November 30, 2014

Ye Old Scribe Answers “What the %$#@! Went Wrong in 2014?”

Filed under: Commentary — Ye Olde Scribe @ 6:02 pm

Dem operatives are out in force trying to do what ReThugs did in 2012: claim what went wrong. Of course they didn’t follow any of their advice so Republicans had a big loss and are headed for extinction: on another planet, in an alternate universe that doesn’t exist.

Nah, just said, “Screw that,” and doubled down.

Dem operatives are puzzled. After all the warnings, what went wrong.

Perhaps not dire enough?

After all, why E-mail Dems with a subject line like, “Absolute meltdown,” when, “Careful, Mothra working for Republicans is coming and will burn you alive if you vote” is so much more colorful? (more…)

November 26, 2014

Does this week remind you of the Sixties?

Filed under: Commentary — Bob Patterson @ 1:28 pm

crop of Ya gotta be kidding

Walking into the men’s room on the ground floor of Wheeler Hall and meeting some UCB co-ed protesters who were urging gender neutral restrooms was not on our “to do” list for Friday, November 21, 2014, but since that happened less than 24 hours after we decided to write a Thanksgiving column listing our memorable moments fighting the never ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, we were glad to have something new and unusual to add to the list.

However, we quickly realized that since gender neutral restrooms might be a new and unfamiliar topic, we might want to write an entire column on this new and controversial issue, instead.

The day before when we were fact finding the new series of student protests trying to convince the board of regents to roll back the latest tuition price increase, we realized that since one of the protesters didn’t know what Prop 13 was and why it had started California on a course that produced the controversial increase, we might want to write a column that outlines the history of the events that resulted from the passage of Prop 13 and the unpopular consequences that measure delivered.

With the student unrest, the reaction to the Ferguson decision, and the ISIS problem, maybe we could bang out a column under the headline: “Are the Sixties really over?”

Unfortunately our attempts to take, edit, and post some photos of the new protest at the University of California campus in Berkeley revealed that the computer used at the World’s Laziest Journalist New Organization, was malfunctioning and disrupting our plans.

That, in turn, caused us to re-evaluate the need to do all the necessary work involved as well as to subsidize our expenditures in the long process of posting weekly columns for (as best as we can recall) continuously for a decade and a half.

If we can not do our photo editing duties at home, we would have to do all that work somewhere else. Should we do a feature column answering the question “Where did all the Internet Cafés go?”

Then we asked ourself: Why should we do all that work and underwrite all the costs?

The idea that providing online content would ultimate produces fun, fame, and fortune was a bit of a miscalculation. If we wrote a column that listed the highlights it would be obvious that we did have a great deal of fun but the bottom line for a freelance Liberal pundit is very anemic.

We’ve been warning folks for years that JEB will be the star in the Bush Dynasty restoration saga. There’s not much we can do to change the inevitability factor for this prediction so perhaps we should permit ourself to take a sabbatical leave during the same time that Congress diddles around with their lame duck session until the new Congress is sworn in so they can lay the preliminary groundwork for JEB’s inauguration by impeaching President Obama.

On the night of November 24, 2014 to Tuesday, November 25, 2014, we ignored an opportunity to go to Oakland and observe first hand the local reaction to the Grand Jury’s decision in the Ferguson police shooting case.

Approximately forty years ago we covered the Venice Canal riot and in the time since we did that, our infinite supply of energy and enthusiasm has mysteriously diminished considerably.

Four decades ago, we were very much motivated to help the Marina (del Rey) Tenants Association in their battle against the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors who had tuned a unique situation (private real estate development on county owned land) into an endless supply of campaign contributions for the board members. Now the San Francisco Board of Supervisors seem determined to duplicate the unique Marina del Rey setup by sanctioning private real estate development projects on the county owned land where Candlestick Park used to be located.

Our columns about this potentially dangerous possibility get no notice or response so we have to ask: “Why bother?”

Perhaps a mid-semester sabbatical vacation could revive and regenerate our levels of energy and enthusiasm. We could come back when the new Congress is sworn-in in January of 2015 and be the usual happy-go-lucky columnist we have always been.

In the meantime, we could rest or work on some other writing projects such as revising and polishing a effort to write our autobiography.

Recently we have been reading Carlo Gebler’s 1988 book “Driving through Cuba.” Since the book concerns the writer’s quest to locate a rare Cadillac Eldorado convertible on the island which, before the revolution, “imported more Cadillacs than any other country,” we wonder if there might be a window of opportunity for the World’s Laziest Journalist to go there and update car fans on how things are in Cuba.

Perhaps we could use some down time to find a sponsor to help defray the costs of an attempt to update the latest aspects involved in a visit to the time capsule car fan’s Valhalla. We could start by asking the management at Frank Nicodemus’ Castle Cadillac Restorations about a sponsorship deal because “it never hurts to ask.”

If we get to Cuba, it seems likely that we could work in a visit to Finca Vega (Cuba’s version of Owl Farm) and scratch a tour of Hemingway’s home, off our Bucket List. What was the name of Hemingway’s favorite bar in Havana? (The Floridita?)

We reserve the right to impulsively reverse our decision to take a sabbatical break should we see an unexpected need for our talent to observe, analyze, and comment on various current events topics.

We always try to put some unique facts into each column and we have been meaning to casually mention that we have been searching the Internets for the source of the car racing use of the expression “the pits” to designate the place where mechanics work on the cars during the race.

In the 1971 Ballantine Books editon of “Alfa Romeo,” written by Peter Hull, readers learn on page 59 that the old course for the Lyone-Givors race included a portion where trenches were dug at the side of the road. Peter Hull notes that the holes “were sunk into the border of the road thus showing the origin of the term.”

[Note from the Photo Editor, since a photo that has nothing directly to do with the contents of a column will lure extra readers into the column, we will use one of our favorites from the past to accompany this week’s posting from the World’s Laziest Journalist.]

Speaking of car races, we saw a documentary film on the life of actor Steve McQueen and in the later stages of his career he provided us with the closing quote for this column when he said: “I’m getting to old for this s**t!”

Now the disk jockey will play Dooley Wilson’s “As Time Goes By,” the soundtrack album for “Revel without a Cause,” and the latest addition to our list of favorite songs, Nathalie Cardone’s “Hasta Siempre, Commandante” (AKA the Che Guevara song). We have to go check costs for winter excursions to New Zealand (where summer is just beginning.) Have a “the more things change . . . ” type holiday season.


November 24, 2014

Immigration problem solved: Israelis got dual citizenship so why not Mexicans?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:51 pm

Currently Republicans have their knickers all in a twist with regard to illegal immigration from Mexico, right? Well, I have the answer to that one. Let’s just grant dual citizenship to Mexicans. Then Mexicans in this country will no longer be illegal! Problem solved.

“But, Jane,” you might say, “if we do that, America will become overwhelmed and we will lose control of our country.” Yeah. That indeed could happen. Just look what happened when we granted dual citizenship to Israelis. They took over America quick as a wink. You might have a point there.

In 1967, Israeli leaders unilaterally gave the order to attack and destroy the USS Liberty — and our American leaders went along with that At least Mexico has never attacked a US warship. There’s that in Mexico’s favor, right?

Almost no member of Congress and President of the United States has ever been elected in the last several decades without the backing of the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Imagine if Mexicans had their own AMPAC! Yikes.

Israel put pressure on America to make the decision to go to war with Iraq — and we Americans are still paying for that mistake. And let’s also take a look at the Project for a New American Century, America’s current guidebook on how to screw up the Middle East. At least half the people who wrote that damning document possessed dual citizenship with Israel. And who benefited from all its resulting endless and bloody wars? It wasn’t us Americans, no no no.

“But Jane, undocumented Mexicans are taking our jobs!” Yeah well. But dual-citizen Israelis are also taking our jobs too. And our tax money. And our weapons industry. And our government positions. And our real estate agents too. Re-Max is now advertizing the sale of condos in the Occupied West Bank. But if we gave dual-citizenship to Mexico too, then Re-Max could be selling condos in Occupied Juarez as well! I’d buy one. Would you?

“But what about terrorists?” you might ask next. You’re right again. That too could be a problem. But it is also coming to light already that dual-citizen Israelis have been supporting the ISIS terrorist organization behind our backs all along. And they still support ISIS.

So if Mexicans also had dual citizenship, then their ISIS-like drug lords might come with that package-deal too, which would not be a good thing. But surely an occasional drug-lord beheading south of the border can’t be as bad as the daily beheadings by ISIS, which are sponsored by the dual citizens of Mossad.

And then there are all those mass graves that have been recently discovered in Mexico. According to an article in “The Nation” with the hilarious title of “This Mass Grave isn’t the Mass Grave you have been looking for,” journalist Greg Grandin states, “There were at least 26,000 disappearances and 83,000 homicides” in Mexico.

109,000 dead in Mexico? That’s a mere drop in the bucket in relation to population percentages when compared to the number of Palestinians that have been butchered and/or “ethnically cleansed” by Israelis in the past 60-odd years — almost 80% of all Palestinians.

Mexican drug lords are almost puny when compared with Israeli warlords — who really think big.

2,133 Palestinians were murdered in Gaza just this past summer alone. 750,000 Palestinians were either murdered or driven off their land back in 1948. At least 33 known mass grave sites of dead Palestinians have been found and there many more mass grave sites that are as yet unknown. Along with the American Indian holocaust, the German/Polish/French Jewish holocaust, various African holocausts over the centuries and the Holocaust in Tibet, this Palestinian holocaust is one of the largest and most tragic in history (so far).

What has happened and is still happening in Palestine is very much like that nightmarish WW II ethnic cleansing of Germany, France and Poland. And, like that earlier tragic time also, we hardly ever hear anything about this ethnic cleansing in the media either except from a few alarmists like me. All we ever hear about here in America is when a few Palestinians struggle to fight back to protect their families and land — and then they are instantly labeled “terrorists”. How come Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and Tibetans in Lhasa weren’t labeled “terrorists” too.

And how come no one in America ever hears about the Israeli Caliphate or the Israeli State in the Levant (ISIL) — like we constantly do about its nightmarish ISIS blowback.

All in all, I think that giving dual citizenship to Mexicans is a great idea. Just look how well it turned out when we gave dual citizenship to Israelis!

Wailing wall - Copy

Same Old, Same Old

Filed under: Toon — Ye Olde Scribe @ 1:06 pm


November 23, 2014

She Wants to be Charlie’s Girl!

Filed under: Toon — Ye Olde Scribe @ 1:10 pm


Contradiction Thy Name Be “Teabag”

Filed under: Toon — Ye Olde Scribe @ 1:05 pm


November 21, 2014

“You stay classy, San Diego!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:25 pm

crop of newspaper reader

“Stonewalled,” by Sharyl Attkisson, is a new book that is being supported with a series of interviews and guest appearances by the author and when she did a guest shot on the November 14, 2014 episode of the Getty and Armstrong radio show, Ms. Attkisson sternly admonished CBS Evening News for using the anemic topic of weather on a network news show. We wanted to do this week’s column about her new book but we couldn’t find one available in Berkeley CA, so we had to travel to San Francisco for our quest. City Lights didn’t have one in stock on Monday of this week but Alexander Book Co. did; so we bought a copy and started the process of writing a column/review on her new book (and a quick look at the history of press criticism).

Over the weekend, we viewed a DVD copy of the 1976 film “Network.” It has not lost its “ripped from today’s headlines” impact and is well worth seeing if readers aren’t old enough to remember the impact it had on audiences when it was new.

Since Ms. Attkisson is concerned that her computers are being hacked, it seems likely that a comparison to Network’s fictional journalist Howard Beal will be an easy cheap shot for liberal pundits to include in their assessments of this new book.

Liberals, who are nostalgic about the good old days when righteous indignation about the special kid gloves treatment that President George W. Bush got from the Mainstream Media (MSM), as reported in Eric Boehlert’s book “Lapdogs,” might want to buy “Stonewalled” for a quick easy political assessment that blames all the world’s woes on President Obama.

Ms. Attkisson concentrates intensely on Bengazi, Bengazi, Bengazi and seems to consider the Dubya’s handling of foreign affairs slightly flawed and hardly worth mentioning, while holding President Obama up as a disgrace for the nation.

Ms. Attkisson totally ignores the possibility that her co-worker Dan Rather may have been suckered into an ambush. She says she immediately recognized the material as counterfeit and concludes that Dubya has thereby been cleared of any malfeasance regarding his military service record. What if a trickster supplied Rather with doctored evidence just to discredit the whole topic of George W. Bush’s military service?

Could Ms. Attkisson, who left the CBS organization earlier this year, be trying to land an anchor gig at Fox? Could her agent sell her services as the modern “mad profit of the airwaves” that nightly dispenses America’s rage over the inept bungling of the Obama Administration in all aspects of their tenure in the White House?

“Stonewalled” does not contain a bibliography. That indicates that Ms. Attkisson’s book is a one-sourced criticism of the entire journalism industry (both farm clubs and major league teams) and not meant to be a comprehensive look at the topic of Journalism in America. It is her gripe session. Poor baby, how (hypothetical speculation alert) would she have coped with the rigors of membership in Murrow’s Boys?

An attempt to take a comprehensive, critical look at American Journalism would mean that a bibliography section would indicate that the author had read George Seldes “Lords of the Press,” Eric Boehlert’s “Lapdogs,” and A. J. Liebling’s “The Press,” Danny Shechter’s “The More You Watch the Less You Know,” and perhaps even “The New New Journalism,” by Robert S. Boynton.

Since the New York Times’ Book Review Section for last week’s Sunday edition did not contain a review of “Stonewalled,” the World’s Laziest Journalist realized that if we cranked out a column/review for posting on Friday, November 21, 2014, we could claim a “scoop” of the New York Times.

Conservatives will want to own a copy of this condemnation of the Obama Administration as an example of what the fair and balanced journalism atmosphere can produce in today’s America. Liberals might want to buy a copy as an example of how a one-sourced, diatribe heavily tinged with paranoia can be marketed as an indictment of America’s shoddy journalism standards, while being guilty of the very “journalistic crimes” she decries.

The free press comes off as part of an elaborate dog and pony show in Eric Boehlert’s book “Lapdogs How the Press Rolled over for Bush,” but Ms. Attkisson is blissfully unaware of any shortcoming Dubya may have manifested or she summarily disregards the negative implications out of biased partisan loyalty.

That in turn gives readers a preview of the challenge that historians in the future will face when they evaluate America at the dawn of the Bush Dynasty. If American media has been tailored to provide only the conservative version of current events then historians will only be able to provide a biased and skewed assessment of the time. Any Liberal sentiments will be denounced as an example of shoddy scholarly research and students of the future will not notice any inconsistency if Obama is impeached and removed from the White House for doing what St. Ronald Reagan and other Presidents also did. (I.e. use an executive order to deal with the problem of immigration.)

Walter Cronkite is quoted in the aforementioned Sheckter book as saying: “In a healthy environment, dissent is encouraged and considered essential to feed a cross-fertilization of ideas and thwart the incestuous growth of stultifying uniformity.”

The World’s Laziest Journalist purchased a copy of “Stonewalled” and is entitled to his subjective reactions to the book and can still (last we checked) include those highly personal opinions in this week’s column under the privileges of America’s Free Press rules of conduct.

As this week’s column is in the final stages of preparation, disgruntle students at University of California Berkeley started a tuition fee hike protest in the form of an Occupation of Wheeler Hall. The World’s Laziest Journalist, who did visit the Columbia campus during the 1968 student strike and covered the Vets occupation of the lobby of the Veterans Hospital in West Los Angeles in the late Seventies, will try to write next week’s column about the latest UCB protest. We did cover the student occupation of Wheeler Hall about five (?) years ago.

After a memorial spin of Simon and Garfunkle’s “Mrs. Robinson,” the disk jockey will play some music to smooth the jangled nerves of concerned citizens waiting for a legal ruling in Ferguson Mo. He has selected “The Ride of the Valkyries,” the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man,” and the Beatles “Run for your life.” We have to go see if we can acquire a copy of Upton Sinclair’s “Brass Check” to donate to the research library at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory. Have a “You stay classy, San Diego” type week.

November 19, 2014

HMS Queen Mary: Reliving history & election fraud

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:16 pm

I just got back from attending BoucherCon, an important annual convention for murder-mystery writers and readers. This year it was held in Long Beach, CA and I got to stay on the HMS Queen Mary. And it was awesome. And I came back with about 50 free books and met so many fabulous authors that it was like a dream. Time well spent. You shoulda been there.

“But why do you like murder mysteries so much,” you might ask. “Don’t you ever find all that blood and death to be depressing?” No, not really. In fact, murder-mysteries actually give me hope and inspiration.

When writing about political stuff like I do, it is always so very discouraging to stand by and watch helplessly as greedy, corrupt and/or sadistic politicians always seem to win every time. Take that last election for instance. The Repubs won bigtime in the Red States — but only because they committed shameless election fraud And now our Senate is going to be ruled by a bunch of greedy blood-thirsty morons — and the Blue States are gonna once again be frog-marched down the garden path to Hooverville as an illegally-elected minority once again forces us to pay for unnecessary wars and to give our natural resources away tax-free to right-wing billionaires. Yuck.

For the next two grim years, it’s gonna be Jim Crow, Dixiecrats and the Confederate secession all over again in America — except that apparently no one is going to stand up and fight for American democracy this time. You can just bet that no court in the land is going to be brave enough throw that fraudulent election out. Bye-bye to the Republic for which we stand. “Move along please. No Washingtons or Lincolns left to see here.”

Yes, the 2014 election was good for the wingnuts in the Red States — but bad for America. Virtue had failed to triumph once again.

And this is exactly why I love murder mysteries so much. At the end of every single crime-fiction book that I read, justice always triumphs. Justice always triumphs. Never the bad guys. Not like in politics.

However, what I really want to write about here isn’t the grubbiness of today’s politics but rather about the grand and stately HMS Queen Mary, where I was lucky enough to stay at while I was in Long Beach last week. The City of Long Beach has totally restored this amazing ship and turned it into a hotel.

Little-known fact: The Queen Mary is actually bigger than the Titanic.

Sleeping aboard the Queen Mary was like reliving history. It was awesome. I expected the ghost of Winston Churchill to show up right there in my stateroom at any moment. And I think that he actually did. Late one night, the cabin lights flickered spookily, my stateroom suddenly turned all chillingly cold and I could even smell a strange whiff of cigar smoke. Plus (and this actually happened) the fire alarm suddenly went off and everyone on my floor had to leave the ship at 2:00 am. Thanks a lot, Winston.

I loved being completely enveloped in history like that. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. There is so much that we can learn from the past and even sometimes actually experience it ourselves.

Maybe I should try to go sleep in the Lincoln bedroom next!

But there is also a whole bunch of history now being repeated these days that is actually stupid and dumb and dumber. As mentioned above for instance, the American Red States are currently trying their best to drag America down to their own selfish, racist and greedy level — in a complete replay of 1860.

But despite all this current propaganda crap about the good old days of the antebellum South being pushed on us now, there really was nothing sweet or glamorous about the Ole South back in the first half of the 19th century. It was a culture based on human misery. And now the Southern good ol’ boys in Washington are trying to palm their love of human misery off onto the rest of us once again. History repeats itself.

History is also repeating itself in other ways too. For instance, the HMS Queen Mary was built between World War I and World War II It was then used to be a troop ship back in World War II. And now our so-called grand leaders in Washington appear to be trying everything within their power to get us into World War III as well And to also reenact their beloved Cold War too. What a waste of time and money — bringing out the worst in whatever America has ever done, the very worst in all of our past. Uggghhh.

However. Nobody here in America seems to be willing to recreate the awesome 1776 era of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitutional Convention of 1787 — or even our most creative times either. The sweet little Hudson River school of painting comes immediately to mind. Make art, not war!

And speaking of art, Her Majesty’s Ship the Queen Mary is also a work of art too — with miles of wood paneling and a tea room and powerful engines and a Queen’s Salon that made my heart sing. But Americans just spent eleven trillion dollars on war. War never makes anyone’s heart sing.

PS: HMS Queen Mary also had cable TV — and I got to watch Fox News for the first time in years. And was amazed. Talk about your history! All the commercials on Fox News were geared toward people over sixty. Hemorrhoid creams, joint pains, reverse mortgages, constipation preventives, well-preserved older couples playing on beaches with their grandchildren, sex enhancers, wheelchairs. Fox News is definitely living in the past too.

PPS: I’m about to go in for surgery on my left wrist because the bone didn’t set properly the first time I broke it back in July of 2013 and it still hurts a lot. Let us please hope that this “pretty big procedure” is not going to be a repeat of the great bone-break of 2013! Ouch.


November 15, 2014

Don’t Bother Rinsing, Just Repeat

Filed under: Guest Comment — Ye Olde Scribe @ 10:56 am


November 14, 2014

The Electric Kool-aid XL Pipeline Test

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob Patterson @ 1:26 pm

crop of newspaper reader stattue

The issue of legalizing pot (marijuana) is a topic that we have avoided because “we don’t have a dog in that fight.” Hence we have not been monitoring that debate. The World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization doesn’t get very many news tips and so when a discussion about pot included the information that pot is a very effective (perhaps the best) way for people to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after being in combat. Then, we realized that one particular American Political Party may be hypocritical about their support for veterans.

If one political party is very enthusiastic about sending America’s younger generation off to any and all wars on God’s green earth, but then oppose making a very effective means of treating PTSD available to veterans, then, perhaps, those hypocrites should be called out for exemplifying the “alligator mouth-hummingbird ass” attitude. They promise all sorts of support for retuning vets but hen when they get a look at the amount that will be due on the bill, they balk.

Conservatives seem to be traumatized by pot itself.

Back in the Sixties, as we recall, a NYC newsman was arrested on air during a TV news broadcast for holding a “roach” (i.e. marijuana cigarette) up as a visual aid for his report on the devil weed. We never did learn how that worked out for that particular journalist.

At first it seems that an alliance between combat veterans and war protesting hippies is a oxymoron concept but as we were reminded this week whilst re-reading Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test:” the first rule of the bus (page 70) is: “All of us are beginning to do our thing, and we’re going to keep doing it, right out front, and none of us are going to deny what other people are doing.”

What next? Will today’s music fans make Mrele Haggard’s “Me and Wounded Vets” the new hippie anthem?

Conservatives must be alarmed by the fact that a California ballot measure retroactively changed the status of pot (AKA cannabis sativa) smoking to an infraction and at the same time a similar change was ordered in New York City.

Yikes! The next thing you know the pot smoking hippies will try to levitate the Pentagon.

If this trend continues the gateway to the future will be found in the best selling books from the Sixties!

It’s just like Ken Kesey said (on page 78): “Now, you’re either on the bus or off the bus. If you’re on the bus, and you get left behind, then you’ll find it again. If you are off the bus in the first place – then it won’t make a damn.”

So you either want to help those with PTSD or you want to make pot a felony.

Why would any legislator who voted to send kids off to war, want to deny the Vets something that helps them cope with PTSD?

Whatever happened to San Francisco’s Sixties Folk Hero, Sgt. Sunshine?

Things are getting more and more convoluted. (I.e. “It’s weird, man!”) A Democratic Senator from Louisiana helped the Democrats prevent funding for building the XL Pipeline; now she is urging passing the bill so she can get re-elected.

If the solution for the PTSD problem is to permit the vets access to pot, it will be an example of über-irony. The soldiers who went away to war will become pot smoking hippies while the anti-war protesters become supporters of proper treatment for the wounded warriors.

The pot smoking vets will, essentially, be getting on the bus a bit late but on the bus none the less.

Doing the fact checking to authenticate the assertion that pot is a very effective means of assuaging the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would take a lot of work and so the World’s Laziest Journalist will leave the “heavy lifting” journalism work to the pros of the mainstream media and since the conservative media owners are not likely to want to aggravate other staunch Republicans, that means the Vets will have to wait until something better comes along.

Meanwhile, the Republicans who were always urging passage of funding for the XL Pipeline will be glad to see that the Dems, who have been left behind on the issue, have found their way back onto the bus and, next week, will be welcomed to get onboard the Pipeline bus, just like in the Biblical parable of the Prodigal Son.

[Note from the photo editor: Folks who read the newspapers will be hard pressed to find stories reporting that marijuana is an effective way to treat PTSD. We selected a photo taken in Culver City to run with this column. These days, there isn’t much in a newspaper that the conservative owners don’t want you to know. Such is life.

Various publications have a quote of the day, some a quote of the week. Why don’t the people who publish the Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations have an annual “Quote of the Year” award? If they did, our candidate would be the lead sentence from Maureen Dowd’s column for September 20, 2014: “WHEN Willie Nelson invites you to get high with him on his bus, you go.”

Now the disk jockey will play Peter, Paul, and Mary’s song “Puff the Magic Dragon,” the Beatles “I am the Walrus,” and Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow.” We have to go see if there will be a new “smoke-in” event anytime soon. Have a “fa-a-a-r OUT!” type week.


November 13, 2014

How to Kill a Ghost and Lose an Election

Filed under: Commentary — Ye Olde Scribe @ 10:06 am

Congratulations on your continued employment as a grim reaper, and your elevation to the special class of reaper: harvester of the souls of the already dead. We know you will bring honor to your employer, and of course if you don’t you KNOW what awaits you.

You will be of great service, reaping the souls of the already dead. This has become more of a problem as of late: drivers have closed their windows because the lost spirits distract them by yelling, “You’re going the wrong way! You’re going to KILL somebody!” schools have been visited by the specter of some teacher who can’t stop yelling, “Class, class, SHUT UP!!!” …and some ghost who call himself Bluto who has been pestering frats for years.



First: a definition. A ghost is someone who has died and, for many reasons, simply hasn’t passed on to whatever reward or torment that awaits them. Many are poor, tortured, unsatisfied souls: and it is your job to bring them home. Of course “home” could be heaven, or more like a broken, bad. marriage that has gone Groundhog’s Day. And if the character Bill Murray played actually MARRIED her you KNOW that’s what would have happened, for men always return to their most disgusting behavior patterns, right gals?

1. Put out an ecotoplasm trap. (more…)

November 11, 2014

Murder mystery: Who really runs the American government?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 8:31 pm

This week I am going down to Long Beach, CA, in order to attend the world-renowned BoucherCon, a fabulous annual convention for mystery book writers and readers You just gotta love BoucherCon.

At last year’s convention in Albany, NY, I scored 50 free books — but still haven’t finished reading them yet. However, it’s always reassuring to know that I’ll probably never run out of murder-mystery books to read ever again — especially since I’m about to score yet another 50 free books at this Long Beach convention.

But the biggest mystery of all these days seems to be “Who, exactly, is actually running the American government?” Well, here’s a big clue: “It ain’t you or me.” The fact that we ourselves definitely do not run America was clearly demonstrated once again in this last election cycle — when a huge majority of Americans either voted against their own best self-interests or didn’t even vote at all.

Apparently we Americans can just barely manage to keep the kids dressed, the dog washed, the bathroom stocked with toilet paper, the mortgage paid, the 401K alive and our own lives up and running — let alone keep a democracy alive and well. It’s definitely not like 1776 around here right now.

But not to worry. I myself have already solved the mystery of who actually does run America while most Americans are all busy doing something else.

According to political analyst Peter Dale Scott, America is actually run by a select group of people that he calls the “American Deep State”. And these guys are really bad-ass. They even have their own internet system — and probably even their own FaceBook apps too. And of course they also have their own bunkers, billionaire supporters, lobbyists and election fixers as well — and Congress, the Supreme Court and the White House all take orders from them. That’s totally scary! Makes those “October Surprise” Ebola and ISIS scares look like a walk in the park.

So. Why do I think that Peter Dale Scott is right? There just has to be a shadow government here in America — because what else could possibly explain why America continuously and consistently acts so strongly against its own best interests?

“But Jane,” you might ask, “just exactly who are these underworld shadowy cartoonish characters that you’ve just described — and exactly what are they up to?” Well, from all my recent sleuthing around, I’ve discovered that this uber-shadow government, whoever it is composed of, obviously has a soft spot in its heart for starting wars, ruining economies, and disrupting countries, regions and even whole continents whenever they possibly can. No American in his or her right mind would ever want to do that.

“But, Jane,” you might ask next, “how can you actually prove all this? Sounds rather paranoid and conspiracy-theory-ish to me.” Hey, I’m on this like Sherlock Holmes!

But even though I can’t exactly sneak into these guys’ bunkers or onto their yachts or secretly listen in on their phone conversations, I can still easily see all the footprints these hoodlums have left behind in the snow. “Means, motive and opportunity,” as Holmes would say. Just get out your magnifying glass and look at these clues:

Footprint # 1: China and Korea. Before we even knew what hit us after WWII, suddenly China had been torn up in rebellion against our corrupt man in Peking, Chaing Kai Shek. And then the whole Korean peninsula blew up. Was the loss of China and the destruction of Korea in the average American’s best interests? Totally not. So who had the motive, means and opportunity here? You tell me.

Footprint # 2: Vietnam. The whole result of that “war” was to destabilize all of Southeast Asia. Okay. You got China, Korea and Southeast Asia destabilized now. And did it benefit the average American to have Asia so broken and hateful against us? It did not. But who did it benefit?

Footprint # 3: Mexico, Central America and South America. Do Americans really benefit from having death squads and drug lords on the rampage down there? What do you think? I think not. All we got out of this deal was a whole bunch of undocumented refugees coming up here in search of their lost treasures. But then who does benefit? Those shadowy guys behind the curtain who sell arms and own banks? Yeah.

Footprint # 4: Yugoslavia. The American Deep State picked at Yugoslavia and picked at Yugoslavia until it too finally fell apart. Balkanization. How could that have possibly been good for America? It wasn’t. But who did benefit from its fall? Wall Street and War Street. Of course.

Footprint # 5: The Middle East. What a freaking mess! And who made this mess? It wasn’t the American people. We had no dog in this fight. But the American Deep State both did then and does now. Libya, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel? Means, motive and opportunity to make a real mess. And, yes, Israel is a hot mess too.

Footprint # 6: Africa. Africa has been fried, poached and eaten whole by the American Deep State too. From apartheid South Africa and the bloody attacks on democratic Angola to the Ebola and HIV disasters, blood diamonds, IMF loans with never-ending interest payments and rape in the Congo, Africa is now a hot mess. And who exactly benefited from this scramble for Africa? Not you and me — or our children or our dogs either.

Footprint # 7: Ukraine: You have no idea what a broken egg Ukraine has become recently as neo-Nazis kill innocent civilians right and left. Their theme song seems to be, “Party like it’s Serbia in 1995!” Plus a German company, Telefunken Racoms, is actually selling these Ukrainian neo-Nazis their weapons. “Party like it’s Leningrad in 1942!”

But have any of us average Americans actually benefited from all this world-wide chaos? No, no, no and no. So who did? The American Deep State.

Footprint # 8: America. That’s us. It should come as no surprise to anyone even semi-conscious right now that our economy has tanked, we’re at each others’ throats and Corporations are now People. The propaganda machine that the Deep State now runs here would make Hitler proud! Or happily match up with George Orwell’s prescient observation that “War is Peace.” And this is all part of a plan to make Americans as dazed and confused as, say, Africans and the folks in the Middle East are now. But who the freak benefits from all this? Definitely not us.

So then your next question should be, “How can we stop this, put an end to the American Deep State and return to being a democracy?” How can you even try to stop a shadow? It’s hard. But we could start by regulating Wall Street, limiting weapons manufacturers’ profits, making sure that our election laws never let anyone anywhere for any reason contribute more than $200 to any election campaign, having fact-checkers sort out all those blatant lies in campaign broadcasts, and fiercely guarding against election violations. Oh, and also get rid of all those Deep State bunkers, yachts and private internet rat-lines that we American taxpayers are paying for now.

Or perhaps we could just run a PowerBall lottery for every available position in Congress, on the Supreme Court and in the White House. Surely any random lottery winner would do a better job of resisting the American Deep State than those sorry wimps that we now have kissing the DS’s booties and being their gollums.

But however we go about it, we have just got to stop the American Deep State from murdering our democracy — before it’s too late and the corpse of our American dream arrives DOA at the morgue.

PS: See you at BoucherCon! It would be a mystery to me why anyone would not want to attend that.


November 7, 2014

Climate change: War now brings us death in a whole new way

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:36 pm

Remember back in the day when Jesus walked the earth and said, “Thou shalt not kill”? He said this because He was obviously aware of the bad juju set off by either killing your neighbors or in the hand-to-hand combat of war — actions that would, sooner or later, drag each individual killer’s soul down into the lower depths of Hell or PTSD, whichever came first.

But Jesus was Old School about His approach to killing people, assuming that people would only kill other people with their spears, arrows or bare hands. Jesus clearly hadn’t anticipated the implications and potentialities of modern mass murder. Gunpowder hadn’t even been invented yet — let alone drones and AK-47s and concentration camps and nuclear weapons. But, rest assured, Jesus would have also hated all this modern-day mass murder in places like Hiroshima and Iraq and Auschwitz and Gaza and Sandy Hook.

But with the recent release of the latest United Nations report on climate change, there is now a whole new and different reason, aside from Jesus telling us not to, why we should not kill.

Killing is bad for the air.

Yes, war is the top polluter and primal cause of climate change that there is today.

“In the dialogue around stopping climate change, too much emphasis is being put on ethical consumerism [such as not driving our cars, refraining from flying whenever possible and spare-the-air days],” said Katherine Ball of Tools for Action. “Does it really matter if we try to fly less if the US Air Force continues to burn one-fourth of the world’s jet fuel? We have to address the systemic causes of climate change: the most eco-friendly thing you can do is be anti-war.”

“But Jane,” some of you Baby Boomers and members of the Greatest Generation might say, “we ourselves don’t need to worry about climate change killing us off because, 50 or so years from now, we will already be dead anyway.” Hey that used to be true. But according to the new UN report, the entire human race could be toast before you even get a chance to order your casket.

According to a recent article in Mother Jones, “Keeping global warming below the internationally agreed upon 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (above pre-industrial levels) is going to be hard. To keep warming below this limit, our emissions need to be slashed dramatically. But at current rates, we’ll pump enough greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to sail past that critical level within the next 20 to 30 years, according to the [UN] report.”

The UN report also noted that greenhouse gas emissions have ramped up particularly quickly after 2000. Of course they have. That was the year that Bush and Cheney stole their first presidential election and took America to war. “Full-Spectrum Dominance” became our battle-cry right around that time. And now it’s even worse than that — as the American military-industrial complex has begun practically salivating over a new Cold War with Russia and China, one that it is hoping will become a Hot War very soon.

So even though some of us Baby Boomers should be serenely going off in a rest home within the next 20 years — and even if none of us currently live or will ever live in a war zone — America’s senior citizens are all still gonna be toes-up long before our natural sell-by date arrives if all this over-the-top war-mongering keeps up.

All-too-many wonderful things here at home have been mercilessly sacrificed (jobs, schools, infrastructure, morals, whatever) so that over 60% of our national wealth could go to cover the cost of blowing people up on the other side of the world.

Fine. Whatever.

But we also need to be aware that the result of allowing the American military-industrial complex to happily play with their war toys for the last 14 years has been a sharp rise in greenhouse emissions too. “War is not good for children and other living things.” And it’s also not good for avoiding radical climate change either.

The war on Afghanistan, the war on Libya, the war on Iraq, the war on Syria, the war on Gaza, the war on Ukraine? All these endless and needless military adventures may have cost millions of lives in far-away places that don’t really matter to the powers that be — but they probably have shortened our own lives here at home by ten or twenty years too.

Every time a deadly missile hit Gaza last summer — and thousands of them did — our atmosphere also took a direct hit. Every time the tanks and humvees rolled in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Iraq, we lost yet another chunk of our hope of living a long and happy life in a non-desert.

You gotta at least give those CIA-backed monsters in ISIS credit for one thing — their use of swords to behead people was very energy-efficient! Although, according to Information Clearinghouse, ISIS is just one more “rat-line” to get high-powered American weapons (and Toyotas) from Libya to Syria.

“But, Jane,” you might say next, “climate change is mainly caused by industrial pollution.” All too true. But where do you think that all these missiles, F-16s, RPGs and tanks come from in the first place? That they are created out of thin air by fairies and elves? No. Producing war toys like F-35s and drones and night-vision goggles is very big business these days.

PS: In Oakland, California, recently, there was a symposium called “Urban Shield,” which spoke to the topic of how to supply military weapons and vehicles to our own American law-enforcement agencies. Oh crap. That means that the gigantic military tanks and humvees driving down the streets of our own cities and towns are gonna escalate the production of greenhouse emissions even more.

“Urban Shield” organizers put out claims that this convention was paid for by Homeland Security. No, it was not. It was paid for by you and me. And it is you and me who, in the long run, will have to pay for it with our lives as well.

Every time police release tear gas in our neighborhoods or drive a tank down our streets, there goes the specter of climate change too.

PPS: OMG, Americans have just elected a whole new bunch of crazy war mongers to Congress! Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The far-right has just won all these new seats in Congress by use of their clever three-pronged strategy: Buy the elections with money, scare voters with nightmares of ISIS and Ebola, and commit such outrageous election fraud of such gigantic proportions that even I am amazed that no one is going to jail for this as a result. Not since Jim Crow days has election-rigging been this bad!

And now we have a Congress that plans to serve us Endless War and climate-change denial on a platter. “I’m lovin’ it!” they exclaim. So say goodbye to any chance of saving our atmosphere, saving our hope of living to a ripe old age and saving our world from becoming a desert.

Jesus wept!


Waiting for Godot (AKA JEB)

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:29 pm

crop of Singing in Rain

The long march to the historic ceremonies that will officially mark the coronation/inauguration of King JEB I and the resumption of the Bush Dynasty began this week when the news flacks swooned over the implications of the mid-term election results. In retrospect, future historians will realize that this year’s mid-term elections gave the Republicans a mandate to rescind Obamacare, start a new movement to impeach a Democratic President and take care of the Social Security mess. The impeachment of Obama will (in effect) scuttle Hilary’s attempt to gain the Democratic Party’s 2016 Presidential nomination because Joseph Biden will have the incumbent’s advantage for getting the Party’s nomination because he will be inaugurated as President moments after the impeachment is completed.

A radical faction of researchers at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory contends that this hypothetical assertion meshes perfectly with their contention that Obama’s phenomenal rise to the Presidency was a Trojan horse strategy orchestrated by Karl Rove.

Some of the young wisenheimer staff members at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory, while watching the Election Night TV coverage, started greeting each new Republican victory by raising their right arm (with the hand flat and palm) down at a 45 degree angle and shouting: “God bless America!”

Many citizen journalists have a tendency to regard the Internets as omniscient and infallible but we contend that the Internet is fallible and that some facts are missing in action on the Internets.

On Tuesday of this week, the World’s Laziest Journalist encountered a young couple in San Francisco who were perplexed by the construction site for the renovated Transbay Bus Terminal. They had a hand held device that indicated the Greyhound Bus depot was there. That’s where it used to be. We had to practically take them by the hand and lead them to the temporary Transbay Bus Terminal about two blocks away where the Greyhound Bus depot is for the time being.

Seeing the dichotomy when reality differs from information delivered by a computer gave us a specific example of how and why the “conspiracy theory” label will always trump reality and make perceptive punditry a Myth of Sisyphus style task.

In last week’s column, the World’s Laziest Journalist predicted: “ . . . the results of next week’s mid-term elections will only be questioned by conspiracy theory loons.” Sure enough on Thursday, November 6, 2014, the front page of the paper that published the Pentagon Papers (the New York Times) features a story by Jonathan Martin, under a headline asserting: “In States Seen to Be Tilting Left, Voters Defy Democrats’ Forecast.”

[Speaking of the New York Times, we heard a hot rumor this week that the Automobile Section in the Sunday edition will be history by the end of this year.]

If the mainstream media and the most popular Internet web sites say that JEB is the front runner for the Republican nomination, then America will not bother to debate if the Bush brand name has been poisoned by George W. Bush. JEB is the front runner and will get the nomination and forget about any spill over effect from George W. Bush’s unsuccessful military adventures in the Middle East.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has written about a half million worlds for the Internet including a good deal of words predicting that JEB will live in the White House someday.

The audience for such dire predictions is meager at best. Americans don’t want to hear about it. The mid-term election results have convinced us that writing warnings about President JEB Bus is a wast of time and keystrokes.

Apparently the USA wants a Republican led government and a restoration of the Bush Dynasty and columns lamenting the absurd aspect of those two topics is just a waste of time and energy. Perhaps President JEB is exactly what many Democrats want but they just don’t have the cajones to actually say so and to vote that way.

Warnings and analytical based predictions about what the consequences of a Republican surge in the mid-term elections may have been available to the voters but the World’s Laziest Journalist did not notice any such in-depth forecasts.

If voters are suddenly informed that, in retrospect, the mid-term elections were a referendum on the Social Security Program and the need to Impeach the incumbent in the White House . . . then the “caveat emptor” principle may also become a retroactive factor in this week’s election results. What middle class American doesn’t love being ambushed by lawyers? Don’t the folks who get zapped by a foreclosure on their homes readily admit that the bankers won the game fair and square?

Why was it left up to only a few political pundits to point out the long term dangers of a Republican “landslide”? Well, maybe, again in retrospect, these rare and obscure Cassandra warnings can function as a “you were warned” rebuttal to the cries of “foul!”?

Wasn’t a bad guy holding the deed to Nell’s house a leitmotif for a very popular TV cartoon series in the Fifties and Sixties?

Next week’s column may be a review of the Arnold Newman photo exhibition which opened recently in San Francisco or it maybe a review of John Birmingham’s book “He Died with a Felafel in his Hand,” or maybe something else.

[Note from the photo editor:   We used a photo of a Shattuck Avenue panhandler as a visual metaphor for the Democratic Party on Wednesday morning of this week. We also used a photo of two UCB engineering students from Paris (France not Texas) who were dressed up for Halloween as characters from the movie “Clockwork Orange.” They will remind film fans of the treatment Democrats can expect from the Republicans after the new session starts in Jan.]

The closing quote is a variation of folk wisdom supplied by W. C. Fields: “If at first, you don’t succeed; try, try again . . . then quit because there’s no use being a damn fool about it.”

Now the disk jockey will play Nancy Sinatra’s “These (Republican) boots are made for walking,” Cher’s “Don’t come crying to me,” and (of course!) “Singing in the Rain.” We have to go look for a “JEB in ’16” t-shirt. Have a “if you can’t beat ‘em; join ‘em” type week.

crop of metaphor image

November 2, 2014

As Election Day Approaches

Filed under: Guest Comment — Ye Olde Scribe @ 12:14 pm


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