April 30, 2015

The more things change . . .

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 5:49 pm

crop of Lolita glasses notched neg

Playing sound bytes that promote opposing points of view and then making the assertion that presenting facts and letting the audience form an opinion might be manipulation via flattery but it seems to be too esoteric and limiting for journalists to ask a long time Irish Catholic Democrat how might a Supreme Court Justice with a similar history vote on the issue of gay marriage. If the object is to let an announcement just before the Forth of July holiday catch many Americans by surprise and achieve maximum dissatisfaction and precipitate another chance to build a contentious atmosphere that will end with the (temporary) establishment of martial law, then feigning an inability to accurately assess the most likely ruling that will end the debate seems like a smart gambit.

If a writer can do research that produces an overwhelming picture of mismanagement and inappropriate conduct by Hillary Clinton that involved the Clinton Foundation while she was serving as Secretary of State few reporters will use that curious new development to ask why then couldn’t investigators find out who profited from the 9-11 events by short sales of airline stocks?

Presenting facts and letting the audience decide sounds like an admirable mission statement so John Stewart would be the only well know personality who could casually mention that the civil unrest in Baltimore was caused by a death while the Watts riots of fifty years ago, which led to many deaths and extensive property damage, was precipitated by a single traffic ticket.

Did the recent photos from Baltimore of a phalanx of soldiers remind older folks of a similar photo (cover of LIFE magazine?) taken in L. A. in June of 1965?

Is it prejudicial to note that after many thousands of lives have been terminated by collateral damage caused by drone strikes the loss of one American life has caused the journalists to seriously question the need for drone strikes? Does that disparity constitute prejudiced reporting or is it just subtle racism in action?

Remember Agent Orange? Isn’t a large protest against Monsanto scheduled to take place in May?

Do the anarchist protesters from Berkeley stand out by wearing tie-dye handkerchiefs over their faces?

American media seems to relish showing forty year old footage of the evacuation of Saigon in 1975 while ignoring the poignant scenes surrounding the commencement speeches given in May of 1965. How would the optimistic words from those speeches play in today’s world when politicians enthusiastically suggest sending American troops all over the world, and riots are plentiful? Would those speeches sound nostalgic today or would they sound very relevant?

What’s happening to the ship that Iran intercepted?

If you liked the video of the mom slapping her kid around that went viral this week, then you will get your jollies from a vintage video on Youtube. Search for “women self-defense 1947.” The actress, who has a passing resemblance to Alice Kramden (on the Honeymooners TV series), knocks around a thug just as easily as she would toss around a rag doll.

The college class of 1965 entered a world that was just about to witness the Watts riots and the start of military action in Vietnam that wasn’t sanctioned by Congress. We wonder if members of the class of ’65 would get a feeling of déjà vu from this week’s events in Baltimore and recent military actions in various countries in the Middle East.

There is one thing certain in today’s world: If people are still debating the same old topics fifty years from now, the World’s Laziest Journalist won’t be writing columns that recycle the same old facts in a new order of presenation.

If you think voter fraud is a new topic, please make an effort to see “The Great McGinty,” from 1940.

If Hillary Clinton sees Bernie Sanders get the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination, will she feel like a jilted bride (for the second time)?

The flap over a prisoner’s death in Baltimore seems to be a moot topic now after the authorities have found that a second prisoner is saying that theFreddie Gray fellow died of self-inflicted injuries. Will the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory public information officer issue a press release Friday hints/suggests/asks about the possibility that a quid pro quo agreement involved an immunity deal in return for the “walk off” revelation?

The mainstream media will immediately issue a “game over” assessment of the debate over the incident that incited civil unrest.

Has the mainstream media become extinct in the land of free speech? For folks in Berkeley who read the New York Times, it may seem that “the Great Gray Lady” has become the modern day substitute for the Berkeley Barb. If you aren’t reading that daily paper, then you don’t have a clue as to what’s happening to the country.

On Sunday, April 26, 2015, we put on our Aussie hat, mirror sunglasses, and activated the required cigarette holder (with the same unlit cigarette that we have used for the last three years) and plunged into some fact finding and photography efforts at the How Weird Street Faire held on (pun alert!) Howard Street in San Francisco. It was worth the effort.

Roaming around the San Francisco Bay area with a Nikon Coolpix may not be making America safe for Democracy but it is an effective (temporary) cure for boredom.

If gay marriage is ruled to be un-Constitutional, will dissention in San Francisco be more newsworthy than it has been in Baltimore?

Making snide remarks about national politics may not sway one single vote, but it sure is therapeutic for a perennial malcontent.

This week’s column is being posted earlier than usual because on Friday May 1, we intend on going to San Francisco to cover various May Day activities such as the tip that a member of the Merry Pranksters will announcean attempt to become Frisco’s mayor.

For the class of 1965, they could relish the feelings liberals experienced when, on Nov. 7, 1962, Richard Milhous Nixon said: “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”

Now, for members of the class of ’65, the disk jockey will play Iggy Pop’s “I’m (the Chairman of the) bored,” Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life,” and Lynn Anderson’s “I beg your pardon (I never promised you a Rose Garden).” We have to hustle back to the Fortress of Solitude and resume our binge watching of “Rocky and Bullwinkle and friends.” Have a “self inflicted injuries” type of week.


April 24, 2015

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: FTHO!

Filed under: Opinion — Ye Olde Scribe @ 2:22 pm

YOS’s Talking Point Push Back Central!


“Sharia law.”

“All Muslims are supposed to kill non-Muslims.”

“The Koran demands non-believers be killed, beheading, women subjugated…”


“Of course NO ONE who called themselves “Christian” ever got any of this wrong, said no one with BRAINS.”

Of course NO ONE, NO GROUP, who labelled themselves as “Christian” EVER took the Bible out of context, interpreted it to mean violence should be done to others, or disrespect them, marginalize them, turn them into a slave class… just like not one doubts The Tooth Fairy really exists.

Sharia law certainly can be horrible, as interpreted, applied, JUST LIKE CHRISTIANITY.

HOWEVER, if you’re referring to some aging star legally spent her early life pissing all over her ex while dating boy toys, that’s different. That’s called…




Ye Olde Scribe’s guide for those who simply have had ENOUGH.

OK buoys and seagulls! Let’s say it together!
“‘T!’ What does that stand for? Well, duh, ‘the!’”
“‘H!’ What does that stand for? Where Satan resides, that’s what it stands for!”
“‘O!’ What’s that stand for? ‘OFF!’”
“F!’ What’s that stand for? You KNOW what the… ‘F’ stands for!”


Fear and Loathing in Golden Gate Park

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:27 pm

crop of Brrrito at Haight and Ashbury
































One week ago, we were sitting at the Faculty Lounge at the University of California Berkeley – in the outdoor dining area of course – and were discussing the potential strategy for a story about one of the original Merry Pranksters bringing fun back to American Politics by running for Mayor of San Francisco. The brainstorming quickly morphed into an evaluation of covering this year’s installment of the storming of Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park on April 20 by pot smoking youngsters who are advocating making the annual excuse for shenanigans into a national holiday.

My dining companion was Belle Starr, a San Francisco legend (and outlawyer) who should write an autobiography about the good old days in Frisco when the most famous hippies’ antics were being reported daily in Herb Caen’s columns and not in some wild-ass wannabe’s novel that was being constructed by a focus group of tourism promoters.

Belle stressed that many famous writers had covered San Francisco in the Sixties and then abandoned the locals to pursue a course of self-promotion and career advancement in New York City leaving the subjects, such as the Merry Pranksters, the Hippies, and Sgt. Sunshine, behind, forgotten, and abandoned. The literary luminaries have changed but much of Frisco from the Sixties is left for a new generation of writers to discover and exploit just as Tom Wolfe and the staff of Rolling Stone magazine had done.

We could, it seemed possible, cover this year’s installment of the hippie version of a holy pilgrimage by going to the Haight Ashbury Section and chronicling the frolics of the new generation of the flower children.

It would be a dangerous mission so we contacted the local political activist called “Trigger,” who sometimes acts as our bodyguard, and prepared to proceed to the festivities post haste. We had to dig through our closet to find the Aussie hat, mirror sunglasses, and cigarette holder that would telegraph our intention to unearth the story in true Gonzo style.

We had just gotten our enthusiasm mojo started when some cretin cynic pointed out that it might be a skosh disingenuous for a fellow who hasn’t had an alcoholic drink in several decades and who distains a hookah smoking caterpillar’s attitude towards cannabis sativa to feign a “me too” attitude of being simpatico with the grassers. We dismissed this objection with a flick of the wrist and asserted our right to go and watch the antics of the stoners with a true journalist’s attitude of unbiased morbid fascination. Moi hypocritical? Could it be that we are slowly morphing into a Republican?

The biggest political organization in Berkeley is a Republican group, according to a knowledgeable local source, but there are more Democratic organizations with a larger number of members, they just can’t get their act together and form one massive political entity.

If a lifelong self proclaimed Irish/Catholic/Democrat shows up at the Berkeley College Republican club meeting, it should be obvious why we would choose to be accompanied by a bodyguard.

People are always adamantly asserting to the World’s Laziest Journalist that stories, facts, and anecdotes from the Sixties are passé and déclassé, but when we noticed the religious fanatical intensity that many of the participating high schoolers brought to Hippie Hill on 4-20, we became fully convinced that Marshall McLuhen was correct when he said that America was hurtling into the future with their eyes fixated on the rearview mirror.

Perhaps, we noted, it is time for Rolling Stone magazine to return to the site of their halcyon days and to recapture the vitality and dynamic connection with their audience that they had achieved back when the Jefferson Airplane played in Golden Gate Park just for the pure joy of it.

It is, Belle noted, just as if the flower child generation is eligible for AARP membership, but chose, instead, to plunge recklessly into the “second childhood” phase of maturity.

As we ambled towards the day’s event on 4-20, we noticed a cop motioning a hippie over, the SFPD officer confiscated an open bottle of beer, emptied it into the gutter, and stood aside as the would-be modern pilgrim proceeded, without either one of them saying a word – not even “Have a nice day!”

The police were relaxed and tolerant. The local merchants were making a bonanza on the day’s influx of hippies of all ages, and the participants were living out their Don Quixote quest to walk a mile in Jack Kerouac’s moccasins.  Second-hand information asserted that things got more “rough house” after we left the festival.

Then we suddenly realized that our attempt to write up a whimsical and quixotic report on the day’s event was overshadowed by a very serious column topic.

On a day when the news informed Americans that an aircraft carrier had been reassigned to the Arabian Sea and the prospect that George W. Bush’s “Forever War” could escalate dramatically in the next few days, we wondered why the Republicans are so adamant about denying military veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) access to the very same substance that was delivering such joy and frivolous, carefree bliss to the people on or near Hippie Hill that day? Did you notice how quickly the aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea story completely vanished from American media?

Are the Republicans, who sent the military off to Afghanistan and Iraq with such studied nonchalance, hypocrites? Do they really not know that pot is one of the most effective treatments for PTSD or do they know it and vote to restrict it because they are sadistic curmudgeons who relish prolonging the pain and anguish of the veterans?

While we were on Hippie Hill we were informed that an even better PTSD treatment is LSD. We had never heard this before and made a note in our reporter’s notebook, to do some fact checking on that assertion. Perhaps we will use our fact finding on that possibility as the launching pad for a future column.

On 4-20, the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream franchises were unveiling a new ice cream burrito and so when it was time for the bodyguard to take a break, we went to the franchise located on San Francisco’s world famous intersection of Haight and Ashury and proceeded to give the new item the old taste test. Trigger said it was “OK.”

Meanwhile, the much vaunted mainstream media seems to be an egregious example of mission fail with regard to their bragging about providing voters with pertinent and perceptive news analysis and criticism. One moment an aircraft carrier is steaming into the Arabian Sea and comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis are ubiquitous in TVland and then suddenly the journalists start obsessing on Dr. Oz, Barry Bonds and Bruce Jenner.

We could deliver a top level evaluation of the situation but then we’d have to quote a line that Tom Cruse delivered in the film “Top Gun.”

Because of “interline courtesy,” we refrain from providing our readers with material that the journalists should be delivering but don’t; so there will be no long rant about the mess in the Middle East. We will endeavor to provide only interesting and irrelevant facts that are as sensational as any judicial decision about an eight year old perjury case can be.

We will not explore the possibility that the deaths that have sparked the “black lives” matter protests are just a remarkable series events that fall into the ”coincident” classification nor will we be inspired to go to the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory campus to investigate the possibility that all those tragedies are part of a remarkable and unreported coordinated government program (i.e. a conspiracy)

Willie Nelson, who has just expanded into the medical herb business, has reassured his fans about the quality of his new product by saying: “I will make sure it’s good or it won’t be on sale.”

Now the disk jockey will play Peter Tosh’s “Legalize it,” Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’s “I got stoned and I missed it,” and the Kottonmouth Kings song “Proud to be a Stoner.” We have to go see if we can buy a Willie’s Reserve T-shirt via snail mail. Have a “stoned munchies” type week.

King of the HIll

Hitting the BRICS: Be careful of what you wish for…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:55 am

Despite appearing to have a few slightly-differing opinions on just a handful of petty foreign-policy details such as how many meaningless negotiation-bones they should throw at Iran, or how many meaningless knock-off hand-slappings they should throw at Zionist neo-colonialists, the routinely cooperative, agreeable and in-sync actual actions of President Obama, Congress, Wall Street and War Street clearly speak for themselves.

Judging by their actions alone, we can immediately tell that Obama, Congress, Wall Street and War Street are clearly in strong, almost-total agreement regarding their basic foreign-policy vision for America. Hey, goodie for them.

However, unfortunately for the rest of us Americans who are actually having to pay for these actions, Obama & Company’s strong vision for America also includes doing everything that they possibly can to start World War III. Ouch!

When it comes to his domestic policy, President Obama has occasionally actually tried to be helpful to his fellow Americans — as compared to John McCain’s domestic policy, for instance. Had McCain been elected in 2008 instead of Obama, he would have tried to financially eviscerate almost every single American in our middle class — if said evisceration would have given even just one more penny of our tax dollars to Wall Street and War Street instead of to us.

However, compared to Obama & Company’s current (both overt and covert) foreign policies, McCain’s 2008 foreign-policy platform appears to have been almost a walk in the park.

Right now, Obama & Company’s actual, action-based foreign policies seem to include:

1. Supporting anyone and everyone who can create chaos in the Middle East — including but not limited to Israel, the Saudis and even ISIS and Al Qaeda

2. Hitting the BRICS (especially Russia and China) every chance they can get — including spinning outright lies, spreading false propaganda, using false flags, supplying massive amounts of weaponry to the neo-Nazis in Ukraine and even shooting down civilian aircraft

3. Supporting almost every single despot in the world today and alienating almost every single non-despotic government and/or democratically-elected leader in the Middle East, South America, Africa and the EU too.

4. Preemptive nuclear strikes? Those don’t seem to be off the table at all. Those boys in DC and NATO have been reading far too much Herman Kahn!

But none of these things are cool things to do and all of them can rapidly lead to circumstances far beyond Obama & Company’s (and our) control — up to and including World War III, to be fought both abroad and at home!

Not since 1864 has America known war on its shores. Except for 9-11, the occasional violent suppression of civil rights marches and a few gun battles here and there involving bad guys and/or police, it’s been pretty calm around here for the last one hundred years.


If Obama & Company keeps on pushing their current foreign-policy agendas as hard in the future as they are doing right now in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine, Afghanistan, Mexico, Honduras, Africa, Iraq, etc., and rattling their sabres like they were McCain, GWB and Dick Cheney combined, then we may start to know war on our own native soil a whole lot better than we would ever want to.

But perhaps at this point you might be asking yourself, “What is the problem with you, Jane? First, there’s never going to be another war here in America. And, second, even if the denizens of War Street do make a huge profit and even if 50% of America’s children do go without schools or shoes as a result, won’t it all still be worth it — to see America continue to be the world’s top dog?”

You just keep on telling yourself that — but only if you don’t really mind butchering a few million (or billion) innocent women and children (and subsequently end up rotting in Hell) to get to the top.

Plus not only do we now have to worry about military wars coming to our shores, apparently we also have to worry about economic wars arriving here too! My friend Judy just e-mailed me a whole laundry-list of stuff that is also wrong with Obama & Company’s foreign-policy vision — from a financial perspective. Here is just one small item on that list:

“I myself believe,” wrote Judy, “that the new multinational corporations don’t care about the US any more than they care about any other country. They have proved again and again to us that, for them, it is always and only about making money. And, bearing that reality in mind, consider that on the one hand China’s new banking initiatives could shut down the US empire if or when — and I would say when — the balance of resources shifts away from the dollar. That is what a lot of these military attacks on Russia and China have been about. But on the other hand, however, most likely it will be no problem at all for the multinationals to pivot their markets and financial bases to Asia — leaving America financially high and dry.”

So perhaps it might be a good idea (for us) for Obama & Company to stop hitting the BRICS — and especially stop hitting Russia and China. Or else they need to not act surprised when they (and we) actually get what they seem to be wishing for: World War III. Fought both economically and militarily. Fought both abroad — and here.

PS: America’s current domestic and foreign policies clearly suck eggs for yet another reason — because these policies also far-too-closely resemble my own definition of fascism/corporatism/ despotism, which is: “Instead of a country spending its government’s money to better the lives of all of its citizens equally, said government’s money is only poured into the coffers of an ‘elite’ few.”

PPS: And speaking of false flags, here are the five major signs to look for in order to detect one:

1. Horrific images are over-used to shock the public

2. Drills for a similar attack appear on the same day in the same area

3. Eyewitness accounts do not match the official story

4. Conflicting evidence is not repeated by the media

5. Used as an excuse to curtail rights or to start a war

And while we’re still on the subject of false flags, please excuse me for stating the obvious here — but with so very many false flags in the American spy-craft industry having come to light over and over again recently, how come 9-11 alone has become the sacrosanct hands-off Lady Madonna that can never ever be properly investigated or even mentioned in the same breath as the words “false” and “flag”?

With regard to false flags, let us paraphrase philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt. “How can we ever truly gauge what dangers we are in — if we are lied to about their existence, their causes and their effects?”

How can we Americans possibly use good judgment in order to keep ourselves safe when we are constantly bombarded with lies about Iraq, Syria, Ebola, voting-machine data, Ukraine, weapons lobbies, our post offices, Big Pharma, GMO crops, net neutrality, nuclear safety, what really happened in Palestine, that banks are too big to fail, that Jesus hated poor people — and goodness knows what all else! We can’t even get a clear story about whether or not there is still gold in Fort Knox. And the New York Times, our most vital “newspaper of record,” is constantly getting caught out for their lies.

According to Frankfurt, unless we can reinvent ourselves as a more truthful society ASAP, then we are doomed.


April 17, 2015

Shut up and Obey!

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:30 pm

crop of hate man

Regimentation, conformity, and obedience have become not just commendable traits, but in the era of the Republican Reich can be considered as virtues for every citizen to cultivate. Hence the voices of anyone who dares to disagree is labeled as emanating from “a conspiracy theory lunatic” and considered anathema. A nation born out of rebellion has morphed into a stogy old country where innovation and creativity are considered worthy of (metaphorical alert) an abortion procedure.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists have selected April 18 as “National Columnists’ Day,” because it was on that day, in the year 1945, when Ernie Pyle died in combat during WWII. Since America’s much vaunted “Free Press” isn’t reporting that the situation in the Middle East is alarmingly grim and the pundits are not heralding the fact that for the first time in American political History, there is Presidential Candidate who can (opinions are covered by the First Amendment) be described as “frumpy,” this year’s column noting the arrival of National Columnists’ Day will not be on a columnist per se, but will celebrate the nearly extinct species of “unique voice in America.”

Sometimes, even a fascist dictatorship can be tolerant of voices of dissent.

Ernst Junger won an Iron Cross from Germany during WWI and wrote a very jingoistic book about combat (Storm of Steel) and became a popular author in his home country. As WWII approached he produced a new novel that some alarmists thought was critical of the Third Reich. The would-be advocates of extreme censorship brought it to the attention of the Chancellor for life. Hitler reportedly shrugged it off and said to let the writer alone because he was, after all, the Iron Cross winner. Junger, whose biography was (the last time we checked) available in only a German language version, became the only German to win an Iron Cross in both World Wars and was named the cultural ambassador to Occupied Paris.

In America, it seems, Conservatives have become über-enthusiastic about censoring all political opinion that is not enthusiastically very patriotic and since they control the media, the Congress, and have a majority in the United States Supreme Court, mouthing-off in a critical mode is not very healthy for any aspiring political pundits.

It wasn’t always like that, boys and girls. When the non-Christian heathen Warren era Supreme Court opened the flood gate for pornographers (in the early Seventies) Al Goldstein started a newspaper with reviews and news about the burgeoning Industry and became a star in the Pop Culture area of the American media.

Lenny Bruce said naughty words (that everyone used in private conversations) on stage in his comedy routines, became very famous, and died.

Recently we heard (or at least thought we heard) a woman CBS radio news reporter described a harsh boss with the colorful descriptive term “prick.”

What could Lenny Bruce, if he were still alive and grossing and grumbling in the media today that could possibly get him into hot water? How about: “Those f*****g electronic voting machines that have no means for verifying the results are rendering elections to the category of irrelevant!”? He’d be labeled a conspiracy theory lunatic and banished from the spotlight just like he was in the Sixties.

The conservative owners of media would banish him from any and all publicity and ignore his attempts to point out that in an era when no computer seems to be invulnerable to hacking, it is silly (insane perhaps?) to think that a security system that features a des key that is readily available on the Internets can do what the state of the art programs can not.

In Berkeley, a homeless fellow (according to a local legend) used to use the free speech explanation to deliver rants on Sproul Plaza which sanctioned hatred. He became a local legend that merits the term “Berkeley’s beloved hateman.” Go figure.

Hypothetically speaking, there maybe a voice out there on the Internets that is an extreme example of free speech in action, but without a publicity agent to make him (or her) a media fad, the position of “America’s best known voice of dissention” must remain vacant.

There are (as of today) 570 days left until the USA votes for the 45th President. It seems to be a strong likelihood that the contest will be a dual between two candidates who want to revitalize the concept of American Dynasty.

Yes, the Jon Stewart Show will feature some witty one-liners about JEB and Hillary and Saturday Night Live will do some acerbic skits at their expense, but will it be anything more relevant that seeing Richard M. Nixon go on “Laugh In” and asking: “Sock it to me?”?

Ernie Pyle and his associates produced a string of anecdotes about the ordinary G. I.’s that portrayed an image of Boy Scouts with guns hunting down mad dogs from other countries. They didn’t cover such interesting anomalies as the medal winning soldier in France who went AWOL and shacked up with a French chick.

Apparently the only thing the MP’s did was to round-up inebriated combatants on leave and put them in the slammer for a night so that they could sleep it off.

It’s not like the stifling of voices of dissent doesn’t serve a useful purpose. In the book “the Late, Great State of California,” the author examines how a California governor successfully used the issue of student dissent as a stepping stone for his bid to become the President. Apparently the sentiment that colleges spread communism has always been popular with patriotic voters.

In the hectic high pressure world of deadline journalism at its nerve wracking best, why bother to present both side when any imbecile can tell you that only one is correct?

Ironically, the need for a voice of dissent may never have been greater. The situation in the Middle East is shrouded in secrecy. Insightful commentary on the cauldron is MIA in the American media. An opposing point of view might qualify to be classified as treason so anyone foolish enough to mouth off might want to think twice before actually expressing a controversial point of view.

The prospect of dueling dynasties is too pathetic to merit serious commentary.

If, however, the United States Supreme Court, with a majority of conservative, compassionate, Christian Republicans declares that gay marriage is unconstitutional, it might be a very good thing if there are no voices of dissent which could be misconstrued as urging rebellion or fomenting and or inciting a riot in response to an unpopular decision.

If the Supreme Court declares that gay marriage is unconstitutional, it will be a case of “Game over” for the liberal advocates of that cause. At that point the liberals should be expected to display the good sportsmanship mode of conduct and be ready to shake hands with the opposing team and saying: “Good game!”

Sidebar story: Pauline Kael’s home in Berkeley is (reportedly) up for sale and some locals want it preserved as a historic site.

What makes a better news story: the NBA playoffs or a civil war between rival religions in a country you can’t find on a world map?

Mark Twain (reportedly) said: “God invented War so that Americans could learn Geography.”

Now the disk jockey will play the Rolling Stones’ “contractual obligation” album, Jimmy Buffet’s song “Let’s get drunk and screw,” and Pussy Riot’s Osvobodi Bruschatku (Release the Cobblestones [it’s on youtube]). We have to go see if we can find copy of the Berkeley Barb for this week. (Did they ever make a student protester doll?) Have an “abomination against nature” type week.

April 13, 2015

Zombie grandmas: How to make the most of getting old

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 3:04 pm

About three years ago, I made the big mistake of looking too closely into my bathroom mirror. Yuck! All I could see was wrinkles and gray hair. But wait — I was never supposed to have actually gotten this old. This was never supposed to have happened! But it did — at least to my body if not my mind.

“So,” I said to myself, “what the freak can I do with OLD?” I know! I’ll become an actor! And so I did.

Fortunately, there are several film schools in my city where student directors are always looking for talent to use in their films — especially talent that will work for free just to have an excuse to get out of the house. And so suddenly I found myself in big demand. I mean really. How many little old ladies do you know who are willing to throw themselves into an acting career? Not all that many. So I seemed to have pretty much cornered the market — because there’s really not all that much competition.

At auditions even for non-paying student-film roles, believe it or not, there are usually scores of child actors, ingenues and even beautiful leading ladies, all dying to try out for a part. But there just aren’t that many little old ladies out there to compete with, thank you very much.

And so now I have found one very successful way of taking advantage of the age factor that is currently barreling down on all of us like a steam-roller with no way to avoid. And there are also bound to be other ways to make the most of our “senior” years too (such as finally realizing that “war” is a racket, an obscenity and a con-game, something that most people apparently have not reached the age of having finally acquired enough wisdom to realize at all — and then working our suddenly-senior hearts out to stop all “war” from ever happening again).

In the past three years, I have been in over one hundred student films, playing all kinds of grandma roles — sweet loving grandmas, for instance. And society grandmas, dying cancer patient grandmas, cowgirl grandmas, evil grandmas, war-correspondent grandmas, psychotic grandmas, ghostly grandmas, college-professor grandmas and corpse grandmas, as well as grandmas who are doctors, lawyers and judges.

But my favorite grandma role of all time is playing a grandma zombie!

PS: Let’s face it. Getting old sucks eggs. Nothing fun at all about having creaky joints, being mostly ignored for not being sexy enough, having trouble sleeping, facing possible dementia, living on cat food, facing multiple surgeries, having one’s teeth fall out, etc. So we gotta always be constantly looking for ways to make growing older more fun on some level or another.

Turning into a grumpy frump, believing the lies and hatred being constantly broadcast on Fox News, and/or just plain giving up on life are definitely three ways not to have fun!

PPS: “Some will rob you with a shotgun, some with a fountain pen.” Elders these days are being targeted as victims by bad guys in several different ways. Street thugs may mug elders for their pocket money — but probate thugs can mug our elders for their life savings as well.

In Chicago, for instance, probate sharks seek out rich widows, get them declared incompetent, throw them into stark “assisted care” institutions where they are medicated into submission, clean out their safe deposit boxes and then throw them out into the streets to die when there is no money left. “Target, isolate, medicate, drain and eliminate” is their mantra.

Or else your sleazy relatives rob your rightful heirs of their rightful share of your estate after you’re gone:

But nobody messes with zombie grandmas!

IMG_1374 - Copy

April 10, 2015

More of the same in Berkeley

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

good crop of NK clipped neg

During the Great Depression there were so many writers and photographers chronicling the trials and tribulations of the poor and oppressed workers that a book could be written about their vast and varied efforts. “Documentary Expression and Thirties America,” by William Stott did, in fact, attempt to provide a definitive guide book for the literary avalanche inspired by the bad times. It seems that the Great Recession has failed to spark the imagination of modern journalists enough to inspire a modern equivalent effort.

Some cynics might say that the conservative capitalists who run the various media involved in communicating information and ideas don’t want to bankroll any such work because they believe that if the Great Recession isn’t recorded on tape, filmed, and/or written about, maybe the public won’t notice that not everybody is singing “Happy Days are Here Again.”

There was an anecdote we encountered in the past that described the time a very wealthy woman was told about hunger in America. She responded with the question “Why don’t they just ring the bell?” Since she could ring a bell and have the servants bring sustenance at any time of the day or night when hunger pangs annoyed her enjoyment of life, she just couldn’t conceive of anyone else not having the same remedy available. Apparently the concept that the servants couldn’t do that and the poor couldn’t either (not even Jean Valjean? [Wasn’t a great and joyous musical written about that thief?]) was just too vexing a task to attempt.

Berkeley spawned the Free Speech Movement in the Sixties and in the late Sixties became a major source of news stories about opposition to the American military aid to

South Vietnam. These days it seems as if Berkeley is fast becoming ground zero for the homeless issue.

The local, regional, and area news media may soon have to send a desperate call to the media in NYC to send backup. (Just as they did in the Sixties.)

A citizen journalist (moi?) may pick up some amusing tidbits of information in the interim but most people understand that a blogger can not be in two places at one time.

The World’s Laziest Journalist can not go gallivanting off to the latest city council meeting, the meetings of the Berkeley Police Review Commission, various protests, and be sitting in a well lighted room banging out a report on the laptop at the same time.

A disjointed and convoluted report on the plight of the panhandlers in Berkeley, even from a columnist who attempts to exemplify and perpetuate the three dot journalism style, might, written under similar hectic circumstances, be a bit more fragmented than usual for the regular readers.

We did learn that the traditional “Spare change” challenge in Berkeley has lately been countered by a claim that the citizen has no cash and has only plastic but, in a preemptive strategy move, Ninja Kitty is spearheading an effort to make it possible for the panhandlers to take donations via various major credit cards. How long will it be until some company can claim: “There’s an app for that!”?

Our columns have made frequent suggestions that the audience should make an effort to read Albert Camus’ “The Rebel.” You could read the book or get the general idea by listening to the song “We’re not gonna take it any more.”

We strongly recommend that assignment editors in NYC make an effort to obtain and read the aforementioned “Documentary Expression and Thirties America.”

Is it a “scoop” if an audacious assignment editor doles out a directive to cover a story that the owners of the competing mainstream media consider too verboten and too anathema to let their wage slaves expend precious time scribbling out “soap opera” news articles? Aren’t such attempts to evoke sympathy in the audience called “sob sister” stories?

Doesn’t the word scoop apply only to a story that the other guys have missed and not be applicable if they are just ignoring it?

Some new tactics in protesting seem to be developing in Berkeley. When was the last time you saw some news coverage about a quiet, peaceful demonstration at 3 a.m. on a workday? If protesters want news coverage and if nothing else is happening at that hour, will such an unorthodox protest strategy get massive response from the various assignment desks and would that not spawn a reason/inspiration for the innovation to “go viral”?

This just in: An overnight vigil promoting an “inter faith solidarity with the homeless people” was being staged on the night of April 9/10. It drew the attention of a KPIX Channel 5 news crew (just a cameraman) and the effect of the effort was not known as this week’s column was in the “on deadline” mode of being prepared for posting. Perhaps it will be summarized in a future installment of our weekly reports.

The assertion that at any hour of any day, in Berkeley, a protest against something is being conducted may be an example bit of hyperbole but soon that may become just a chance to add the old “and that’s a fact” declaration to the trend spotting updates that may soon be filed.

Will the homeless issue debate provide the local political activist known as Ninja Kitty with a foundation for building an image as the new Mario Savio?

Due to the heavy workload at the World’s Laziest Journalist New Organization headquarters we will have to postpone reading and reviewing “A Renegade History of the United States,” by Thaddeus Russell and get back to it later in the year.

In an effort to keep up with technological advances, the World’s Laziest Journalist intends to go to the Berkeley Community Media studios and get the training (an introductory course is starting next week) needed to expand the activities of the WLJ news operations to include a cable access TV show.

Ignoring the renewed uproar over medical care for America’s military veterans while concentrating on Berkeley’s treatment of vagabonds may seem to be an example of poor judgment of news value, but if the mission statement for the World’s Laziest Journalist New Organization should be compared to the job Indian scouts did for the U. S. Cavalry back in the day, it may then make sense to do brief trend spotting items rather than ones that resemble the concept of a trench warfare soldier in WWI. (Was the expression “doughboy” meant to convey the concept of the unquestioning conformity subtly provided by the image a cookie cutter in action?)

Should we try to start an online topic that goes viral by suggesting that the potential of televising the (possible) execution of whatzizface in Boston as a way of discouraging youngsters in the future from avoiding responsibility for their choices in life? Where are Getty and Armstrong when we really need them?

Is a backlash against political correctness brewing in the land of Free Speech? That does seem to be happening in the Frisco area.   Will some “shock jock” grab headlines by spouting some terms that are “politically insensitive and incorrect”?

In an era when a faulty tail light can get (some) drivers killed, it may be time to use this closing quote by Hermann Goering (from page 825 of Bartlett’s): “Shoot first and inquire afterwards, and if you make mistakes, I will protect you.”

Now the disk jockey will play Bob Segar’s “Still the Same,” “Brother, can you spare a dime,” and the new song, by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, “It all goes to Pot.” We have to fact check the fact that some folks in Berkeley who protested the execution of Caryl Chessman, will be back in action to urge that Joker Sir Nieff’s life be spared. Have a “the governor just issued a stay of execution order” type week.


April 7, 2015

Survivors, serial killers & our pre-September-11 brains

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 8:37 pm

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading books lately — and learning a lot from them too.

First I read a book by David J. Morris entitled “The Evil Hours: A Bibliography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” — and my main takeaway from it was this: People are more susceptible to PTSD if the way that they were traumatized involved an act of injustice.

Knowing this, it came as no surprise to me the other day when I was wandering around the buildings and grounds of that massive VA hospital complex in San Francisco and got yelled at by a young Iraq vet who obviously had PTSD. “Injustice!” he screamed. “The Iraq war was unjust? The whole freaking world is unjust!” And that’s the way this vet saw the world, post 9-11.

However, this guy looked hauntingly like he might have been a young post-Vietnam-era vet, just stepped out of a time machine from the 1960s. And there was certainly lots of injustice back in Vietnam too — wherein only the poor jerks in the Mai Lai massacre got caught while all the higher-ups such as Henry Kissinger and various weapons manufacturers just made money on that Tonkin Gulf scam.

Next I read Nicholas Carr’s book, “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” all about how human beings think and how our brains’ working structures are constantly being influenced by stuff in our environment. Even learning to read has changed our brains. Even clocks did that too. And from this information, I concluded that hate changes our brains too. Jesus was right. Hate is a slippery slope.

After that, I read Steven Gore’s new murder-mystery, “Night is the Hunter”. Steven Gore’s books always keep us on the edge of our seats — and also teach us stuff about power and its ability to corrupt those who hold it as well.

Then I read a book by murder-mystery author Chelsea Cain, who I had heard speak in her home town of Portland last week. “Even as a child I was always on the look-out for dead bodies.” Boy, she should go off to Yemen right now — where the U.S. and the Saudis are bombing women and children there like there was no tomorrow and charred corpses of babies are just lying around like driftwood on a beach.

Cain mostly writes about serial killers. And apparently, according to Carr’s POV, serial killers’ brains can get stuck in a groove where, “If you are a hammer, all the world looks like a nail.”

“I’m also always looking for good places to dump bodies,” said Cain. And apparently the American war machine is too! She should try checking out Afghanistan or Libya or Gaza. Lots of places for mass graves there for sure.

Then I decided to take a break from books and watch some old seasons of “Survivor” on Roku. And while watching a season that had been taped in June of 2001, I noticed that all the contestants were really friendly and sweet to each other. Is that really what life was like before 9-11? Season 23 of Survivor is far more merciless and cut-throat. Or is it just that they cast more villains in the power roles?

Have Americans become so much more immune to violence these days? Have our brains simply stopped caring that over a million people in the Middle East have died directly or indirectly by our hands since 9-11? Or that for every American killed in the 9-11 tragedy, approximately 40 innocent women and children have had their bodies burned, their heads blown off or their intestines spread out all over the sidewalk by American weapons, bullets, bombs and brains?

The internet may have changed the way that our brains now physically function, but our so-called leaders’ post-9-11 thinking has certainly changed our hearts into cold inhuman stone.

In any case, please remember just this one thing during the 2015 Easter season: Our American brains clearly have changed since September 11, 2001 — and even though Christ has risen, Americans have sunk.


April 3, 2015

Going to the Gates of Hell and back

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

crop of gates phot

Traveling to the Gates of Hell (a work by Rodin, which is on display in the sculpture garden at the Stanford University campus), taking a selfie, and then returning to Berkeley only to find that a homeless protest will have to be covered for use in the Easter 2015 weekend round-up, which, in conjunction with a missed installment of our weekly writing chore, caused us to do some reevaluations of the weekly effort to grind out a column. Once a columnist has traveled to the Gates of Hell, what can he possibly do next week as an encore?

A video of a homeless person being beat-up was going viral last week and caused some local TV stations to send a news crews to Berkeley to investigate and report. The video caused the local homeless citizens to protest and respond: “There you go again!”

Mike Zint, the political activist has made the assertion that the use of Downtown Ambassadors to do clean up and perform some aspects of crowd control is actually a preliminary move in an attempt to privatize police work. A great deal of fact checking could produce a piece that alerts the public to a complicated topic and an alarming possibility regarding the “privatize it” trend.

The Republicans are loudly pro police and adamantly anti- union; so how do they stand on the question of police unions? Would they surreptitiously support an attempt to slowly start to replace union member police officers with lesser paid non-union workers?

Is that what’s happening now in Berkeley?

If the poor will still be a vexation to society long after this columnist goes to the great newsroom in the sky, why bother to write yet one more column on the eternal problem?

After building up a small core audience of regular readers, the best that the World’s Laziest Journalist can hope to do with these columns is to have certain items come to the attention of a mainstream media editor or freelance journalist who can bring greater awareness of the problem to his audience and then hope the topic “goes viral.” Why bother at all? Isn’t that question a fabulous chance to quote what the scorpion said to the frog: “It’s in my nature.”?

To hold on to a loyal core audience, a writer has to try to develop a unique voice which asks some obvious questions that have never before been asked. Such as? If a vampire’s image does not appear in a mirror and does not register on film, does that mean that vampires are immune and exempt from the selfie fad? Are their images absent when they take a selfie?

Some time ago, we learned in a course at Santa Monica College, that it takes about a month of work to produce a well written magazine article. That, as they say, is above the World’s Laziest Journalist’s pay grade. We knock out a three dot journalism style column each week and if our words inspire someone else to take up one of the items and do a great deal of extra work to turn it into a magazine article, we wish them God’s speed.

The military situation for the United States forces in the Middle East has become so convoluted and weird that it defies rational and perceptive analysis, so we are gradually abandoning that topic.

The Election desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization has projected a winner (JEB Bush) in the 2016 Presidential Election, and so any subsequent analysis of the event is irrelevant.

Speaking of speed, we have not had any feedback on our attempt to solicit help from a wealthy car owner to do a column describing what makes driving a Ferrari a much better experience than tooling around Santa Monica in a 1968 Chevy van.

Did you know that the Rent a Wreck firm was spawned by Bundy Rent a Wreck in the Santa Monica/West L. A. area? Rumor was (as reported in People magazine) that folks like Paul Newman would drive in one of their “beater” vehicles as a way to avoid being recognized as a world famous movie star.

Recently the World’s Laziest Journalist spent some (futile) time fact checking the existence of some super low cost airfares from Oakland to Europe. If we encounter some other travel bargain, a week without a column may mean that we are busy crossing a trip to New Zealand off the bucket list and not an indication that we pleased our harshest critics and croaked.

Maybe we will get the chance to write a column with a hed that reads: “From the Gates of Hell to Christ’s Church” or “From Fremantle to Freemont.”

If some young, energetic, and enthusiastic freelancer want to write about the assertion that “they” are trying to privatize police work, you can go to the “First they came for the homeless” page on Facebook to track down the aforementioned Mike Zint to get some good quotes and thus get the project started.

While we were on our Gates of Hell excursion, we chatted with people who were attending a symposium at Stanford on the subject of Artificial Intelligence. We learned that a person who pretends to be much wiser and more leaned than they actually are (moi, pseudo-intellectual?) are not examples of Artificial Intelligence, but are actually classified as examples of synthetic intelligence. (“I didn’t know that!”)

Are all the police shootings of blacks just a long series of coincidences or is the first American President of African American heritage, participating in a nationally coordinated program? Again, providing perceptive and insightful comments on either scenario is above the World’s Laziest Journalist’s pay grade.

Berkeley CA is in a congressional district that may well be classified as America’s most Liberal Congressional District. Why, then, are the homeless in Berkeley consistently complaining of mistreatment and why is the city trending towards claiming the title of having the most anti-homeless laws of any city in the state (or country?)?

The topics of war and poverty will be the subject of analysis and commentary for many years to come and so to provide an assortment of topics in our weekly effort to inform, amuse, and delight (?) our faithful readers, we may, given the proper circumstances, impulsively take a week or two hiatus to avail our self of a travel bargain as a means of doing some fact checking for non-political punditry columns. (Where did we put our copy of “Europe on $5 a Day”?)

Over the course of recent years, we have failed to get any publicity for our efforts from any nationally known fellow travelers, but the advantage of that situation is that we have carved a niche that permits us to develop a unique style that permits us to range from “verboten” topics, such as predicting that a Conservative Republican majority United States Supreme Court will certainly declare “an abomination against nature” to be unconstitutional to other esoteric and arcane bits of information such as “you can’t manufacture mayonnaise during a thunder storm,” with an air of impunity that is not available to wage slaves in the mainstream media.

Is the uproar over the new Indiana law actually a stealth way to measure the vitriol level potential if Gay Marriage is determined to be unconstitutional? Do the people who believe that peyote is a sacrament get any legal acknowledgement of their religious rights and beliefs?

Speaking of the movie “Double Indemnity,” did any of your usual sources address the topic of increased liability if an airplane crash is a suicide with numerous counts of murder attached rather than just an accident? Don’t cha just love a news source that proclaims: “Lies, exaggeration, or propaganda? We deliver and then let you sort it all out.”?

Again, we wish to thank our regular readers for their continued support and hits.

Maintaining an image of uncontrollable columnist errant is one thing, but the reality is that isn’t how it is. Our closing quote for this week is a Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) line: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Now the disk jockey will play Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Lenny Bruce’s “song” “Non Skeddo Flies Again” (It’s on youtube.) and the Rolling Stones song “Flight 505.” We have to go find the gin-mill that epitomizes the expression “old school bar.” Have a “don’t even think of watering the lawn” type week.

tight crop gates plaque


Gun Guns Guns: More news from Portland’s murder-mystery convention

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:58 am

I just read an article stating that despite what we constantly see advertized on TV, the three major hot-selling commodities in the world right now aren’t sexy new cars, cool new clothes at the mall or even hot new apps for your iPhone. They are guns, steel and oil.

China has almost a monopoly on steel production, the U.S. and Saudis are currently fighting over who can undercut the price of oil the most, and America has been getting all piss-y lately because its monopoly on gun production is being challenged by Russia.

Guns or butter? Looks like guns are surely winning out. But just tell that to your kid the next time she asks for a piece of toast. “Let them eat RPGs!” you can shout. Nothing but dry toast for you, Missy.

Which nicely brings us to the subject of social justice and a panel discussion of it that I recently attended at a murder-mystery readers and writers convention in Portland, Oregon But right before the panel started, a bunch of us went off on a tour of southeast Portland, which is famous for its food carts, strip clubs, craft breweries and vodka distilleries. Who knew that the New Deal distillery produced vodka made from wheat, not potatoes? “Vodka is the name of a process, not an ingredient.”

Then we finished the tour with lunch at Lardo, a BBQ joint, and got back to the convention just in time to attend the panel on the role of crime novels as instruments of social justice.

Author J. David Osbourne was raised in a trailer park in Oklahoma. “And as a result of my upbringing, I always try to humanize the lives and motives of societal scum. I don’t write about the lives of the rich and powerful because, like most other Americans, I don’t even know how that works.” So he writes about the hard-scrabble anti-heroes that he does know about — and their victimization by the larger criminals behind that victimization.

Then author Mette Ivie Harrison gave me a free copy of her audio-book, “The Bishop’s Wife” — about being a Mormon in Utah. She said, “I became an atheist for years because after my sixth baby died, people in my church kept saying, ‘When bad things happen, it’s because there is a lesson to be learned,’ thus putting all the onus on the victim. That’s where religions go wrong.”

Author Lisa Brackmann speaks Mandarin and spends time in China, writing about the inner workings of China’s rich and powerful. I love, love, love Brackmann’s books. Her sense of timing always has me on the edge of my seat. Read “Rock Paper Tiger” and see what I mean. I was also lucky enough to score a draft copy of her next book, “Dragon Day,” coming out next August.

“If you are writing crime fiction,” stated Brackmann, “you can’t be didactic. The larger issues that you want to bring to your reader’s attention need to be woven into an exciting story. And I myself always need to understand what drives things like the Iraq war or the prison system before I can explain it to others.”

And I myself also need to understand what drives Portland before I can explain it to others as well. Basically, Portland appears to be a city that doesn’t take any crap! Portlanders fight climate change, have a fabulous transportation system, are pro-choice and anti-war and against napalming babies in the Middle East, don’t fluoridate their water, actually smile at strangers, don’t give a damn about Fox News and do yoga in the park in the rain.

Next, I attended an interview with Timothy Hallinan and won a copy of his book, “The Fame Thief,” in a raffle. And, OMG, speaking of guns. There are a hecka lot of shots fired in this book. But it is quite humorous too — when the hero isn’t dodging bullets that is. But Hallinan loves to write. “I write and I eat and I talk to my wife. That’s all I do.” Sounds like my kind of guy.

And Hallinan also has a hard time finishing books. Me too! I’ve been editing my historical novel, “Pictures of a Future World,” for over ten years now. But Hallinan has an app for that on his website. It’s called “Finishing Your Novel” So who knows? I may even finish my novel about the present, past and future at some time in the nearer (not farther) future, thanks to him.

PS: Here’s another mystery: When that young Airbus co-pilot (allegedly) seized control of a airplane and flew it into a mountain last week, he (allegedly) took the lives of all of the passengers of that plane with him as well — and everyone who read this news was horrified by this (alleged) mass murder!

Yet when the elite and uber-wealthy co-pilots who have (actually) seized control of our planet, (actually) locked themselves into the cockpit of Airbus Earth, and are (actually) trying to fly it into an even higher mountain of murderous destruction by way of their greed, climate-change denial and unnecessary wars, almost none of my fellow passengers on this Airbus Earth seem to hardly even notice or care.

PPS: Just to make it perfectly clear that, even though I’m currently having trouble getting to places like Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt and Gaza, I still haven’t forgotten about all those other guns, guns, guns, the ones being constantly being shipped to the Middle East from America — and here are two links on that subject to prove it.
First there’s this link: “Saudis, Allies plan massive invasion of Yemen: 150,000 Saudi Troops, Unknown Number of Egyptians Mass on Yemen Border.”

And then there’s this link: The author of “Anti-Shiism, Western media, the Islamic State and blatant lies” states:

“I am a Shiite. I am an Iraqi. There is no single group on this planet who has as much to lose from ISIS as myself. Christian men are asked to pay jizya or leave, Yezidi men are given the opportunity to ‘repent’ and convert, but Shiite men are actively hunted out, tortured, and executed with no other option on the table. Even the choice to convert — as disgusting as it is — is not offered.

“What makes it worse, however, is that the rest of the world seems to go on a victim-blaming tangent of how Shiites should be held responsible for their own oppression. Throughout this conflict, I have maintained my position: I am not anti-Sunni, I am anti-sectarianism, I am anti-exploitation, anti-oppression and anti-destruction.”

Sounds like this author has social justice in mind too. And it’s still a mystery to me why so many psychopaths keep trying to kill him in real life — not in just crime fiction.

And if any newspaper editor out there wants to pay my way to the Middle East as a war correspondent, to report on Yemen as well as on Portland, then I’m your person!

PPPS: And then of course there are all the guns, guns, guns that are currently loose on the streets of America. And as for the police needing all those new weapons to control their cities and towns, “If the police don’t have the confidence of the community, they will fail no matter what they do or don’t do,” to quote one survivor of The Troubles in Belfast.


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