December 24, 2011

Wall Street Billionaire with a Heart Helps the Less Fortunate


December 25, 2010

The Tattlesnake – I Read the News Today, Oh, Boy! Edition

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion — Tags: , , , — RS Janes @ 6:13 am

A Christmas retread from the past.

For once, the old curmudgeon will climb down off his sarcastic perch and scribble about a story I read in a local newspaper years ago.

I don’t remember the family’s name right now, but I recall the gist: A middle-class father and his two pre-teen boys were driving around Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago, handing out free sandwiches and coffee to the men and women living in cardboard boxes down there.

They got up early several days a week and made the sandwiches and brewed a large urn of coffee; the man paying for all the ingredients himself.

They did this on a regular basis year-round, and they were not part of any religious or charitable organization; the father had just seen these people living in terrible conditions and wanted to do whatever he could think of to help. This is what he thought of. He also wanted to teach his sons to appreciate how lucky they were and a lesson in person-to-person generosity. (I hope they learned it.)


December 24, 2009

Texas ‘Bizarre Claims’ Couple Deported

‘Bizarre Claims’ Couple Deported

By Walt N. Ponde
The Corpus Christi Sun-Journal
December 24, 2009

SPECIAL TO THE SUN-JOURNAL — The strange tale of illegal immigrants Jose and Maria Natividad has finally come to an end after a federal judge yesterday ordered the couple deported to Mexico.

They were arrested on the streets of Corpus Christi last Tuesday while seeking a place they could stay for free. Because they had no money and were unemployed, police initially charged them with vagrancy and loitering until a Spanish translator – the Natividads speak no English – discovered they were illegally in this country. The case was then turned over to U.S. immigration authorities.

INS agents told federal prosecutors that due to their age difference – Jose is 60 and Maria is 15 – they wanted Jose charged with statutory rape and transporting a minor across national borders for immoral purposes, but federal immigration Judge Ben Dayeau found that their marriage was legal under Mexican law, and ordered the deportation without additional charges filed. The local vagrancy and loitering charges were also dropped.

But that was after Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) investigators uncovered what Judge Dayeau called, “the most bizarre claims that have ever been heard in my courtroom.”

Nine-months pregnant Maria Natividad told DFPS social workers that she had never consummated the marriage with her husband, that she was a virgin, and that her pregnancy was the result of divine intervention. As the DFPS report put it, “Mrs. Natividad claims she was impregnated by God and that her unborn son is the Messiah or second coming of Jesus Christ as promised in the New Testament of the Bible.” Interviewed separately, Jose Natividad concurred with his wife’s story.

DFPS spokesman Rod N. Staph told the Sun-Journal that under ordinary circumstances it would have ordered a complete physiological and psychological examination of Mrs. Natividad, but that recent state immigration restrictions prevented that. “She’d be in a hospital right now,” Staph said, “except a new state law prohibits hospitals from treating undocumented immigrants.” Instead, DFPS recommended the couple be deported as quickly as possible.

In Austin, Gov. Rick Perry reacted to the judge’s ruling, telling reporters, “The people of Texas don’t want to pay for another illegal Mexican mother to have her baby here, no matter what kind of crazy tale this woman is telling. If born here, their child will then be an American citizen, and it will make it more likely this couple, who have no useful skills, no money and can’t speak our language, will stay here and We the People will have to pay for them. The tough new immigration laws I signed protect Texas and America from these illegal bloodsucking deadbeats and their welfare babies.”

Texas religious leaders contacted for comment all agreed that Mrs. Natividad’s assertions were improbable at best, with Good Samaritan Baptist Church of Dallas pastor Ballman Gilead summing up their feelings: “This is, frankly, nuts. We know the second coming will happen in the Middle East and it won’t be a child of poor Mexican parents, you can be sure. This Natividad couple are just using this wild story to try and get a free ride from the U.S. taxpayer.”

Mindy Putts, a translator for DFPS, said that as she was helping the Natividads on an INS bus bound for Mexico early Thursday morning, Mrs. Natividad turned to her and said in Spanish, “I would ask God to curse this state of Texas for its lack of Christian decency and hospitality, but I see that He has anticipated my request.”

On her Facebook page, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin responded to the Natividad controversy by writing, “Controlling our borders is controlling our great American national destiny, and nothing is too important for that goal.”

© 2009 RS Janes.

Palin’s Holiday Greeting to McCain

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 6:17 am


(Post updated 12/25/09)

December 23, 2009

The Case of the Sabotaged Christmas Carol

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 9:13 pm

Back in the day when Johnny Dollar was riding high on the radio waves, this columnist was there when the squealer was masquerading as a singer. Here’s how it went down: when the class of seventh graders was attempting to apply their talent to a traditional Christmas song, the nun became rather riled because somebody (the tenor terrorist?) was ruining (the nun couldn’t very well use a vulgar colloquialism to designate the deliberate efforts to mess up the melody, could she?) it by singing off key. What kind of fiend would be trying to foil the youngsters attempt to perform a Christmas carol?

We decided that in order to hear the possible perpetrator and track him (her?) down; we’d just mouth the words. The dastardly warbler disappeared. If we kept quiet things went smoothly. Could it be that our efforts to become the modern embodiment of Caruso was so misguided that it seemed likely that our most sincere efforts to croon were being misinterpreted as deliberate effort to sabotage the song?

Lately, we’ve been wondering if something similar is happening with our efforts to do some noteworthy blogging.

Recently we ran a column about what we perceived as the inherent dangers of Instant Recall Voting (IRV). Yikes, it went over like changing keys in the middle of a note while singing. Is concern about accurate vote tallies antiquated and as much in he past as the Zero decade which is about to end?

If this columnist wants to boost the number of hits on his efforts should we check out some of the top political blogs and add our voice to the topics that are hot? What if our voice cracks? Or should we stick with our efforts to track down topics that are more unique?

If a priest encourages poor parishioners to resort to shoplifting, if necessary, to feed their kids, then how should this columnist react? Should we make allusions to Jean Valjean or would a condemnation of stealing be better? What if we drew attention to the fact that the shrill reaction to that opinion by the good father’s superiors was coming from people who had no trouble ignoring questions about the morality of torturing prisoners?

Recently we wrote a column about how good causes are begging for funds to continue their work. Should we do an update and insert some we forgot to mention such as Planned Parenthood or Environment California?

After we pointed out that mixing a celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace with preparations for sending more troops into a battle (which most experts say is impossible to win) might seem inappropriate, Mike Malloy on his radio program made a similar observation.

Conservatives, who endorsed the massive deficit spending needed to fund the start of a perpetual war, are now having conniptions about spending money on health care for their own country’s citizens. Do Republicans have schadenfreude copyrighted?

Would writing a column pointing out that Tiger quit golf to spend time with his wife and family and then she left, indicate that he should return to the links and make the best of it? Could we work in a line about the siren call of the groupies being as irresistible as the attraction to the money he will win?

Who cares about polar bears? They are gigantic beasts who will not hesitate to kill humans given the chance. As long as global warming isn’t killing off the pandas, isn’t that good enough reason to keep using your SUV’s and ignore all this voodoo science stuff?

Has anyone pointed out that Glenn Beck’s efforts to get his fans to buy him a car seem inappropriate? Isn’t he supposed to be spokesman for the self made man party? Don’t Republicans value the self-reliant man? Is he a hypocrite who hopes that his political masters will not notice this abject failure of philosophy or is he just a chiseling SOB no better than the “spare change?” beggars the Republicans despise?

Maybe we should just send a letter to the all good, all knowing, all powerful Santa and ask him to send us a literary agent for this Christmas? Maybe if we put our efforts into a book length effort to wrap up incidents like the time Paul Newman asked for our autograph, we slept through a murder, the time we got our first photo lesson from a future Pulitzer Prize winner, etc., into one coherent manuscript; then maybe a literary agent could provide us with some bankable reasons for a shift in our literary endeavors?

It’s obvious that this columnist is incapable of writing something for the Internet that will precipitate events that will deliver a war crimes trial for George W. Bush, so maybe, in the holiday spirit of Peace on Earth, we can grant absolution so that the former President can sleep well at night?

A columnist who has been consistent in his disapproval of George W. Bush for his sanctioning of torture, various invasions, and failure to apprehend Osama (as promised on the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center) can’t very well switch to the role of adoring cheerleader when his successor, who picks up just where 43 left off, is a Democrat. That would smack of inconsistency and partisanship, wouldn’t it?

Wait! There’s still time! It isn’t Christmas yet! Time to wrap up this column and go buy a California Lottery Ticket!

W. C. Fields has been quoted as saying: “Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven.”

Now, the disk jockey will play the Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” and two versions of songs that share the same title: “Christmas in Jail.” We gotta go buy a lottery ticket. Have a “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Man” type week.

December 22, 2009

Reform, Deform — What’s the Big Difference?


December 9, 2009

So Many Causes, So Little Time

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 4:35 pm

(Berkeley CA) While visiting San Francisco, it became necessary to go to a bank branch that wasn’t the one this columnist usually uses and in the course of a conversation with the manager, he mentioned that if this customer intended to give the teller a tip, it would be better to donate to one of the charities that they suggested and then he dealt out a list of about a dozen good causes.  He caught us a bit unaware since we have never tipped a bank clerk.  Maybe the rich folks tip them like they tip the croupier when they win a big pot at Monte Carlo? 

The sheet of paper he provided was carefully tucked away so that the list could be accurately transcribed at this point in this column.  One of the disadvantages of a rolling stone existence is that things get lost and so, despite a sincere effort, no list.  The only one that comes to mind is the fog city SPCA.

A clothing store in San Franciso directed their customers to St. Jude’s Hospital ( which assures donors that the organization in Memphis will never stop looking for cures for the diseases which severely affect children.

Activists on Venice Beach. Recently, were asserting that folks shouldn’t shoot sea lions (

While staying at the hostel in the Fort Mason National Park (spectacular scenery with a supermarket a just across Laguna St.) we encountered Padma Dorje who was collecting signatures as part of her effort to eliminate torture in the world.

Across the bay from San Francisco, the Asian Community Mental Health Services is conducting the Tiny Tickets effort.  Travelers are asked to send in their Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tickets to help support that good cause.  (

Fellow columnist (and occasional war correspondent) Jane Stillwater is conducting an online petition urging the reform of campaign financing.  For more about that click this link(

While traveling in Australia (looks like the folks on Cottesloe beach will have to celibate Christmas without this columnist this year) activists for Greenpeace and Amnesty International seemed to be ubiquitous, but, upon reflection, they may not have been encountered in Kalgoorlie.  We assured those eager young workers that since we couldn’t afford to give money to their causes, we would urge the people who read our columns to support the altruistic efforts of both groups.   

Now that President Obama is in office and is directing his best efforts towards ending the war in Afghanistan, it will no longer be necessary for this columnist to constantly harangue his faithful readers with diatribes about the absurdity of the continued slaughter and carnage involved in the commendable American efforts to convert that county’s citizens over to advocates of democracy and free elections.  Also, this year as Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, it will not be appropriate to suggest that former President Bush, who ignored the precepts of war established at the Nurmberg Trials or the rules of the Geneva Conventions, deserves a severe reprimand in the form of another War Crime Trial for himself and some of the members of his administration.  He didn’t know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (what better reason could there have been for invading Afghanistan?). 

Americans have given 43 a “Get out of Jail” card and so it will be necessary for columnists of both the conservative and progressive persuasion to find new and more compelling causes to espouse. 

We were pondering the monumental problem of deciding what crap to buy for friends for Christmas so that they could cram their closets with irrefutable evidence that they support capitalistic democracy via their effort to spend the country out of Great Depression 2.0 and not just by mouthing meaningless platitudes such as “Peace on Earth good will to men (who should be tortured to prevent new terrorist attacks),” when we realized that the Christmas scenes that depict polar bears (<I>Ursus martimus</I>) lurking in the background of the images of Santa may become anachronisms when the last polar bear drowns in an ice free Artic Ocean.

Bill O’Reilly made a pledge to America that he would protect them from pinheads in the media who disseminated faulty information.  O’Reilly is as much history as is “the Lone Ranger” program which must logically mean that the cry for Climate Justice is a legitimate concern.  He’s gone from radio and we’re still here writing columns.  Nice try, Bill!  Guess the people just didn’t buy your BS, eh?  Hence, if we write about global warning, it will now be up to Uncle Rushbo to protect the hillbillies from pro science points of view. 

Speciescide happens.  Folks who live in Berkeley know that UCB’s mascot is the California Golden Bear (<I>Ursus arctos callifornicu</I>) and many of them also know that the last one of that species was shot in Tulare county in 1922.  Therefore we will compose a column which will have the headline:  “Dead polar bear walking!” and fictionalize an interview with the plight of a unfairly convicted (that never happens in the USA, but movie fans know that some unjustified executions do occur in places such as Saddam’s Iraq) prisoner on death row.

What will happen in the future when there are summer heat waves and there are no polar bears in the local zoo to photograph?  How will the wirephoto division of AP cope with that challenge?

There are good causes and there are bad causes, but are there any uncaused causes?

Hmmm.  As an ordained minister this columnist has to wonder:  Does the Berkeley cheerleading squad need the services of a volunteer chaplain?

George Carlin has said:  “The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”  How many little boys and girls in Iraq would like to ask Santa to bring back their arms or legs?

Now, the disk jockey, who heard this song on Revolution Radio (KREV 92.7 FM in the San Francisco area), will play the new curmudgeon anthem:  “I’m beginning to drink a lot at Christmas” (will that become this year’s viral Internet fad?) and this columnist will go Christmas shopping.  Have a “ho, ho, ho in Freo” type week.

December 11, 2008

The Tattlesnake’s Guide to Horrible Holiday Gifts Edition

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 7:57 am

MSNBC recently ran a story about holiday gift horrors, “Used socks, old candy: Holiday gift horrors” by Rina Raphael, wherein readers shared their stories of weird, inappropriate and sometimes cruel holiday gifts.

For example, a Betsy Murphy of Mukwonago, Wisconsin writes: “My mother-in-law, who not only was usually drunk, but cheap, gave me a pound of ground beef — right from her freezer. She stuck a bow on it and made such a big deal over it. And it was very greasy!” (‘Mukwonago,’ BTW, sounds suspiciously like the way a juicer would pronounce ‘Milwaukee’ when they were in their cups.)

Over in Connecticut, Susan was disgusted with this choice: “My worst gift ever was from my mother-in-law. A used popcorn popper with old, rancid butter in the melting cup! (And it wasn’t a joke!)” (Hey, Mom’s recycling!)

And the understandably Anonymous checked in with: “I received two from my ex-mother-in-law when I was about 19. The first was a large faux wood Jesus clock whose arms spun around for the hour and minute hands and the second was a see-through polyester crotch-less lingerie in a size 2 times bigger (I was a size 9 in juniors at the time). Funny now, but boy what a Christmas that was.” (A Jesus clock and crotchless pantyhose – what was on Mom’s mind?)

Well, that got Yer Ol’ Tattler to thinkin’ about some of the bizarre holiday gifts he’s heard of over the years, presented forthwith and without commercial interruption:

There was the matronly Aunt who, forswearing the usual hated sweater, tie or pair of Argyle socks, gave her relatives unrefrigerated Cornish hens one year, delivered in festively gift-wrapped boxes five days before Christmas. The stench of rotting flesh when the boxes were opened was overwhelming.

Ned had never gotten along well with his boss, so it surprised him his third year with the company to receive a Christmas present from the guy – a large box of Harry & David fruit covered in green and red plastic wrap with a large red bow. He was nearly touched until he got the gift home and unwrapped it – someone had removed all of the good H & D fruit and replaced it with small bruised apples, overripe pears and misshapen oranges. Ned responded by giving his boss a cheap plastic Mighty Mouse watch from the ‘factory-seconds’ bin at local Big Box store with a gaudy band that read “Here He Comes to Save the Day!” They never exchanged presents again.

The eight Hanukkah gifts from a mother-in-law to a new daughter. First day: an economy-sized canister of Comet cleanser; second: a toilet brush; third: a package of scrubbing sponges; fourth: furniture polish; fifth: large box of plastic trash bags; sixth: a toilet brush and caddy; seventh: a gallon of pine oil disinfectant; eighth: a 12-roll box of paper towels. Gee, what was Mom trying to say here?

Then there was the jocular college boy trying to impress the parents of his new love on Christmas morning by gifting Dear Old Dad with a year’s subscription to Juggs magazine; Mom with a box of ‘ribbed-for-her-pleasure’ prophylactics, and his paramour’s 15-year-old sister with a 12-inch-long black plastic ‘marital aid’ called ‘The Anaconda.’ He thought they’d all laugh. Shock wasn’t the word for it as his girlfriend’s parents and sister unwrapped their gifts – it was all she could do to keep Dad from tossing him out of the house on his head. Incredibly, they ended up married for twenty-five years and had children. Today, he’s waiting for Karmic revenge as some boyfriend of one of his daughter’s gives him a weird gift and notes that his thrice-married sister-in-law still has The Anaconda in her dresser drawer – with new batteries.

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