Archive for March, 2010

Republicans emboldened by an assured fall farce?

March 28, 2010

If there has been any recent punditry offering a rationale for the Republican “tough shit” stance, then this columnist has missed it and will offer our own suggestion about the inexplicable display of “tough love.”  The Republicans, who usually curry favor with as many small middle of the road groups as they can, have suddenly gone to a “let them eat cake” attitude.  How can that be?  Why aren’t they scrambling to pick up the swing voters who don’t see the old “compassionate conservative Christian” ploy in the callous Republican quotes? 

Here’s one explanation:  it could be because the ability to use the electronic voting machines to micro-manage the results mean that the Republicans don’t have to pander anymore – they know they are assured of a massive mandate this fall.

Last year while pouring through the Marina (del Rey CA) Tenants Association’s collection of old newspapers to document the points in their criticism of the local political scene, this columnist came across some 1989 stories in the Los Angeles Times about the vulnerability to unreliable results factor if computerized voting was adopted. 

The only Republican response to any skepticism of the electronic voting machines has always been the same:  “Don’t worry about it.”

America relies on a free press to keep them well informed.  The Republicans rely on the press to relay spin to a gullible audience.  It’s a spin and grin good ole boy attitude.  Hell what you don’t know can make war, tax cuts, and Republican candidate victories sound like jolly good ideas. 

Has America’s free press done much (if anything) to protect the voters from:

A Republican majority in the Supreme Court deciding the winner in 2000?

A war which made stockholders in a company once run by Dick Cheney even wealthier?

The disappearance of WMD’s which were in locations “known” by American intelligence?

The decertification of Howard Dean and the anointing of John Kerry as “frontrunner”?

Ohio’s crucial role in the use of electronic voting machines to help Republican candidates.

The hackability of the “unhackable” electronic voting machines?

The disappearance of the exit poles?

The evaporating polar ice cap?

When a Republican Senator callously denigrates the plight of folks collecting unemployment, can anyone look into the eyes of the Republican candidates and not recall the old folk wisdom:  “Never play cards with a man called ‘Doc.’”

So if folks naively assume that this fall the elections will be a honest endeavor, that leaves the Republicans free to say what they are thinking and then afterwards say that their promises to repeal the healthcare bill seem to be exactly what such phony results strongly endorse.

If the Republicans use the electronic voting machines to give themselves a veto-proof majority this fall, they can then take control of the legislature until they stage yet another bigger farce in the fall of 2012 and continue on their road back to control of the Legislature, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court. 

With a fall “landslide,” the way will be clear for the Republicans to repeal the healthcare bill and (why hold back?) maybe even Social Security.  At that point the relentless Republican efforts to dismantle the New Deal will be just about complete. 

Democrats who doubt the reliability of the electronic voting machines would destroy the triumph of the Obama upset victory in 2010.  Some Democrats seem reluctant to admit that the Obama win was part of what con artists call “the setup.”  If the Republicans subscribe to idea that electronic voting machines can deliver predetermined results, then they can look forward to an astounding fall farce and eagerly anticipate the total and complete humiliation of the Obama administration. 

There is some old folk wisdom that advises people to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  We offer this column in that pessimistic attitude.  If there is another alternative interpretation of the cocky Republican attitude which seems to dismiss the strategic importance of pandering to the swing voters; then paste the URL for such an item in the comments section.  (Republican boasting about “the will of the Fox audience” giving them the confidence to abandon their previous pursuit of the swing voters isn’t what we are seeking.)

Hunter Thompson is quoted as saying:  “America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.” 

Now, the disk jockey will play the soundtrack album for “The Graduate.”  It’s time to send an e-mail to see if my pals in Fremantle are doing OK after the recent storm.  Have a “sock it to me!” type week.

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Republicans turn to hippie strategy

March 28, 2010

Recently an overly enthusiastic supporter of the Republican Rebellion urged like minded conservatives to emphasize their point by breaking the windows of Democrat politicians.  It came perilously close to resembling the Kristallnacht call issued by the Nazis in 1938. 

It’s time for the radical Students for a Republican Society to remind their rank and file members that they don’t want to fully adopt the Nazi playbook; they just want to usurp the Germans concepts and not the actual game plan. 

A better way to look at the current political discourse would be to think in terms of the Sixties.  The Republicans have embraced the hippies’ philosophy and the Democrats have jumped into the Nixon camp methodology by receiving any opposing ideology with amused distain. 

The Republican sitdown strike strategy being used in both Congress and the Senate sound like the living implementation of a famous bit of hippie advice issued by Mario Savio: 

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part.

“And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.

“And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”   That just about nails the current Republican attitude toward working in the Legislature during the Obama era.

Recently Rush Limbaugh urged his listeners to respond to vitriolic criticism of their “Hell no we won’t go” along with healthcare by blowing kisses at the Democrats.  Wasn’t the famous photo of a hippie chick putting a flower in the barrel of a rifle taken at People’s Park in Berkeley?  Rush advocating flower power.  Who’d a thunk it?

Conversely the Democrats have to quickly assess where a free speech right to express dissent ends and inciting a riot begins. 

It would be pleasant for liberal pundits to coast to the midterm elections basking in the warm feelings generated by the passage of President Obama’s Health Care Reform bill, but rather than doing fun stories such as a consumers’ report style column on the blimp vs. zeppelin controversy, it seems that diligent liberal commentators will have to concentrate on answering the question:  Why are Republicans behaving as if they have already scored a veto-proof majority in the 2010 elections? 

For a liberal to sound the warning about a great danger that the Republicans will mirco-manage the election results via the electronic voting machines the writer will have to delve into some very esoteric facts and figures and he will run a high risk of boring even the most avid liberal audience.  It would also mean that he would have to diminish the importance of the Obama upset victory in the 2008 election saying that it was similar to a chess game where the Republicans would lose the initial phase of the gambit only to come roaring back later with a game winning series of moves. 

If, by losing the Presidency to the Democrats in 2008, the Republicans can neutralize the Democrats distrust of the electronic voting machines, then the Democrats will sound hypocritical if they are skeptical of those voting machines only when a Republican wins. 

If the Republicans score a massive victory in this fall’s elections, is it all that difficult to imagine that the so-call journalists in the national media would then respond on cue from the Republican spin doctors and declare such a shift as a “mandate” to repeal the Healthcare Bill?  Would they also respond like a well trained puppy and add that it was a complete repudiation of Obama’s victory?   Heck, the Republicans could test the lapdog loyalty by getting them to say that such a turn of events was an endorsement of the idea to also repeal Social Security.  (Erase that image of a puppy being trained with a supply of treats, isn’t the press still a wee bit . . . forgetaboutit.  The puppy training  analogy is spot-on.)

America’s alleged free press has been an accessory to the Bush wars, the implementation of the use of the electronic voting machines, the avoidance of any investigation into the torture memos, the rigged Supreme Court decision that handed the Presidency to George W. Bush, the shenanigans in Ohio’s role in the 2004 Bush win, and the almost instant decertification of Howard Dean and the anointing of John Kerry as “frontrunner” in 2004, and the unquestioning relaying of the need for bailout funds for Christmas bonus crap.  Does anyone (other than Bill O’Reilly) want to seriously contend that the same bunch of obsequious and subservient paycheck slaves in the media would stand up and question a lopsided Republican victory this fall?  There would have been a better chance of seeing an editorial in the Volkisher Beobachter questioning the annexation of the Sudetenland.   

People who regularly read the work Brad Friedman is posting on his Bradblog site will not be one bit surprised by fall election results that “repudiate” Obama;  those who don’t read it, will put all their faith in the latest installment of media “reporting” that will be filed under the heading:  “Voters baffle pollsters again” and not suspect any subterfuge.

At that point the New York Times will be urged to add a teabag party luminary to their roster of Oped Page propagandists and the stage will be set for a restoration drama via a Cheney – (Jeb) Bush ticket in 2012.  Then, if the Dickster would oblige the Bush family, he could croak and assure a continuation of the Bush dynasty.

Hunter S. Thompson has said:  “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”

Now the disk jockey will play the “Hair” album.  We gotta go send an e-mail to the Airship Ventures press people.  Have a groovey week.

Spring Break is here; head for Fort Liquordale!

March 24, 2010

Bloggers may be tempted to kick back and bask in the glow of Preisent Obama’s Heath Care achievement.  It sure would be fun to write a few easy-to-write columns about some innocuous topic such as a road test comparison of a blimp ride vs. a zeppelin ride (and we may do that soon) but while the passage of Health Care takes up the attention of much of the media, both in the blogosphere and on vitriolic conservative talk shows, there are some other Republican political moves that are very ominous that are going almost unnoticed.  (Which is just the way the Republican strategists like it.)

Isn’t the irony of Senator John McCain sponsoring a bill that would legitimize the ability of the government to apprehend and incarcerate citizens without the need to arrest and charge them with a crime, something that should get a mention in the media that is supposed to be “pro liberal”?  In addition isn’t yet another Republican move to imitate Hitler’s efforts to neuter and eliminate his political opposition in Germany, something that should cause some newspaper managing editors deem newsworthy and needing some commentary? 

Some debaters might assert that Americans can’t be jailed without a charge since there is a thing called the right of <em>habeas corpus</em> which has been a part of the English speaking judicial system for about a thousand years. 

The case of Attorney Richard Fine might be an outstanding way to refute the allegations that it can never happen, because it is happening to Fine.  Luckily for the Republican strategists, not only are editors ignoring the Fine case (with a few exceptions such as the continuing coverage by the Full Disclosure Network), but since it is a complicated legal issue and can’t be reduced to a bumper sticker sized sound bytes; it isn’t likely to get much media attention.

Fine is in “coercive custody” and so his dire plight can’t be reviewed by the Ninth Superior Court of Appeals, nor the Supreme Court of the United States, because Fine hasn’t been charged with a crime and therefore not subject to their review.

If Fine can be kept in custody like that, and if the McCain sponsored bill (S 3081) is passed, then any future President can use the McCain measure as the basis for apprehending and jailing people on the basis of their beliefs. 

A hypothetical example would be sometime in the future, a Republican President (such as Jeb Bush?) could have people confined to jail for suggesting that his brother should be subjected to a war crimes trial.  Rush Limbaugh would be safe (for sure) but Rachael Maddow might have to move her program studios to . . . Kalgoorlie?

Some avid Republican supporters might want to post some snide remarks about this columnist in conjunction with strong assertions designed to assure swing voters that it could never happen.  Just like back in the old days when veterans of World War II swore (on a book that’s popular in the Bible-belt?) that America would never ever condone extreme coercive questioning of Prisoners of War with methods such as the Gestapo approved “waterbording.”  It seems like “never” has arrived during this columnist’s lifetime. 

Buy some Girl Scout Cookies and enjoy Spring Break 2010

Herman Goering has said:  “Shoot first and inquire afterwards, and if you make mistakes, I will protect you.”  Wasn’t he backed by legal opinions form John Yoo?

Now the disk jockey will spin the “Let’s Play Master and Slave,” song, Johnny Paycheck’s “11 months and 29 days,” and “Jailhouse Rock.”  We have to go send an e-mail to the Airship Ventures press relations department.  Have a “Fort Liquordale” type week.

Missing “The Big Story”

March 24, 2010

Once upon a time, boys and girls, crusading journalists were considered heroes and there was one TV series that presented the stories of those valiant American newspaper reporters who fought a never ending battle for truth, the American Way, and Justice.  The typical episode of NBC’s program Pall Mall’s “The Big Story” would tell about a reporter who would spend hours and hours digging into a jailbird’s plea asserting that he was innocence and that justice had gone haywire. 

The newsie might even work on his own time and spend some of his own funds in an attempt to clear a falsely accused prisoner. 

[Back then it sometimes happened that one particular company would sponsor a show and only that company would run ads during “their” program.  Firestone tires had a program that featured classical music.  It made celebrities out of people like Eugene Ormandy and Arturo Toscanini.  Now, of course, Fox has refined the public’s music taste via the critical comments of Simon Cowl and a symphony orchestra in prime time on one of the three main TV networks is a preposterous concept.]

Recently the use of DNA evidence (which couldn’t convict O. J. Simpson) has been used to clear so many falsely convicted people (mostly brothers?) that if “The Big Story” were to return it might have to be run on a daily basis and not be just a weekly program.

Reporters who hope to be featured on “The Big Story” are too late.  It’s gone.  They are SOL.  The best they can get is a Pulitzer Prize. 

If there are any empty handed reporters out there looking for a crusade to wage, they might want to do some Google searches about the imprisonment of Attorney Richard Fine in Los Angeles County Men’s Jail.  He hasn’t been charged with a crime, let alone convicted.  Could the Richard Fine story be an example of a Pulitzer Prize waiting to be won?  Blogs aren’t eligible for Pulitzers are they?  So, have at it guys.  This blogger is more interested in doing a Blimp vs. Zepplin grudge match type story just for the pure hell of it.

Republicans are trying to make a few legal maneuvers so that concerned citizens will never have to be puzzled about if, how, or why an American can be in jail without a pending trial or sentence to serve.  Yep!  If the John McCain (and others) sponsored measure (S3081) is passed, Americans can rest assured that, in the future, any American who is thrown in jail with a right of <em>haebius corpus</em> will have no right to bitch about being deprived of an inalienable right because it will be all legal and proper to toss some dissenters in the can and let cobwebs grow on the lock.  Hah!  Hunter Thompson, you died too soon. 

Buy War Bonds today!

Edward R. Murrow has said:  “I am persuaded that the American public is more reasonable, restrained and mature that most of the broadcast industry’s planners believe.”  Boy, would Glenn Beck have made mincemeat of that cigarette smoking guy or what?

Now, the disk jockey will play for all the future victims of S3081:  “The Long Black Veil,” “Tom Dooley,” and “In the Tijuana Jail.”  We gotta go post bail for a pal.  Have “Thank God Almighty Free at last!” type week.

Republican Party Faces Philosophical Oxymoron

March 22, 2010

If the elders of the party of obstructionist hypocrites (AKA Republican Party) are going to be successful at passing the torch to a new generation what will be their standard of success?  If the young generation of hypocritical obstructionists has truly heard the teachings of their party’s elders should the next generation of obstructionists:  A. (Apparently) Completely reject the teachings and values of obstructionism?  Or:  B. Meekly and with a great show of subservience to the elders, accept unquestioningly the tenants and precepts of obstructionism? 

If the young obstructionists harass and disrupt the (in relay racing terms) passing of the baton, doesn’t that demonstrate that they have learned their lessons well?  On the other hand, if the younger generation of those who embrace political chaos quietly submits to the parental authority of the older obstructionists, wouldn’t that smack (do they know what the term “smack” really means?) of uber-hypocrisy? 

Isn’t the allegation that the Republican Party has come to exemplify what it would be like if a national political party embraced Dadaism be denounced by that same party as being absurd and therefore become an irrefutably true premise? 

The suggestion that, in this era of awards for everything, Democrats should just give out annual awards for hypocrisy would be refuted by Republicans who would stoutly maintain they don’t need or deserve awards for hypocrisy and that would be the clincher for proving the premise that such awards are long overdue in the contemporary American culture.

Is it hypocritical to accept with effusive praise a hypocrites award you don’t think you deserve or would it be more appropriate to refuse the award and denounce the ceremony?

The Republican strategists delight in putting their political opponents in a lose-lose binary choice situation and therefore if the Democrats turned the tables and put the Obstructionists in a similar box canyon ambush, it would vindicate the Republican philosophy of cutthroat tactics and therefore Democrats giving Republicans awards for hypocrisy would be something to be admired as an outstanding example of bipartisanship.

Rather (Hi, Dan!) than giving awards for hypocrisy that wouldn’t be appreciated, the Democrats should immediately implement an annual attempt to bestow Dadaism awards and give them out (Daddy, what does “<em> in exstentia</em> really mean?) to folks who think that both houses of Congress are meant to be a practice batting cage for Surrealists. 

Do members of the Teabagging Movement have a jaw dropping moment when they learn the hippster’s definition of tea bagging? 

Decorum?  You want decorum?  Republicans know that you can’t handle decorum, so they have embraced the Brown shirts philosophy of “My way or anarchy!”  The jolly swag men on K Street call it “Chaos for fun and profit.”

The Republican Party reaction to Horton the elephant would be to burn the tree down.

On showdown weekend, the Republicans made a Dadaist dinner look tame in comparison.

What do the John Birch Society and Teabaggers have in common?  Things go better with money from the Koch family?

For some the Republican Party has come to be to civilized debate what Kid Shelleen (Lee Marin) in “Cat Ballou” was to justice.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:  “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”  Thus a war that was to cost “80 billion max,” which has so far had a cost overrun of $920,000,000,000.31, is of no concern when there is a chance to scare the voters with the allegation that a health care bill might be an example of fiscal irresponsibility.

Now the disk jockey will play “Mares Eat Oats,” “Hotel California,” and the Kingsmen’s recording of “Louie, Louie.” We have to go find some surrealists to help us change a light bulb.  Have a “food fight in the space station” type week.

Why a duck?

March 22, 2010

The week of March 15 to 21 will be remember as the week that the Republican Party came closest to meeting their goal of making national politics look like a Marx Brothers movie.

On Tuesday, March 16, it was learned that the 9-11 commission was launched with its feet hobbled.  The vile Democrats have restarted a whisper campaign suggesting that a full investigation of the Bush Administration would uncover blowjobs (but no perjury) and thus the questioning of the veracity of the explanation for the attack on the World Trade Center was of no more importance than a full investigation by the Warren Commission.  [The Republicans perceive the election of President Obama as a move backwards and to the Left.] Hey, building 7 just sorta fell down.  Get over it.

On Wednesday on Mike Malloy’s radio show, he seemed to be the only Liberal voice who was concerned with the ramifications of a new proposed law S3081.  Malloy made it seem like the Republican lawmakers were trying to emulate the Nazi strategy called Gleichschaltung.  Hey, Mike, what’s the old Sixties saying?  Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!

Speaking of the <em>right of habeous corpus</em>, here is a legal question:  If a man (such as attorney Richard Fine) is put in coercive custody and held in Los Angeles County Men’s Jail for over a year (you can’t serve a term longer than one year, but Fine hasn’t been not been charged or convicted of any crime so he isn’t serving a term and therefore not subject to the one year limitation) and if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U. S. Supreme Court ignore his case (he hasn’t been charged with a crime) can he be freed by a Presidential Pardon?  (We direct your responses to the comments section below.)

Mike Malloy also recently reported that a movement to privatize government subsidized fire extinguishing services is being started.  Will that reignite the Teabaggers’ enthusiasm?  Who wants municipal fire departments coming on their property uninvited and searching homes for flames without a search warrant?

On Thursdy, March 18, the Republicans objected strenuously to the Health Care Reform bill on the basis of fiscal responsibility.  They can give war a blank check to cover the costs of killing millions in the Middle East, but they just can’t sanction spending money to provide health care for any American who isn’t a millionaire.  (Why a duck?)

Friday meant breaking out a birthday cake for the search for WMD’s in Iraq.  It seems that the Democrats are advocating sounding retreat before the war’s goal is achieved.

Saturday the Republicans staged a reenactment of the ugly racists’ scenes that prompted the passage of civil rights legislation in the Sixties.  The Democrats tried to besmirch the Republican street theater event for being too realistic. 

Sunday March 21, 2010 the Republicans stood together in resolute solidarity and thus scored a better “one for all and all for one” grade than did the defenders of the Alamo (Louis M. Rose was the one defector).

After a week like that, a columnist has to wonder what lessons the Republicans teach their kids.  Do they want the kids to be just like them and treat parental dictates as a challenge to be discredited, refuted, ignored and surmounted or do they sanction an inconsistency and revert to the commandment that requires unquestioned obedience to parents?

Suppose a Republican kid is grounded.  Should he (Republican daughters know who wears the pants in the house) use the Jim Bunning response?  Should he treat his family to a reenactment of the repudiation of Hollywood that James Dean is alleged to have committed?  (In Hollywood mythology James Dean is supposed to have urinated all over a “Rebel Without a Cause” set.)

(If you think this sounds like a John Stewart rant; your wrong because this columnist doesn’t own a TV set.)

How difficult is it to imagine that a Republican proudly proclaiming:  “Today, I shot a terrorist in my pajamas; how he got there I’ll never know.”

Groucho has said:  “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”  Didn’t the Republicans apply that philosophy to the Health Care Reform bill?

Now, the disk jockey will play “Hooray for Captain Spaulding,” “Helter Skelter,” and “The Yellow Brick Road” song.  We will head out for a local party celebrating the Republicans’ ability to get the Health Care Reform bill passed despite the opposition of the Democratic majority in the legislature.  Have a “man upon the stairs” type week.

Where is America’s National War Museum?

March 18, 2010

An Australian pointed out to this columnist, that the first thing an American will do after visiting a tourist attraction in their country is to strongly assert that, back home, Americans have done the same thing bigger and better. 

If President Obama when he visits Canberra to address the Australian Parliament next week, takes the opportunity to visit the Australian National War Museum, there will be absolutely no danger that President Obama will tell his hosts that the United States has done it better because there ain’t no National War Museum in the USA.  There are, to be sure, a great number of specialized museums in the states.  There’s a museum of desert warfare in Southern California, the 3rd Cavalry Museum is in El Paso, TX, a Museum is at West Point, and the D-Day Museum is in New Orleans. 

To the best of this columnist’s fact checking ability to determine, the United States does not have one central museum that honors all the combatants who have fought in all the wars waged by the U. S. A.  If Australia can do that, why can the USA?

Due to bad timing, President Obama will not be in Canberra at the same time that the Aussie hot rodders hold their annual Summer Nats event.  This year’s installment was held in early January, when it was summer in that hemisphere.  [That, in turn, reminds us that we have recently learned (while Reading James Michener’s “Return to Paradise”) that a broken beer bottle is called “an Australian boxing glove.”]

The Hog’s Breath Cafe in Canberra boasts that they serve the best steak in Australia and maybe President Obama can take the time to put that claim to a taste test.

The last time this columnist heard the song “Santa Monica Boulevard,” we were in Canberra and as we listened to the tune, it made us wonder how many Aussies know that the road being honored used to be called “Oregon St.”? 

One of the advantages of being a blogger is that the writer can tell the President of the United States, how he (the blogger) would do things differently.  The White House does have a suggestion box, doesn’t it? 

The Republicans, according to some recent scuttlebutt on the Internets, will use the period between the day after this year’s midterm elections and election day in 2012 to set the agenda and put the incumbent, President Obama, on the defensive.  Since they intend to use a racist tactic, which will leave the President with a task that will be impossible.  If the Republicans say that the President is incompetent because he is the first African-American President, any attempts to refute that will have to assert that he is incompetent for some other reason or that he isn’t an African-American.  It seems that either response will be inadequate for winning re-election.

If President Obama wants to seize the initiative, set the agenda, and put the Republicans on the defensive; he could visit Australia’s National War Museum and then immediately suggest that it is time for the United States to honor its history by establishing a similar site in the United States. 

If he moves fast, that would leave the Republicans in a bind.  If the Republicans want to continue their sit-down strike in the legislative branch of America’s government, then they would have to vote against the suggestion of an American National War Museum or at least not vote for it.  If they did that their ownership of the “Support the Troops” issue would start to evaporate quickly.  If, on the other hand, they quickly followed President Obama’s lead and voted for a National War Museum for the USA, then it would look like the commitment to wage their sit-down strike was crumbling.  It would look like President Obama was leading them around like puppies on leashes and they wouldn’t like that, either.

President Obama could go into Republican congressional districts and appeal to the local voters to replace any Republican who didn’t quickly and strongly support an Obama program to erect a National War Museum. 

Australia’s National War Museum is open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas) and is considered by some to be Australia’s best tourist attraction. (Like the guy said in “Catch Me if You Can,” this columnist concurs.)

The Australian National War Museum, which is noted for the quality of its scholarly research department, informs visitors that the American success at the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway was due to the fact that the Americans had broken the Japanese code and knew what radio orders were being given.  American history books say those battles were won by American officers who made shrewd guesses about what to do in the midst of the evolving situation.  Whatever.  The U. S. won, and that’s the bottom line.

Australian entertainer Little Patty was given a military medal.  Did any USO performers get a similar honor?  (Do a Google search with her name and add:  “Battle Long Tan.”)

Obviously, President Obama will not visit the secret American military base just West of Alice Springs.  They don’t want or need the publicity a Presidential visit would precipitate.

It seems unlikely that President Obama will take the suggestion for a National War Museum for the United States.  If he becomes a one term President, don’t say we didn’t offer any suggestions to prevent it.

For this column’s closing quote we’ll turn to the Narrator, in Mad Max 2 (an Australian film), who says:  “For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing. They built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Please Mr. Please,” “Stayin’ Alive,” and “Dirty Deed Done Dirt Cheap.”  We have to go see if <a href =http:// www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-3081>The Enemy Belligerant Interogation Detention, and Proscecution Act of 2010</a> (S3081) will bring Gleichschaltung.  Have a Big Brother Approved type week.

“Money (That’s What I Want!)”

March 16, 2010

If this column’s headline made you ask:  “Why do the rich folks need my money; they already have millions?,” then you don’t understand the situation and that makes you vulnerable (due to lack of vigilance) and that, in turn, puts you squarely in their economic “cross hairs.” 

If the reader is enjoying good health, does that mean you don’t need more for this afternoon, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year . . . etc.? 

In a moment of candor, a wealthy fellow, who was the supervisor at a place where this columnist worked back in the very beginning of the B. C. (Bush Clan) era, taught this columnist that money is like sex and drugs because “you can never have enough.”  Sherman (he resembled a certain cartoon character) also mentioned, in front of a coworker (we’ll call him J. C.), who was living from paycheck to paycheck, that the most money his grandma could give him tax-free each year was $10,000. 

There were times when, if the aforementioned coworker in dire economic straits was nearby, “our boss” would pull out a stash of his uncashed paychecks and ask “Bob, how long do we have to cash these before they become invalid?”  I’d answer six weeks and then he’d count them and exclaim:  “I better go to the bank and deposit them right now!”  The fellow who needed every cent would then ask the boss why Sherman wouldn’t sign one and give it to a fellow (JC) who needed the money and would get it to fulfill its potential.

Sherman would concede that initially that might sound like a compassionate thing to do, but that ultimately it would remove J. C.’s motivation to work hard, succeed, and improve his own lot in life.

J. C. got a credit card and Sherman noted that the ensuing months would provide a front row seat for the economic equivalent of the spectacle that Romans got when they watched unarmed Christians battle a lion.  A few years later when J. C. filed for bankruptcy, Sherman shed some very realistic crocodile tears. 

Sherman used his grandma’s annual retirement fund contributions to retire before his fortieth birthday.  J. C. became an example for use in the arguments favoring universal health care.

Somewhere (Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, actually) in the last year and half, we picked up a bargain bin paperback that related the history of the South Pacific area.  According to this intriguing book (lost it so we can’t cite the academic details such as author and page number), the island natives had to be taught to covet material possessions so that they could then be induced to sign on as wage slaves for the various companies seeking to export the local treasures. 

The islanders lived on the fish and vegetables that were easily gathered and then spent the rest of the day swimming and socializing. 

Some cynic said that when the white man came to the South Pacific, he brought with him the four great advances of civilization:  the Bible, pants, guns, and syphilis.  He also brought time clocks and paychecks.

The native women did learn to covet “stuff.”  (The famous philosopher George Carlin did a wonderful treatise on the concept of “stuff.”)  When that conversion was made, it became easy for plantation owners to get the men to sign their “X” to papers which were legal documents consenting to an often unspecified period of work in return for a substance (called “money”) which could be exchanged for the stuff the women now coveted.

Bleeding hearts liberals decry this example of capitalism in action and assert that the signed legal documents constituted an egregious example of fraud. 

Radio personality Mike Malloy recently hinted that there is a similar motivation relationship for the military’s health care.  He says that universal health care would destroy the allure of free medical care provided to the folks who join the various branches of the all volunteer military which protects the United States.  He snidely suggests that may explain why Republicans are working against the Health Care Reform Bill

Republicans love to foster the folk legends about self made millionaires.  According to their philosophy of “self determination,” a poor but honest disk jockey from Sacramento can become a millionaire by giving advice and encouragement to the workers of the world or at least the United States.  Democrats refute this by spreading myth busting unsubstantiated information that the aforementioned inspirational example was actually the grand son of President Eisenhower’s ambassador to India and that he got his first radio gig when his family bought a local radio station. 

According to Republicans, John D. Rockefeller was a gracious grandfatherly self made millionaire who bestowed a generous dime tip to newspaper boys at a time when the papers sold for less than a nickel.  The Democrats used a whisper campaign to paint the fellow as a ruthless cad who would destroy competitors and then deceived the public by hiring the same Public Relations firm that Hitler had selected to improve his image in America during the Thirties.

Sometime in the past, a wise old man revealed to this columnist that there is a curse on money and that the rich people, by taking the money from the poor, they are thereby eliminating the danger of the curse and thus protecting the poor from danger by assuming the risk themselves.

Health care may be vastly overrated.  William Claude Dukenfield (AKA W. C. Fields) once pointed out that there are more old drunks than there are old doctors.

We see in the news that the President is planning a trip to the South Pacific.  We wish him a bon voyage and remind him to be careful about signing any legal documents he hasn’t fully read and understood.

James Michener, in “Return to Paradise (Fawcett Crest paperback page 49):  “The copra crop was bad in Paea and parents hadn’t much money for Christmas, so the chief sent word to all the children:  ‘It is very sad.  Pere Noel just died.’” 

Now the disk Jockey will play:  “Bali Hai,” Woody Guthrie’s song “Deportee,”  “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “How’d ja like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?” 

It’s time for us to go see if our lottery ticket is a winner.

Have a week that Robert Dean Frisbe would envy.

“So Rare” vs. “Hound Dog”

March 11, 2010

Back in the early Seventies, this columnist spent a lot of time on the L. A. freeway system and thus had a goodly amount of time to listen to the radio.  In an effort to prove that our music taste was eclectic, we tuned into a station with the “Music of your life” format.  They played music from the big band era and the intrinsic value was obvious to a listener who had experienced the emergence of “Rock’n’Roll” as a genre that deserved its own chart in Billboard magazine.   

It was not the music which caused us to tune out, back then, it was the ads.  Listening to the nonstop attempts to sell Depends, denture cleaners, denture adhesives, and stool softeners at that stage of life put a definite crimp into the attempt to listen to the music that helped win WWII.  We wanted to stave off the “back in the old days” phase of life for as long as we could.

The start of the Rock Era had some interesting ties to the Big Band Era.  If memory serves correctly the last Big Band hit, Jimmy Dorsey’s “So Rare” fought for the consumer dollar at the same time old “swivel hips” (AKA Elvis the pelvis) was trying to sell a song titled Hound Dog.  If you don’t believe me just ask Casey Kasem. 

[You could look it up online.  “So Rare” was recorded on November 11, 1956.  “Hound Dog” was recorded on July 2, 1956.  (Close enough.)]

As this columnist recalls, Ted Wheems’ “Heartaches,” (featuring the whistling of Elmo Tanner) landed on the top of the pop list in the late forties and again about 1957.  Efforts to substantiate this memory online were inconclusive.

Even the guy who would become famous as the Maytag repairman had a hit back in the late Fifties.  Jess White did “Old Payola Roll Blues.”

Future Country legend Bobby Bare, under the name Bill Parsons, had a hit song, “All American Boy,” that told the story of Elvis.

When Elvis got back from his Army tour of duty in Germany, Frank Sinatra hosted a TV special program to mark “The King’s” return to the good old USA.  Can you get a CD of that whole show?

At the time those songs were on the pop charts, my parochial school class room overlooked the back yard of a home where, on days when the public school had a day off, I’d see the 16 year old kid who lived there, jump in his shiny new 1957 Thunderbird and roar off into his day of fun and frivolity.  Parochial schools usually had holy days off and the public school kids got more holidays off.

Scranton was quick to jump on the bandwagon for the new music.  Radio station WICK embraced the Rock’n’Roll genre, but it was alleged that the station met budget by playing Polish language programs on Sunday mornings.  We picked up a smidgeon of the language by tuning in early and listening while waiting for their change over back to the Rock and Roll format.  Rival station WARM was also quick to embrace the new music. 

One local TV station (WNEP as I recall)  started to run Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” program, one whole year before the ABC network offered the Philadelphia based new music dance party to their affiliates across the USA .  Again efforts to substantiate this online were unsuccessful.

We’ve been dredging up our memories of the sentimental songs from the past because of a change in our automatic response to the radio.  We’ve relocated from Los Angeles to the San Francisco bay area and consequently have had to rewire our robotic efforts to use a radio tuning knob.  The old ways don’t work in the new geography.

Goodbye Reverend Dan.  We don’t have to get up at 5 a.m. on Saturday to hear Nimrod News; we can sleep in until 6. 

What could possibly replace:  KXLU, KLAC, Jim Ladd, KMET, Humble Harv, Morgan in the Morning, the too hip guy, news commentary by Marvin E. Quasnicci, and Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW?  Scott Shannon and the True Oldies Channel (TOC) format; that’s what.  He’s shaking loose a tsunami of memories and associations that have been dormant for decades.

Scott mentions businesses in the USA where the radio is tuned to the True Oldies Channel.  While pounding out our columns, the radio at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s World Headquarters is almost always (except when Mike Malloy is on) tuned to the local TOC outlet KFRC.  Scott gave us a shout-out! 

Recently he started a new feature on the True Oldies Channel and calls it “The Cheesy, Easy Song of the Day” and we have to fight our urge to send in a million suggestions.  We’ll have to learn to spread out our e-mail suggestions to him. 

If Scott wants the schmaltzy side of Rock History, he’s gonna get so many suggestions we’ve become afraid that we will wear out the welcome mat in front of his e-mail inbox.   Hmm.  Maybe a column with our best suggestions would be a better approach?

Reverand Dan (on L. A.’s KXLU) will play Jim Backus’ “Delicious,” when this caller asks for it, but for years he has declined repeated requests (which might upset his audience emotionally) to play Elvis’s tearjerker song “Old Shep.”  (We worked with a big dog loving Elvis fan who had never even heard of that Elvis track.)   

Since we can halfway remember hearing that particular Elvis track, wouldn’t it be ironic if he picks it for the new feature?  Apparently many of the songs we heard, as a high school student, are being played again in WARMland. 

We’ll summon up our best imitation of the kid in Treasure of Sierra Madre who assured Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart):  “It’s a sure winner, mister” and send that suggestion to the True Oldies Channel cheesy suggestion box.

Apparently the new TOC feature has mushroomed in popularity and caught them off guard.  They had to ask listeners to help them reconstruct the complete list of Cheesy Play of the Day selections after it got started.

If the Cheesy Easy Song becomes a contemporary cultural phenomenon (part of the columnist mission is to man the crow’s nest to do some trend spotting) they will have to institute a Cheesy rating system.  Then they’ll need a “Cheesy Song Hall of Fame.” 

[Remember when “Shaving Cream” won Dr. Demento’s weekly competition so many times that he had to remove it from eligibility?  Dr. Demento put it in the Demented Hall of Fame and excluded it from the weekly voting.  Didn’t “Pico and Sepulveda” get a similar treatment?]

After that it will be just a short leap of marketing into the realm of a Scott Shannon’s Greatest Cheesy Songs album.

One man’s novelty tune is another’s sentimental old favorite.  When we were in the Record Finder store in Fremantle and they started to play Johnny Cash’s “Live at Fulsome Prison” album, we just stood there paralyzed until it played all the way through.

Cash’s single, “Boy Named Sue,” had so many emotional associations for us that we could never think of it as a novelty tune.  

Not only do we want to inundate the “Nut Hut” studios with Cheesy Easy suggestions, we also want to petition them with entreaties to play the new feature at the same designated times every day.  We know that the “coming up soon” bit helps keep listeners from doing any station surfing, but we’re hooked on oldies tunes, we ain’t going away unless we have to leave the World’s Laziest Journalist Headquarters for something such as a doctor’s appointment.

And another thing . . . if this becomes their iconic feature, maybe they can get a corporate sponsor for it?  “Who?” you ask?  Gee wouldn’t Kraft Cheese be a natural fit?

Who will Bartlett’s credit with creating this quote:  “If you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t really there.”?  It sounds like something George Carlin would have said 

Now, our own (imaginary) disk jockey will tug at this columnist’s heartstrings by playing:

“As Time Goes By” (oddly enough that song takes this columnist back to a waterfront gin mill in 1969 San Francisco.), “If You’re Going to San Francisco,” “Old Shep,” “Cover of the Rolling Stone,” “Irish Eyes,” “Le Vie en Rose,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,”  Vaughn Monroe’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” and Hank William’s  “Poor Ole Kaw-liga.” 

We’ve got to go find a mirror and wipe a speck of dust from our eye.  Have a “I haven’t heard that song in years” type week.

Woulda if I coulda

March 6, 2010

The World’s Laziest Journalist went to the demonstration at UCB on Thursday March 4, 2010 and took some photos.

We’ve sold photos to the AP in the past.

We post photos on Bartcop.

We post photos on Flickr.

We would post some of the news photos on the Daily Kos, but we haven’t mastered the html thingie yet.

If you want to see the photos we would post there if we could go to

http://floppyphotos.wordpress.com

Tune in again same bat blog same bat URL.