March 20, 2015

American Geniuses

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

crop of Mik Zint

“Magician, the Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles” is a new documentary film that tells the story of the fellow who made radio history and classic films, and was very much underappreciated while doing those things. Welles was a very innovative movie maker and is credited with inspiring the creation of the wide angle lens for “Citizen Kane.”

By pure coincidence, the additional material on a DVD of Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator,” had alerted us to the fact that Howard Hughes had many things in common with Orson Welles. Hughes was born fabulously wealthy and he never developed a reverence for money and the need to budget wisely. Welles never seemed to have had a conservative approach to fiscal matters. He claimed that on his first night in Dublin Ireland, he spent all his travel money on a lavish meal. Embellishing a story for dramatic effect seems to be a likely modus operandi for a fellow who was noted for a great sense of theatricality.

Hughes was (perhaps) the only Hollywood film director to be honored with a tickertape parade down Broadway in New York City. He received that honor for setting a record for an around the world flight.

Welles was given a lifetime achievement Oscar.

Both men were notorious for their love lives.

Hughes was an aviation pioneer and a celebrated film maker but he also was responsible for some very practical achievements such as introducing retractable landing gear on airplanes. It was an innovation which dramatically increased their speed. His companies made technical innovations which had a beneficial effect on weapons and thus he improved the quality of America’s ability to wage war. His contributions to technology and aviation, which made modern drone strikes possible, was not fully communicated to the American public which dwelled on his flamboyant public image and his impact on that facet of society that thrives on gossip column items.

Welles burst on the New York theater scene already a legend. He had barely passed voting age when he feuded with Hemingway over the narration of a documentary film about the Spanish Civil War.

Part of the Welles legend is that his radio broadcast based on H. G. Wells’ (no relation/different spelling) novel about an invasion from Mars caused mass panic and traffic gridlock. Newspaper articles stating that fact are plentiful but skeptics who wonder if that was just an example of Hollywood ballyhoo are hard pressed to find some citizen who can provide eyewitness descriptions of the alleged example of mass hysteria. Skeptical reporters are advised to always avoid fact checking the legend.

Back then, people were encouraged to get diverse points of view. People who tuned into the Welles broadcast and switched stations to get a different set of facts quickly learned that the other radio networks were presenting the usual Sunday evening smorgasbord of comedy.

A column about American geniuses must note that this week, in San Francisco, it was reported by KCBS news radio that St. Mary’s Cathedral would have to pay to remove the sprinkler system it had installed to soak the homeless sleeping in their doorways, because they had made the “improvement” without getting a building permit. Wouldn’t it have been quicker and more efficient if the bishop had just gone out and urinated on them?

To cynics, it seems that America’s “War on Poverty” has become a war on the poor.

When we asked the Berkeley homeless activist Ninja Kitty if a (formerly) homeless person had ever been elected to Congress, didn’t he respond by saying: “There’s a first time for everything!”?

It used to be that exit polls were credited with pin-point accuracy, but lately they don’t seem to be very reliable at all. Time after time results contradict the exit polls. With that in mind, we predict that Karl Rove’s greatest behind the scenes achievement in American Politics is yet to be achieved. Wouldn’t the reestablishment of the Bush Dynasty be Rove’s greatest triumph?

“Magician” is a Cliff’s Notes style documentary film that will inform the people who are not aware of Welles’ story about the life of a genius and it will also give established Welles fans a new chance to hear his voice and see film sequences which give tantalizing hints about his magnetism and charm.

Clifford Irving wrote a book about a fellow who was very successful painting and selling counterfeit works of art. Irving also wrote a bogus Howard Hughes autobiography.

One of Welles’ many film projects was “F is for Fake,” which included a segment about Clifford Irving.

Now the disk jockey will play Orson Welles’ rendition (it’s on Youtube) of “I know what it is to be young (You don’t know what it is to be old),” Rita Hayworth’s “Put the Blame on Mame, Boys” (conspiracy theory folks assert it was dubbed) and the theme music from “The Third Man.” We have to go fact check the rumor that the Pacific Film Archive will open its new Berkeley home with a tribute to the films of Orson Wells. Have a “Rosebud” type week.



May 16, 2014

Perception is Everything!

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

better cropped horseman
The Iowa caucuses haven’t been held yet and already the crazy talk has started. This time it isn’t Howard Dean’s mental facilities that are under attack, this time around Karl Rove is hinting/suggesting/implying that Hillary is a bit ding-a-ling-ish in the belfry . . . and the rubes in town are on his side!

Does America’s free press step in and label it as the start of the smear season? Noooo! They keep a straight face while Rove shows how easily they can be manipulated.

Didn’t America’s greatest warrior president George W. Bush say “Fool me once . . . won’t get fooled again!”? Hah! Dubya has misunderestimated America’s intelligence level once again. Who needs quality journalism when the Internets will deliver a “second the motion” effort from Rove that reinforces John Stewart’s recent example of propaganda in action with a comedy bit titled “The Bitches Are Crazy!”

If Stewart and Rove agree, Hillary is toast.

Is California’s third term governor positioning himself for a new attempt at winning the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination?

Hillary can explain in minute detail how the past severe winter proves that global warming is here, but the voters in America aren’t going to fall for that example of Philadelphia lawyer double think.

Can the Democrats get guys to vote for Hillary by explaining that she was the real brains behind Bill Clinton’s two terms in office?

If Karl Rove is suggesting that Hilary is non compos mentis, then the tone of the intellectual level for the next Presidential election has been set and it is up to the Democrats to see if they can use (Rush?) limbo dance moves to duck under it.

Speaking of the possibility that Cliven Bundy will run for Congress in his home state, is it true (as Jim Healy would say) that he wants his campaign to be a referendum on this question: “If Republicans, who hate President Obama, say they don’t like Obama is that a prima facie case for charging them with a hate crime?”

While pundits, journalists, and historians are doing the keystrokes for a massive amount of nostalgic pieces about events and pop culture footnotes from fifty, seventy five and one hundred years ago, who will be the first scribe to wonder if President Obama, who is prohibited from running for a third tem as the resident in the White House, will run for any other office after moving out of the place on Pennsylvania Avenue?

Once, previously, a former President, John Quincy Adams, returned to Washington as a congressional representative. President Obama is a relatively young man and appears to be in good health, so he might find the prospect of being a freshman congressional representative who gets oodles of facetime on the evening news broadcasts has a certain allure for a Democrat who could be a thorn in the side of the Republicans if he joins the cast of “usual suspects” who perpetually pepper the nightly news with comments representing the species often called “the loyal opposition.”

Meanwhile, in the late spring of 2014, commencement speakers are closely inspecting each new edition of the New York Times for tell-tale clues for trend-spotting items to be included in their attempts to sound optimistic as they send this year’s graduating classes out into a bright and shiny world full of home foreclosures, student debt, and a glutted job market.

Is the question “do you want an order of fries to go along with your order?” the official motto for the class of 2014?

How does the world look in the spring of 2014? We’ve set the tone for this year by telling a Boston Red Sox’s fan that our prediction is that Derek Jeter’s official last at bat in his last season will be a walk-off grand slam that wins the seventh game of the World Series. It’s just a premonition and we aren’t going to back it with a million to one bet. . . but we will call upon a trustworthy friend to make a certain wager regarding the results of the 2016 Presidential Election in the USA.

It seems that liberal talk show host Randy Rhodes is about to retire and if that happens will there be any Liberal pundits left in broadcast media? Don’t Conservative pundits need a target? How will Uncle Rushbo get along if he can’t go on a rant about Pro-liberal propaganda parading as news?

The Democrats are bound to be borderline apoplectic as they are haunted by the specter of a revived Bush Dynasty becomes a very real possible outcome and the Republicans, who have been seething with animosity every day that President Obama sits in the Oval Office, will whip themselves into a state of misogynistic frenzy while contemplating the potential for a woman reviving a Clinton Dynasty.

Each party will browbeat the public with worst case scenarios meant to goad every citizen of voting age into waiting in line for days (if necessary) to cast the most important ballot they will every have to submit via electronic voting machines that have no method of verifying the results.

Is it siege time in the Liberal world? Should we drink a toast and hurl our glass into the fireplace? “I can’t send my pundits out there! Their Sopwith Camels are being held together with bailing wire and chewing gum.”

If Liberal flavored punditry (propaganda?) is becoming extinct, perhaps the World’s Laziest Journalist needs to switch to presenting conservative talking points heavily laced with irony. That way we could offend almost all the liberal and conservative readers simultaneously.

If Americans don’t want liberal punditry in the pop culture, might that serve to goad an obstreperous pundit of Irish heritage to greater efforts or would it be better to (ideologically speaking) be time to start to establish the foundation for a digital underground version of the Resistance era printed newspaper Combat.

[Note from the Photo Editor: Perception is everything. Irony from a liberal is easy to misinterpret. Is a horseman approaching in the night a knight in armor or is it Ichabod Carne’s nemesis?]

George Carlin wrote: “Sign your petitions, walk your picket lines, bring your lawsuits, cast your votes and write those stupid letters to whomever you please; you won’t change a thing.”

Now the disk jockey will play the Doors’ “The End,” Johnny Cash’s version of “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” and the Byrds’ “Mr. Spaceman.” We have to start celebrating Endangered Species Day today. Have a “Curse you, Red Barron!” type week.

April 12, 2013

Burglars. Books, and political games

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


Did Karl Rove suggest that to get some dirt out on a potential opponent without giving the impression that they were trying to launch a smear campaign, some top Republicans could supply a “clandestinely recorded” tape to a member of the liberal media and then accuse the Democrats of stealing the material . . . or . . . did the Democrats hire some crafty old burglars (are any of the old JM Wave team still alive?) to come out of retirement and pull off a new version of the Watergate caper?  Will a full, complete, and impartial investigation of this “outrage” be any more successful than the attempts to look into the short sales of airline stock before 9-11, the anthrax attacks via the Post Office, or possible vulnerability of the unhackable electronic voting machines?  Such a cover story for delivering a tape full of smears, jeers, and leers could not only avert attention from the source of the news story, but would also help divert attention away from the mean spirit of the Republicans.  For a big payoff what would prevent the McConnell team from making the recording themselves and engineering a stealth handoff of the item that was sure to stir up news coverage of the potential opponents mental health history?

A columnist with a cynical attitude might just as well do the keystrokes for a totally innocuous effort as try to make sensible points about the contemporary political atmosphere in a country that is mired in a stalemated debate and so we will take the path of least resistance (and effort) this week.

How old is disappointment in America’s free press?  Upton Sinclair’s attack on the newspaper industry, titled “Brass Check,” was first printed in 1920.  Over the past weekend, the reference library at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory obtained a copy of George Seldes’ “Lords of the Press,” which was copyrighted in 1938.

A month ago, we had never seen the word “privishing,” but since then we obtained a copy of “History as Mystery,” by Berkeley based writer Michael Parenti, and “Into the Buzzsaw,” edited by Kristina Borjesson, which both explained that the word can be used to refer to a book that is published but then essentially quashed or left to languish unpublicized by book companies that want to extend some “interline courtesy” to some capitalist entities that would prefer folks don’t learn what those books have to say.

Did you know that up until Harry Truman ran for re-election the Depression was called “the Republican Depression,” but that in 1948, the conservative spin masters decided that the phrase “Great Depression,” sounded less partisan?

We had never heard the expression “hobo nickel,” until we ran across a young troubadour in a local Laundromat recently who hipped us to the topic of that collectable item.  We did a Google image search and were astounded to see what a fascinating item we had missed.  The young musician also was carrying an example of moldovite and was showing what makes it collectable.  It is a semi-transparent rock.

In the last week we also got a news tip that fans of Jim Lehrer might like to know that he has contributed a blurb to help Roy Zimmer draw attention to his political humor available on Youtube.  (What ever happened to Vaughn Meter?)

Recently we were delighted to stumble upon the book, “Hell above Earth,” by Stephen Frater, which tells the story of Herman Goering’s nephew, who became a B-17 pilot flying bombing missions over Germany in WWII.

The challenge of including unique bits of political commentary has become much easier than it used to be since America’s “Free Press” has become Fox-ified.  (See the “The Fox, the Hounds, and the Sacred Cows” chapter starting on page 37 in the book “Into the Buzzsaw.”)

For example, has any pundit pointed out the chilling potential for the hypothetical possibility that if North Korea makes an aggressive move against South Korea, a response by the United States might be a strategic time for hackers in China or Iran to cripple the American Military’s computer network.  If (subjunctive mood) that were to happen, would that, in turn, have a deleterious effect on America’s assertion that “all options are on the table” regarding a move to cripple or delay Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear device?

Most of the American based commentary we have encountered regarding Kim Jung Un is rather immature name calling and not at all like a calm evaluation of the possible repercussions of a new military adventure in Asia.  If Americans can handle very convoluted and intricate speculation about the rules and game strategy used in football, why do networks tend to resort to little or no expert analysis regarding International Politics?  Could that be an example of Fox-ified thinking at the headquarters of CBS and/or NBC?

Spending time and money inspecting bookstores to purchase obscure items such as Thomas Byrne and Tom Cassidy’s 2009 book titled “The Electric Toilet Virgin Death Lottery . . . and other outrageous Logic problems” may seem a tad foolish to most folks, but to someone who gets to feel like they “belong” when April 18 rolls around and National Columnists’ Day is celebrated, it makes sense.

Getting up early and turning on the computer, at 0600, to write about finding Stephen Clarke’s book, “ A Year in the Merde,” can be a bit of an ego-boost for someone who is aware that Hemingway urged wannabes to “write at first light.”

Would anyone else except a columnist enjoy learning (on page 161 of the book Time Capsule 1941 [A history of the year condensed from the pages of Time]) that Hitler’s Irish born sister-in-law, Bridget Elizabeth Hitler, was, before Pearl Harbor was bombed, working in New York City for British War Relief?

Only a columnist could use the fact that the Rolling Stones are about to start their new tour of “the colonies” in Oakland and that Willie Neslson is going to celebrate his 80th birthday later this month, to urge the two singers (who are both known for a vast array of duet recordings) to join together for a new example of their dueting abilities.  What song should they sing?  How about Bob Marley’s “Legalize it!”?  As the Stones tour begins, who wouldn’t want to hear Mick help Willie sing “On the Road Again!”?  Could those two rascals get away with a bawdy version of the WWII hit “Love them all”?  Would this be an appropriate time and place to plug John Costello’s book “Love, Sex, and War 1939 – 1945”

Tim Osman got a warm welcome to the USA by the CIA.  Who was he, really?  Look that information up on Google.

Will the anchor desks at the network news programs finally notice the story about the Los Angeles County assessor when he appears in court later this month?

With all the references of Mitch McConnell’s bugging being similar to Watergate, will the news media still cling to the old saw about “the burglars didn’t find anything of value” or will they start to hint that what they got was the dirt on the Vice Presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton and they used that to throw the Democrats off balance at the start of the 1972 Presidential Election campaign and parley that into Tricky Dick getting elected for a second time on a promise to end the War in Vietnam. This Sunday night is the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic encounter with an iceberg.

Just for yucks, pull up Hunter S. Thompson’s interview with Keith Richard on Youtube and see how many words you can understand as they talk to each other (ostensibly in English) and have no trouble understanding what’s being said.

If “they” have hacked into the Yahoo and Google sites and if the electronic voting machines are truly “unhackable,” why don’t Yahoo and Google hire the folks who delivered the unbeatable security to the “unhackabble” voting machines?  Were the people who designed the “unhackable” voting machines (by any chance?) veterans of “the Blond Ghost’s” old posse?

Baseball fans in San Francisco are getting their hopes up that they will soon see Carl Hubblell’s 1936 record for the Giants of winning 24 consecutive games be broken.

In his autobiography, Lenny Bruce started chapter five with this sentence:  “Standing on the deck of a warship in battle, you get a good look at the competitive aspect of life, carried to its extreme.”

Now the disk jockey will give Annette’s “Pineapple Princess,” a memorial tribute play and then spin ACDC’s “Dirty Deeds,”  Jackie DeShanon’s “Salinas,” and Bobby Daren’s “Jailer bring me water.”  We have to go check into some “false flag” rumors about the sinking of the SS Athena for the research department at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory.  Have an “electro shock therapy” type week.

September 28, 2012

“Interception!” “Fumble!” Or “Touchdown!”?

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

Labor dispute in progress! This column has not been fact checked.

Good officiating is just as important in American politics as it is in the NFL and some curmudgeonly columnists will not be surprised if the Presidential Election ends with a call by the referees (or Supreme Court?) that gives the win to someone who was an ineligible receiver.

Rush Limbaugh early in the week was cackling with delight over the furor the poor officiating by the replacement referees over the weekend (and the Monday night Sea Hawks vs. Greenbay game) had generated among football fans. Uncle Rushbo was gleefully asserting that the dispute points out the underlying fault in the liberal argument that the replacements are equal to the referees with years of experience.

It is a clever way to make the central issue (for Uncle Rushbo) seem to be that inexperienced rookies make excellent examples for the principle of giving quota hires the same priority as more qualified job applicants.

That, in turn, is a slick way of diverting the focus away from the idea that (economic) might makes right makes sense to the one percent.

It seems quite likely that Uncle Rushbo wouldn’t want to read any commentary that makes the assertion that the team owners might (metaphorically speaking) wanted to do to football fans, players, and bookies, what the Republican politicians would like to do to America’s voters.

Since a goodly number of media owners seem to relish the opportunity to cozy up to Uncle Rushbo and the team owners, it could be that there was an unwritten edict is in effect in the mainstream media to ignore the arrogance and greed of the team owners and focus on the ineptness of the scab laborers. Didn’t Ayn Rand advise team owners involved in labor disputes that “winning isn’t everything . . . it’s the only thing!”?

Americans have traditionally supported the underdog and so folks like Uncle Rushbo derive a certain level of perverse pleasure when the conservative punderati have to defend the poor persecuted minority of people who own sports franchises against the unwashed rabble who are howling like a crowd at the gladiator games to see the team owners eaten alive by high tax rates. It is up to the likes of Uncle Rushbo and the Republican politicians to come to the defense of the one percenters.

The Billionaires for Bush organization has morphed into Billionaires for Wealthfare and is recording their antics for posterity online. Has a spokesperson for that group been a guest on Jon Stewart or the Colbert Report show? If not; why not?

Speaking of cash bonuses for debilitating hits, are the TV networks giving out any bonus money to the cameramen if they record vignettes of people reduced to tears? We have noticed that lately CBS Evening News does seem to be helping reinforce the conservative selling point that Obama has failed by showing someone crying each night because they can’t cope with the contemporary American economic situation. It kinda seems like the managing editors are specifically sending the news reporters into the field to get shots of weepy women saying they don’t know how they are going to feed their kids and pay for college. Did they show that kind of melodrama journalism back when George W. Bush was President?

Do network owners bother to get involved with the story selection process? Would it build ratings if we had Ed Murrow interview Marilyn Monroe on “Person to Person”?

Do Americans want celebrity gossip or do they want a full explanation of what happened to Harold Holt?

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Wayne Swan, recently made a comment about the Republican Party in the USA being taken over by “cranks and crazies.” Did Fox News run any story about that bit of international criticism? If not, why not?

Stanford University released a study, titled “Living Under Drones,” that asserted that the American drone bombers were spawning a great deal of resentment in the Middle East because of the high number of civilian casualties they caused. The authors of the study seemed to be implying that the carnage would motivate future retaliation against the USA and thus prove that President George W. Bush was accurate in calling the conflict the “Forever War.”

President Obama was quoted as saying that the drones attacked high value military targets and that civilian casualties were “exceedingly rare.” Will Uncle Rushbo validate Obama’s claim or will America’s anchor side with the Muslims and dispute the President’s claim?

Didn’t Reich Marshal Hermann Goering assure journalists during WWII that the V2 buzz bombs were only used against military sites and that very few Brits were being sent to the hospital (or morgue) as a result?

President Obama went to the UN this week and delivered a speech that stressed the point that Muslim countries should use the “freedom of speech” principle to ignore a film that they say is offensive to their religion. Would he be just as tolerant of the freedom of speech principle if some Muslim clerics arrived in the United States and preached that NFL team owners should be permitted to have multiple wives harem style?

Is Religious freedom available to the Native Americans who believe that peyote should be used in some of their religious ceremonies?

Are any young Americans becoming enthusiastic about reforming the Lincoln Brigade and going to Spain to help the miners fight against the miserly mine owners?

Is there any talk about forming a new Lincoln Brigade and sending the boys to Syria to do for Syrians what Ernst Hemingway et al did for the Spanish people in the Thirties?

During the last week of September of 2012, Rush Limbaugh in a casual toss away line unveiled the concept of “media fraud.” It was his contention (has he been sipping the Coolade seved in the employee mess at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory?) that all the polls predicting that President Obama will steamroll over Mitt Romney in the November Election are part of a concerted, coordinated premeditated effort to cast doubt on the “upset” victory news for conservatives who “know” Mitt will get the most votes on the electronic voting machines.

Wouldn’t any political party that plans to use covert methods of election cheating be wise to launch a preemptive strike aimed at media credibility as a way of discrediting any subsequent voting results that defy logic? If the electronic voting machines are going to be manipulated to deliver an “upset” victory to Mitt Romney wouldn’t it be wise to start criticizing the media’s credibility now?

Isn’t the leftist media always goading the hoipolloi into selecting Barabbas?

Did Barabbas have a horse that could participate in a dressage competition or did he just ride a fast quarter horse (for quick getaways?)? Is there really a place called “Rose’s Cantina” in El Paso? Do you know where the only foreign military base inside the United State is located? Shouldn’t every American military base be named “Fort Bliss”? Speaking of the Museum for the U. S. Cavalry, isn’t it remarkable that Errol Flynn did such a good job of portraying General George A. Custer?

Speaking of a massacre, can’t Karl Rove invoke the Whitlam rule and replace Mitt Romney on the Republican ticket before he makes political history similar to that achieved by Alf Landon and George McGovern?

Ahhh, but won’t the concept of “Media Fraud” (essentially) lay the foundation for a counter-conspiracy propaganda blitzkrieg substantiating a Mitt win (via the electronic voting machines with no verifiable results) that contradicts all expectations? So it is that the results of the November election have already been rendered irrefutable and thus irrelevant. (Whatever!)

The People who expect honest results from the team that gave George W. Bush two disputed “Touchdown!” calls haven’t been paying attention. Do they skim read the Gospel of St. Ayn Rand?

The party that wins the White House in November will proudly proclaim that Democracy is alive and well in the USA. The party that loses will hold a press conference on the campus of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory and label the election a fraud and a farce.

In “The Fountainhead” St. Ayn Rand wrote: “Don’t bother to examine a folly – ask yourself only what it accomplishes. . . . You don’t have to be too clear about it. Use big words. . . . The farce has been going on for centuries and men still fall for it.”

Now the disk jockey will play Andy William’s “Hawaiian Wedding Song,” the tearjerker classic about football, “The blind man in the bleachers,” and AC/DC’s song “Walk all over you.” We have to go look for a good photo for next week’s column. Have a “Mr. Gotti says: ‘Get in the fuckin’ car!’” type week.

May 30, 2012

What if Liberals Lied About Republicans the Way Republicans Lie About Liberals?


May 25, 2012

Earn Big $$$ the GOP Way!


May 18, 2012

Evaporating Journalism in the USA

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:52 pm


Saturday, May 19, 2012, is Armed Forces Day and so the columnist took a photo in Alameda CA of this TBF Avenger is on display on the USS Hornet’s (CV/CVA/CVS 12) hanger deck.

USS Hornet served in WWII.

On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, the World’s Laziest Journalist went to San Francisco Public Library’s main branch to see what books were being offered at the front steps sale of used books and we didn’t expect to cover any news. After buying a copy of Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Great shark Hunt,” in good condition with the dust jacket in used condition, we noticed that some event was going on in front of City Hall. We were carrying our trusty Nikon Coolpix, just in case. We wandered over and found that medical care for the pets of the homeless people was being provided. Thinking this might provide some good material for a column, we took a few pictures. Next thing we knew a young lady came up and advised us that we should ask permission to take any photos.

We improvised a better suggestion: since the World’s Laziest Journalist’s experience assessing newsworthiness stretches back to Sixties and since new trends in journalism keep happening, we should defer to the young lady’s editorial expertise and let her organization hire a PR firm so that they could very carefully micro-manage the news and the group’s message to potential donors.

On Saturday, we were in downtown Berkeley CA talking with a fellow who has been active in the Occupy movement in Oakland and Berkeley and we mentioned that we were planning to go over to the Occupy the Farm protest being conducted on land owned by the University of California in Albany CA. Our contact advised us that if we did we should make it a point to ask for permission to take any photos because, he informed us, Occupy protesters are not taking kindly to outsiders insinuating themselves into the narrative of their complaints.

Back in the Seventies, Vietnam Veterans held a sit-in in the lobby of the VA Hospital in the Westwood Section of Los Angeles. Since one of the summer temps at the Santa Monica Independent Journal newspapers was majoring in photojournalism in college, we advised him that the Occupy the VA Hospital – did they call it “Occupy the VA Hospital”? (Whatever.) – might be an opportunity for both of us to do some freelance news photography work.

Early one morning, the police came and very gently and respectfully removed the protesters (Wasn’t the photo of Ron Kovic that ran in the New York Times the next day, a great shot?) from the facility. The summer hire was also present for the news event and he took photos that appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, the next day. One of his pictures was used by the Associate Press wirephoto division.

Our past experience indicated that there would be a window of opportunity for some (possibly) dramatic news photos to be taken when the looming confrontation at the Occupy the Farm site occurred.

Unfortunately the young fellow who took the photos of the news event at the VA wasn’t available on the morning of Monday, May 14, 2012, (last we heard he was working in L. A. as a staff photographer for the L. A. Times [he’d be in his mid fifties now and perhaps we shouldn’t use the expression “young lad”?]) and since it seemed that both the Police and the protesters don’t want the World’s Laziest Journalist to take unauthorized photographs at news events, the decision to stay in bed on Monday morning when the protesters were being evicted from the Albany site and not be concerned was a gimme.

On KCBS news radio, the reporter said that some of the protesters had to be wrestled to the ground while being arrested. Obviously, if the police didn’t follow standard procedures during the round-up, the protesters will provide photographic evidence of any potential and hypothetical misconduct and it will “go viral” on the Intenets.

There was going to be a protest march in Berkeley on Tuesday, we learned. When we attempted to ask some of the Shattuck Avenue panhandlers about the potential protest, they didn’t have any particulars but when we mentioned skipping it because of a lack of enthusiasm about the new trend in journalism, a street people woman became very adamant in explaining the nuts and bolts details of journalism to this columnist. People in a protest march have a right to privacy and must be asked for permission to take any photographs.

Since this new meme is becoming ubiquitous and since this renders information we had gathered over the last four decades obsolete, we put it in the “straw that broke the camel’s back” category and scrapped any inclination to take any pictures of the rumored protest march. We could, we realized, do a trend-spotting column instead and stay comfortably right in the World’s Laziest Journalist’s world headquarters home office to write that.

In an attempt to defuse our strong reaction to this new insight into contemporary journalism, we picked up our newly acquired copy of Tom Wolfe’s “The Pump House Gang” (which we bought at the Berkeley Public Library) and began reading his article about Marshall McLuhan titled “What if he is right?”

That got us thinking. What if the lady is right? What if the Protest March itself and not the Occupy Wall Street political agenda is the message? We could write a McLuhanesque column and proclaim that the Protest March has become the protesters’ version of the Hollywood tradition of walking the red carpet.

We immediately recognized that watching the Murdochization of the news business is a serious matter and, like the news stories from Europe in the late Thirties warning about the dire implications of Hitler’s rise to power, should be regarded as an ominous topic.

There are two ways to look at the lady’s fervor: either she is being unwittingly duped into aiding and abetting Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to scuttle real journalism, or the people strongly urging her to protect the right to privacy are mole agent provocateurs consciously sabotaging the movement’s own efforts to increase public awareness of the Occupy Wall Street political agenda. Whatever. The bottom line, either way, is that the conservative cause is being helped and the OWS program is being damaged.

The “ask permission” meme is as insulting to the basic tenants of journalism (as intended by the much revered “founding fathers” of American Democracy) as that lady (presumably) would be if she were offered the advice: “Get a job!” There is a school of Journalism at the University that is up the hill, so she could probably get a teaching job there, eh?

The diabolical self defeating aspect of this new attitude among protesters is very reminiscent of the dirty tricks stunts that were a hallmark of the Karl Rove political strategy. Could it possibly be that . . . . We will send our suspicions to the tips editor at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory and see if we can win their “News Tip of the Month” award for May.

Meanwhile we will struggle to answer the age old philosophic question: “If a protest march is accompanied by a complete absence of news coverage; did it really happen?”

Does this mean that a policeman who beats a protester with a billyclub also has a right to privacy while performing his mission to “protect and to serve”?

It seems like life just got a whole lot easier for the World’s Laziest Journalist. Perhaps now, instead of going to the Protest Marches, we can just sit back and ask the Sarah Palin type question: “How’s that OWS protest thing workin’ out for ya?”

Have we lost our ability to discern real news? Here’s a news item for any scriptwriters in Hollywood looking for story ideas: the tale of Uwe, Beate Zschape, and Uwe (no. 2) might make a great “based on a true story” modern film noir. It’s like Terence Malick’s 1973 film, Badlands, done over in Germany with a ménage a trios twist. We found one UPI story online otherwise you better be able to read German if that news story interests you.

Friday, May 18, is International Museum Day and will feature a photo contest. If you take a photo of yourself in a museum today, please be sure to ask yourself if you can have permission to take the photo of yourself. You might want to get a legal document called a “model release” just for your own protection. Think of it as playing a variation of the “How steps before the queen” game.

[Note from the WLJ Photo Editor’s desk: Since Friday is International Museum day and Saturday is Armed Forces Day and since we could concentrate on just trying to take good pictures rather than be lectured by an uninformed high school drop out about the finer points of photojournalism, we decided to take some photos on the USS Hornet in Alameda to use as the illustrations for this column.

Speaking of news value judgments assignment editors in the San Francisco area might want to check out the rumor that the USS Iowa will depart from Richmond CA on Sunday and head out to its new home in Southern California. Since the Golden Gate Bridge is preparing to celebrate its 75th birthday a shot of the battleship with the bridge in the background might be a strong visual. We’ll run it by the panhandler photojournalism expert and see what she thinks.

For protesters to say that they have a legal right to camp in a public park but photographers can’t take pictures there because the protesters have a right to privacy is an illogical pair of contradictory conclusions and we call “Bullshit!”

(If photographers are legally obliged to ask permission to take photographs, how will the paparazzi ever earn a living?)]

Tom Wolfe quoted Marshall McLuhen as writing (in The Mechanical Bride): “Why not assist the public to observe consciously the drama which is intended to operate on it unconsciously?” Our answer to McLuhen would be: “Shouldn’t journalists ask Rupert Murdoch for permission before doing anything?”

Now the disk jockey will play “Get a Job,” Truck Stop’s “Mein Stiefel kommt in Himmel,” and the traditional song “Captain don’t feel sorry for a longtime man.” We have to go walk the water (we don’t mean “walk on water”). You are hereby granted permission to have a “shakin’ it up over here, boss” type week.

May 8, 2012

The Right-Wing Propaganda Devil vs. the Goddess of Truth


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.

August 14, 2011

Ed Rollins’ ‘Bride of Frankenbush’ Wins Iowa Straw Poll


March 25, 2011

The GOP Master Plan


March 3, 2011

The Koch Bros. Corporate Crime School


October 29, 2010

The Tattlesnake – Yankee Doodle Kydoodles and Other Yowling Yowfs of the Teabaggers Pox Americana Edition

“What then is freedom madness? God forbid. For freedom and madness exist not together.”
– Epictetus, “Golden Sayings,” No. XXIX

Non-corporate dissectors of the political scene, and Board Certified (in the Rand Paul sense) observers such as myself, have learned to read the stray tea leaves crushed beneath the corporately-financed circus wagon of this year’s New, Improved Tidal Wave GOP (“Democracy’s Detergent!”) and the occasional bits of actual useful information that drop off the Big Media buffet table of parboiled conventional-wisdom offal determined fit for the rustics by the over-paid ‘two legs good, two legs with money great’ crew that pounds a dismal beat between Beltway Washington and the glass canyons of New York.

A pattern has emerged as clear as the unblinking eyes of Karl Rove when he’s lying through his teeth; despite the noises made by national pollsters — whose questionable practices include antiquated techniques from the ‘one ringy-dingy’ age of rotary-dial Bakelite phones, and a habitual penchant for loading poll questions with such baloney as, “If you had to vote for a really fantastic Republican candidate or a Democrat who nightly dines on dogs and cats, which would you prefer?” or “Yes, I know it’s the headquarters of Koch Industries; I wondered how you planned to vote this election?”– it’s now plain internal polling done by the GOP has revealed that their bumble-brained Teabagger candidates are losing far and wide, and by more drastic margins than the MSM Silly Swillers of Echo Valley would have us believe. Hence, nearly a week before the actual election, we have Republican charges of ‘vote fraud’ and the vow that voter intimi – er – ‘integrity’ squads will be dispatched to those areas rife with denizens who made the poor choice to be born with skin darker than Sarah Palin’s and, unlike politely accommodating indigent whites in certain parts of the country, insist on voting against those who would gladly serve them up by the shovel to feudalistic Chinese-style capitalism.

Your Tattler could not avoid sketching out what these Teabagger ‘voter integrity squads’ might look like. Will they be in full 18th century drag from tricorn hat to knee-britches with silk stockings and ask questions of voters in the formal English of two centuries past? “Hark thee, fair citizen! Dost thou possess the required credentials to participate in this seemly exercise of democracy?” If so, I dost predicteth a spate of hilarity as laughing voters push by the costumed lunkheads, most probably thinking they are hawking the opening of a new Long John Silver’s rather than checking voter identification.

Of course, Ohio’s Republican House contender Rich Iott may dispatch his Nazi re-enactors to prevent any chicanery at the polls. Will they be dressed in complete SS regalia and posing their queries in a fake German accent, ala Col. Klink? “I must zee your papers now, schweinhundt!” This, too, affords too much room for risible ridiculousness, if not danger for the Nazi imposters – some unamused WWII vet might grab a rifle and take potshots at them from his wheelchair or walker.

But then, the Teabaggery may appear in yellow t-shirts with the affable “Don’t Tread on Me” embossed in acrylic on the front, accompanied by a gun strapped to their leg in one of those goofy Velcro thigh holsters. Sure, they seem to mean business, but the thigh-holster can be a knotty problem – if the straps are too loose, the pistol humiliatingly falls down on your foot and resembles nothing so much as a public depantsing; if the straps are too tight, it cuts off blood flow and the Teabagger tough guy is reduced to hopping around on one foot, trying to intimidate minority voters while restoring circulation to his numb leg. “Hey – Ow! Ow! – you got legal identification to vote – Ow! Ow! – here?” That path, too, leads to nothing other than comical YouTube videos and an excuse for some droll Jon Stewart barbs on The Daily Show.

But no matter what garb the Teabaggers don — whether it’s grim ‘Men in Black’ mufti like Joe Miller’s amateur-hour security guards in Alaska, or the simpler straw hat with hanging teabags stapled around the brim – the fact is that most Teabaggers hail from rural, caucasian areas of the country. While they are confident they intimately know the psyche of black people from long exposure to lawn ornamentation and Bill Cosby reruns, and no doubt believe they will be greeted in Inner City regions by courteous men and women emulating our gracious president, such may not be the case. I can think of several black folks of my acquaintance who would not take kindly to being confronted by some rude peckerwood demanding their papers. They would definitely not refrain from putting the ‘Mr. T’ in Tea Party, so to speak.

What’s more, if Hispanics are the vicious beheading drug gangsters the trembling Teabaggers have been told they are, how many of Beck’s Crusaders will want to hang around in front of polling places in Latino neighborhoods, waiting for the Machete of Death to fall? These Tea Partiers are, after all, gullible ante-bellum conservatives who are scared of almost everything, including any concept hatched after the Dark Ages, and unlikely to chance confronting the living representations of the actors Sharron Angle sticks in her Halloween Party TV ads.

There will be intimidation at the polls — the Teabaggers will be terrified into sitting in their vans with the doors locked, hunched down, trying not to wet themselves. This GOP ‘project’ will be as big a bust as Rove’s electoral math in 2006.

Add to that the number of voters who find criminally stomping on a passive woman’s head at a public event offensive, and you have an upset for the Democrats in the making, and the Teabaggers quickly jettisoned from the GOP ranks damned with the only epithet the cynical Republican elite consistently honors, ‘loser’.

Contrary to the news-cycle fantasies of Media Conventional Wisdom to which would-be president Rudy Giuliani succumbed, mostly a confection of giddy press releases, past performance, and inbred cocktail party jabber, the fanatical Teabagger GOP – a small minority never much more than empty rage, incoherent ideas, and shifting wind, financed by fools with more money than brains — peaked months ago and has been in decline ever since as Democratic candidates rose in even the archaic landline-phone polls that favor older, whiter, more rural, and more conservative voters – in other words, the core of the Tea Party movement. If the Punditocracy that has for the past year woven the fiction of massive GOP gains in 2010 were not so obstinate in supporting their own discredited imaginings, and getting a pat on the head from the large corporations that dispense their paychecks, they might look at this information from a different angle, and I don’t mean Sharron: Around the country, the Democrats have pulled even or ahead with the voters the desiccated, weakened GOP desperately needs to get elected.

Hang down your bulbous Chuck Schulz head, Charlie Cook.

Sure, it’s possible that Dems will stay home in droves to teach Obama some kind of obscure lesson, which is reminiscent of the story about the boy who chopped off half his foot with an axe for attention. He got the attention he craved – his family thought he was nuts and stuck him in a mental hospital, and he had to live out his life limping around with half his foot missing. And disgusted independent voters might decide to commit economic suicide by entrusting their futures to babbling goofballs like Angle and Rand Paul, and corporate vipers like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, and complete the job of obliterating our Constitution, rewarding the rich at the expense of the rest of us, eliminating social programs, and shipping what’s left of our jobs overseas or forcing us to work for slave wages.

Then, I’ll hang down my head, but I won’t be alone – millions of Americans, in a few years, will feel the full impact of Reverse Robin Hood Republicanism and be doing the same, and what’s left of America will depend on the thin thread of ink flowing from the president’s veto pen.

If it comes to that point, you’d better hope Obama doesn’t hold a grudge and decide to teach the country a lesson.

© 2010 RS Janes.

Kydoodle: To make loud, meaningless noise.
(From the book “Words” by Paul Dickson.)

Yowf: One whose importance exceeds [their] merit. Rich or influential fools.
(Coined by Gelet Burgess who also invented the words ‘blurb’ and ‘bromide.’)

September 3, 2010

AZ Gov. Jan Brewer’s Headless Corpses Lie


August 17, 2010

Flashback: When Rove Met Junior

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 6:47 am


June 17, 2010

The GOP Broken Record: Avoiding Blame Republican-Style


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