Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The devil's mouthpiece

Am I more disturbed that some assemblyman from Nevada is a moral cipher akin to some Nazi concentration-camp guard who "vass jusst followink orderss"?

Or am I more panicked that an elected state representative knows so little what it means to be a democratic republic that he thinks our system of government demands that he cast his conscience and judgment -- such as they are -- aside and do whatever his constituents demand. No. Matter. What.

No matter how monstrous. Like voting to bring back slavery.

No matter how insane. Like voting to bring back slavery.

No matter what violence such government by mobocracy might do to the constitutional order that Jim Wheeler, Nitwit-Gardnerville, swore to uphold when he became a member of the Nevada Assembly. Like voting to bring back slavery.

In fact, the Republican lawmaker actually argues against his own presence in the statehouse. Frankly, counting the "likes" on a legislative Facebook page might be much more cost-effective that relying on the judgment Wheeler does not possess and would refuse to exercise even if he did.

IN OTHER WORDS . . . "Holy lynch mob on a stick, Batman!" Just get a load of this from the Las Vegas Sun:
A Nevada assemblyman said he would vote in favor of legislation allowing for slavery if it was something his constituents wanted him to do.
    Jim Wheeler, a Republican from Gardnerville, was talking to a crowd of Storey County Republicans in August he when said “yeah I would” vote for slavery if that’s what his constituents wanted.

    “If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah, if that’s what the citizens of the, if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for,” he said. “That’s what a republic is about. You elected a person for your district to do your wants and wishes, not the wants and wishes of a special interest, not his own wants and wishes, yours.”

    Wheeler said today that he believes “liberal” operatives are trying to frame him as a bigot by spreading video of the statement on the Internet.

    Reached by phone this afternoon, Wheeler now says he would not in actuality vote for anything that would legalize human slavery. Rather, he claimed, he was exaggerating in order to make a point that representing the will of his constituents is important to him. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard if anyone could even fathom believing it,” he said. “I don’t care if every constituent in (Assembly) District 39 wanted slavery, I wouldn’t vote for it. That’s ridiculous.”
    IS THAT what his constituents told him to say? I'd say there's plenty of ridiculousness to go around.

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    What, no explosion?

    Personally, I'd prefer to end police chases by disabling the perp's vehicle with an electromagnetic pulse from a low-yield nuclear airburst at 2,000 feet, but that's just me.

    And, for the record, I am sick and tired of the incessant talk of "collateral damage." Pantywaists, all of you!

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    3 Chords & the Truth: This week's show, explained

    What do you get when you love music? 

    A station with a pin to burst your bubble,
    That's what you get for all your trouble,
    I'll try 3 Chords & the Truth!
    I'll try 3 Chords & the Truth!

    What do you get when you want some tunes?
    You get enough crap to fertilize a garden
    You're in it hip deep but can't grow a begonia
    I'll try 3 Chords & the Truth! 
    I'll try 3 Chords & the Truth! 

    DON'T TELL me what it's all about,
    I've switched off FM, and I'm glad that I'm out 
    Out of that junk, that junk that slimes you 
    That is why I'm here to remind you 

    What do you get when you give your heart?
    You turn on the radio, and your mind gets battered 
    That's what you get, your ears are shattered, 
    I'll try 3 Chords & the Truth!   
    Out of that junk, that junk that slimes you 
    That is why I'm here to remind you

    What do you get when you fall in love? 
    You only get noise and pain and sorrow 
    So for all my tomorrows
    I'll try 3 Chords & the Truth! 
    I'll try 3 Chords & the Truth!  

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

    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    Flag on the play. Felony assault. 5 to 10 years.

    It has come to this in Louisiana's fiscal war on higher education: The state's higher-ed flagship, LSU, has resorted to taking a page out of the sheriffs' playbook and is taking in inmates in a desperate bid to garner at least some state funding.

    But in an audacious move, the university athletic department has found a way to maximize LSU's capitalization potential with "work details" featuring the most physically gifted among its state charges. In fact, the Tiger football team took the philosophy behind the popular Angola Prison Rodeo and -- BAM! -- kicked it up a notch.

    A trusty assigned to the LSU inmate newspaper, The Daily Reveille, profiles one of the institution's football players:
    LSU freshman defensive back Jeryl Brazil was indefinitely suspended from the team following his second arrest in less than two months, Les Miles announced Wednesday night.

    Brazil, 19, of 16217 Highway 40, East Independence, was arrested Oct. 18 for simple battery and simple criminal damage to property. He was issued a misdemeanor summons and released.

    LSU Police Department spokesman Capt. Cory Lalonde said officers responded to a disturbance at West Campus Apartments at 3:34 a.m. on Oct. 18, where the complainant told officers Brazil was upset and she and her roommates were trying to calm Brazil.

    The complainant then told officers Brazil grabbed her by the neck and pushed her onto the sofa, then punched a hole in the wall before leaving the apartment, according to Lalonde.
    THE TIGERS, this season putting Brazil and sophomore running back Jeremy Hill front and center in their promotional push, have tabbed the 2013 grid campaign "The Long Stiff-Arm of the Law."

    Brazil and Hill join past Tiger star offenders Jordan Jefferson and Tyrann Mathieu as athletic/public relations double threats.

    LSU Coach Les Miles today declined to say exactly when he will declare Brazil -- who has proven himself the equal of past Tiger arrestees in his tenacity in engaging law enforcement -- "a fine young man" and "greatly matured," then reinstate him to the team.

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Real radio, real gone

    Don't bug me. I'm busy being 15 again.

    This truly, for me, is a blast from the past -- an aircheck of a radio station that's lived only in my memory since 1979. Stumbling upon this snippet of "Real Radio" WAIL from 1976 on YouTube, I am transported. Transported to my youth, and to a time when AM daytimers -- those stations that run down at sundown -- kinda still mattered.

    Still played the hits.

    Still had actual humans on the air.

    These were the days when, sadly, WAIL was struggling. Soon would come the brief time when WAIL was kinda cutting edge (but still struggling). Too soon came the time when WAIL's struggle was over.

    WHEN I was two months from emerging from the womb, Mama won a General Electric table radio from WAIL. When I was a child, WAIL (then a full-timer at 1460 on your dial) was the station that often came from that GE table radio that lived on the kitchen counter.

    Mama loved her some "Pappy" Burge. Mama also loved to bend the ear of the receptionist, Marge.

    When I was a preteen and then a teenybopper, WAIL got drowned out by the Big Win 910, WLCS. When I was a teen suddenly too cool for Top-40, WAIL was the "backup" station to "Loose Radio."

    When I was finally old enough to vote, WAIL was gone, replaced by middle-of-the-road WTKL -- "Tickle." Yeah . . . right.

    And now, here's a slice of unexpected bliss -- a song for the September of my years on a chilly October day.
    Hello, old friend,
    It's really good to see you once again,

    Hello, old friend,
    It's really good to see you once again.
    (Cue Eric Clapton guitar solo.)

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    Goodness, gracious, great balls of fail

    Your daily 'Oops!'

    Ooh la la!

    The French would not have committed this doozy.

    The Omaha World-Herald just did.

    The case of The Nutty Webmaster began with a trip to the newspaper's archives to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of John Jones, a.k.a., Dr. San Guinary, the hilarious KMTV horror-movie host who was a local legend among untold thousands of a certain age who grew up in the Big O. So far, so good.

    Then the World-Herald's webmeister waded into the deep end of the pop-culture pool. That's the end where you actually have to know something to avoid a lungful of heavily chlorinated water.

    LIKE THE difference between Jerry Lewis, comedy star of stage, screen and Labor Day telethons, and Jerry Lee Lewis, noted for smokin' rock 'n' roll piano playin' and marrying teenage cousins. Glug.

    Ze French, zey are not amused.

    While I'm at it, one other thing. If this picture was taken during the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon -- as it appears to have been -- that's not Jerry (not Lee) Lewis actually in Omaha at the fishbowl, it's a backdrop. Jerry would have been in Las Vegas . . . on the telethon.

    No word on where The Killer would have been.

    Saturday, October 19, 2013

    3 Chords & the Truth: It's a surprise

    The things I could tell you about this edition of the Big Show.

    But I'm not. That would ruin it all.

    Like, there's this one set on this week's 3 Chords & the Truth, and I'm telling you -- this is funny -- that when . . . nope. Not gonna get into that.

    Quit asking.

    Listen, I'm not telling you. You know that half the fun of the Big Show is that you have no idea what's coming next. Oh, the joys of freeform radio.

    Even when it's not on the radio. By the way, cool radio in the picture, huh?

    But there is this other stretch on the show. . . . No, I'd better go before I spill the beans.

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

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    'When I was in high school,
    I was a motherf***ing beast'

    Like they say, all of life is high school. And it looks like one substitute teacher in Baton Rouge, La., is still doing pretty well in the "motherf***ing beast" department.

    I wish I were shocked by this. I am not. I was educated in the public schools of East Baton Rouge Parish.

    No, I didn't have any teachers -- substitute or otherwise -- this profane. Then again, it was the '60s and '70s, not the "bitch and ho" new millennium. But I did have a couple of teachers this malevolent.

    Naturally, the main concern of Glasgow Middle School's principal is that the parent of the kid who shot the cell-phone video went to the media and not to her. Something tells me that concern was more on "airing dirty laundry" grounds than on "wasting no time in the dispatching of a 'motherf***ing beast'" grounds.

    WAFB television reports on this slice of what passes for life in an utterly destroyed school system:
    The video shows a full-time substitute teacher in front of an 8th grade class at Glasgow Middle School shouting obscenities. The rant and tirade goes on for about five minutes.

    In one part of the cell phone video, the teacher says "I ain't gonna argue with your ass. I'm gonna pop your ass in the mouth, I'm gonna drop your ass."

    She was also recorded saying "This is my last time cussing or fussing with this class, because on Wednesday I'm writing your motherf****** asses up."

    "Disbelief – I just couldn't believe it. I was like in shock," said Terri McLendon, mother of the student who recorded the video. "My son had been punished behind this lady and he had just gotten his phone back Sunday, and this was recorded on Monday. So I just couldn't believe it," McLendon added.

    It appears she was upset about her students not willing to be taught. "You don't wanna learn? Get the f***- That's how I feel," said the teacher in the video as she pointed to the door.

    "I don't talk to my child like that, she has no good right. She has to handle those kids accordingly. Like you know, send them to the principal's office. None of them deserved to be cursed out like that," McLendon said.

    The teacher was also recorded saying "If you're sitting here looking at me in rare form, and you should know, when I was in college and when I was in High school, I was a mother f***** beast."

    "For the parents benefit, we don't want the parents to believe that this is something we would condone nor is it something that any school would ever condone," said Glasgow Middle School Principal Dianne Talbot.

    When asked if substitute teachers are prepared for what they may encounter in a classroom, Talbot responded that every teacher in the parish system, substitute or not, must undergo an orientation process.
    THAT MUST be some orientation process. And I really want to see someone's ass get popped in the mouth. Unless she's speaking to a classroom full of donkey owners, I really hope she doesn't teach biology or health.

    If she is talking to a classroom of donkey owners . . . somebody call the humane society.

    By the way, ask me sometime to tell you why I hate math now when, once upon a time, I liked it.

    Saturday, October 12, 2013

    3 Chords & the Truth: No information available

    Due to the government shutdown, no information is available on this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

    No attempt may be made, under penalty of federal statute, by this post's authors to inform of the exceptional quality of the latest edition of the Big Show.

    Refer all queries to the originator of the program, 3 Chords & the Truth.

    [[[[<<a a="" border="0" gt="" height="529" href="http://it's=3+chords+&+the+truth,+y'all=be+there.=aloha>++/" i="" img="" mageanchor="1" p="" style="margin-left: 11em; margin-right: 11em;">



    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Let them eat squat

    Marie Antoinette infamously said "Let them eat cake" when the French people had no bread, and then she lost her head.

    Now, in the third year of America's tea-party hostage crisis, the guillotined queen of France ain't looking so bad. At least she didn't personally thrust the hungry masses into pauperism, and at least she offered them cake as an option.

    For the Republicans' whack-job wing, otherwise known as the tea party, that's not nearly Darwinian enough. With the ongoing government shutdown it brought upon us -- not to mention the sovereign default and resulting financial carnage it would like to serve for the next course -- tea partiers in Congress seek to create the poor whom they would sacrifice to the god of natural selection.

    This brings us to the plight of rangers and civilian workers at Grand Canyon National Park, as reported by The Los Angeles Times:
    Patrick Dotson was in crisis mode. The Grand Canyon Community Church pastor had just emailed a state food bank with an unlikely request: Rush food to one of the world's seven natural wonders.

    Then came the knock on the door. A U.S. Park Service ranger asked whether Dotson could expand the small food pantry that was being run out of the church's garage. "He said, 'We've got families struggling here. How can we make this bigger?'" Dotson said.

    The U.S. government shutdown has turned a prestigious national park where millions come each year to relax and recreate into a realm of high anxiety. Hundreds of employees are stranded without work or pay, prompting the donation of hundreds of boxes of food for families that have nowhere else to turn.

    About 2,200 people remain inside the isolated Arizona park, 1,800 of them employees of private concessions that make the place run — the people who change the hotel room sheets, serve the meals, sell the gift shop mementos. Many are entry-level, minimum-wage workers with families who live paycheck to paycheck.

    And while concessionaires are offering free rent and meals to those out of work, dependents often do not qualify. Families who rent apartments and send their children to a school near the park's famous South Rim have been left to their own devices, forced to rely on savings and fast-emptying supplies.

    The result: Dotson's food pantry, which normally serves a dozen families a year, now has its hands full. The impromptu pantry has been moved to a community hall, where volunteers distribute boxes containing rice, beans, peanut butter and tuna.

    Dotson requested the assistance of Phoenix-based St. Mary's Food Bank last week when he noticed that donated food at the church was quickly disappearing. He knew things would worsen as Washington's standoff dragged on.

    Wednesday brought news that future handouts would contain perishable items such as lettuce and other vegetables, sending a buzz through the park, said Sarah Stuckey, a spokeswoman for St. Mary's.

    "It's just a very strange situation for all of us inside the park," Dotson said. "There's a lot of nervousness here. People are worried. They're asking, 'How long is this going to last?'"
    HOW LONG is this going to last -- this reign of congressional terrorists? How long will we live with the threat of "Give us what we demand, or we'll wreck the government, victimize the marginalized and blow up the economy"?

    My fear is that the U.S. Constitution is unequal to the task of excising a fairly elected cancer from our body politic. That was John Adams' fear, too:
    But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation, while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candour, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world. Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    MORALITY and religion are passé in postmodern America, some of the still-religious are bat-shit crazy for the tea-party terrorists, and "avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness" have become the ultimate public-private partnership today.

    We're drowning in all that and Honey Boo Boo, too. We elected the bat-shit bastards who threaten to be the end of us. And short of a Latin American-style military coup, it beats me how we get out of the fine political mess we've fashioned for ourselves.

    It just may be that we have to lie -- fitfully and uncomfortably -- in the bed we've made.

    The good news, however, is that the United States has been this divided before -- faced down an existential threat from radicalized, extortionist lawmakers before -- and we're still here. We found a way to remove the malignant tumor from the heart of our national fabric.

    The bad news is that about 625,000 Americans died in the process.

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    Whither North Dakota?

    Apparently, the government shutdown has dried up all funding for education.

    But if you're going to have an epic geographical fail, you'd just as well put it on Facebook. Especially if you're the chief meteorologist for a local Fox affiliate in Florida. Which we all know is somewhere between Cuba and Egypt.

    Rare is the government that is smarter than the people who put it in power. In other words, to quote Dr. Zachary Smith, "We're doomed! We're doomed! We're all going to die!"

    Saturday, October 05, 2013

    3 Chords & the Truth: Beyond hip

    Words are starting to fail me in trying to give you the lowdown on each week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

    I like the Big Show. I think lots of people do. It's eclectic . . . full of surprises.

    That's all I got here.

    So I decided to turn to the Omaha World-Herald's new advice columnist, the Sad Hipster, for help.

    "Sad Hipster," I says, "why do you look like Ron Burgundy in a dirty-book store? I mean, that doesn't seem very hip to me. That seems rather '70s . . . and possibly kind of sticky."

    "WELL," says the Hipster dude to me, "if I have to explain to you the style I'm going for here, the answer would just go over your head."

    "It looks like you're going for 'creepy' to me. Possibly with polyester overtones."

    "Oversimplification," he attempts to riposte. "It's about, ugh, whatever."

    "Ugh about covers it," I parry. "But I digress. I came here to ask you to describe my podcast, 3 Chords & the Truth."

    "Is that the new Desaparecidos album?"

    No, it's my music show, I tell him.

    "Is it like when we get really high and listen to River City Folk on public radio?"

    "No, it's completely different," I explain, getting a bit sad myself. "Screw it. Just listen to this." I hand him my tablet computer. He recoils, having expected an iPad, not a Surface. I lie that it's really a fair-trade iPad made by Bolivian villagers. He takes it.

    He listens to the Big Show. At first, he is confused by the hack of Tibetan throat singing. But then something happens.

    The Sad Hipster smiles. And it's not because he's just won the Pulitzer Prize.

    I think that about covers it. 3 Chords & the Truth: Recommended by 9 out of 10 doctors as an effective cure for sad hipsterism.

    Yes, it's that good. 

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

    Tuesday, October 01, 2013

    Looking in the mirror and seeing Congress

    Charles P. Pierce cuts loose on Congress on The Politics Blog in Esquire today.

    Why? Because somebody had to.
    In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress -- or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress -- a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also happens to have been the party's 2012 nominee for president of the United States. That is why the government of the United States is, in large measure, closed this morning.

    We have elected the people sitting on hold, waiting for their moment on an evening drive-time radio talk show.

    We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.
    THIS IS WHAT we've come to. Government by terrorism -- or extortion, if you want to be polite about it. I don't.

    Right now, the Republicans are applying the tactics of your average al-Qaida cell, blackmailer, extortionist or neighborhood thug to the art (and I use that word loosely) of governance, such as it is today. The difference is in degree, not principle.

    If they don't get their way -- if Obamacare isn't done away with -- somebody's gonna get hurt. Better yet, everybody's gonna get hurt.

    When I was in college, America was enraged and frustrated by a hostage crisis that lasted 444 days. Now we have government by hostage crisis, and it's been going on for almost three years. It has become "the new normal."

    Worse, we did this. We. Did. This. We elected these ayatollahs in blue suits. They do exactly what their pollsters tell them we want them to do.

    We have exactly the government we deserve.

    Half of us want to sacrifice the concept of a sustainable society to whatever the hell our inner spoiled, horny brat tells us is hip and happenin' at the moment. We've decided that we're cooler and smarter than the fossils who preceded us, and we're going to do what we want, when we want, and the future can go to hell.

    Consequences are for squares. Or bigots. Whatever.

    MEANTIME, half of us have decided that the entire concept of commonweal is a communist plot. We ask the question that Cain asked of the Almighty in Genesis -- "Am I my brother's keeper?" -- then unhesitatingly answer it ourselves with a resounding "Hell, no!"

    Abel was a loser anyway.

    This half of us is smarter and better than Those People, and we're going to do what we want, when we want, and our neighbor can go to hell.

    This is the country that elected this bunch. One party is as bad as the other, in general, but today is the jihadis . . . er, the GOP's . . . day.

    Both approaches to civic deviance have left us where we stand today, which is on the edge of the abyss, stomping the precipice with one foot as we dangle the other over oblivion. I wonder how that will work out for us.

    Maybe we'd just as well live for today . . . because tomorrow is going to be a real bitch.