Posts Tagged ‘Berkeley CA’

Seen in Berkeley CA

April 3, 2013

Seen in Berkeley CA

While strolling on Shattuck we heard some boss cars and managed to get two shots of this Cobra

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Really?

March 13, 2013

Really?

We saw this bumper-sticker in Berkeley CA. Shouldn’t it be accompanied by a flower power bumper-sticker?

Think Jalopnik will run this photo or link to this page?

The Internets = Nihilist’s Valhalla?

September 24, 2012

Would it be worth the blood, sweat, and keystrokes necessary, if an online political pundit wrote a column comparing the passive aggressive tactics of the Republicans in the House and Senate to the autoworkers sit down strikes in the Thirties and then kicked back and waited to see that metaphor “go viral” on the Intenets?

What’s the payoff if a writer posts a column online about Germany’s Pirate Party three or four days before the New York Times publishes a piece about it on the OpEd Page?

After a severe cold interrupted the string of consecutive weekly political punditry columns, the World’s Laziest Journalist made a rash decision to go “cold turkey” and spend a week without accessing the Internets and to write the next column about the experience of going a week without a digital “fix.”

Don’t most Americans love to experience addiction vicariously?  Maybe a week offline would produce something like “The Lost Weekend Column,” “The Man with the Golden Arms Deal Column,” or William Burroughs’s lost masterpiece, “The Naked Bunch” column?

Staying off the Internets for a week would mean delaying the opportunity to inform our audience about an update regarding the <a href =www.calpirateparty.org>California Pirate Party </a>.  The California residents have a weekly chat room on Monday nights and the<a href =www.pirate-party.us>National Pirate Party</a> has a nation wide chat room on Tuesday nights.  Maybe we could suggest a mock “Jack Sparrrow for President” movement and if they thought it would bring them publicity from the national mainstream media that suggestion could go viral.  If no one else is going to offer them that idea won’t the “better late than never” rule apply?

During the “week in the penalty box,” we got the bright idea of sending an e-mail to Norm Goldman alerting him to the idea that we would write a column comparing Bishop Romney to MacHeath in “The Three Penny Opera.”  If Norm liked the possibility of an opera that portrays beggars as thieves being a variation of Bishop Romney’s political philosophy, then maybe we’d hear a reference to the World’s Laziest Journalist on Goldman’s nationwide radio show.  Aren’t the chances of that happening just about the same as our chances of getting an on air mention on the next Wolfman Jack broadcast?

What would happen if we wrote a column that asked the question:  “Is the controversial online movie critical of the founder of the Muslim religion being used as a rationale for staging riots that are payback for the killing of Osama bin Laden?”

After buying the book “No man knows my history,” by Fawn M. Brodie (Alfred A. Knopf 1963), the World’s Laziest Journalist was intimidated by the task of reading all that material just to get a thumbnail sketch of the life of the founder of the Mormon religion; so we went to an encyclopedia in the Berkeley Public Library and learned that Joe Smith (will there be Mormon riots in the Middle East if this column is perceived to be disrespectful in its regard for that religion’s founding father?) kept the details of his biography well obscured and that he co-mingled the concepts of religion and politics with a political philosophy he called “theodemocracy” and that he left some investors feeling cheated in the wake of a church-bank experiment.  Could Mitt be trying (consciously or unconsciously) to make the story of his life a duplicate of Joe Smith’s biography?

Many conservative commentators are completely disregarding St. Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment (“Never speak ill of a fellow Republican”) and dishing out some severe criticism of Bishop Romney’s campaign tactics.  Should we pound out a column asking “What up wid dat?” or should we try something more unique such as attempting to find a common thread connecting the Republican Presidential Nominee’s political career with those of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt and America’s Senator Paul Wellstone?

With the music group, Puss Riot, getting extensive news coverage, we noticed that Der Spiegel also reported recently that Honor Blackman, who played Pussy Galore in the movie “Goldfinger,” has a supporting role in the new film “Cockneys vs. Zombies.”

Didn’t a famous newspaper columnist (Herbus Caenus?) in the era of Julius Caesar X once state that all web content falls into one of two categories: either bread or circuses?  Hell’s bells, it ain’t no fun waiting around to become a nationally known pundit.

As the week progressed, we became more and more aware that getting access to the Internets was often a cure for boredom and that if we filled the lulls with books, we wouldn’t really have much need for going online.

We were beginning to think that for every perceptive and insightful posting online, there are tens of thousands of inane and asinine entries that praise some acquaintance’s effort to post a link to a video of a kitten dancing on a typewriter’s keyboard and tapping out a carbon copy of the first page of “Tropic of Cancer.”

On the night of Thursday September 20 to Friday September 21, we caught a local TV news broadcast that delivered the information that the Space Shuttle Endeavor would do a fly-by at the Golden Gate Bridge between 8:30 and 9 a.m. on Friday morning.  We calculated that if we got up early and took some busses, we could be in position for a great news photo opportunity before mid morning.

Fatigue, which may have been a residual effect of the aforementioned cold, convinced us that some extra sleep might be a better executive decision.

We had breakfast and then aimlessly wandered over to the area in Berkeley where the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory “campus” is located and had a chat with a fellow who was on a smoke break enjoying his cigarette amid some magnificent Indian Summer in Berkeley weather.

We heard an airplane and when we looked up there was the Space Shuttle Endeavor on top of a Boeing that was banking west for a landside approach to the Golden Gate Bridge.  We wondered if the airplane’s itinerary had been selected as a way to pay tribute to the hard working staff at the Amalgamated Factory.  Would the Government say they were paying tribute, instead, to a nearby weapons laboratory?

We pulled out our beloved Nikon Coolpix and commenced to avail our self of the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.  The Nikon Coolpix viewing screen in daylight is not as clear and sharp as is the viewfinder image provided by a Nikon F, but that old reliable workhorse doesn’t fit into the front pocket of our jeans; so you go with whatcha got.

We have always been vaguely aware that watching something happened and taking photos of the same event are two different activities and so while we scrambled and fumbled with the various factors (such as a the telephoto zoom option and the hard to see screen) that needed our immediate attention, we sacrificed the option to just stand there and “drink in” the spectacle.

Simultaneously we had a variation of the St. Paul moment and our lifelong fascination with the category of philosophy called nihilism snapped into focus because we realized that we had thee options:  A. We could suspend our weeklong experiment with Internets avoidance and immediately start the process of editing, preparing, and posting the images we had taken.  B.  We could maintain our boycott and post the results on Monday.  C.  We could skip over the results and put them away in our digital shoebox photo storage area.  That was when we had the St. Paul epiphany moment.  Ultimately, in the grand scheme of “the History of the World,” the result for all thee options was (in Texting talk) IDFM.  (It Doesn’t F****** Matter!)

Posting on the Internets and Solipsism have a great deal in common.  Often, posting a column is like delivering a grandiose soliloquy at a dress rehearsal.

LIFE magazine had been posting the best newsphotos of the day on their website, but they dropped that feature awhile back.  We have been intending to write a column lamenting the lack of one major resource for still photos online.

The San Francisco Chronicle had a magnificent photo of the flyby at the Golden Gate Bridge on their front page Saturday morning.  The shot will probably win more than a few regional photojournalism clip contest awards and become a historic image (similar to the shot of a Pan Am China Clipper doing the same thing) in the future.  Our humble efforts pale in comparison.

The weeklong experiment provided the World’s Laziest Journalist with a reality challenge.  In a country where a fellow who’s business experience seems to mimic the antics of the cartoon character Snidely Whiplash, and where that same fellow becomes the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee, who consistently gets fifty percent of likely voters to say they will vote for him; then the tendency to rely on nihilism to provide the narrative thread for the writer’s lifetime becomes expedient again.  IDFM.

So why continue writing columns?  We find it amusing to think that in the future some unknown (but pop culture savvy) historian will chortle over a snide online comment that asserts that Bishop Romney’s secret plan to end the Recession will ultimately remind some folks of a Twilight Zone episode that ended with the line:  “It’s a cookbook1”

Now the disk jockey will play Bobby Darin’s song “Mack the Knife,” the Doors’ “Alabama Song,” and the Three Penny Opera.  We have to go do some fact checking for a possible column on the current state of football in the USA.  Have a “so what?” (Just like a noteworthy NY Daily News front page headline?) type week.

Where the free speech movement started

April 6, 2012

After the New Downtown Berkeley Launch Event was concluded on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, a reporter from KGO radio in San Francisco was walking on Adeline Street with John Caner, the Executive Director of the Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA), when one of the homeless people in front of John’s Ice Cream challenged her to talk to him and get both sides of the story.  She declined the invitation to get a balanced picture of the situation and scampered quickly to her Mercedes Benz and drove off informing him that she had all the information she needed.

In the current issue of the East Bay Express (April 4 – 10, 2012) on page 12 of the hardcopy edition, reporter Robert Gammon recaps the skepticism that Joe Debro faced when he criticized the deal which was utilized <a href =

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/raiders-deal-still-haunts-oakland/Content?oid=3167659> to bring the Oakland Raiders back toOakland</a> from their temporary rebel encampment in theLos Angeles area.  Debro was vastly outnumbered by sports fans, journalists and politicians who heartily endorsed the efforts to lure the absent rascals back to the Bay Area.

Debro’s objections seem more credible now that the city is in financial crisis mode and the football team might need to be reminded of the particulars of a loan that was instrumental in getting them to (like the prodigal son) return home because it is Debro’s continued position that no payments on the loan have been made and none are scheduled to be made.  If families can live paycheck to paycheck, can’t a $53.9 million dollar loan be forgotten if a team is living from season to season?

Time magazine’s Reagan era White House correspondent, Doug Brew, advised reporters to take the time to listen to what people were trying to tell them and not prejudge the quality of their information based on their appearances or apparent financial status.  How (you might ask) could the World’s Laziest Journalist possibly be the recipient of advice from such a highly qualified source for opinions on the art of Journalism?  We were coworkers on the staff of the weekly Santa Monica Independent Journal Newspapers in theLos Angelesarea.  That brings up the question:  “How well did you get to know him?”  When he was welcomed into this columnist’s humble abode in Marina del Rey, Brew expostulated:  “My God, Bob, this is a hovel!”

Could KGO’s gal reporter have possibly missed a goodBerkeleysidebar story in her haste to get . . . some place else?

On Tuesday afternoon, we were informed by some of the folks in People’s Park that (irony alert!) the beloved guy known as “hate man” had been issued a stay-a-way order from the public park that he calls “home.” 

The ten years that Mark Hawthorne (AKA Hate man) worked for the Metro Section of the New York Times were also known as “the Sixties” and we would pay good money to hear him tell his stories and just maybe get some advice on how to produce quality journalism. Hawthorne’s suggestions would probably be just as good as those provided by the fellow who worked for Time magazine. 

If UCB’sschoolofJournalismcan’t get hate man to teach there, perhaps they could getHawthorneto do one guest lecture per semester?  Hate man prefers to be outdoors and it is not unprecedented for some UCB classes to be held outside (like perhaps at People’s Park?). 

How is that fair and balance act working out for Rupert Murdoch?  Maybe if we learned how to do Journalism Fox style, we could wind up driving a Mercedes Benz?  Don’t they always put their best sly digs in the form of a question?

Is it true that Rupert Murdoch is trying to buy a major league baseball team and get the town fathers in FoxboroMassachusettsto build a stadium to serve as home for such an enterprise?   Could they call such a stadium “The Hen House”?

Could anyone convince the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors to build a brand new football stadium on county owned land in Marina del Rey and let a football team move in for little or no rent?  Isn’tLos Angelesthe biggest metropolitan area without a major football team?  Shouldn’t the board be happy to build a stadium and make loans that can then sit abandoned?  Where are the Brookly Dodgers Football team playing these days?

Whatever happened to the pro football teams that used to play in theLos Angelesarea?

Is there a C&W song titled “You’ve got a cash register heart”?   If not; why not?

Isn’t theUniversityofCalifornia Berkeleyrenovating their football stadium?  Aren’t college football games always played on Saturdays and aren’t pro football games always played on Sundays?

If the Berkeley Downtown Business Association really wants to bring shoppers and travelers to their town, why don’t they float a bond issue, take over management of the UCB football stadium and give the Raiders a better deal than a loan that doesn’t have to be paid back?  They could pay the Raiders gigantic bonus to move a few miles north and become the Berkeley Raiders!

If Monterey can be world famous as the town where one writer (John Steinbeck) use to live and if Key West Florida can hold an annual Hemingway Days series of events because just one writer used to live in their community, then why don’t book readers from all over the world flock to Berkeley where Ursula K. LeGuinn was born, and Philip K. Dick, Alan Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac used to live?

Since the Mediterraneum was open when Dick, Ginsberg, and Kerouac all lived in Berkeley, isn’t it natural to wonder if they ever had a brief chat there?

Charles Dickens, when he came to theUnited Statesto visit, made a particular point of going to visitLowellMassachusettsbecause of its literary heritage because a famous magazine had been published there.  That was years before Jack Kerouac’s father brought his family to that town.  Isn’t the Berkeley Barb mentioned repeatedly in “Smoking Typewriters,” which is about the history of underground newspapers in theUSA?

Last fall, when the high school finalists in the freedom of speech essay contest read their winning entries didn’t it get coverage on the TV networks by holding the event on the Mario Savio steps at theSproulPlazaarea of UCB?

Doesn’t the guy who runs the Daily Kos website for liberal online commentary live inBerkeley?

Is there a DBA suggestion box for ways to bring attention toBerkeley?

If the Journalism students at UCB were to produce a TV show all about Berkeley every day, wouldn’t it be quite likely that in this era of “low cost is no cost” broadcasting if they offered such a product to a cable TV company <I>gratis</I>, they would take it and offer it to viewers all over the world?  (Fox seems to be ubiquitous inAustralia.  Lottsa sports.)  Wouldn’t that be a career boost for the participating students and wouldn’t that win the DBA seal of approval?

Doesn’tKalgoorlie, inWestern Australia, lure visitors from all over the world with just one word?  Gold!  How far fromBerkeleyis Sutter’s Mill?

[Note:  It was a challenge to find a way to illustrate this column.  We used material from an abandoned photo project titled “On the road with a copy of ‘On the Road.’”  SinceBerkeleyis specifically mentioned in “The Dharma Bums,” that might have been a better choice, but the photo editor had to go with what was available.]

National columnists’ Day is rapidly approaching and the World’s Laziest Journalist intends to write a column for the occasion about a fellow who was born inBerkeley(about a hundred years ago) and became one of the Bay Area’s top contenders for the right to call himself “Mr. San Francisco.”  UCB has the Hearst School of Journalism and that particularBerkeleyrascal was personally fired by William Randolph Hearst . . . twice.  That notorious columnist might provide the basis for one installment of the aforementioned hypothetical student TV show “Berkeley Tonight” (or whatever).

Didn’t the Sixties officially start (in Berkeley) when Mario Savio said:  “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”  [Can you believe that that quote is not in Bartlett’s?] 

Now the disk jockey will play Janice Joplin’s “Oh, dear Lord,” Ry Cooder’s “Crazy ‘Bout an Automobile (Every Woman I Know),” and Woody Gutheris’s “Go For a Ride in the Car, car.”  Speaking of cars, we have to celebrate this weekend by watching “Rebel without a Cause” one more time.  Have a “See theUSAin your Chevrolet” type week.

World’s Laziest Journalist hard at work

February 10, 2012

As the first full week in February ends, the overwhelming temptation for political pundits is to compare the chaotic process of getting the Republican primary elections voters to choose the man who is ultimately going to get the nomination to Bach’s Little Harmonic Labyrinth, and so the World’s Laziest Journalist will skip that because it is too obvious.  The executives for the Democratic Party know who their nominee will be just as surely as Karl Rove knows who his party will select.

Isn’t it obvious to non pundits that Romney is a Potemkin candidate?  For most Republicans the situation is like when they learn beforehand that they will be honored via a surprise party and that they will have to act surprised when it happens right on schedule.

The paid pundits in the mainstream media know this but their weekly (“Yeah, I get paid weakly – very weakly”) paycheck is whatcha might call “hush money.”  When the inevitable happens watch and see just how authentic the surprise is on the faces of TV’s regulars on the weekend analysis shows.  It’s like they say in Hollyweird:  “If you can fake sincerity, you have it made inHollywood.”

Didn’t Republicans fight hard to get ranked choice voting established and now aren’t they using the Liberals’ arguments against the change to discredit Romney who isn’t getting much more than about 50 percent of the voters in any one primary?

Speaking of Republican inconsistencies; what about the possibility of sending Americans intoSyriato help them win freedom and democracy?  Is it an oxymoron when Republicans staunchly endorse sending American youth to die in a war to establish a democracy overseas?  Shouldn’t they want to establish a Republic and not a Democracy?

TheOaklandcity council at their regular Tuesday night meeting voted down a measure to order the Police to use more stringent measures when dealing with the Occupy protesters. 

Some cynics question spending money for keeping people out of a public park or plaza or from seizing a vacant building on a weekend when five murders are committed in other areas ofOakland.  Isn’t the answer that there is always going to be gang violence but cleaning up the downtown shopping area makes business associations happy?

Periodically atFrankOgawaPlazatiny teepees will appear.  Apparently they are meant to be a gesture of defiance regarding the ban on the use of tents in that area in front of theOaklandCity Hall.

This week the Guardian weekly newspaper inSan Franciscoran an article, on page nine of the February 8 to 14, 2012 edition, written b Shawn Gaynor, about new legislation which is designed to prevent the San Francisco Police Department from working with the FBI to investigate local citizens. 

Isn’t it one thing for the police to tell a fearful wife that they can’t do much about a husband’s threats until he actually does something unlawful, and another thing for a country that might send troops toSyriato investigate the possibility of future reprisals inside theUSA?

This week the New York Times in a lead story on page one reported that theUSAplans to downsize the number of diplomats stationed inIraq.  Were they trying to hint that the massive Embassy constructed under war conditions in that country was an example of overspending that precipitated the numerous cuts to welfare programs inside theUSA?  If that’s what they wanted to imply, why not just come out and say so in an editorial?

How can it be that there isn’t a week that goes by without some liberals protesting the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Prison but the allegations of prisoner abuse in the Los Angeles County Jail gets little (if any) notice outside that gigantic county?

On Thursday, February 9, 2012,OccupyCalheld a rally on the Mario Savio steps at Sproul Hall. 

The World’s Laziest Journalist went early to the noon event and, while waiting for the start time to arrive, chatted with a local political activist, Russell Bates, who attends many of the political events in the area.

Bates (who emphasizes that he is not related to the mayor ofBerkeley) related a version of the events inOaklandon January 28, 2012, that didn’t quite mesh with the way it was reported in local news media.

According to Bates, the marchers who trampled a fence down at theKaiserCenterinOaklandthat day were trying to move away from police aggressive police officers and when the marchers encountered the fences the crowd movement away from the police was a greater force than the fence was engineered to withstand.

Bates went on to assert that the people who were arrested for burglary entry into the YMCA later that night, were merely trying to avoid being arrested in a kettling maneuver by the police and that the marchers were merely rushing through the only avenue of escape.  Bates alleges that of the 408 people arrested that day, only twelve were charged. 

Bates claims that the news media is complicit in spinning the events of that day because they did not provide aerial coverage from their news choppers of the kettling process. 

On Thursday, news coverage of the attempt to restart the Occupy Cal movement initially could be described as meager.  A camera man from KTVU was covering the noon rally as well as reporters from the student newspaper, radio and TV studio. 

Last fallOccupyCalreceived news coverage from a much larger contingent of journalists.

A police officer informed the protesters that the tents they were erecting on Thursday afternoon were not permitted.  The police did not take action immediately and attempts to learn about subsequent developments by listening for news reports on KCBS news radio were unproductive. 

The columnist functions as the writer, typesetter, editor, fact checker, for this column but also has to do the computer work necessary (download from the Coolpix, edit the photos and transfer the ones selected for possible use to a memory stick and then posted online in a place where the html process can find and fetch it for use when the column is posted on Friday morning) to add photos to the column.

[Note:  there is a labor dispute in progress at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s headquarters and the proofreaders have been locked out until they give up their silly demands for wages and other benefits.]

Would it be appropriate if the World’s Laziest Journalist were to be well paid to not coverOccupyCal?  How can “hush money” be spun so that it sounds commendable? 

On Friday morning, KCBS news radio was not making any mention of the Thursday student protest and so the World’s Laziest Journalist will have to take a circuitous rout to the computer which will be used to post the column online and check to see if the tents are still making their mute protest or if the protesters have folded their tents and faded away into the night.

On Friday morning, that news station was reporting about a Thursday night public meeting inOaklandwhere members of the public made charges of police brutality against the participants in the Occupy Oakland events.

Recently this columnist has suggested that there might be a need for an unofficial meeting place for a Berkeley Press Club.  Apparently the columnist misjudged the level of enthusiasm such a suggestion might generate.  Only one reader responded to the idea of such a group. 

On Thursday, the news media seems to regard Occupy Cal as a fad that has faded.

<B>This just in:  On Friday morning the tents were still on Sproul Plaza and more TV news crews had arrived and interviews were being conducted.</B>  The story on Friday morning seemed to focus on the symbolism of a mushroom as indicating regeneration.  The World’s Laziest Journalist will try to file updates next week.

To be continued . . .

California Governor St. Ronald Reagan once said:  “If it takes a bloodbath to end this dissention on campus; let’s get it over with.”

Now the disk jockey will celebrate the Beach Boys reunion by playing their “Smile” album.  Tuesday in San Francisco there will be several events to mark the 50th anniversary for Tony Bennett’s original studio session for making the recording of “I left my heart in San Francisco,” so the DJ will play that song.  He will also play “Desert Caravan.”  We have to go and see if we can watch the Grammies.  Have a “nothing to see here” type week.

Silence of the Lambs meet A Nation of Sheep

February 3, 2012

“A Nation of Sheep,” written by William J. Lederer has been on our literary radar screen for many years just because of the catchy title.  When we were presented with the chance to buy a used copy in BU (Brilliant Uncirculated) condition recently, at a bargain price, we snapped it up quickly.  Among the usual suspects list of places in Berkeley CA where a thrifty fellow can buy desirable additions for one’s personal library at prices that won’t destroy a tight budget, the number of available books that criticize American Journalism seems astoundingly high, until a proper assessment of the phenomenon is made.  The University located inBerkeleyhas aSchoolofJournalism, so there is going to be a goodly number of teachers and students reading up on that subject.  There is also a number of folks who work in and around theSan FranciscoBayarea Journalism community who live inBerkeley.  There are also a few people still living in Berkeley who can tell stories about the golden age of underground newspapers because they worked for the Berkeley Barb and the Berkeley Tribe.

That, in turn, reminded us of the fact that the World’s Laziest Journalist has intended for some time to write a column about the fact thatBerkeleyhas no Press Club.  If some enterprising coffee shop owner (apparently the Berkeley Barb was started by a coffee shop owner who wanted a small “poopsheet” to hand out to his regular customers) wanted to fill his place on an “off” evening, he could set aside one night a week to make a special effort to attract “newsies” and start a <I>de facto</I> Press Club, where a herd of the boys could gather around and talk shop.

[We can use the sexist word “boys” because we heard a recent report about a new book on KCBS that reports that there is a paucity of women in the clique of reporters covering this year’s Presidential Campaign.]

Recently Police officials have been making decisions based on the fact that they don’t consider some reporters for Internets based publications to be eligible forPressPassstatus at news events.  That could be a lively topic for discussion at the aforementioned hypothetical gathering just mentioned.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the big topic among journalists for the past week, was not the Romney victory in theFloridaprimary, but the detention of reporters inOakland.  Some of the detained journalists had valid Press Passes issued by the San Francisco Police Department.  Maybe, if well informed voters are a legitimate goal, it is time to include web-journalists on the list of those eligible to apply for Police issued Press Passes?

Citizens and media owners seem eerily silent about this latest trend in journalism; could it be that they don’t care about the health and welfare of America’s free press?

It would be a bit easier to write a weekend-update column, if a fellow could compare notes at an impromptu Press Club.  Macy’s may not tell Gimbel’s what’s going to go on sale next week, but journalist do talk to each other on an “this is off the record” basis and swap some information which can help determine the newsworthyness of some topics.

For instance, what if an online columnist noted that during the past week there had been some headlines online that indicated that a nuclear facility in Illinois had a bit of trouble with their hardware, the San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California had a radioactive leak, and a big shot in Washington had announced that the next terrorist attack on the USA might come in the form of a hack attack. 

Wasn’t there a story recently alleging that <I>somebody</I> had used computers to sabotage and slow downIran’s program to develop nuclear weapons? 

If there was an informal Press Club inBerkeley, a columnist could do a bit of a mini-opinion poll about the feasibility of seeing a connecting thread for those bits of information?  Could the nuclear malfunctions be an example of “paybacks are hell”?

If other journalists thought that all these separate bits of information could be lumped together legitimately, then OK, but if they said it didn’t pass the smell test, then it might be prudent to pass on the idea.

On line, anything that isn’t stamped USDA approved mainstream media style patriotic information will be branded as sounding suspiciously like something being prepared for test marketing by the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory boys (rumored to be headquartered in an abandoned railroad car manufacturing facility in Emeryville CA?) and not worthy of a mention.  The catch phrase for the teen years (of this century) might be:  “You’re on your own, pal.”  [Bust the unions and stress rugged individualism.]

Didn’t a legendary pioneer blogger, whose handle was Plato, once predict that eventually journalism would become a game played by guys sitting in their man cave looking at a computer screen thinking they were grasping reality and making cogent remarks in a process known as “live blogging”?  Don’t they deserve to get a night out to break the shackles of solipsism?

Sure, it is wonderfully invigorating to see younger journalists tilting at windmills, but don’t they need to hear a crusty old reporter reminding them:  “Ya can’t fight City Hall, kid!”?  A Berkeley Press Club would help keep such idealistic young j-students grounded in reality.  The flip side of the coin would be that the students could help the old war horse scribblers fathom the mysteries of the laptop. 

There is one other stealth advantage to having a local Press Club where journalists can talk shop.  If a writer tells his colleagues about a story he is writing and if something happens to him while he is digging for that story, then the others will be able to continue the (hypothetical alert!) the crusade that cost a life.

Wasn’t columnist Dorothy Kilgallen working on an angle to the Kennedy assassination when she died suddenly?

Has IBM abandoned their use of plaques that displayed the word “THINK”?

On page 31 of the Crest Book 1962 paperback edition of “A Nation of Sheep,” William J. Lederer quotes a Prince/editor fromThailandas saying:  “You Americans are the easiest country in the world to propagandize.  You believe anything.  I could give a lecture here inHonoluluand say that the king’s mother had two heads – and that is why she isn’t seen in public.  Most of the audience would believe it and the papers would probably print it as a factual story – without even checking to see if His Majesty’s mother is still alive.”

Now the disk jockey will play the Defiant Ones’ 1961 recording of “Defiant Drums,” Elvis’ “Rock-A-Hula Baby” and Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.”  We have to go read Edward Jay Epstein’s 1973 book “News from Nowhere.”  Have a “Cross my heart and hope to die” type week.

Searching for a new trend-spotting story

June 13, 2011

If the assignment editor for the Features Department of the New York Times newspaper just happens to read this column he may be very glad that he did if he gets a “heads-up” about an art story that he can assign, but what about everybody else in the world with access to the Internets?  Is it possible that a citizen-columnist might be the first writer to notice a story that is that good?  Or is it more likely that people will be very amused by the opportunity of seeing a self-deluded fool in action?  Isn’t that the very same reason why the news coverage (such as it is) of the Republican efforts to get their party’s 2012 Presidential Nomination is so fascinating?  Don’t those folks realize that JEB has a lock on it?

Columnists, much like journalists, are trained to turn on their cultural radar the moment they wake up and keep it scanning the contemporary scene until they drift off to sleep that night.

Were the college kids on KALX the first to play a trend setting song of the future on this morning’s program?  Did a localBerkeleyCAweb site break a story that will resonate with all the young people staying at the Sydney Central Backpackers Hostel?  Would it be worth the effort to buy a brand new book at Moe’s Bookstore, read it, and then review it for the entire world? 

Is it possible that a columnist could visit the used bookstore run by friends of the Berkeley Public Library and find some new (and shocking?) information about the Bush Junta in a book by Laura Flanders (Bushwomen Vero hardback) that was published outside the United States (in the American colony called London?) in 2004?  Isn’t Bush-bashing out of date?  Isn’t it too early now to be of relevance to the next installment in the saga of the Bush Dynasty?

Suppose that a columnist notices what seems to be a local trend in graffiti? 

Artists inCaliforniahave tended in the past to be at the vanguard of new national fads in many areas of contemporary American culturd.  Aren’t most of the journalists inCali, who work for a nationally known media headquartered inManhattan, especially keen to find a trend-spotting story?  (and thus get an “attaboy” from the home office?)

After purchasing a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, about a year ago, we were anxious to try out the close up setting and so we began to notice small examples of graffiti in the form of stickers affixed to inconspicuous locations aroundBerkeley,Oakland, andSan Francisco.  Since this columnist isn’t well versed in botany, and since flowers tend to vibrate in the wind, and since stickers don’t; we began to concentrate more on collecting images of the stickers. 

Some seemed to be mug shots of John Wayne Gaycie.  Was that a subtle political statement?  Are capitalists eating the poor?  Is it a call to action?  Is it an expression of a bit of sarcasm? 

One day, we noticed one particular example of this subcategory of graffiti that had been created on what had been a post office address label that was (in haste?) rather poorly stuck on an abandoned newspaper dispenser box.  We carefully removed the fresh example of folk art and took it back to the World’s Laziest Journalist news organization headquarters.  If these labels are hard to scrape off their location, does that mean that original examples are desirable collectables?  Who collects them?  How do they acquire them?

We went to Fantastic Comics, inBerkeleyCA, and 1 AM art gallery inSan Franciscoin an effort to track down more facts about this art trend.  The more we learned, the bigger the topic seemed to become.  While we were out and about trying to tack down the story, we were missing time when we could have been dispensing opinions online about some recent high profile celebrity sexual escapades such as the Ricky Nixon and St. Kilda schoolgirl scandal.  (Do a search on Google News for that exoteric bit of Australian celebrity gossip.)

We learned that the use of quickly applied pre-made examples of graffiti is called “slap art” or “sticker bombing.” 

Painting a mural sized graffiti painting takes time; slapping a label on a hard surface, doesn’t. 

Using spray paint cans to create graffiti can mean some sever problems if the artists are caught <I>en flagrante delicto</I> and their artistic efforts are construed as constituting vandalism.  There can be major problems with any offense involving the spray can school of graffiti art.  The legal penalties for putting up slap art are not (we are told) as stringent.  

You do the math.

Several more time consuming attempts to gather more information, such as trying to get contact information about the leading practitioners of slap art, only produced enough of a feint trail to indicate that it would take a lot more work to get an interview with either Broke or Euro.  (You want to talk to Banksy?  Fergedaboudit.)  Since graffiti artist don’t  often seek publicity in the pages of People magazine, that reluctance is precisely what would make a story in the Sunday editon of the New York Times so appealing to the aforementioned assignment editor.

Obviously being out in the sunshine and fresh air (what ever happened to the news coverage of the readings for nuclear fall-out downwind from the disaster in Japan?) is preferable to sitting in a dingy writer’s hovel at a computer pounding out some sarcastic snarky remarks about the teabaggers’ (wet) dream ticket of Palin-Bachman for the Republicans in 2012 (where would the lefties be with regard to gender equality and that pair?). 

[Would it be shameless bragging to repeat the anecdote about the time the guy who would become Time magazine’s White House correspondent entered my apartment in Marina del Rey and exclaimed:  “My god, Bob, it is a hovel!”?] 

Isn’t a unique individual initiative story with some trend spotting in Art, much more commendable than an anemic example of me too-ism wolf-pack punditry?

What if an online columnist combined into one story all this information: Congress is considering giving the President the power to declare war, a recent article by Semour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine suggesting that some intelligence agencies are cherry picking information that will indicate that Iran’s nuclar program is a threat to the USA, and Brad Friedman’s continuing efforts to undermine his audience’s confidence in the reliability of the electronic voting machines? 

What if such a hypothetical endeavor ultimately became a remarkably accurate forecast about JEB’s role in the Story of the Bush Dynasty in American History?  If that happened, wouldn’t the lone but perceptive pundit ultimately get many main stream media employment offers? 

BerkeleyCAhas a large much respected school of journalism, so it isn’t surprising to find a wide assortment of used books for sale that offer an insider’s close up look at the collapse ofAmerica’s free press.  How could there be that many books offering that idea whileAmericais lulled into a false sense of being well informed by a tsunami of Fox Political Propaganda? 

Has Journalism disintegrated into a farce where obedience to the political policy of the corporate masters is more important than “truth, Justice and the American way”?  Don’t the corporate owners prefer an obedient worker who will unquestioningly follow orders rather than a high maintenance rogue who gets it right?  Ostracism to the Internets’Siberiais its own reward?  What does that mean?

Andy Rooney, who is best known for his commentary on CBS TV’s Sixty Minutes program, has been quoted (Masters of the Air by Donald L. Miller Simon & Schuster hardback page 121) as saying:  “the worst kind of censorship has always been the kind that newspaper people impose on themselves.” 

Now, the disk jockey will play “Stuck on you,” the Drop-kick Murphy hit “Fuck you – I’m drunk” (did that get a lot of airplay?) and the unreleased music project known as the Rolling Stones’ contractual obligation album.

We have to go do some fact finding about the rumor that Banksy is teaching economics classes at a well known institution of higher learning in theSan Franciscobay area.  Have a “know when to run, know when to freeze” type week.

How long will the Forever war last?

May 12, 2011

The nostalgia laden icon, known as “the Peace symbol” is ubiquitous in Berkeley CA.  The prolific bit of graphics could provide an industrious photo student with a potential theme for a project which could furnish enough raw material for a photo book.

The idea that the commercial exploitation of the Northern California city’s altruistic sentiment would be an ironic example of the crass basis for all capitalistic endeavor might be perceived by cynical columnists as an example of oxymoron thinking, but the unfortunate truth is that making a profit on idealism is a more realistic effort than is the lofty goal of the people who display the graphics which may or may not express the political move for nuclear disarmament by presenting the letters “N” and “D” in semaphore signals style.  Apparently they think that nuclear disarmament is the first necessary step towards achieving a perpetual world-wide Peace.

Did the hippie trend of using the two finger “V” hand signal (popularized by Winston Churchill in WWII) to express the “Peace” sentiment originate inBerkeleyduring the Sixties?  Dunno.

Ironically, the city that is almost a synonym for anti-war sentiment is also the location for a weapons laboratory think tank.

Sadly, the events of the first half of this year may put the altruistic goal of “Peace” so far out of reach that it can realistically be considered “Mission Impossible.”

The industrious family men who provide mainstream media with commentary would loose their precious paychecks for pointing this out, but a rogue (gonzo?) blogger can churn out such a column knowing that, in a culture dominated by clever conservative propaganda, his effort, even if it is a “spot-on” evaluation of a bleak truth, at best it will just provide a curious footnote for future historians scrutinizing the detritus from that year’s pop culture.

What evidence is there to back the deduction that Peace is now an unattainable goal? 

For one example, examine the quagmire inAfghanistan.  Now that Osama bin Laden has been sent to his eternal reward (which may be an inappropriate cliché phrase) the American military operation inAfghanistanmay seem to be unnecessary.  The fact that there will be no withdrawal of troops and no rational explanation for the American military’s continued presence in that country will be a subtle preview of the “perpetual war” reality that American voters will slowly comprehend.

Greater analytical minds than the one that this columnist possesses will have to make an evaluation for this possibility:  “Could it be that President Obama was “played” into making a rash move when he ordered the assassination of Osama bin Laden because the short term surge in his popularity ratings will later be eclipsed when the military industrial complex forbids Obama from adding to his reelection potential by evacuating the American military presence from Afghanistan?”

Obviously the gangland style treatment of Obama was a crowd pleaser, but if (for whatever reasons) the American President fails to remove troops from that theater of operations and concurrently fails to provide the voters with a rational explanation for that failure to make the logical move, then his popularity rating will suffer. 

Here’s a doggy treat for the conspiracy-theory-lunatic crowd:  Suppose that some dastardly advisors, who are secretly committed to Ayn S. Rand style conservative goals of perpetual profits for privatized military support firms, lured President Obama into ordering the rub-out of Osama, knowing that the long-term payoff would not be beneficial to a Democratic party incumbent candidate in the 2012 Presidential Election.

Could it be that Obama is getting tainted advice from moles committed to the Republican agenda? 

If al Qaeda responds to Osama’s death, as they have promised, with a devastating example of terrorism in the form of a nuclear explosion and if that happens before the next Presidential election is held, that might have a negative effect on Obama’s popularity ratings and vote totals.  If they hold off until after the 2012 elections, then it will be a matter of either: Obama won’t care because he can’t have a third term, or a Republican winner would easily blame such a retaliation on the fact that it was Obama who ordered the hit on Osama.  Either way they will have to respond in kind.

TheUShas participated in the NATO air strikes in support of the Libyan rebels. Col.Qaddafi has shown patience and perseverance in the past when he chose to send terrorists to deliver his retaliation answer to theUSA.  Qaddafi shows little potential for aSt. Paulmoment decision to adopt the “turn the other cheek” religious philosophy.  Hence, it can be assumed that Qaddafi will veto any “Peace” sentiments.

What aboutIraq?  Since revenge is an integral part of Muslim culture, it seems that for a generation or two there will be a large contingent of Iraqi citizens who are relatives of people declared “unintended collateral damage” fatal casualties, and who will consider it their duty to remind Americans of the Biblical axiom about justice demanding “an eye for an eye.”  They would not feel obligated to be bound by any peace deal withAmericaby (to use a George W. Bush phrase) a “scrap of paper.” 

Recent events inEgyptmay remind foreign policy wonks of the old FDR assessment of a dictator.  His succinct assessment could well apply to recently deposed Hasni Mubarak:  “He may be an S.O.B., but he is our S.O.B.” 

A zoo in theNew York Cityregion recently had to contend with a cobra snake who got out of her cage.  Well, the American Mid East policy wonks may have an analogous problem developing inEgypt.

Do you think thatNorth Korea’s leadership enthusiastically hold an annual celebration for the birth of “the Prince of Peace”?  Me neither too.

What aboutIran?  If the 2012 election delivers Republican majorities back to the House and Senate, will a President from either major American political party be prone to ignore dire assessments from the CIA? 

The new CIA director will be a fellow with the “Green Machine” mentality.  Would he be tempted to tailor make intelligence about Iran’s nuclear development program for the fellow sitting in the Oval Office after the January 2013 Inauguration ceremony?

If the Expanded War Authority Act, which is now being voted on by the Congress and Senate, passes, the next President would be empowered to order a bombing strike on the Iranian nuclear development facility without the seeking prior permission from Congress.  Anyone who has noted the long stream of news items about Republicans urging such a preemptive strike wouldn’t need to consult a fortune teller to predict what will eventually happen if the <a href =http://cgi.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=27942>Expanded War Authority Act</a> passes and is signed into law.  (Hat tip to the Mike Malloy radio program for directing our attention to that obscure bit of legislative news just as this column was being written.

There are other pockets of animosity that portend of additional troubles forAmerica.  Such as? Somalia,Yemen, theIndia–Pakistanborder disputes, andAmerica’s porous borders to name some. 

Some immature Americans reacted to the news of Osama’s death as if they had just witnessed a walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning of the seventh game of a World Series.  Guess again.  Folks in Berkeley who reacted by dusting off various examples of <a href =http://floppyphotos.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/cinderblock-peace-symbol/>their Peace symbols</a> might be more realistic if they made plans to revive efforts to provide draft counseling advice for students. 

Omar Bradley is quoted in Barlett’s for saying:  “In war there is no second price for the runner-up.”

Now the disk jockey will play John and Yoko’s “Give Peace a chance,” the Doors’ “War is Over,” and Berkeley’s own Fogerty Brothers (their band is called CCR) playing “Who will stop the rain?”  Now we have to go see how the latest hunger strike on campus is going.  Have a “it ain’t over ‘til its over” type week.

Counterfeit excitement in Berkeley CA

February 15, 2011

Imagine how exciting it would be to be walking around in Berkeley CA (excitement galore, right there) and you saw on the ground a dollar size piece of greenish paper that said “Fifty Dollars”?  Your <I>joie d’vivre</I> might diminish considerably when you notice that the portrait on the front side is of a bearded fellow who looks like he might have been one of those misguided clergy men who wanted to make the Hawaiian natives put clothes on and is identified as “Hoffarth.”  Then you notice the disclaimer:  “for Motion Picture use only.”  Drat!

This columnist has, many moons ago, on two different occasions, found a genuine 100 dollar bill and so the first thought when we laid eyes on the Hoffarth bill was to immediately take a picture and start to debate weather we should submit the item to the Berkeley Daily Planet or the Berkeleyside web site.  They must have been filming a movie in Berkeley recently and that is the kind of hot news both of them like.

Is that name some kind of joke?  Is it a phony name like the one used in a famous e-mail that faked-out a legendary stand-up comedian working for Fox News? 

In the era of hit movies from the Jackass crew and the word Punk’d has slipped into the mainstream American vocabulary, who wouldn’t love the irony of finding a Hoffarth bill? 

Don’t all Americans appreciate a good practical joke?  Lately, we have noticed some political pundits are analyzing the new Obama budget proposals and slaping their own foreheads and saying:  “Oy vey!  We thought he was a progressive!”  The joke that the Reagan Democrat fooled voters into thinking he was a progressive is another hilarious example of Punk’d-ing for fun and frivolity.  Young Internets citizens might not remember the time when an American President and his pals concocted a clever ruse about something that had to do with aluminum tubes that were positive proof that a new war needed to be started. 

The President went though all the effort to cook-up a clever reason never realizing that all he had to do was ask. 

[We’ve heard an urban legend about an attractive young lady who had a very close male friend and when he had to move to a different geographical area he asked her whey they had never hopped into bed together and she responded:  “Because you never asked!”]

Some pundits are groaning about the apparent buyers’ remorse factor that the far lefties are experiencing as the Reagan Democrat President reaches out his hand to the far righties in the Republican Party. 

Cynics are asking:  Shouldn’t a President who works so assiduously to be a one term President get what he wants?

This columnist tends to emulate the taciturn nature of saloon owner Ricky Blaine in the movie Casablanca and thinks that the Australian bandit Ned Kelly was spot-on when he said:  “Such is life.” 

Is it time to inject some obscure and esoteric (but relevant) items?  Watching some newsreel footage from 1953 we saw and heard Adele Stevenson chide his successful rival for the Presidency for being in charge of a political party run by businessmen.  Wasn’t Harry Truman the last President with businessman experience?

We digress.  Speaking of digressing, did you know that a bunch of writers from one very successful liberal web site have their own page on Facebook?  Why isn’t Eric Hoffer one of that group?  Wasn’t he big on liberal causes?  Didn’t a famous communist coin the phrase “One for all; all for one.”  Don’t the Hell’s Angels say:  “A fight with one of us is a fight with all of us!”?

This columnist wishes he could contact that group of scribes because we’d love to ask them:  “Is it better for a columnist to tell his readers what he wants them to think or is it better to throw some apparent contradictions at them and let them think it through for themselves?”  It’s just like when George W. Bush said:  “You teach a child to read, and he or she will be able to pass a literacy test.”

When dealing with writers like that Facebook group shouldn’t their boss ask them the classic question from the Fifties:  “Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”? 

Wasn’t “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!” a famous communist slogan in WWII?

We’ve read:  “In a Communist state a love of neighbors may be classed as counter-revolutionary.  Mao Tse-tung counts it a sin of the liberals that they will not report the misdeeds of ‘acquaintances, relatives, schoolmates, friends, loved ones.’”  Where did we read that?

In “The Ordeal of Change” (Perennial Library paperback 1963 p. 5), Eric Hoffer wrote:  “Things are different when people subjected to drastic change find only meager opportunities for action or when they cannot, or are not allowed to, attain self-confidence and self-esteem by individual pursuits . . . . The substitute for self-confidence is faith, the substitute for self-esteem is pride; and the substituted for individual balance is fusion with others into a compact group.”  Was Hoffer a founding father of the teabag movement? 

If you see something suspicious report it.  Buy War Bonds today.

Now the disk jockey will play “Stickin’ to the Union,” the “Cool Hand Luke” soundtrack album and Roy Orbison’s “Workin’ for the man.”  We have to go and file a grievance with the shop steward.  Have a “contract approved by a vote of the membership” type week.

The Op Ed News Tribe?

February 13, 2011

The fact that Arianna Huffington shamelessly exploited politically motivated liberal writers for her own personal financial gain is something that carries a strong déjà vu element for folks living in Berkeley CA because it echoes an episode from the city’s journalism history when the staff of the <I>Berkeley Barb</I> figured out that the publisher was making enormous profits from their efforts and paying them in a niggardly (that’s a legitimate word and not a racial slur-word) fashion to increase his personal savings account balance.  The aggrieved reporters walked out and started their own weekly publication, the <I>Berkely Tribe</I>, to be run in majority consensus fashion and, according to one of the participants, also operated the newsroom/editorial boardroom in a hippie commune style house.

[There is a folk axiom that asserts that those who forget history are doomed to repeat what has previously happened.  If that is a valid bit of wisdom, the folks who remember that Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and Hosni Mubarak all came to power via service in their country’s military during time of civil unrest in a Muslim nation, will be among the few who find that the situation in Egypt has some very ominous implications.]

The fact that, to the best of our ability to discern, the recently sold Huffington Post website has not seen fit to cover the story about the U. S. Chamber of Commerce efforts to pay public relation specialists $2 million to discredit Brad Friedman (and the Bradblog, and other web entities), let alone even run a link to the Bradblog in their list of sites for fans of the liberal point of view, may give a big hint to her group of keystroke slaves just where the rollercoaster ride is going to take them.  If they lived in Berkeley and were aware of the circumstances that facilitated the birth of the <I>Berkeley Tribe</I> publication, they might not take as long to figure it out.

At this point, some cynics might want to ask why would a columnist who has been a member of Teamsters local 229 and who was protected from capricious and arbitrary conduct by management at a nationally known news wire service in New York City by the Guild, which promised a strike in response to the shoddy treatment of “the last hired” guy, would object to labor issues at a website that doesn’t use his stuff, but will contribute material to other digital underground newspaper type websites. 

There is a difference between breaking every rule you can bend and going “way over the line.”  There is a difference between being exploited and willingly going along with program.  Is there a difference between rape and using rough sex as a method of making love?  Yes.  Is the difference visual?  No.  We rest the case.

There is an urban legend in the journalism industry about the time a staff photographer for LIFE magazine spent a month aboard an ocean liner for an assignment and when he turned in his expense account, he had listed the spending of some money for taxi fares.  The ever vigilant accounting department challenged that particular expense.  When the photographer glibly responded “It was a big ship,” they let it slide.  Does the term “gonzo blogging” convey a valid concept?

Getting up at O-dark-thirty, to write a column gratis can be rationalized if the writer can fulfill some personal needs, other than the monetary dependence one, such as getting the feeling that he is (in a very small echo way) walking a mile in Herb Caen’s moccasins or being given the chance to symbolically raise his middle finger in a gesture aimed at “the Establishment.” 

Getting up before dawn to crank out a freebie column because the editor/publisher owner/operator of a website thinks “we have to work harder to help Democratic candidates” win in November of 2011, is a particularly galling experience if the writer happens to be convinced (by reading the Bradblog too much?) that the election will be a sham/fraud and that the results (the Inauguration of JEB) are a done deal.  Just thinking about it makes the words of “Memo from Turner” (“you schmucks all work for me!”) reverberate in his head.

On the one hand, there is the Columbia Review of Journalism taking the position that the journalism industry could do better and on the other you have (here’s that word again) volunteers contributing to Project Censored producing work that proves that Lazy Journalism is alive and thriving in the USA.

While attending the Project Censored annual awards ceremony, this columnist got involved in a discussion about current cultural values and it was noted that a shift back to hippie values might deserve a trend spotting report story.  We have observed that there is a noticeable increase in the fund raising efforts of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.  Information about “running away to join a hippie commune” will bring a steady trickle of new readers to a personal blog. 

Is it time to recycle some of the “back to nature” stories from the Sixties? 

Recycling old issues, in turn, reminded this writer that we might extract a good column from the effort to read Rex Weyler’s book “Blood of the Land” (Vintage Books paperback 1982).  That then reminded us that some hard nosed website plantation owners might think that only new books should be purchased, read, and reviewed.  Does the Internets version of Charles Foster Kane think that just because the plight of the Native Americans isn’t given air time on Faux News, it doesn’t exist?

Doesn’t the idea that volunteer writers can be fired repudiate all the hard efforts of past pro-labor activists to establish a fair and balanced work relationship with management?  Isn’t reestablishing superiority through intimidation of the workers, exactly what the Republicans want?  Will the Rove-conservative gang owe a political favor to a “liberal” who helps achieve that goal at her website? 

If a tyrannical publisher holds the threat of a pink slip over the heads of her staff (like the sword of Damocles?), doesn’t that mean that it will be up to writers for rival publications to express the grievances of the exploited folks on the content plantation?

Americans tend to think that the Native American and Muslim cultures are homogenized groups.  Don’t they realize that the Native American culture ran the spectrum from the Sioux, who believed (like most Republicans) that women should be kept pregnant in summer and barefoot in winter, to the Cheyenne tribe which had women warriors? 

Has the Huffington Post ever run an unbiased (let alone critical) story about the Pasqua Lama gold mining controversy in South America?  Isn’t it only those gosh darn scientists who say that the gold mining process can produce toxic waste?  Who wants to risk their gig by sounding like they are fellow travelers with the guys who compete for inclusion in the Mad Scientists Hall of Fame?

Rex Weyler, on page 185 of “Blood of the Land,” wrote:  “The method that the FBI was using on prospective witnesses was to frighten them with serious felony charges; then offer them a deal if they gave information on other suspects.” 

Now the disk jockey will play “Memo from Turner,” Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen tons,” and the Doors “Weird Scenes inside the goldmine” album.  We have to go try to figure out how the Apaches lived in desert terrain without camels.  Have a “toe the line” type week.   If the Huffington Post wants permission to run this column?  Request granted!