Archive for July, 2012

Is it time again for the liberal pundits to take cheap shots at gun control?

July 27, 2012

The Hollywood recipe of sex, high speed car chases, and shootouts, used to attract large numbers of young men to movie theaters during the summer months occasionally boils over into real life and when it does it precipitates a cavalcade of clichés for both the pro and anti gun pundits who automatically proceed to the “round up the usual suspects” mode of operation.  Attempting to write a remarkably eloquent example of argumentation for either point of view brings to mind a quote made famous by Inspector (Dirty) Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood):  “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

American culture offers such an abundance of pop culture items for relevant allusions that it provides a book manuscript level of possible material and since this will be a quick read column meant to incite readers to do their own analysis rather than offer an “off the rack” set of tailored opinions, we will try to present something that is both unique and thought provoking.

One of the world’s laziest journalist’s recurring complaints is that regimented thinking has become too standardized in mainstream media and we noted with some satisfaction that our subjective reaction to the initial onslaught of news was to wonder how many of the pundits who tackle the subject will use the idea that the shooter obviously needed to get laid as the basis for a column suggesting that the fellow was a poster boy for the idea that prostitution should be legalized.

One of the victims, Jessica Ghawi, was a remarkable rookie sports reporter whose brother asked for a boycott of the perp’s name and so we will not use the name of the young man who methodically attempted to execute an entire movie audience.  She was, according to several news reports, a vivacious and talented person who embodied what the French call <I>joie de vivre</I> (joy of living).  We have been intending to write a column about that French philosophical concept and realize the poignant fact that the victim epitomized the philosophy that every day is a precious gift and should be appreciated accordingly.  We will hoist a glass of our favorite non-alcoholic drink in her memory this weekend.

The kid who is now in custody and awaiting trial, it seems to this columnist, needed some love and sex to suppress his antisocial impulses.  We wondered what would have happened if fate had supplied the shooter with a dynamic girlfriend instead of a compulsion.

Many of the news reports about the shooter’s first appearance in court noted that the fellow looked dazed and confused.  None of the accounts specifically used the phrase “drug addled moron,” but that seemed to be the consensus opinion of the journalists.  It made us wonder:  since the fellow had been in custody since early Friday morning, did the District Attorney prescribe heavy sedation for the defendant to prevent the culprit from going berserk Monday as a way of providing a foundation for an insanity plea defense?

During the week, Ted Nugent speculated about how different things might have been if some other members of the movie audience had been strapped (i.e. carrying firearms).  When Australian fugitive Ned Kelly was apprehended, he was wearing home made armor and he sustained more than two dozen wounds before he was subdued.  Apparently Nugent’s speculation included a magical bullet with a mythological ability to be unencumbered by the restrictions of the laws of physics and would have sent the mass murderer to an early grave.

Could Chuck Norris have delivered such a hypothetical example of perfect marksmanship in the midst of the mass confusion?

Obviously Ted Nugent deserves a place on Mitt Romney’s short list of potential running mates.

Premeditated anonymity for the shooter, in accordance with the wishes of Ms. Ghowi’s brother, caused us to wonder just how many Americans can supply the name of the assassin (Charles Guiteau) who shot President James A. Garfield or the fellow (Leon Czolgosz) who shot President William McKinley.  It would take a trivia champ to name the guy (Gavrilo Princip) who shot Archduke Ferdinand and precipitated the mass carnage of WWI.

That, in turn, reminded us that there was a second Congressional investigation to augment the Warren Commission Report into the shooting of President Kennedy and the lesser known study concluded that there was more than one person involved in the assassination in Dallas.  Some conspiracy theory scholars suggest that the fellow who shot President Lincoln may have had some help from unknown people who were accessories to the crime.

Just about everything the world’s laziest journalist knows about snipers was learned while reading the novels of movie critic Stephen Hunter.  That, in turn, inspired us to read the biography of Carlos Hathcock, a U. S. Marine Corp sniper who killed a Viet Cong general with a shot from 2,000 yards away.

His name sparked us to remember that a poker hand of aces and eights has a special significance for people who are fascinated by the history of the American West.

At this point while doing the keystrokes for the rough draft for this column, caroming off on a tangential topic about which shots are morally acceptable and which are not has a powerfully appealing aspect, but we will address that topic some other day in a future column and continue objectively assembling a collection of gun related items for this particular column.

It seems very unlikely that corporate media will permit any of their indentured propagandists to dwell on the fact that the shooter had a college degree and was overqualified to work the “want a side order of fries with your burger?” jobs available.

If the police found any books by Marx or Engels in the shooter’s apartment, Uncle Rushbo & Co. will be jubilant.  Have the conservative pundits ever noted that the Tea Party movement in the USA strongly echoes the Black Hundred political movement in Tsarist Russia?

Some pundits have suggested that the shooter wanted fame and media attention and point out the culprit’s dyed hair as proof that the fellow was bonkers and willing to go to extremes to gain attention.  Have any of these expert pundits walked around in a college town lately?  If they have they will learn that the War in Vietnam has ended since they graduated and that some young folks these days sport hair dyed green, purple, or gray.  Have any of the musicians who pioneered the punk rock genre and used the retro Iroquois haircut started to go bald?

After hearing some recent news reports indicating that a majority of young people want to be famous, we stumbled upon a curious link connecting Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, and Hunter S. Thompson.  Biographers indicate that all three considered being a famous celebrity a curse rather than a gift of fate.

[Both Hemingway and Hunter Thompson were avid gun enthusiasts.  We can’t immediately recall any passages from Kerouac’s writing which mentioned guns.  We have often wondered (word play alert!) if the inventory for Hunter’s private arsenal included a Thompson submachine gun.

Back in the day when this columnist was too young to qualify for a driver’s license, weekly magazines (such as Look and Colliers?) often featured an ad offering Thompson submachine guns which had blocked up barrels.  Quite often those ads were adjacent to other ads which offered replacement parts (such as barrels?) for obsolete military weapons.  We haven’t seen any of those ads recently and so we wonder if the Thompson submachine gun is now considered an assault rifle or not.]

Isn’t it rather poignant that the anti-Establishment rock bands from the Sixties, who warned their contemporaries about the dangers of commercialism, have come to epitomize the lucrative aspect of fame?  Some day we will get around to writing a column that will convey our philosophy about how fame can be a double edged sword.

[The illusive mystery writer K. C. Constantine was once quoted as saying he wrote and avoided publicity because he had had his fill of fame when he played professional baseball.  Our hunch is that the writer’s secret identity would be that of a former member of the N. Y. Yankees who had a subsequent career as a sports caster and lived in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.]

Is the anti-capitalism beatnik/hippie philosophy still being preached?  A blogger who posts tips and hints about how to run away to join a hippie commune will get a constant trickle of visitors seeking information on that very subject.  Maybe we’ll write a column on that topic.

Is it an example of hypocrisy to note that the conservatives who advocate availability of assault rifles for the masses often live in very secure compounds and fastidiously avoid malls and public movie theaters where they might encounter germs or stray bullets?  Would it be an example of über-irony if the gift shop at the World’s Laziest Journalist World Headquarters were to offer a T-shirt reading:  “I love hypocrisy!”?

After 9-11, people in the L. A. area who were being admitted to free movie screenings for critics and journalists, were searched for weapons, so is it another example of hypocrisy if people who see new films in a secure location condemn motion pictures for inciting violence at public theaters?  Or is that an acceptable example of double standard thinking?

Speaking of cinematic violence, when we were an enthusiastic Three Stooges fan, a relative pointed out that the mayhem in those comedies was “play acting” and noted that the only time an uncle killed an enemy soldier (he was a Seabee who was going for water on Guadalcanal), he hit the fellow on the head with an empty bucket.

Are the journalists in the media suffering from sensational event deficit disorder?  Do you expect to see/hear any gun control debate on the Sunday talk shows during the first weekend of the sports games in London?  After a news event has been featured on the covers of the weekly news magazines, it becomes ancient history.

Didn’t President George W. Bush end the War in Iraq when he signed a peace treaty with Saddam Hussein at an event that was held on the deck of an aircraft carrier?

As this column was being written, the disk jockey was sorting through a mountain of material to select the best relevant music to play when the time to roll the credits arrives.  There are so many songs about shooting that it would be difficult to select the top ten.  Items like “Frankie and Johnnie” and “Stagerlee” are fixtures in American Pop Culture.  Using the Gonuts song “Hot for Twinkies” would be too confusing for anyone who is not a trivia expert on San Francisco Political History.  Is some of the best of Ennio Morricone’s music appropriate?  If the disk jockey plays the Ride of the Valkyries, should the columnist say “Getcha a case of beer for that!”?  Should he play the theme song from “High Noon”?  “I hate Mondays!”?

American folk wisdom proclaimed:  “God didn’t create all men equal; Col. Colt did.”

The disk jockey will play the “Annie get your gun” album, the song “America – Fuck Yeah!” from Team America, and the theme song from the TV series “Palidin.”

Roll credits!

V. O. (Voice over):

Since we have not gotten an assignment to go to London and extol the delights of the cavalcade of simultaneous sports events occurring there, we will be lucky to get to the Gilroy Garlic festival this weekend.  Have a “wear garlic necklace” type week.

[TrustoCorp, which is described online as “a New York based artist (or artists) dedicated to highlighting the hypocrisy and hilarity of human behavior through sarcasm and satire,” put up an example of their work in Berkeley CA about two years ago.  It expresses a macho Australian philosophy about guns.  We used a shot of that sign (from the WLJ photo morgue) to illustrate this week’s column.]

Photos were posted on my floppyphotos blog on wordpress.

“Never give a sucker an even break.”

July 20, 2012

There is a sequence in a W. C. Fields movie (If memory servers, that would be “Never give a sucker an even break”) that shows a con man with a funny name (Fields) at a coffee shop lunch counter chatting up the fellow next to him.  The rapscallion makes his move and says to the victim:  “It’s been a pleasure talking to you; I think I’ll buy your lunch.  When I get up to the cashier, I’ll tell her to charge me for your lunch, so you raise your hand when I point in this direction.”  Then when he talks to the young hostess with access to the cash register, he says:  “The fellow next to me offered to buy my lunch.  It’s that guy.”  He points to the gullible fellow, who raises his hand.  Fields marches off in triumph leaving the film audience in hysterics.

All this esoteric film history would be relevant if we were trying to land a gig as the intern at the British film review website <a href =http://cinesthesiac.blogspot.com/

>Cinesthesiac</I>, if they ever expand their staff to include that position.  However, since this column is going to be posted on sites that relish mordacious political punditry, we had better hasten to add that this vignette from the cinema vaults can serve as a metaphor for a newer and more pertinent swindle being perpetrated on gullible Americans and proceed immediately to the explanation of the symbolism involved.

A loveable rascal in the White House wanted to go down in history as a war President and so he convinces his country to start a quick war that (he assured the citizens) wouldn’t cost much and would be over quickly and successfully.  Then, several years later, when his successor from another political party falls into the trap, the slick fellow tells the cashier:  “He’s going to pay for my war!” and <I>voila!</I> the chump raises his hand and (eventually) gets a big surprise.  Economic chaos ensues (Don’t the Republicans think that economic chaos is an example of knee-slap funny humor?) . . . .

If a W. C. Fields character where to be given a contract for security at a big world famous sports event, the cad would over promise performance, under deliver results, and then take the money and run leaving the host country to fill the security gap.  What Conservative doesn’t believe in the old Woody Allen philosophy of “Take the money and run”?

Before America got into WWII, Fields ran a campaign for President.  The thought of a fellow who is mostly known for bumbling, unscrupulous business conduct vying for a chance to move into the White House was a hilarious diversion for the American voters who had, in 1940, been coping with economic adversity for a decade.

One of the agents in the World’s Laziest Journalist spy corps recently filed a report saying that over at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory, some of the more radical thinkers (?) on the staff are predicting that the Republicans are going to use a “Lucy van Pelt pulls away the football” type maneuver to take the nomination away from the presumptive (“never assume!”) nominee.

Gullible rubes refuse to consider the possibility that pundits are serious when the use the qualifying phrase “presumptive nominee” when they talk about Mitt Romney.  Their naiveté is a crucial ingredient for the political <I>blitzkrieg</I> (allegorically speaking) that will be unleashed before the Republican convention is called to order in Tampa.

The folks at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory, this week, were expressing the old Jimmy Durante line:  “Everybody is trying to get into the act.”  Where does journalism reporting rumors end and conspiracy theories start?  Is there a cusp area? There were rumors online Thursday hinting that a certain front running candidate may have to contend with assertions he was given amnesty for some income tax evasion offenses and if this unfounded rumor turns out to be true, he might be ruled retroactively ineligible to be a participant in the Primary and General Election activities.

Americans have been anesthetized to any shock that might accompany proof that a politician is telling blatant lies.  Suppose (AKA “What if . . . ?”) that a party’s front runner has to content with undeniable, irrefutable proof that he has committed a major misdeed (such as income tax evasion?) just days before the convention is scheduled to start?  Could a fellow be ruled retroactively ineligible to participate in some Primary elections and stripped of his wins?  (Did Mitt ever win the tour de France?)

It seems to some of the members of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Workers union that some amateur scabs were doing some speculating this week that come perilously close to infringing on their trade.

There could be major problems ahead for the Republican Party.  If (subjunctive mood) Mitt is a rich kid who knows that where there is enough available money there is always a way to get what he wants and if the Republicans hint that it is time for him to be graceful and step down, perhaps the rich kid will become obstreperous.  If Mitt comes unglued by the tax question, he might have a meltdown that would make the Howard Dean scream incident seem very tame in comparison.

What would the Republican Party do if a respected newspaper had a Pentagon Papers moment and published authentic copies of the tax returns in dispute?  What if Mitt still wouldn’t step aside?

If that were to happen, then it might be time for a journalist-curmudgeon to say:  “The kid’s not a real trooper; send him home.”

If a Mitt candidacy is unacceptable to Republicans how can they possibly expect to sell him to Reagan Democrats?

If Mitt wasn’t really shuttling between working on the Olympics and working at Bain, could that rascally old Mormon have been splitting some of his family values time with an extra wife?

Speaking of double standards, most Liberals don’t understand the Conservative philosophy of boardroom conduct.  The executives, because of their “hands on” style of management, earn every last cent of their paycheck when things are rosy and profitable, but when things go sour, it must always be blamed on some underling who kept “the chief” in the dark about potential problems.  Being a mid-level management executive these days is like being a human shield protecting the fearless leader from indictments and irate stockholders.  When Republican industrial moguls say “You can’t loose,” that exactly what they mean.  Unfortunately, that caveat doesn’t apply to managers who don’t sit of the board of directors.

Was it Fields or Laurel and Hardy that featured the shtick about flipping a coin and saying:  “Heads, I win; tails, you loose!”?  What conservative Christian can’t condone that example of how to bamboozle a sucker?

St. Ronald Reagan often said that the eleventh commandment was:  Never speak ill of a fellow Republican.  The recent rash of Republican ruminating about the Romney run makes skeptics wonder what’s up in that party.  Either Reagan’s sway on the party faithful is waning or the Conservative Christians don’t consider Mitt to be an authentic member of their party.  If that’s the case, the chorus of criticism will continue until Mitt is deemed disqualified for the nomination and then he and his supporters will have a WTF mind meld moment and start asking themselves the usual Charlie Brown questions about being fleeced of their campaign money and being rooked out of the nomination they considered rightfully theirs.

There is a bit of old conventional wisdom among film critics that holds that the key to watching any film about swindlers is to keep in mind that the iron clad rule for the genre which is:  the con men are always the ones who get fleeced.  Thus film critics who see Mitt Romney as a modern W. C. Fields patent medicine salesman expect that he will wind up (like the fellow in a particular Jerry Reed song) getting the shaft instead of the expected gold mine.

If the Mittster is looking for a slogan for his Presidential campaign, perhaps he can swipe the phrase that Texas Guinan used to use when she greeted customers entering her New York speakeasy:  “Hello, sucker!”

For a column on swindles that will be posted on July 20, the disk jockey insists that his closing selection of songs starts off with “Springtime for Hitler” (from Mel Brooks’ “The Producers”), the Rolling Stones contractual obligation album [when they were committed to delivering one more album to a certain record company, they delivered a package of über-bawdy material and when the record company executives complained that they couldn’t release the album, the Stones lawyers indicated “That’s your problem.” (It became a top bootleg product for those people who sanction unauthorized products.)] and as a memorial tribute for country music fans, Kitty Wells’ breakthrough Country hit “It wasn’t God who made Honky-tonk angels.”  We have to go check and see who the Republicans have available on the bench in the bullpen.   Have an “I’ll hold the football for you, Charlie Brown,” type week.

[Quagmire, who may be the littlest panhandler on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, attacked the columnist after being given a “drop in the bucket” offering and bit the writer’s cane so we thought a picture of this ungrateful cur would be an acceptable illustration for a column about swindles.  Why a cane?  Isn’t a cane essential for projecting the image of a suave <I>boulevardier</I>?]

Hippies, Pot, and War

July 13, 2012

Early in the week, a popular medical pot dispensary closed in San Francisco and caused a flare-up of the baffled pundit syndrome.  Skeptics are asking if President Obama is overlooking a link to the young voters who helped him win in 2008 and perplexed commentators are left scratching their heads.  Why would he do something that seems to spurn the attitude of a large portion of his political base?  Could the well paid experts be overlooking an obvious answer in much the same way folks couldn’t find the purloined letter?  Is there a hypothetical explanation for Obama’s curious failure to let pot dispensaries function without harassment?

Do you want to consider a possible explanation?  Let’s assume that businesses in the pharmaceutical industry make large contributions to both the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates’ campaign funds.  Then let’s assume that those very same firms resent the potential of medicinal pot which is not part of their assortment of products.  Would they hold off on asking the resident in the White House for a bit of payback out of consideration of the therapeutic value that the pot provides for the afflicted or would they remind the President about paybacks and then ask him to pull strings to make life miserable for the interlopers?

On Thursday, a large popular medical marijuana dispensary with outlets in Oakland and San Jose announced they must either find new locations or close.

In Berkeley CA, this week, the city council heard public input on the topic of the sit-lie law which will be on the November ballot.  The measure will, if adopted, prohibit sitting or laying down on sidewalks from early morning until late evening.  If Berkeley gets rid of the hippies, what will be next?  Will anti-Vietnam War demonstrations at Venice Beach be outlawed?

Chalkupy, an activist organization which provides art work for liberal causes, placed a large chalk drawing in downtown Berkeley on Tuesday which showed a seated Buddha and said “arresting people for sitting is unenlightened.”

Chalkupy is brought to the public by Fresh Juice Party (www.freshjuiceparty.com).  According to a flyer handed out to folks who saw the chalk work of art being created, FJP is a politically prejudiced media group.  They also assert “WE have the power to squeeze out the truth.”  (Well if the free press in the US isn’t going to do their job, it would be nice if some other group takes up the slack.)

If the measure is passed it will go into effect in July of 2013.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if the measure removed all the hippie panhandlers at the very same time that someone else started an effort to increase business in Berkeley by holding some events which would commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech from on top of a police car in December of 1964?

San Bernardino (AKA San Berdoo) wasn’t the only city making news this week by having financial hardships.  One report on KCBS news radio indicated that part of San Bernardino’s troubles stemmed from the fact that the city contains a large number of foreclosed homes which produce no property tax revenue.

We noticed that Scranton Pa. was also making news by cutting pay for various groups of city employees.  If some Occupy activists came to Scranton and waged an effort to win the restoration of  the full pay rate for police and firemen, who have been reduced to the minimum wage rate; how aggressive would the police be about thwarting such <I>amicus est tanquam alter idem</I> type help?

Why do you suppose it is that the well paid Liberal pundits are failing to point out that American cities are going broke at a time when the United States is still unquestioning about continued funding for the Bush Wars?  Would the old Berkeley Barb let this example of an inconsistent economic philosophy pass unnoticed?

[Is it true that one episode of Star Trek portrayed a visit to earth that revealed that at the end of the 20th century large global wars on earth had ceased and been replaced by smaller regional wars called Bush Wars?]

The Republicans seem to have a platform of:  austerity measures, tax cuts for the rich, and more war and the poles show a virtual tie between Mitt and President Obama.  How can this incongruity be explained?

Wasn’t there a scifi movie, some time back, which predicted that people would eventually become anesthetized by various distractions and not pay any attention to the important issues?  The people became I-pod people and just did not give a damn about anything.  If there was impending political disaster:  “Oh?  That’s interesting, what else is happening?”  Journalism has become sports, weather, celebrity gossip, and innocuous feature stories and the people in America are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about austerity measures, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the chance to send American troops to Syria.

Chill out, dude!  What’s the worst that can happen?  If the Republicans use the Edward Gough Whitlam clause in the Party’s by-laws to disqualify Mitt from getting the nomination, and if they then select a Presidential Candidate who delivers an early Christmas present to the folks who made long odds bets on him, well then maybe some Americans will realize that they better get used to stringent austerity measures and forget about looking for a job.  We’ll write a column that uses the headline:  “Austerity measures will continue until prosperity returns.”

If the people elect a Republican in the fall of 2012, this columnist will concentrate on more superfluous topics.  Who isn’t interested in knowing that the Rolling Stones played their first paid gig fifty years ago on June 12, 1962?

Since Saturday is Bastille Day and since we are continuing with an effort to re-read “Is Paris Burning?,” we intended to write a column for this week that was mostly very upbeat and feature-ish, but reading about all the sacrifices that were made to win the liberation of Paris, we began to wonder what the troops who were killed in WWII would say about the current situation in the USA.  How long will it be until some hippie who is into the occult comes out and claims to have held a séance which revealed that the fallen soldiers complain “the current political impasse in the United Sates wasn’t what we were trying to achieve when we made the ultimate sacrifice”?

It seems to this columnist that the Republican politicians are being passive-aggressive regarding their “jobs” and that the Democrats are shrugging their shoulders and saying they can’t do a damn thing about it because of the filibuster rules.

An employee (unless it’s a bank’s investment specialist) who doesn’t perform gets fired immediately; not when his annual review takes place.  When a pitcher gives up five runs in the first inning, he is told to “hit the showers!”  A soldier who commits dereliction of duty faces harsh consequences.  We’ve called what the Republicans are doing a modern sit-down strike and that concept sure as hell hasn’t “gone viral.”  The Republicans are very critical when any other group of workers use strike tactics.  Should the shirkers (strikers?) be reelected or arrested?  Do the I-pod people care about politics?

Didja know that there is a WTF website?  Maybe, if we write columns that are more insegrvious we can cross post our efforts on that site?  (You got a problem with a columnist using words that don’t exist?)

Have you ever noticed that college radio stations that insist on a culturally eclectic play list almost never play any Native American Music?

James Russell Lowell wrote:  “They have rights who dare maintain them.”

Now the disk jockey will play “The Marseillaise,” “As time goes by,” and Edith Piaf’s “Le vie en rose.”  We have to go get a crepes breakfast.  Have a “le jazz hot” type week.

[The photos for illustrations for this column are over onmy floppyphotos.wordpress  for photos blog.]

Tanks? Or “No Thanks!”?

July 6, 2012

The Lenco BearCat, which is best described by the phrase “armored personnel carrier,” is often called “a tank” in the media and at a recent city council meeting, during a routine report by the Berkeley Police Department the members of the city council were surprised to be informed that thanks to a grant from the Urban Areas Security Initiative, one was coming to Berkeley.  They were told that the vehicle will be jointly owned by the Berkeley, Albany, and the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) Police Departments and that it will be housed at UCB. 

If this bit of news had occurred in 1968, it probably would have been reported in a wide variety of media ranging from the weekly Berkeley Barb newspaper to the New York Times (which needs no introduction).  As it is, times have changed and the Barb is gone and the New York Times has to cope with a smaller full time staff, smaller stringer budget, and a shrinking amount of space for news in the printed hard copy.  Getting a surfeit of celebrity gossip is not a problem.  Fill in the blank ­­_________ with your own favorite irrelevant example from the current events page.  (Did an online news site just use a public domain photo of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle to illustrate a feature news story on obesity?) 

Since the vehicle will be acquired via the joint three department grant and will not require the authorization of funds, the Berkeley Police Department did not see a need to consult with the City Council about the matter.  At the last city council meeting in June of 2012, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to reexamine the questions raised by getting a tank.

Since many local police departments are getting similar vehicles, the fact that one is coming to Berkeley has a low priority for use on websites with national audiences, but what does make it relevant is the fact that a local decision seems to have been made for Berkeley by people who don’t live in the area.

When one national political party makes a campaign issue out of the idea that there is too much government involvement in citizens lives, seeing people outside the area make the decision for bringing a tank to Berkeley (Oakland already has one.) seems to be an egregious example of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite. 

By Tuesday of the first week of July 2012, it was being reported online via Patch that Albany would not participate in the joint cooperation deal.  On Thursday morning, the UCB student newspaper, The Daily Californian, was reporting that Albany was pulling out of the tank deal.  By Thursday afternoon, the Berkeleyside website was reporting that all three police agencies had dropped out of the agreement.

An odd facet of the tank story was that on Monday Google News was leading fact checkers to a story in the San Jose Mercury News.  By Tuesday, it was very difficult to go back to and reread that story.  Reality, it seems, is becoming gelatinous in the Internets Era.

While doing some Google-news searching to see if Lenco BearCat is an issue in Concordia Kansa, we learned that the Cancun Underwater Museum is about to open.  Do they have a Scuba Dive shop in Concordia?  Do they have a tank?

Have you read much (any?) news coverage about the scuba team that is doing some wreck diving on the Graf Zeppelin, Germany’s only WWII aircraft carrier?  (We leaned about that topic in a recent copy of Wreck Diving Magazine.)

Early in the first week of July 2012, we heard a report on KCBS news radio that the legislators in Sacramento were considering making a law that would permit a child to have more than two parents. 

Does Uncle Rushbo read our columns?  If he uses new topics after some World’s Laziest Journalist’s columns about those items are posted online, that might provide some circumstantial evidence to support the claim. 

The case that inspired the move to pass this new law is rather complex and involves a married pair of lesbians and two guys who are married, with (according to the news report) one of those fellows being the biological parent of the child in question.  It is sure to spawn a massive amount of righteous indignation from the ranks of the family values party.

This week CBS News was getting a lot of credit for breaking a story about the inner workings of the Supreme Court of the United States that preceded the announcement of the decision for the Obamacare cases.  Uncle Rushbo asserted that secret “in-fighting” was unprecedented.  Doesn’t that claim completely invalidate the credibility of Bob Woodward’s book “The Brethren”?  

On Tuesday, the police made a sweep and emptied the protesters at Lakeview school in Oakland from the school grounds.  Online reports indicated two people were cited and released in the process.

If the Republicans had to make a binary choice between getting high speed rail service between San Francisco and ultimately destroying California’s famed Redwood trees, or not spending the money for the boondoggle and thereby saving the sequoias for posterity; which way do you think they’d flop?  What better use could a giant sequoia tree be put to than to supply gavels for conservative judges for all eternity?

Have we plugged the Tree Museum on the UCB campus?  Shouldn’t they include a new puppy giant sequoia (What it grow!) on their roster?  It ought to be rather tall when the time capsule from the 1939 New York World’s Fair is opened in 6539.  We are learning all about the World of Tomorrow in James Mauro’s book about the aforementioned extravaganza from the past.

Speaking of the past, we learned on the Bradblog website that Ireland has scrapped their electronic voting machines recently because of questions about the reliability and accuracy of the results.  If those futuristic machines reduce taxes and increase employment isn’t that reason enough to rely completely on them?  Wasn’t there a poem in Yank during World War II saying that the troops were not fighting for electronic voting machines?  (see the closing quote below)

Does the United States Supreme Court use some kind of computer to tabulate the voting on the questions they decide?  What if (subjunctive mood alert) that computer produced results that were very unexpected? 

The union workers at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory were not amused to see that a CBS television reporter was straying into their territory and they were considering a boycott charging her with “crossing the craft.”  Wouldn’t it be better for them to start a recall petition against that reporter?  It would be just like what happened to Ann Curry.  Wasn’t her recall petition signed by just one person who happened to be one of her coworkers?  When it comes to buying into conspiracy theories, always look for the union label.

Speaking of crossing the craft, we noticed that a certain well known person from the realm of journalism management recently posted some interesting tweets that were widely referenced on the Internets.  Can management tweet?  Shouldn’t only members of the tweeters union be posting that material?  Is it true that the motto of the tweeters union is:  “I though I saw a pussy cat!”? 

At the World’s Laziest Journalist World Headquarters we are always on the watch for fascinating new ideas from the lunatic fringe and so we are trying to figure out what the . .  . heck . . . is the significance of the rumors that the Edward Gough Whitlam Fan Club is planning to give this year’s “Hit the showers, kid, you were found wanting” award to . . . Mitt Romney. 

What will the Republicans think if the electronic voting machines that tabulate the results at the Republican National Convention say that some other guy gets the nomination?  Assertions that the results were absolute and unverifiable would cause some grumbling but that could easily be mollified by charging that such dissention was spawned by a conspiracy theory concocted by lunatics.  Didn’t the host city get a tank earlier this year?

If, for example, when the first roll call vote is taken at the National Convention and if the final results are tabulated by an electronic voting machine, what will happen if the omnipotent machine says that JEB Bush gets the nomination? 

In the poem “A Plea to the Post-war Planners (or, Please don’t streamline mother while I’m gone)” T/Sgt. Philip Reisman Jr. (USMC) wrote:  “I’ve little use for synthesized soup, or operas (soapy) televised, . . . or wireless ballots for brainless voters, . . . .”

Now the disk jockey will play the Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil” (because it mentions tanks), the soundtrack album for “Patton,” and Bob Hope’s theme song “Tanks for the Memories.”  We gotta make tracks outta here.  Have a “The Crimes of Patriots” type week.

[Note:  A staff photo of a BearCat was not available but a photo showing a possible example of the results of patient dumping was ready for use.  We thought the photo had some relevance to a column about tanks for American cities.  Compassionate Christian Conservatives are endorsing a trend towards militarizing Police Departments while cutting social programs, but when the possibility of patient dumping was mentioned to one of the city council persons in Berkeley CA, corrective measures were begun immediately.  Seeing that same city decline an armored personnel carrier, which would have been touted as costing nothing (Houdini did not actually make the elephant disappear. {Using federal funds rather than city money does not mean that the item doesn’t cost the local taxpayers one cent.  It just means some creative accounting made it seem that way.}), causes a cynical columnist to experience a momentary glimmer of optimism.]