May 15, 2015

Going around the bend at 106 mph

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

Jet island ntched neg

In World War I, members of the military were given a vague promise of a cash bonus that would be distributed in the future. When the Depression came along, many of the cash strapped vets thought that would be a good time to collect their money. They flocked to Washington D. C. to present their idea that the time had arrived to collect the I.O.U. They set up camp but were soon run off at gunpoint by troops led by a distinguished West Point graduate who was slated for greatness. Douglas McArthur, who was known by the nickname “dugout Dug,” seemed to show more valor when facing unarmed Americans than he did in France during WWI or later in his bunker in Australia during WWII.

According to local lore, soldiers from the North camped out in San Francisco after the Civil War. These days tourists flock to shop in the neighborhood and most remain blissfully unaware of how Union Square got its name.

In the late seventies, American Vets injured in Vietnam, congregated at the Westwood Military Hospital in Los Angeles and occupied the lobby for some time. Early one morning, they were hustled out by the police. There were numerous TV crews on hand, but only two still photographers. They were both working for the Santa Monica Independent Journal Newspapers and their story might be the subject for a future column, but for now this event provided a career boost for one college photojournalism student and a confirmation of a cynical point of view for the other.

Except for a small number of curmudgeonly skeptics, most Americans will believe the promises American politicians repeatedly make to the members of the military and remain unquestioning when the politicians explain their shoddy performances regarding their delivery on those solemn promises.

How many times would your disreputable brother-in-law sell you a decrepit automobile before you start to doubt his sales pitches?

America trusted George W. Bush and only a few ultra Liberal pundits question his judgment in retrospect.

Why haven’t American troops been sent to Libya, Yemen, and/or Syria?

American politicians seem to be having a difficult time selling the voters on the idea that social and medical services for America’s veterans are being forced to be reduced because of austerity budgets while simultaneously building them up for new military adventures in faraway countries.

Buying a shot and a beer at the local tavern for a young Marine who will soon be aboard an LCP approaching Tarawa is one thing, but cheating him out of the medical care he requires when he comes home without his legs, is something very different.

Recently when San Francisco mayor Ed Lee announced that he planned to have all local homeless military veterans in housing by the end of the year, local political activist Mike Zint, who posts political information on the “first they came for the homeless” page on Facebook, responded by saying that it was probably a gambit to provide cover for a program that would sweep the homeless out of sight before the tourists arrive in the Bay Area for Superbowl Fifty.

In an age when the numbers for wounded and homeless women warriors are becoming a major factor in the continuing effort to live up to the promises made to the members of the military, we have noticed one (potential) flaw in the political logic being expressed.

It seems that every effort to provide mass housing for young men are based on the concept of providing each and every one of the cases with a living space that includes space for a TV set, a refrigerator, and room to do some cooking.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist can offer up an opinion that might offend some puritsts: most young men don’t need or want that much space.

Since many young men are used to a military dorm, a ccllege dorm, and in some cases a hostel bunk, perhaps Mayor Ed Lee should consider the idea that one very large facility with a bunk and communal cooking and entertainment facilities would be an austerity budget era way to approach the problem.

What percentage of male homeless veterans require more than a bunk? What percent could exist on the basis of a hostel environment with a dormitory bunk and communal entertainment, bathroom, and cooking facilities?

Isn’t it obvious that a fellow who is sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag in a hobo jungle environment and scrounging meals on the run would have a great improvement in his comfort level rating if he had access to a bunk and locker each night?

What percentage of homeless veterans are men and what percent are women?

Isn’t a small percent of the homeless claustrophobic people who prefer to sleep “under the stars”? If you provided them with a palatial mansion, they would remain uncomfortable.

During the week that this column was being written, the Huffington Post carried a story indicating that the politicians in Washington D. C., are hesitating on taking action which would protect members of the military from predatory conduct by financial institutions.

What percentage of the politician who vote for such ridiculous nonsense are veterans and how many are fat cats who have never served in the military?

Medical care for vets is a perpetual topic for politicians.

Are veterans being treated poorly?

This Saturday is Armed Forces Day but the weekend editions of the nation’s newspapers and the Sunday gabfests will be rife with calls for railroad safety, tributes to B. B. King, and snide remarks about JEB Bush’s family loyalty. It seems quite likely that there will be damn few pundits using the occasion of Armed Forces Day to call for improving the treatment of homeless veterans.

What’s not to love about corporate shills tricking young men with some all American bait and switch salesmanship chicanery to lure them into a lifetime of misery and pain?

What percentage of “our boys” who were killed in action during WWII, died before they were old enough to cast a vote to re-elect the politicians who had sent them off to the war?

There was a popular axiom during the Vietnam era that said; “Old soldiers never die . . . young ones do.”

The disk jockey will play the Pogues song “The band played ‘Waltzing Matida,” Johnny Cash’s version of “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” and the song “Smile for me, my Dianne.” We have to go and re-watch “Coming Home.” Have a “Seventh Heaven” type week.


February 13, 2015

Koch $ + Fox News + Stepford voters = JEB as 45

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:38 pm

crop of snapshot

When the Bush administration made the preposterous suggestion that plastic sheeting and duct tape should be used to construct air-tight safe rooms in the homes across America, we eagerly anticipated a tsunami of ridicule to appear in the mainstream media but nothing was said. A few days later when a story appeared in the New York Times reporting a sudden spike in the sales of plastic sheeting and duct tape, we fired off a letter to the editor and sent it off via e-mail to their east coast main office.

The next day, Valentine’s Day 2003, there were about a dozen letters to the editor commenting on the feature story in the previous day’s issue. My effort was one of the ones selected. We had mentioned the fact that the absurd suggestion was the recipe for a tragedy involving asphyxiation and the drawing that accompanied the letters on the topic depicted an anthropomorphized house struggling to catch a breath because it was wrapped in plastic.

About noon, later in the day, SecDef (aka Secretary of Defense) Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference and stressed that the suggestion was meant to be metaphoric because if the safe room was air-tight the occupants would die of asphyxiation. To our way of thinking this was the best Valentine’s Day gift we have ever received because it validated our perception that the World’s Laziest Journalist was capable of producing unique and insightful political commentary.

Subsequently, we acquired a collection of books on the esoteric subject of the inadequacies of America’s Free Press. The Preface to “Manufacturing Consent,” by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, says: “If, however, the powerful are able to fix the premises of discourse, to decide what the general populace is allowed to see, hear, and think about, and to ‘manage’ public opinion by regular propaganda campaigns, the standard view of how the system works is at serious odds with reality.”

We had wondered why the media seemed quite lax about a long list of questions. Who did profit from selling airline stocks short right before 9-11? Why was the story about the Bin Laden family being hustled out of the USA quashed? Where did the WMD’s go?   Etc.

Was the Stepford press fooling the Stepford voters as part of a mass example of irrational thinking or was there some kind of effort to manufacture consent? If so, could the bottom line be that after years of grumbling and criticizing, the people could be bamboozled into complete unquestioning obedience if the Christian majority in the United States Supreme Court legislated from the bench and declared gay marriages unconstitutional? We’ll soon find out if the conservatives can get away with such outrageous politicizing of the judicial branch of American government.

Could the liberals be coerced by the Free Press into believing that another theft of the Presidency and a restoration of the Bush Dynasty was a valid example of Democracy in action?

The Koch brothers blatantly admitted that they intended to donate $889 million to the Presidential Campaign for the 2016 Presidential Election and it is obvious that not one goddamn cent of that will be used to subsidize the liberal point of view in an effort to bolster the illusion that a national debate will precede the charade that will accompany the election of JEB Bush as the 45th President of the United States.

The media is constantly running new scare stories about how new and elaborate computer hacks are compromising security and ruining lives but the idea that the hackers could work their magic on the electronic voting machines which leave no way to verify the results is universally denounced as a conspiracy theory.

If the electronic voting machines, which have a security Des Key number that is available online, are that good, why isn’t their security program being used to guard the personal data that is being lost everyday online? If it isn’t that good, why do the media persist in promulgating the myth that it is?

When George W. Bush suggested that it might be a good idea for the United States to insert itself into the military situation in the Middle East, some snarky liberals suggested that since the situation was a perpetual series of vicious reprisals in response to barbaric outrages, it might not be such a wise move.

Recently, Jordon announced that it would bolster its efforts to bomb ISIS as a result of the barbaric execution of one of their pilots. The recent Jordanian validation of the Bush decision to become an integral part of what he called “the forever war,” gives the Stepford voters an indication of just how futile dissent has become.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has produced many columns skeptical of the Bush war crimes and policies. Now that President Obama has asked for a renewal of the War Powers Act, we will drop our criticism of the Bush Forever War and assume that America’s Democrats will have a Prodigal Son moment when Obama sends additional troops to fight the bad guys in the Middle East. [Note: Since the name of the bad guys is constantly changing this columnist will just use the generic term “Viet Cong” to designate the enemy in the Middle East.]

If, as some of the Orthodox members of the staff of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory assert, some nefarious strategists on the good guy team alerted the Viet Cong about the itinerary that Bob Woodruff would be taking, then the conservatives have scored a trifecta by successfully removing the anchor at all three liberal media TV networks. Dan Rather and Brian Williams might be prone to also suspect that a conspiracy explanation for the downfall of Don Imus might be well founded and not be an example of a paranoid imagination at work. (For extensive coverage of the Brian Williams story check out the media news site done by Jim Romenesko (Google hint: jimromenesko dot com)

When George W. Bush stated that there were WMD’s in Iraq, it led to a war and caused the deaths of many American troops and left many more wounded, crippled and damaged for life, but that was OK with conservatives because the President didn’t know that there were no WMD’s to be found. Brian Williams, has told lies, caused NBC to lose credibility, and stolen valor and therefore, according to the Conservative code of ethics, the liberal media star’s life must be ruined and his career must be destroyed.

Conservatives give complete amnesty to Republican politicians who commit crimes if they ask for God’s forgiveness but liberal media anchors must be held to a much higher standard.

The stigma attached to the Bush Dynasty has just been completely expunged by the President’s request for renewed authorization of the War Powers Act and that clears the way for the election of JEB Bush and removes the need for a Judas goat to lead the Democratic Party.

Is it true that President Obama plans to hold a pro War Powers renewal rally for a limited number of high level members of the Democratic Party and that the exclusive event will be held in Nuremburg Pennsylvania?

Now that the liberals will be retroactively endorsing the Bush war agenda, our columns will focus on other more innocuous topics.

John Stewart is calling it quits. Good liberal punditry is rapidly becoming as old fashioned as linoleum flooring. If Karl Rove’s plan for a thousand year Republican Reich is about to be realized, then, perhaps, the World’s Laziest Journalist can revise the Bucket List and attack certain items with renewed vigor.

Willie Nelson has collaborated with an impressive number of other musicians and rather than criticizing Obama’s endorsement of the Bush war strategy, we will now start a grass roots campaign to encourage fans to demand a collaboration album featuring duets done by Nelson and Mick Jagger.

[Note from the photo editor: We selected an enigmatic snapshot to illustrate this column related to a newsman’s story that mocks the concept of fact-checking. It can’t be a photo of a couple who died on May 23, 1934, if it shows people standing on a 1937 Plymouth.]

Brian Williams is quoted online as saying: “Your are only as good s the coach thinks you are.”

Now the disk jockey will play Kitty Wells’ “I don’t claim to be an angel,” CCR’s “Run through the Jungle,” and Bob Hope’s theme song “Thanks for the memories.” We have to go see if we can buy a WMCA Good Guy t-shirt. Have a “six months vacation without pay” type week.

very tight crop snapshot


November 7, 2014

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

October 31, 2014

T. F. I. in the U. S. A.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:24 pm

crop of Venice Boardwalk

A series of “news” stories has informed Americans that the Senate will become Republican controlled in the mid-term elections and that the Republicans will maintain their majority in the House of Representatives. The reliability factor for exit polls was questioned and found wanting, but these new polls seem good enough for the conservatively owned main stream media to endorse the idea that the results of next week’s mid-term elections will only be questioned by conspiracy theory loons. It sounds like a set-up to cynics and skeptics.

On Thursday afternoon, Mike Zint, a journalist and political activist, was reporting on his Facebook page that the San Francisco Chronicle had posted the story with the results of next Tuesday’s mid-term elections.

There was a front page story in the New York Times, on Monday of this week, that indicated that the stigma of the Bush Dynasty may have been expunged from the minds of American voters and that JEB Bush will be the front runner for the Republican nomination to become their candidate for President in 2016.

The number of pundits offering liberal ideas and criticism is shrinking rapidly and so, apparently, America is ready to embrace the concept of a Republican Supreme Court, a Republican majority Senate and House of Representatives, and a resumption of the Bush Dynasty without a word of dissent.

Meanwhile, in Berkeley, when Bill Mahr was invited to be the commencement speaker at the end of this Semester, which is the fiftieth anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest against that selection was held because Muslim students felt that some of his recent views rendered him unworthy of being offered the opportunity to be the commencement speaker. The offer had not been revoked as the week drew to a close.

What’s happening in the Middle East?

The efforts by the authorities to quarantine health workers returning to the USA, has caused others to warn that such strict measures will have a negative effect on the number of people who volunteer to go to Africa and help control the Ebola epidemic. We used to know a city editor who constantly advised reporters: “No good deed goes unpunished!”

If the election results next Tuesday confirm the idea that America has embraced a Republican majority for the Senate and strengthened the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, then perhaps we will renew our efforts to write columns about less partisan topics and renew our efforts to get a chance to cover the next installment of the Oscar Awards Ceremony.

On Friday, October 31, 2014, “the authorities” were predicting that a million people would turn out to stand in a rainstorm to see the baseball team that just won the World Series, the voters of America will give the Republican Party a majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives, who will prepare the way for JEB to be inaugurated as President of the United States in January of 2017. The window of opportunity for the World’s Laziest Journalist to write columns urging sanity and logic is shrinking rapidly.

Perhaps we should do an about-face and start encouraging America’s rush to complete total f*****g insanity.

Now the disk jockey will play “Singing in the Rain (when was the last time you saw “Clockwork Orange?”),” “Crazy,” and the Rolling Stones “contractual obligation album” project. Have a “run towards the flash” type week. Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel (?).


September 26, 2014

Shoot first; ask questions later.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:25 pm

crop of Obama Peace sign

Barroom brawlers believe that whoever throws the first punch is legally responsible for whatever ensues. American journalists, who are oh so anxious to please media owners, don’t mention that for most guys the sucker punch is universally regarded as a despicable tactic that even gangsters, grifters, and lowlifes (who wear wife-beater T-shirts?) consider dishonorable.

George W. Bush, who either didn’t have the experience to know about or chose to cavalierly disregard that example of barroom etiquette, got the USA to go along with some convoluted logic that gave a sucker punch the eloquent sounding label of pre-emptive strike and took the country to war.

Now, Obama is using the fact that Bush set a precedent and the result is that the topic can be dispensed with via a late night vote that authorizes funds to bomb Syria.

Statistics regarding the number of people who have been shot by a police officer have risen dramatically this year. It is always reported that the policeman feared for his life because a suspect was reaching for the officer’s gun. Isn’t it time for a trend-spotting story or two in the national media about this statistical phenomenon? Some cynics regard the shootings as an example of using a bullet to deliver a sucker punch.

We would really rather be writing about other more innocuous topics and not be the point man for criticizing American Foreign Policy for looking like an example of the sucker punch tactic on a national scale.

We read recently a column by Maureen Dowd about a nasty encounter with marijuana and then learned that California may get a new chance to vote to legalize recreational pot via the initiative process. We did a quick bit of online searching for pot news and found out that Rolling Stone magazine was reporting that Willie Nelson had offered Ms. Dowd with “ground control” for a much better retry of her marijuana experience. He offered to provide a better environment for such a repeat pot experiment via the congenial setting aboard his tour bus.

For any other columnist such an offer would be the opportunity of a lifetime to write a historic report that would launch the writer into the level of columnist super-star and probably produce a book deal, but because she has published several books and has a steady gig on the New York Time roster of Op-Ed Page pundits, it seems that she has not opted for a carpe diem response the offer.

She might even get an entire column’s worth of information by asking him what honky-tonk habitués think of sucker punches and any link to America’s foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the World’s Laziest Journalist has to struggle with the attempt to come up with either a unique topic or new, logical, perceptive, and and/or insightful, comments on something that has escaped the notice of all the other columnists in the United States.

As September of 2014 was drawing to a close, we were considering writing a column about the death of James Dean or Banned Book week, but as they said in the Sixties, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

We know that these are disturbing times because recently we went to Half Price Books in Berkeley and learned that the Cliff Notes guides for both “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “On the Road,” are MIA from their list of available titles.

We had intended to write a sports oriented column urging the NFL to can Goodell and replace him with Donald Sterling, who is available for a management consultant gig in the sports world.

An oil company refining facility was bombed this week as part of the ISIS eradication program and that made us wonder if the price of gas would be increased in California this weekend with the destroyed targets in Syria being cited as the explanation.

One of the top reasons for living in Berkeley is the fact that it provides the best used book shopping experience this side of Book Row of America and we fully intend to write a column on that topic . . . some day.

After getting a bargain basement copy of “The Road Movie Book,” we intended to do a review full of lavish praise because it was knowledgeable about a topic we appreciate and because it hipped us to the film “Wild Boys of the Road,” which preceded “Easy Rider,” by almost four decades. We had just acquired a copy of “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls,” by Peter Biskind, and thought that could be the keystone for a great column.

Someday we’ll do a column on possibility that Obama is a Judas goat leading the Democrats to acceptance of the restoration of the Bush Dynasty via JEB as the Republican nominee to succeed him.

Speaking of Berkeley, we note that naked dating and naked survival shows became big topic on TV this summer and since it seems like the next step will be naked interview shows and since the San Francisco Bay Area has one such show, “My Naked Truth TV,” with Gypsy Taub, there might be a great opportunity to go on the show and do a gonzo punditry column answering the “what were you thinking” question about that experience. We’ll work on that.

Will Bruce Springsteen’s first Social Security check arrive soon?

The Sunday morning gab-fests are big on promising analysis and critical evaluation of the news for the week, but then they usually just state the facts and let it go without actually doing any bit of delivering an authentic heads up bit of forecasting.

Has any pundit bothered to note that the challenge facing Obama is very similar to the situation that most historians say was the crucial turning point in WWII?

Hitler conquered a great deal of territory and occupied Paris by the summer of 1940. He then started an extensive bombing campaign against Great Britain but balked when it came time to implement Operation Sea Lion which would have put boots on the ground in England. Pundits, spokespersons, and others skip blithely over any questions about how Obama plans to do what Hitler couldn’t.

All of Hitler’s military advisors have urged him to put the boots on the ground. Obama’s military advisors seem to be taking the same position about the futility of trying to use remote control drones to dominate a reluctant enemy.

We might not be the first pundit to compare the two but we will never get an invitation to ride on Willie Nelson’s tour bus and so we have to languish in obscurity and continue our pathetic efforts such as going to this year’s installment of the SuperHero Street Fair (Google hint: superherosf dot com) take some photos and then deal with extreme envy when we read what some Senator’s aid said to the highly paid columnists working in Washington D. C.

Isn’t assuming that the drone strikes will continue for the time being and that the ISIS forces will never make a retaliation strike inside the United States similar to assuming that your favorite baseball team will play four perfect no-hitter shutout games to win the World Series next month?

Some old West wisdom will serve as our quote of the week: “Shoot first; ask questions later.”

We asked the disk jockey to rustle up the best bar room brawl songs and so he will play: Sweet’s “Ball Room Blitz,” Johnny Paycheck’s “Colorado Kool-Aid, and Bobby Bare’s “The Winner.” We have to go see “Last Days in Vietnam.” Have a “Spalpeen” type week.

crop of Berekely political humor

March 7, 2014

Unexpected Help for an existentialist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:23 pm

A strongly held conviction that is only an opinion can liven up an online comments section and if the idea being endorsed seems to others to be a symptom of insanity, it can lead to a rugged challenge for the person who stands alone against the entire world.  Scientists managed to convince most people that Galileo was right about the world circling the sun and that the opposite explanation that the sun revolved around the world was wrong.  The scientists aren’t doing as well convincing the man in the street to endorse the theory about global warming.  Galileo serves as the patron saint for people who fervently believe that the Bush Dynasty will be reactivated after the next Presidential Election in 2016.

Saturday March1, 2014, seemed like it was going to be a day like any other day filled with skepticism and ridicule for any pundit who dared to offer an extreme prediction about the results of the 2016 Presidential Election in the USA.  Getting just one person to endorse an outrageously illogical opinion that causes people to question your sanity seemed like a long shot.  If the Pope had endorsed Galileo’s nutty theory, it would have made life a whole lot easier for the fellow who didn’t know when to shut up.

The first day of March in 2014 seemed destined to become an unforgettable day filled with those events which alter and illuminate modern history because Vladimir Putin was making it obvious to the world that he was going to disregard the American President’s opinion about the advisability of interfering in internal politics of the Ukraine but Putin had the boys in the Russian legislature backing him on that move, so he wasn’t alone.

Wasn’t Putin just implementing a variation of the reasoning behind many previous similar events in history such as St. Ronald Reagan’s valiant effort to protect American Medical Students in Granada?  Don’t the Republicans endorse any attempt to replicate St. Reagan’s policy?

At the San Francisco History Expo, the Art Deco Society and the Treasure Island Museum both seemed to think that the 75th Anniversary of the opening of the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island will be of interest around the world.

The Museum showed some old movie footage that informed the audience, which might have forgotten the glamour and excitement generated by Pan Am’s China Clippers, that the airline which was not a decade old had subsidized the construction of way stations where their flying boats could land for rest and refueling on their route that (eventually) connected San Francisco with China.  That pioneering effort became a virtual commuter run during World War II and the fact that it had been established right before the outbreak of the hostilities between the United States and Japan was a very lucky coincidence for the Allied Nations.

Pan Am started up just as the Great (or as it used to be called: “Republican”) Depression started.  By 1935, they were not only asking aircraft production companies to develop new models for them, but they could also subsidize sending men and supplies to island all across the Pacific to build facilities for hotels and support stations for flying boats at a time when many businesses were struggling to show a profit.  Could Houdini have matched that phenomenal feat?

After seeing all the historical newsreel footage about the China Clippers, our appreciation for the concept of time travel was once again being honed to a fine edge.  Then we experienced a moment of skepticism.  Was it really a lucky coincidence?  We filed away an impulse to check with our sources at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory and see if they had any material that offered an alternative explanation for that the happy coincidence of having a shuttle route between the USA and China available after Pearl Harbor was attacked.  Was it more than just a coincidence?

[The New York Times reported the sudden death of Jackson Miss. Mayor Cholwe Uumumba on February 24, 2014, but after Hinds County Commissioner Kenneth Stokes called for an autopsy and Louis Farrakhan offered to pay for it, the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is evaluating the potential for having the R&D Department formulate an explanation for the unexpected death.]

Wild speculation couched in a conspiracy theory has no place in serious history books but, like horoscopes in the daily newspaper, it does provide a modicum of entertainment value for a columnist working the pop culture beat.

We learned from the American Printing History Association (Google hint:  Printing History dot Org) that a summer course for the operation of linotype machines is available and we thought taking that course might provide us with a good column topic in the coming summer.

Seeing Emperor Norton (wouldn’t he be about two hundred years old?) at the History Expo made us wonder about the potential doing an interview and column because he is almost as synonymous with San Francisco as Herb Caen was.

After our material gathering expedition to Fog City, we stopped at the Berkeley Public Library and during a brief online check (“round up the usual suspects”) we discovered that we where no longer the only person in the world who thinks that John Edward Bush (J. E. B.) will become the Republican candidate for President in 2016.  Sure enough, on page one of the Week in Review Section of the Sunday New York Times for March 2, 2014, there was the headline warning the readers to brace themselves for a battle between Hilary Clinton and the Bush Dynasty’s heir apparent, Jeb Bush.

Some skeptics might think that somehow the World’s Laziest Journalist got an advanced peek at the New York Times’ columnist’s copy and rushed to post our column posted on Friday February 28 and the only defense we can offer is to make the assertion that we had been banished from a prestigious website several years ago for making the JEB prediction too prematurely.

Do members of the New York Times newsroom sit around on Friday afternoons and pounce on each and every new installment of punditry from the World’s Laziest Journalist?  Let’s try an experiment.  One of our more obscure insights into world affairs make the assertion that if a reader holds a photo of Howard Hughes next to a photo of the Ayatollah Rohollah Khomeini, material for a marvelous scoop will become obvious.

Now, if a writer for the Great Gray Lady hands in a column making the “has anyone noticed that Clark Kent is never around when Superman shows up?” type assertion about the image experiment; then we will have much more circumstantial evidence to support our “Friday afternoon” assertions.

Back in the day when a national TV network ran afternoon movies, we saw one that featured a fellow who faced a big dilemma.  He had to tell the magic fairy which of two potential spells she should cast on his girlfriend.  She would either become an ugly hag when they were alone and be seen as the most beautiful woman in the world when they were in public or she would be the most beautiful woman in the world when they were together in isolation but would be perceived as an ugly hag when they went out into society.  Yikes!  That could be a problem at the local pub, eh?

We have never been able to ascertain the title of that motion picture but it, in turn, provided us with a similar tough binary choice:  would a writer prefer to have hundreds of thousands of voters read his political punditry or would he tell the magic fairy to give him a very limited audience that included a Vice President who was a former classmate and about a hundred nationally known pundits?  What’s not to love about having a lock on the right to the claim to be “the pundit other pundits read first!”?

Some skeptical friends have cried “Coincidence!” when we pointed out to them that we have run items (such as a mention of smoking bath salts) and subsequently seen a front page article in a Sunday edition of the New York Times about that very topic.

We have often wondered why the topic of slap art isn’t being mentioned in the mainstream media, so if we announce our intention to cover the Slapocalypse 3 event on March 29 in Oakland, and if a certain daily newspaper headquartered in New York City does a feature story about it, we get to ask: “How many coincidences does it take to verify a trend-spotting hunch?”

[Note from the Photo Editor:  The columnist went to the San Francisco History Expo and some snapshots of Emperor Norton was the best he could do.]

Hitler said:  “The man who feels called upon to govern a people has no right to say, If you want me or summon me, I will cooperate.  No, it is his duty to step forward.”  Republicans will make sure J. E. B. reads this, eh?

Now, the disk jockey will play Harry Belafonte’s “Banana boat song,” Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen tons,” and Adele Dazeem’s exquisite rendering of “Let it go.”  We have to go fact check the rumor that Ahmed Chalabi is masquerading as a political consultant going by the name of Paul Manafort. Have a “I gets weary” type week.

July 26, 2013

Hilary vs. JEB 2016 race “too close to call”

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

Oakland mayor Jean Quan addresses a Zimmerman verdict protest demonstration on Saturday July 20, 2013.

[<B> Note:  The legal department insisted that this column be clearly labeled as a work of fiction and attempt at achieving humor so that it would be exempted from the ministrations of a member of the fact checkers’ union.</B>]

Since JEB Bush and Hillary Clinton both have such a commanding lead in the mad scramble for their respective party’s Presidential nomination, the World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization conducted some polling to asses the likely winner of the (hypothetical?) expected 2016 match-up and have determined that the race is, at this point, too close to call.

Mrs. Clinton, a former Little Rock Arkansas housewife, became known during Obama’s Second Term for her efforts to establish a political strategy consulting firm in Washington D. C.  Then she decided to become her own top client and run for President.

JEB Bush, who has been Governor of Florida, is a recognized authority on academic matters and he runs a Journalism consulting firm which lists Fox as its top client.  He also has been a top military advisor for the fellow who occupied the White House before the Obama Recession devastated the American economy.  JEB, before he entered politics in Florida, was a famous musician who might be best known as a pioneer in the mariachi surf sound because of his no. one hits “Swimming to Miami,” “Alligators in El Paso,” and “Deficit wipeout!”

Speaking of Florida’s and America’s political future, the Astrology desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization is predicting that Congressman George Zimmerman, who was a famous crime fighter before he entered politics, will win reelection to a second term in the 2016 general elections.

Conspiracy Theory aficionados are speculating about the possibility that an investigation is needed regarding their suspicion that a bit of a combination psy-ops and jury tampering might have occurred in conjunction with the George Zimmerman acquittal.

Liz Cheney has upset some Republicans by announcing that she would like to run for the Senate from Wyoming.  When her father suddenly announced that he had concluded that the best running mate for George W. Bush should be Dick Cheney some curmudgeonly Democrats objected because the rules specifically state that the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate can not be from the same state.  Dubya was a Texan and the Dickster was living in Texas, but when the objections were raised . . . faster than you can say “Poof be gone!,” Dick Cheney was suddenly a Wyoming resident.  Why shouldn’t the same magical logic apply to his daughter?

Speaking of forgotten past news items, this week in San Francisco a bicyclist was charged with vehicular manslaughter and the case was being described as a first.  Wasn’t there a pedestrian killed by a bicyclist on Ocean Front Walk at the Venice Beach back about 1978 or 79?  Didn’t the AP move a photo on the wire (at least for a regional split) of a related protest?

Did anyone else notice that in the last full week of July 2013, both the Uncle Rushbo and the Norman Goldman/Mike Malloy factions of talk radio seemed (cue the Hallelujah Chorus song) to be in agreement about one thing:  Americans don’t care about the birth of a kid who might be the King of England 65 years from today.  Heck the American media seems this week to be ignoring the trials and tribulations for one of Michael Jackson’s kids.  Back in the day couldn’t he make world headlines by holding his kid over the edge of a balcony.  Are news editors that fickle?

The Armstrong and Getty radio show criticized CBS Evening News for using the royal birth as a lead item.  Apparently the CBS news team doesn’t care about the fact that Iraq has been determined to be in a state of Civil War (should the USA send troops?) and that Syria’s Civil War may also need some American troops.  It’s as if CBS had sent a guy to cover the Battle of Britain and he sent back a report about how the Princess was handing out candy bars in an air raid shelter.  Wouldn’t CBS have wanted something more hard news-ish?   One day soon, won’t the “Peace in our time” era be celebrating its 75th anniversary?

This weeks news story about another accident involving an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico reminds us that we have intended to write to the Columbia Journalism Review and ask them if the continuing series of ads proclaiming that British Petroleum has helped the Gulf area return to normal, which accompany the CBS Evening News Broadcasts seen in the San Francisco Bay area are seen in the same context around the USA and does that constitute a conflict of interest?  If the phrase Ethics in Journalism isn’t an oxymoron, then could the folks that teach journalism consider the BP ads an example of applying the “hide in plain sight” principle to the concept of bribery?

Should the Columbia Journalism Review call CBS out for a conflict of interest?  Maybe we’ll send the URL for this column to the editor of that publication and ask about that.

Was there any other criticism this week of CBS Evening New that we missed?

Private Eye, a publication in Great Britain, epitomized the prevalent opinion for most Americans with their headline:  “Woman has baby.”

We have heard an unconfirmed report that the folks who participated in the Occupy movement are planning on having a reunion in Kalamazoo soon.  Our reaction to that was to suggest that a famous Kalamazoo resident should come out of retirement and help them with a benefit concert.

Isn’t the “Elvis isn’t dead” exhibit in the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory’s Hall of Fame a perennial favorite with the tourists who are granted the rare privilege of a tour of the facility’s campus?

Why is there so much secrecy surrounding the annual “Conspiracy Theory of the Year” award ceremony?

Some dismal Democrats are asserting that Detroit’s bankruptcy ploy is a shameful attempt to destroy the pensions for people who worked for that city all their lives.  The Democrats say destroying lives and stealing pension funds as if that were bad.  In a country with a large contingent of homeless citizens, isn’t it appropriate to have voters’ attention focused on a city full of empty and abandoned homes?

If a Republican politician is caught in a sex scandal he can just ignore it and win reelection, but if a Democrat is accused, an immediate resignation becomes a matter of national honor.

The drugs in baseball scandal seems to be a news story on steroids and it won’t go away.

The stalled bridge story in the San Francisco Bay area might win national attention if some New York based editors ever stop to think that perhaps the crumbling interstructure meme has gone to the extreme and the West Coast Oakland Bay Bridge stall out story may soon be used to exemplify the idea that America is now building new bridges that are already unsafe the day they are opened.

We have been reading some political history and apparently up until 1946 the Thirties were called The Republican Depression.  After the end of WWII, the Republicans renamed it the Great Depression and folks like Dick Nixon won elections in large numbers.  The communist hunting California congressman won his seat in Congress in a district that had been home to a fellow who had scored high on the liberal side of the conservative vs. liberal measurement scale.  See how well a good bit of spin can work?

In a week where the bitching about the NSA surveillance of e-mails and phone calls was seeping into some Republican talking points, no one suggested that if the snooping is as good as its proponents say it is, then perhaps the NSA will finally be able to figure out who made huge profits on the short sale of airline stocks at the time the World Trade Center was attacked.

It seems like the World’s Laziest Journalist will, once again this year, miss the Hemingway Days festivities in Key West.

[Note from the photo editor:  There were a good number of historic photo opportunities happening lately but getting some photos of a rally that protested the verdict in the George Zimmerman trail was the only event we were able to attend and photograph, hence our ability to select the best frame to accompany this column was a bit limited.  We did the best we could with the resources we had.]

Anton Chekhov has been quoted as saying:  “The word “newspaper-writer” means, at very least, a scoundrel.”

For no particular reason the disk jockey wanted to play us out with songs about drinking in Mexico so he will play Heino’s song “In einer Bar in Mexico,” Marty Robin’s “El Paso,” and Waylon and Willies’ “Clean Shirt.”  We have to go celebrate Mick Jagger’s 70th birthday.  Have a “get off my cloud” type week.

March 15, 2013

Citizen Journalism for fun, fame, and fortune

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:34 pm

The St. Patrick’s Day weekend of 2013 is the perfect time for a pundit with Irish heritage to score a scoop from the grounds of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory.  After spotting some white smoke coming from the chimney for the ACTF conference center, we learned that they have determined that JEB Bush is the front runner for becoming the 2016 Republican Party’s Presidential nominee.

Folks who believe that the Bush Dynasty brand had been irrevocably damaged by the Dubya term in the White House haven’t been paying attention to the fact that President Obama has retroactively approved George W. Bush’s war crimes, profligate spending, torture and executions without a trail and therefore has granted Dubya and the Republican Party full unconditional absolution which, in turn, provides a level playing field for JEB to make an unfettered run for his party’s nomination.

The stealth magnanimous gesture by President Obama has rendered the 2016 election to the tabla rosa level as far as the list of issues is concerned and that will give the Republicans the option (which they always covet greatly) of framing the debate by virtue of the fact that the lame duck incumbent will be ignored by the media as far as picking the election issues is concerned.

If the media fawn over the Republican frontrunner for the next three and a half years, and he also happens to be a member of the Bush family, there should not be any residual bad karma attached to the name by the time the unhackable electronic voting machines produce the new President via unverifiable results.  (Does using the phrases “Bush family” and “unhackable electronic voting machines” and the words karma and unverifiable in the same sentence offend conservatives?  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

Isn’t it so convenient that the election of the new Pope is diverting attention away from the rapidly approaching debt ceiling deadline?  Next week, won’t March Madness be the next diversion?

America’s voters are being conditioned to rely on one Democrat’s quote balanced by a Republican’s sound byte as qualifying as a legitimate example of the fulfillment of the free press’ mission of providing the facts that the voters will need to make an informed choice at the polls.

The skeptics who think that citizen journalists will get access to the inner workings of a particular politician’s strategic planning may not be aware of the possibility of the existence in the mainstream media of some good old fashioned horse trading in the guise of providing scoops and “exclusive” interviews as payment for unquestioningly participating in a bucket brigade style propaganda machine.

If (subjunctive mood) media stars are obliged to provide glowing reports on a politicians work in return for some puny scoops, how can a citizen journalist possibly get access to the politicians?

Are any of he media stars confronting Republicans and asking if they are participating in a de facto sit down strike?

Are any of Britain’s top star journalists asking questions about the Queen’s health?  Are they hacking her e-mails?

Will any media star ask Pope Frank about his program for handling the priests caught with their hand in the cookie jar (so to speak as it were).

Will interviews with starving families that end in crying provide anything other than propaganda value?

If the XL Pipeline is a ticking toxic time bomb, will the media play their cheerleader role if polls show that voters don’t believe the hogwash propaganda about jobs and energy independence?

If the voters of California are indifferent, at best, to the need for a bullet train, why are politicians, coping with austerity budgets, continuing to authorize funds for this boondoggle?  Didn’t St. Ronald Reagan explain that forty years ago when the governor with White House aspirations said:  “If you’ve seen one redwood tree; you’ve seen them all.”

Will any of journalism’s super stars have the chutzpah to ask question about the fact that tax payers’ money will have to be used to cover the shortfall of funds necessary for the rich boys to hold the boating races on San Francisco Bay later this year?

Do any journalists ask any of the members of the Supreme Court of the United States to elaborate on their partisan decisions?  Do any of the media stars covering SCOTUS do anything but rewrite news releases from the Courts’ spokesman?

What happened when Bradley Manning went to the New York Times and the Washington Post and offered them evidence that the USA was cutting corners with regard to being “the good guys” team in both the Invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan?

If media stars believe that “ya got to go along to get along,” and live that lifestyle, how will citizen journalists manage to outmaneuver the pros who have immediate access to all the news makers?

The possibility of fun, fame, and fortune are given as the motivating factors for inspiring altruistic efforts for providing a viable alternative to the work of media stars.  The Internets stars are the people who have a gigantic amount of publicity thanks to their association with major media companies.  Newcomers who “don’t play ball” will be trashed as conspiracy theory lunatics if they dare to offer some new points of view.  So scratch fame off the list.  The media that get unquestioned obedience from their stars aren’t going to hire a rookie and hope that they aren’t “high maintenance employees,” so scratch that off the list.  That leaves only fun.

Anyone who is not of Irish heritage will never understand how or why a columnist would get any fun out of naming JEB Bush the Republican frontrunner in March of 2013.  Media stars won’t “second the motion” because they are expected to build suspense and expectations for the contest that will be decided by the unverifiable results produced by “unhackable” electronic voting machines.

If, for example, if some ads on some buses in San Francisco spawn a lively debate about freedom of speech over the meaning of the word “jihad,” and if a columnist is the first to bring that dispute to his audience’s attention, then the Managing Editor (ME) might be disposed to be tolerant of other more frivolous items.

In an era when the staffs at various media have been reduced greatly because of austerity budgets, a citizen columnist might (just might mind you) manage to be the first to bring this to the attention of readers outside the Bay Area.

If the San Francisco street car company starts in March to use a trolly car from Brighton England that has a top that folds away like a convertible car’s top does, at a time when the rest of the USA is struggling with an excess of snow, that might catch the attention of readers who are tired of shoveling the snow off their sidewalks, and it just might catch the attention of the assignment editors for other websites (such as Jalopnik or the Huffington Post?), but the bottom line is that at best it will provide a columnist with an example of a unique attraction in a city that is rife with items to amuse and entertain tourists.

If the CBS Evening News staff wants to drop a subtle hint that Global Warming might be a valid concept, they could run some video of the tourists on that street car enjoying summer weather in March but if Fox doesn’t want to acknowledge that the “scientists” are on to something, they will just ignore the feature story potential for the vehicle that Brits might call a drophead trolley car.

Radio talk show host Randi Rhodes thought that Pope Frank looks like a dead ringer for her mentor Neil Rogers.  We concur.  On Thursday March 14, 2013, she played a bleep filled explanation by George Carlin of the current political stalemate.

Is there an audience for unique insights?  Why did two conservative Bay Area talk show hosts find the preemptive prison sentence for a thought crime by the cannibal cop caused them some horripulation (goose bumps) but the Invasion of Iraq has not yet caused them any retroactive regrets?  Is Double think regarding crimethink, an example of an oxymoron?

Conservative media stars can’t admit that Dubya’s belligerent foreign policy was questionable and the liberal talk show folks can’t criticize the cannibal cop’s conviction because they don’t want to sound like they are sympathetic to the efforts of a Hannibal Lector wannabe.  So neither group will be permitted to see any basis for a comparison and it will be up to a rogue columnist to point out the similarities.  Dubya did not commit crimethink; the cop did.

The Invasion of Iraq was OK because Dubya thought they had WMD’s, but the cannibal cop gets convicted of a crime he obviously intended to commit and that wasn’t OK.  Did any pundit call the cannibal cop’s offense an example of “crimethink”?

George Orwell, in “1984,” wrote:  “Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

Now the disk jockey will play John Wayne singing “Wild Colonial Boy” (from the “Quiet Man”), Mick Jagger singing “Wild Colonial Boy” (from “Ned Kelley”), the Pogue’s (what do they have to do with St. Patrick’s Day?) album “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash,” and memorial playings of the first “Yes” album featuring Peter Banks on guitar and Iron Maiden’s album “The Number of the Beast” featuring Clive Burr on drums.  We have to go buy some more Girl Scout cookies.  Have a “Pogue Mahone” type week.

November 30, 2012

Has the 2016 Election become a horse race?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 2:37 pm

America’s journey to Election Day 2016 began with a single step in the form of a front page article in the New York Times on November 23, 2012, which effectively anointed JEB Bush as the Republican frontrunner.  Since the World’s Laziest Journalist rarely gets news tips and doesn’t have well placed sources who will provide him with newsworthy inside information such as we read in a recent Tom Hartman column that described some astounding chicanery used by Richard Nixon in his second bid for the Presidency in 1968, we will have to continue relying on our usual modus   operandi of occasionally attempting to point out the obvious in the “naked emperor” manner, ridiculing pomposity, while mixing in some obscure facts and names (which we call Google bait), and pop culture references, as a way to inform and entertain the regular readers while simultaneously conducting the search for topics which we (occasionally) manage to find before the mainstream media does.

For those who doubt that there are any “naked emperor” stories that journalists in America haven’t explored fully, we would ask: Why haven’t they asked these questions?:

Why did George W. Bush get a pass on Questions (Building 7, the vanished airplane wreckage near in and near the Pentagon, and the mysterious entities who profited from short sales of airline stocks) regarding Sept. 11, while President Obama is being held accountable for a full and immediate explanation of what happened in Benghazi?

Why did the press sit silent when George W. Bush expanded Presidential powers yet they join the chorus denouncing it when the Egyptian President makes a power grab?

Now that voices from the left are virtually extinct, where are the howls of outrage about the “liberal media”?  In a country that says it values free speech, shouldn’t there be patriots asking: Where did it go?

Was coach John Madden serious when he suggested on his KCBS radio show that it was a good idea to slather mayonnaise on a peanut butter sandwich?

It is a bit too early for a rogue pundit to start assessing the likelihood of a 2016 contest between Hilary and JEB that will be compared to a horse race, so we will try to find some interesting and entertaining topics that are available to a pundit without “reliable sources” and let the mainstream media report the latest poll results.

On Black Friday, we encountered five young guys from Belgium whose quest for adventure had brought them to San Francisco.  They were part of a group of artists calling themselves Harmony Street (which has a Facebook page) and they were selling hand made post cards to augment their finances to sustain their “on the road” lifestyle.  If we run an item about the San Francisco phase of their journey in one of our columns, isn’t it likely that several of their friends back home will be sent some links which will provide an infinitesimally small bump in the total number of hits?

Later that same day we encountered a young man from San Diego who was interviewing people about their assessment of the annual deluge of holiday films.  We told him that we personally were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the film version of “On the Road.”  We managed to give him our opinion without having to forfeit our record of keeping the Internets clear of images of our face.  To see it, click this link:

If a blogger can be considered a “digital Kerouac, then we have a reason to mention that postings have resumed on the blog that describes the “on the road” facet of life for “the Hitzels</a>.”

The road to the next Presidential Election Day is littered with hazards but there is one possibility that all political pundits both conservative and liberal are completely (until earlier this week) discounting:  what if the Republicans want to drive the economy off the fiscal cliff?  (Who will be the first pundit to compare the political showdown for the fiscal cliff to the game of chicken sequence in the film “Rebel without a Cause”?)

The Liberal pundits can not conceive of choosing to make that move so they use the psychological phenomenon called projection to assume that since they wouldn’t do that, then neither would the conservatives.

It would take a fair amount of work to write a column suggesting that the “please don’t throw me in the briar patch” strategy (from the Uncle Remos stories about B’rer Rabbit) might be lurking in the Republican leaders’ minds and neither liberals nor conservatives would give such a column serious consideration, so scratch that idea . . . but if that’s exactly what does happen don’t blame the World’s Laziest Journalist for not writing a tip-off alert column.

On Black Friday, we went to the Union Square in San Francisco to see how the convention of shoppers, political activists of the animal rights variety, protesters, office workers, tourists, police, and journalists was going.  The contingent of police was augmented by mounted patrolmen who were riding horses wearing badges and Santa hats.

After a referendum in Berkeley CA to enact a sit-lie law was narrowly defeated, Mayor Tom Bates brought up a variation of the issue of who should sit where by requesting that the seating chart for the city council be adjusted so that his colleague and political opponent councilman Kris Worthington would not be sitting next to the Mayor.

When the local web site Berkeleyside asked the Mayor why, his quick quip answer (“So I don’t strangle him.”) brought renewed intensive journalistic scrutiny to the Berkeley City Council.  Mayor Bates told a local TV crew “It was just a joke!”

In the Go-go era, would an independent citizen journalist have been able to report the possibility for an ecological disaster because of the gold mining efforts in the Pascua Lama area before the BBC ran a similar item about that business story from South America?

What about beating the New York Times with mentions of the 1939 BMW replica motorcycle, smoking bath salts, and pointing out that the opening statement by the lead American prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials crippled the Bush supporters “he didn’t know” argument?  Do they count as “scoops”?

The famous, fictional San Francisco cop, Dirty Harry (Cling Eastwood) said:  “A man’s got to know his limitations.”  In the new era of overextended news staffs, rogue pundits who report information which will appeal to liberals has got to expect that conservatives will disparage any items that don’t fit the conservatives’ narrative and they will marginalize any such independent commentators.

Could the Myth Busters TV program be plotting an expose that makes the assertion that the World’s Laziest Journalist works very hard to maintain his laid-back, happy-go-lucky ersatz Gonzo style of column writing?

The conservative critics who think that the über-cynical World’s Laziest Journalist is being led astray on his path to an eternal reward will be glad to learn that he has been provided with an autographed copy of “Turtle on the Fencepost:  Finding Faith through Doubt” (Richard B. Patterson Liguori Publications) and will read every word of it.

Back when Sean Connery was slipping into the role of James Bond and the Rolling Stones were trying to land a deal with a recording company, we were trying to improvise a plan that would deliver a life consisting of: meeting interesting people, seeing interesting sights, and witnessing interesting events.  As this column was being written CBS radio news ran an item noting that the film “Casablanca” opened on November 26, 1942, and we were delighted to realize that would give us plenty of conversational opportunities to resort to this comment:  “I’ve been to Casablanca and I’ve been to Paris – I prefer Paris.”  Sometime between now and the 2016 Election Day, we will write a column that will go under the headline:  “Raspberries, Jim Morrison’s grave, and the missing sewer tour.”

The road to the 2016 Presidential Election will be a tough slog so why should a freelance pundit bother to make that journey?  Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream offer bumper stickers that advise “If it isn’t fun, why do it?”  According to the philosophy of Ben and Jerry and the guiding principles of Gonzo Journalism, if it looks like fun then have at it.

Robert Louis Stevenson, in “An Inland Voyage,” wrote:  “To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.”

Now the disk jockey will play Dave Dudley’s “Six Days on the Road,” the Beatles’ “Long and Winding Road,” and Johnny Cash’s “I’ve been everywhere.”  We have to go and prepare to attend the “Winter Pow Wow.”   Have a “Why do we do this, Buzz?” type week.

August 2, 2012

Mitt-fil-A — Is He Done Yet?


April 16, 2012

GOP Elite: Checkers or Chess?


April 13, 2012

“Howl” again?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:57 pm

Daniel Macchiarini holds a manuscript copy of The History of The Place
“Howl” was read from this balcony which is now a storage area for a boutique on Grant St. in San Francisco.

[WARNING: This column has been found to contain trace elements of irony.]

The corporatization of the Internets has meant that unique voices must be marginalized into extinction because of the “there is no I in the word ‘team’” philosophy that has become mandatory for all Americans now that corporations are persons. Any individual who thinks he has the same rights and freedoms as a corporation (for example British Petroleum) has a lesson in the meaning of equality in contemporary American culture to learn.

Leaving workers feeling like they are beat when they lose their home to a bank via foreclosure may not be a new phenomenon. Their howls of protest may hearken back to some previous more poetic rebellions.

Back in the Sixties, Playboy magazine published a cartoon (by Shel Silverstein?) showing a line of hippies stretching back to the horizon all carrying the same sign which urged: “Protest the rising tide of conformity!” The Sixties are over and the Establishment has won. Good patriotic Americans must become vigilant and ever alert to help immediately stifle any possible examples of nonconformity.

It took some time but Nixon and California Governor Reagan have been vindicated and American Presidents are no longer shackled if Walter Cronkite is not enthusiastic about the potential of victory in the latest American military venture.

When the Republican National Convention starts in Tampa, and the town is swamped with hippies protesting the War in Vietnam (or whatever) we wonder if the mayor will urge patriotic citizens to circle the venue with a wall of human shields (as the Liberals wanted to do to protect Saddam Hussein) and urge them to stand their ground and not let the protesters get near the entrance, let alone onto the convention floor.

The fact that conservative talk radio has become almost all pervasive in the talk radio area may mean the death knell for the Beat Generation. The progressive radio station in the San Francisco area has started carrying Glen Beck during the morning commute drive time and has pushed Mike Malloy’s three hour shows into the 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. time slot. During the day you will hear ads from a web site that offers to help listeners make the right choice about which guns to buy.

After writing a suggestion pointing out the opportunity for a fund raising effort to help Americans who have lost their homes in foreclosure, we noticed recently that a web based effort titled Home Aid will be conducted this fall.

The Democratic candidates want to focus attention on the economy and fair taxation for the Presidential election. The Republicans traditionally prefer to use issues less complex than the allocation of tax benefits and restrictions on services offered by banks, hence they prefer to select other issues that are easier for the less educated to understand, such as racial prejudice. While President Obama is busy giving speeches urging changes that would mean millionaires pay the same rate of taxes as their secretaries do, news broadcasts were headlining a Florida shooting.

Could it possibly be that the compassionate, Christian conservatives’ prayers have been answered? Would the Republicans reap any political benefit from delaying a trial for George Zimmerman until October? Would American voters let a racially motivated murder have an effect on their ballot choices? Will conservative pundits be disingenuous about admitting that concentrating news coverage on such a trial might be a variation of the Willie Horton effect? Will the final verdict be as controversial as the acquittal of OJ? Will future political historians assert that the Zimmerman trial had an effect on the Presidential Election?

Will conservatives use the George Zimmerman case to establish a reverse version of jury nullification and call it jury validation of the stand your ground laws? We should know the answer to that question by Election Day.

Some liberals tend to think that if they don’t mention the possibility of such a coordinated Republican strategy, then it won’t happen. We tend to think of the “let’s not talk about that” philosophy as being an integral part of the conservative game plan and so we bring up some uncomfortable parallels as a way of providing spoiler information so that the Democratic Party officials can make plans to counter such a gambit, rather than playing along and ignoring the elephant (GOP symbol alert!) in the room.

Is it naïve to think that America’s Free Press will go along to get along and deliberately shape or avoid news coverage that might favor one party over the other?

The Huffington Post French Edition ran a story last week about an accident at the Penly nuclear plant in France. We did a Google New Search and learned that Bloomsberg was reporting that the fires had been extinguished. Did you happen to see any reports on that bit of news anywhere else in American owned and controlled media?

If you have not become informed about this story is that because of the dumbing down of American Journalism or is it because the corporations that promote the use of nuclear power have the right to be free from any pesky protests that might be inspired by such irrelevant information? Don’t the rights of those persons (corporations) trump your puny personal rights to criticize how they run their businesses? Keep your hands off our nuclear reactors!

After learning that Jack Kerouac’s first book length manuscript has just been published with the title “The Sea is my brother,” we decided to go on the Internets and look up the location for the Beatnik bar that was named “The Place.” We tried putting the words in quotes and adding the words Beatnik and Kerouac. The results produced an avalanche of irrelevant links.

On Saturday, April 7, 2012, we decided that it would be easier to hop on an AC Transit bus and go to San Francisco and get that bit of information. We peeked in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s guide book “The Beats in San Francisco,” while we were in City Lights Bookstore but failed to note that our goal was within walking distance.

By Wednesday, April 11, 2012, we had consulted the Google maps online and returned to the North Beach area of San Francisco to take some photos of the site where The Place used to be. We learned that the business next door down, Macchirini’s Designs has been owned and operated by the same family since before the Beat writers arrived in the area.

Daniel Macchirini was delighted to hear that the new book, “jubilee hitchhiker,” by William Hjortsberg corroborates the information in an obscure book that tells the history of “The Place” and that the poem Howl was read in public at The Place before it supposedly debuted at a poetry reading at the 6 Gallery. Macchirini showed us his copy of the copyrighted manuscript for the history of the famed Beat bar called “The Place.”

[Note: since this columnist did not have photo pass access to the President’s speeches this week, nor did he have a chance to take any news photos of legal proceedings in Stanford Florida, the photo editor will have to use some photos from the North Beach Beatnik area of San Francisco, taken on Wednesday, as illustrations for this column. Doesn’t the current philosophy of the Internets hold that any image with a tenuous link to the content is better than no photo at all?]

The R & D Department at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is working around the clock to come up with a plausible explanation for how the JEB team will deliver the nomination to their chosen one despite the unexpected departure of Rick Santorum from the list of active candidates earlier this week and the rapidly disappearing opportunity for a deadlocked National Republican Convention.

Isn’t thinking that JEB could still be handed the nomination just as absurd as thinking that a President could usurp the Congressional power to declare war and lead the USA into a war with Iraq just to settle an old score that was part of an International family feud?

What’s the worst that could happen? Won’t the well informed voters use the electronic voting machines with no means of verifying the results to prevent any possible political disaster if by some miracle JEB becomes the Republican nominee?

Didn’t Jack Kerouac say that if he had been registered to vote, he would have voted for Eisenhower in 1956? Didn’t Kerouac support the troops in Vietnam? Didn’t Kerouac prefer William F. Buckley Jr.’s political views and denounce his friend Alan Ginsberg for being pro-Commie? Here is a hypothetical question: Would Kerouac vote for JEB?
Is America becoming immune to the need for analyzing? Was part of this week’s entertainment news about the selection of an actor who is over forty to play a musician who died when he was 28?

In 1938, Mao Tse-tung said: “Our Principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.” He was not a Republican, that’s for sure.

Now the disk jockey will play Chuck Barry’s “Wee Wee Hours” (It’s on the flip side of “Maybellene”), Pat Boone’s “Ain’t that a Shame,” and Elvis’ “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.” We have to go write a column for April 18, which will be National Columnists’ Day. Have a “real cool, daddy-o” type week.

March 30, 2012

Visions of Hjortsberg

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:24 pm

William Hjortsberg
Jack Kerouac Alley is adjacent to the City Lights Bookstore
The Vesuvius Cafe is mentioned in “jubilee hitchhiker.”

When William Hjortsberg started reading chapter twelve, “frisco,” from his new book “jubilee hitchhiker: the life and times of Richard Brautigan” (Counterpoint Berkeley hardback $42.50), and got to the lines about the role the City Lights bookstore played in the start of the Beat era in the city at the South end of the Golden Gate Bridge, it seemed rather appropriate to be hearing it with the audience in the poetry room of that very same bookstore.

In an era when perpetual growth, unlimited opportunity, and boundless optimism made it seem like America was driving a stake through the heart of poverty and that the starving artists of San Francisco were serving as artist proxies who would voluntarily submit themselves to the rigors of destitute living so that the middle class in the Eisenhower years would have some interesting and entertaining novels available to help amuse those who were enjoying the start of the era of infinite prosperity to know what life as a starving artist would be like rather than experiencing the American Dream firsthand.

The story of Richard Brautigan and a legion of others who would become the roster of celebrity artists who converged on San Francisco in the Fifties and Sixties has been fertile ground for almost all of the participants in the events that provided a gold rush opportunity for those luck enough to be there.

The World’s Laziest Journalist first heard Hjortsberg’s name when the mystery book sub-genre of vampire detectives became an obsession. Two decades ago, Hjortsberg’s books had become prized collectors’ items and so obtaining a copy of his “Falling Angel” became both a challenge and a necessity. Our quest led us to Vagabond books, back when they had a brick and mortar presence on Westwood Blvd., in Los Angeles. We asked if they had the book and they did. It was a mint condition copy. We balked at the price but mentioned how a New York Times review indicated that book was an outstanding example of the new sub-genre we were investigating. The clerk said: “Oh do you just want to read it?” We said yes and she scurried off and returned with a battered edition. It was just a “reader’s copy” and much less expensive.

That, in turn, led us to read several other Hjortsberg’s novels that were not about a vampire detective.

When we passed by the City Lights bookstore on Tuesday, March 20, and saw a flyer indicating that later in the week, Hjortsberg would be reading and signing his new book about Richard Brautigan. We decided that the event would be a twofer because we have also read some of Brautigan’s work.

Since our political punditry columns predicting that JEB will be the next President seems to upset both Liberals and Conservatives and since JEB endorsed Mitt Romney the next day, it seemed like the twofer reading and autograph party just might provide a timely and convenient opportunity to produce a column that veers away from partisan politics but still retains the right to be classified as news appropriate for use in the pop culture section.

The book was facetiously described as 50% a Brautigan biography, 50% a novel, and 50% Hjortsberg’s memoirs and that may sound like inaccurate mathematics until you see the gigantic book. The book could easily be described as an Encyclopedia of facts for fans of the Beat Generation.

The new book may revive the dormant debate about who precisely is and who is not a beatnik writer. Many of the authors mentioned in this new book are irrefutably classified as founding fathers of the Beat Generation. But some, like Brautigan, may not seem to qualify to be on the list.

One member of the audience at City Lights was a woman who was acting on behalf of her Brautigan fan husband who was out of town. One fellow came equipped with a large variety of Hjortsberg material to be signed by the author. He even had vintage copies of Playboy magazine with stories by Hjortsberg. The topic of writers’ autographs and getting books signed would provide enough material, such as the signed copies of the Philip K. Dick book that was published posthumously [signatures from his returned checks were pasted into numbered copies of the book], for an entire column.

Since Hjortsberg mentioned that James Crumley was among the vast array of writers that the author knew personally, we used that as an excuse to ask Hjortsberg during the Q and A segment of the evening a question that we had previously (at the Ocean Front Bookstore on the Venice Boardwalk) asked Crumley: “What is your favorite dive bar?” Hjortsberg responded by noting that his favorite bar in all the world did not qualify as a dive bar and that was the legendary McSorley’s Bar in New York City.

It turned out that Hjortsberg’s father owned a different bar in New York City. Later when Hjortsberg was signing copies of the new book, one member of the audience compared Brautigan unfavorably to Gene Sheppard and that caused Hjortsberg to elaborate on being influenced, as a kid, by the New York late night radio talk show hosted by Sheppard.

Luckily the massive book (Will it be compared to Boswell’s Life of Johnson? [It just was in the last sentence.]) has an Index and that will make it much easier for students of literature who want to read this new book as a source book for possible thesis material. Crumley’s name gets three pages listed and he appears in a caption in the selection of photos in the book. As best as we can recall, Crumley’s response to the question was a bar named “Mother’s” somewhere in Montana.

At this point, the fact that many of the beat writers used their own life experiences as the basis for their books, such as Brautigan did with “Willard and his bowling tropies,” caused this columnist to notice a distinct similarity to the “New Journalism” style of writing that emerged fifty years ago immediately following the Beat era. Where does the Beat style end and the New Journalism style begin? Will this new book provide fodder for a debate about that very topic?

Jack Kerouac wrote about one particular San Francisco poetry reading in 1955 in his book “The Dharma Bums.” Kerouac fictionalized the names of the participants in the actual poetry reading at the 6 Gallery. Kerouac also included some of the participants, Neal Cassady and Alan Ginsburg, with yet other fictionalized names, in his classic beat novel “On the Road.” Tom Wolfe, one of New Journalism’s founding fathers, wrote about the exploits of Neal Cassady in his work of nonfiction titled “The Electric Kool Aide Acid Test.”

When the line of those getting items autographed disappeared and we noticed that there was one copy of the new book left, we decided that it was time to start our Christmas gift shopping (Is this a manifestation of doubt concerning our claim that when JEB wins the November 2012 Presidential Election, we will do our Christmas shopping in Paris [France not Texas {should we put a visit to the town in Texas on our Bucket List?}]?) and buy the last copy and have it inscribed. (The recipient will never know we read it before giving it . . . unless they read this column and that’s not bloody well likely.)

Hjortsberg said that a great amount of material had been cut from the original manuscript to pare it down to the massive volume which was printed. During a period of skimming through the book, we encountered several topics which might warrant use as a subject for a full column in the near future, so we appreciated the challenge of the task of figuring out (as the song goes) “what to leave in and what to leave out.” If this new book becomes a runaway best seller, does that mean that sometime in the future Beatnik fans can clamor for a “director’s cut” edition which will be twice as big?

We noticed that many of the complaints of the poets and writers described in this new book sounded very familiar. That brought up a question for another potential column topic: Are the Occupy Protesters recycling the Beatnik’s criticism of “the Establishment”?

The Vesuvius Café, which is just across Jack Kerouac Alley from the City Lights bookstore, is mentioned in the book but not listed in the Index.

One of the passages Hjortsborg read described a Brautigan project that combined poems with plant seed packets “published” with the title “Plant this book.” Brautigan gave them away in the late Sixties and Hjortsborg said that ones in mint condidtion are now valued at a thousand dollars by collectors. This columnist lived in San Francisco in 1969, but we don’t know how valid our “oh yeah, I remember seeing that” memories are because this column’s closing quote is the current folk axiom: “If you can remember the Sixties; you weren’t really there.”

Now the disk jockey will play “The Age of Aquarius,” Country Joe’s “Fixin’ to die rag,” and “Big Bad Bruce” (that may have been a regional hit played only on San Francisco jukeboxes). We have to go and search for a way to exceed our life time best (in a letter to a high school classmate in Vietnam) of a quadruple end parentheses punctuation. Have a “solid!” type week.

March 25, 2012

Florida Justice


December 27, 2011

Will the Thane of Cawdor win the Iowa caucuses?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 2:04 pm

Christmas at Occupy San Francisco
Is that the local or the express?

Wanna race?

Political pundits will fill their annual New Year’s columns and broadcasts with grandiose pronouncements about the importance of the choices that voters will make during the Presidential election process in the USA in 2012. When JEB Bush gets the Republican Party nomination in Tampa Beach next summer, the upper echelon of the political punditry world will then be invited into the boss’ office and be given a choice of their next assignment. They can either be a part of the national dialogue that sheepishly concedes “Wow! Nobody saw that coming!” and write columns asserting that American voters have absolved the Bush family of any misdeeds, and will (like the return of the prodigal son) welcome them back to the White House, or they can clean out their desks and prepare themselves emotionally to do the necessary gonzo-journalism style research for a book titled “Living among the homeless of America.”

What reporter’s family wouldn’t become very emotional about the chance for the head of the house hold’s opportunity to become a word-slinger’s version of Dorothea Lang or Walker Evans who did epic pioneering photojournalism during the Great Depression?

Most will choose the former rather than the latter. (Didn’t Waylon Jennings sing a song with a line about climbing a ladder that leads to a hole in the ground?)

Any cynic will be quick to point out that there are always exceptions to the rule. Was George Orwell married when he did the “been there done that” aspect of the fact gathering process for his book “Down and Out in London and Paris”? Was Kerouac married when he went on the road with Neal Cassidy?

For any obscure blogger who just happened to start making predictions in 2010 about JEB Bush being the President-elect at Christmas time in 2012, the choices to be faced in 2013 will be different.

No! It won’t be which lucrative offer from the mainstream media to accept. Such an oracle will have to decide how to handle a tsunami of indifference. Obviously a year of “I-tried-to-warn-you” columns would be a major audience turn-off. Feigning surprise at something that the World’s Laziest Journalist has been predicting for two year would be more of a stretch than his lamentable acting ability could cover.

Obviously if the JEB prediction is spot-on, we’ll have earned the right to indulge in fun feature assignments; if we are wrong, a few dozen regular readers will be annoyed with our misplaced confidence in our predicting abilities. Either way there won’t be much of an effect on the stock market or the reader’s retirement funds.

So what sort of columns should a cynical pundit write during the last year on the Mayan Calendar?

The columnist’s quandary was brought into sharp focus during the recent holiday weekend because of several serendipity walkabouts in San Francisco. We discovered some marvelous feature material and also stumbled upon some noteworthy facets of the contemporary political maze.

On Friday, December 23, 2011, we chanced upon the Tenderloin National Park. On Christmas we took photos of a spaceport in San Francisco. A visit to the art installation titled “Defenestration” would produce some eye-catching images.

Obviously, we could weave some political commentary to accompany the photos of those noticeable urban visuals but at this point it seems redundant to dabble in clichés about the tumultuous scramble to become the Republican Party’s Presidential Nominee.

We could race around the country and try to document the effects of the economic slowdown on the average citizen because it seems that the cash strapped Government isn’t going to subsidize a new version of the work done in the Thirties by Dorthea Lang or Walker Evans.

We could just do fact checking on feature topics and know that the amusement and entertainment provided by the process will be our only reward.

How likely is it that some liberal publication with “deep pockets” will step in and subsidize a brutally frank examination of contemporary American culture during these hard times? Will Rolling Stone magazine find a young firebrand like Hunter S. Thompson and send him (or her?) out on the road with a generous attitude about the writer’s expense account?

What ever happened to the old expectation that “edgy” would be the norm on the Internets? Have conservative corporate websites imposed stodgy and timid limits on their contributing writers? If so, how will they expect to attract the young audience that wants (like the hippies in the Sixties) to embrace audacity, artistic innovation, and uniqueness?

After having an Italian style snack in the City Lights Bookstore’s neighborhood, during Christmas Eve afternoon, we chanced upon an urban tableau which might help us land a car-spotting report on the Jalopnik website. We took about two dozen photos of a parked Ferrari that rightly belongs in a major car museum.

The next day while proceeding from the Landmark’s Embarcadero Cinema Center to the Transbay Bus Terminal, we noticed that the Occupy San Francisco folks were having Christmas Dinner in front of the Treasury building. One of the few journalists there was a woman reporter for a newspaper in Chechnya.

Later, we realized that our brief attempt to explain to her why, during a period of extreme dire economic decisions, it was absolute(ly) [Vodka pun alert] necessary to spend money to pay a large contingent of police officers to stand by and make sure no member of the Occupy Wall Street political movement gained access to a public park, could be the basis for a new political punditry column.

Apparently in the old Soviet Socialist Republics it was of utmost importance for the people to have access to public parks.

The reporter from Chechnya noted that since converting over to capitalism the quality of life had deteriorated noticeably in her home country. For her, seeing the homeless being fed while bankers raked in this year’s round of bonuses was a distressing talisman of what the future held for her home county under the capitalist system.

The decision about how to play the material we had gathered on the Christmas weekend will be emblematic of the same choice to be made for all of 2012.

Should the World’s Laziest Journalist go off to Iowa, spend precious funds from the bank account to run around like a puppy chasing his own tail, and be shut out from access to knowledgeable sources, and maybe even apply for credentials to cover the Republican National Convention?

It’s a bit annoying to deal with the Republicans who say that they will let the general assembly in Tampa Bay next summer decided what the platform will be and that no one speaks on behalf of their group because they all will have a say in the denouement for the quest for a candidate.

Isn’t equivocating and sidestepping questions rather tedious and boring if you are not the media superstar being paid to have an orgasm over a non-denial denial?

If the Mayan Calendar is correct and the world is going to end next year, why bother worrying about an audience? Why not (to use another phrase from another Waylon Jennings song) be like the people in Texas and go out and live for all it’s worth?

The odd thing about 2012 already is that none of the highly paid mainstream media journalists seem to really care about who will get the Republican nomination. The use of highly accurate exit polls has been abandoned in the USA. They still use them in Europe. Have you seen any polls of top ranking influential Republicans about the most likely pick?

They all seem more concerned with portraying the selection process as being up for grabs. What happened to the old “confidential sources tell us” style of heads-up journalism? If the stage is set for a dramatic “no one saw it coming” development as the climax of the Republican convention, what’s not to love about a JEB Bush nomination?

Bernard DeVoto, in the first chapter of his book “The Year of Decision 1846,” (on page 4) wrote: “A moment of time holds in solution ingredients which might combine in any of several or many ways, and then another moment precipitates out of the possible the at last determined thing. The limb of a tree grows to a foreordained shape in response to forces determined by nature’s equilibriums, but the affairs of nations are shaped by the actions of men, and sometimes, looking back, we can understand which actions were decisive.”

Now, the disk jockey will play “Just Keep Walkin,’” and Duane Eddy’s “Forty Miles of Bad Road,” and then do what Rev. Dan can’t do and play Elvis’s “Old Shep.” We have to go find a scoop. Have a “hail thane of Cawdor” type week.

November 26, 2011

Rove’s January surprise?

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

Some well known American political pundits have recently started to dabble in speculation about the possibility that a deadlocked Republican National Convention in Miami next summer will ask JEB Bush to please come to the Party’s aid and accept the nomination. That kind of hypothetical scenario indicates two possible explanations about the sources of such “trial balloons:” either the “expert” has grossly underestimated Karl Rove or they are writing those forecasts to pay off some kind of journalistic/political IOU’s.

Karl Rove is a leading practitioner of the existentialist philosophy and he makes things happen the way he wants them to unfold or he sits it out. Karl Rove isn’t going to put all his bets on something that might happen. What would happen to this elaborate scenario if, hypothetically speaking, two candidates see a deadlock developing and form a mutual aid alliance and join together to make a complete ticket package with an unbeatable number of committed delegates? If Rove decides to play an active role in the selection of the Republican Party’s Presidential Candidate, he ain’t gonna rely on luck to get his guy the prize. If Karl “the architect” Rove is half as good as nationally known pundits hint that he is, he’ll go into Miami with the nomination a done deal.

What makes the World’s Laziest Journalist think that he can make an accurate assessment of the situation while all the best paid political reporters play dumb? (Glad you asked.)

Here are three clues: When JEB spoke recently at a convention of Educational specialists in San Francisco, his opening act was Rupert Murdoch. Two: Karl Rove has been working for the Bush family since 1973. Some Liberal pundits think that Rove had a covert role in engineering Republican Presidential wins in 2000 and 2004. (If he has done it before; can’t he do it again?) Three: the electronic voting machines with unverifiable results could seal the deal in both some critical primary elections and the Presidential election in November of 2012.

With those factors working for JEB, shouldn’t the national political analysts making a lucrative living at reporting election results that are surprise upsets that contradict the best pre-election polling surveys, be able to see how Karl “the architect” Rove could deliver a premeditated political blitzkrieg? Since all news reports about the Iowa caucuses include a notation that no one seems to understand the process, maybe someone as astute as Karl Rove could game the system and score a win for JEB at the beginning of January?

He would then ask his well trained friends in the journalism industry to deliver (cue the dog and pony metaphor) an avalanche of news reports that declare (ex cathedra style?) that America has forgiven the Bush family any lapses in judgment by Dubya and that skeptics (moi?) are being presented with irrefutable evidence of a groundswell of support for JEB.

As currently scheduled, January will end with the Florida Primary. Gee, do ya think that Karl Rove would have to resort to an extensive level of chicanery to deliver a JEB win in that state?

In November of 2011, saying that JEB might be used to break a deadlocked Republican convention is a stealth way of bypassing a debate about the bad “brand name” factor attached to a guy named Bush. When (not if) he has a “groundswell” movement being reported extensively in the mainstream media in February of next year, then any objections about the liability of the family name will be moot.

The media loved the tea bagger’s antics but were quick to report the dangers to health and safety presented by the Occupy Protests. Why the difference?

The world will little note nor long remember any accurate JEB predictions we make here, but on a cold November morning in a sleepy quiet University town what else can a columnist do but make an effort to become the Hans Brinker of internet American political punditry?

We could, instead, write a column about the two-mile island of trash that departed from the scene of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan some months ago and is being carried by the Pacific Ocean current towards the West Coast of America but wouldn’t that be a bit like writing a movie review with a spoiler for the lede?

How about a column that points out the possibility that the raids on the various Occupy encampments always come at night might have been inspired by the similar tactic used by German Police before WWII?

An Oakland resident has suggested that we should do a column about the need to rewrite the Constitution. He points out that some European countries have managed that feat.

We could write a column about the recent trial balloons suggesting that it may be time to privatize Veterans Health Care.

Is it true that Fox played video of the policeman at UC Davis defending himself from the out-of-control protesters sitting on the ground in front of him with the only audio being ♫ Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries? Didn’t the newsbabe follow it up with the comment “I love the smell of pepper spray in the morning!”?

Didn’t a Fox newsbabe make an observation that pepper spray is made from food? Wasn’t that also true of mustard gas?

Perhaps, it would be more apropos to write a column about Life magazine’s 75th birthday? We would use that column to ask: Why hasn’t Life magazine (and Youtube?) and other well known photo brand names such as Kodak and Nikon, joined together to build an indispensable aggregate Internet web site for news still photos and videos? (Just like they did for print media and news photos all those years ago.) They could become the image Internets version of what Huff-Po does with words (i.e. news briefs and opinion pieces).

Should the World’s Laziest Journalist write a column asking if the Columbia Review of Journalism noticed that (according to a recent radio news report) ten news groups in their hometown filed a complaint that the NYPD, during the raid on Zoo-cati park, temporarily suspended the Constitutional guarantee of a free and unfettered Press in America? Hell if the CJR doesn’t care, why should this columnist? Didn’t Germany get along very well before WWII without a Free Press?

If, as some lunatic conspiracy theory nuts would have you believe, the United States is heading toward becoming a fascist state, will it be a “flip a light switch” style binary change or will arrive slowly and gradually (cue the Ansel Adams concept of a gray scale?)? Will some hysterical blogger use the Cheshire cat’s disappearing act as a metaphor?

Speaking of lunatic conspiracy theory nuts, a reliable source has tipped us to the fact that the R&D department over at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is working on the idea that if the Republicans want to revert back to a Fascist Republic (for which it stands) rather than a Democracy; it might be very convenient for them if Marshal Law is invoked by a Liberal Democratic President of Pan-African heritage rather than some Sturm und Drang Republican. He could use the rocks and bottle throwing (dirty) hippies in the Occupy movement as a convenient excuse.

The President promised change and America has gone from “Don’t taze me, bro” to mace in the face. Who used to say: “Progress is our most important product.”?

St Ronald Reagan used student unrest (as exemplified by the image of a student speaking on top of a police car at UC Berkeley) to establish his credentials as a conservative Republican worthy of being that Party’s Presidential nominee. Is it too much of stretch to imagine that if he were still alive today, he would go over to the UC Davis campus and urge: “Madam Chancellor, tear down this tent city!”?

Doesn’t a school administrator who apologizes for using pepper spray look pathetic when compared to a California governor who declared: “If it takes a bloodbath to end this dissention, let’s get it over with.”? How is Occupy Kent State going?

Now the disk jockey will play Hank Williams Jr.’s “Carrin’ on a family tradition,” Jerry Reed’s “When you’re hot; you hot,” and The Stones’ “Street Fightin’ Man.” We have to go see what odds the bookies in Vegas are giving for bets on JEB as the next President. Have an “expect the unexpected” type week.

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