Archive for July, 2011

Come on, baby, light my Debt Crisis fire!

July 28, 2011

During a week in which a request to evaluate the efforts of a rookie blogger to explore the bridge between spirituality and psychology arrived in the e-mail inbox and world events delivered a cornucopia of news that ranged from the effect the death of Amy Winehouse had on the Forever 27 website to the Democratic President using Ronald Reagan’s method to (make an attempt to) bypass a recalcitrant group of U. S. Congressional representatives, the World’s Laziest Journalist decided that it was time to use a new installment of his version of the three dot journalism style of columning to evaluate the challenge to future historians who will work very hard to revisit this historic week that is just outside our doors right now. 

Will future books about the summer of 2011 care about the weather?  How many books will be written about some aspect or interpretation of the Summer of 2011 Debt Crises Debate?  How many books will interpret the Obama Administration in relation to the outcome of that debate?  Obviously one or several biographies  of <a href =http://www.forever27.co.uk/forever/>Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of 27</a> last Sunday, will be rushed into print.  Will the Murdoch summer be just an example of one of the challenges that Rupert faced in his lifetime or will it be the starting point for numerous books on some additional arrests and assessments of the art of journalism at this point in history?

Historians tend to examine segments of contemporary culture as isolated topics much as a coroner examines body parts separately, while daily newspapers, news broadcasts, and weekly news magazines attempt to deliver a snapshot of a living subject.  Some books have been written attempting to deliver the portrait of a particular year, but most books tend to select a very specific topic from the pages of history and examine that segment of the world in close detail.   

Some years are more interesting to historians than others. 

For example, this columnist has read a number of books (more than a dozen) about World War II, but it was only while reading Laurence Thompson’s book “1940” that we learned Europe experienced sever winter weather in the early months of 1940 and that it had a direct effect on the course of the early stages of the fighting in World War II.

According to Thompson (“1940” William Morrow & Co. New York © 1966 hardback page 16):  “From the end of December until mid-February, with only a single break, Britain experienced its coldest winter for forty-five years.”  The British censors quashed coverage of both the war and the weather. 

William K. Klingaman noted in his book, “1941 Our Lives in a World on the Edge,” that the weather at the beginning of that year was very cold and harsh in Europe.  Didn’t the scientists announce some kind of “New Ice Age” theory?

CBS radio journalist Larry LeSueur covered World War II from Russia and titled his book about the period from October 1941 to October of 1942:  “12 Months that Changed the World.”  Didn’t sever winter weather tip the balance at Stalingrad? 

Every year is important to world history, the trick it to know which ones are very important while they are occurring and then write a book about how you knew it all along.

In the summer of 2011 here are some items that caught this columnist’s attention.  (Will historians concur with our selection?)

The folks covering developments at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory are reporting a rumor that a roll out ceremony is approaching for something new.

The Democrats resisted the efforts to bestow on President George W. Bush additional rights and privileges as part of the Republican quest for an Imperial Presidency.  The Republicans are conducting a remarkable goal line defense against a debt crisis settlement.  The Democrats are ready to insist that the Democratic President use all available means (Signing statements, Executive orders, line item vetoes, etc.) to circumvent a financial disaster.  If President Obama uses Imperial Presidency powers now, that will set a precedent for the next Republican President (JEB in 2012?) to have what George W. wanted and was denied.

Is President Obama playing chess while the Republicans are playing poker and holding a royal flush cleverly disguised as the unverifiable electronic voting machine results?

Recently Brad Friedman poured (metaphorically speaking) gasoline on this hot conspiracy theory by noting that hackers have gained access to most business computers and to the Pentagon’s files, but the electronic voting machines are considered “unhackable.”  That smug attitude is challenged by most knowledgeable hacking specialists.  

Radical conspiracy theorists are asking if Rupert Murdoch is doing things in the USA that would give him the power to manage National Politics in his new country.  They see connects between the methods used in Great Britain and a series of humiliated and disgraced Democratic congressional representative who are resigning. 

If, when future historians write about this summer, it turns out that the confidence in the electronic voting machines was an overestimation, and if many of the 2012 congressional district contests result in stunning, unexpected Republican upsets, will the scholarly writers become infected by the “conspiracy theory” germs and connect the two separate conspiracy theories?  Can’t you just see one of those college professor authors viewing events with perfect hindsight crowing:  “It was so obvious back then but folks just couldn’t see it!”? 

The blogger who had some success with a column about “William Randolph Hearst, Charles Foster Kane, and Rupert Murdoch,” was almost inspired enough to write another one with the headline:  “Al Capone, Don Corleone, and Rupert Murdoch.” 

Folks who think that some of the items that the World’s Laziest Journalist uses in his columns are too esoteric, arcane, and inscrutable, might not get the joke about the “inside baseball” humor for movie fans hidden in the fact that the Berkeley Seven Flashback film series followed “Godfather” (Part I) with the rather obscure “From Here to Eternity.” 

Some folks in the San Francisco Bay Area who prefer the Summer of 1968 to this year’s, were given an offer they couldn’t refuse:  “One grand prize winner will also receive a tip for two on the Magic Bus.”  Ken Kesey fans will want to check out the promo being offered by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and also click on the <a href =http://www.magicbussf.com>hippie bus San Francisco</a> web site.

Will the summer of 2011 come to be known as “the Summer of Republican Love for the Debt Crisis and all the political opportunities that came with it”?

Has union busting spread into the realm of American Sports?

Is there a <a href =http://psycheandspirit.net/>bridge between religion and psychology</a>?  To this columnist it seems more like a “cusp area.”  Are we going to have to write a “Got Philosophy?” column after the Debt Crisis is settled and this historic summer comes to a close?  If we do, maybe we could cross post it there?

Speaking of Global Warming, why isn’t Fox News refuting the concept by using some live feeds from Australia where it is winter and there is sure to be some fair and balanced winter wonderland scenes to cancel out the deleterious effects that the American heat wave is having on skeptics of the so-called scientific theory?  Who doesn’t love video of cute reporterettes in ski bunny costumes?  Refute that, Mr. Peabody!

Alan Ginsberg has said:  “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix . . .”  (Where they having a Debt Crisis debate back then, too?)

Was 1968 really all that good?  Now the disk jockey will play <a href = http://www.musicimprint.com/Chart.aspx?id=C000028 >1968’s top ten albums</a>, then you tell us if that was a good year or not.  We have to get ourselves to the Beat Museum to see how our efforts to score a speaking gig there during this year’s Litquake are going.  Have a “flower power” type week.

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Did the Invention of the Internet spell the death sentience for “short snappy headlines”?

July 21, 2011

The American economy is being assessed as “sluggish”’ by some partisan writers on the left but reports are reaching the national desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s headquarters that indicate that the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is operating this summer at full capacity with three shifts working seven days a week.  In the middle of the summer of 2011, here are some of the most preposterous examples of what is being peddled to the gullible.

In the era of pat-downs and scans at the airports, is it really that easy for a comedian with a plate of shaving cream to get onto the floor of Parliament?    

Was the pie incident planned in advance by Murdoch’s spin doctors to generate sympathy and divert attention away from the testimony?  Did his wife’s defense move come so fast because it had been rehearsed?  What previous body guard experience has she had?  Are we supposed to believe that it was a reflex reaction on the part of a <I>hausfrau</I>?

Have the Employees of Rupert Murdoch been exposed to some germs from the Bush Administration and will they soon be experiencing the manifestations of an epidemic of “witness amnesia?”  What?  You can’t recall what “witness amnesia” is?  Well, then, there’s no use elaborating on this new conspiracy theory.  We’ll let the matter drop.

Many of the new attempts at producing news worthy examples of conspiracy theories are a variation on the possibility that the nice kindly old gentleman (think of him as the Australian Geppetto?)  in charge would have instigated some instances of extortion and political blackmail.  (Didn’t Donald Rumsfeld often cite an old Al Capone quote:  “A kind word and a gun, will get you a lot further than the kind word alone.”?)

Various refurbished classic old theories are being souped up (a la the hot rodders and pre-war dry lake racing scene) and being offered as “new and improved.”  Conspiracy theorists contend that a second look is required now to explain some past sudden shifts in American politics.

Does the fact that a cousin of George W. Bush, who worked for Fox News in 2000 and  changed the election night projection, in the middle of the night, for a Florida win for Gore to a win for Bush and thus flipped the outcome, indicate that there is need for a closer look?

Does the fact that a fellow called “Knute” was having an extra marital affair at the same time he was condemning Bill Clinton saying that the President should be impeached because of some funny business with an intern mean that “Knute” could have been coerced into backing some rule-bending which granted crucial exemptions to Murdoch?

Was the sudden epidemic of news stories alleging a mental break down by Howard Dean during a victory speech an example of a journalistic example of morphic resonance or was it part of a concerted coordinated conspiracy to bestow the “frontrunner” mantle on a Democrat for whom an extensive and far reaching attack on his strong point had been painstakingly assembled?  Did the unexpected Dean surge catch the Murdoch smear machine off guard? 

Did some bit of clandestine extortion and/or political blackmail occur during the twelve hours between the time Sen. Kerry told a nation wide TV audience that he would contest the 2004 election results in Ohio and the next morning when he suddenly switched to the “no worries, mate” attitude?

We’ve heard that one of MSNBC’s talking heads has raised questions about some high profile unexplained political resignations and the possibility of some stealth extortion and political blackmail. 

One of the more interesting but almost completely ignored new conspiracy theories postulates a similarity between the crowded field of contenders for the Republican Party’s 2012 Presidential nomination and Agatha Christie’s classic mystery “Ten Little Indians.”  The premise is that when the only Republican candidate left un-sullied is JEB, he will win the coveted prize by default.  (Oh!  Don’t say that word this summer.)

Doesn’t Fox wash away all doubts about the reliability of the unverifiable voting results from the electronic voting machines by reciting the ancient sorcerer’s incantation:  “Conspiracy theory!”?

Some members of the conspiracy theory cult worshippers are asserting that the Wall Street Journal has done the Jekyll and Hide act with its (former) sterling reputation for untarnished quality news reporting.  (What do ya bet that conspiracy theory is being espoused by an insignificant blogger with the journalism equivalent of penis envy?)

Is “integrity” at the WSJ as dead as the old nine column three deck headline reserved by the New York Times for use on the days that meant that the course of history had changed overnight?

Once upon a time there was a blogger who noticed that when the Bush Administration suggested that folks inAmericashould construct an airtight panic room as a precaution to protect them from chemical or biological terrorisms attacks, it ignored the very strong potential for death from asphyxiation.  He wrote a letter to the New York Times pointing out the grievous window of opportunity for tragedy. 

The day his letter was published, the Secretary of Defense held a press conference to point out that the duct tape and plastic sheeting suggestion was only metaphorical and not to be taken literally.  The poor self-deluded fool was ready to proclaim that he had made the blogging equivalent of “the Willie Mays catch.”

At that time, were high paid media grunts really that stupid that they couldn’t see the absurdity of the suggestion or did they see it and face a management embargo on stories that ridiculed any of the hysterical nonsense that was leading to war?  (When the “Fuhrer” says jump:  you peons jump and ask “how far” on the way up.  Is that understood?)

President Obama’s track record seems to be falling short of the expectations of extreme lefties.  Will they use the Murdoch hacking angle to concoct some speculation about some possible extortion and imaginary political blackmail which might have been applied to gain some concessions about Medicare and Social Security?  (What could possibly be that effective as a game changer?  Here is a possibility:  Just picture the image of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to JFK.)

How do you explain his betrayal of Medicare and Social Security?  How much more harm will he do with “Four more years!”?

One obscure blogger in Berkeley is anxiously awaiting the announcement of this years nominees for the “Conspiracy Theory of the Year” award to see if his column asking if Obama is a secret Republican mole sent into the Democratic Party to dismantle the last vestiges of “The New Deal.”  TheBerkeleyblogger is beginning to suspect that there is a secret plot to thwart his chance to win the coveted award.

Will the members of the American mainstream media offer some interline courtesy and help Murdoch deny and cover-up (as happened inGreat Britainfollowing the 2006 allegations) or will they conjure up images of Edward R. Murrow’s stand against Senator McCarthy and insist on exposing the details of the Murdoch Scandal?  Would it be ironic if the Murdoch summer followed the Arab Spring?

TV critic Jack Gould said that Murrow’s McCarthy program displayed “crusading journalism of high responsibility and genuine courage.”  (A. M. Sperber “Murrow:  his life and times” Freundlich Books – New York, ©1986 hardback page 440) 

Americacould use some more of that now because freedom of the press and concomitantly its effect on the democratic process is what’s at stake.  Freedom of the press.  Use it or lose it.  The British Parliament didn’t believe Murdoch.  Why should you?

It’s time for the closing quote.  During the “See It Now Program” about McCarthy, Edward R. Murrow said “<I>The line must be drawn or McCarthy will become the Government . . . </I>”  Ibid. page 437  (Has Ibid. become extinct because of the “Dumbing down ofAmerica”?)

Now the disk jockey will play Buddy Holly’s “Think it over,” Patsy Cline’s “So Wrong,” and the Hank Williams (Sr.) song “Be careful of stones that you throw.”  Now we have to go toAmerica’s oldest newsstand (inOakland?) to see if we can get a copy of Confidential magazine.  Have an “Oh, boy!” type week.

You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.

July 18, 2011

InAmerica, newspaper publishers have always been accorded high rank and special privileges in that democracy’s class-less society.  The idea that publisher William Randolph Hearst arranged for the Spanish-American war to happen is widely believed inside and outside the journalism industry.  When famed artist Fredrick Remington was sent toCubato cover the war, he sent a wire saying nothing was happening and he wanted to return back to theUSA.  Hearst responded:  “Please remain.  You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

Americans, who refuse to believe that Fox News coverage of the Bush election in 2000, the events of September 11, 2001, the run-up to the war in Afghanistan, the Invasion of Iraq, the need for the Patriot Act, and George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004 was anything other than fair and balanced, are quite willing to believe that Fox’s owner did not make any effort to dictate America’s political history or foreign policy. 

Did William Randolph Hearst manipulate President McKinley into not opposing a Congressional move to start a new war?  (Back then Congress not the President would start a new war.)  If Presidents were manipulated in the past; can they still be “played” in the age of cable news that travels at the speed of light? 

Did Rupert have anything to do with the British Prime Minister’s invitation toAmericato join them in using oil richLibyafor target practice?  Rupert doesn’t just happen to have a few shares of BP stock does he?

The Hearst saga is echoed in the film thought by many critics to be the greatest movie ever made:  “Citizen Kane.”  In the Orson Wells classic film, a fictional newspaper publisher, Charles Foster Kane, is portrayed as a champion of the poor and down trodden who cleverly manipulates theUnited Statesinto the war withSpain.

The New York Times’ lead story for their Sunday, July 17, 2011, print edition (written by Don Van Natta Jr.) asserts that (some) journalists working for the American citizen and renowned newspaper publisher (in Great Britain, the USA, and Australia), Rupert Murdoch, may have hacked some phones in their pursuit of the never ending fight for Truth, Justice, and the Murdoch way of life. 

The New York Times story jumped to a full page inside Section One and was augmented by a sidebar story that elaborated the details of Murdoch’s personal full, complete, and (should the qualifier “apparently” be used?) contrite apology to one crime victim’s family on Friday.

The lunatic conspiracy drones have been galvanized into action this past week and are asking questions to raise new suspicions in all three countries.  They hint that if the Murdoch employees in Great Britain committed some misconduct (they must be assumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law) in Great Britain, then the “bad journalism” infection may have spread (unbeknownst to Murdoch himself and upper management in the two other countries) to the other news staffs in the USA and Australia.

Have you noticed that if you ask the grunts in corporate America about their assessment of upper management’s job performance, the folks in the trenches will be in unanimous agreement about the fact that the brass can’t differentiate manure from shoe polish but when it’s time for indictments to roll, they assume management “must have known” and the attitude suddenly changes to “Hang ‘em from the nearest tree!”  Which is it?  Only one can apply.  Is it “the boss’ job” to know what’s happening or are they paid large salaries just for appearance sake?

If (subjunctive mood) some of Mr. Murdoch’s employees did stretch the limits of ethical conduct a tad during the Bush era, isn’t it obvious that in the three years of President Obama’s term in office, he has done absolutely nothing about investigating possible journalistic misconduct and therefore he must assume full and complete responsibility for any potential current offenses.

In contemporary American politics, the responsibility principle now applies to President Obama regarding war, torture, war crimes, taxes, recovery, economic stability, ecological issues and home foreclosures, so why wouldn’t it also apply to ultimate blame for the Murdoch scandal?

(Sixties cliché alert?)  Journalists are a different breed of cat.  Did the journalists reporting about how “carmageddon” failed to materialize seem disappointed? 

Back in the early 80’s when the Olympic Games were scheduled to come toLos Angeles, there were similar dire predictions about gridlock.  When the marathon of sports competitions began the slight increase in traffic congestion was barely noticeable. 

Are some irrelevant news stories used to distract the voters from other more important news items which don’t fit the publisher’s hidden agenda?

Los Angelescan survive fires, earthquakes, Olympic Game traffic, and world famous murder trials.  With the ease that they handled the weekend closure of the 405, the folks in L. A. can take credit once more for shaking off a new challenge to their famous “laid back” attitude.

Speaking of diversions on GOP TV (AKA Fox News), will any of the jackasses who try to prove the existence of global warming be among this year’s inductees for the Mad Scientist Hall of Fame?

Why must the Murdoch scandal be called “Rupertgate” or “Murdochgate”?  Why can’t rogue bloggers call it “Murdochgeddon”?

On page A-12 of the Wall Street Journal’s print edition the lead editorial asked:  “Do our media brethren really want to regulate how journalists gather the news?”  That a really smooth way to divert attention away from the real crimes of possible extortion and perhaps even some political blackmail.  Nice dodge, guys!

Note for fact checkers who want to play along at home:  The Hearst quote at the beginning of this column can be found in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotes (it is in the 125th Anniversary edition on page 702) and since they have one of the best fact checking teams in publishing; that’s enough proof for the World’s Laziest Journalist.

Do it yourself fact checkers are encouraged to view “Citizen Kane,” and read “Citizen Hearst,” by S. M. Swanberg, “The Making of Citizen Kane,” by Robert L. Carringer, and “Lapdogs” (How the Press rolled over for Bush) by Eric Boehlert. 

While your at it, check out this quote about the run-up to the Spanish American War found on page 140 of the Bantam Books paperback edition of “Citizen Hearst:” “In Washington, publicity-seeking Senators and Representatives were constantly guilty of indignant statements about Spanish cruelty and oppression based wholly on New York newspaper reports which were highly biased or downright fictitious.” 

The Columbia Journalism Review is conducting an informal survey this summer to determine <a href =http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/wsjs_lost_weekend.php

>the best film about journalism</a>.  We left a comment about our opinion of Network and we’ll leave it to Pulitzer Prize winning film Critic Roger Ebert to remind them of “Citizen Kane.”

If Fox News does ignore Murdochgate, then at some point won’t that glaring omission become an example of substantiating evidence?

If Fox News is ordered to ignore Murdochgate, where can folks with inquiring minds learn more about this breaking story? 

Try these websites:

http://www.cjr.org/

http://www.ajr.org/

http://pressthink.org/

http://onlinejournalismblog.com/

http://www.poynter.org/category/latest-news/romenesko/

 

 

and read these articles:

The aforementioned New York Times lead story on Sunday

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/world/europe/17police.html?_r=1&ref=donvanjrnatta

and take a loot at:

http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/07/15/push-for-oz-media-probe/

David Swanson puts it rather succinctly

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Murdoch-Has-Blood-on-His-H-by-David-Swanson-110714-963.html

If Freedom of the Press has become extinct and honest election results are not a source for concern, doesn’t the “lock the barn after the horse is gone” principle apply?  Why bother with woulda/coulda/shoulda nonsense at this point?

However, if, on the other hand, Freedom of the Press and honest elections are not DOA but merely wounded, and if Mr. Murdoch has used illegal means to promote his meddling and diminish Americans freedoms, then, unless people don’t really care if scores of Americans died in combat to protect those liberties, perhaps they should (at the very least) send a letter to their representatives in Congress urging multiple investigations as a way of providing triage for the wounded freedoms.

It’s time to insert this column’s closing quote.  In “Citizen Kane,” Publisher Charles Foster Kane (Orson Wells) says:  “You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years.”

Now the disk jockey will play Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” “Down on Me,” and “Bye, Bye Baby.”  (What?  You think that Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s album “Déjà vu” would be better?)  We have to go read up on Col. McCormick.  Have a “Remember theMaine!” type week.

Get your mind right, Luke.

July 16, 2011

There is a human tendency for people to assume that others are just like they are and that can cause some very great difficulties when two diverse groups must communicate (or negotiate) with each other.  Psychologists call that tendency “Projection.” 

This month in the United States, the Democrats, who believe that default would cause so much economic turmoil that it would be insane to choose that path, assume that the Republicans also think similarly.  If, however, they are projecting they could be making a bit mistake.  A catastrophic example of projection and some “what we have here is failure to communicate” unproductive bargaining sessions could soon produce a bad political situation for President Obama who will seek reelection next year. 

Democratic politicians and liberal pundits seem reluctant to explore the ramifications of what becomes inevitable if the Republicans secretly wish to precipitate default.  In the spirit of free wheeling and wide ranging informal analysis and strategy planning, let’s cut to the chase and ask:  “What if the Republicans want default?”

What would the Republicans have to gain and what would they have to loose, if that’s what they get later this month?

For the Democrats, default will deliver a shitstorm of rancor and recriminations to the DNC headquarters.

Regret is a natural human tendency.  (I’m sorry that I have to say that; but it’s true.)  Consequently if default occurs, some less than stalwart Democrats will lament the pain and chaos and ask the rhetorical question:  “If Obama knew this was coming, shouldn’t he have made more concessions?”  (That ignores our basic premise that the Republicans preferred default and would ignore even a complete surrender on Obama’s part. but people tend to act within the limits of natural human conduct and many surely would ask that question.) 

That, in turn, will have the unfortunate effect of diminishing the number of Democratic Party member votes for Obama’s reelection in November 2012.  The precise number of voters thus lost is immaterial because if he looses:  one that number will be irrelevant and two because of the degree of uncertainty caused by the unverifiable results from the electronic voting machines the precise number of disillusioned Democrats will be unable to be accurately measured.

That alone could be sufficient reason for the Republicans to make default an example of existential philosophy in action but there may be other bonus reasons for the Republicans to consciously work to make the default happen.

Default could bring on even more examples of mortgage loan defaults.  (Can we get a public domain image of Snidely Whiplash holding the deed and tying Nel to the railroad tracks?  [“Don’t worry, Nel, I’ll save you!”?  Hah!  Not bloody well likely.])

[Note: we heard a report on the radio (CBS radio news?) this week that banks have resumed the practice of issuing mortgage loans to unqualified buyers.  Isn’t there a classic movie that asserts that every time a bank repossesses a home, an angel gets its wings?]

Default is almost sure to provide the folks with surplus cash (Wouldn’t that mostly be Republicans?) some juicy bargains in the stock market.  When a stock market crash occurs there has to be one buyer each time some panic stricken stock holder sells.  The buyers love a bargain.

Default will prove to be a “job-killer” and thus precipitate a very intense round of the blame game.  Can’t you just picture it?  If default happens some top Republican can shrug off that Party’s role in the disaster, point to Obama, and say:  “What a man wants; he gets.”

If the default precipitates chaos, which political party will Fox News hold responsible?  If Rupert and Fox lead, is any member of the mainstream media club strong enough to buck the trend?  

There must be a downside for the Republicans to consider.  There is.  If default occurs then the exchange rate will change and vacations in Paris (or Perth?) will cost slightly more (or as the rich folks so quaintly put it:  “A bigger lump of chump-change”). 

Did President Obama make a real bad Freudian slip and give away the game when he said:  “Don’t call my bluff.”  Luke was holding nothing but he made them think he might have a pair of kings.  There is a difference.

It used to be that the political pundit’s mission was to assess for his audience all the most likely possible courses of action.  If all the available commentary on the ramifications of the debt crisis proceeds from the assumption that the Republicans aren’t crazy enough to let that happen, then American voters are being cheated out of the opportunity to consider the likely effects of one of the potential outcomes.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist isn’t the only columnist to suggest that an economic ambush/debacle is about to occur then readers are invited to post any relevant links in the comments section. 

If, on the other hand, no one else is speculating about the possibility that the Republicans may be willing to “drive the economy off the cliff,” then we are going to need a bit of help (if for no other reason than to prove to future historians that the remote possibility was considered).

If readers of this column agree with the writer, then please send the link to others (or post it on their Facebook page) to alert them to the need for being aware of a potential very nasty dog day surprise waiting in the political wings.  If the readers don’t agree, then they might send others the link (or put it on their Facebook page) just to get an example of their (reluctant?) endorsement of freedom of speech.

Before inserting the closing quote, we will add some additional substantiating evidence for the concept of “projection.”

Different ethnic groups with different religions tend to teach the members of the new generaation that theirs is the best religion and when the two diverse groups compare theologies, friction develops.  Isn’t that because each diverse group projects their values and mindsets on to the other?

White folks from Great Britain arrived in Australia and ascertained that the local natives, called Aborigines, were not really human beings and could be hunted as an animal species.  Some outside meddlers arrived and called it murder. 

If one side of a dispute considers themselves to be logical and clear thinking, then why can’t the other side be just as reasonable?  Isn’t it just a case of delivering “a word to the wise” and watching for the “Eureka!” moment?  Can dueling examples of “projection” be used to explain the deadlock? 

Which side of the abortion issue assumes that the other side “just doesn’t get it”?

There was a book that asserted that men and women think differently.  It was titled “Women Are from Venus; Men Are from Mars.”   (Will there be a sequel title:  “Democrats are from Venus; Republicans are from the planet named after the god of war!”?) 

If people think that the psychological phenomenon called “projection” really does exist, then shouldn’t members of the tea party be enthusiastic about a chance to convince college graduates that it’s just another intellectual scam from the twerps (when was the last time you saw that word online?) called “scientists”? 

BTW how come college graduates endorse taxes for school improvement and high school drop-outs think that raises for teachers is an example from the list of government give-a-ways?

In the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” the Captain (Strother Martin) explains life to the prisoners:  “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.”  Can that be used as a metaphor for political confrontations on the road to reelection?  Will John Boehner ever stand in front of the microphones and say:  “Get your mind right, Mr. President!”?

Now the disk jockey will play Eddie Cochran’s 1957 recording “Mean when I’m Mad,” the theme song from “High Noon,” and Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.”  We have to go check up on the Murdoch scandal in Australia.  Have a “standing in the rain talkin’ to myself” type week.

“I’m as mad as hell . . . .”

July 14, 2011

Was the 1976 Oscar™ winning film “Network” an amazingly accurate <I>roman a clef</I> based on this summer’s trials and tribulations of poor, poor pitiful Rupert Murdock or was it just a good guess about what could happen in the future?

[<B>Spoiler warning:  this column will reveal surprise plot points.</B>  If you have not seen the 1976 film, Network, it would be better if you made the effort to watch it and then read this column.  If you have already seen the film, you might get more enjoyment from it and this column, if you re-view it and then read this assessment of that classic film and its chillingly accurate predictions.]

The World’s Laziest Journalist betook himself to San Francisco CA to attend the weekly front steps used book sale at the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch that is conducted (weather permitting) each Wednesday during the May to September months.

When we spotted Network amongst a trove of VHS tapes that appealed to our columnist instincts (“Notorious,” “King Kong,” “High Noon,” the original version of “the Manchurian Candidate” and “Twelve O’Clock High” [Expect more plugs for Donald L. Miller’s book “Masters of the Air” in future columns]), we glommed on to it with gun fighter reflexes speed.

In “Network,” legendary newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) – a fictional member of the “Murrow’s Boys” gang – uses his influential position as a journalist with a regular network TV show to do the bidding of a wealthy mogul who is a front man for the Arab royal family.  Beale is assigned to convince Americans that they are insignificant cogs in a new and improved world where democracy has become obsolete and business is the <I>raison d’être</I> for the existence of humanity.  How close to home does this classic film hit?

Some alarmists (conspiracy theory nuts?) are implying that if (subjunctive mood) Rupert Murdoch meddled with politics in both Great Britain and Australia, he may have, could have, might possibly have also done so in the United States of America.  This irresponsible reckless speculation is based upon the assumption that many Americans aren’t fully informed on political issues.

[This just in:  C-SPAN is (allegedly) being eliminated from some cable pay packages in the Berkeley CA area.]

There was an item on the Internet, <a href =http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/julia-gillard-open-to-media-probe/story-e6frg996-1226094945168>on The Australian web site</a>, that asserted that an investigation into the (alleged) influence Rupert Murdoch may have had on the politics in the country where he was born.

As a hypothetical example of how Murdoch may have possibly meddled, the host of the progressive talk show (that airs on KKGN from 6 to 9 P. M. in the Pacific Time Zone, each weekday evening) postulated a hypothetical example of how such imaginary meddling might have worked, suppose (hypothetically) that Rupert Murdoch’s aggressive style of journalism fact finding divulged that a guy in America’s legislature (we’ll call him “Knute”) was simultaneously having an extra-marital affair while urging that a fellow southerner in the White House should be impeached for defending a woman’s honor by telling a fib under oath.  (The WLJ legal advisors insist on such convoluted cautionary wording and we trust their judgment.)   

Additionally, the talk show host urged listeners to imagine what would happen if Rupert Murdoch were to use that knowledge as a bargaining chip in discussion with “Knute” about granting some legal dispensations to the Murdock empire so that they could establish a new beachhead in America for Murdoch’s brand of aggressively and selectively dishing the dirt out on politicians who opposed his efforts?

[Wouldn’t all this sound so much more palatable if the voice of Rod Serling could be used to supply the vocal track?]

If Rupert Murdoch were to use political blackmail to achieve his goals, wouldn’t some Paul Wellstoneish fellow do the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” routine in opposition?  What ever happened to Senator Wellstone?

Does that radio guy think that decency and honesty in politics and fair and balanced journalism have done a variation of the “no survivors” results at the Battle of the Little Big Horn?  He might be right, eh?

Murdoch came to America, got some legislative breaks, and started Fox News.  Does that mean that Paddy Chayefsky was spot-on with a prescient script all that long ago or are there merely some superfluous basic plot similarities?

Would Vincent Canby call the summer of 2011 “brilliantly, surprisingly funny,” as he did “Network”?

BTW if Fox News blatantly ignores the various stories involving Rupert Murdoch, does that mean that they should change their motto to:  “the best Biased and Slanted opinions that Rupert’s money can buy”?

The shopping expedition to fog city has had a noticeable detrimental effect on this columnist’s reserve energy level and so we will eliminate any attempts to draw some conclusions for our readers and merely strongly urge them to make a concerted effort to get a chance to see “Network” either again or for the first time, this weekend, and then decide if it was time well spent or if it was a wild goose chase.

Almost thirty five years ago Howard Beale summed it up thusly: “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”

Now, the disk jockey will play “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and Fred Waring’s “Little White Lies.”  We have to go find a the specifics for next  year’s <a href =http://www.conspiracycon.com/>Conspiracy Theory Convention</a>.  Have a “good night and good luck” type week.

“Why do columnists sit on their helmets?”

July 12, 2011

President Obama’s expects blind fanatical devotion from Liberal bloggers that reaches the same level of intensity as did the evening TV newscasts fromBerlinduring the era of the Third Reich.  Many teabagging journalism critics may be surprised to learn that even before CBS radio started to recruit newspaper reporters for the gang that became known as “Murrow’s Boys,”Germanyhad a nightly newscast on TV.  The 1936 Olympic Games were telecast but it used a convoluted technology that got images that were a minute old from freshly developed movie film.  The German leader devised the publicity generating ploy of the Olympic flame.  The nightly TV newscasts were suspended long before VE Day.  The pro-Obama bloggers slogger on.

Conversely, curmudgeonly online columnists are accorded the same broad amount of permissiveness as are the fellows who deliver the opening monologues on the late night marathons of promobabble.  Columnists are free to lampoon the President if they stumble across any potential for hilarity such as (hypothetically) if a President from the Democratic Party inadvertently began to help the Republicans achieve their dream goal of dismantling FDR’s “New Deal.”

Imagine for a moment that Johnny Carson were able again to do such a monologue recently and that he laughingly speculated that if the CIA had been permitted to use their famous “enhanced intorogation” methods, the Casey Anthony case would have ended with a confession.  He could get away with such an example of a hilarious hypothetical, right?

Any Liberal Blogger who attempted to emulate such impunity would be given a time out and sent to his/her room if not actually dismissed from the roster of daily boosters of the President’s cause.

Cynical columnists would defend their obstreperousness by pointing to page 285 of Donald L. Miller’s book, Masters of the Air, because the author delineated the different qualities that were considered when picking bomber pilots or fighter pilots.  If someone showed “rapid hand-eye co-ordination, aggressiveness, boldness, individuality, and a zest for battle,” they were more qualified for fighter pilot training.  The ideal candidate for bomber pilot training displayed “physical strength, judgment, emotional stamina, dependability, team play, discipline, and leadership.”

Bert Stiles was both a B-17 pilot and a fighter pilot (P-51 Mustang).  After completing his 35 bombing missions and qualifying for reassignment back to the states, he asked to be reassigned as a fighter pilot.  We read his book “Serenade to the Big Bird” while in high school. 

Newspaper reporters would be more like bomber pilots and the columnists would be more like the fighter pilots. 

Bloggers are much better at doing what they are told to do and they will help President Obama get reelected so that he can continue to work his magic for four more years.  They will ignore the reliability factor of the electronic voting machine results because if they don’t they will sound like conspiracy theory nuts.  Capiche? 

A blogger will accept his mission unquestioningly.  You will hammer home the point about the possibility that the next President might get to make some important nominations for the Supreme Court.

The permissiveness for columnists often reminds his audience of the passage in the aforementioned Miller book (again on page 285) that goes:  “This often encouraged explosive recklessness and dangerous exhibitionism, . . . .”  (“Capt. Willard, are my methods unsound?”)

Would a rogue columnist be reluctant to challenge his audience to imagine President Obama saying to Rupert Murdock:  “Please, I’ll do anything you ask if you will please, please, please quash this story.”?

Wouldn’t Freddie Francisco (fromBerkeleyCA), also known as “Mr. San Francisco,” also approve?

Bloggers will not be free to point out that the 2011 Presidential Election is shaping up to be a competition between an extreme Republican and a moderate Republican seeking reelection.

Is the Red Barron’s mantle of invincibility greater than Obama’s reelection chances?

How many unearned electoral votes will the electronic voting machines award to the Republican candidate?  Will it be five or six?  Was “Dirty Harry” a fighter pilot in WWII?

The chances that the average voter won’t be as effectively represented in the Debt Ceiling crisis debate as will the folks in the “no millionaire left behind” squadron suggest to this columnist that he should make a concerted effort to do the fact finding that would be needed to frame the Debt Ceiling issue in the form of a basic plot paradigm from the film noir genre.  (Maybe not today.  Mayby not tomorrow, but some day soon.)

Wasn’t it in the film “The Great McGinty,” that Claude Rains said:  “Ricky, I’m shocked.  I’m shocked to learn that fraud is being suspected in the electronic voting machine elections!”?

George Raft has said:  “I must have gone through $10 million during my career.  Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses, and part for women.  The rest I spent foolishly.”  Would that have been in the form of campaign contributions?

Now the disk jockey will play “Sky Pilot,” “Snoopy and the Red Barron,” and the Pogue song “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda.”  We have to go hunting for our copy of “Catch 22.”  Have a “bombs away!” type week.

Do Invisible Gorillas need Viagra?

July 11, 2011

Manohla Dargis authored an essay for the Sunday, July 10, 2011 edition of the New York Times that applied some of the information in the new book “The Invisible Gorilla” to the art of film reviewing.  She elaborated how movie directors often go to extensive lengths to manipulate the audience’s attention.  Bloggers will find that much of what she was trying to teach rookie film critics also applies to the art of political punditry and they are encouraged <a href =http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/movies/why-difficult-movies-are-more-um-difficult.html>to read it online</a> or on page 13 of the hard copy’s Arts and Leisure section.

The book contends (and Ms. Dargis seconds the idea) that sometimes folks get so intent on something that they see what they want to see and disregard all the rest (as lies and jest?).  Haven’t magicians been making a comfortable living based on that principle for decades?  Don’t they call it “The Three card Monty” Shuffle?  Didn’t Banksey use the converse of that principle as the basis for his “Elephant in the Room” installation inLos Angeles, a few years ago?

Aren’t the efforts of the JEB Bush campaign to win the 2012 Republican nomination a viable example of the Invisible Gorilla book’s contention that (to rob another book title) Naked is the Best Disguise?  Heck, if Karl Rove goes on the Sean Hannity radio show and while assessing the various candidates’ chances overlooks JEB, isn’t that proof that if he has fooled himself into forgetting about JEB’s efforts, then all the peons in Punditvania will also drop JEB from the evaluation process?  Whew!  Maybe the Fox Hacking team will also be fooled and not bother to pry into JEB’s telephone answering machine and come up with an embarrassing scoop?  Wouldn’t that be a very lucky break for the JEBster? 

Ms. Dargis suggests that “inattentional blindness” and “change blindness” help perpetuate some of the visual frauds in cinema. 

Wow!  What would happen if a Democratic President promised “change” and subsequently Karl Rove imposed the principle of “change blindness” on his pals in the national media who were searching diligently for opportunities to have a “Eurika!” moment in the contemporary political perception arena called “<I>status quo</I> chaos”? 

Did we mention that Harry Houdini was the first person to pilot an aircraft flight on the continent ofAustralia?

Ms. Dargis quotes theorist David Bordwell as saying (on his blog) that “perceptually films are illusions . . .” and that reminded this columnist of the time (as a kid) when we asked an aunt who loved Western Movies, if so many of the actors, who were hired to be Indians and cowboys, were getting killed each week, why didn’t Hollywood run out of actors?  At that point we were informed that the weekly images of massive massacres were only people playing pretend.  (Just like with the bombings to kill Col Qaddafi?) 

Boy, do the pacifists inBerkeleyget pissed when they see film purporting to show massive carnage inIraq?   Dude, relax, it’s just a movie!  Isn’t it ironic that a city known for the Peace symbol is home to a weapons laboratory?

Ms. Dargis then quotes a British psychologist, Dr. Tim Smith, about the fact that directors and actors do the same thing that magicians do:  i.e. get the audience to look where they want them to look so that they miss seeing/learning something else that might spoil the fun/effect/surprise. 

Our favorite British psychologist is Rupert Sheldrake and a quote about his concept of morphic resonance might have been germane to the topic, but oh well, you don’t always get what you want (but if you try some times?) . . .”

Wouldn’t it be funny if Roger Ebert wrote a review saying that remake of “The Italian Job” was a good summer action flick but nothing close to an existentialist drama and then some online fellow wrote a review that was <a href = http://celebritywonder.ugo.com/movie/2003_The_Italian_Job_bob_patterson.html>peppred with quotes from Camus and Sartre</a> showing that it was a superb example of existentialism in the cinema?

The American military got a line for the Marine Corps song when they fought the Barbary Coast pirates, then they went back to the same local to kick Rommel’s ass and turn the tide (“It is not even the beginning of the end.”) in WWII, and so Col. Qaddafi had best mind the American’ folk wisdom:  “Three’s the charm.”

Is it true that on some liberal aggregator web sites that the contributors are not permitted to write about using cuts in the Social Security program to help solve the Budget crisis because such wild unsubstantiated speculation sound suspiciously like a conspiracy theory?  Isn’t the President’s willingness to sanction such an obvious solution to the problem while all the other Democrats “can’t see it,” similar to the Invisible Gorilla principle?

Isn’t it time for political pundits to start gathering some facts about movies depicting cars driving off a cliff for some hip cultural references in their budget crisis commentaries?  In “North by Northwest,” Carry Grant almost drives off a cliff.  In “Rebel without a Cause,” and “Thelma and Louise,” cars do drive off a cliff.

For bloggers who are partisan cheerleaders the fact that they will have to work harder in the next year to support President Obama and help get out the vote for his reelection seems to be their equivalent of the Invisible Gorilla.

For curmudgeonly columnists, who see their mission as being critics of the <I>status quo</I>, their Invisible Gorilla moment might be to ask if there should be an investigation into the possibility that the Murdock media in the USA may have used the same methods of journalism as they did in Great Britain.  (Would it be an example of überhubris to assert that only folks who have read every word in Ulysses can maintain that a practitioner of three dot journalism is obtuse?)

If major league Football and Basketball disappears in theUSA, what’s going to happen next Spring at baseball training camps?  Will Fox cable sports channel start to use their Australian facilities to provide a feed for cricket and rugby matches?  Will Americans suddenly start wearing West Coast Eagle T-shirts?

How many Fremantle **ckers fans live in ConcordiaKansas?  (Not even Mike Malloy can legally say the name of that team on the air.)  If the number of **cker fans in thatKansastown grows perceptibly that would be a real change, eh?

Speaking of Tricks; did Houdini teach an Australian publisher the lesson that if an elephant disappears, it’s much harder for folks to sue that elephant?  Isn’t it obvious that it is harder to sue a paper empire that has been dissolved?  It’s just like the lyrics of the song:  “Why deny the obvious, child?”

President Obama is asserting that if the budget crisis isn’t solved ASAP, there will be a double-dip recession.  As far as the Republicans are concerned, isn’t that like B’rer Bear and B’rer Fox threatening to throw B’rer Rabbit into the briar patch?

Tom Wolfe has written:  “The young architects and artists who came to the Bauhaus to live and study and learn from the Silver Prince talked about ‘starting from zero.’”

Now the disk jockey will play Ray Steven’s “Gitarzan,” and “Harry the Hairy Ape,” and  Ernie Kovacs’ Nairobi Trio’s version of “Solfeggio.”   We have to go investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of St. Ronald Reagan’s costar, Bonzo.  Have a “keep your eye on the ball” type week.

Stealth Punditry

July 5, 2011

Purportedly one of the advantages of the computer era is that citizens with blogs will provide backup for the news media staffs that are stretched to the breaking point by cost cutting layoffs.  There is danger in letting that bit of reassuring nonsense go unchallenged because if the backup capabilities of the citizen journalist is nothing more than an urban legend, then any unscrupulous villain who wanted to manipulate public opinion would have the public relying on a safety measure that was fictional and thus have a better chance of fooling the citizens with a lineup of meek and subservient lackeys providing the ruse of a Potemkin Journalism Industry which would (ostensibly) delight in reporting the very sham which they are helping to perpetrate.

Any blogger who uttered such First Amendment blasphemy would be expected to provide an example of a bit of news which would provide a text book perfect example of a news item that was being ignored by the media when it should be brought to the public’s attention.  It would be even more convincing if such a blogger were to provide several stealth news items which if taken together would make a strong case for any wild conspiracy theory about how bloggers have as much sway with national media as Hans Brinker did with his neighbors.

Americans, who expect their media to use their Constitutional right to inform the citizens of any governmental misconduct, are often very condescending when evaluating the fact that inGermanyduring the Third Reich era, the news media there let national policy go unchallenged. 

In the summer of 2011, are the journalists ofAmericapointing out that after three months of conducting air strikes against Col. Qaddafi to protect that country’s inhabitants from his wrath, he continues to live?  Beyond the irony of the fact that a small rag-tag band of fanatical amateur members of al Qaeda achieved their goal in one day and the USA with state of the art technical weaponry, the best spy information that money can buy, intelligence gathered by satellites, and a minor amount of anti-aircraft protection from the Libyans, they still haven’t been able to kill the one man who is their target and thereby opens up a chance that the USA will inadvertently bestow a folk hero status (a la Zorro?) on the elusive Libyan leader. 

Will American media point out any collateral damage attached to the extreme effort to kill just one man?  Other than one rogue story about one example of civilian casualties have American media reported any possibility that extensive collateral damage makes a mockery of the concept of unleashing a massive amount of explosives to protect the Libyans from the fellow who has been that country’s leader for almost 40 years?

A one hundred day series of air strikes to protect the citizens ofLibyafrom their leader has been successfully marketed as a humanitarian effort.  Shouldn’t the ever vigilant American media offer an explanation about whether theLibyamission ranks above or below the bombing ofGuernicaon the humanitarian effort scale?

IfCol.Qaddafi were killed in an air strike today, would the air strikes continue?  If so would Americans be provided with any explanation?  Silence implies consent and the American free press is very silent about the effort to kill Col. Qaddafi.

If, as some outspoken progressive pundits would have their audiences believe, there is a concerted Republican effort to break unions, shouldn’t some of the sports departments assigned to cover American football and basketball games be offering up some conjecture about the possibility that two simultaneous lockouts in theUSAsports scene are part of that political trend?  Will a baseball lockout be next?

If a movie critic with a well respected reputation were to write a reevaluation of the 1980 movie, “The Formula,” and ask if the Germans during World War II were able to use coal to produce gasoline back then why isn’t that scientific achievement being used now to help stabilize prices at that gas pump in the USA?  Wouldn’t the various editorial departments pick that up as a way to cope with the journalistic challenge of the dog days of summer?  If the concept of citizen journalists providing backup for the national media is valid, wouldn’t a citizen blogger who asked these questions produce a mainstream media reaction?

[Note:  An online columnist who asks questions that the mainstream media won’t is usually classified as a conspiracy theory crazy and is therefore ineligible to be an example of citizen journalism in action.  The real question is:  Should such unmanageable “loose cannon” writers even be considered to be human beings?]

One hand washes the other.  If the idea that the German method for producing gasoline from coal would embarrass the big oil companies, then perhaps it is just an exaggerated example of “interline courtesy” to assume that media would be mum about such a footnote from the history books and let the oil companies maintain their high prices by perpetuating the “lost technology” myth about the German source for gasoline during World War II.

It has been suggested that the citizen groups inCaliforniathat will assist in the efforts to redraw the new Congressional district maps are being swamped with applicants from the Tea Party side of the political spectrum.  Aren’t the assignment desks at the New York Times and CBS sure to pounce on that story the first time a blogger mentions it?  Or is the concept of “citizen journalist” just an urban legend?

If citizen journalism were a valid concept, wouldn’t there be annual awards for the best blogger scoops?  You don’t expect the Pulitzer folks to hand out one of their awards to someone who scooped all ofAmerica’s editorial writers, do ya?  To the best of our knowledge, there are no citizen journalist awards.  Do they actually exist but suffer from an unknown gentlemen’s agreement among media to not give them any publicity?  If you believe that, then you are eligible to apply for membership in the group that does give out awards for the year’s best new conspiracy theories. 

Go back to sleep, America.  On Saturday, this columnist noticed a story, posted online, with a headline indicating that President Obama has already lost the Budget Crises battle.

http://articles.philly.com/2011-07-03/news/29733272_1_spending-cuts-deficit-cuts-government-shutdown 

For the closing quote, we will allude to the movie line where Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman) says: “I’m just standin’ in the rain talkin’ to myself.”

Now the disk jockey will play “One is the loneliest number,”  “Alone again, naturally,” and Patsy Cline’s version of “Crazy” (which was written by Willie Nelson [more than fifty years ago?]).  We have to go make a design so we can get rich selling “Four more Years!” T-shirts.  Have a “Tell Mr. DeMille I’m ready for my close-up!” type week.