and concentrate on an emotional wedge issue. On Thursday, May 10, 2012, the top headline on the front page of the New York Times was about the gay marriage issue and it was augmented by a “news analysis” on that very same topic.

Traditionally conservatives have preferred to use a highly charged tangential emotional issue rather than focus on problems that are integral to the lives and livelihoods of the voters.

Last weekend, this columnist went to the Oakland Museum of California to see “The 1968 Project” which is a traveling exhibition focusing on the social, political, and economic events of 1968 because we anticipated that it would provide a convenient frame for a column comparing and contrasting that year with the situation in this election year.

Jobs, fair and equitable taxation and necessary wars are complex issues that can confuse voters. Obviously both Republican and Democratic candidates want to offer the citizens a program that will reduce taxes, increase employment and preserve the peace, but both political parties can not make identical speeches. They have to achieve brand identity and loyalty for their message and their party. If they don’t; elections would seem like a variation on the Ford vs. Chevrolet debate.

Sales representatives (such as the one portrayed in the classical “Death of a Sales Rep” by Arthur Miller [Did you get the memo on the new politically correct title for that play?]) are always told to sell the sizzle and not the steak, so the two parties need an issue that will represent their “sizzle.”

If both Republicans and Democrats agree that taxes for the wealthy must be reduced or completely eliminated, then what’s to stop the voters from using a coin toss to make their choices?

If both parties know that the military industrial complex thrives on war, then the question is not whether to go to war or not; it is which wars can be sold as necessary for the protection of the citizens?

If the TV at night is clogged with ads urging addiction to products produced by the pharmaceutical industry, then wouldn’t it be hypocritical for Republicans or Democrats to denounce a cottage industry that offers an herbal product that promises similar miraculous medial results? Obviously the large companies would not want amateurs cutting into their profit margin anymore than a bootlegger would want his regular customers to spend their money on some locally produced bathtub gin.

During the Roaring Twenties did any American pundit go to a bar in Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, or Australia and ask the locals why their country didn’t outlaw booze?

Were jobs, taxes, and wars important during the Twenties? Was it easier to judge a politician on his stand for or against Prohibition or was it worth the effort to listen to some long and boring debate about the Smoot-Hawley Act? (“They say it could cause a depression!”) What about the Kellogg Briand Treaty and the London Naval Treaty of 1930? (“What do you mean pave the way for a new World War?”)

The Republican strategists love to frame the debate and set the agenda for the Presidential Elections and as Americans celebrate May 11, 2012, as Twilight Zone Day one only has to casually peruse the usual sources for contemporary political opinion to see that the “there you go again” assessment can be applied to the attention being paid to the issue of gay marriage this week.

On Thursday, May 10, 2012, a reconnaissance patrol on the Internets revealed that some gays were urging the Democratic Party to move the location for their National Convention out of North Carolina to somewhere else.

If they are successful in manipulating the Democrats into making such a change of venue, then many of the party’s management staff will be distracted from the Presidential race by the nuts and bolts decisions that will accompany such a maneuver; if they don’t make the change the gay activists will resent the “my way or the highway” attitude implicit in such an example of fascist control over the splinter group. Either way, the President will look bad and the Republican voters will have occasion to celebrate the success of the architect of their campaign strategy.

On Monday, August 5, the opening day of the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, California Governor St. Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy for the Presidency. Was that a tad late in the primary season to make that announcement?
He had only been governor for two years. Was he rushing things?

Since many pundits are neglecting to point out that the focus on gay marriage would be a textbook perfect example of Republicans hijacking the national political debate, and that brings up another item that is being neglected in the age of meticulously scrupulous (?) punditry. Is there an ulterior motive which would explain the late date for the Republican National Convention this year?

Traditionally the period between the Conventions and the Labor Day weekend, are devoted to resting up from the primary campaign and concocting the specifics of the Presidential Election campaign, but since the Republican Convention is scheduled to begin on August 27 in Tampa Bay, that means that when it is over (presumably) by the end of the week, it will be the start of the Labor Day weekend and the “go for broke” Presidential Campaign.

Many of the journalists in the realm of national politics seem to prefer channeling the spirit of psychics such as Carnac the Magnificent, on election night and tell the audience what the voters were thinking and what it all means.

The World’s Laziest Journalist will buck the trend and offer readers a chance for some do-it-yourself analysis. What if some Republican decides to imitate the 1968 spirit of St. Ronald Reagan and announce on the Monday of the Republican Convention that he (in the spirit of breaking a deadlocked convention) would accept the Party’s nomination?

What if such a late last minute attempt were successful? If the convention ended and someone other than Romney was the Presidential Candidate, wouldn’t that leave the strategists for the Obama campaign in panic mode? Since the campaign would start on Labor Day, they would have just three or four days to reconfigure the President’s game plan for contenting with the new opponent.

After a week full of unexpected developments that has left the Obama team scrambling to reestablish an image of a confident leader who is in control, doesn’t it seem as if such a last minute new Republican Candidate would be well positioned to push the “Obama isn’t in command” meme on the voters?

There will be a surfeit of commentary available on the weekend after Twilight Zone Day full of near hysterical emotional examples of partisan mind-fuck and the World’s Laziest Journalist realizes that we could never add any noteworthy insights to the array that will be offered. We can, however, try to add a dash of uniqueness by asking about any ulterior motivation there might be for the long (smoke and mirrors) lull between the last primary election in June and the Convention which will fill the news hole during the last week in August.

This week has had other topics to distract voters such as the possibility of a new banking crisis, the controversial Time magazine cover photo, continued Occupy protests such as the looming confrontation between protesters and the University of California Berkeley administration, and the possibility of a change of venue for the Democratic National Convention, but it is very likely that the gay marriage issue will get the undivided attention of most pundits this weekend.

If the Republicans produce an unanticipated candidate in late August, could the confusion that would cause be compared to the consternation produced by the Tet Offensive?

[Note from the photographer: many museums have a rule against using flash. If you have to use available light, be sure to use something (such as a doorway) to brace the camera for the long exposure and take several shots.]

Walter Lippmann allegedly said: “Brains, you know, are suspect in the Republican Party.”

Now the disk jockey will play Pink Floyd’s “The Wall Album” for those folks who can’t get to San Francisco the night this column is posted (for their version of “Call to the Wall”), the Doors’ “The Doors” album, and the “Wild in the Streets” soundtrack album (from 1968). We have to go register for the draft. Have a “girls say ‘yes’ to guys who say ‘no’” type week.

Ye Olde Scribe’s Election Year TRUTH of the Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 9:40 am

paperbagromneyPaper bag candidate Mitt Romney. Image courtesy Wiki. While his Flipper rhetoric should mean he can’t talk his way out of a paper bag, he probably would have no problem using it to smother puppies, especially if it would help him politically.


If someone keeps making excuses or defends bullying, or THEY CAN’T REMEMBER… there’s a DAMN good chance they were, and may still be, one of the biggest bully assholes on the block- Ye Olde Scribe

May 10, 2012

Fair Trade: It’s not just for coffee any more

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 3:29 pm

How many times have you walked into Starbucks, ordered a “Fair Trade” latte and felt all proud of yourself for supporting small coffee farmers in Central America? Virtuous, even? A lot of times, I would bet. But exactly how many times have you also walked into a computer store or a jewelry store or a grocery store or a sporting goods store and said, “Hey, I’m looking to purchase one of those Fair Trade diamond rings,” or “I need to buy a Fair Trade MP-3 player.” Almost never.

Heck, how many times have we even driven into our local Shell or Arco or Exxon station and ordered up ten gallons of Fair Trade gas? Definitely never. But guess what? Perhaps it’s time that we did.

Fair Trade isn’t just for coffee any more.

It’s high time for consumers to follow the Fair Trade coffee example and also start forcing big-business international monopolies and cartels to instigate Fair Trade practices on a lot more than just coffee. It’s also now time to offer Fair Trade options to all those dirt-poor miners and workers who now bring us tin, gold, tantalum, tungsten, diamonds, coal, gasoline and oil at an enormous personal cost to themselves, and who risk their very lives daily for peanuts — so that global corporatistas can turn around and gouge out higher prices from you and me, and make outrageously obscenely high profits off of someone else’s blood, sweat and tears.

Without our coffee in the morning, we’d merely have a bit more trouble waking up. But without highly-important minerals such as the tin, gold, tantalum, tungsten, diamonds and coal that make our individual worlds work, there would be no computers, no gold tooth fillings, no traditional wedding rings, no cell phones, no durable drill bits and nothing for joggers to listen to as they run through the park.

Without our coffee, sure, we’d be grumpy. But without our gasoline, we’d be faced with starvation — or at least faced with having to live mostly by what we can grow in our victory gardens or whatever we could haul in on wagons. But, hey, that might not be such a bad thing after all. Improvising in order to avoid starvation seems to be, in the long run, a far better solution than dying from carbon-dioxide poisoning and its resultant fires and floods. But then that’s just me.

Fair Trade oil? That would mean giving individual Iraqis, Iranians, Nigerians, Sudanese and even Californians and Texans a piece of the action — just like they now do in Alaska. I’ve been to Iraq. I’ve seen dirt-poor villagers with no shoes on their feet standing upon oil-rich land worth billions to anyone but them.

Fair Trade!

In Africa, where so many of our strategic minerals come from, miners can’t even imagine what Fair Trade might look like. They might even live a few years longer maybe, or have shoes on their feet or learn how to read. Who knows? How about giving them the same breaks that we now give to coffee farmers?

PS: In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Sudan, many so-called “conflict minerals” are taken out of the ground and then sold in order to buy more guns for bad guys — and so the SEC has been working on methods that will allow buyers to trace the origins of the metals they buy, thus making it harder for gun runners and human traffickers to make a profit from selling ill-gotten gains.

Nordic Sun has recently developed a cute little hand-held mineral-assessing thingie that allows perspective buyers to trace their mineral purchases back to untainted sources. However, no one seems to be in any big hurry to buy this cute little app. Why mess with a sure-fire profit maximizer — buying conflict minerals with no provenance — even though such purchases lead to supporting devastating blood-wars and completely screwing over poor miners working their fingers to the bone?

All across the world, people who care about the future of our planet helped to organize a wonderful Fair Trade movement to protect coffee farmers. Good for them! And now it’s time for us to get together and organize a Fair Trade movement for conflict-mineral miners as well — and then also a Fair Trade movement to protect all the rest of us workers too, especially those of us here at home. “We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

In these enlightened times, a society that creates only billionaires and match girls no longer works.

PPS: I recently went on a virtual tour of an oil magnate’s house. Actually, I think it was only his secondary vacation home. Set on ten acres of valuable urban real estate, it had fifteen bedrooms, a kitchen with five (5) work stations, a spare baggage room for racks of last year’s Chanel gowns, a Rolls Royce in the driveway, a huge swimming pool, a vineyard and even a freaking TOPIARY garden.

Now compare that super-deluxe massive mansion to the homes of those poor villagers I saw in Iraq or the homes of poor miners in the DRC or even the homes of all us poor California taxpayers who get nothing back from the oil giants who are currently making off with OUR black gold.

PPPS: I’m trying to leave for Uganda in July so I can witness all this stuff for myself and report back regarding the corporate exploitation of miners, human trafficking and the plight of child soldiers — as well as to, hopefully, also report back on any and all progress being made toward establishing Fair Trade in Africa too.

Feel free to donate to my “Jane goes to Uganda” fund by clicking here:


Mitt Romney: Taking Credit Through the Ages


May 8, 2012

The Right-Wing Propaganda Devil vs. the Goddess of Truth


May 6, 2012

Kids Praying in Florida

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


May 5, 2012

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo — Mitt Style


May 4, 2012

May Day, Derby Day, and Cinco de Mayo

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:29 pm

May Day evening at Frank Ogawa Plaza
Oakland Police depoy for May Day night

On Sunday, April 29, 2012, under the headline “In Oakland, Officials Say Police Used Illegal Tactics,” the New York Times reported that the Oakland Police Department would use changes recommended by the Frazier Group to cope with the May Day Occupy Oakland protests.

On May Day night, KCBS radio reporter Chris Filippi was describing the specifics of the new tactics that were being used to add approximately 20 new arrests to the OPD’s total for the day.

In the East Bay Express edition published on Wednesday May 2, 2012, a story by Ali Winston, under the headline “OPD Takes More Steps Backward,” on page 16, was accompanied by photo with a caption that informed readers the OPD faces the prospect of federal receivership.

While taking photographs Tuesday at an Occupy Oakland protest, this columnist noticed that there were police vehicles present from the Office of Homeland Security. (They have Homeland Security license plates.) Unsubstantiated rumors in the area suggest that if and when the OPD goes into receivership, Homeland Security will step in and take over.

On May Day night a reporter from CopWatch said he had taken videos earlier in the day of police using tasers.

When the World’s Laziest Journalist makes political predictions, such as our contention that JEB Bush will be the winning candidate when Presidential Election is held in November of this year, the level of skepticism from Liberals is quite strong and they are adamant in their refusal to evaluate any information used to arrive at that conclusion.
Got indigestion?

If we write a column reporting the appearance of the Pirate Party on the political scene in Europe and post it on April 27, 2012, and if the AP runs a news story on the birth of the Pirate Party on April 28 and the New York Times runs a story about German’s Pirate Party on May 2, 2012, friends and regular readers don’t much care if we point out the coincidence.

Got a Tums tablet handy? Here’s our next prediction: If JEB wins in November, the World’s Laziest Journalist will write a column that will ask the question: Did Liberals ignore the JEB prediction because subconsciously they wanted that precise outcome to occur?

If Liberals don’t secretly want a return of the Bush Dynasty wouldn’t they look closely at the material used to make the prediction and evaluate it to see if they could possibly do anything (everything?) to prevent such a (hypothetical) result?

Until the November election results are counted – strike that word because the electronic voting machines do not leave any verifiable results – until the November election results are being reported, we will use all the self-restraint we can muster to abstain from jumping to conclusions and/or making political predictions.

We were wrong in our Kentucky Derby prediction about Native Dancer, so for tomorrow’s race, you’re on your own, pal.

Didn’t forecasts, predictions, and educated guesses about “the most likely outcome” provide the bulk of the Sunday morning talk shows’ appeal until the Murdochization of Journalism occurred and American citizens were conditioned to watch and accept unexpected events without questions?

George Clayton Johnson, who wrote for “The Twilight Zone” TV series, advises young writers to be creative by rejecting the laws of logic and ask themselves “What if?” What would happen if political pundits rejected the Murdoch syndrome and began to ask “What if?” and (perhaps) achieve Twilight Zone levels of entertainment value in their evaluations of politics?

Here is an example: After a primary season where all Republicans enunciated radical policies for keeping the women folk under control, giving businesses unrestricted disregard for laws in an effort to provide more jobs, and asserting that the Social Security Program was about to go broke; what if a deadlocked convention turned and begged JEB to (in the name of family tradition and patriotic duty) accept the Republican Party nomination to be their Presidential Candidate?

If (hypothetically) the electronic voting machines with unverifiable results delivered a win to JEB, wouldn’t he then be able to say he had a “mandate” to carry out the program formulated during the Primary process? If a deadlocked convention hands JEB the nomination, he won’t be shackled by any campaign statements or promises.

Once a member of the Bush Dynasty gets a mandate, does Fox News bother with any debates about what the voters meant by their decision? When Fox decrees, does any other team in the Journalism game dare to risk being labeled “conspiracy theory nutcases” and deviate from the norm established by Fox?

A promise not to make any new political predictions doesn’t mean that we won’t occasionally make snarky remarks such as noting that President Obama seems to be sanctioning the closure of places where medical pot is available and that Occupy protests are getting the same swift reaction that student anti-war demonstrations got in 1968 from the governor of California and then asking: “Does that prove that Obama is a Reagan Democrat?”

Is there irony in the fact that Occupy Protesters tents were removed from public parks, but in the travel section of the April 29, 2012, edition of the New York Times, an article by Elaine Glusac suggested using a web site named Campinmygarden to find places in Great Britain to rent urban space where tourists could pitch their tents during the Olympic games?

In the USA the streets are filled with homeless people who are told that the empty buildings are off limits.

Will cash strapped San Francisco rent out park space for the yacht owners to camp out during the America’s Cup preliminary races this summer?

In the Thirties atmosphere of class struggle, some wealthy people voiced the opinion that if a homeless person were on fire, the swells wouldn’t urinate on them to put out the fire. Would it be an example of sadism if people condoned (symbolically) urinating on a worker struggling with payments for a house that is “under water”?

When it was discovered that banks were using improper procedures for home foreclosures, did any court issue an immediate injunction on additional foreclosure proceedings or no? Perhaps in all the excitement, the banks have lost count of how many foreclosures they made. Was it 500,000 or was it 600,000? Now you have to ask yourself another question. “Doe it matter?” Well does it?

What if the World’s Laziest Journalist is wrong predicting a November win by JEB?

If we are accurate in the prediction, we will gloat; if our projection for the results is not correct, we will do an unabashed version of the Murdoch response and blame midlevel management (at the World’s Laziest Journalist headquarters) for being inept and providing us with inaccurate information.

[Note from the Photo Desk: After taking and posting photos from the morning portion of the Occupy Oakland May Day protest, we returned to Frank Ogawa Plaza near sundown and took some photos of the police coming out of the City Hall in riot gear. At that point the batteries in the Coolpix camera ran out of juice, so we went home and listened to KCBS news radio to learn about the exact number of inevitable arrests.]

Wright Morris wrote: “The man who walks alone is soon trailed by the FBI.”

Now the disk jockey will play Max Frost and the Troopers’ song “Shape of Things to Come,” Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz,” and (from 1966) the New Breed’s song “I’ve Been Wrong Before.” [If W. C. Fields were still alive would he say: “A man’s gotta believe in something and I believe “I’ll Have Another” will win!”?] We have to go to National Free Comics Day, a Cinco de Mayo celebration, and place a bet on a real horse race. Have a “frisked for weapons” type week.

GOP Robotmen of the Lost Cause


May 3, 2012

Cruel & unusual punishment: What if Pelican Bay & Leavenworth went organic?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 3:20 pm

Back in America’s wild colonial days, the main form of punishment for criminals was either flogging evil-doers mercilessly or hanging them in public. In the 1680s, however, William Penn spearheaded a movement to “reform” criminals by placing them in “penitentiaries” instead of just beating them to a pulp or snuffing them out. And the resultant penitentiaries were supposed to be places where bad guys would have enough time on their hands to see the error of their evil ways and repent.

Boy, have we come a long way since then.

Prisons in America today seem to have other purposes in mind than mere reformation — such as to warehouse dissidents and minorities, employ prison guards and AFT commandos, shower billions on War-on-Drugs profiteers and their drug kingpin counterparts, turn borderline-neurotic prisoners into true psychopaths, and provide cheap labor for the prison-industrial complex.

Is William Penn rolling over in his grave right now or what!

According to Information Clearinghouse, “Nationwide, the number [of imprisoned Americans is] staggering: Nearly 2.4 million people behind bars, even though over the last 20 years the crime rate has actually dropped by more than 40 percent

Further, many of America’s new high-tech and for-profit prisons seem designed solely to break prisoners’ bodies first and then break their souls.

And if (not necessarily when) prisoners finally do get paroled out of America’s brave new prison system, they’re more often than not sent back into society so mentally broken down and/or physically debilitated that they can’t hardly even walk down the street by themselves — let alone become good citizens, repent their past follies or even hold down a job.

And according to FireDogLake, “Another growth industry in our Age of Incarceration is prison labor, putting inmates to work making everything from uniforms to furniture for a few cents an hour…. What began in the 1970s as an end run around the laws prohibiting convict leasing by private interests has now become an industrial sector in its own right, employing more people than any Fortune 500 corporation and operating in 37 states.”

So. What’s my point? Here it is: Americans really need to seriously sit down and re-think exactly what we want our prison system to accomplish — rehabilitate crooks so that they can see the error of their ways and become productive members of society again? Or create thugs, psychopaths and terrorists unfit for human company? Or produce pathetic weaklings ground down by a slave-labor system that has made them old far before their time and who will be a burden on society for the rest of their lives?

Hey, here’s an idea. How about following William Penn’s lead and go back to designing prisons that will turn bad guys back into good guys again? So that when prisoners have paid their “debt to society,” they will emerge from jail ready to be a productive member of said society and even give something back? What a novel concept that would be: A prison-factory that grinds out good citizens.

“But, Jane,” you might say, “how can that possibly be achieved?” How about that we start with this concept: Using the healthy example of Alice Waters’ famous “Edible Schoolyard” and your local organic farmers’ market, let’s have all our prisons go organic too! Just the act of feeding prisoners decent food for a change would be a huge first step toward rehabilitation.

Think “Edible Prisonyard”.

And after that, we can even begin to work on the true cause of adult criminality: Child abuse. According to Jordan Riak, an authority on child-abuse prevention, the best way to eliminate criminality is to be kind to children! Now there’s another novel idea.

“The person who was respected and encouraged to explore in childhood is NOT in prison. …The person whose physical and emotional needs were met in childhood is NOT in prison. So who IS in prison? You will find people who were never played with, read to or hugged when they were children but rather growled at, whipped and smacked…. Violent criminals are made. We ourselves create them at home.”–I0X3-tOwE

So perhaps we can rehabilitate our prisoners by actually being kind to them too. “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood!” But if we do that, then almost everyone else will want to get hauled off to jail too — giving us a better quality of prisoners that way as well.

And at the cost of approximately $60,000 per year to incarcerate each prisoner, think of all the money we would save if prisoners could simply be rehabilitated and released — or if that amount of money had been spent on helping to nurture young children so that they wouldn’t become criminals in the first place.

PS: Back in the early 1960s, before anyone else was even thinking about recycling, there was a man named Cecil Geraghty who developed a process of changing processed sewage into compost and fertilizer How resourceful was that!

Just think of all those millions of tons of “night soil” that are currently being flushed down the toilet regularly when they could be put to good use instead. Let’s revive that process. Let’s get all those nutrients back! Let’s reclaim all the human waste that is currently being spewed out by our sewers.

And let’s also reclaim all the waste of human life that is currently being spewed out by our prisons.


May 2, 2012

New Entries in the G.O.P. Shop Catalog


May 1, 2012

May Day Photo Report for Occupy Oakland

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 6:21 pm

Police prepare demonstrator for arrest.
Photogs scramble to record Police vs. Protester scuffle

Police in riot gear cordon off Broadway in Oakland, Tuesday morning, after first arrests were made.

The Noon May Day rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland CA was marred by a scuffle between Police and Demonstrators.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has learned a thing or two about photo editing and we realize that the photos taken early on May 1st in Oakland aren’t strong candidates for winning any of the press photographer clip contests for this month, but after putting in time to get to the event, get images, edit them, and then get to the Public Library to post them, we figured: “What the heck, they are better than no images at all.”

Specific details were lacking in the initial news reports on Bay Area media. The World’s Laziest Journalist will include more details in Friday’s Week in Review Column.

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