June 12, 2012

Mitt Romney for Dummies


June 11, 2012

The Bane of Boehner


June 10, 2012

Teabagger Teen Meets Jesus

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , — RS Janes @ 3:45 pm


June 9, 2012

Mitt the Liar

Filed under: Opinion,Quote,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 2:44 pm


June 8, 2012

By the Rivers of Babylon: More Netroots Nation reports

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 7:00 pm

“And there we wept…when we remembered Zion.”

Today at the second day of Netroots Nation convention in Providence, Rhode Island, there were all kinds of panels to attend and films and presentations to watch — and they all seemed to have the same common theme: That Americans need to start working together instead of going for each others’ jugulars with red-white-and-blue tooth and claw.

During the American Transit Workers union’s presentation of a documentary on the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike that included video footage from the Lorraine Motel, with tears in my eyes, I remembered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s heroic bravery and wisdom.

“We are facing a two-headed creature here,” King said. “He is a labor-union hater with one mouth and a civil-rights hater with the other.” The ATW also gave out free ice cream at the showing as well. Dove bars. Dulce de leche. And chocolate chip cookies. No kale chips? Huh? What is this world coming to.

Then someone in the audience at a panel discussion on undocumented Americans stated that, “Sure, people of color have it hard these days — but we ALL have it hard. And we all need to unite in common cause to make sure that all of our voices are heard as we face the greatest challenges of our life; as the One Percent tries to drown out the American Dream for the rest of us — all the while trying to make us believe that they are on our side and are truly our friends.”

Uh, no, they are not. Make no mistake here. The One percent are NOT our friends. Never have been. Never will be.

“And the wicked carried us away…captivity.”

According to Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren who also spoke today, the One Percent’s philosophy, in one sentence, is “I’ve got mine — but you are on your own.” Why would we want to give the rich and powerful even more power and more money? “We don’t run this country for corporations. We run it for people.”

And then another free lunch was offered to us conventioneers. I’m so there!

“On 9-11,” said one firefighters’ union rep at an afternoon panel presentation, “it wasn’t the bankers running up those stairs. It was government workers there saving lives.”

In my own personal opinion, stuff like Wall Street deregulation and the Koch brothers and ALEC and Citizens Untied are the worst things that have ever happened to America’s freedom. These oligarchs’ highly-planned and highly-coordinated attacks on our laws, freedoms and way of life have been far more disastrous, far more scary and far more EFFECTIVE than 9-11 ever was.

There are also many massive and coordinated attacks on unions these days. And on women. And on people of color. And response to these attacks has been for us to viciously begin fighting each other for crumbs falling off these rich men’s tables. How American is that!

So. How do we now unite together instead of fighting each other? “Let’s organize around universal similarities,” one panelist said. We all love our families (at least most of us do) and we all have to eat. We all have emotions. We all need to breathe clean air and send our kids to school. “So mix all that up and come out with some common denominators that we can all rally behind.” We all love a good free lunch. Would that do for a start?

Americans of all colors and shapes and sizes have so much more in common with each other than we do with those few oligarchs who are currently spending billions of dollars on trying to turn us against one another. Come on guys. Get a clue! Kumbayah here! Everyone — every one of us — wants the American Dream. So let’s work together to get it back.

“Let the words of our mouth and the meditations in our hearts… WE’VE GOT TO SING TOGETHER!” Or the wicked will continue to “carry us away…captivity”. For sure.

So let’s “Sing a song of Freedom!” instead.

PS: This evening the AFT is offering a presentation of the movie, “American Teacher,” and then I’ll be taking the bus back to my sweet little room at the Warwick Motel 6 where I can listen to the people in the neighboring room fight and make up all night long.

And tomorrow Paul Krugman, Sherrod Brown and Van Jones will be speaking. Then on Sunday Netroots Nation will have a day of service and join the mayor of Providence in trudging around some kind of swamp, cleaning up garbage. And will they feed us? Yes they will!


“For whom the UCB Campanile Tolls”

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:35 pm

If a columnist can’t write like Hemingway; maybe he can write about Hemingway?

“He was an old detective who worked alone out of an office on Santa Monica Blvd. and he had gone eighty four days now without a client.”

If Ernest Hemingway interrupted efforts to cover Occupy Madrid and came to Berkeley and was told by the street people that their ranks were swelling because a local (several?) hospital(s) were dumping indigent patients on Shattuck Avenue, how would he react? Would he raise funds for and write and provide the narration for a documentary film titled The Berkeley Earth? Would he write the best of all his novels and title it “For whom the UCB Campanile Tolls”? Would it delineate the exploits of a fashionista who joined the ranks of the legion of destitute victims of home foreclosures who were struggling to put an end to the economic domination of the work force by the one percenters? If he did that would he be vulnerable to charges of exploiting the panhandlers for his own fame and fortune? Since Hemingway has been dead for more than 50 years, he won’t have to deal with these hypothetical challenges. What about the legion of Hemingway wannabes? How should they handle the issue in his stead?

To a high school student the prospects of studying long and hard to become a lawyer or doctor who would work relentlessly for 50 weeks of the year just to be able to afford a better vacation paled in comparison to a career that would require a fellow to go to far away exotic locations, meet the movers and shakers of the world, and then write it up for fabulous sums of money. The life of a writer errant seemed like a more appealing vocational decision. Positive proof of the lopsided nature of the choice might be evident when the latest copy of LIFE magazine arrived in the mail box containing photographic evidence that such an escape from tedium was possible. For a kid who hasn’t yet experienced the much desired rite of passage known as passing the driver’s license test, the chance to travel the world for pay held a hypnotic allure.

Growing up in Scranton Pa., offered a basic binary choice: you could go to work in the coal mines (literally or figuratively) after high school, or (if your parents could afford it) you could go to college and then get a job in coal mine management, marry your high school sweetheart, and have bunch of kids. The fact that Scranton became the setting for a fictionalized look at the absurdity of working in “The Office” would only become apparent much later in life.

In the Fifties, the ticket out of what Fred Allen called “The Treadmill to Oblivion,” was to become: a rock star, a movie star, one of Mickey Mantle’s teammates, or learn to type as the first step on the Hemingway wannabe road to fame and fortune. In high school, given the choice of two more years of Latin vs. learning to type, a young man didn’t need “Papa” Hemingway by his side to make the call.

The grim reality that Collier’s Magazine would, after 1957, no longer be available to subsidize sending the next generation of Hemingways to far away places with strange sounding names was irrelevant because at the same time that they folded, a young writer named Jack Kerouac was demonstrating that if you subsidized your wanderings, you could always recoup the bankroll by publishing the results in book form.

After college, books about Hemingway began to appear. Heck if you couldn’t write like Hemingway, you could always write about Hemingway. Using that logic had its drawbacks because that would indicate that eventually some writers would be writing about this Kerouac fellow who had, by the Vietnam War, faded into obscurity. It was worth noting, however, that this beatnik fellow made more appearances on “The Tonight” show than Papa Hemingway did.

The torch had been passed to a new generation of writers and guys like Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson were generating scads of publicity for inventing “new journalism,” which some (sour grapes?) critics dismissed as repackaged and relabeled examples of the Hemingway formulae “Veni, vidi, escribi.”

Unfortunately, reading novels such as “Goldfinger,” “The Big Sleep,” and “The Maltese Falcon,” meant that when it eventually came time to enter the “Good Page of Bad Hemingway” contest, this columnist would submit something that sounded like: “He was an old detective who worked alone out of an office on Santa Monica Blvd. and he had gone eighty four days now without a client.”

Hemingway’s name was synonymous with hunting and fishing but if the A. E. Hotchner or Carlos Baker biographies mentioned that Papa supported conservation, this columnist didn’t notice such passages. Sure he was glad to lead the wolf pack of writers (called the War Tourists) to the cause of the workers in Spain, but did he ever say anything about the retched treatment that was given to Native Americans?

All the Hemingway aspirations had been safely tucked away in the recesses of the World’s Laziest Journalist Memory Archive until we began to read books such as “Gellhorn” by Caroline Moorehead and “The Women Who Wrote the War” by Nancy Caldwell Sorel at about the same time that we began to cover the Occupy Oakland, Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Berkeley, and Occupy UCB stories. When we got the chance to see a screening of “Hemingway and Gellhorn” at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, we were fully aware of why the plight of the ordinary citizens objecting to high tuition, home foreclosures, union busting, and layoffs sounded so very déjà vu.

Authorized biographies provided a stealth introduction to spin. Reading the Gellhorn biography by Caroline Moorehead, copyrighted and published in 2003, recently, it was a bit of a shock for a Hemingway wannabe to learn that Mr. Macho consistently delivered shabby treatment to the women in his life.

If he were still alive, the newer books revealed that the Nobel Prize for Literature winner would also be a leading Souse and Louse of the year award. Does the Modern Drunkard online site even give such an award?

Is the new HBO film a variation on an old existentialist trick? While he was a POW, Jean-Paul Sartre staged a play that was about the history of ancient Greece. The Germans running the POW camp didn’t notice that it was also a metaphor for their heavy handed methods for governing an occupied country.

There is an old saying that those who forget history are bound to repeat it. How many young folks in the United States know what the issues that sparked the Spanish Civil War were? If Rupert Murdoch will not permit any disparaging words about the US during the Bush Era, could a film about a tempestuous love affair between two writers covering the Spanish Civil War actually be a clever way to slide the topic of the age old struggle between the wealthy (and their lackeys – the politicians, the police, the press, and the clergy) against the wage slaves past the old biddies delivering Murdoch’s rules for living on the Fox New programs?

Disgruntle slaves have always infuriated the plantation owners by their lack of gratitude via the “Oliver Twist” question: “Please, sir, may I have more?”

Back in the Thirties, Ford shot strikers and Chevrolet caved in to their demands and ever since then, it’s been a continuing struggle for the landed gentry to regain the upper hand.
Which automobile company response to strikers would Hemingway have endorsed?

In the biography “Gellhorn,” readers are informed that the only time Martha Gellhorn ever saw Hemingway cry was when he learned that a Franco victory in the Spanish Civil War was inevitable. After Tuesday’s election results in Wisconsin, we wonder if another Fallangist victory (no matter how well it was disguised) would still get the same result. Would Hemingway see a Republican domination of the US Presidential Election in 2012 as another fascist victory? Would Hemingway notice similarities between the causes of the Occupy protesters and the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War?

Hemingway loved bull fights because of the ritualized ceremony’s pageantry (a High Mass for sadists?) and that makes us wonder if Papa would note the similarity to the paradigm script for modern controversial wedge issues in American politics. When a controversial wedge issue is decided by the voters, the electronic voting machines must always decide in favor of the conservative program. The bull must die even if a relief matador (from the bull pen?) has to be brought off the bench.

Would Hemingway be intimidated by the prospect of being called a “conspiracy theory lunatic”? The fact that unflattering criticism did seem to wound a man who was being called the greatest writer of the century and that he worked tirelessly to build and protect his image indicates that he might have been vulnerable to such a threat.

If Spain is going to have to endure austerity measures, will it hurt only the workers or will the wealthy also suffer? Would Hemingway (and Gellhorn?) rush off to cover the impact of austerity on the average citizen in Spain (if they were still alive)? Regardless of what the banks do, won’t the glitterati attend this year’s “Running of the bulls” and won’t it be held on schedule?

Reading about the long list of journalists who were alarmed about the possibility that the struggle of workers in Spain against the Falangists was a prediction that eventually and inevitably the USA would be forced to participate in a European war against fascism, and then reading about the frantic scramble to get an assignment to cover the European phase of World War II, only makes a columnist in America all the more aware that Journalism in the states today bares a remarkable resemblance to the paucity of news available to Germans during the Hitler era. Reading or listening to foreign based news was strictly verboten. Reading or listening to a non conservative point of view in the USA today is just about as foolhardy as listening to the BBC in Berlin was in 1943. (Google hint: “gray and black radio propaganda”)

Friday, June 8, 2012, is World Ocean Day and it isn’t hard to figure out how Hemingway would celebrate it, but that causes us to wonder: If the Gulf oil spill kills off all the Marlins would Papa attack the company responsible for the atrocity against nature?

Hemingway tended to see life in terms of a prolonged boxing match, so we like to imagine that if he were still alive, he would enthusiastically urge the Liberals in Wisconsin to get up, take a standing nine count, and then plunge back in the fight by starting a new effort this weekend to collect signatures for another recall move against Scott Walker.

Somewhere along the way, the Dionysian approach to writing new columns about a variety of topics, in the Herb Caen manner, began to appeal to the World’s Laziest Journalist more than the Apollonian formula of spending months of pounding out a novel.

Consequently, to put it in the terms that would be understandable to someone who read extensively about the exploits in the old West of the U. S. Cavalry, the World’s Laziest Journalist tends to approach the world like an Indian Scout rather than like an egotistical general.

Santa Monica had to contend with the rumor that some cities were giving their charity cases a one way Greyhound ticket to “Skid row by the sea,” and Los Angeles had a scandal about patients being dumped on Fifth Street, so if the rumors about increase in the size of the Shattuck army of panhandlers is true, other writers can do the extensive amount of reporting that the topic will require; meanwhile this columnist will start checking the logistics for tackling other topics such as this year’s Running of the Bulls or the 24 hour sports car race at Le Mans.

In “Death in the Afternoon,” Ernest Hemingway wrote: “There are two things that are necessary for a country to love bullfights. One is that the bulls must be raised in that country and the other is that the people must have an interest in death.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Frankie and Johnnie,” Jerry Lee Lewis’ “I wish I was 18 again,” and the Plimsouls’ “You cant judge a book (by its cover).” We have to go see if LIFE magazine wants to assign us to write “The Dangerous Summer on the road to the Hemingway Days in Key West” story. Have a Botellazo free week.

The Conservative Washington Times Calls Scott Walker a Commie!


June 7, 2012

Report from Netroots Nation: What would a new economic system look like?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 4:23 pm

I finally arrived in Providence, Rhode Island, late last night — after being forced to switch planes in Chicago after spilling my salmon salad to the point where the entire cabin smelled like dead fish. Ah, the power of change.

The first workshop that I attended this morning had to do with trying to design a new economic system that works for all of us, not just for fat cats and oligarchs at the top.

“An economy based solely on growth doesn’t works,” stated one panel member. “What’s another word for out-of-control growth? ‘Cancer’. In Bhutan, the economy is based on happiness instead.” We should try that, seeing that America currently rates only number 44 on a world-wide happiness scale.

What I hate most about America’s economy now is that it is based on our love affair with obscene-profits-at-any-cost. That’s no way to run a country — or a world! My suggestion? Let’s duplicate nationally on a legal precedence set in California a few years ago, citing that medical marijuana clinics are forbidden to make any profits. And as a result, all the clinics’ profits are plowed back into the business.

This new business paradigm is immeasurably better than our current Vulture Capitalism system, where American businesses and companies are not nourished at all — but only stripped of their infrastructure, assets and ability to either compete with the rest of the world or to serve their customers.

If you visualize America itself as an industry, for many years now it has been stripped of both its capital and its infrastructure. Just compare the economic semi-ruin that America is now with the thriving industrial giant that it used to be. Vulture Capitalism has sucked the life out of our country. Vulture Capitalism sucks eggs.

At the Harborside medical cannabis clinic in Oakland, all profits are returned back into the business — creating more jobs, more services and more equity for itself and its customers. In comparison, when has America’s war industry, stock market casino, oil barons or banking cartel ever given anything back?

Next on the menu at Netroots Nation was the showing of a documentary film on rape in the military. Currently, there is a really good chance that if a woman joins the military, she will be raped. And that no one will ever do anything about it. Thousands of female soldiers are being raped every year by their own freaking co-workers. And the good-ole-boys’ network now in place on most military bases simply laughs it all off. That’s just sad.

Perhaps the Republicans’ current War on Women is based on the original War on Women in the Military model? It appears that it is.

Tonight at Netroots Nation, we are going to hear Eric Schneiderman, Bill McKibben and Tammy Baldwin speak. Then I’m gonna take the # 8 bus to a place far, far away, to my little Motel 6 room out in Warwick, where I will dream of a better America and better days than we have now — a better world where the War on the working class and women will be replaced by a War on cruelty, inefficiency and greed.

PS: You can actually watch Netroots Nation too, being streamed live here:


Scott Walker’s Next Recall


June 6, 2012

New York Post: Walker Wins, Obama Resigning


June 5, 2012

On Wisconsin: Vote Out Scott Walker and the Koch Bros.


June 4, 2012

Torture in Palestine, Syria & Cleveland: Making it happen!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:36 pm

I recently attended a video presentation in Oakland given by a member of the Jenin Freedom Theatre (, and while the speaker was describing various theater projects now being staged in Palestine, he also happened to mention several relatively unique types of psychological torture currently being implemented by Israeli corporatists and their enforcers in the occupied West Bank.

For instance, imagine that you are a Palestinian farmer and happily out plowing your land — when a bunch of rather nasty armed settlers come rampaging over the hill, beat you to a pulp and start building their own stuff on your property, right next to that old olive tree that has been shading your family since almost Christ’s birth. And then imagine that some harsh-looking Israeli soldiers in full battle-gear also arrive on the scene in their Humvees and, rather than arresting all those evil “settler” perps who are busting your chops, they arrest YOU instead. Okay, so it’s not fair or just or anything — but that’s life on the West Bank. Live with it.

Then they drag you off to jail, don’t charge you with anything and hold you in indefinite detention for committing the extreme crime of plowing your own land. Not exactly democratic or even nice — but you are used to it. Hey, that’s life on the West Bank.

But then the Israeli corporatistas’ land-stealing goons start in to torture you too. Well, okay. That’s par for the course. Tens of thousands of Palestinian farmers are being jailed and tortured regularly for the crimes of owning land and/or being Muslims or being Christians or being Jews — instead of just money-grubbing land-grabbers like Israel’s higher-up corporate mafia dudes. But, hey. That’s life on the West Bank. Torture is torture. Who needs all those fingernails. You’ve got ten. You can spare some.

But then Netanyahu’s corporatist goon-squad starts to carry this torture stuff a little bit too far. First they show you photos of the corpses of your dead children — which totally freaks you out like even physical pain never possibly could. Those are your dearly-loved babies lying there dead! Your heart breaks.

And then someone else comes into your cell dressed like a doctor and informs you that you now have inoperable cancer, with only a few weeks left to live. You’re stuck in this hell-hole and now you are gonna die here as well? Good grief!

But then, when they finally release you months or years later (still without having been charged), you now discover that you never actually really had any cancer — and that your family is still very much alive.

But it’s really hard for you to just shrug this off too, saying, “Hey, that’s just life on the West Bank.” Because it is not, not just “Life on the West Bank”. It is mind-gaming sadistic torture of the worst kind. And it’s not done in the name of Judaism either — because what kind of screwed-up religion would ever do something as truly ghastly as that! It is done in the name of power and money and sadism only.

And that’s going too far.

And then it won’t be hard at all for you to imagine that these corporatista goons are no longer human. But isn’t that the real purpose of good theater — like the Jenin Freedom Theatre? To stir our imaginations? And to motivate us to do better.

PS: American and NATO powers-that-be seem to have been going a bit too far recently as well. Lately, they have been paying squads of al Qaeda goons to gun down children in Houla so that the U.N. could blame these atrocities on Assad and then take over Syria

“The more photos of dead children the better!” NATO corporatistas apparently instructed their al Qaeda goons while happily in pursuit the Project for the New American Century’s wet-dream of capturing the entire Middle East — country by country. Soon only Iran, Lebanon and possibly Egypt plus a few stragglers in Bahrain and Yemen will be left standing until they too knuckle under — and then everything over there will belong to the PNAC!

Not us.

And all this slaughter of innocents is now being happily paid for by blood-money that came from depriving American children of much of the important stuff that they also need to live.

And is anybody in America starting to get pissed off yet?

Or are we just going to wait until it is too late and it will be residents of Kansas City or Cleveland also being herded into prison cells, with our land stolen, suffering infinite detention and being shown photos of OUR dead family’s corpses…

PPS: I’m currently reading David Hey’s latest book, “Travels in Consciousness,”, wherein he cites several classic academic studies at Stanford and Yale which indicate that when people are told by higher authorities to torture other people, they willingly do it. In fact, they really get into it. Moral? That many people appear to be suckers for being told what to do — no matter what it is.

PPPS: Saeed Amireh, my cyber-friend on the West Bank, just sent me a video of his attempt to go see Madonna’s big peace concert in Tel Aviv. With actual tickets in hand issued by Madonna herself, Saeed and his brother were stopped at the Wall, stopped at the checkpoints, stopped by the IDF, totally denied access. No concert for them!

Also, some of Saeed’s friends have recently been trying to turn that huge illegal ugly cement prison Wall standing between themselves and their farmland into a rock-climbing center. Why not? It’s there to stay anyway. Might as well make it recreational. Add some pylons? Why not. And maybe “The Amazing Race” might even choose it as a location for next year’s contestants to repel from. How cool would THAT be. And getting shot at by Israeli corporatistas’ faux-Jewish thugs would certainly add just that special bit of an extra zing to the show, dontcha think?

A thousand years from now, that illegal dictatorial Wall may still be standing — long after Israeli and American corporatistas have all killed off everyone else in the region — even themselves. And it will be a very Ozymandias moment. “Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.

Here are some Facebook photos of my recent trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown, in a futile search for shrimp dumplings:


The Koch Bros. Puppet Show


June 3, 2012

Unclear on the Concept


June 1, 2012

What They Were Thinking


American Journalism and the “death of a thousand cuts”

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

Photographers flocked to see the Iowa pass through the Golden Gate.

[Note: This column will be a subjective report intended to proved a foundation for building an inductive logic case to support the contention that Journalism in the United States is reaching the point of no return for becoming an example of the death of a thousand cuts.]

Before posting our last column on Friday, May 22, 2012, we were informed by one of the panhandlers on Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley, that an incident involving police and some homeless young folks had occurred the previous night.

After posting the column, we made a more concerted effort to ask around to get some facts and information about the news potential of the event. The street people related that the police had attempted to ticket a sleeping person about midnight and when the fellow did not wake up the Police used extreme physical methods to try to wake him up so that they could engage him in a conversation.

At that point the columnist was aware that the story had two possible ultimate conclusions; either it was a case of biased criticism of police procedures or it was a newsworthy example of police misconduct.

This writer has been posting columns asserting that Journalism in the USA is on the endangered species list, so this latest incident in Berkeley seemed like it would provide a convenient handle for another similar installment in the series of columns contending that the prognosis for Journalism in the USA is: “dead man walking.” Instinctively, we knew that there would be resistance to any attempts to submit a news tip and that such reluctance to listen would be the topic for our next column. Has submitting a news tip taken on the same karma as offering a piece of Kryptonite to Superman?

Writing about the Berkeley event itself would require a massive amount of fact gathering which could not possibly be finished in time for a column that would be posted on the First Friday in June, so we decided to render help to the panhandlers in the form of a news tip to other area news sources which might report about the event which, according to hearsay, sent a young man to the hospital. (Later we were told that the fellow was a veteran who had served in Iraq.) On Friday morning, a lawyer from the East Bay Community Law Center was interviewing the young homeless people about what had occurred the previous night.

If the event was as serious as some contend, then it might develop into a Berkeley version of the Rodney King beating. A veteran had been injured last November at an Occupy Oakland event, so perhaps police beating up indigent veterans would be a trend-spotting story. Such a trend would outrage Liberals and put conservatives in an embarrassing position because they would have to choose between approving the new anti-veteran philosophy or endorse the criticism of the police. Either way the Conservatives would look inconsistent in their beliefs.

We called the California Center for Investigative Reporting and the phone operator said they weren’t interested in news tips about local events. She suggested that I could write up a query letter offering to do all the work myself and submit that via snail mail. Apparently if our news value judgment is better than theirs, we can prove it by doing all the work and then letting them take an agent’s cut for selling it.

Since the Berkeley Daily Chronicle is defunct and since the Berkeley Daily Planet’s weekly print edition has been suspended, the UC Berkeley student newspaper, the Daily Californian, has endeavored to take up the slack in that city’s local news coverage.

This example of a decline in local commercial news coverage is not a fatal wound for American Journalism, but it is a noticeable cut and entered as evidentiary exhibit for the contention being made by this column. The fact that the Times Picayune of New Orleans has suspended daily publication is a more pertinent example of a long slow decline in local newspaper journalism.

We walked to the office of the Daily Californian and were told by a young man acting as receptionist that there was no member of the editorial staff available to listen to the news tip. A receptionist can make a news decision or block a tip from being submitted? There is another example of a non-fatal cut for our “case.”

Now since our experience has been that the editor at the Santa Monica Independent Journal Newspapers always advised that a good journalist is always open to receiving news tips and since Doug Brew later became Time Magazine’s White House correspondent; we have always assumed that his advice about Journalism was reliable.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has always welcomed news tips. Our past columns on the Pascua Lama gold mining and Germany’s Pirate Political Party were spawned by news tips.

This kid wouldn’t give his name so that we could attribute the Cal Daily news decision to him, so we used our best “don’t take ‘no’ for an answer” reporter’s assertive attitude and continued our efforts until we were speaking to the editor. The editor took down the contact information for the lawyer from the East Bay Community Law Center and promised to look into the potential trend spotting value of the news tip.

We had to use our best “refusal conversion” debating style to get the audience with the editor and assume that most other potential tipsters would be cavalierly brushed aside by the receptionist (who looked old enough to drive but too young to purchase alcohol). Now one fumbled news tip won’t be fatal to American Journalism, but if the trend in America is to disregard new tips . . . that would appear to be more like a major gash than a small nick with a razor blade type cut.

In the past, we have learned that the New York Times’ Public Editor does not want to concern himself with criticism of missed stories, and the New York Times Letters to the Editor editor does not publish letters about news that was not covered by the Great Gray Lady. They obviously have a different attitude than the one this columnist was taught by the Independent Journal’s managing editor.

If the event that occurred on the night of Thursday May 24-Friday May 25, was one of a series of examples of police brutality, then a sensationalist might put the story with a headline that offers this opinion: “Kristallnacht for Berkeley’s homeless.”

On the Memorial Day Weekend, Jalopnik, the web site for car enthusiasts, ran a story about Police in the USA seizing cash and then (like the line in the Jerry Reed song) keeping all that money for evidence. (Google hint to learn more:

Should someone call Fox News and give them a news tip about the arrest of Andy Coulson?

Why doesn’t the world’s laziest journalist do all the work necessary to write the “Are the Police in the USA out of control?” story?

The only possible motivation for such a labor intensive project would be self-satisfaction. If writing a column about potential police misconduct didn’t get a bit of police harassment in return, the best this writer could hope to get would be a noteworthy example of mass indifference to online content. Think along the lines of a soliloquy by Travis Bickel given to himself in his own home.

Do it gratis for humanitarian reasons? We can only quote a crusty old Santa Monica Outlook city editor who used to growl: “No good deed goes unpunished.” The payoff choice runs the gamut from nasty stealth political paybacks to massive public apathy and that bleak spectrum of rewards is supposed to provide the motivation? If this columnist is going to provide his own self-satisfaction, it will be by selecting assignments that are ipso facto fun to cover. It would be much easier to write a column that lived up to the headline: “Austerity measures will continue until prosperity returns.”

Getting from Berkeley to the Presidio in San Francisco takes a bit of time, but seeing United States Navy history occur, seemed worth the effort. Getting good photos was just part of the self-satisfaction aspect of the work. Doing the extra work to use photos to augment this weekend roundup column will be a “fielder’s choice” type decision.

If Freedom of the Press is actually in the process of dying the death of a thousand cuts, what’s the worst that could happen? The Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory’s R & D Department is working on just such a prediction. Here is a preview: What if the Republican front runner gives a triumphant victory cry the weekend before the Republican’s National Convention, the last week in August, and (what if) the press (like a trained seal) issues a unanimous assertion that the fellow (just like it happened to Howard Dean) has suffered a complete mental breakdown and is unfit to receive the nomination? We’ll keep you posted on future developments regarding this potential item in the Conspiracy Theory world.

If, on the other hand, Journalism in America is in robust health, what is the harm in letting the World’s Laziest Journalist post some idle speculation to the contrary?

If the Republican National Convention were happening in Great Britain, there would be a possibility that some of the delegates would be vulnerable to some extortion and blackmail via the News of the World style wiretapping, but since it is happening in the USA It can’t (as Upton Sinclair would confirm) happen here. (But if it could . . . what’s the worst that could happen?)

If Euripides was assigned to rewrite a new shooting script of Ben Hecht’s “Front Page,” would he turn in a story that portrayed America’s Free Press as being blindsided by fascism and use the word “hubris” to explain it all?

If police ever start to invade newsrooms to beat up reporters, who will the reporters call to give a news tip for that story?

William R. Hearst sent a cable to Frederic Remington, who had been sent to Cuba to provide illustrations of a war and was requesting permission to return to the USA because he couldn’t find a war to illustrate, advising the famous painter: “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

Now, since this column will be posted on June 1st, which is Superman Day, the disk jockey will play: “O Superman” (done by Laurie Anderson), “I kicked Spiderman’s ass,” and the theme music from the TV show “Batman.” We have to go check out a news tip. Have a “Kryptonite free” type week.

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