Posts Tagged ‘Oakland CA’

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.

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Forgive us our Press Passes . . .

February 1, 2012

In the late Seventies, after a PSA jet crashed in theSan Diegoarea, Time magazine sent a writer from theirLos Angelesbureau, Doug Brew, down toSan Diegoto cover that news event.  When he approached the wreck area, there was a police perimeter line and he was stopped and challenged.  He showed the officer a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office Press Pass saying he was a reporter for the Santa Monica Independent Journal Newspapers in Santa Monica and the officer said “You’re OK, boy, you can go on through.” 

The fellow had dual citizenship in the world of Journalism.  He was the editor of the weekly Santa Monica Independent Journal Newspapers and simultaneously functioned as a reporter for Time Magazine’s Los Angeles bureau on a “stringer” basis.  Without a Press Pass he would have been in a difficult dilemma but with it, he had no problems about getting the story for Time Magazine.  Good thing he had the Press Pass.

Initially Doug Brew had been reluctant to do all the bureaucratic work necessary to get Press Passes for the news staff at the weekly Independent Journal Newspapers in Santa Monica, but one day, after being challenged by a Santa Monica Police Department officer, while riding his bicycle to the IJ office, he relented and agreed it might be good to have the Press Passes “just in case.”  The other fellow on the news department staff had been very enthusiastic about getting the Press Passes and made the suggestion about getting them. 

After the PSA incident, Brew was glad that he had been convinced to make the effort to secure the Press Passes and verbally expressed that sentiment to a co-worker.  Little did he know that would provide the led for a column on the Internets about 35 years later.

“♫Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end . . . ♫”

The process included being fingerprinted and photographed and having the editor’s application submitted by the Publisher.

In 1973, there were three young men who worked for the IJ newspapers.  One went on to become one of the people listed toward the top of the Playboy masthead; Brew went on to become Time Magazine’s White House correspondent during the Reagan administration.  The third one went on to International Fame as the World’s Laziest Journalist. 

According to Gavin Aronsen’s first hand account of the events (for the <I>Mother Jones</I> website[Click this link:  <a href =http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/01/journalists-arrested-occupy-oakland>http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/01/journalists-arrested-occupy-oakland</a&gt;) that occurred in Oakland on Saturday night, a woman reporter with a Press Pass issued by the San Francisco Police Department was detained by Oakland Police Department.  The OPD pointed out that she was in Oakland not Frisco before arresting her.

Initial reports state that there were six reporters who were taken to various jail facilities in the Alameda County area as part of the mass arrests in Oakland. 

Subsequently the reporters were released.

Apparently the principle of “Interline Courtesy” among various Police agencies has changed since the Seventies.

Has Oakland Police Department unilaterally adopted theLas Vegasphilosophy of “What Happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” or is there something else more ominous and disturbing going on all across theUSA, that could form the basis for a trend-spotting story?

If William L. Shirer, who wrote “Berlin Diary,” were still alive this writer would try to contact him and see if he could provide any insights or make any comparisons to events he witnessed years ago to the events that happened Saturday night, but we can’t do that.   He is dead and so we will let it go at that.

The reader is invited to formulate whatever “jump to conclusions” analysis he (or she) wants to accompany this report.

Won’t Uncle Rushbo, and other talk show hosts of that ilk, try to whip up a hysterical level of <I>schadenfreude</I> concerning the trials and tribulations of the reporters and then goad the rubes into voting for a Conservative?

To be continued . . .

Latest WLJ column

January 29, 2012

Those, who have made the prediction that Oakland will be the place that will provide a plausible reason for conservatives to assert that martial law is needed in the United States to maintain order, just got a specific newsworthy example of how things could hypothetically get so out of control that the only possible remedy would be a brief experiment with martial law.

Stories have been emerging in the regional news media that predict that the budgetary crisis in the city ofOaklandwill soon require a need to bring some national control over the Oakland Police Department.

Since the topic of what happened in Oakland starting at noon on Saturday, January 28, 2012 will be a popular subject for use on the Internets during the coming week, and since a columnist/photographer, who contributes regularly to this website, was a witness with a Nikon Coolpix for the first four hours of the Move In Day Protest, we will provide readers with a subjective report on Oakland’s latest contribution to the evolving history of the Occupy Movement.

Since the World’s Laziest Journalist is particularly fond of the coffee sold at De Lauer’s Newsstand (you read that right it’s an old fashioned store that specializes in newspapers and magazines) we went to Oakland and arrived about a half hour before the noon event was scheduled to begin.

There was about a hundred protesters gathered on the North side of Frank Ogawa plaza when we arrived.  We took the opportunity to take some photos of the signs and artwork because, even if the event turned out to be a total non-story, pictures of the signs would be the kind of feature photos that one website could use later.

Just before noon a fellow came up to the World’s Laziest Journalist and requested that we not take photos that showed protesters’ faces. 

At morning coffee earlier inBerkeley, a fellow inBerkeleypredicted that there would be no arrests would be made at the day’s event.

The OPD (Oakland Police Department) got the first arrest on the scoreboard before the event was five minutes old thus giving writers the opportunity to use a sports metaphor such as a kick-off return that produces a touchdown.

The protesters took a winding march route that led them to the campus of LaneyCollegewhere it looked like, to this columnist, they were cordoned off.  Then protesters who were passing by reported that local news media was reporting that the protesters had moved to a new location to the north of the College.

At the college one police officer advised citizens to stay as far away from the event as they could.  Recently in similar news events in the greaterSan FranciscoBayarea, reporters with press credentials have been detained along with protesters and so the advice seemed, to a fellow who no longer carries a current press pass, like sound advice.

If nothing else, the police and protesters seem unanimous on the idea that photographers should get lost.

When this photographer covered an event known as the Venice Canal Riot in the Seventies it didn’t seem like fatigue was a factor in the day’s events. 

Why then could that same photographer now claim that after only four hours of walking aroundOakland, going back toFrankOgawaPlazato catch a bus going back toBerkeley, might cause some negative comments on his next job performance report?

In the old days when carrying a Nikon F and needing the skill of loading 35 mm film onto a Nikor reel was part of the job qualifications, it was necessary to be aware of deadline limitations.  The photographer had to be aware of the time not only inLos Angeles, but in other cities in theUSA. 

A sports photo that moved at 9 p.m. PST, would arrive in sports departments on the East Coast at midnight, which was deadline time for getting material into the next morning street edition.

It was a commonly accepted rule of thumb that if a photographer didn’t see his work move on the wire before 6 p.m. Pacific Time, it didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being used by the Los Angeles Times.

There are, we understand, some state of the art digital cameras that can download onto the Internets directly and instantaneously from the scene where news has occurred.  We understand that live steam video “live from the scene” is being provided to some people with the right computer equipment.

We got a feature style photo of a hand held device showing a teargas attack somewhere inOaklandto the protesters at backFrankOgawaPlaza.  No deadline lag there.

Santa Claus has not yet delivered any computer hardware that would drastically shorten the amount of time that the World’s Laziest Journalist requires to post any material online.  We have to go back to the laptop, download the files from the Coolpix, edit the images and select the best ones, then go to a place where a wifi connection can be accessed, and then post photos and a story on the Internets.

A quick check of the Internets on the way back to the laptop in Berkeley provide a glimpse of some excellent images on the Contra Costa Times website and that had the effect of slightly diminishing the World’s Laziest Journalist’s level of enthusiasm for the process of posting.

On Saturday night, we noted that KCBS’s hourly CBS radio network news was very focused on the fact that Herman Kane had endorsed Newt Gingrich.  While we were listening and editing the digital images, KCBS reported that the Protesters had entered a WMCA and interacted with some people there who were exercising. 

Obviously the explanation of just what going into that place had to do with the day’s announced goal of entering an abandoned building and establishing a claim that such a move was a humanitarian effort to provide shelter for the homeless will have to be elaborated by the nebulous Occupy Movement protesters, who take pride in featuring no management hierarchy that can provide authoritative replies to any reporter’s inquiries.

Initially, the unexplained visit to the YMCA, which KCBS reported added another one hundred arrests to the scoreboard, might seem inappropriate as part of the argument that action has to be taken to prove that empty office building might be a viable alternative to the Occupy Campsites which drew extensive criticism attributed to local business men. 

By 6 a.m. Sunday morning, KCBS was reporting that the total number of arrests had risen to the 300 level. 

The Sunday 7 a.m. PST CBS radio network newscast made a brief mention of the Move In Day arrests inOakland.

Some protesters entered theOaklandCity Hallon Saturday evening.  Initially KCBS was relaying the information that photographers at the City Hall had noticed that the protesters did not have to force entry to the facility.  By Sunday morning, reports stated that Occupy protesters had broken into the City Hall and then trashed the place.

On a quiet Sunday morning inBerkeley, the columnist/photographer wrote up his subjective report on the newsworthy Saturday protest and then planned to travel to a place where he could post it.

What makes it worthwhile for a fellow to spend all that time and effort to produce something which conservatives will ridicule as glorifying thugs and liberals, other than the ones who stumble across it where it is posted, will ignore? . . .

Can we get back to your later with the answer to that question?