Monday, November 30, 2009

Michael Dukakis was a piker

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According to authorities, Maurice Clemmons killed four Seattle-area cops and Mike Huckabee's political career.

That this guy was running around the country because the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate made him eligible for parole in 2000 is bad enough. That this is the second time people ended up dead because of Huckabee's lenient ways is immeasurably worse.

And someone in the national Republican Party needs to formally apologize to Michael Dukakis, whose Willie Horton moment was pure Amateur Night compared to Republican Huckabee's reign of error in Arkansas.

BECAUSE YOU can't make this stuff up, The Associated Press takes the story from here:
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee had a hand pardoning or commuting many more prisoners than his three immediate predecessors combined. Maurice Clemmons, the suspect in Sunday's slaying of four Seattle-area police officers, was among them.
For a politician considering another run for the White House, Clemmons could become Huckabee's Willie Horton.

"In a primary between a law-and-order Republican and him, I think it could definitely be a vulnerability," said Art English, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "It is very damaging when you have someone like that whose sentence was commuted. That's pretty high profile and very devastating and very tragic."

English said it's hard to avoid comparing the case to Horton, a convicted killer who raped a woman and assaulted her fiance while on release as part of a prison furlough program supported by Michael Dukakis when he was governor of Massachusetts.

Allies of former President George H.W. Bush ran ads criticizing Dukakis for his support of the program, undermining the Democrat's presidential campaign.


Huckabee's role in gaining the release of a convicted rapist, Wayne DuMond, was the subject of an attack ad during his presidential run. While Huckabee's predecessor, Tucker, reduced DuMond's sentence making him eligible for parole, Huckabee took steps almost immediately after taking office to win DuMond's release.

Two members of the state parole board said Huckabee pressured them to show DuMond mercy, while Huckabee publicly questioned whether DuMond was guilty of the rape of a teenage girl. During the presidential primaries, a conservative group aired television commercials in South Carolina featuring the mother of Carol Sue Shields, whom DuMond killed in 2000 after his release.

Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley, whose office opposed Clemmons' parole in 2000 and 2004, said Huckabee created a flaw in the Arkansas justice system by freeing the number of prisoners he did.
"(Clemmons) should have stayed locked up like the jury wanted him and we wouldn't even be having this discussion," Jegley said.

"I just have been figuratively holding my breath and hoping something like this wouldn't happen," Jegley said. "I just think that a lot of the people that were subjects of clemency during that period of time were some very dangerous people who didn't need to be let out."
IT USED TO BE that when someone screwed up badly enough, they'd publicly repent of their sins, put on sackcloth garments and cover themselves in ashes as a sign of penance.

It is no credit to our "advanced" society that messing up big time now -- at least for certain privileged castes -- is just a ticket to a big buyout . . .
or a cable-TV talk show.

Right, Huck?

SPLINTER. PLANK. EYE . . . Rev. Huckabee.

She who must be obeyed

This is Molly the Dog. She is the boss of us.

For the most part, she is a benevolent dictator. She doesn't require much of her subjects -- just food, water, treats, outside, inside and constant adoration.

Sometimes, she treats her unworthy footservants with amusing displays such as this. To Molly, however, it was simple dog logic: Want to lie in sun. Sun on table. Jump up on table. Lie in sun on newspaper on table.

Any questions?

No, Your Highness.

Touché . . . and good night

File this under: "I'm not dead yet!"

Nice ad that, for a change, out-Apples Apple. Now, all Rupert Murdoch needs to do is figure out how to make the "must-have handheld accessory of 2009" self-updating so it's no longer full of day-old news.

OH . . . and make it display audio-visual content, link to stories in all the other "handheld accessories," and somehow interest young folk in a "handheld accessory" that doesn't have an "i" in front of its name.

All for free.


Alrighty, mates! Let's get cracking on the next advert in the campaign, wot?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A bitter harvest of hunger

As we emerge from our Thanksgiving food comas and start thinking about throwing away the leftover leftovers. . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy . . . Thanks . . . giving . . .
from . . . W . . . K . . . R . . . P. . . .

Something tells me this has become a Revolution 21 Thanksgiving tradition -- reveling once more in the sublimity that is the "Turkeys Away" episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati."

The show -- about the wacky characters and zany antics at a dysfunctional Top-40 station -- was a wonderful comedy that was wonderful because it was rooted just enough in reality. Back in the '70s and early '80s, we loved 'KRP because it was the Island of Misfit Toys with a microphone and transmitter.

I THINK it useful to reflect on "WKRP in Cincinnati" in light of where radio finds itself 30 years on. Let's ask just one question -- if there were a WKRP and it still was around for Thanksgiving 2009, what would we say about it?

Well, I think in most markets, we'd say it was the best station in town. We give thanks for many things this day, but that's not one of them.

Here's hoping your turkey wasn't one that hit the pavement like a bag of wet cement. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Issa X

It occurs to me that if Christian churches -- and I point big-time at my own -- believed as much in Jesus as even the Muslims believe in Jesus and were as open about that fact, we just might get somewhere in this country.

I mean, what if the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha put as much energy into flooding the 'hood with some of that ol' time religion as it does into promoting the annual appeal? Is what I'm saying.

(Yes, of course the Catholics have lots of ministries and Catholic Charities, etc., and so on, but it's hardly "flooding the zone." What about the big high-profile push . . . like the annual appeal?)

So here we have a little story from my hometown about yet another "Stop the Violence" rally trying to convince people with nothing to live for to stop dying for nothing, too.

AND IN The Advocate's dispatch from Baton Rouge, there's this toward the end:
Children from Muhammad University of Islam on Plank Road visited the rally to share messages of faith and peace.

“Our religion teaches us that we should always be for each other because we are family,” said Tynetta Muhammad, 13.

Leslie X, of the Nation of Islam, said the solution to violence is simple: “Jesus told his apostles to love ye one another as I have loved you. If we do that, we will see our condition around us turn around.”
BUT CHRISTIANS by and large don't put stock in Jesus beyond Him being a celestial sugar daddy, and the Muslims are outnumbered, so we have the need for all these "Stop the Violence" rallies. Because in America today, you either have status and stuff or you have squat.

Not even a God who understands.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lyndon Baines Obama

I rise from my sick bed to pass along two things and say one thing.

there's this from The Associated Press:
Signaling he's decided on new troop levels for the Afghanistan war, President Barack Obama said Tuesday he intends to "finish the job" on his watch and destroy terrorist networks in the region.

The president said he would reveal his decision on how many additional soldiers to deploy to Afghanistan after Thanksgiving. The White House is aiming for an announcement by Obama either Tuesday or Wednesday in a national address. Congressional hearings will quickly follow.

Military officials and others have been expecting Obama to settle on a middle-ground option that would deploy an eventual 32,000 to 35,000 U.S. forces to the 8-year-old conflict. That rough figure has stood as the most likely option since before Obama's war council meeting earlier this month when he tasked military planners with rearranging the timing and makeup of some of the deployments. That led to Monday night's final gathering.

With the war worsening on Obama's watch, U.S. combat deaths climbing and public support dropping, the president seemed aware he has a lot to explain to the public.

"I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we're doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive," he said, speaking at a White House news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"It is my intention to finish the job," he said of the war in Afghanistan that has been going on since shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Obama held his 10th and final war council meeting Monday night. In response to a question about his upcoming announcement, he sketched out the areas - but not the specifics - of what he will talk about after Thanksgiving.
THEN, there's this -- the latest edition of Bill Moyers Journal. Here's Moyers' introduction:
Our country wonders this weekend what is on President Obama's mind. He is apparently, about to bring months of deliberation to a close and answer General Stanley McChrystal's request for more troops in Afghanistan. When he finally announces how many, why, and at what cost, he will most likely have defined his presidency, for the consequences will be far-reaching and unpredictable. As I read and listen and wait with all of you for answers, I have been thinking about the mind of another president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

I was 30 years old, a White House Assistant, working on politics and domestic policy. I watched and listened as LBJ made his fateful decisions about Vietnam. He had been thrust into office by the murder of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963-- 46 years ago this weekend. And within hours of taking the oath of office was told that the situation in South Vietnam was far worse than he knew.

Less than four weeks before Kennedy's death, the South Vietnamese president had himself been assassinated in a coup by his generals, a coup the Kennedy Administration had encouraged.

South Vietnam was in chaos, and even as President Johnson tried to calm our own grieving country, in those first weeks in office, he received one briefing after another about the deteriorating situation in Southeast Asia.

Lyndon Johnson secretly recorded many of the phone calls and conversations he had in the White House. In this broadcast, you're going to hear excerpts that reveal how he wrestled over what to do in Vietnam. There are hours of tapes and the audio quality is not the best, but I've chosen a few to give you an insight into the mind of one president facing the choice of whether or not to send more and more American soldiers to fight in a far-away and strange place.

Granted, Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, Afghanistan is not Vietnam and this is now, not then. But listen and you will hear echoes and refrains that resonate today.

NO, OBAMA isn't LBJ, and Afghanistan isn't Vietnam, but I watched Moyers' broadcast -- I highly recommend you watch the whole thing, either above or on the PBS web site -- and those "echoes and refrains" do not only "resonate" today, they are absolutely eerie.

Afghanistan is every bit the mess today that South Vietnam was in 1964, with the added complication that the Afghans have been forever ungovernable.

The French empire, in tatters after World War II, was finished off in Vietnam and Algeria. The Soviet empire died, in large part, in Afghanistan. And if Barack Obama -- who has debunked any hope Americans had in him as a transformative leader -- either cannot or will not learn the lessons of history, the American empire will be finished off in the Middle East, and maybe America with it.

President Johnson led a country with a strong economy and a manageable deficit. All Vietnam cost him was the Great Society . . . and 58,000 American lives sacrificed for absolutely no damn good reason.

President Obama leads a country brought to its economic knees, with no hope of standing tall anytime soon. All Afghanistan might cost him is everything . . . and God only knows how many American lives sacrificed for absolutely no damn good reason.

THERE IS the mission of killing as many al Qaida as possible, which is doable. That was the original reason for going into Afghanistan -- not getting ourselves caught up in the sequel to Brezhnev's Folly.

Capturing and holding the entirety of Afghanistan is not doable. Neither is creating a relatively honest, Western-style democratic government there, nor is turning 12th century peasants into postmodern, pro-Western sophisticates capable of supporting a relatively honest, Western-style democratic government.

Hubris has been the death of many an empire whose time has past. We are a hubristic people.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Paging W.T. Sherman

If any son of the South is honest with himself -- any white son of the South, that is -- sooner or later, he comes up hard against the truth of his "Southern heritage."

Namely, that all the popularly defined aspects of "Southern pride" are nothing to be proud of. For Southerners -- particularly we of a certain age -- this conclusion generally is reached, if it is ever reached at all, after a lifetime of equivocation, denial and trying to reconcile the irreconcilable.

There indeed is a bottom line, and it is this: The antebellum South, and all of the supposed "gentility" that surrounded this eternal Tara of our mind's eye, was built on the backs -- and at the cost of the freedom, dignity and lives -- of millions of African slaves.

It came at the cost of everything by which Americans self-define, and only after twisting the white man's soul into accepting good as evil and evil as good.

THERE WAS no noble cause. There was no honor in defeat. Our ancestors fought -- and died -- for a damnable lie, and the flag they rallied around just as well could have sported a big "666."

Lincoln was right; Jeff Davis was a traitor, and Sherman did what he had to do. The Lost Cause was damn well lost, because a people had damn well lost their minds . . . and perhaps their souls.

These things are all quite obvious. The white Southerner is able to state the obvious only after his own personal Antietam -- for enculturation and "tradition" will put up a hell of a fight -- and among the dead must be one's "pride" over a "heritage" that well earned its place on history's ash heap.

That, however, is a fight few have the stomach for.

IT'S EASIER to pretend there's something much more noble about your great-great-grandpa fighting "the Yankees" in the Confederacy's "Lost Cause" than there is about Heinz's father fighting the Allies in Adolf Hitler's.

That your forefathers' "bravery" was braver than that of the Serb militiaman who fought to rid Bosnia of Muslims and Catholics.

At least in Germany, nobody has built an entire tourist industry on sepia-toned nostalgia for "the good ol' days" of the Third Reich, and it didn't take 144 years before University of Munich students were forced to quit chanting "Heil Hitler" after the marching band's rousing rendition of "Deutschland über alles."

Not so at the University of Mississippi.

At Ole Miss, students and football fans are determined to prove the truth of native son William Faulkner's observation that "The past is never dead. It's not even past." And at today's football game against LSU, as reported by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, they're even going to get some help from the Ku Klux Klan:

The Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan plan a rally before Saturday's LSU-Ole Miss football game to protest Chancellor Dan Jones' decision to bar the school band from playing "From Dixie with Love," a medley that some fans finish by shouting, "The South shall rise again."

Jones ordered the band on Nov. 17 to stop playing the medley that blends "Dixie," the Confederate Army's fight song, with the Union Army's "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

The band has played the song during Ole Miss football games for about 20 years.

Jones said the chant supports "those outside our community who would advocate a revival of segregation."

Jones' decision has stirred up the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which plans a 10 a.m. rally in front of the Fulton Chapel before the 2:30 p.m. start of the game.

"This is not a white or black issue at all. It's freedom of speech. They've got a right to say what they want at the game," said Shane Tate of Tupelo, the KKK's North Mississippi great titan.

Tate said his group, part of the Southern Alliance of Klans, which claims more than 7,000 members, plans a short, peaceful demonstration.

"I'm just going to bring a few guys, show up and get our message across and then leave," he said.

Tate said he expects between 20 and 100 Klan members to participate.

He said his group does not allow Nazis or Skinheads, who are considered more violent segregationists than the modern-day KKK.

"We're Christians," he said.

In a press release announcing the rally, the organization said Jones' decision was an "attack on our Southern heritage and culture."

YEAH, JUST LIKE the Nuremberg trials were an attack on German heritage and culture . . . that is, if the Nazi regime and its "lost cause" were the only parts of German heritage and culture anyone cared about.

At today's football game, LSU doesn't need to bring the Fighting Tigers, it instead needs to bring the reincarnation of its founding superintendent . . . William Tecumseh Sherman.

Of course, that would be a mighty tall order for a university that -- 148 years after Sherman resigned to lead a Yankee army and march across Georgia -- still can't bring itself to name a building for its founder.

Is all right . . . is all right. . . .

You didn't think I'd allude to "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" in the previous post and not throw the original John Lennon promotional video up here, do you?

Nuh uh. That would be wrong.

Friday, November 20, 2009

3 Chords & the Truth: Black coffee & blues

Whatever gets you through the night (or the day) is all right . . . is all right.

Lots of the time, it's coffee. Coffee made with love, patience and an old, old pot -- because it's better that way.

OTHER TIMES, it's the blues.

This week on 3 Chords & the Truth, however, we're putting together the blues with a little black coffee and seeing where it gets us. No doubt, somewhere that's all right . . . is all right.

Of course, there's lots of other tasty stuff on the Big Show this go around as well, so you'd just as well stick around and give it a listen. You just might have your horizons expanded amid the musical fun.

Well, that's about all for now. Go grab yourself a hot cup of joe and meet me back here at the Internet connection.

Because it's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are you $#!&%*! me?

This bleepfest of a political ad is said to concern next February's New Orleans mayoral election, but I say why waste something this insane (and illustrative) on just Louisiana's largest city?

After all, there's a whole state out there begging the question "Are you s****ing me?"

OF COURSE, you have the never-ending follies in New Orleans, which have seen Mayor Ray Nagin perfect the concept of absurdity as performance art. But the city's mayoral wannabes are off to a good start, as documented Wednesday by the The Times-Picayune:
Stepping to the plate Wednesday during the first meeting of all seven announced candidates for New Orleans mayor, four participants swung and missed on the very first question.

The faux pas unfolded as each candidate was asked to take a position on the Youth Study Center, the city-run juvenile detention site in Gentilly at which former inmates have alleged in a federal lawsuit they suffered inhumane treatment. The issue fit the youth-centered focus of the forum, which was sponsored by the nonprofit Afterschool Partnership.

First up was businessman Troy Henry, who apparently confused the "study center" reference with the generic notion of providing a safe place for kids to go after class. He said he favored the center but hoped it would be used "in collaboration with all the revised library systems that are also being built."

The next three candidates -- grocery distributor John Georges, insurance executive Leslie Jacobs and state Sen. Ed Murray  -- followed Henry's lead and also whiffed.

Georges said a new mayor would have to be "creative" in rebuilding ruined public buildings to include study centers, adding "it's also a budgetary issue."

Jacobs pointed out that with a $1.6 billion plan in place to rebuild local schools, "we need to look how to locate each of these youth studies centers inside of our school buildings."

And Murray, whose state Senate district includes the detention facility, said the next mayor should "somehow figure out a way to put (youth study centers) in schools and figure out how to just keep the schools open a little longer and also use library systems across the city" to bolster after-school programs.

By the time he took the microphone, nonprofit executive James Perry was ready to unload on what amounted to a hanging curveball.

"I want to be clear, because I think some folks misunderstood this issue," he said. "The Youth Studies Center is a jail. It is a prison, the subject of some very difficult litigation. Children have been imprisoned for long periods of time with no access to quality eduction
[sic] at all."
UP IN BATON ROUGE, meanwhile, folks like to look disapprovingly at the Crescent City and its foibles, shaking their heads as they speak gravely about the "slums a Noo Orluns."

Perhaps they should rethink that. The hometown paper, The Advocate, serves up plenty of
ironic food for thought:
A sister of Mayor-President Kip Holden pleaded guilty this afternoon to a bribery-related charge in an ongoing federal probe into the local criminal justice system.

Evelyn J. Holden, who worked in the property records section of the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court Office, admitted in federal court that she conspired with then-senior Baton Rouge City Court prosecutor Flitcher Bell and others to fix criminal and traffic matters in City Court.

Bell, who resigned last month, already has pleaded guilty in the case.

The government alleged that Holden and others “solicited and obtained cash and other things of value from individuals with criminal and traffic matters pending in (Baton Rouge City Court) with the promise that the charges would be dismissed, reduced, or otherwise ‘fixed’.”

In a factual stipulation read in court, prosecutor Corey Amundson said, “On numerous occasions, (Holden) paid a portion of the cash to Bell in exchange for Bell causing the charges to ‘go away’.”

THIS CASE -- this federal case, one must note, being that local authorities don't "do" corruption prosecutions -- has been going on for a while, though. The mayor's sister is hardly the only Baton Rouge official doing the "perp walk" here.

Three, including Holden, were charged just Thursday. That makes seven in all.

Baton Rougeans historically have had a problem taxing themselves enough to fund a First World infrastructure. Obviously, the city finds it can't afford an American judicial system either and is making do with a cheap Latin American import.

And no, I'm not s****ing you. Just ask the FBI.

The end of America

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All the new fads and trends start in California.

Surf music, Deadheads, tax revolts, valley girls, medicinal marijuana . . . the end of America.

It's the end of America out in California right now. The state is bankrupt. Unemployed former members of the middle class are living in tent cities. Exurbs are becoming ghost towns.

The rich are getting richer, and everybody else is heading for the poorhouse. The American Dream is dying fast . . . and that's one trend that already has come to your town.

WELL, here's another. Higher education as a pursuit limited to those rich enough to pay five figures a year, poor enough to get a Pell grant or smart enough to get a full-ride scholarship -- the University of California system just raised student fees an astronomical 32 percent, reports The Associated Press.

Not surprisingly, this is not going down well among students. All hell has broken loose, in fact, with students facing off against cops in riot gear and UC regents trapped by protesters in a UCLA building.

This, no doubt, is yet another California trend coming to a town near you:

The UC Board of Regents approved a two-phase increase that will boost the average undergraduate fee $2,500 by next fall. That would bring the average annual cost to about $10,300 — a threefold increase in a decade.

After a series of deep cuts in state aid, and with state government facing a nearly $21 billion budget gap over the next year and a half, regents said there was no option to higher fees.

Outside the meeting hall, hundreds of demonstrators chanted, beat drums and hoisted signs opposing the fee increase while UC campus police in face shields and California Highway Patrol officers with beanbag-shooting guns stood watch.

One person was arrested. She was cited for obstructing an officer and released, said Hampton.

There were 14 arrests on Wednesday.

Other protesters on Thursday took over an ethnic studies classroom building at the other end of campus, chaining the doors shut and forcing cancellation of classes. However, they were peaceful and were allowed to remain, Hampton said.

Many students from other campuses flocked to UCLA to join the protests, staying overnight in a campus tent city.

Laura Zavala, 20, a third-year UCLA student, said she may have to get a second job to afford the increase.

“My family can’t support me. I have to pay myself,” she said. “It’s not fair to students, when they are already pinched.”

Ayanna Moody, a second-year prelaw student, said she might have to return to community college next year.

“I worked so hard to be at one of the most prestigious universities. To have to go back, it’s very depressing,” she said.
STOCK UP on the Prozac, kid. The suck has only just begun.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aw, hell . . . here's another

A musical nightcap

The next time some music snob -- and, at this point, it probably would be an over-50 music snob -- complains that The Monkees were a "manufactured" group, you can shut Le Snob down with a two-word counterargument:

Michael Nesmith.

Here's Nesmith doing his post-Monkees classic "Joanne" live on Austin City Limits. Enjoy.

Don't mess with Cokie

You can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can't always take the Louisiana out of the girl.

And, you know, that ain't always a bad thing.

I suppose I need to follow This Week more carefully, because I totally missed this gem of a moment from early October, when veteran ABC and National Public Radio correspondent Cokie Roberts gave a short, blunt and quite reasonable answer to the question "How do you solve a problem like Polanski?"

REALLY, there's a certain rough elegance to prescription written by the daughter of two Louisiana members of Congress -- just take Roman Polanski out and shoot him. While we can argue about state violence and the death penalty -- which I'd just as soon abolish -- it takes a moral midget (of which we have plenty) to equivocate about the gravity of what the acclaimed director did.

He took a 13-year-old girl, plied her with drugs and champagne, then had his way with her. The law calls that rape. Most also would call it pedophilia. And what he has coming would pretty much involve taking him out and shooting him.

And though I would like the state to operate on a plain slightly above "He needed killin'" . . . well, sometimes, it just has to be said.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ich bin ein Thought Nazi

It's nice to have a free society.

When a society is free, it is operating in the manner most consistent with the God-given dignity -- and free will -- of its people. If we are not freely virtuous, we are not virtuous at all.

There is, however, one thing more crucial to the functioning of a society than freedom. That would be order. Without order, a society doesn't function at all.

And if a society doesn't function, it's not a society. It's a post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" dystopia.

CONSIDER, THEN, a world not only where a school employee thinks it all right to post vulgar messages on a newspaper's website -- using a work computer, no less -- but a world where the bad guy is the newspaper editor who notified the school. Here's the story, as told by the "offending" editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, director of social media Kurt Greenbaum:
A single vulgar word cost a man his job on Friday.

It all started with Friday’s edition of Talk of the Day, a regular blog on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s website, Talk of the Day is exactly that. A conversation around the water-cooler topic of the day. Friday’s edition is often a little lighter. Last week, it was about the strangest things you’ve ever eaten, loosely pegged on a story about deer meat.

By mid-morning, a number of folks had commented about their experiences with Bird’s Nest Soup, octopus, cow brains and rattlesnake. Then, while I was in our 10 a.m. news meeting, someone posted in reply a single word, a vulgar expression for a part of a woman’s anatomy. It was there only a minute before a colleague deleted it.

A few minutes later, the same guy posted the same single-word comment again. I deleted it, but noticed in the WordPress e-mail alert that his comment had come from an IP address at a local school. So I called the school. They were happy to have me forward the e-mail, though I wasn’t sure what they’d be able to do with the meager information it included.

About six hours later, I heard from the school’s headmaster. The school’s IT director took a shine to the challenge. Long story short: Using the time-frame of the comments, our website location and the IP addresses in the WordPress e-mail, he tracked it back to a specific computer. The headmaster confronted the employee, who resigned on the spot.
IN A SANER TIME, there would have been but one thing to say about this man who made it his business to work in the midst of children: They let him quit? No 'You can't quit; you're fired'? No tar? No feathers?

But these are not saner times.

These are times where freedom has given way to license, and "order" is something Adolf Hitler must have rhapsodized over in Mein Kampf. Here are a few comments left on the post:

I told you Kurt was a “Thought Nazi”

“Hi! Everyone, I’m Kurt and I’m a thought Nazi! I’ll smash down your bosses door and have you thrown out in to the street! Look at me in my smashing new shiny black Nazi jackboots!”

I hope this guy sues Kurt personally and the PD for BIG BUCKS!

Perhaps he suspected it and now he knows for sure who did it!

— Told Ya!
4:03 pm November 16th, 2009

I will add to my original comment and say this: Of all the comments that you guys choose to “narc on,” for lack of a better term, you chose one that was actually kind of funny considering the question he was responding to (this coming from a woman). Vulgar, yes, but nowhere near as offensive as some of the racist stuff I’ve seen of here.

Many newspapers use software where the comments have to be approved before they are posted. The Post obviously feels that the notoriety they enjoy from their “Wild West” posting style is worth more than that software. So either enforce your own rules or don’t, but by gosh, don’t go around playing “thought police” and then brag about it!

— Karen
4:27 pm November 16th, 2009

Heir Greenbaum:

The Furher and I were just discussing your actions. We are very proud of you. You are coming along nicely.

Joseph Goebbels

— Joseph Goebbells
4:39 pm November 16th, 2009

"HEIR" GREENBAUM? Gee, not only is the erstwhile Nazi propaganda minister not very facile mit deutschen, he can't even decide how to spell his own last name. Maybe it's the cyanide.

Or the bullet to the brain.

But could one expect anything any less idiotic from a combox knuckle-dragger who'd throw around Nazi accusations at somebody named GREENBAUM?

I'm tempted to say something now about how I don't know about this Internet thing. That wouldn't be particularly fair -- the Internet and all its accoutrements are nothing more than tools. It takes real, live human asshats to screw them up.

Kurt Greenbaum, within the confines of his own comboxes, has been made out to be the bad guy merely for doing what responsible people do in functioning societies. He helped to knock a vulgar jerk down a peg or three.

It's called a society policing itself -- part of the delicate dance between order and freedom that goes on without end in all functioning democracies.

Most people's consciences tell them -- well, at least they once did -- that you don't go around painting filthy names for women's genitalia on people's houses. Or on bridge abutments. Or on telephone poles.

Or on their websites.

And you certainly don't go around doing it with other people's paintbrushes.

TO THE COMBOX CROWD, Greenbaum was being a censorious censor. To history, the combox crowd may well represent a postmodern-day Weimar era that set the table for the re-establishment of Order -- with a terrible vengeance.

Monday, November 16, 2009

When radio mattered

Once upon a time, radio mattered.

Once upon a time, popular-music radio mattered so much, "pirate" Top-40 stations off the English coast scared a government and provoked a massive official backlash.

Once upon a time, "pirate" disc jockeys were bigger stars than the musicians they put onto the airwaves -- and the youth of a nation fought to keep them on "free radio."

AND ONCE HER MAJESTY'S government -- in 1967 -- finally succeeded in pulling the plug, the staid facade of the British Broadcasting Corp., cracked under the weight of demands that it program for the people, not at the people. Later that year, BBC Radio 1 was born.

Top-40 BBC Radio 1.

Many of Radio 1's original DJs were hired off the pirate ships. Because the pirate ships mattered . . . and because radio mattered.

Across the pond and across four decades, things have changed mightily.
Because radio no longer matters.

At all.

Here's $8 million. Please go away.

You heard it here first.

As I was saying last week, Lou Dobbs' departure from CNN was, shall we say, less than voluntary.

according to the New York Post, but not exactly "Mr. Independent's" idea:

CNN was so sick of Lou Dobbs, it gave him an $8 million severance package to leave, The Post has learned.

"They wanted him out," according to a source.

Dobbs, who a source said had a year and a half to go on his $12 million contract, shocked viewers last Wednesday by announcing he was quitting.

CNN boss Jonathan Klein and Dobbs, 64, had been publicly feuding over the kind of reporting Dobbs was doing on his show -- especially stories about illegal immigration and the anti-Obama "birther" movement, which contends the president was not born in Hawaii and is not an American citizen.

But it was not clear until now that CNN was willing to pay Dobbs so much money to leave.

"What they do is their business," Dobbs said yesterday. "I tried to accommodate them as best I could, but I've said for many years now that neutrality is not part of my being."

THUS, LADIES AND GERMS, we discover the key to prestige and financial success at The End of the World as We Know It -- screw up so badly, behave so outrageously, embarrass your employer so profoundly that the suits will pay you anything to just leave them the f*** alone.

Lou Dobbs was allowed by Cable News Network to sit in front of the camera and act like a lunatic -- a regular bomb-throwing Cassandra of Whack -- for a number of years, getting crazier by the day, and CNN did nothing more radical than a "tsk tsk" here and there.

Lou Dobbs publicly feuded with the president of the network, and nothing more happened than dueling fusillades of public statements and press leaks.

Lou Dobbs got his facts wrong again and again . . . and nothing happened.

BUT THEN, after Screwy Louie kind of calms down after his "birther" moment . . . only then does CNN finally decide it can't take it anymore. What, did the supply of crystal meth run low in the executive suite?

The next thing we know, Dobbs is announcing his immediate departure from the network. And today, we find out he was paid off handsomely to go quietly.

How very Wall Street of everyone.

Of course, if you're a member of the middle or working class in this country nowadays, you don't have the freedom to act like a paranoid ass, screw up repeatedly and still keep your job. More than likely, your job is far from secure no matter how exemplary and talented an employee you might be.

And, more than likely, when you get the old heave-ho, not only will you not walk out of the building with a check for $8 million, but you'll be fortunate indeed if you can box up your personal effects before security escorts you off the premises.

No, you have to fly high before you're issued a golden parachute . . . and the correlation between high fliers and high performance is, as they say, a construct that is no longer operative.

IN A PHONY COUNTRY with a flaky economy, it's always far better to be a well-heeled and self-styled "defender of the middle class" than an actual member of its shrinking ranks.

Life never has been fair, and it never will be. But this kind of nonsense just isn't sustainable. Never has been, never will be.

Ask Marie Antoinette.

Friday, November 13, 2009

3 Chords & the Truth: Six to the three

This week on 3 Chords & the Truth (among other aural goodness). . . .

Well, hang on. Let me quote the Four Seasons here:

Oh, what a night!
Late December back in '63,
What a very special time for me,
As I remember what a night,
Oh what a night!
You know, I didn't even know her name. . . .

WELL . . . all right, then. Enough of that.

How about that 3 Chords & the Truth, eh? Good stuff, am I right? We present only the finest in musical entertainment on the Big Show.

YEP, a chunk of this week's show is devoted to the one to the nine to the six to the three -- 1963.

You know, stuff like this:


LEST WE GET carried away completely here, maybe it's time to apply the brakes to all this:

SO, WE'LL just leave you with this simple thought. Here goes.

3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Drat. Five years too soon with that one.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And you don't think Omaha's warped?

A couple of '70s classic bits from Doctor San Guinary and Creature Feature on Omaha's KMTV, Channel 3.

It's easy to see that the Doctor must have been wildly popular among adolescent males in particular. And the first bit -- with the Bible-story lady, Miss Jean, playing brilliantly against her straitlaced image -- is memorable.

Creature Feature meets Miss Jean's Storytime? With Miss Jean and her puppet getting in all the zingers?

And, in the second bit . . . nothing more needs to be said about using a speculum to stop the bleeding of a severed head.

So, the next time you see a "staid" and "laconic" Midwesterner, remember there's likely a warped and disturbed individual lurking beneath the stereotype.

The unifying theory of Favog

Here's another installment in an occasional series -- understanding your Mighty Favog and what makes him tick.

A lot of it revolves around the accident of his birth among eccentric people in an eccentric place . . . the Gret Stet of Louisiana. More of it revolves around the simple fact that none of the video above is particularly eccentric in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

UNLESS, of course, you live in Bogalusa. But then again, if you live in those parts, you have your own problems.

Like the Spears family up the road in Kentwood.

Come on y'all, Britney didn't come from nowhere! And I'll bet that some 30 years on, a certain onetime Louisiana National Guardsman from Washington Parish is ruing the day he called New Orleans weird.

NO, ABOUT ALL you need to know about your Mighty Favog is that he finds nothing in the above WWL-TV party tape unusual in the least. But he does find it hilarious.

And he bets not many folks at Channel 4 messed with noon anchor/ace reporter Bill Elder back in the day, God rest his soul.

OH . . . and as an added bonus, here's a bit of the late, great Hap Glaudi doing the sports on WWL way back when. I still miss watching Hap when we were out at the camp and could pull in Channel 4 -- and I miss hearing people pronounce the city's name Noo Oylyuns.

I say, I say, I say. . . .

One of these commercials is the real deal.

But the other one is most definitely a comedy bit.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out which is which. Because sometimes, when you try to make this stuff up, you find you just can't top reality.

Good luck. This post will self-destruct in five seconds.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Loving abortion to death

How can we Democrats of the non-whack persuasion make this any clearer?

OK, how about this? You can kill the Stupak Amendment, or you can have health-care reform. You can't do both.

Or, perhaps this: You can double-cross pro-life Democratic congressmen and reintroduce what amounts to federal subsidies for killing babies, or you can pass a health-care bill. But both won't happen, because you don't have the votes.

WHAT ARE Americans to make of people for whom the "right" to abortion now means the "right" to government subsidies for abortion? How quickly a "private" matter that must be safe from governmental meddling -- one that's "between a woman, her doctor and her God" -- turns into a non-negotiable demand that the public subsidize something at least half of it finds reprehensible.

And the Culture of Death's caterwauling storm troopers
are marching for their "right" to have you fund their "right" to kill their offspring. One company comes from the AAUW, formerly known as Women So Open Minded Their Brains Fell Out the American Association of University Women:
AAUW is working nationwide to galvanize voters to protest the middle class abortion ban passed by the House as part of its health care reform bill. It's critical that the Senate not accept this intrusive provision.
ACCORDING to the outraged left, forcing me to violate my conscience by force of the tax code and the Justice Department would be a blow against the "intrusiveness" of women having to buy an abortion rider to their insurance policy:
AAUW has long advocated for choice in the determination of one's reproductive life and increased access to health care and family planning services. There's no doubt that health care reform is desperately needed, but it should not come on the backs of women. A fundamental principle of health care has always been to "do no harm." Make no mistake; the Stupak amendment does just that--leaving millions of women worse off than they were before. This is the biggest attempt to ban abortion services in years, and a similar amendment is already in the works in the Senate.
AH . . . I get it now, AAUW. You have the choice to kill your unborn -- or even your half-born -- child, and I have the choice to pay for it. Or else.

Gotcha. I'm so glad we could have this talk and clear some things up, AAUW.

What you're saying is you want me to help pay for your abortions so you can f*** with impunity, because it's your constitutional right. But my First Amendment rights do not include declining on moral and religious grounds to help pay for your abortions (thus killing your children so you can continue to f*** with impunity and not live in a trailer with seven kids by six fathers), because that would deny you your "privacy right" to kill your kids so you can f*** with impunity.

Is that what you're saying?

Please tell me where I'm wrong, because I'd hate to think educated women so upset about the "middle-class abortion ban" would be so bigoted as to only worry about a lack of "reproductive choice" when it's your "middle-class" abortion that's threatened. Or have I missed your going to the wall year after year for the past three decades in a bid to dispatch the
Hyde Amendment -- which denies federal funds for things like Medicaid abortions -- to the dustbin of history?

OR MAYBE you think it's OK for poor women to pay for their constitutional coitus with a lifestyle approximating the
Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, while the taxpayer subsidizes your "safe sex" -- contraception and abortion.

After all, there still would be Medicaid . . . and the Hyde Amendment still stands.

But the bottom line is this: Double-cross pro-life Democrats,
and health-care reform is dead . . . and so, probably, is the Obama presidency. The president only has, oh . . . everything riding on this.

And if health-care reform dies, pro-life Dems will say this:

"We voted on principle. We cannot subsidize evil so that good might come from it. We will not pay to kill some so that others might have insurance. This is a tragedy, but we take seriously the principle of 'Do no harm.'"
MEANWHILE, if pro-choicers kill health-care reform because it insufficiently subsidizes abortion (and no, you can't "segregate" private and public monies when it all goes into the same pot), they'll have to say this:
"We voted down health-care reform on principle. We firmly believe that the government should make it as cost-free as possible for women to procure elective abortions of their babies. We knew going to the wall for this would doom the bill, but we think the right to federally mandated abortion coverage is a lot more important than your piddly-ass chemotherapy."
THEY DON'T call it the Culture of Death for nothing.

Lou de Loop flies the coup

"Mr. Independent" really is now. Lou Dobbs quit CNN today to take his shtick elsewhere.

Where "elsewhere" is, we don't know yet. And neither does Dobbs -- at least that's what he's telling the public.

You have to wonder whether he's going to try -- now that he has no more "network supervision" (for what little that's worth) to worry about -- to out-Beck the sine qua nut
of the airwaves, Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck. Well, if he's going to try, he's gonna need a megaphone the size of the one he just left behind.

WHICH IS ODD, given Dobbs' stated reasoning:
Over the past six months it’s become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country and affecting all of us, and some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day. And to continue to do so in the most honest and direct language possible.

I’ve talked extensively with Jonathan Klein — Jon’s the president of CNN — and as a result of those talks, Jon and I have agreed to a release from my contract that will enable me to pursue new opportunities.

At this point, I’m considering a number of options and directions, and I assure you, I will let you know when I set my course. I truly believe that the major issues of our time include the growth of our middle class, the creation of more jobs, health care, immigration policy, the environment, climate change, and our military involvement, of course, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
TRANSLATION: I was fired.

Either that, or there's going to be a Dobbs '10 campaign for something. That would be interesting -- frightening, but interesting.

Still, you have to wonder what happened to Lou Dobbs. He used to be a straight-laced business reporter and anchor. And there was nothing wrong with his questioning politically correct orthodoxies about immigration, particularly that of the illegal variety.

But. . . .

Apparently, there wasn't anything Lou Dobbs couldn't take too far. As in Too Far
. As in playing fast and loose with facts.

As in, sooner or later, lapsing into inflammatory rhetoric that -- in a saner day in TV news
-- would have gotten him fired on the spot.

And then there was his whole fascination this year with Birtherism, and his refusal to drop the subject when it became painfully clear not only that President Obama was indeed born in Hawaii, but also that the Birthers (and by association, Dobbs)
were a bunch of paranoid lunatics.

COME TO THINK OF IT, Lou Dobbs had been trying to out-Beck Glenn Beck even when Beck was just another radio talk-show blowhard.

Unfortunately for Lou, he lacked the blackboard, the tear ducts and the madman charisma to lead an armored division of nutwagons to ratings glory. Instead, Lou now has been relieved of his command.

Mobilizing the Unhinged Corps has fallen to a bolder general . . . a regular George Patton will lead that googly-eyed irregular army.

Because nobody out-Becks Glenn Beck. Enjoy oblivion, Lou; you earned it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remain calm, oil is well. . . .

Gee, we kind of are the Great Satan, aren't we?

I mean, we suck up vast amounts of the world's natural resources in order to support ridiculously overblown lifestyles and compulsive consumerism. We drive all over the place in SUVs, spend money we don't have like no one will ever cut up our national credit card . . . and it's all either to scratch our itch, or go to war in regions of the world we'd care nothing about if not for oil.

Oil is the fast food of our supersized national appetite.

AND WE'LL DO ANYTHING to deny the reality that the jig is about to be up. From the Guardian in London:
The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.

The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation's latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.

In particular they question the prediction in the last World Economic Outlook, believed to be repeated again this year, that oil production can be raised from its current level of 83m barrels a day to 105m barrels. External critics have frequently argued that this cannot be substantiated by firm evidence and say the world has already passed its peak in oil production.

Now the "peak oil" theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment. "The IEA in 2005 was predicting oil supplies could rise as high as 120m barrels a day by 2030 although it was forced to reduce this gradually to 116m and then 105m last year," said the IEA source, who was unwilling to be identified for fear of reprisals inside the industry. "The 120m figure always was nonsense but even today's number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this.

"Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources," he added.

A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was "imperative not to anger the Americans" but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. "We have [already] entered the 'peak oil' zone. I think that the situation is really bad," he added.
IN A WORD . . . sigh.