Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The point of hilarity

St. Thomas Aquinas counseled us to "drink to the point of hilarity."

This evening, for me, that would be one shot of Early Times. Because I hardly can contain my "hilarity" looking at this, sober as a judge. Oh, Lord have mercy!

This is so rich!

What's sad is that any serious Catholic gives a flying intercourse what Rush Limbaugh has to say
about l'affaire Obama at Notre Dame. I'll worry about that, however, after a bit of hilarity.

Kids today

Funny -- isn't it? -- how we wait, amid these uncertain and trying times, for our figurative "end of days" and the arrival of the postmodern-day equivalent of the Huns.

We wait for a secular Pope Leo the Great to meet Attila at the gates of Rome -- or somewhere -- and convince him to leave us in peace. Leave us be so we might continue driving our oversized cars, continue chatting about nothing on our ubiquitous cell phones and continue being pampered at our favorite spa.

I fear we wait in vain. The economy will lay waste to "livin' large," and the spiritual successors of Leo the Great scarcely can deal with the Catholics, much less the barbarians.

THE BARBARIANS . . . who happen to be us. And our children, now perfecting the whole looting, raping, killing and pillaging thing.

From The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La. (sigh):
A 15-year-old girl was shot in the face early today after she refused to have sex with the shooter, Baton Rouge police said.

The shooting, which occurred in the 2500 block of Jura Street, happened at 4:20 a.m., police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean Mckneely Jr. said in a news release.

The suspect, along with two other boys, fled the scene, McKneely said.

The victim was talking with several boys with whom she was acquainted, when one asked her to perform a sex act, McKneely said.

The girl refused and one of the boys pulled out a gun and shot her, McKneely said.

Police officers found and apprehended a 14-year-old boy at 8 a.m. at the home of a relative in the 400 block of St. Rose, McKneely said.

UPDATE: Oh, and there's also this:

A 7-year-old girl was reportedly raped at Park Forest Elementary School on March 13, police said today.

Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly said the girl told a family member Sunday that one boy raped her while several older boys pinned her down.

Park Forest Elementary is located at 10717 Elain Drive.

Sex crimes detectives are currently investigating the incident, and no arrests have been made yet, Kelly said.

Monday, March 30, 2009

OK, fair is fair

I interrupt my permanent fast from fretting about Louisiana for this important announcement.

Der pissen-anten Führer im der Swampen ist atten it again.

State Rep. John LaBruzzo, National Socialist R-Metairie, wants to require all welfare applicants to undergo drug testing and ban anyone with a felony drug conviction from receiving state aid for 10 years.

State law now bans drug felons from obtaining public assistance for one year from the date of conviction. LaBruzzo's bill would expand that to 10 years; however, a drug felon who goes through a drug treatment program approved by the Department of Social Services could become eligible for assistance two years after completing the program.

As for drug testing, current law calls for drug testing of "certain" adult recipients of aid through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program but leaves it to the state Department of Social Services to determine which recipients will be tested. LaBruzzo's bill would require testing for all adult TANF recipients.

Although less controversial than the sterilization proposal, which drew no public support from any other lawmaker last year, the drug testing and welfare eligibility proposals will face opposition.

"That is a suspicionless, warrantless search," Marjorie Esman, Louisiana director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said of the drug testing proposal. "It's a presumption that someone who needs a little bit of financial assistance has done something wrong."
IN ONE RESPECT, I have little to say about LaBruzzo's proposed legislation apart from "Consider the source." Really, really consider the source.

Consider that folks who had problems with LaBruzzo's eugenic scheme have little problem -- other than the bureaucratic requirements, perhaps -- with der Führer von Metairie pushing something just a little less draconian.

Consider also that most Louisianians probably think making poor people pee in a bottle before getting their welfare check is a fine idea. That cutting off drug felons for a decade is a better idea.

But then consider how these self-same folk might react if Rep. B. Lack Ascoal proposed banning from public assistance for 10 long years anyone convicted of minor in possession or driving under the influence. What about making grandma pass the piss test to collect her Social Security? Or grandpa blow into the Breathalyzer before the doctor submits his bill to Medicare?

Oh, no. They're not those people.

NO, TELL ME. Who are "those people," pray tell?

Well, that's my one reaction. My other reaction is to ask whether we get to apply similar high standards to the state of Louisiana before allowing it to continue suckling at the federal teat.

Think of the money we could save.

Copper-plated coins denominated at .01 dollar
eminating from a paranormal entity of bliss

Your government wants you to know:

Economic turmoil (e.g., increased unemployment, foreclosures, loss of investments and other financial distress) can result in a whole host of negative health effects - both physical and mental. It can be particularly devastating to your emotional and mental well-being. Although each of us is affected differently by economic troubles, these problems can add tremendous stress, which in turn can substantially increase the risk for developing such problems as:

* Depression
* Anxiety
* Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.)
* Substance Abuse


Other Steps You Can Take

Acknowledge that economic downturns can be frightening to everyone, but that there are ways of getting through them - from engaging in healthy activities, positive thinking, supportive relationships, to seeking help when needed from health professionals.

Encourage community-based organizations and groups to provide increased levels of mental health treatment and support to those who are severely affected by the economy.

Work together to help all members of the community build their resiliency and successfully return to healthy and productive lives.

For further information on mental health or substance abuse issues please visit The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
PERSONALLY, I really prefer how Americans dealt with this kind of stuff in the 1930s (see video above).

Shutting Detroit Down

Sometimes, it takes a songwriter to distill into digestible form what's been happening to a people.

For a generation in this country, we've seen the rich get richer and the poor and working class get the shaft. By and large, we have been too distracted with bread and circuses to notice what's been happening in Novus Rome.

But the bubble has burst. The fit has hit the shan. We notice.

And now, as country singer John Rich notes, we're bailing out the bankers while we're
shutting Detroit down. And throwing the working man under the limousine.

If, as many fear, the worst is yet to come -- and if Americans have any civic-mindedness and fundamental concern for justice left -- there's going to be a revolution in this country.

You can take that to the zombie bank.

The problem with newspapers

It is 1:07 on a Monday morning. Omaha is the scene of yet another random atrocity on the American scene.

According to a witness, an elderly couple has been murdered in Midtown, and a suspect may have barricaded himself (herself?) in the house at some point. The neighborhood is cordoned off; the city's main thoroughfare has just reopened.

Dozens of cops and the SWAT team descended on the scene. Grieving relatives show up at the police command post.

I learned little of this from the Omaha World-Herald, the city's daily newspaper. I heard something big was going on in Midtown from Facebook. Then I found a running account of the action on Twitter . . . from someone observing from across the street.

THIS IS ALL that's on the World-Herald website at the moment:
Police called to Dundee home; Two people found dead

The scene at 112 S. 50th St. where at two people were found dead is secure, Omaha police said.

Police gained entrance to the house, but the team would not say if someone is in custody.

Firefighters were first called to the home at 10:24 p.m. on the report of an unconscious person.

A SWAT team was called in and was stationed at a gas station at 50th and Dodge Streets. An Omaha Police Department mobile command center was set up oustide the home.

Dodge Street reopened about 12:45 a.m. The only street still closed is 50th Street for a one-block area.
THAT'S IT. Meanwhile, this is the eyewitness account I'm getting from Twitter (newest "tweets" are at the top):

A cop just shined a light through my window at me. Busted!
18 minutes ago from TwitterFon

A few relatives (?) are here now grieving. So so sad. They went into the huge command center vehicle.
21 minutes ago from TwitterFon

The fire truck left and now the spotlight isn't on the house. Can't see much, I think they are reopening dodge
24 minutes ago from TwitterFon

I just want to get back to work but @mrlasertron won't let me turn lights on :
26 minutes ago from TwitterFon

@gabek the whole street is blocked. Show channel 6 my tweets! :D
28 minutes ago from TwitterFon in reply to gabek

@jjsnyc across the street at 50th and dodge
29 minutes ago from TwitterFon in reply to jjsnyc

LOL a huge optimus prime " Omaha police mobile command center" just rolled in. Bigger than a Winnebago.
39 minutes ago from TwitterFon

Now a guy in a suit and gloves walked in slowly with a bug group of new officers who just arrived. No guns out now.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterFon

Now they are looking in the backyard shed. I wonder if that means the gunman wasn't in the house? Sucks if he's loose!
about 1 hour ago from TwitterFon

We are all safe here, the street is swarming with officers and everything is barricaded.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterFon

@rahulgupta haha I could knit a badge and go check it out
about 1 hour ago from TwitterFon in reply to rahulgupta

@CatRocketship what were you celebrating??!
about 1 hour ago from TwitterFon in reply to CatRocketship

@rahulgupta I'm in my house!
about 1 hour ago from TwitterFon in reply to rahulgupta

There are two teams of a dozen officers each. The first team entered the house through the back and I see them through the windows. Yelling.
about 1 hour ago from TwitterFon

Holy s they're moving in, rifles drawn
about 1 hour ago from TwitterFon

I'm so bummed, they were a sweet couple with lots of grandchildren who always visited.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

The gunman is barricaded inside a house and there are "at least" two deaths
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

Oh my gosh it's a double homicide
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

They have a barricade and shields!!!
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

And another car...I count 28 cops/emergency responder people
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

Wow two more cop cars just showed up. I wonder what's going on.
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

Six squad cars, a firetruck, and an ambulance with the street blocked off
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

Livetweeting 14 cops with shotguns outside my house at 50th and dodge :
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

TECHNOLOGY has changed the game irreversibly for the news media. The only question remaining is whether the press will adapt and use the Internet -- specifically social media -- or whether it will be steamrolled by it.

In this instance, while reporters were kept behind police lines -- literally and figuratively in the dark -- an across-the-street neighbor was giving continuous updates to the world. A world better informed about a breaking-news story than were the reporters sent to cover it.

Understand the implications here: A cell phone and Twitter in the hands of a neighbor on the scene has rendered the professional media useless. The gatekeepers have been stormed and tossed aside.

Print reporters -- at least at a lot of newspapers -- just don't comprehend what good tools Twitter and Facebook are for keeping one's "ear to the ground."

WHAT'S FRUSTRATING is that a savvy editor or reporter -- upon hearing the first radio call on the police scanner -- could have started doing advanced Twitter searches and, soon enough, found what I did this morning.

"Old school," for that matter, could have worked just as well. A reporter or editor could have dragged out the newsroom's reverse phone directory and started calling neighbors to find out what they were seeing.

It's not brain surgery. But in this technological age, it is a matter of life and death.

For traditional media.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The more things change. . . .

Now, I have to tell you that it was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award. I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision. Another of my great friends, Ellen Chesler, is here, who wrote a magnificent biography of Margaret Sanger called "Woman of Valor". And when I think about what she did all those years ago in Brooklyn, taking on archetypes, taking on attitudes and accusations flowing from all directions, I am really in awe of her.

-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
upon getting Planned Parenthood's
Margaret Sanger Award

"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."

-- Margaret Sanger, 1939

Friday, March 27, 2009

Now do you get the picture?

You might be wondering where I'm coming from on this Notre Dame brouhaha over Barack Obama's commencement address and honorary degree.

I certainly was blunt in that last post, but perhaps I could be more clear about why I have no patience for bishops like Thomas Olmsted deciding to double security at the stable after all the horses have fled. Perhaps I can explain myself this way:

I live in the Archdiocese of Omaha. From what I can tell, it's a pretty typical Catholic diocese -- not completely whackadoodle, not completely dyspeptic and suffering from a more-or-less average degree of maladministration.

If you attend Mass at your average Catholic parish, you're likely to hear at least as much (and maybe more) about this

. . . as you will about this.

Then again, the archdiocese can't function without our

I mean, without money, how could the chancery spend $389,000 to purchase this

. . . so this man

. . . can live happily ever after in comfortable retirement digs?

Of course, when things turn political and there's (!!!!!) a sudden, grave threat to the traditional family, traditional morality and natural law, you'll see the state bishops' conference make a little noise about this

. . . but you'll never, ever see the bishop draw the line -- even in the most charitable, pastoral manner -- here

The star of Jurassic Queen ("Mature Audiences Only 18+"), by the way, is the choir director at Omaha's Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Needless to say, if one thinks about all this in light of the gospel -- or even in terms of basic decency and justice -- you could find yourself in a situation something like this

. . . or certainly like this

So, in times like these, is it any wonder so many Catholics, for so many reasons, just end up heading for this?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oh. Puh. Leeze.

The Catholic Church's man in Phoenix -- having eluded the city's rampant drug-cartel shanghaiing specialists -- is keeping a laserlike focus on the things that matter in life.

Like ripping Notre Dame's president a new one for giving America's president an honorary degree.

And it seems the cardinal sin here isn't that the Rev. John Jenkins is making nice with one of the more enthusiastic boosters of Abortion Nation. It seems that the cardinal sin here is this:

"It is a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States."
WELL . . . we can't have that now, can we?

Don't get me wrong. What Notre Dame is doing . . . not a good idea. It does muddy the Catholic Church's clear teaching about the value of every human life and the unequivocal need to protect and honor every single one of them.

And it calls into question whether we're serious about what we say we believe. Like, maybe we just like to talk nice about what we -- wink -- "believe."

On the other hand, life is full of "teachable moments," and it seems to me the Catholic Church in this country could care less about carpe-ing the diem. That's Latin, your excellencies -- a dead language you ought to know a little about.

I'd like to see the American church attuned to making the most of all kinds of "teachable moments," particularly when they involve the President of the United States. Then again, I'd like to have a bazillion dollars and a ginormous checkbook, too.

One's about as likely as the other.

THAT'S BECAUSE if the Catholic Church can't even convince a single, solitary Kennedy to act -- and cast congressional votes -- like a Catholic, I don't know what it could do with poor old Barack Obama, over whom it has no authority.

I dunno, perhaps Father Jenkins unwittingly is providing a teachable moment to the American bishops. And that moment says "You're a joke. You are turning Christ's church in America into a joke. You are unserious, and the church you lead is becoming unserious as well."

For 14 years, I had a pretty good chance to closely observe Catholic teen-agers, of both the public-school and parochial-school stripes. For almost 20 years, I've been a part of suburban Catholic parish life.

And I wasted several professional years being overworked and underpaid in Catholic media. That experience nearly destroyed my faith, but that's not important now.

What's important is that I've been able to directly observe just how fat, self-satisfied, lazy and corrupt is the Catholic Church in this country. What's important is that I've learned it's no mere glib exaggeration when people say one of the best places to lose your Catholic faith is in a Catholic school.

What's important is the realization that if the Catholic bishops were at all worried about teaching -- especially Catholics . . . especially the young -- the gospel of Jesus Christ might have a fighting chance in this culture.

As it stands now, not so much.

FRANKLY, your excellencies, if you have nothing so say apart from whining about how you've been disrespected, kindly shut the hell up. I would have a lot more respect for you if you had the faith of a deranged street person standing at 72nd and Dodge with a sandwich board reading "REPENT! THE END IS NEAR!"

Back in the day, the crazy street preacher would have been John the Baptist. Perhaps you've heard of him.

Come to think of it, one way or another, all our ends are near. Perhaps even that of the church in America . . . just like all those vanished churches the apostle Paul once wrote to.

And gentlemen, you're not exactly apostle Paul material.

Thanks for the info

It's pretty clear from a quick survey of Twitter messages from southeast Louisiana -- as well as from across Alabama and Mississippi -- that there's a severe tornado outbreak afoot.

For example, various tweets from across the southern half of Baton Rouge unequivocally report a tornado strike, with garages destroyed, fences blown apart, roofs ripped off, trees down and windows shattered.

INTERESTING. But how can this be? The local news-talk station is in network programming.

Then again, it is owned by Clear Channel.

Oh wait . . . the news guy just came on with a recorded bit about 40,000 customers being without power. But why would that be? Didn't say.

But let's not single out the evil media consolidator. There's plenty of suck to go around.

This, for example, is what I see when I turn to the web sites of some the ol' hometown's other media outlets. It's 4 a.m.:

NOTHING on the local newspaper's web site. Whoops!

HERE'S A little bit on the Channel 9 website. Very sketchy, no mention of any tornado strike, a listing of area power outages.

AND ON THE Channel 33 website . . . nada.

It's no secret that radio and newspapers are in bad trouble these days. Papers are dropping dead left and right, and American radio is in hospice care.

On a regular basis now, we hear some newspaper executive somewhere -- gasping a last message amid the death rattles -- warn Americans that we'll be sorry when the last of the ink-stained wretches are dead and gone.

They wax eloquent about the joys of newsprint. They tout the wonderfulness of their websites. They even say we ought to pay for their Internet output.

And those blogger people! You can't trust 'em. They're no damn good. Unreliable.

Twitter? Big time waster. People talking about how long they were on the crapper this morning, all in 140 characters or less.

These new media forms just lack professionalism. Resources. Institutional credibility.

Bloggers and tweeters just aren't big time. Not like newspapers . . . or radio and TV.

THERE'S JUST this one problem. There apparently was a significant tornado -- or, at a minimum, something about as bad -- in my hometown early this morning. Tornadoes are dropping all across the Deep South.

And I didn't hear about it from the big-time, "credible" media. I heard it on Twitter.

Down in Baton Rouge, where there are no tornado sirens like we have in the Midwest, I imagine a lot of folks heard about the twister when their roof started to come off. Or when their windows blew out.

Or when they were awakened by the not-so-early warning of that telltale "freight train" roar coming straight at them.

See, here's the thing. When the "old media" start making claims about being far superior to "new media," it might help a lot if the claims are, you know . . . true.

Achieving that isn't difficult. All you have to do is . . . come closer; I want you to hear this.

All you have to do IS YOUR DAMNED JOB.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

These modern times

A vignette of life in these Modern Times comes from the Gret Stet of Tejas, where everything is up to date in the swampy metropolis of Houston.

Including all the latest methodologies for treating workers like dog turds in the punch bowl -- as evidenced by the indignities heaped upon the long-suffering journalists of the Houston Chronicle, of whom there are today a lot fewer.

FROM A POST hacked up on the Houston Press' Hair Balls blog:
The Chronicle hierarchy took steps yesterday to insure no employees ripped off the Hearst Corp. by spiriting away anything that didn't belong to them. Security guards stopped anyone carrying boxes out the door and told them they would have to provide written authorization from a supervisor.

Some employees who cleaned out their filing cabinets yesterday of old story clips and other residual flotsam from their years at the newspaper in case they were fired today had to return to the fifth-floor newsroom for a permission slip.
ONCE AGAIN, Charlie Chaplin's 1936 masterpiece Modern Times is a movie for the times at hand. Enjoy.

The devil checks Craigslist

Let me please introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But whats confusing you
Is just the nature of my game

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
Cause I'm in need of some restraint

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste, um yeah

-- Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones

The devil, according to published accounts, saw George Weber his chickenhawkery and raised him one of Beelzebub's own knife-fetishizing disciples.

And in pretty short order, the New York radio newsman was dead -- his throat slit, among other things. As it turns out, the rough gay sex Weber was looking for when he placed the online ad, one police say was answered by a 16-year-old whack job, was rougher than he bargained for.

YOU SEE, the devil reads Craigslist, too. And he turned it into a two-for-one deal for His Satanic Majesty. One life extinguished, one life consumed and destroyed . . . not a bad day's work for the Prince of Darkness.

If it's gory details you want, look no further than the New York Daily News:

The troubled teen charged with stabbing WABC newsman George Weber during drug-fueled rough sex is a 16-year-old Satan-loving sadomasochist with a knife fetish.

John Katehis is also a hustler who stabbed Weber "50 times to the neck" and body, police said.

"He and Weber met online sometime last week and had arranged to meet," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. "There was going to be an exchange of money."

Katehis was charged as an adult Wednesday with 2nd degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon - charges that could send the tattooed teen to jail for a long time.


Katehis admitted stabbing Weber after answering an ad the newsman placed on the Internet looking for rough sex - but claimed self-defense. He was also carrying a dagger that cops do not think was the murder weapon, sources said.

"He saw the victim's ad looking for violent sex and said, 'I can smother somebody for $60,' but it got out of hand," a police source said.

It was not clear if Weber knew Katehis had an account on MySpace.com. If he had seen it, Weber might have had second thoughts about letting Katehis in his home.

Katehis, who lives with his separated parents in East Elmhurst, Queens, posted pictures of himself with various blades - including one he held against his neck. He also issued a chilling warning.

"If you disrespect me then I will f-----g break your neck," he wrote.

On his site, Katehis called himself "Extremist, an Anarchist, a Sadomasochist" and said he enjoys "long conversations, drinking, bike riding, hanging out."

The teen also listed more reckless hobbies like "roof hopping, hanging off trains" and violent video games.

"I am a very easy person to talk to," he wrote. "I like to do crazy and wild things ... I'm always looking for a big thrill.

Cops found Katehis by combing through Weber's e-mail and Web browser history and tracking calls he made from his cell phone, sources said.

Katehis and Weber rendezvoused Friday evening and headed for the newsman's Brooklyn brownstone for sadomasochistic sex, sources said.

Weber, 47, whose ankles were bound with duct tape, was stabbed repeatedly in a frenzied attack that sprayed the walls with blood.
WHAT HATH the Sexual Revolution wrought? A lot of stuff like this.

A lot more parents who can't hold it together and who, in fact, can't even do anything about the little teen-age Satanist they spawned. The one still living under their roof.

Well, not anymore. Now he's living in central lockup.

Oh, but that's not the whole story of the kinky hookup gone wrong -- setting aside, of course, any question of which kinky hookup might be equated with sweetness and light. No,
for the really gory details, one must turn to the New York Post:
Katehis told cops that he and Weber drank Vodka and did cocaine before the situation turned violent.

He told police that Weber pulled a knife on him, he took it and stabbed the former radio newscaster.

Meanwhile, new details of the chilling crime were revealed.

According to investigators, the knife sliced through Weber's neck, back and torso so many times that it was difficult to get an accurate count by the time the body was discovered two days ago.

Detectives poked through neighborhood trash and peered into sewers yesterday in search of the murder weapon.

Weber's ankles were duct-taped and wounds on his hands suggested he tried to fight off his attacker, the sources said.

The newsman's family released a statement yesterday remembering him as "a truly caring person who loved and was loved by all he met."

VERILY, NOTHING says "a truly caring person who loved and was loved by all he met" like getting a 16-year-old Satanist all liquored and coked up -- allegedly -- as a prelude to some gay sex and bondage.

George Weber was one day older than I am. I now am 48 years old. He had a taste, say police, for sweet young ass . . . or whatever. Some teen-age whatever, to be precise.

Yeah . . . another "truly caring person" who apparently had him some "sympathy" for the devil.

Alas, the devil had none for him. Lord have mercy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Elly May at 75

Well, if I have to turn 48 tomorrow, that means a childhood icon, Elly May Clampett, would be 75.

A stunningly good-looking 75-year-old, but three quarters of a century old nevertheless. That takes a little bit of getting used to for this child of the '60s and '70s.

Anyway, a Baton Rouge, La., television anchor coaxed the "reclusive"
Donna Douglas into an interview, where we find that there's still a lot of Elly May in Miss Donna -- fishin', playin' with critters and driving a tractor for the WAFB cameras. "Weeeeeeeeeeel, doggie!" as Uncle Jed used to say on The Beverly Hillbillies.

I wonder whatever happened to
Dash Riprock?

On working for The Man today

The folk singer Melanie, performing on TV way back when, predicts 2009 and the disposable worker.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Of tinfoil hats and saving babies

I don't know how I missed this bit of spastic-colon knotheadedness last month, but I did -- and it was right here in the Great State of Nebraska, out west in Hastings.

Unsurprisingly, the really angry man of the Republican Party, Alan Keyes, was Ground Zero of the angst-induced lower-GI spasticity. In a political party full of angry men (and women), the perennial candidate always manages to stand out.

In the above interview with KHAS television, the man all but dons a tinfoil hat to keep the Obama NSA from reading his brain waves. That's the National Security Agency under the control of the "radical communist" Barack Obama, illegitimate president of the United States, which will soon cease to exist if we don't "stop" him.

UNFORTUNATELY, the Most Pissed-Off Man in America was in Hastings for a Triple-A Crisis Pregnancy Center fund-raiser. Doubly unfortunately, Keyes' appearance on behalf of the pro-life organization both detracts from the good work done by crisis-pregnancy centers and illuminates every single thing that's wrong with the movement today.

Foremost would be pro-lifers' failure to apprehend that culture precedes politics, and if you can't change hearts and minds, you're not going to get very far with any political assault against the "culture of death." Because it's a culture of death.

And, really, can you imagine any more glaring demonstration of such cultural and public-relations blindness than inviting an angry, articulate wingnut like Alan Keyes to be the face of your movement -- if only for a day? Or, if you're counting the YouTube universe . . . forever.

After all, nothing says "We're compassionate, reasonable people who want to help women and stand up for the most vulnerable of human lives" than this from "Ambassador" Keyes, as he likes to be called:
"Obama is a radical communist and I think it is becoming clear. That is what I told people in Illinois and now everybody realizes it's coming true. He is going to destroy this country and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist."
OR PERHAPS these bon mots:

"That's another question: Is he president of the United States? According to the Constitution, to be eligible for president, you have to be a natural-born citizen. He has refused to provide proof that he is in fact a natural-born citizen. And his Kenyan relations say he was born in Nairobi at a time when his mother was too young to transmit U.S. citizenship.

"So I'm not even sure he's president of the United States. No, that's not a laughing matter."
WELL, ACTUALLY, when Keyes says it, it kind of is.

We're in bad trouble in this country. We may or may not be sliding into another Great Depression. We may or may not possess the social and infrastructure capital to soldier through if we, indeed, are.

In so many ways, we are a nation divided. And, yes, we are enveloped by a "culture of death," where folks find it more expedient to rub out human "burdens" than carry them -- either to term or to a natural exit from this mortal coil.

We don't need bomb-throwers out there dropping their crazy pants to show their crazy ass to all the world, with one cheek tattooed "PRO" and the other one "LIFE." Hell, we don't need any bomb-throwers out there, period -- no matter what crazy-ass labels they sport.

The stakes are high, tempers are short, and just about anything says "love thy neighbor" so much better than Alan Keyes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

3 Chords & the Truth: It's got roots

It all comes from somewhere.

What's "it"? "It" is whatever you're thinking of at the moment.

Right now, I'm thinking of music . . . and radio . . . and 3 Chords & the Truth. It all has roots -- it all comes from somewhere.

Somebody always breaks new ground, and then one thing leads to another. And then here we are. Listening to
the Big Show.

FOR INSTANCE you ever wonder where punk rock came from? Here's one band it came from, way back in 1964. Listen to The Barbarians:

AND WHAT ABOUT radio . . . at least when radio used to be radio. When radio wasn't a synonym for "suck." How did radio come to play the music of young America?

EVERYTHING comes from somewhere. We play around with that notion a bit on this week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth.

And, as usual, you don't know what's gonna hit you next. It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all.

Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No, I got nothin' today. Whatever.

Here I sit, thinking that surely there must be something I care to write about today.

Ummmmmmm . . . I got nothin'.

I've sworn off railing about my home state's long march toward self-murder because I got tired of repeating myself. And the economy is going to do what the economy's going to do, mainly because we no longer have a culture capable of growing statesmen -- honorable legislators of thick hide and long view.

Will Mrs. Favog and I ultimately go homeless and hungry before all this is done? Possibly. Most of you could say the same thing about yourselves -- and working in "old media" isn't pretty much the only thing you're qualified to do.

SO, we'll be selling stolen apples at 16th and Dodge . . . or we won't.

We'll turn out a feckless government skewed for the benefit of those who need no benefit . . . or we won't. If we do, we'll come to realize those whom we thrust into office as replacements are no better . . . or we won't.

Alternatively, the president and Congress will get a clue . . . or they won't.

We'll continue hornily and violently down the road toward complete societal breakdown . . . or, by the grace of God, we won't. And whatever little thing I have to say about any of it would make nary a difference.

WHAT YOU CHOOSE to do about any of it might make all the difference in the world.

Do what you will. I'm going to put some music into the computer for 3 Chords & the Truth.

While I'm doing that, y'all watch this:

Fail the whale! Twounce the tweeters!

The economy has been murdered.

No, the butler didn't do it. It was Twitter.

THAT'S THE STARTLING conclusion from a Harvard business professor who has found an eerie correlation between skyrocketing Twitter use and nosediving American productivity figures.

Basically, when the American worker is tweeting, he isn't working. And the Harvard Business School professor, Martin Schmeldon,
thinks the effects have been cataclysmic in terms of capital destruction:

Employees who might otherwise be working productively and contributing to the economy can instead create Tweets, such as "I just realized I clipped all of my nails today except for one" or "My co-worker is drinking pepsi . Pepsi!!! I want some. Stupid Lent" or "Financial systems require high levels of trust and oversight. Take away the oversight and encourage high levels of risk for personal gain."

Large companies are shifting marketing budgets over to social media marketing initiatives that promise to quadruple revenues. For example, Comcast is an active Twitter user and tweets things like "@xyz, relooking at the picture it looks to me to be the box. The reason I say that is the bar is messed up too. I would hard reboot."

"The problem is that many of the marketers at these large companies really want to have some Twitter experience on their resume, so they are subverting dollars that might actually go to positive NPV projects," comments Schmeldon. "Twitter may be the largest contributor to public company value destruction that I've seen since we moved away from mark-to-market accounting rules back in 1982."
ANOTHER EXPERT thinks Congress will have to act quickly. And that may involve conjuring up the "fail whale," which, in the Twitter universe, tells tweeters the microblogging service is offline.

Beltway insider and renowned economic advisor, West Tirrettia, believes Schmeldon's study could have some implications for economic policy that comes out of the current legislative session. "Congress has duly taken note of this research," said Tirrettia. "We may see some Twitter moratoriums coming in future stimulus bills. It's really just a question of whether lawmakers are willing to put their necks out against something that has become very popular back home in their constituencies."
INDEED, SOMETHING will have to be done. And killing Twitter might be just the start of a serious movement to save the United States' economic infrastructure.

Next up? Some foresee a federal injunction against the NCAA to ban the college-basketball championship tournament, popularly known as "March Madness." More like "GDP Madness," if you ask this observer.

Other possibilities might involve restrictions on good-looking women in the workplace, as well as the removal of sound cards from all computers where audio is not essential to the function, as well as criminalizing the surfing of porn sites during work hours.

Finally, some experts say lame-ass attempts at tomfoolery such as this post also will have to go.

tech writer Guy Kawasaki might have taken the Twitter "story" for anything but some twick or tweetery on the Internets? Then again, the way some people tweet about absolutely any fool thing -- all the time -- you do have to wonder.

Am getting up to drink some water now. Probably will pee later.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Summoning the Fail Whale

revolution_21 RT @lalorek The troubles with Twitter at SXSW Interactive http://blogs.mysanantonio.c... #sxsw (OMG . . . Has Twitter "jumped the shark"?)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Government of the oligarchy,
by the oligarchy, for the oligarchy . . .

Damn well should perish from the face of the earth.

Pray tell, what are we to make of a government that deems it right and proper to bail out the AIGs of the world -- indeed, makes it possible for that woebegone company's toxic management team to pay hundreds of millions in bonuses, on the taxpayers' dime, to the men who blew up the economy for a job well done -- but wants to bill American veterans' insurance companies for ongoing treatment of men and women who got blown up for you, me and Uncle Sam?

Rat bastards is what I would make of those behind such misgovernance.

THE MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS Washington bureau explains the latest blitzkrieg against this nation's social contract:

The Obama administration is considering making veterans use private insurance to pay for treatment of combat and service-related injuries. The plan would be an about-face on what veterans believe is a long-standing pledge to pay for health care costs that result from their military service.

But in a White House meeting Monday, veterans groups apparently failed to persuade President Obama to take the plan off the table.

“Veterans of all generations agree that this proposal is bad for the country and bad for veterans,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “If the president and the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] want to cut costs, they can start at AIG, not the VA.”

Under current policy, veterans are responsible for health care costs that are unrelated to their military service. Exceptions in some cases can be made for veterans who do not have private insurance or are 100 percent disabled.

The president spoke Monday at the Department of Veterans Affairs to commemorate its 20th anniversary and said he hopes to increase funding by $25 billion over the next five years. But he said nothing about the plan to bill private insurers for service-related medical care.

Few details about the plan have been available, and a VA spokesman did not provide additional information. But the reaction on Capitol Hill to the idea has been swift and harsh.

“Dead on arrival” is how Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington described the idea.

“ . . . when our troops are injured while serving our country, we should take care of those injuries completely,” Murray, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, told a hearing last week.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said at the same hearing that the plan was “a consideration.” He also acknowledged that the VA’s proposed budget for next year included it as a way to increase revenue. But he told the committee that “a final decision hasn’t been made yet.”
FORMERLY UNTHINKABLE and still unbelievable. Any nation that can tolerate such an abrogation of the debt it owes those sickened, wounded and maimed in its service can make no claim upon history or legitimacy to support its continued existence.

People are not disposable. Political entities often are.

And another.

Most people get into journalism -- especially newspapering -- because they want to make a difference. That, and because they suck at math.

Today, going into a profession because you want to make a difference will get you your teeth kicked in and your heart broken into a billion pieces. Mainly because the f***ing math majors rule the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Time capsule from a lost world

It's just like straight marriage, only bizarre

Gay-marriage advocates want the straight world to think there's no real difference between Mr. and Mrs. Jones and Mrs. and Mrs. Jones.

Or Mr. and Mr. Jones.

This is not true. First, of course, you have same-sex matrimony's complete departure from any previously known concept of marriage.
And second, the parts don't fit -- there's no biological, natural-law purpose for it.

THEN, YOU HAVE its complete susceptibility to every dysfunction common to hetero marriage . . . except you know it's all going to turn out much, much weirder. Exhibit A is from Pittsfield, Mass., courtesy of The Berkshire Eagle:
A woman who allegedly intended to artificially inseminate her wife with her brother's semen has been charged with domestic assault and battery.
Pittsfield police responded to a call shortly before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the city's Morningside neighborhood, where the assault allegedly occurred.

Stephanie K. Lighten, 26, was released on personal recognizance after denying the allegations in Central Berkshire District Court Wednesday morning.

Jennifer A. Lighten, 33, told police that Stephanie Lighten, her wife, was "all liquored up" when she returned to their Lincoln Street apartment, where the defendant then allegedly tried to use a syringe to inseminate her, according to a police report.

Jennifer told investigating officers that Stephanie "has been talking about trying to impregnate (her) for some time," police said.

According to a report by Pittsfield Police Officer Kipp D. Steinman: "Jennifer said that Stephanie had a 'turkey baster and her brother's semen in a sealed container.' Jennifer said she told Stephanie that she didn't want to get pregnant." The device was actually a large syringe with a catheter tip, police said, and it was still in its original package when officers confiscated the item.

That's allegedly when Stephanie threw Jennifer on the couch, grabbed at her clothes and threatened to impregnate her, police said.
BUT WAIT . . . there's more!

The episode finally lurched to an end with the syringe-packin' mama hanging on to the door of the couple's SUV as her battered wife barely missed hitting a tree as she tried to escape.

Police found Stephanie Lighten near an intersection. Officers also confiscated the container of semen and some tinfoil it was wrapped in. Ewwww.

We can only hope God is laughing too hard to smite us.

Friday, March 13, 2009

3 Chords & the Truth: Les affaires de coeur

Frankie Valli did it first.

You'll hear someone completely different doing "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" this week on 3 Chords & the Truth. Who is it? You'll have to listen to find out.

ABOVE, we see Valli performing his big solo hit on the Mike Douglas Show way back in the day. If you don't know who Mike Douglas was, it's like this: Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin were Oprah before Oprah was Oprah.

But that's not important now.

The big thing you need to know about this week's episode of
the Big Show is that we have a little bit of everything for your musical exploration -- and for this week's musical exploration of affairs of the heart. Some of these things don't turn out so well.

Fortunately, more do.

And I'd like to think 3 Chords & the Truth turned out pretty well itself this time around. It usually does.

On the other hand, I guess you have to be the judge of that. If you agree that the Big Show is big-time good, tell everyone you know.

If you disagree . . . shhhhhhhhhhh, it's a secret.

The show is 3 Chords & the Truth, and it's giving you 90 minutes of great music right here every week. Be there. Aloha.