Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Living a week under the condition red alert was a flashback to the good old days when lefty pundits could criticize George W. Bush for his policies rather than having to exert some effort to defend President Obama for doing what Dubya did while he was in the White House. At least the week long condition red alert took the focus off the NSA’s (alleged) unnecessary monitoring of various means of communication.
If Obama is busy doing the same thing George W. Bush did, how can the people who criticized Bush defend Obama? Likewise, how can the Republicans who defended Dubya attack Obama? Isn’t there a kind of demon who suddenly becomes the exact opposite of what it was perceived to be?
Do the pundits who criticized the Bush plan to do some electronic snooping in the name of Homeland Security have any grounds for praising Obama for doing the same thing? Do the Republican propagandists have any logical way to denounce Obama for using the old Bush era “Red Alert” ruse to defuse the topic as a subject for a debate?
Journalism is (theoretically) supposed to fact check the politicians so that the citizens can make a well informed decision at the voting polls. Unfortunately, it is up to consumers of news media to do their own fact checking and now both parties seem to be willing accessories after the fact for the murder of quality journalism in the country that spawned Murrow’s Boys.
Doesn’t it make sense that a party of greedy capitalists, who endorsed the con man attitude of caveat emptor, would encourage journalism to morph from an obsession with truth into an endless source of doubletalk that bamboozles the rubes? We wonder what the Democrats’ explanation could possibly be.
If a pundit with access to the Timer Travel Machine were to travel back to 2006 and announce that in 2013 a Democratic President would be wrestling with the tantalizing possibility of adding Syria to the list of American quagmires, such a hypothetical columnist would be hauled off and forced to endure a cooling off period of psychiatric evaluation.
On Thursday, August 08, 2013, Uncle Rushbo was kvetching about the fact that Obama’s first nationally televised comments about the new Terrorists’ Threat came on the Tonight Show.
Uncle Rushbo can’t bitch about Obama doing what Dubya used to do because that might prove to be inconvenient in 2016 when JEB is running as the Republican Party nominee for President, so he has to use attacks on the personal level to criticize the President. Hence he was saying the appearance on the Tonight Show diminished the Presidency.
Rush specifically mentioned that John F. Kennedy did not go on the Tonight Show, back when Jack Paar was the host, to tell the nation about his assessment of the Cuban Missile Crises. Limbaugh either chose to forget or didn’t know that Fidel Castro did go on the Tonight Show, after deposing Fugencio Batista, to make overtures to Washington. Facts are just pesky details for “America’s Anchorman.”
Rush questioned Jay Lenno’s credentials for being a Journalist rather than a stand up comic. Limbaugh said “I’m not being critical of Leno at all. And I was not at all surprised that Leno would ask better questions than the White House press corps does.”
Quoting something that Chris Cillizza, wrote in the Washington Post, Limbaugh continued: “As we have written before in this space, the idea that a serious journalist can’t have fun is not one that’s broadly held by the people who, you know, consume our journalism. Leno’s interview with Obama proves that the opposite is also true; that a ‘fun’ person can also be serious.”
[Could the World’s Laziest Journalist humbly suggest that when journalism takes a break from being oh-so-serious, it should be dubbed “Leprechaun Jorunalism”? ]
When it seemed like Limbaugh was going to address the issue of what makes a good journalist, he veered away from that interesting topic. (We could do an entire column on that topic.)
Bringing the focus of the rant back to himself Uncle Rushbo continued: “ . . . I do something that you don’t find elsewhere in the media. I combine the serious discussion of issues with irreverent satirical comedy, with credibility on both sides.” Isn’t the both sides contention often contradicted when Uncle Rushbo abruptly cuts off a liberal caller?
Was Uncle Rushbo intimating that Journalism should be one sided rants that can (as Fox has established in court) tell lies with a cogent punch line thrown in to prove that Conservatives have a sense of humor? Fox tried to establish a Jon Stewart type of late night comedy punditry amalgamation of entertainment but failed to achieve acceptable ratings. (John Douglas, a pioneer FBI profiler, has said that a frequent hallmark for serial killers is a strange sense of humor that many folks “don’t get.”) Would Uncle Rushbo maintain that he is a better journalist than Hunter S. Thompson was?
We wonder what percentage of the audience for Uncle Rushbo, Hanity, and O’Reilly go to the bother of doing any fact checking about what they have heard. How many ditto heads have read the book “Out Foxed,” let alone make the effort to see the movie of the same name?
In 2006, to the best of our ability to discern, no American journalist had bothered to fact check what had been said at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial nor had any of the modern day versions of Murrow’s Boys bothered to ask a participant of the WWII War Crimes Trails if they saw any evidence to indicate that George W. Bush may have (inadvertently) been seen in a harsh light if the standards of conduct applied retroactively to the Germans were used to evaluate the legality of Bush’s war policies.
The challenge facing Republican strategy policy makers in 2006 was to find a way to get the Democrats to slowly accept and implement the Bush program without it seeming to be a sell-out of the Trojan horse school of clever political maneuvers.
Obviously any pundit who pointed out existence of such a deception would be denounced as a raving lunatic from the most recent graduating class in the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory training class for new employees.
According to Uncle Rushbo, President Obama, who was highly visible in the “hands on” mode of being the Commander-in-Chief when Osama bin Laden was being snuffed, went into stealth mode of operation on the night that the raid on the Americans in Benghazi was happening. Are the conservatives hinting that this could be Monica 2.0? Are the liberal pundits faking a lack of comprehension? “What, me worry?”
Attack the man, because the liberals can’t attack Obama for continuing the Bush agenda. If they did, that might be inconvenient when JEB get the nomination in 2016.
Are Americans supposed to believe a short radio segment riddled with unfacts and bumper sticker slogans rather than assiduously working their way through a complex and scholarly rebuttal? If that’s an accurate assessment how long will it be before they start thinking that they are oh-so-clever when they ask the question: “Sock it to me?”?
Uncle Rushbo gets very upset when lefty pundits use personal attacks on him, yet he has no qualms about attacking the President and charging him with demeaning the Presidency by talking to Jay Lenno.
When Uncle Rushbo is attacked personally, he usually responds with a counterattack that brings the lefty a fulfillment of Andy Warhol’s promise. Should an obscure online pundit who wrote about a chance encounter with a War Crimes Trials expert and an earlier analysis of the American lead prosecutor’s opening statement at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial launch a vitriolic personal attack against Uncle Rushbo in the hopes of getting a tsunami of negative publicity for his efforts?
As the summer of 2013 peaks, attempts to provide rational discourse for political issues is about as difficult an assignment as it would be to get a rabid Dodgers fan to go see the Giants host a three game home series with their archrival and convincing this fellow to “root for the home team.”
It ain’t gonna happen.
That, in turn, may explain why Jay Lenno and John Stewart are becoming more important to politicians than interviews on the network news programs.
When a hallmark Bush gambit becomes part of Obama’s repetoir of ploys, some pundits may realize that the situation is similar to that moment when the home team’s fans head for the parking lot in the 7th inning. At that point some mildly amusing (forget about perceptive and cogent) punditry has been put out of read.
[Note from the photo editor: A file shot of a man using an 8 X 10 camera seemed to illustrate our topic of looking for the Zeitgeist for this week. Quality Journalism has become a thing of the past, as have view cameras. Both are missed by aficionados.]
Ned Kelly said it best: “Such is life.”
Now the disk jockey will play the Speedies song “Let me take your Photo,” the Who’s “Pictures of Lily,” and Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome.” We have to go see if we can buy a West Coast Eagles t-shirt. Have a “your mother wears combat boots” type week.
As political protests in Berkeley go, last Saturday afternoon’s rally of citizens protesting the sale of the Post Office facility in the downtown area didn’t seem to be a chance to watch history in the making but then we were told that something else would happen after the speeches and music were concluded. We were provided a hint that it would be similar to an Occupy event. On a summer day, when it is cloudy and chilly the appeal of going to a political protest in Berkeley that wouldn’t be something that folks would be talking about for years to come (the fiftieth anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech from the top of a police car is rapidly approaching) was not exactly overwhelming but on the other hand no other choice seemed better.
There were three TV trucks there and that indicated that the event did have some news value. The number of TV trucks can equate to the news level of an event and we have seen perhaps as many as 10 trucks in Oakland for an Occupy Oakland event. We lament our lapse in penny pinching judgment that caused us to skip the chance to buy a souvenir T-shirt at the “Camp OJ” convention of TV trucks in Los Angeles, some time back.
Experience from Occupy events indicated that any effort to remove the tents which were pitched on the Berkeley Post Office front steps would come either after dark or perhaps at dawn on Sunday, so we considered the array of possibilities our solo news organization efforts could select because it was obvious that eventually there would be a photo op for the removal of the protesters. When not if.
There was a lingering feeling of familiarity to the impending news event and it wasn’t just the Occupy events we had witnessed.
We weren’t too enthusiastic about the possibility that we could inadvertently need a friend to post bail if we got too close to a melee on a quiet Sunday morning, but we seemed compelled by more than curiosity to take a look-see early the next day.
Then we had a flashback. Vietnam Veterans camped out in the lobby of the Wadsworth Veterans Hospital in the Westwood Section of Los Angeles back in 1981. A summer co-worker at the Santa Monica Independent Journal Newspapers was a young fellow who was majoring in photojournalism in college and we advised him to monitor the events at the hospital very closely.
Leaving for work an hour early to swing by the protest and see what new developments had occurred became a part of the daily routine for both of us. One particular morning, two or three TV trucks but no still photographers were documenting the removal of the vets from the hospital lobby. Our young coworker took some photos and they were used by AP. In his Junior year he had a portfolio that included his work appearing on the front pages of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Los Angeles Times. He got a summer intern job at a daily newspaper in the L. A. area the next year. We took a shot that turned out to be the only news photo (that we know of) that we’ve taken that appeared in the New York Times.
Didn’t the Wadsworth event bring world wide attention to the lack of care that was being provided to the Vietnam vets? We thought that perhaps our next column might ponder the fact that the “never again” meme is always forgotten, new wars are started, and vets always have to protest to get better care despite the patriotic sentiments expressed as they marched off to the various battlefields around the world.
There have been stories online indicating that the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plants was much more serious than reported and we thought that skipping the plight of the Berkeley PO and writing about the thereat of radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean might be an good alternative. Then we realized that the radio active debris story is being totally stonewalled by the mainstream media. Could it be that the story is so negative that the chance that young folks might, if they realized “we’re all gonna die!,” go completely out of control and precipitate an “end of the world” orgy of excess is the real underlying cause of the news embargo on radioactive leaks?
While attending the Saturday event at the Berkeley Post Office we noticed that several other activists tried to hijack the media’s attention with their cause. Postcards were collected and sent to Bradley Manning. The prisoner hunger strike was mentioned. Concerned voters were encouraged to support the efforts of workers promoting the gay marriage and abortion causes.
During the week we listened to Armstrong and Getty and noticed a curious phenomenon concerning money. The “hottest show on the West Coast” pointed out the hilarious aspect of the Detroit going bankrupt story and the possibility that workers would lose their pensions. Detroit’s financial plight can be, according to conservative thinking, traced back to the greed of the union workers. The “greed” motive is being mentioned as the ultimate cause of the need for a resumption of the BART strike in the San Francisco area. The BART strike will resume on Monday.
Unions tried, in the past, to get money so that union members could live comfortably while raising a family and sending their kids to college and then enjoy retirement living. Now, however, union workers who want a living wage are deemed greedy but billionaires who have more money than they will be able to spend in their lifetime need to be given more tax breaks so that they can have even more money. Perhaps we should write a column elaborating this economic disparity.
We noticed this week that Uncle Rushbo has been eliminated from the lineup of about forty radio stations around the country. (Is the classic rock format making a comeback?) We wonder if he ever noticed our column that warned him that when all the liberal leftist voices are eliminated from the American pop culture scene, the fat cats won’t want to pay Uncle Rushbo his enormous salary if there is no socialist propaganda that needs to be drowned out.
Won’t the tax cut hungry billionaires eventually deem Uncle Rushbo’s annual salary as an example of worker’s greed? Can’t the radio executives find a new younger voice that will deliver the same seductive propaganda for a much smaller salary? Isn’t Uncle Rushbo in a union? Wouldn’t he, philosophically speaking, endorse an effort to disrupt his career and retirement plans by replacing him with non-union talent who would do the same pronucicating for a lot less money?
Recently we decided that it was time to take a night off and get away from political disputes, so we journeyed to a meeting of a local club for folks who like to pan for gold. The effort of Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), to pan some gold, as seen in the movie “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” has been a leitmotif in our life since childhood. The club meeting that we attended was devoted almost entirely to examining legal issues of the utmost importance to the club members. Out comes the pen and the reporter’s notebook. Scratch the idea of a night off. There is one web site where many of the legal issues are listed and so now we have another topic in our “future columns” in box. To get an idea of just how legally complexities are getting the attention of those hobbyists, take a look at the issues being discussed on the Western Mining Alliance (dot com) web site.
One professor at Berkeley has done a remarkable job of collecting information about the history of what the WPA did during the Great Depression (Please do not call it the Republican Depression!). We’ve mentioned, in a previous column, that he is trying to promote the idea of a brick and mortar location for a New Deal Museum. Perhaps if we do an entire column devoted to that topic then the feature assignment editor at the New York Times might give the effort some national publicity? His scholarship can be seen on the livingnewdeal dot org web site.
Some of the peaceniks in Berkeley think that Bradley Manning should have been commended for following the moral advice delivered to the German war criminals in the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials but they conveniently overlook the fact that Manning isn’t in the German Army!
More than fifty years ago, Berkeley resident Philip K. Dick was writing novels predicting a fictional government spying on its own citizens.
As of 10 a.m. PDT on Friday August 2, 2013, the Occupy the Berkeley Post Office steps protest was still protesting the proposed sale of the property.
[Note from the photo editor: For a photographer, who was told “it’s a great picture but it generates too much sympathy for the anti-war crowd” when AP passed on the chance to buy a Vietnam War protest photo in December of 1966, the potential of taking some career making protest photos in 2013 only evokes a strong déjà vu reaction.]
St. Ronald Reagan is reported to have said: “A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah.”
Now, since the theme of nostalgia has been recurring in this column, the disk jockey will play some songs that get automatic memory associations from the World’s Laziest Journalist. Hearing Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t get you outta my head” will always make us feel like we are back in Australia. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the city” always takes us back to NYC in the summer of 1966. Then he will play Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay.” We have to go see the Peter Stackpole photo exhibition at the California Museum in Oakland. Have a “Temps perdu” type week.
[<B> Note: The legal department insisted that this column be clearly labeled as a work of fiction and attempt at achieving humor so that it would be exempted from the ministrations of a member of the fact checkers’ union.</B>]
Since JEB Bush and Hillary Clinton both have such a commanding lead in the mad scramble for their respective party’s Presidential nomination, the World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization conducted some polling to asses the likely winner of the (hypothetical?) expected 2016 match-up and have determined that the race is, at this point, too close to call.
Mrs. Clinton, a former Little Rock Arkansas housewife, became known during Obama’s Second Term for her efforts to establish a political strategy consulting firm in Washington D. C. Then she decided to become her own top client and run for President.
JEB Bush, who has been Governor of Florida, is a recognized authority on academic matters and he runs a Journalism consulting firm which lists Fox as its top client. He also has been a top military advisor for the fellow who occupied the White House before the Obama Recession devastated the American economy. JEB, before he entered politics in Florida, was a famous musician who might be best known as a pioneer in the mariachi surf sound because of his no. one hits “Swimming to Miami,” “Alligators in El Paso,” and “Deficit wipeout!”
Speaking of Florida’s and America’s political future, the Astrology desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization is predicting that Congressman George Zimmerman, who was a famous crime fighter before he entered politics, will win reelection to a second term in the 2016 general elections.
Conspiracy Theory aficionados are speculating about the possibility that an investigation is needed regarding their suspicion that a bit of a combination psy-ops and jury tampering might have occurred in conjunction with the George Zimmerman acquittal.
Liz Cheney has upset some Republicans by announcing that she would like to run for the Senate from Wyoming. When her father suddenly announced that he had concluded that the best running mate for George W. Bush should be Dick Cheney some curmudgeonly Democrats objected because the rules specifically state that the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate can not be from the same state. Dubya was a Texan and the Dickster was living in Texas, but when the objections were raised . . . faster than you can say “Poof be gone!,” Dick Cheney was suddenly a Wyoming resident. Why shouldn’t the same magical logic apply to his daughter?
Speaking of forgotten past news items, this week in San Francisco a bicyclist was charged with vehicular manslaughter and the case was being described as a first. Wasn’t there a pedestrian killed by a bicyclist on Ocean Front Walk at the Venice Beach back about 1978 or 79? Didn’t the AP move a photo on the wire (at least for a regional split) of a related protest?
Did anyone else notice that in the last full week of July 2013, both the Uncle Rushbo and the Norman Goldman/Mike Malloy factions of talk radio seemed (cue the Hallelujah Chorus song) to be in agreement about one thing: Americans don’t care about the birth of a kid who might be the King of England 65 years from today. Heck the American media seems this week to be ignoring the trials and tribulations for one of Michael Jackson’s kids. Back in the day couldn’t he make world headlines by holding his kid over the edge of a balcony. Are news editors that fickle?
The Armstrong and Getty radio show criticized CBS Evening News for using the royal birth as a lead item. Apparently the CBS news team doesn’t care about the fact that Iraq has been determined to be in a state of Civil War (should the USA send troops?) and that Syria’s Civil War may also need some American troops. It’s as if CBS had sent a guy to cover the Battle of Britain and he sent back a report about how the Princess was handing out candy bars in an air raid shelter. Wouldn’t CBS have wanted something more hard news-ish? One day soon, won’t the “Peace in our time” era be celebrating its 75th anniversary?
This weeks news story about another accident involving an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico reminds us that we have intended to write to the Columbia Journalism Review and ask them if the continuing series of ads proclaiming that British Petroleum has helped the Gulf area return to normal, which accompany the CBS Evening News Broadcasts seen in the San Francisco Bay area are seen in the same context around the USA and does that constitute a conflict of interest? If the phrase Ethics in Journalism isn’t an oxymoron, then could the folks that teach journalism consider the BP ads an example of applying the “hide in plain sight” principle to the concept of bribery?
Should the Columbia Journalism Review call CBS out for a conflict of interest? Maybe we’ll send the URL for this column to the editor of that publication and ask about that.
Was there any other criticism this week of CBS Evening New that we missed?
Private Eye, a publication in Great Britain, epitomized the prevalent opinion for most Americans with their headline: “Woman has baby.”
We have heard an unconfirmed report that the folks who participated in the Occupy movement are planning on having a reunion in Kalamazoo soon. Our reaction to that was to suggest that a famous Kalamazoo resident should come out of retirement and help them with a benefit concert.
Isn’t the “Elvis isn’t dead” exhibit in the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory’s Hall of Fame a perennial favorite with the tourists who are granted the rare privilege of a tour of the facility’s campus?
Why is there so much secrecy surrounding the annual “Conspiracy Theory of the Year” award ceremony?
Some dismal Democrats are asserting that Detroit’s bankruptcy ploy is a shameful attempt to destroy the pensions for people who worked for that city all their lives. The Democrats say destroying lives and stealing pension funds as if that were bad. In a country with a large contingent of homeless citizens, isn’t it appropriate to have voters’ attention focused on a city full of empty and abandoned homes?
If a Republican politician is caught in a sex scandal he can just ignore it and win reelection, but if a Democrat is accused, an immediate resignation becomes a matter of national honor.
The drugs in baseball scandal seems to be a news story on steroids and it won’t go away.
The stalled bridge story in the San Francisco Bay area might win national attention if some New York based editors ever stop to think that perhaps the crumbling interstructure meme has gone to the extreme and the West Coast Oakland Bay Bridge stall out story may soon be used to exemplify the idea that America is now building new bridges that are already unsafe the day they are opened.
We have been reading some political history and apparently up until 1946 the Thirties were called The Republican Depression. After the end of WWII, the Republicans renamed it the Great Depression and folks like Dick Nixon won elections in large numbers. The communist hunting California congressman won his seat in Congress in a district that had been home to a fellow who had scored high on the liberal side of the conservative vs. liberal measurement scale. See how well a good bit of spin can work?
In a week where the bitching about the NSA surveillance of e-mails and phone calls was seeping into some Republican talking points, no one suggested that if the snooping is as good as its proponents say it is, then perhaps the NSA will finally be able to figure out who made huge profits on the short sale of airline stocks at the time the World Trade Center was attacked.
It seems like the World’s Laziest Journalist will, once again this year, miss the Hemingway Days festivities in Key West.
[Note from the photo editor: There were a good number of historic photo opportunities happening lately but getting some photos of a rally that protested the verdict in the George Zimmerman trail was the only event we were able to attend and photograph, hence our ability to select the best frame to accompany this column was a bit limited. We did the best we could with the resources we had.]
Anton Chekhov has been quoted as saying: “The word “newspaper-writer” means, at very least, a scoundrel.”
For no particular reason the disk jockey wanted to play us out with songs about drinking in Mexico so he will play Heino’s song “In einer Bar in Mexico,” Marty Robin’s “El Paso,” and Waylon and Willies’ “Clean Shirt.” We have to go celebrate Mick Jagger’s 70th birthday. Have a “get off my cloud” type week.
[<B>Due to austerity budget measures the services of the fact checker have been eliminated for this column.</B>]
A very wealthy conservative who is upset with the impact the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage will have on family values has decided to form a corporation and will hire a bevy of extremely attractive young ladies to fill the board of directors and will then marry that person/corporation. His law staff assured him that it will be legal since corporations are people and since the definition of marriage has been expanded far beyond the limitations of “between a man and a woman,” his marriage might offend some liberals who preach family values, but it will be a legal marriage. He expects that some private tapes of his romps with the board of directors might actually win some adult film awards and that a reality TV show deal is a “gimme.” What young couch potato wouldn’t enjoy the vicarious experiences of an old curmudgeon with the power to hire, fire, and manage a de facto harem?
Great Britain announced this week that the Queen has decreed that gay marriages will be legal.
Speaking of “family values,” the Armstrong and Getty radio show assures listeners that the mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, will become famous nationally because of his hypocrisy regarding sexual exploitation.
Another news item about Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who may be charged because of a weekend incident, was featured on that radio show because it made a Democratic Party politician look like a family values hypocrite.
Paul Krassner’s opinion, awhile back, in The Realist magazine that the Democratic and Republican political parties in the USA were examples of the old “identical twins separated at birth” phenomenon caused extreme skepticism when we read those words. After last weekend, when the Republicans hailed the verdict for the George Zimmerman trail and President Obama shrugged it off with a comment about how the jury had spoken, we noted that our opinion of Krasner’s insight will have to be revised to a much higher level of esteem.
On the 8 a.m. CBS radio network news broadcast for Tuesday, July 16, 2013, listeners were informed about a violent reaction to the verdict in the Zimmerman trail occurred in a franchise for a well known fast food hamburger chain in Los Angeles CA. Folks who actually live in that berg don’t need to hear Jack Webb doing a voice over capsule description of their home town to know that more than one franchise operates in that large metropolitan area and that the specifics about which particular one was the scene of the fracas would be a relevant fact that should have been included in the news item.
The CBS audience also heard about another facet of the nation’s reaction to the verdict and was told that a third night of unrest had occurred in Oakland. Since it was a chilly gray overcast day the chance to run down to the Oakland City Hall area and see if we could get some photographs of the clean-up efforts for possible use with a weekend wrap-up column seemed like a constructive way to pass the time. Some mediocre news photos were not worth using.
On Tuesday night, we went down to the City Hall area of Oakland for a personal inspection of the potential trouble spot. There were about two dozen people assembled there at 7 p.m. with four TV trucks and a large contingent of police standing by to handle any unlawful conduct.
On Wednesday night CBS Evening News did a feature story on the Civil War battle at Fort Wagner in Charleston harbor. They noted that one fellow was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor (which he received many years later in the mail) but didn’t tell their viewers that the Fifty Forth Massachusetts Regiment, the first black unit recruited in the North, was engaged in a dispute over equal pay when they were given the assignment to attack Fort Wagner, which was, according to Otto Friedrich’s article titled “the Trial of Sergeant Walker,” a virtual suicide order. A fellow who was a hero in that battle, Sergeant William Walker, was later executed for mutiny sparked by the equal pay dispute. This week probably was a bad time to publicize any facts about American History containing any instances of racism.
In an episode of “An American in England,” broadcast in 1942, which, according to Joseph E. Persico’s biography of Edward R. Murrow, was “a time when black GI’s were being lynched by white American soldiers for dating English girls,” hinted that there was some animosity based on racism occurring between the members of the American military stationed in Great Britain during WWII.
Speaking of racism and the military, until recently we had never heard of “the Double V” campaign, now we see that Bloomsburg Press has just published Rawn James, Jr.’s book titled “The Double V: How Wars, Protests and Harry Truman desegregated America’s Military.”
The public’s enthusiasm for the America’s Cup Races, which are being conducted on San Francisco Bay, has failed to generate a massive amount of interest for local sports fans. Some of the contests have been described as one boat races, which might tend to diminish the amount of illegal wagering those contests could generate. Not to worry, any financial shortfall caused by lower than expected attendance and related revenues will be covered by the local taxpayers. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll Wednesday wrote: “Conspicuous consumption, the kind represented by the extremely pricey – and useless for anything else – America’s Cup boats is sort of rude in this era of austerity.”
We have been told that the one boat races are the equivalent of the timing of practice laps for a car race that are used to determine the starting positions for the participants in the race. The intrigue factor for a lone boat sailing on the bay isn’t quite as appealing as a chance to get an up close look at fast cars vying for the pole position at the Indianapolis 500.
After being acquitted of the charges that Lizzie Borden used an ax to chop up her parents, did she convert her fame into a fortune? Isn’t becoming a pop culture star the ultimate step in the process of the rehabilitation of a person suspected of criminal activity?
[Note from the photo editor: Photos that were more feature-ish than hard news were taken on Tuesday night July 16 in Oakland at a verdict protest rally. For a photographer, who was offering anti-war protest photos to AP 47 years ago, less dramatic photos of protest signs taken earlier this week were good enough. (The writer, who claims to be 28 year old, might have to remind readers at this point that this column has not been approved by a member of the fact checker union.)]
Homer Simpson has been quoted as saying “I didn’t do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can’t prove a thing.”
Now the disk jockey will play Girls with Guns’ song “Girls with guns,” Elton John’s “I feel like a bullet (in the gun of Robert Ford),” and Ry Cooder’s “The Girls from Texas.” We have to do some fact checking to learn what Peaches said to Browning. Have an “Oxbow Incident free” type week.
It’s time to post the columnist’s annual summer reading suggestions
Don’t have the link for Op Ed News yet
War protest sign in Berkeley CA
“The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in wartime Washington” by Jennet Conant (© 2008 by Jennet Conant Simon & Schuster New York N.Y.) is a handy book to have around if you just happen to be surrounded by peacniks in Berkeley who are outraged by the fact that the United States, the country that saved Great Britain with desperately needed supplies for use during the Battle of Britain, has been conducting monitoring of the Internets and phone calls to protect the world from terrorists.
Roald Dahl, who introduced the concept of tiny malicious creatures called Gremlins, was a wounded war hero who was reassigned to diplomatic duties in Washington to help the American President (FDR) decide to break his campaign pledge to not send American boys to fight in Europe’s war by waging an extensive public relations effort via planted stories in the American media to convince the citizens that duty and honor compelled a reversal of the popular (with Americans) policy of non intervention.
The pilot and war time casualty was also dashingly handsome and so seducing American Congressional representative Clare Booth Luce (AKA Mrs. Henry “Time magazine” Luce) was part of Dahl’s mission because issues such as cabotage in the post war world were at stake due to the small print in the Lend Lease agreement.
The Brits were also more than a little curious about what faction of the French government in exile would be favored by the Americans. Would FDR be more partial to General de Gaulle or would he favor General Henri Giraud? Could stories be planted in the American media to swing the choice in de Gaulle’s favor?
Fighting for freedom in the Battle of Britain was a highly touted motivation but when it came time to consider an end to colonialism after the war, enthusiasm waned. If the French didn’t retain ownership of French Indo China after the war would that be a bad omen for the country that owned and operated India as a colony?
Having troops in Vietnam during WWII was a great tactical advantage for Japan. Detailed explanations of how they gained the use of that bit of territory for use by their troops when they fought to take control of places like Burma is usually missing from books about the run up to the War in the Pacific.
Otto Friedrich’s 1989 book “the Grave of Alice B. Toklas” also came to our attention this summer and his 1959 article “How to be a war correspondent” was fascinating because it recounted how Friedrich “covered” the war in French Indo China from Paris. The main challenge was to add phrases such as “wade through turbulent flood-swollen streams,” “knife through sweltering jungles,” and “fighter bombers zooming low” to statistic laden French government press releases handed out in Paris to inform American readers about the progress the fight against a Communist take over in Asia was progressing.
Friedrich revealed the secret of being a war correspondent in a far away nation: “The outside world needs nothing more than a few announcements of enemy casualties and an occasional declaration that the ‘terrorists’ are on the run.” Don’t the French have a saying about how things never change?
Sunday will be Bastille Day and so this week might be a good time to finish reading our bargain used copy of “Americans in Paris: Life and Death under Nazi Occupation 1940 – 44,” by Charles Glass.
Edward Snowden is in the news this summer and is being accused of treason for revealing information that has been widely known for years. Since Hans Fallada’s “Every man dies alone” is a cautionary tale about the futility of opposing a government committed to war, we wanted to flip though it again. It is a fictional retelling of the story of a German couple who left postcards critical of Hitler all over Berlin in the early Forties. Mostly all of their work was turned over to the Gestapo and proved to be useless. The hapless war protesters were executed. Will the real life source for this novel become the patron saints for the bloggers who have been critical of the foreign policy used by both the George W. Bush and Barrack H. Obama administrations?
Book reviewers for the mainstream media have a fiduciary motivation for reading an assigned book all the way through as quickly as possible, but a columnist who is just trying to find a new column topic and simultaneously do some reading for entertainment purposes tends to use a pile of books in the same cavalier way that a couch potato uses his remote clicker.
The World’s Laziest Journalist may read a chapter in Lenny Bruce’s “How to talk dirty and influence people,” then pick up Camus’ “The Rebel” and flip through it to see if any of the underlined passages will proved a closing quote for this week’s column, and then because Hunter S. Thompson’s 75th birthday will be July 18, it might be a good idea to go back over the highlighted passages that follow the classic line: “We were somewhere around Barstow when the drugs began to take hold.”
Perhaps we should reread Hemingway’s short story “the Killers” and then do a parody for a column that would compare the Social Security program to Ole Anderson?
Berkeley and San Francisco both offer parsimonious book readers a wealth of bargain opportunities for used book buyers and since Berkeley is known for being liberal and also is home for a very respected school of Journalism, we have acquired (for a modest cost) a vast array of books that offer a very critical analysis of the Bush Administration written (mostly) by well known names from the realm of American Journalism.
When future historians look back on the wide assortment of voices warning Americans of impending disaster, they will have to wrestle with the question of why the citizens, in the face of overwhelming number of Cassandra voices, reelected George W. Bush. Perhaps some future historian will propose a full length book that attempts to see it as an entire nation contending (subconsciously?) with a death wish?
Which brings us to the nagging question of the week: “If Rupert Murdock can use hacking to get scoops, why can’t the NSA monitor e-mails and phone calls to keep the free world safe from terrorists?”
The topic of impending disaster brings us back to the large number of books dealing with the events just prior to America’s entry into WWII when Roald Dahl would have to do his spying on the USA.
Many of America’s future journalism movers and shakers toured Europe and were inspired to write dire warnings about the implications of the Spanish Civil War and the threat Hitler represented.
Low information voters were too occupied by the task of getting a job during the latter stages of the Great Depression to pay close attention to and try to critically analyze the implications of the war in Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War.
The children from the low information households would provide the essential manpower for fighting the war that the vagabonding journalists saw on the horizon, so maybe the people who were flocking to see “Gone with the Wind” should have paid more attention to the efforts being produced by the multitude of foreign correspondents churning out content for America’s newspaper readers.
The folks in the San Francisco Bay area are being informed that the opening of the new Bay Bridge will have to be delayed while the authorities address the issue of some safety violations. Will any writer tackle a book assignment sometime in the future for elaborating the real challenge? The politicians know that the project has to be completed. What can be done to make that happen in such a way that the only people vulnerable to legal proceedings will be the mid level managers if a disaster strikes in the future? Aye, lad, there’s the rub.
The new issue of the East Bay Express contains an article by Darwin BondGraham, titled “BART’s lead negotiator has a history of illegal behavior.” It only strengthens our hunch that the true goal in this local labor dispute is to continue the policy of union busting that began by St. Ronald Reagan.
[Note from the photo editor: War protests in Berkeley go back a long way so a sign at a bus bench in the downtown that was critical of the War in Iraq wasn’t attracting many readers this week. We thought that a photo of the sign would be relevant to a column on reading matter. The sign shows a drawing of a hand holding a shoe and folks should know that throwing a shoe is an extreme demonstration of disapproval in Iraq. The only English words on the sign say: “Iraq is devastated.” For critics of the Iraq War that tells readers what the sign maker had to say.]
Lenny Bruce wrote: “My reading matter ran the gamut from a technical book on intercontinental ballistic missiles to Jean-Paul Sartre’s study of anti-Semitism but all I knew about (George Bernard) Shaw was that he wrote Pygmalion.”
Now the disk jockey will play “Summer time,” “Having a heat wave,” and “Summertime Blues.” We have to go look for our next used book treasure find. Have a “We’ll always have Paris” type week.
If Disney Films and Jerry Bruckheimer are helping Hollywood make films like “The Lone Ranger,” which makes bankers, railroad builders, and the American military look like a gang of ruthless outlaws in disguise, then, perhaps, it’s time to resurrect the House Un-American Activities Committee because this new flick couldn’t be any more anti-American if it were written by the most notorious of the Hollywood Ten. Luckily, the owners of the major media have (apparently) required their reviewers to pan this new attempt to besmirch the reputation of the capitalists who built American and provided jobs and prosperity for all the citizens. All the major reviewers who are pounding this new release with a relentless stream of invective are to be commended by their bosses.
Is it just a coincidence that this film about the conquering of the Old West begins in the depths of the Depression? Did the winning of the West lead to the Depression? Is it a co-inky-dink that the film opens in San Francisco and that is where the union movement led to the general strike in the Thirties that helped inspire a trend towards unionization all across America?
Sure, some reviewers from leftist publications will probably insinuate that this new film from the team that gave America the Pirate Jack Sparrow is just trying to retell the saga of the Lone Ranger as a samurai warrior lost in a spaghetti Western fighting the greedy capitalists who exploit the workers in the world of saloons and six shooters.
In a subtle cinematic reference (without the Col. Bogey March) the director hints that the workers who built the transcontinental railroad were de facto slaves similar to the Prisoners of War who built the Bridge on the River Quai.
The film makers go out of their way to twist history, logic, and geography and set this story about the transcontinental railroad in Texas. It’s a wonder that the script writing team (a nom de plum for Dalton Trumbo?) didn’t call the bandits the Bush gang.
At one point when the dynamic duo realize that sometimes a good man has to use a mask although the two crime fighters are not shown celebrating Guy Fawkes Day.
Bleeding heart liberals have always had a difficult time coping with the measures that were necessary for carrying out God’s plan and making the manifest destiny a reality.
The Comanche tribe’s effort to Occupy Texas was unsuccessful and would be a forecast of how the later attempts to Occupy other parts of the USA and disrupt the capitalists’ paradise would end. It’s not nice to mess with Mother Nature or the capitalists, either.
Robert Newton’s portrayal of Long John Silver set the standard of excellence for cinematic pirates for the baby boomers but when Johnny Depp’s role as Capt. Jack Sparrow came along, it suddenly became a basis for debating the right to the “best ever” claim. The Question “Can Depp do it again with an effort to become the Lone Ranger’s sidekick Tonto?” was sufficiently intriguing to lure the World’s Laziest Journalist out of the rebel encampment in the Berkeley foothills and go over to San Francisco during the BART strike to catch a bargain matinee showing of the new “Lone Ranger” flick.
Perhaps, the new film could be compared to “Apocalypse Now” set in Texas? Would there be some hidden hipster references to Lenny Bruce’s “Thank you Mask (not Masked) Man”? What would the music sound like? Would it be an outstanding example of an existentialist drama?
The initial indications (such as the movie’s score on the Rotten Tomato site) were that the film didn’t cut the mustard. Some snooping on the Movie Review Query Engine site reinforced that initial impression.
The World’s Laziest Journalist does not try to be a contrarian with movie reviews but the tsunami of negative reviews caused us to wonder if there was the kernel of a column in that facet of the new flick and made it worth the effort to see it and write a review.
Spoiler Warning: It will be necessary to use some of the film’s gotcha moments to continue the analysis of the underlying themes and therefore we strongly advise any of the left wingers who still think they might want to see this example of anti-American propaganda that they should only continue reading this review after they have indulged their urge to see it.
The visionary capitalists who built America are depicted in this film as being the Doppelganger equivalant of the barbarian Cavendish gang of outlaws. The fact that on the day that we saw this new film, the Forth of July, the CBS radio network news at 9 p.m. PDT reported that there is an inconvenient law that forbids the USA from paying out aid to a country that has experienced a coup d’etat by their military and, they implied that the law, for pragmatic reasons, will have to be ignored in Egypt’s case is just an inconvenient co-inky-dink.
Didn’t John Wayne use the line: “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”? Doesn’t that line of reasoning apply to countries too?
If Americans see “The Lone Ranger” and believe the propaganda they will be prone to believing the wildest conjecture about the compassionate conservative Christians running the USA today. For instance, the other night Mike Malloy told his listeners about a new conspiracy theory that suggests that somehow “they” hacked into the computer on Michael Hastings car and overrode the driver’s commands and caused that car to crash into a tree and kill the journalist who wrote the Rolling Stone article that ended General Mc Crystal’s military career.
Edward Snowden is learning the “You can run but you can’t hide” lesson, but the journalists seem to be still clinging to the Liberal daydream of instilling the French Three Musketeers (Communist?) philosophy of “one for all and all for one” into America’s workers.
An example that is ripped from today’s headline might be found in the San Francisco Bay area this week. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers are out on strike. The AC Transit Authority contract ran out at the same time but they didn’t go out on a simultaneous strike. How long will it be before the Daily Worker Newspaper makes some snide suggestions that the old “divide and conquer” philosophy is at work here and that “they” got to the AC workers and promised some favoritism while “they” destroy the BART union?
If some radicals believe the propaganda in “The Lone Ranger,” folks might expect “them” to destroy the BART union first, break their word, and then set their sights on the AC Transit workers union. St. Ronald Reagan (Raygun?) started the union busting trend and so it does not seem too conspiracy theory-ish for liberals to wonder if the BART and AC unions will be destroyed in sequential order.
[This just in: The BART strike negotiations will continue while the workers agreed to extend the current contract for the next thirty days. Service was scheduled to resume at 3 p.m. PDT on Friday July 5, 2013.]
Did the Pullman strike, the Ludlow massacre, and the Ford plant strike really occur or are they just urban legends concocted by Communist writers to scare the low information voters?
Intellectuals will probably make the assertion that hipsters should see this film just to see how many clever instances of “homage” to other movies they can spot. Does the bank robbery scene remind you of “Bonnie and Clyde”? Does one shot remind viewers of another shot in “Lawrence of Arabia”? Does the bridge explosion sequence evoke memories of the Bridge on the River Kwai?
True patriotic media owners will not let their film reviewers suggest that this Western movie is worth seeing.
What will it say about America if, after being subjected to a tsunami of negative reviews, this film does great business? Hopefully the dumbing down of America will be sufficiently established and the rubes who haven’t seen the film will agree with the critics and will render it a financial debacle and thus discourage additional sequels for this attempt at entertainment which should precipitate a move to reconvene the House Un-American Activities Committee.
The World’s Laziest Journalist (AKA the frugal cinephile?) thought that “The Lone Ranger” was interesting, entertaining, and thought provoking and well worth the price of a bargain matinee.
[Note from the photo editor: Is a film which asks “what’s with the mask” a subtle endorsement of the Occupy Movement? Just asking!]
Orson Wells has said that directing a movie is the greatest train set a boy could ever hope to have. Which brings up the question: “What was the biggest train wreck ever filmed?”
The critics have viewed “The Lone Ranger” and have agreed with Rhett Butler: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
Now the disk jockey will play the William Tell Overture, Paul Revere’s “Indian Reservation” and the Renegades song “Geronimo.” We have to go smoke the peace pipe. Have a “who was that masked man” type week.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court made a decision because, they asserted, prejudice in the voter rights case was an outmoded consideration from the past, then the next day they struck a blow to protect gays from marriage discrimination. Due to the fact that irony does not work well on the Internets, the World’s Laziest Journalist was on the verge of pulling the old “best of” dodge and skipping the weekend roundup column for the last full week in June of 2013. One day the SCOTUS five are saying that racial prejudice is extinct in the USA then the next day a reconfigured majority of five says that since the work of eliminating discrimination against gays is still far from the finish line, they had to lend a helping hand. Which is it? Is bigotry dead or not?
Will the late night comedian/political commentators try to get laughs by saying that the Supreme Court missed an opportunity when they did not get involved this week with the furor over Paula Deen’s use of the N-word?
Paula Deen suggested that she needed to be executed by a crowd of stone throwers and that got us to thinking that perhaps President Obama could offer patriotic Americans from the Democratic and Republican parties a chance to buy a spot on the firing squad that might be needed some day to deliver a death sentence to Edward Snowdon.
That, in turn, brings up this question: If Snowden is stuck in an area that is not a part of Russia, why doesn’t the United States’ State Department send someone from the American Embassy in Moscow to meet with the suspect, shoot him, and then use diplomatic immunity to walk away from the event? Would that be so very different (and less messy) than using a drone strike to “rub out” the fugitive from justice?
We had hoped to write a sensational column, for this week, about the decline of journalism in America and maybe link the work of real journalists from the past such as Ernie Pyle and Hunter S. Thompson to the comic book hero, Spider Jerusalem, who is a popular and highly paid columnist who exposes political corruption and scandal.
Has the story arc for Journalism in America gone from Edward R. Murrow’s “This is London calling” to a comic book hero with weird glasses in less that 75 years?
The World’s Laziest Journalist had assumed that conservative animosity would trump the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection” clause and deliver a ruling that rendered marriage rights for gays as being unconstitutional. We were wrong. It was just like the time we picked Native Dancer to win the Kentucky Derby. We were wrong then, too. Twice in one lifetime? We won’t let it happen again!
A friend in the Eastern Time Zone called right after the decision was announced and said that the New York Time confirmed my erroneous prediction. We were listening to Armstrong and Getty and challenged the accuracy of the headline on the Internets. Our friend read more and amended her assessment because it seems that the great gray lady (as the famous newspaper is called in the gin mills that cater to journalists) had posted a bad (“Dewey wins!”) headline.
Randi Rhodes said that both landmark decisions, when considered together, indicated that the cause of States’ Rights had been bolstered by the week’s history and that continued political stalemate had been assured by the decisions.
Speaking of the status of Journalism in the USA, we had recently noted that some citizen journalists were advocating the use of a consortium approach to investigative journalism. Since we have monitored the news media coverage of events in the Los Angeles area concerning the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and their administration of the Marina del Rey area, we are aware that the concept of investigative journalism is a complex and time consuming way to fight for gaining access to information that is deliberately put out of reach.
A web site that is intended as a central clearing house for altruistic investigative journalism projects was announced recently. There is a tendency among writers to want to jealously guard against the theft of intellectual property but there is also a human tendency to want to participate in a community project that is working towards a large goal that is unavailable to the lone wolf rogue journalist. (Insert nostalgic reference to Sartre, Camus, and Combat newspaper in Occupied Paris here. [Them again?]) We will expand this topic in a subsequent column.
Speaking of lone wolves, citizen journalists, and the Internets, we went to San Francisco on Sunday June 23 to cover the City Lights Bookstore’s birthday celebration. We got some OK photos outside the store but our tendency of avoiding claustrophobic situations to work “on spec” caused us to miss the chance to get to the poetry room to get a photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti signing books. It was amazing to see how much drawing power a beatnik could still have.
Berkeley is looking to increase tourism and the fiftieth anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech from on top of a police car is rapidly approaching, perhaps the city fathers should consider holding an anniversary event.
The saga of Spider Jerusalem, which is the product of the creative team of writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson, was told in the Transmetropolitan comic book series. It was published in the late nineties and the early Dubya era, and contained a good number of accurate predictions of technological advances and political malfeasance. The comic book columnist hero fits in with our recurring leitmotif of famous journalist, so we made an effort recently to chat with Robertson and get some photos of him doing a drawing of “the helmet,” which can be seen as a prediction of Google glasses.
If citizen journalists hope for fun, fame, and fortune, but get aced out of the fame and fortune by the proprietary attitude of the high priced media talent (and their “owners”?), then the Leprechaun attitude will become more prevalent in journalism than Hunter S. Thompson ever imagined.
Would it be rational to expect the Huffington Post to hire an Internets loose cannon (let alone Fox) or would it be more realistic to expect that only those who subscribe fully to the “ya gottta go along to get along” style of expressing opinions are acceptable to management as members of the team?
We picked up a bargain copy of Joseph E. Persico’s biography of Edward R. Murrow recently and were reminded of just how much time devoted to dealing with office politics was necessary at the time that he was reporting live from London during the Battle of Britain.
When Ernie Pyle showed up in England in December of 1940 to cover the effect that the Battle of Britain was having on the ordinary citizens, he stayed in a posh hotel and was not bothered by the riggers of rationing.
Did anyone hire Woody Guthrie to go to London to report on the effect on workers that the Battle of Britain was causing?
The dog days of summer draw neigh and so the next few weeks may be a very opportune time for a columnist to begin a whimsical attempt to find amusing and amazing feature material while the Supreme Court Justices do some relaxing and start to select the next batch of cases needing their attention.
Horace wrote: “The man who is tenacious of purpose in a rightful cause is not shaken from is firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens clamoring for what is wrong, or by the tyrant’s threatening countenance.”
Now the disk jockey will play “Here Come da Judge,” “Strange fruit,” and Waylon Jennings’ “WRONG!,” We have to go look for a time travel machine. Have a “Great Caesars’ Ghost!” type week.
“Roi Ottley’s World War II: the Lost Diary of an African American Journalist” (University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas © 2011) edited by Mark H. Huddle came to our attention while we were in the Berkeley Public Library looking for books with information about the fall of Paris in 1940. We had never stopped to consider the potential existence of material that would cover the topic of the journalism in WWII done by writers with a pan African heritage. A footnote reported that an article by John D. Stevens, titled “From the back of the Foxhole: Black correspondents in WWII” indicated that there were at least twenty-seven such individuals. Could one of our columns spawn a doctoral dissertation project?
We had never before heard of the double “V” campaign that sought to publicize (and correct?) the irony that pan African soldiers from a country with segregation laws had risked death to fight a war against the white supremacist philosophy expressed by the Third Reich.
We learned that Roi Ottley had attended St. Bonaventure College and since we were preparing to act as tour guide to San Francisco for a high school classmate who had attended that institute of advanced learning, we knew we’d have something new to add to the conversation as we did the tourist bit in the bay area.
Recently we noted that Democrats were a tad disappointed in the developments in the realm of the XL pipeline, gun control, immigration reform, and the Civil War in Syria, and so we thought it would be a good idea to get a stock shot of the suicide hot line that is located adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge combination bike path and walkway. Maybe some disgruntle Democrats need to hear a bit of the old “buck up and stay the course” encouragement rather than doom and gloom assessments of how the Bush Forever War is lasting a long, long time and seems about to be expanded into a new Middle East country.
“Jersey Bill” is an avid bicyclist, but he thought that the Golden Gate Bridge’s effort to combine a walkway and a bike path was a klusterfuk. We concurred. Jersey Bill and his wife passed on the suggestion to go out to Treasure Island and see where the Pan Am office had been located. They were, however, up for a trip down Nostalgia Lane to the intersection of Haight and Ashbury.
We knew that a Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream store now sits on one of the corners of that world famous intersection and we decided that a photo showing the new franchise for the chain that made the Cheery Garcia flavor and is situated less than two blocks away from a home that was once occupied by Gerry Garcia, might be a chance to work in some sly references to AARP aged peaceniks who protested the war in Vietnam and must now work up some new anti-war slogans to express their disapproval of President Obama’s program to supply weapons (and technical advisors?) to the Syrian rebels.
One of the stores in the area was hosting a jam done by a local musical group called the Garden Band. We looked them up and they have a page on Facebook and that got us thinking. Some time back we had a similar experience. A local band had played a free concert in the nearby Golden Gate Park. Sure enough the Jefferson Airplane also has a page on Facebook. It’s a small (digital) world after all.
Old habits die hard and when we told our fellow high school classmate that we might describe the weekend tour of San Francisco in a column about Roi Ottley along with our recent prediction that the United States Supreme Court will declare gay marriage unconstitutional, Jersey Bill resorted to his decades old (how can that be if we are only 28 years old?) tradition of calling the World’s Laziest Journalist a crazy person.
He reminded us of one or two of the very few erroneous predictions we have made in our long and distinguished journalism career. Hell’s Bells, man, that’s half the fun of being a modern practitioner of the three dots journalism tradition. Jersey Bill was unaware of the work done by San Francisco columnist Herb Caen. He did know about Walter Winchell because he had been carried in the morning paper in the city where we had been classmates.
Since the three dot journalism style of columns indicates many rapid changes of topics and since the internet has encouraged skim reading, we had always assumed that the old style of one topic per column would be vulnerable to a skip-a-long reading method and since Herb Caen’s methodology was complete unpredictability of one paragraph to the next, imitating his style would trip-up the skim readers’ game plan.
A columnist who embraces the serendipity style can throw a rhetorical question, such as: “Who is the only war criminal to win a Nobel Peace Prize?,” into this paragraph and then blithely move on to bankers’ chicanery in the next.
We tuned into the Stephanie Miller program on Tuesday of this week and heard her, Charlie Pierce, and the mooks inform their audience that some banks had determined that they were entitled to the insurance money that would be paid out to the people whose homes had been destroyed by tornados in Oklahoma. The banks figured that they could collect the insurance company payouts to pay off the mortgages of the destroyed homes. That radio team also pointed out that many of the Occupy folks were arrested for protesting the bankers’ greed but not one banker has been arrested for taking homes from hard working Americans.
Speaking of video of folks crying on camera, we learned on CBS Evening News, earlier on Tuesday, that a politician in Colorado who urged gun control is facing a recall challenge.
We told Jersey Bill that in our next column we would deliver a challenge to the folks who aren’t upset by the collection of Internets information. In a free country what’s wrong with taking a look at a site that challenges your beliefs? If you think that’s A-OK, then we double dog dare readers to just take a look at one of the web sites that offers custom tailored SS Officers’ uniforms.
The staff at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is working at maximum capacity this year because of the 50th anniversary of the vanishing grassy knoll persons of interest, the Cheshire cat WMD’s in Iraq, the building that just sorta fell down, etc., but the news item about some folks urging a new investigation into the accident that caused TWA flight 800 to fall out of the sky is causing the Personnel Department at the Amalgamated Factory (at a secret location in the Sierra Nevada foothills) to contact retirees and make lucrative offers to lure them back to the daily grind.
If any of the beloved inhabitants of the White House are ever caught in just one lie then patriotic Democrats will be forced by logic into considering the possibility that all the wild conspiracy theories from the last half century (starting on November 22, 1963?) have been refuted with lies. Fortunately, the Democrats love the current occupant of the Oval Office so much that when he makes the assertion that the FISA courts, which have made 10,000 decisions in favor of government snooping but that the details of everyone of those cases makes complete secrecy necessary, is proof that he kept his promise to deliver transparency. The Democrats believe him without flinching. It’s as if all the Presidents have combined to pitch a perfect game as far as fibbing about mysterious unexplained phenomenon is concerned.
Jersey Bill takes a very dim view of the opportunity to jump on a bus near his home and go over to New York City to absorb some of the many cultural offerings and since many tourists remark that San Francisco bears a family resemblance to the Big Apple, (“Manhattan with hills added.”) we were not surprised when Jersey Bill informed us that he and his wife intended to get the hell out of Frisco sooner than we expected.
Thus, instead of spending Father’s Day continuing our tour guide service for a long time friend, we impulsively took one of the panhandlers in Berkeley out for an Eggs Benedict breakfast. It was the first time he ever had that treat. Listening to that fellow do a Howard Beale style rant we wondered why talk radio (or at least local cable access TV) doesn’t offer the audience a real choice and have a homeless pundit to push the debate to extreme freedom of speech limits? Critics of talk radio contend that it is a variation of “good cop/bad cop” because the conservative hosts deliver conservative talking points and the callers second the motion. On liberal talk shows, the host spends most of the phone time refuting callers who spout conservative talking points.
Do “they” just want to spin the illusion of public debates on all the current topics or do “they” really want a modern example of “no holds barred” brainstorming to solve problems? Doesn’t being “intransigent” and ignoring other points of view, leave a whole lot more time for watching the NBA finals, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the mid season baseball games, and the NFL preseason exhibition games? (Can players earn bonuses for extremely hard hits during an exhibition game?)
[Note from the Photo Editor: The suicide hotline on the Golden Gate Bridge serves as a very grim reminder that there is a potential for some very lugubrious consequences if the United States Supreme Court makes some unpopular decisions later this month.]
We reminded Jersey Bill of Hunter S. Thompson’s quote about how life should be lived: “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming – Wow – What a ride!”
Now the disk jockey will celebrate National Music day by playing: “Just keep walking, Ambrose (Part V),” Duane Eddy’s Rebel Rouser,” and Waylon Jenning’s “I’ve always been crazy.” We have to go observe Cuckoo Warning Day and International Surfing Day. Have a “hang ten” type week.