Archive for August, 2012

Some familiar sounding sound bytes

August 30, 2012

<I> Would covering the Oscars™ (again) be more fun than writing political analysis</I>?

<B>FADE IN</B>:

A grizzled tough old guy in a dimly lit room speaks:  “You know what I want . . . what do you say, baby?”

Cut to: A very attractive young woman, who looks like the young Lauren Becall, responds:  “As a Republican, I support a ban on all abortions with no exceptions.  I’m a member of the National Rifle Association and support the concealed carry laws and back the NRA on their support of the Stand your ground laws, I also endorse the use of hollowpoint bullets.”

She pats her purse and continues:  “If you intend on raping a fellow Republican, first you might want to tell me the answer to the question asked in the movie ‘Apocalypse Now:’  ‘How come you guys sit on your helmets?”

Cut to:  the man who hesitates and then replies:  “So we don’t get our balls blown off!”

 

Cut to:  She starts to reach into her purse.  “There’s another famous question from another movie:  ‘Do I feel lucky?’ . . . what do you say, baby? . . . if you want this game to continue . . . just whistle . . . you know how to whistle don’t you?”

As “Ride of the Valkyeries” plays the announcer does the V.O. (Voice Over):  “The American Women’s Sharpshooters Team urges all good patriots to vote Republican this fall.”

<B>FADE OUT</B>

A hip potential rapist, who knows the sources for all those cinematic questions, might also know that sometimes nothing is a real cool hand, but he might not be willing to bet his bippy, let alone his testicles, on what’s in the bag and what’s not.

If the fictional American Women’s Sharpshooters Team were ever to broadcast this hypothetical advertisement, a good many Republicans might wonder “Whose side are they on?”  This supposed ad would only use Republican talking points so what’s for them not to like?

Liberals, who strenuously object to the idea of PACs and advertisements run by groups whose funding is a mystery, are unanimous in the idea that it is mandatory to do all the groundwork necessary to get the Citizens’ United advantage removed from politics.  Could they, simultaneously, use the Judo principle of turning an attacker’s strength against himself to confuse and outrage the very people who wanted to expand the freedom of speech concept to include advocacy groups and the people known as corporations?

Obviously the long hard slog to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens’ United decision will provide leading liberal spokespersons with job security for years to come and we wish them God’s Speed.

In California, proposition 32, is being touted by backers as a remedy for the PAC problems, but many analysts are saying that the measure will give further legal backing to the very practice it is supposed to remedy.   Who doesn’t think that’s a hysterically funny example of using lies to trick voters?  Folks outside California can read up on the issue but they should look up both the “for” and “against” arguments.  Some critics of the measure say that the proposition will only limit what unions can spend on political ads and not do anything to inconvenience wealthy conservatives who want to buy election results.

The Republicans, who want to prove that they have a sense of humor that will make people laugh, are also urging wage-earners to donate to a group that advocates passing the measure that some wags are calling “<a href =http://www.yesprop32.com/conslp>the Billionaires’ Bill of Rights</a>.”

That, in turn, causes us to wonder if Republicans, when they ask their children if they smoke pot, want their kids to tell the truth in response to that question or if they are looking to get verification that conservative kids have learned the lesson of sounding very sincere when they lie or make campaign promises.  What advice would Ayn Rand give to children who are being asked:  “Do you smoke pot?”  Is there a smoke-lie rule that applies?  I.e. if you can get into trouble over pot, just tell a convincing lie.

Since the Republicans seem determined to blame President Obama for the deficits caused by the wars George W. Bush started but kept off the balance sheet, why didn’t President Obama proclaim that the “off the books” expenses had become a bipartisan American tradition and keep them off the books?  When President Obama served his partial term as Senator didn’t he learn the old political legend that the Republicans spend like there’s no tomorrow when they are in power and then talk up balanced budgets nonstop when they are not in power?

Since Bishop Romney’s strategy of stressing his business record, which he won’t discuss, and giving assurances that his tax forms, which he won’t release, provide compelling reasons for electing him President have produced poll results which indicate a virtual tie; the World’s Laziest Journalist is beginning to think that political punditry has become superfluous and that it is time to start writing columns that are less partisan by tackling topics such as “Have the Oscar Ceremonies changed much since we took photos of Francis Ford Coppola with Mario Puzo?”

Columnists, who consider their mission is to provide snide comments about all politicians, might be more inclined to ask their audience if watching the Republicans try to ignore a major hurricane disaster reminded them of King Lear.  Many people might not get the joke and ignore the source but when Ayn Rand advised her disciples not to vote for St. Ronald Reagan for President, didn’t she get ignored too?

The world’s laziest journalist has always been fascinated by picaresque adventures and the people who chronicle their travel experiences but it wasn’t until after posting last week’s column that we learned that Henry Miller had written a book about his experiences on the road.  We were disappointed to learn that the Berkeley Public Library didn’t have a copy to borrow, but Moe’s Bookstore on Telegraph Avenue had a used volume of a collection of Miller’s work for sale.  It included the text of “The Air Conditioned Nightmare.”

After living in Paris for almost a decade, Miller had returned to the USA because Europe was on the brink of a cataclysmic war and he wanted to write a book about the return of the prodigal son experiences he would gather while traveling around his native land.

Pseudo Intellectuals (<I>moi</I>?) will be delighted to find a cornucopia of very intriguing pre Pearl Harbor pop culture trivia in the book.  Miller assumed that his audience would know who the writers Hermes Trismegistus and Kenneth Patchen and British actress Olga Nethersole were but we had to look them up.  The names of these once famous personalities have become rather obscure examples of Google-bait.

For a columnist who has covered various episodes from the Occupy protests in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, Miller’s laundry list of social complaints sounded very much as if they “were ripped from today’s headlines.”

If economic inequity was a topic for Henry Miller seventy years ago and if it will be a hot issue for activists seventy years in the future, what then is the benefit that will be derived from doing the work necessary to post columns online about the issues that are generating the news events that transpire as the United States prepares to celebrate the workers of the world on Labor Day of 2012?  (Were the people who worked to establish Labor Day as a legal holiday, asked the HUAC question?)

If the prospect of providing reading matter for a bookstore customer seventy years in the future were very rational, then working to do some fact finding and providing some speculative comments about the personality of a Mormon bishop might be worth the effort, but if seeking fame and fortune are not valid motives for doing all the required labor, then the only reason left is:  “Just for the fun of it.”  If that’s the case . . . .

If Scanlan’s Magazine was open to sending a leading practitioner of the Gonzo style journalism to report on the festivities surrounding the running of the Kentucky Derby, then maybe (just maybe mind you) they might be willing to give the World’s Laziest Journalist a similar assignment and send him back to the Oscars™.

Other than giving permission to our self to use a picture we took at the Oscars™ almost forty years ago, we have no way to prove to Scanlon’s that we covered the awards program back in the mid Seventies but if Bishop Romney can convince America that his unavailable business history is just as valid as Nixon’s secret plan to end the war in Vietnam, then perhaps there is still hope.

Quote wranglers will be delighted with the assorted possibilities provided in the works of Henry Miller.  We like this incomplete sentence:  “A man seated in a comfortable chair in New York, Chicago or San Francisco, a man surrounded by every luxury and yet paralyzed with fear and anxiety, controls the lives and destinies of thousands of men and women whom he has never seen, whom he never wishes to see and whose fate he is thoroughly uninterested in.”

The disk jockey will play some music he thought might have been appropriate at the Republican National Convention: AC/DC’s song “Big Balls,”  the Kiwi song “My father was an All Black,” and  Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”  We have to go over to Frisco to see “Vertigo,” which is the best movie ever made (according to some Brits).  Have a “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” type Labor Day Weekend.

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It seems like just the other day . . .

August 23, 2012

Finding a <a href =http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2012/8/17/paul_ryan_revealed_trust_fund_in.htm>

story on the Hispanic Business website</a> about a trust fund that the Republican Party’s presumptive Vice Presidential nominee had “forgotten” seemed like a good topic for a column but since the Republican Party’s “presumptive” nominee has based his campaign on his business record and has refused to release his tax records which would clarify questions about his qualifications for the Presidency, and since that clever bit of coyness seems sufficiently alluring to earn the fellow a virtual tie in polls; we deem the prospect of doing the work to produce a column that offers intelligent analysis of the implications of an overlooked trust fund an example of absurdity for inclusion in the Dadaism Hall of Fame.

The fact that this week’s polls show that the Presidential race is a toss-up, means that the only people who will question the final results that are produced by the electronic voting machines in November will be conspiracy theory lunatics.  It also means that it is too late to present facts which might help informed citizens change their mind about which candidate will get their votes.  As the croupier would say when the roulette ball hits the wheel:  “No more bets!”  The die is cast.  It’s time to write columns about sailing ships (the America’s Cup competition has started in San Francisco Bay), sealing wax, cabbages, and kings.

Would people who doubt the existence of global warming because it is based on the opinions of scientists be likely to consider the validity of an effort to use Schrödinger’s cat as a metaphor that explains the three card Monty game Mitt Romney is playing with his tax returns?  “Ah, hah, Mr. Romney. you have the Maltese cat?  You are a card, sir.”

We sent a link to the forgotten trust fund story off to radio talk show host Mike Malloy because he has more media clout and a bigger audience.

People seem to find the fact that TMZ found and published a photo of Paul Ryan without a shirt more interesting than the forgotten trust fund (or the completely ignored story about Paul Ryan’s girlfriend while he was in college.  [Google News Search hint:  “Paul Ryan girlfriend college”]  Keli Goff at The Root seems the reporter who got the scoop)

We have been intending to shift the focus of our columns to feature topics such as the effect the death of singer Scott McKenzie might have on tourism in San Francisco because that, at least, might lure some new readers from across the big pond, to this website.

Tourists from all over the world arrive in San Francisco and, equipped with maps, and then go walking around the various neighborhoods trying to imagine what it was like being there in the past during the Beatnik era.

Back in the Sixties, one had to dig deep to learn that the area around the Bus Stop bar had been called “Cow Hollow.”  That was the past.  The Beatniks had come (the location of the legendary Six Gallery was about three or four blocks away) and gone but who cared about the writers from the past when everyone was hip to Flip Wilson’s comedy routine about “The Church of What’s Happening Now!”

Learning to drive a stick shift V-dub on the streets of San Francisco at the time when folks were still chuckling because of Bill Cosby’s comedy routine on that very topic wasn’t funny because you could very easily get into a car crash whilst learning to make the deft maneuvers with the clutch pedal and the brakes.  Yeah, forty years later it may seem amusing, but not when it was actually “going down.”  There were laws governing how the front wheels of a car had to be positioned when parking on one of the famed hills.

Who cared about Beatniks when the cast recording of “Hair” was ubiquitous?  Beats were from a different decade.  Jack Kerouac was an old man in his forties reportedly living in Florida.  The Mamas and the Papas, the Doors, and the Jefferson Airplane were young and most likely would be playing a gig at the Filmore West very soon.

Back in the Fifties, when the Beat Generation in San Francisco was a popular media topic, the beats would have been talking about topics such as:  the Bay area disk jockey Don Sherwood, Herb Caen’s columns, and the arrival of the New York Giants at their new west coast home.

The beatniks had had their day and when the hippie era arrived it was time to enjoy KFOG and KABL radio, read Herb Caen’s columns, talk about Benny Bafano’s sculptures, see the Fantasticks, and voice an opinion about the War in Vietnam.

Young folks who stay this summer at the San Francisco Civic Center hostel will see a poster listing the lineup at the Filmore, for a concert on the 1969 Labor Day weekend.  They can look at the poster and just try to imagine what it would have been like to be able to go see that show.  About three and a half years ago, we were in that hostel, looking at that poster and thinking that very thing:  “Wow!  What would it have been like to be in San Francisco that weekend and have the option of seeing that show?”  Then we remembered, we had been seriously considered buying a ticket to that particular show until we got the chance to spend that weekend going for a job interview at the newspaper published in South Lake Tahoe.

On Tuesday, August 21, 2012, while doing some fact checking in the Beatnik North Beach neighborhood, we noticed a local artist using masking tape to make some political statements.

The map wielding tourists were searching for Beatnik ghosts and ignoring a fellow who was doing some street art.  We wondered if, forty years from now, tourists would be wandering around the same neighborhood wondering what it would have been like to stop and chat with Elvis Christ.  Since we can’t rationally expect to have that opportunity in 2052, we decided to take some photos and asked about him and his work now whilst we had the chance.

When we started back to the Transbay Bus Terminal, we encountered a photographer named “Grant” who had been shooting an assignment at the City Lights Bookstore for Interview magazine.  He had been taking photos of the store owner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was also a poet, a book publisher, and a genuine member of the group of pioneers who started the Beat Era back in the Fifties.

It would have been a great photo-op if we could have gotten the chance to take some pictures of Grant and his subject, but it has always been a tenant of the World’s Laziest Journalist’s philosophy that (as they used to say in the Sixties) you have to stop and smell the (pop culture) flowers  along the way.  “Be here, now!”

Writing about the pop culture is similar to writing about horse racing.  In the future, historians will look back on the summer of 2012 and focus on specific stories which will have become significant factors for inclusion in books about the election of the President in that year, but for a columnist trying to writing about the summer of 2012 as it is happening; an encounter with Elvis Christ will provide a desperation chance to solve the weekly dilemma “What will this week’s column be about?”

Ayn Rand has said:  “Whoever tells you to exist for the state is, or wants to be, the state.”

Now, the disk jockey will play a Pussy Riot album, a Jefferson Airplane album, and Scott McKenzie’s “(If you’re going to San Francisco) Wear a flower in your hair.”  We have to go check out the column potential of the Blackhawk Auto Museum.  Have a “California Dreaming” type week.

Got Déjà vu?

August 16, 2012

In “The Selling of the President 1968” (Trident Press 1969), author Joe McGinniss described the trials and tribulations that the Nixon team had to surmount in that year’s Presidential Campaign, and since the challenges are quite similar to those being faced by the Romney Ryan ticket, we thought that simultaneous reviews of both that book and Timothy Crouse’s “The Boys on the Bus” (Ballantine Books paperback edition 1972) would be relevant as the Republican Nation Convention draws neigh.

McGinnis describes (on page 39) the difficulty of marketing Nixon eight years after he lost the 1960 battle with John F. Kennedy:  “Trying with one hand, to build the illusion that Richard Nixon, in addition to his attributes of mind and heart, considered, in the words of Patrick K. Buchanan, a speech writer, “communicating with the people . . . one of the great joys of seeking the Presidency;” while with the other they shielded him, controlled him, and controlled the atmosphere around him.”  Same problem, different Republican candidate, different year.

The star of the Nixon strategy team was a fellow named Harry Treleaven who came to the Nixon camp’s attention after he took a leave of absence from J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in 1966 to work on a congressional campaign in Texas.  The incumbent was a Democrat named Frank Briscoe and Treleaven assessed (McGinniss’ book pages 44 – 45) the race this way:  “There’ll be few opportunities for logical persuasion, which is all right – because probably more people vote for irrational, emotional reasons than professional politicians suspect.”

Picking Paul Ryan made liberals very angry, which, in turn, made conservatives very happy.  President Obama’s initial reaction seemed to be the use of logical argumentation to change the conservatives’ emotional reaction.  Wouldn’t seeing the dismantling of the Social Security program make liberals even angrier?  In a world devoid of logical thinking, wouldn’t that make the conservatives even happier?

The 1968 Nixon campaign perfected the strategy of making some news just in time to get it placed on the evening network news programs, which meant that the Democrats would be left scrambling the next day to contend with damage control, while Nixon & Co. started the game anew.  Adjusting the campaign to the timing of media news cycles was a breakthrough innovation.

The fact that Mitt Romney made his announcement early on a Saturday morning will be an irrelevant descriptive fact for most of the writers who wished to comment on the selection of Paul Ryan as the “presumptive” Presidential nominee’s presumptive running mate, but for the World’s Laziest Journalist, that example of odd timing looked like the metaphorical “kiss of death” for Mitt’s chances to win the fall election.  In the Internet era of 24/7 news coverage, one time may be just as good as another so long as the candidate’s media advisors don’t care about the news cycles for more traditional media such as influential newspapers, weekend network shouting matches, and magazine journalism.

If the announcement occurred at breakfast time in the Eastern Time zone that means the candidate was willing to reduce his West Coast audience for live coverage of the announcement to a pathetic minimum of what he could have had by choosing the timing with a better regard for strategic planning.

The preview editions of the Sunday editions of both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times were on the delivery trucks heading for the Saturday advance sales market.  No way to get free publicity about the announcement into those valuable assets.

The early edition of the New York Times Sunday paper was probably holding a news hole for a crash close on the story, but there was no way they would hold the Week in Review Section (and run up extensive amounts of overtime) for a Presidential candidate who treats journalists with the same sneering “that’s all your going to get” condescension that he delivers to the potential voters.  Why should that attitude remind this columnist of Nixon?

Don’t some of the weekend round-up shouting matches tape their programs on Friday afternoon?  In this cost conscious world, what made Romney think he could inspire a dispensation involving excessive amounts of overtime pay for the union workers?

Did Romney expect the networks to call in their Monday to Friday anchor persons to read the story on Saturday night’s installment of their network’s evening news program?  What did LBJ say about “If we’ve lost Cronkite . . .”?  Does a weekend substitute carry the same level of gravitas as Edward R. Murrow?

Did Newsweek hold the cover story for “crash close” coverage of the announcement?

Where are the adult Republican media advisors who helped write the book for the 1968 strategy described in Joe McGinniss’ book “The Selling of the President”?  Why didn’t Karl Rove help avert this example of inept spin control strategy?

Timothy Crouse, in his 1972 book,  “The Boys on the Bus,” (page 195) said:  “Then Nixon decided to hide out for a year and stop feeding the press handouts.  Instead he fed it George Romney.”  Does History repeat itself?  Could Mitt claim that he was brainwashed into making the ill-timed Saturday morning announcement?

Is there another Republican of Nixon’s stature standing in the shadows waiting for a dramatic call to unveil a secret plan to end the Vietnam War . . . or balance the budget . . . or whatever?  Or are the Republicans going to be satisfied with replaying the Goldwater debacle or a 1968 style squeaker?

Over the ensuing weekend, did the TV shows, which love to promise their audiences a variety of behind the scenes insights into what is really happening, mention the hidden implications of the odd timing of the announcement?

Crouse (on page 322) describes the major innovation in news coverage of Presidential campaigns:  “Here in 1972, with the new law that obliged contributors to make public their gifts, was a unique opportunity to follow the big corporation rats as they stole out of their holes to deposit a large bag of cash at the door of some candidate and – almost invariably – ask for some favor in return.”

One of the disadvantages of reading books more than forty years old is that some aspects of the text will leave the modern reader hanging in suspense.  Treleaven’s 1966 candidate won, but how the heck will we ever satisfy our curiosity and learn what happened to the guy who beat Briscoe 58 to 42 in a traditional Democratic stronghold?  What ever happened to George H. W. Bush?  (Maybe we’ll get lucky and a reader in Texas can post an update in the comments section.)

On page 10, Crouse quotes newsman Karl Fleming:  “So eventually a very subtle kind of thing takes over and the reporter says to himself, ‘All I gotta do to satisfy my editor and publisher is just get what the other guys are getting, so why should I bust my ass?’”

Does that mean that the World’s Laziest Journalist didn’t have to dig out a copy of Crouse’s book and track down a copy of McGinniss’ book, do some fast and furious reading, and then fire up the computer at 0600 on Monday morning?  We couldda skipped most of the work and just churned out a few words about Mitt making a bold gamble by catering to the demands of the far right and then posting that anemic effort.  Whatever.

Either one of these two books will provide a reader with a better basis for evaluating this year’s election process and taken together they provide conclusive evidence for proving the case for believing that America’s freedom of the press is rapidly approaching the final chapter for the history of an institution experiencing a terminal illness.  If the voters are not going to make their decisions based on a well informed evaluation of the issues, then America’s free press is doomed to extinction.

Oscar Wilde said he wouldn’t trust anyone who didn’t judge people solely on their appearance and Harry Treleaven believed (McGinniss book page 44) “Most national issues today are so complicated, so difficult to understand, and have opinions on that they either intimidate or, more often, bore the average voter .”

Joe McGinniss quoted (page 131) Richard M. Nixon as saying:  “Let us remember, the main purpose of American foreign aid is not to help other nations but to help ourselves.”

Now the disk jockey will play the AC/DC song “Problem Child,” the Rolling Stones’ song “Sparks will fly,” and the 1968 Nixon campaign song “Bring Our Country Back.”  We have to post this week’s Week in Review column a few hours early and attend to some administrative matters.  Have a “Hidden Persuaders” type week.

Another of Bob’s JEB predictions?

August 10, 2012

The Democrats have shown very little inclination to indulge in the delight of the misery of others (Schadenfreude) but they may soon grant themselves a dispensation if current trend in polling results force the Republicans into choosing between letting Mitt Romney precipitate some Custer style massacre election results this fall or the use of some nefarious parliamentary procedures to deny Romney the nomination.

A month from today, the Presidential Campaign season will be underway and that means it may be too late for the Republicans to start brandishing a threat to impeach Harry Reid for his assertions about Mitt’s shutout record against the taxman.  When a Democratic politician is suspected of telling a fib, impeachment has to be considered to uphold the integrity of the American people, but if a Republican President sends his country into war because “he didn’t know” what he was talking about when he used possibility that WMD’s might exist to prove that war was inevitable, well then . . . give the guy a break because he meant well.

Only partisan Democrats think there is an inconsistency with giving Dubya a pass on his verbal gaff and then pushing for impeachment of both the “I did not have sex with that woman” guy and the “I’ll use Senator McCarthy approach to attack Mitt Romney’s tax forms” guy.

Once American journalists have printed the assertion “Harry Reid is lying” and Reid’s “No, I’m not” response, haven’t they fulfilled their obligation to provide the American people with fair and balanced coverage of the dispute?  Isn’t providing any additional germane material tantamount to partisan punditry which will only serve to politicize the Presidential Campaign process?

During the week, the media carried stories reporting that polls showed that President Obama was ahead of the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, in the crucial swing states.  Could the large number of Republicans who were urging Mitt to release his tax forms be used to jump to the conclusion that there is a disconcerting level of concern about Mitt’s appeal to the voters (and the concomitant “coattails effect”) that is causing some buyers’ remorse before the Republican Convention has been gaveled to order?

Gort 42, a Pennsylvania based political blogger, was offering the phrase “swift yachting” to describe the tidal wave of concern about Mitt Romney’s tax returns and his cavalier rich playboy image.  Are Republicans afraid that the image of an indolent wastrel might not be a draw for hard working tax paying American voters?  Couldn’t they market him as a Reggie Van Gleason surrogate candidate?

On Wednesday August 8, 2012, the World’s Laziest Journalist bought a bargain used copy of Ferdinand Lundberg’s 1968 book “The Rich and the Super-rich: A Study in the Power of Money Today,” which asserts that the rich often use the concept of a Foundation to establish the image that most wealthy Americans are actually philanthropists.

On that same day, we found that a writer on the Daily Kos website was posting material hinting that the tax records of the Tyler Charitable Foundation and the Romney Foundation might provide the curious with valuable clues and insights into the financial secrets that Mitt deems too personal to release.

On Monday, August 6, smoke signals in San Francisco’s East Bay area were seen in the evening and according to some experts the message being sent out to all Americans was:  “Higher gasoline prices soon come.”  Won’t higher gasoline prices mean more jobs, less taxes, and general euphoria in the various oil company boardrooms throughout the world?

Earlier that same day, Uncle Rushbo was warning his listeners that the tree huggers were about to politicize Football.  According to America’s anchor man, the liberals would use statistics (provided by the same scientists who have “proved” that global warming exists?) about brain concussions to outlaw that particular sport.

To make the issue even more alarming, Uncle Rushbo indicated that the team owners, who are mostly Anglo Saxons, were not the same ethnic group as were the players who were being injured.  That, he indicated, would only serve to goad the goody-two-shoes citizens into injecting race into the issue, and that, in turn, would only cause an increase in the level of fanatical emotional commitment for the activists trying to “get ’er done” and eliminate a native American sport from the pop culture scene.

Did we hear him correctly?  Did Uncle Rushbo say on Monday’s program, that some scientists believe that brain concussions can trigger an inclination towards child molestation?  Do seminaries have football teams?  Football is to firmly ingrained in American culture to be eliminate so that makes a potential threat to do so another perfect wedge issue.

Speaking of wedge issues, what are the chances of getting some new gun control legislation passed before this fall’s elections?

About the only development that could further exacerbate the level of rancor for this year’s political process would occur if some wealthy philanthropist, with extensive computer hacking resources, were to use illegal and immoral methods of obtaining copies of Mitt Romney’s disputed tax returns and then surreptitiously provide copies to Julian Assange’s posse to post for all the world to see.

Is Harry Reid playing into the hands of some diabolical conspiracy theory plot to use the Romney tax issue as an excuse for delivering the Republican Party’s Presidential Nomination to someone else?  Isn’t the Republican bullpen is empty?  Isn’t it true that there is nobody left on the bench?  Is the Romney nomination a clever ruse?  Is it in fact just a play fake?

Should the Democrats have played possum on the tax forms issue and waited until after Romney got the nomination before making them the subject of a fuss?

If the perception of Mitt Romney as a spoiled brat rich kid is accurate, then it seems quite likely that he will not suddenly develop a propensity for accepting defeat graciously.  If he is given a chance to step down before the Republican Convention will the guy who has always been able to buy the toys he wants, prefer, instead, to do a “White Heat” finale that will provide Americans with a memorable TV “wipeout” moment?

That might be what Harry Reid wants, but what will happen if Romney is given a metaphorical “Rommel Option” ultimatum and does step down before the Convention?  Then what?  Is President Obama’s strategy flexible or is it designed to function with only Romney as the “presumptive” opponent?  Could an alternative Republican nominee throw Obama’s game plan into complete disarray?  As bullfight fans would be quick to point out; the moment of truth is rapidly approaching.

Alfred M. Landon said:  “A government is free in proportion to the rights it guarantees to the minority.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Happy days are here again,” “When you’re smiling,” and “He’s a rebel.”  We have to go do a Google search for ChipPac.  Have an “aletoricism” type week.

St. Who?

August 3, 2012

St. Sithney, of Saighir, whose feast day is celebrated on August 4, was (according to an ecclesiastical urban legend) asked by God if he wanted to be the patron saint of unmarried women and he said he would rather be the patron saint of mad dogs.  The lawyers will be quick to point out that the fine print stipulates that he was to be the saint for curing mad dogs and protecting folks from dogs with hydrophobia (rabies).  Based on the consensus opinion of liberal pundits, the Democratic voters would do well to pray to St. Sithney for protection from the avid Republican candidates who seem, during this year’s election process, to be as logical and eloquent as mad dogs

Case in point:  Ted Nugent is advocating the possibility that if some of people in the theater in Aurora Colorado had been carrying hand guns, and returned fire in the smoke filled auditorium that was an example of bedlam; one of them might have been a Ninja marksman with a magical bullet that could have sliced through the body armor like a hot knife through a cold stick of butter.  To which we can only give the Hemingway response:  “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Liberals are still waiting for conservatives to give a coherent response to George Carlin’s objection to the birth control issue.  Babies have a right to life until they are born and then the “rugged individual” philosophy kicks in and “You’re on your own, kid” becomes standard conservative operating dogma.  Self determination is fine for middle class and poor kids, but for rich brats, “do you know who you are talking to?” is usually their first full sentence.  Learning to talk, for rich kids, means learning to threaten someone with a tsunami of legal paper work for standing in their way.

An anecdote, encountered many years ago, related a story about a rich woman who was told about the problem of hunger that is a vexation for homeless.  She replied “Why don’t they ring the bell?”  In her world, if she needed food, she would ring a bell and a servant would appear and immediately attend to that need.  She used the psychological phenomenon known as “projection” to assume that everyone else’s world was just like hers and that all a hungry homeless person had to do was ring the bell and a servant would stand by to take their order.

Democrats project their belief in voters’ rights for all citizens onto the Republicans and they (conversely) project their belief in a Republic where only qualified people (land owning males were specified in the American Constitution) could cast a vote.  Naturally some “What we have here is . . . failure to communicate” misunderstandings often sabotage any attempts to reach a compromise.  The purging of voters from the rolls in Florida would be a classic example of the consequences of the miscommunication surrounding this issue.

In the United States, the Democrats believe that the minute a person from a foreign country sets foot on American soil that person is entitled, by the doctrine of “all men are created equal,” to the some rights and privileges that the citizens (except for a vote) have.  The Republicans consider the concept as being similar to obtaining a driver’s license.  It is their contention that getting into the driver’s seat isn’t enough.  You have to pass a test to get the driver’s license and prove your qualifications for possessing that driver’s license.

Do people with mental illnesses have a right to buy assault weapons?  The Republicans seem to want to use the “all gun buyers are created equal” concept to prevent mental patients from being deprived of their rights.  The Democrats seem to want to put some restrictions on the purchase of guns.  Both parties do seem to be in agreement that people who are incarcerated in jails and prisons (such as Charlie Manson) don’t have a right to buy guns over the Internets.

A humorist once said that the law in its wisdom forbids rich folks as well as the homeless from living under a bridge.

Republicans maintain that extending the tax cuts for the rich will produce jobs.  The Democrats reply that if that were true, then this question must be asked: why has the level of employment declined during the almost decade long period when the Bush tax cuts have been in place?

Compassionate, conservative Christians can always sanction cutting social programs to fund new wars.  Democrats want to implement spending priorities that are the exact opposite.

The Muslim world has always been divided by two rival factions.  It seems like the Sunni and the Shiite groups will never live in peaceful coexistence.  The Republicans fully endorsed sending American troops into Iraq and now they seem to be ready to endorse a new military adventure involving Iran.  Does simultaneously conducting military operations in both a Sunni and a Shiite nation make any sense?  Should people be praying to St. Sithney for protection from such thinking?

Could two groups, who both adhere to the philosophy “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” temporarily suspend their mutual animosity and become united for a short time by the common objective of contending with meddling in their area of the world by some unwelcome interloping foreign country?

There a classic old back and white movie that shows, in a medium shot, some people struggling for control of a small boat.  The camera pulls back in a long tracking shot that shows that the craft is perilously close to the edge of a gigantic water fall.  Could that be a metaphor for what is happening with the struggle between the Democrats and the Republicans in Washington D. C.?

Do the Republicans really believe that the answer to all these problems will be provided by Mitt Romney?  When will some responsible Republicans realize that it is time for an “Intervention” gambit and find a rationale for disqualifying Mitt and handing the Presidential nomination to someone who has a better chance of not precipitating four years of mainstream media ridicule of the Commander-in-Chief as a bungling buffoon?

If Conservatives are strict constructionists who do not believe that the Founding Fathers would sanction the approval of the right to vote for anyone but male landowners, could they endorse a policy of using computer hacking to adjust vote totals to automatically purge some of the “ineligible” votes from the final results?

Whatever happened to the pundit who was kicked off a popular blog aggregator site for predicting, in the summer of 2010, that JEB would win the Presidency in 2012?  Did his posse direct prayers to St. Sithney asking to cure him?

The rumors that Oakland will be forced to accept Federal control of their police department percolated into the regional mainstream media this week.  On Tuesday, KCBS news radio featured Chronicle reporter Phil Matier predicting that move, and further predicting that it will mean that Oakland will be required to spend more on the Police Department.  If that happens during the current financial crisis, the money will be taken away from social programs, and that could cause a concomitant increase in crime which would then require even more increases in Police spending.

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper ran a page one story by Matthai Kuruvila reporting that after laying-off some police officers, Oakland purchased “nearly” $2 million worth of hardware that either didn’t work well or wasn’t used at all.

This week some news stories indicated that women are now entitled to free medical birth control advice.  How are the conservatives reacting to that?  Will they need some prayers offered on their behalf to St. Sithney?  Will Conservatives need a prescription for sedatives?

Marcus Moziah Garvey said:  “Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.”

Now the disk jockey will play Noël Coward’s song “Mad dogs and Englishmen,” the song “Basket Case” (written by Warren Zevon and Carl Hiassen), and Andre Williams’ new release titled: “I gotta get Shorty outta jail.”  We have to go get our tickets to see both “Killer Joe” (over in S.F.) and “Never give a sucker an even break” at the Pacific Film Archive this weekend.  Have a “foaming at the mouth” type week.

[Using a photo of some San Francisco Bay Area slap art, by the graffiti artist called Broke, which echoes the conservative philosophy of “more work; less pay,” seemed like an acceptable solution to the column illustration challenge for this week.]