Archive for January, 2010

Banalysis and Fox News

January 28, 2010

Expecting fair and balanced commentary about the President’s State of the Union Speech from any source owned by Rupert Murdock brings to mind the old folk axiom:  If you keep going to conservative subsidized media for unbiased punditry then you probably enjoy hanging upside-down in a straightjacket more than Houdini did. 

It seemed natural to expect conservative media to hear the President’s speech and immediately follow it with Bill O’Reilly (speaking <em>ex catherdra</em>) telling the audience that all across America folks were recoiling in horror at what they had just heard. 

Certain comedians (on Fox) can do the instantaneous mind reading and extrapolate the meaning so quickly and smoothly that they put Carnac the Magnificent to shame.  It takes an added measure of chutzpa for them to sell their snake oil cure propaganda as a miraculous medical breakthrough, but money breeds contempt and exorbitant paychecks make it worthwhile for the fabulous charlatans in the quote journalism world unquote to say what they are paid to say. 

For a columnist lacking in mind reading prowess the only way to report on how the speech went over, seemed to be to go to an Irish bar and watch the viewer reactions there. 

At the gin mill we selected, the audience telegraphed their response by chanting: “Jobs, jobs, jobs” before the President said the first word of the speech.

President Obama has been reported to be an excellent orator, but seeing that after ten minutes he lost the audience, could only indicate that this wasn’t one of his best spellbinding efforts.  If the folks in an Irish bar aren’t paying close attention to his every word, then calling it good oratory seems a bit inaccurate. 

One fellow in the bar noted that in California, not only are jobs a hot agenda item, but the fact that a computer glitch has been holding up his unemployment checks from December and this is causing him extensive grief (up to and including three heart attacks in one day [one at home, two in the emergency room]) and thus made employment the only topic he wanted to hear.   

Some good Samaritans have helped him with loans to cover his rent, but the thing that really frosts him is that even though his checks for mid and late December have yet to be delivered, his W-2 form has arrived and it considers them paid out and taxable. 

It’s interesting to note that a computer glitch had played hob with the paychecks for teachers in the Los Angeles School District recently.  Is “computer glitch” the Internet version of the old cliché “the check is in the mail” excuse?  Gees if the Republican governor has run things down to that extent, why doesn’t he just explain that he inherited some very bad computer hardware from the previous Democratic governor and thus “the governator” is blameless?  

Anther guy in the bar was a fellow of Chicano heritage (he was a roadie for a rock band composed mostly of Irishmen and hence he is knowledgeable about all the <em>pugue mahone</em> topics) who was concerned about the fact that he is owed money from his days of service in Vietnam and thinks that doesn’t augur well for the members of the military who are being injured in the Middle East now.

The bar tender (is a woman called a bar tenderess?) noted that half of her customers are in need of jobs and the only thing they wanted to hear the President say was what his plans are to stimulate the economy and create jobs.  Anything else is just what the Irish call blarney. 

Since the Great Depression coincided with the Prohibition era, the effect of hard times on taverns then and now can’t be computed accurately.

The bar didn’t stay tuned for the Republican rebuttal.  Gees if you can’t peddle malarkey to the denizens of an Irish bar, who are those folks who do tune in to it?

So how did the post game show on Fox go?  Did they have a St. Paul moment and shower his performance with superlatives or was it just their usual golden shower of negativity?

It seems that if a columnist assumes that the Fox Hounds followed the corporate directives and delivered the traditional dog and pony show actually monitoring their bullshit would be a waste of time and effort.  On the other hand, if it wasn’t a stellar presentation of classic conservative brain farts, then our crystal ball may be in need of an overhaul. 

Quite likely the conservative response followed their regular game plan:  show Obama to be ineffective (Thank you Republican sit-down strikers in the Senate), weak on defense (What we still haven’t bombed Iran?), and almost effeminate (How many Republicans in the audience underscored that point by having a purple heart pinned on their business suits over their hearts?  [Who has won more Medals of Honor?  Women or Republican men?  One woman has been awarded a Medal of Honor, but uncando (that is a real word if you remember AP speak for use on inter bureau teletype messages) the statistics for how many Republicans have]). 

After the electronic voting machines are used again this fall to deliver a revocation of Obama’s majority in both the House and Senate, (Look for the sit-down strike to expand into the House when the Fall elections are micromanaged to the Republicans’ advantage.) the Fox Follies will go to a two year long two minute drill by delivering a non-stop avalanche of disapproval that will come perilously close to overt racism.  (If you want to fact check that observation, call Karl Rove and ask him if that’s not the Republican game plan for the two years from November of this year until Election Day in 2012.  Double dog dare you to ask Mr. Rove that question!)

[Can you imagine what it’s like to live near an Irish bar?  It must be like having a home next to a Texas high school while a Friday night home game is being played by the football team!]

The State of the Union speech on TV, at this particular location, was followed by a poetry slam and we learned some news about the contemporary poetry scene.  Snapping your fingers to show approval of a poem has been morphed into an expression of the opposite reaction.  Somehow the beatnik show of enthusiasm is now a way of showing disapproval.  They say “snap him off the stage.”

The old matches or lighters in the air phenomenon has taken an evolutionary step forward via technology and these days the light from a cell phone is more appropriate than the antediluvian fire danger use of flames. 

Youngsters on the internet have invented the word “banalysis” to indicate some trite, predictable assessments that can be expected in lieu of insightful and thought provoking evaluations.  Does the dictionary have a picture of Fox News illustrating the entry for that new word?

The Republican reaction to any Obama speech past, present or future can best be summarized by the old, old Readers Digest anecdote’s punch line:  “I don’t have to drink the whole bottle to know that it’s vinegar.”

Now, the disk jockey will play Harry Gibson’s song “Who put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine,” the Irish Rovers’ song “Bridgit Flynn,” and Dennis Day’s song “Clancy Lowered the Boom.”  It’s time to go find a four leaf clover.  Have a KFRC induced “Turn on, tune in, flash back” type week.

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A bipartisan State of the Union drinking game

January 26, 2010

As readers of Eric Boehlert’s book, “Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press,” know, online pundits have, since the very beginning, done their best to promote and praise (then Senator now President) Barry Obama and to respectfully offer clear perceptive and cogent advice to him, as needed.  Somebody should point out that perhaps the “your game, your rules, I’ll win” crowd would like it if the President did take the Republican advice to show bipartisanship during his term in office and then used it to his own advantage.

As the history of the Obama legend continues to unfold, it will be with great pride that members of the Obamanaires Choral Club sing his praises as the historic first year of the Age of Obama comes to a conclusion.  During the State of the Union address, the bloggers can give him an “Amen!” loud and clear when it is appropriate.

Any rapscallion, who dares to blaspheme with an expostulation of the “you lie” sort, during the President’s oration, should be given short shift and immediately be provided a chance to endorse a bipartisan approach to the “don’t taze me, bro” school of stifling free speech.  Using the stun gun during the State of the Union speech would be a valuable, commendable example of giving the use of electronic crowd control a bi-partisan (who you calling bi?) endorsement.  Why should the Republicans be the only ones who can shush dissent with a tazer gun?  The use of the megawatt baton should not be granted a pass by the passive aggressive Bush supporters, who previously enthusiastically greeted the “zap ‘em early and zap ‘em often” methodology for the effective elimination of dissenting points of view.  The use of tazers should also be available to Democratic Presidents.

If any surviving members of the SA brownshirts use their trademark disruptive behavior on Wednesday during the State of the Union Address, then this columnist respectfully suggests that they be sent to Guantanamo to be given an unprecedented opportunity to compare their group’s use of coercive questioning methods versus America’s “this will hurt me more than you” selective questioning augmented by the sparse use of physically induced psychological encouragement to “answer the f*****g question” type humanitarian interrogations. 

It is to be assumed that the Republicans will listen attentively and respectfully on Wednesday night to provide a textbook perfect example of how the Democrats should behave when, after winning the 2012 election President Dick Cheney gives his first State of the Union Address in January of 2014.  (Unless the Dickster croaks before then and he has to be replaced by Vice President Jeb Bush.)

Don’t the teabag fondlers (make that word “founders”) provide the teabaggers with the best legal defense team that they (the Koch Brothers) can afford?  [Are they related to Fred Koch who helped form the John Birch Society?]  Why don’t they encourage the Democrats to use disruptive commotions at Republican events?  Isn’t it just another example of free speech at work?

Wednesday’s State of the Union address will provide the President with a marvelous opportunity to elaborate on just how sending additional troops to Afghanistan exemplifies the old hippie adage of “More is Less.”  Isn’t it logical to conclude that the more troops you send to a war the less chance the bad guys will have of winning?

The State of the Union address on Wednesday would be grand opportunity for a discussion of labor relations tactics that the President intends to use. 

How will President Obama handle the sit-down strike by the Republicans in the Senate?  Will he see it more like the 1936 General Motors strike or will he use more strident measures as Ford did during the 1932 workers protests?  It is to be assumed that a Democratic President would be more lenient with the workers (striking Republican Senators) than Ford management was.  Didn’t the Republicans endorse the Ford solution to recalcitrant workers?  Isn’t turnabout fair play?

Did some teabagger in the back of the room just yell:  “<a href = http://www.history-ontheweb.co.uk/concepts/concept72_gleichschaltung.htm >Gleichschaltung</a> now!”?  Shouldn’t they actually fear that restarting such a drastic measure for the elimination of the most pesky members of an opposing party might work against them?

What would the Democrats do if, during the speech, the Republican Senators lock arms and try to drown out the President’s words by singing:  “We shall overcome!”?

Fretting about any disrespectful expression of Republican dissent is an irrelevant way to pass the time because all red blooded patriotic Americans know that the principle of “it can’t happen here” was firmly established in the American culture during one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s many terms in office.

Speaking of respectful dissent, the recent revelations about Paul Harvey’s close association with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, reminded this columnist of the old days when, while listening to Harvey’s enthusiastic response to the shootings at Kent state, a reliable source proclaimed that all German Shepherds are Republicans and that obscure fact explained that breed’s wholehearted commitment to the suppression of student uprisings on campus following “the Age of Camelot” years. 

Barron Siegfried L. von Richthofen was the greatest dog who ever lived and therefore it must be assumed that when it came to canine matters, he was infallible.  He supported President Richard Nixon and he was relentless in his assertion that “Extremism in the defense of law’n’order is no vice.”

Youth must be served (provided they can show photo ID proof of age) and so for any adolescent members of the audience reading this attempt at audience “warm up,” it would be best if this columnist were to add to the eager anticipation of Wednesday night’s speech by devising a way to transmogrify it into an opportunity to conduct a bipartisan drinking game. 

Brits might easily adapt (since it will be about 2 a.m. in London when the speech is seen on satellite TV) the game of “Yee-HAAA!” to the occasion.  For Americans we will submit this suggestion:  Every time the TV cameras show Republicans applauding, Democrats may take a slug from the whisky bottle.  If, heavens forfend, there is any unseemly Republican disruption, the Democrats playing the game must chug what remains in the whisky bottle and cry:  “Aye, lad, there’s the rub!” 

Republicans, when they catch themselves going on auto-pilot and giving knee-jerk reaction applause, must take a dignified sip of family values approved sarsaparilla and exclaim:  “Bless his heart!”  If, at any time, the Republicans spontaneously erupt into a standing ovation, they must drain the remaining portion from the whisky bottle and cry:  “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!”

This bit of wisdom was related to us in our college days (and attributed to Senator Huey Long):  “Not drunk he is, who from the floor, can rise alone and still drink more; but drunk he is who prostrate lies, with power to neither drink or rise.” 

Now, the disk jockey will play Ernest Tubb’s “Pass the Booze,” Frank Sinatra’s “One more for my baby (and one more for the road),” and Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Drinking wine Spo-dee-oh-dee.”   (Hat tip to <a href = http://barstoolmountain.blogspot.com/2007/05/top-100-drinking-songs.html>Barstool Mountain blog</a>.)  It’s time for us to go and locate a good Irish bar in Berkeley, which will feature the speech on their TV.  Have a “tonight the bottle let me down” type week.

“Contradicting isn’t arguing!” (“Yes, it is!”)

January 24, 2010

The famous philosopher Montague Python devised the most popular circular argument of all times when he posited the hypotheses that contradicting is a legitimate, scholarly method of argumentation and he subsequently spawned a cottage industry in academic circles for professors and PhD candidates to assert the converse theorem:  “No; it isn’t!”

The Republicans have adapted the Python-esque attitude regarding the possibility that global warming will kill off all the polar bears (even the massive colony of expat white bears living in zoos around the world?) by disqualifying any scientific preditions designed to elicit sympathy for the gigantic brutes.

The Democrats have embraced the challenge in such a wholehearted and enthusiastic way that some observers are alarmed about the possibility that the Democrats are showing symptoms of addiction in their compulsive responses to the Republican invitations to put aside substantive topics and, instead, waste some campaign time by continually injecting new scientific information into the argument which, by the Republican ground rules, automatically disqualifies the material that is (in the Republicans’ august opinion) worthy of a room of its own in the Mad Scientists Hall of Fame.

Here is a hypothetical transcript of how to play the game:

Dem:  A new scientific report says that all polar bears will drown because the polar ice cap is melting.

Rep:  Where does it say that in the Bible?

Dem:  But if you read the report, surely, you will admit that without a polar ice cap, the polar bears will soon disappear form this earth.

Rep:  Don’t call me Shirley. 

Dem:  So you don’t care if all the polar bears drown? 

Rep:  Polar bears are known for their remarkable long distance swimming ability, polar bear skeletons have been found on Samoa.  (Republicans are not confined to reality.  For Democrats, truth is a self imposed restriction limiting their retorts.)

Dem:  Don’t you care about Global Warming?

Rep:  If you could prove it exists, I most certainly would, but for now, I think it’s like the “theory” that if I flap my arms fast enough, I’ll start to fly.  Aren’t scientists the ones who say that, according to the laws of aerodynamics, bees can’t fly?

Dem:  I’ll do anything I have to, to prove that Global Warming really exists.

Rep:  Anything? . . . ?

Dem:  Science has proved conclusively that global warming is occurring and that polar bears are in peril. 

Rep:  No!  It doesn’t!

Here’s a suggestion for Democrats who want to argue logically and simultaneously break out of their addiction to the Monty Python game:  issue this challenge:  given the fact that you don’t believe in Global Warming because you don’t’ believe in science, how about this:  The Democratic Party will build you a World Headquarters for the Science Skeptics (AKA the Republican elite SS Society) Association on the atomic proving ground’s “Ground Zero” conveniently located close to Las Vegas!  Whatcha say?  Free! 

At that point the Republicans would face a philosophic crisis.  They must accept the dare because if they decline the offer, the discussion will then put them on the defensive.  If they want to decline the offer based on any scientific reasons, then they have been  proven to be hypocrites; if they decline and attribute it to “common sense,” then they can be asked what common sense tells them about the photos that show a shrinking polar icecap.  If they don’t believe in photos; ask them if you can buy all their family album photos, home movies, and negatives.  Do they use family snapshots to remind themselves that grandpa and grandma really existed (and looked groovy in their youth?)?  If they don’t believe in photographic evidence, then they don’t need family snapshots and should jump at the chance to sell them off.  Isn’t offering a Republican a chance to make some easy money just like offering a drink to an alcoholic?

If they accept the offer, the Democrats should use reconciliation to get legal permission to build such a facility and then they should build it and turn it over to the Republican Society of Science Skeptics.

If the Democrats wanted to use methodology as mean and crooked as the Republicans utilize, they might want to run ads showing victims of disabilities acquired by fighting in territory where Agent Orange was used.  The spokesmen could then say that only scientists disapproved of using Agent Orange and that there was absolutely nothing in the Bible that would indicate that there was any reason to avoid waging war with or living where it had been used for defoliation.  Has the use Agent Orange been abandoned in the Bush Wars just because of scientific evidence?  (Have you noticed that there are no trees or vegetables growing in the Tora Bora pass?)

What does the Bible say about accepting this generous offer (a free headquarters building on Ground Zero) from the Democrats?  Did any polar bears offer to testify at the Scope’s Trial?

Question:  If Bible thumping conservatives are diagnosed with cancer do they seek help by going to an African witch doctor or do they head for an American doctor who relies heavily on science?  What does the Bible say about chemo-therapy?  Shouldn’t Republican Christians turn down any and all recommendations for such cancer treatments? 

The Global warming circular argument might, in the final inning, boil down to an old Republican election slogan’s advise:  “If God meant for man to fly; He would have given him wings!”  Amen, brother!

Now, the disk jockey will play the Foreigner’s song “Blinded by Science,” Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science,” and Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas.”  Whew, we need to go take a reinvigorating look at some photos taken back when it was clever to ask a girl:  “Wanna see my Walmetto?”  Have a “Sock it to me!” type week.

Obama Legacy Death Knell on Conservative Radio

January 21, 2010

On the morning of January 20, 2010, the conservative propaganda machine seemed poised to swoop down on the carcass of the Obama legacy and pick it apart completely.  Next they will switch to their cheerleader uniforms and encourage the Republican Senators in their efforts to conduct a sit-down strike in the best tradition of the United Auto Workers who invented that particular tactic 

Democrats and liberal pundits must face a thorny dilemma in assessing the loss in Massachusetts:  either the results were not honest or the Democrats can’t hit the broad side of a barn from inside the barn.

In the mid thirties the nascent Auto Workers union devised the tactic of going to their workplace and then doing nothing.  The Republicans Senators have shown a highly polished ability to tell tales full of sound and fury, on Faux News, while actually doing nothing.  Its obviously that the brave efforts of the striking Senators will be the basis for some future song that will take its place along side the great labor protest songs of the past. 

On Wednesday January 20, 2010, Uncle Rushbo was ecstatic about the meaning of the inconvenient (for the Democrats) election results.  He offered listeners some thinly veiled hints about future Republican strategy.  Senator Brown, will have roughly (days on the campaign trail were subtracted from Senator Obama’s grand total) the same amount of experience in the Senate as Senator Obama did when he was sworn in as President.   He tantalized his audience with the possibility that Operation Chaos would be resurrected for any campaign for the 2012 nomination by “my gal, Hillary.”  The Democratic nomination itself makes a perfect “wedge issue.”  He indicated that President Obama had reneged on his promise to deliver “change.”  He didn’t acknowledge any help the Republican sit-down strike might have added to the Obama team shutout score.  

Since the Republican 2012 strategy will be to label President Obama as the one who set the gold standard for firmly establishing a null set legacy, the more the Republicans don’t do, the better they position themselves for making Obama look impotent.  Republicans have a tendency for selecting a war cry that subliminally underscores their macho-ness and questions the virility of the Democratic candidate, as the “flip-flopper” label did for Senator John Kerry in 2004.

From now until Election Day in November of 2012, the Republicans (all Republicans – not just the Senators) will be relentless in their effort to do nothing.  They will be using the tactics of delay, disrupt, and destroy to cripple the Obama legacy.  It is not inconceivable that they will portray themselves as heroes comparable to the members of the French resistance who sabotaged the Nazis as often as they could. 

Republicans and mainstream journalists who are making the sly allegations that President Obama is reminiscent of the world’s most famous white supremacist consistently ignore the fact that the Republican spin playbook follows step for step and point for point the principles of propaganda as delineated in the book “Mein Kampf.” 

Hunter Thompson (may he rest in peace) repeatedly used the expression “big darkness soon come.”  He prophesied a gloomy world run by war criminals and greedy capitalists.  In 2004, we made repeated efforts to contact HST (no, not former president Harry Truman) to make a modest wager over a third term for George W. Bush.  Our efforts to out pessimist the county’s leading voice of pessimism were a bit premature, but if he were still alive today, he would obviously have the bragging rights for saying that he tried to warn America that Republicans won’t stop.  If the Republicans could take every cent from every Democrat, they still wouldn’t be satisfied.  They would want the right to sell the bodies of dead Democrats’ to the medical schools that buy cadavers. 

Isn’t the spectacle of seeing members of George W. Bush’s party calling Democrats arrogant an example of hypocrisy that brings to mind the cliché about the pot calling the kettle black?  Which brings up the true Republican challenge for the 2012:  how subtly racist can they get without incurring a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct? 

The Republican calls for transparency make the Bush cone of silence seem like an absurd example of the “don’t do as I do” school of thought. 

Uncle Rushbo will be anointed (by himself) as the line judge during the 2012 Presidential campaign when questions of poor taste require adjudication.  He will be completely impartial when it comes time to condemn Democrats for any lapses of good taste or to defend Republican comments made in a spirit of jest.

Sean Hanity seemed incensed about Obama’s arrogance during Wednesday’s broadcast.  It seems to be that if Bush does it, it is strong leadership.  If Obama does it, it’s arrogance.  Just an example of two completely different interpretations from two separate points of view and not a case of Conservative racism, nothing to see here, folks – move along.

Liberal pundits on the Stephanie Miller show ascribed the Coakley loss to overconfidence, but she and the mooks also noted that Brad Friedman had been the voice of one crying in the wilderness concerning the possibility that the results might not be oat the 24 carrot purity level of achievement. 

After we bang out a column about the start of the <a href =http://www.noircity.com/>Noir City film festival</a> which starts Friday in San Francisco, we will pump out a column that proves that the liberal pundits can’t remain focused on the task of convincing Conservatives that Iraq’s WMD’s are not hidden in a cave in the Tora Bora Mountains. 

A famous German once wrote:  “The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies, but would be ashamed to tell big lies.”  Don’t they also say that in Texas?

Now the disk jockey will play “Happy days are here again,” “Ain’t We Got Fun,” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”  It’s time for us to start fact checking the spurious allegations that a member of the Bush family profited enormously from the Savings and Loan meltdown.  Have a “You did a heckuva job, Brownie” type week.

Uncle Rushbo returns to form

January 15, 2010

Columnists of the liberal persuasion can often come up with a current events topic by listening to Uncle Rushbo’s EIB nonsense.  If you tune in often you increase the odds that you will pick up some subtle points that the other liberal pundits might miss. 

A trip to the Santa Monica Public Library seven years after the invasion of Iraq to do some long overdue fact checking, seemed to be a textbook perfect example of “lag time.”  We found out all about Robert Jackson’s opening statement at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial and were surprised to learn that the “he didn’t know” bullshit was a red herring because the United States’ lead prosecutor had established the principle that “any invasion is a crime against peace.”  Gees, that sure took the wind out of the “he didn’t know” song and dance.  Or was it a case of “Don’t do as I do, do as I say!”?

Having listened to Uncle Rushbo during his Iraq War cheer leading days, we don’t have to believe what he was saying to be able to say “he sounded sincere.”  Yeah, he sounded sincerely crazy, but he delivered his lines quite convincingly.  Uncle Rushbo was (IMHO) playing “sane” just as well as Humphrey Bogart played “crazy” in his role as Fred C. Dobbs, in “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”

What would happen if you used one of those little voice stress analyzers (those thingies that conservatives urge parents to use when questioning their kids about drug use) during the EIB broadcasts?

With that preamble, our credentials for evaluating Uncle Rushbo’s tone have been established and we can proceed to the premise of this column:  When Uncle Rusbho was ignoring his femme-Nazi philosophy past and heaping lavish praise on Sarah Palin as the front runner for the 2012 Presidential election, he sounded, to this listener, as if he had just survived an extended waterboarding experience. 

We did a rough draft of this column and wondered how long it would take Uncle Rushbo to revert to form and start manifesting his symptoms of misogyny.  We figured that he would wait out the week, at the very least.  We misunderestimated him.

On Thursday, January 14, 2010, we missed his program, but Mike Malloy played Uncle Rushbo’s conversation with a young lady named April from that day’s installment of “Redneck Philosophy for Fun and Profit.”

April did a rather commendable job of debating him, but as always, when it looks like a conservative is going to loose, he started cheating.  Uncle Rushbo turned it into a publicity coup by inserting “you have tampons in your ears” (the quote <a href = http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_011410/content/01125112.guest.html> is in the  transcript</a> posted on Limbaugh’s web site) into the proceedings.  He had cackled about how he can infuriate the Liberal Media with a minimum of effort.  Did Thursday’s performance outrage Malloy?  You betcha!  Did it qualify Uncle Rushbo for this year’s <em>Enfant Terrible</em> awards?  That remains to be seen, but it sure looked like he had taken an early lead in that competition.

Can’t you just picture a schoolyard scene, of yore, where some big mean guy forced the fat little future radio luminary to “take back what you just said”?  Say, maybe that’s what spawned his effort to continually seek the most outrageous sentiments and spew them without any fear of ever having to recant. 

It’s obvious that the Republican <em>el jefe</em> has never heard of, let alone read a biography of, Robert Brasillach, who learned the hard way that what you say can have consequences.  He was not just a writer; he was classified as an “intellectual,” who got hizselph kilt when the Frogs conducted their collaborators trials at the end of WWII. 
   
Uncle Rushbo has bragged that he loved being able to exasperate the Liberal Media at will.  It seems quite likely that he wouldn’t appreciate being compared to a French intellectual let along one who was shot as a collaborator.  Nyahhh, nyahhh.  Uncle Rushbo sounds like a French intelectual! ! !  Nyah, nyah, nyah!  (Wasn’t Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope taunting so audacious?  Wonder what the equivalent move in the world of punditry would be.)

Earlier this week when Sarah Palin made her first and much ballyhooed appearance on Fox’s non stop marathon of Republican Propaganda, Uncle Rushbo heaved a sigh of relief that could (metaphorically?) be heard on the “Free Speech” historic site of Sproul Plaza.   

Whew!  He can now go back to blasting the broads and promulgating the official Republican position regarding women; “keep ‘em barefoot in winter and pregnant in summer.”  He might even give his <em>imprimatur</em> to Sarah’s new gig by agreeing to an interview done by her which will be touted as “scathing” and “relentlessly probing,” while assiduously avoiding any reference to his past disparaging remarks about the fair sex.

It seems as if some of his adoring female fans just can’t get enough of the VA (verbal abuse) he dishes out regarding women.

Fox news continually exemplifies the old Hollywood axiom:  “If you can fake sincerity, you’ll have it made.”

We just knew that Uncle Rushbo wouldn’t disappoint his fans with a long delay to the good old femme-nazi bashing days; it was just a matter of time.  He didn’t waste much time did he?  Wasn’t it in the movie “Mr. Arkadin” where Orson Wells told the story that ended with the punch line:  “Because it’s in my nature.”?

Now that Sarah (AKA America’s Evita?) has resigned as the Republican “frontrunner for 2012,” conservatives will hold off on anointing the next “next President” until after this fall’s midterm elections.  If the results (courtesy of the electronic voting machines?) produce a slew of Republican victories and a passel of restoration drama analysis, my perdition is that the (well trained) Liberal Media will set the stage, with a spate of adoring stories, touting a “groundswell” of enthusiasm for Jeb’s run for becoming “45.”

Isn’t the Voltaire quote:  “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it” the official motto of the EIB network?

We’ve requested that the disk jockey play the Hag’s (an affectionate nickname for Merle Haggard) song “(Are we living now, or is it) 1929”.  The disk jockey has also decided to play the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman,” Jim Reeves’ “Throw another log on the Fire,” and the new Republican old favorite titled “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.”  It’s time to go down to the railroad station and pick up a friend’s mother.  Have the type week that earns Mr. Snerdley’s seal of approval.  (I.e.  “Yeah, that’s how country boys roll!”)

Prudes battle full body scans

January 13, 2010

While visiting Paris in 1986, in an effort to become fully immersed in contemporary French culture, this columnist decided to rely on his anemic ability to speak and understand the French language to go to a movie there. 

The two leading contenders were “Betty Blue” and “<a href =http://www.answers.com/topic/descente-aux-enfers>Descend Aux Enfers</a>.”  The latter was chosen and the selection turned out to be a bit of serendipity luck.  When we got back to the USA we saw Blue in Los Angeles, two weeks later.  Descent en Enfers had gained some notoriety in the Paris newspapers because an ingenue actress’ first nude scene was one of that film’s cultural milestones.  It, to the best of my knowledge, never was released in the USA. 

To the French it was no big deal for a young actress to play a scene nude.  Did or didn’t America get all riled up over some photos of Miley Sirus, a short time ago?

Americans will criticize Middle East countries for requiring women to wear burkas, but then when they are in Australia, they will be shocked by women who go topless at the beach.  (Go figure.)  A member of the American military recently caused a ruckus by sending a letter to the editor of an Australian newspaper complaining about the scanty attire Aussie women wear (at the beach?).  That American, apparently, did not make any suggestions mentioning donning a burka.

Americans are terrified by the prospect that a bad guy will smuggle explosives aboard an airplane and yet they are more traumatized by the full body scan technology.  If questioned, Americans will titter (“He said ‘titter,’ Beavis!”) when considering this question:  What if the answer to airline security is nude check-in at the point of departure?

Yikes!

Americans are adamant that such a scandalous suggestion should not be taken seriously.  Hence it is litteraly true when prudes say:  “I’d rather die than let a stranger see me naked.”

Jay Leno can talk about it, but heavens forfend, if Keith Olbermann should offer that solution, America would freak out like an Arab seeing a woman’s face.  We understand that the burka update to their other, older religious beliefs was added during the 19th Century. 

Given a hard binary choice:  nude check-in or terrorist incident, which would Americans choose?  Obviously the Republican defenders of Christian family values would do everything in their power to avoid being ambushed by any direct answer to that question.  (“Yes or no?  Don’t wait for the translation, answer the question!”) “Look!  Look!  The Hindenburg!  Uh, what were we discussing?”

Thorne Smith, who died on June 21, 1934, wrote many novels that were very imaginative and made into hit movies and/or popular TV series, but his one novel, “The Bishop’s Jaeggers,” is still way to risqué and ahead of its time, to be made into a movie aimed at the prudish American public. 

Wasn’t Luis Andrew Martinez called “The Naked Guy” at UCB?

General McCafrey <a href =http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2010/01/07/McCaffrey-shocks-with-Afghan-totals/UPI-65561262892600/> is getting little notice</a>; (UPI did carry the story) for making a prediction that casualties in Afghanistan are going to increase dramatically.  The repercussions of spending a great deal more money to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan should be prompting debates about spending priorities (Metaphorically speaking can a country “max out” its credit card?).  So body scans might (possibly) be used as clever diversionary tactic for the politicians to promote outrage rather than to turn attention to the important issues and, as W. C. Fields would have put it, grab the bull by the tail and face the situation.

There are seven million topics available on the Internet; this has been one of them.

TV’s Laugh In’s Artie Johnson got lots of laughs by asking the question:  “Wanna see my Walmetto ?

Now, the disk jockey will play Ray Steven’s song “The Streak,” Peter and Gordon’s “Lady Godiva,” Maryann Faithful’s “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan”  the Hombres’ “Let it all hang out,” and the 1969 version of “Running Bare” done by Sonny James.   Well, it’s time for us to go try to see if we can get a press pass to cover this year’s “Nudestock” music festival (running through the shady streets screaming all the way?).  Have a “ . . . or do you just like me?” (ask a Mae West fan) type week.

Time traveling back to the Good Old Days of 2010

January 12, 2010

This columnist isn’t going to assume a Pollyanna attitude and try to convince anyone that 2010 will be memorable because: the Bush Wars are approaching the victory celebration phase, or that the Republicans are providing a textbook perfect example of bipartisan cooperation with a war President, or that business is experiencing the golden age of opportunity.  The premise here is that for some portion of the population, in twenty years they will look back at this time period and be sincere when they proclaim:  “Those were the good old days!”

Men and women who are in their early twenties this year will probably be oblivious to current events news and not spend endless hours reading the political analysis on both the liberal and conservative web sites.  Aren’t they in the rutting season phase of their lives?  Aren’t they “doin’ what comes naturally” as often as possible, now?  In 2030, they will be in their forties.  At that age wouldn’t they give anything to travel back in time to the time when they were at their athletic and procreative peak?  How many of them would, at that future date, not be in agreement that this time frame qualifies as the good old days?

People, who are in their forties this year, may plunge into some new projects with a fervor that is spurred on by the sound of “time’s winged chariot.”  Twenty years from now, they’ll be taking their meds and waiting for their Social Security checks to arrive (if the Republicans haven’t achieved one of their goals and killed off that program) and a return to the age of forty-somethng would seem like a golden opportunity.

Today’s codgers in twenty more years will still be chasing kids off their lawns, but the old fire and enthusiasm will be considerably diminished by then.  It’s just natural.  There might be one or two exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking the period in life when they give you a retirement party is “better” than being in one’s eighties will be.

Odds are that in 2030 some old geezer, who is getting the Netroots Convention’s lifetime achievement award, will tell the newbies at the event that:  “You shoulda been there when bloggers were the only ones pointing out Bush’s shortcomings.”  The kids will give the old foggy a standing ovation and want his autograph and some pointers.  Some rookie journalist will ask him/her to describe how it feels to make a political endorsement that swings an election.

In 2030, according to my calculations, it will be an “off” year for the Rolling Stones to rest up between tours.

Most likely, pacifists will look back at 2010 as the time when the movement leaders had still not groked to the fact that Bush’s eternal war on terrorism would never require the selection of a Peace Talks delegation to travel to Paris so that they could start fighting over the shape of the table to be used.

Maybe by 2030 Brad Pitt will be equally famous for his company which makes salad dressings and managing a very high profile charity?

Critics, in 2030, will be asserting that Saturday Night Live began to loose its punch after the 50th season.

Madonna will have won an Oscar for her work in a remake of “On Golden Pond.”

In 2030 only the best connected terrorist suspects will qualify for applying for any incarceration openings that occur at the Gitmo prison.  The unlucky ones will be tossed into an overcrowded dismal anonymous facility that will be overcrowded and poorly lighted.  They will be the modern equivalents of just another “Black Hole of Calcutta” type prison.

This year may be remembered for an all pervasive “Ducky Lucky” attitude from both liberal and conservative pundits, but maybe if the Bush Wars grind on and on, they will realize that the old sixties era joke was a bit of fortune telling in disguise.  “I was feeling very bad.  Someone came along and said:  ‘Don’t worry, things could be worse’ and sure enough . . . things got worse.”

At the beginning of 2010, the US isn’t sending troops into Iran or Yemen. 

Sometimes don’t the news reports about Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Yemen remind curmudgeons of the story about the fox and the bear that had each gotten one of their hands stuck in a wad of tar and threatened the tar creature that if he didn’t let go, they would wallop him with their other hands?

There are many problems and challenges being faced by Americas citizens in 2010 and yeah, this year, for some, may sound like it inspired the famous rant in the movie “Network,” but in twenty years, the books, movies, and songs, that were on the top of the charts during 2010 will be imbued with a strong element of nostalgia and inspire the woulda/coulda/shoulda crowd to proclaim:  “those were the good old days.” 

Do folks today watching the “at long last, have you no shame” video on Youtube realize that at that same time Edward R. Murrow was risking his job to report on Senator McCarthy’s ruthless political exploitation of the Communist threat to the country other much more famous aspects of contemporary culture were occurring? 

When people look back at that particular point in American history, aren’t they most likely to use James Dean, Elvis’s “Don’t Be Cruel,” hot rods, and flat top haircuts to evoke the year rather than recalling Murrow’s remarkable bravery?

It’s just human nature for the Hell Decade to slowly morph into “the good old days.”

In the Sixties a famous example of graffiti proclaimed:  “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.”

Now, the disk jockey will play:  “The Dragnet theme music,” the theme music for “Bonanza,” and the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island.”  Now, it’s time for us to say:  “Good Night Mrs. Calibash, wherever you are.”  Have a “filled with those events which alter and illuminate our times” type week.

Forget 9-11? Don’t make me laugh!

January 11, 2010

Liberals get so perturbed by Fox when they hear lies, half-truths, and distortions. This past weekend, when Rudy Giuliani tossed off his one-liner about the United States experiencing zero terrorist attacks on Dubya’s watch, those words aggravated, upset, and riled up (can I say “pissed off”?) the Democrats to an extreme level because there is just no way that day could have slipped his mind. So why did he say what he said?

The Democrats are getting unnecessarily discombobulated because they just don’t get it. What is happening is similar to the (very) old comedy routines that were filmed by Alan Funt who would use his “Candid Camera” to record the “hilarity ensued” aspect spawned by his adolescent boy stunts. One of his most famous segments involved the rigging of a U. S. Post Office mail box so that it seemed to talk to some of the people dropping letters into it.

Sooner or later the Democrats will (eventually) realize that Fox News is just (IMHO) just some good ole boys pulling their chain with a comedy series that portrays the antics of a bunch of patriotic hillbillies who are completely convinced that members of the Bush family can do no wrong. Did anyone ever accuse Mary Tyler Moor of telling on-air fibs because of something she said during her fictionalized TV show about television journalism?

Do you still “not get it”? Fox News is kinda like a cross between the Dukes of Hazard and George Carlin’s classic comedy routines that skewered radio. Shouldn’t the Fox News motto be one word: “Gardyloo!”?

On Fox News, no matter what happens, the Pres has to come off smelling like roses if he’s a Republican and, conversely, worthy of immediate impeachment if he’s a Democrat. The Fox reaction is totally dependent on the political affiliation of the current President. Once the liberals catch on to the running joke premise of this long running comedy series, they will be able to relax, enjoy it, and “play along at home.”

The challenge facing the good ole boys at Fox News can best be understood via the old story about the Irish cop investigating a traffic accident.

Officer O’Brien is called to the scene of a TC (traffic collision). When he arrives, he sees two cars crunched together, at a traffic light. The rear of one is tangled with the front of the second vehicle which is being driven by the monsignor at Officer O’Brien’s church, Father O’Malley. The cop runs up to the priest’s window and says: “Father, how fast was he goin’ when he backed into you?”

The cop knows that the good Irish priest can not be at fault, (thinking that it could be is like believing that if someone flaps his arms fast enough, he can fly) but there has to be an explanation for what happened. It is immediately evident to the Irish cop what happened and then all he needs to know is the speed of the jaunty sports car which (obviously) just backed into the front end of Father O’Malley’s Chevrolet Sedan.

Conservatives know that when they tune in to the comedians on Fox, they are going to get some hilarious and entertaining details about just how fast the Democrats “hot rod” was going when it backed into the Republicans’ family values black four door sedan.

Fox News does for journalism about the same thing that Edgar Bergan did for ventriloquism. Since Bergan’s lips used to move while his wooden dummy (Charlie McCarthy [W. C. Fields used to refer to Charlie as; “termite bait”]) was supposed to be talking, so Bergan (and Charlie) became a big hit on radio, where the moving lips didn’t matter. For a conservative audience insisting that “journalists” stick to the truth while smearing the Democrats, is like trying to hear Bergen’s lips move on radio while Charlie McCarthy is talking. You will only spoil the entertainment value by thinking about those minor flaws.

Aren’t both Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hanity known for their “deadpan delivery?”

Some young folks may never have heard the classic George Carlin comedy routines about the hippy-dippy weather man, life at a radio station (WOLD?) and the tagline songs about fictional Wonderful WINO radio. Pitty. If they had, they’d be hip to the shenanigans being broadcast daily on Fox News.

Didn’t the New Yorker magazine try to let the cat out of the bag when they ran the famous cartoon with the caption: “I’m not a newsman, I play one on TV.”? Isn’t the framed original sketch on display at Fox News Headquarters?

Using the reduxio ad absurdum style of argumentation, we’ll concoct a hypothetical development in the war on (oil field) terror(tory) as an example of the unappreciated creative comedy genius available to those who tune in to Fox news.

Suppose, that someday, somehow, Osama bin Laden turns up at the gates of the White House and wants to surrender and repent. Obama makes the “collar” (as they say in police circles) and the press is invited to cover the arrest and subsequent “perp walk” when the outlaw leader is led to the “Black Maria” waiting to take him away.

The pro-liberal media would be ecstatic covering the historic arrest.

For Fox, the challenge would (as always) be to portray what had just happened as a colossal blunder and a harbinger of impeding doom for the United States.

Impossible, under the circumstances, you say? Anyone saying that, has been fooled again into expecting journalism from Fox and not being hip to the creative hysterically funny improv comedy they were watching.

Think about it. How could this fictional event be manipulated into sounding like a major gaff by President Obama?

If this columnist were the Managing Editor overseeing Fox’s coverage of this imaginary event, here are three suggestions about how to spin it:
President Obama didn’t use the correct wordage while reading the suspect his Miranda rights and thus “queered” the case and insured an inevitable mistrial.
In bragging about the arrest, Obama had tainted the jury pool in the entire USA thus making a fair trial impossible.
President Obama had planted the “bloody glove” evidence in his enthusiasm to get a conviction and, subsequently, some good lawyers would make sure that Osama got a “not guilty” verdict in a fair trial.

If Fox, had covered VE day and wanted to make it look bad, how would they have reported it? “Allied troops entered Berlin today, but the troops under the command of the Democratic Commander-in-chief let Germany’s top war criminal disappear.” See how easy that was?

How would Fox have reported VJ Day? Since they can have the writers dream up facts that are going to be sure laugh-getters, they could have said: “After missing Tokyo by several hundred miles and dropping their ordinance on the wrong town, one called Hiroshima, the Democrat Party led American forces lucked out, because that close call scared the crap out of Japan’s Emperor. Unfortunately (more hypothetical alternative history here) the intelligence analysts couldn’t immediate connect the dots involved in Japan’s offer to surrender and the Democratic President approved a second atomic attack. Hey, Fox News has never promised you an unbiased report from the rose garden. Sure, they use the “fair and balanced” label, but have they ever claimed to be unbiased?

How long will it take for Democrats to figure this out? Don’t many of TV’s most famous comedy writers pick up some easy “freelance” money by submitting their best one-liners to Fox News?

Can anyone seriously contend that there will be any modicum of skepticism, on Fox, in 2012, when there is a (electronic voting machine generated) groundswell of enthusiasm for Jeb’s run for President?

Charles Foster Kane (Orson Wells) said: “If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough.”

Now, the disk jockey will play:
X-files theme music
Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater”
Buchanan and Goodman’s “Flying Saucers” Part I and II

It’s time for us to go get beamed up.
Have a “Klaatu barada nikto” type week.

It didn’t work

January 9, 2010

I tried posting images on Flickr so that I could add them to the column I posted on Daily Kos.  It didn’t work.  Here are some other photos of “Oceana” on Shattuck Ave., in Berkeley

Crossing the craft

January 9, 2010