Showing posts with label California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California. Show all posts

Friday, September 01, 2017

Peace, love and understanding . . . by any means necessary


I am not exactly a Weekly Standard kind of reader. But I read Matt Labash's long piece about how antifa went apeshit on the Patriot Prayer people at a Berkeley "protest" (and by protest, I mean riot), and you should, too.

The takeaway from this story -- and from spending any random three minutes on Facebook or media comment threads -- is that America never will defeat the fascism of Donald Trump by adopting the violent Stalinism of "social-justice warriors" like antifa and all the other toxic granola of the radical left.

The other takeaway is that Donald Trump was unknowingly more right than we're willing to admit. Not right -- just more right than we thought. There are no "very fine people" among the Nazis and other white supremacists.

Likewise, there are none among antifa or other left-wing hate groups, which these assembled fanatics most certainly represent. The sulfurous, Satanic stench coming from each camp smells about the same, because the Nazis and the "antifascists" are about the same. The difference between the opposing vortices of hatred is a mere matter of targeting methodology -- one determines who is subhuman based on race and ethnicity . . . the other, ideology.

Given free run of the United States, each would leave a trail of corpses behind it as the fanatics rampaged their way toward their Father Below.

Below, a sampling of what Labash saw in what must be the first American insane asylum to actually incorporate:

On the walk up to the square, Joey’s several paces ahead, seemingly in another zone, not even noticing the protester in the “Nasty Woman” shirt who starts filming him, as though she’s doing surveillance. After all the hype, he is now so infamous in Berkeley his face is instantly recognizable, and people act like it’s Jesse James walking into a bank. They elbow each other, scandalized.

From the moment we hit the square, the “Nazi” catcalls start. Whatever’s happening on the stage seems to cease to exist, and the energy around us turns very dark, very fast. Joey, Tiny, and Pete start walking with greater purpose, on the balls of their feet, almost like fighters entering a ring or Christians entering the Coliseum, except instead of facing one lion, they’re facing thousands. As the chants rain down (“Nazis are here! .  .  . F— you! .  .  . F—ing fascists!”), we near the stage thinking we might find some kind of buffer zone, since the police knew that some of Joey’s original rally-goers would show up. But there isn’t one. Our progress is halted when we run up into a small clearing snug up against a barrier. And behind that barrier, near the park’s “Peace Wall,” is a wall of human blackness.

A hundred or so masked-up antifa ninjas and affiliated protesters seem to simultaneously turn. It looks like we’ve interrupted al Qaeda tryouts. Joey, Tiny, and Pete all raise their hands high in the air, and flash peace signs, a conciliatory gesture. But nobody here wants peace. Not with fascists on the scene. As Joey nears the barrier, one of the ninjas swings and misses. Then the barrier topples, and they pour over, chanting, “Fascists go home!”

As I’m reading the action into my recorder, antifa slides around me on all sides, nearly carrying me off like a breaking wave. The boys are about 20 yards off and walk backwards. Pete catches a shot right on his stars’n’stripes dome from a two-by-four and goes down, blacking out for a second. Tiny, trying to protect everybody, pulls him up with his massive Samoan hand and pushes him out of the scrum. The mob ignores Pete, as he’s just an appetizer. Joey is the entree.
LIBERAL DEMOCRACY. Don't you just love it?

There's more.
War is peace. Love is hate.
First he catches a slap in the head, then someone gashes him with something in his ribs. He keeps his hands up, as though that will save him, while he keeps getting dragged backwards by his shirt, Tiny trying to pull him away from the bloodthirsty ninjas. Someone crashes a flagpole smack on Joey’s head, which will leave a welt so big that Tiny later calls him “the Unicorn.” Not wishing to turn his back on the crowd, a half-speed backwards chase ensues, as Joey and Tiny are blasted with shots of bear spray and pepper spray. They hurdle a jersey barrier, crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Way while antifa continue throwing bottles at them. The mob stalks Joey and Tiny all the way to an Alameda County police line, which the two bull their way through, though the cops initially look like they’re going to play Red Rover and keep them out. No arrests are made. Except for Joey and Tiny, who are cuffed.

A crack reporter for the Los Angeles Times will later write that they were arrested for charging the police, which couldn’t be less true. A Berkeley cop tells me they were arrested for their own safety (and weren’t charged). When I catch up and reach the police line, the cops won’t let me past to follow my subjects. My reportorial dispassion has worn thin. I yell at the police for doing nothing, for standing by while two men could’ve been killed. One cop tells me there’s a thin line between solving one problem and being the cause of more, as though they’re afraid to offend antifa. I am sick at what I just witnessed. Angry, even. I wheel around on some protesters, asking them if they think it’s right to beat people down in the street. “Hell yeah,” says one. I ask them to cite anything Joey has said that offends them, as though being offended justifies this. A coward in a black mask says: “They’re f—ing Nazis. There’s nothing they have to say to offend us.”

All around me, good non-antifa liberals go about their business, pretending none of this has happened, carrying “Stand Against Hate” signs. There’s the sound truck with preachers in clerical garb, leading a “Whose streets/our streets” chant. There’s the gray-haired interdenominational “Choral Majority” singing peace songs: “There’s no hatred in my land / Where I’m bound.” I want to vomit on the Berkeley Peace Wall.

I’m made even more sick when I look down the road and see a punching, kicking mob form a circle around a new victim. By the time I roll up on them, an older man in camo-wear spits out from the maelstrom. As he runs to safety, an antifa thug runs up behind him, sucker-punching him as hard as he can in the back. I will go home that night and watch several more cold-blooded beatdowns on YouTube that I didn’t personally witness.
SAY WE ACTUALLY get rid of Trump and stem the tide of Trumpkin fascism in this country. What are we going to have left?


What, then, will we have gained? Or, rather, will we have saved ourselves from the frying pan only to find America in the fire?

Remember, Communist tyrant Josef Stalin killed even more people than Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler. File under: Facts, Inconvenient.

We're supposed to embrace the ideological thugs and bullies to rid ourselves of the fascist ones? Really? When members of the Resistance glibly proclaim "By any means necessary!" are they aware they're coming out in favor of gulags in the name of staving off concentration camps?

I am a Catholic. Not a "progressive" Catholic or a "conservative" Catholic which, in my book, means you're leaving some Catholic out to better accommodate your politics.  I am just Catholic in search of the authentic freedom that lies in my faith's tension between justice and mercy -- between dogma and "God created mankind in his image."

And, as a Catholic, this is what I know as surely as I know fire burns and ice freezes: Die-hard Trumpkins hate my guts, because "libtard." The left's "social-justice warriors" hate my guts, because "hater." Verily, in the open-air insane asylum that is the United States today, from Berkeley to Baton Rouge, there is no greater love than to hate.

For all the right reasons, of course.

Eventually, this, too, shall pass. Someday for America, in the words of the old hymn,
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
(There'll be no sadness, no sorrow, my Lord,
no trouble, trouble I see)
There will be peace in the valley for me
UNFORTUNATELY, that day probably will come because we've all killed one another. It will be the cold peace of those who rest six feet deep.

God bless America.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Everything I need to know, I learned in 1948

Click on photos for larger, readable versions

This isn't just an old issue of the Capitol News -- the way rad tout mag from the hot-wax peddlers in Tinseltown.

This isn't just another "primary source document" for students of the cultural history of the United States.

And this isn't just another fascinating estate-sale find in Omaha, Neb.

No, Poindexter, this is a guide to good living, good music, good writing and good times. Everything you need to know, pally, you'll learn in 1948. Because, as the continued existence and occasional unearthing of this cultural touchstone proves, it's always Postwar America somewhere . .  and there you, too, can be a hep cat, baby!

So, what did I learn from the preserved wisdom of '48? A few things.

FOR EXAMPLE, from the cover of the December 1948 edition of the platter-patter rag, I learned that if you're one to watch the record go 'round and 'round when you're grooving on your stacks of wax, don't be surprised if your eyeballs turn into spinning 78s.

I ALSO learned that the wise owl better give a hoot what Dave Dexter says -- he's gonna sign Sinatra to Capitol someday, you wait and see. I don't think he'll "get" the British invasion and the lads from Liverpool, though, Daddy-O!

AND WHILE I was doing a double take on that news blast about how Columbia's movie mavens are remaking Latin music maker Desi Arnaz into La-La Land's new cha-cha heartthrob, I found myself wondering what hilarious hijinks Lucy and Ethel will inflict upon the Left Coast.

LIKEWISE, didja ever wonder what the Pied Pipers would sing if they were pie-eyed? And do you suddenly want a piece of pie now?

I do.

I wonder why.

AND WE SEE that Nat  King Cole had himself a hit with "The Christmas Song" some 12 years before he had himself a hit with "The Christmas Song."

ONE VERY IMPORTANT thing to learn is that you got to be hep to the lingo, Clyde.

If you're not hep to the lingo, you might have ignorantly turned the headline Blues Bawlers / Sign New Cap / Waxing Pacts into something like Blue Ballers / Sign New Cap / Waxing Pacts. There's a difference, you know.

FINALLY, Capitol Records not only provides "Christmas cheer throughout the year," it also provides a pretty decent workout from lugging those albums full of 78s all over creation.

So drop the needle in a groove, dude, and we'll chatter about the platters long into the new-old year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paging Capt. Renault . . . Capt. Louis Renault

For decades now, we've been leeringly drenching our entire culture with the ethos of sex as just one more recreational sport, women as nothing more than objects there to help men get their freak on and humans in general as being worth only what we decide they are.

And prime-time TV has become, more or less, all-American Pie, all the time.

Yet, people still are shocked, shocked whenever they're confronted with the extent to which their little darlings have internalized it all. A "fantasy slut league" at a California high school?

Aunt Pittypat, quick! Give me your smelling salts!

C'MON, people. We are a country where suburban housewives are gaga over Fifty Shades of Gray and hold Tupperware parties, only with plastic dildos (among other sex toys) instead of plastic bowls that you burp and seal.

No, this Los Angeles Times blog item from the Bay Area is the most unsurprising thing in the world:
Officials at a Bay Area high school say they are taking steps to deter the type of behavior that led to a "fantasy slut league," in which male student athletes "drafted" female students and earned points for documenting sexual activity with them.

The league at Piedmont High School was loosely modeled after popular online fantasy sports leagues, but instead of drafting athletes, male students drafted females. And the game, instead of baseball or football, was sex. And, instead of being pure fantasy, the league was quite real.

The school's principal, Richard Kitchens, sent a letter to parents last week informing them of the existence of the league and saying there was a "general recognition that over the past 5-6 years such a league has existed in one form or another as part of 'bonding' for some Varsity Teams during their seasons of sport," according to a copy of the letter posted by Piedmont Patch.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Freak-lovers flout convention, burden airlines

If Joan and Robert Vanderhorst had just gotten with the program 16 years ago, two U.S. airlines would have avoided a lot of bother.

Particularly in the age of terrorism, the last thing pilots, flight crews and air travelers need to deal with are unusual-looking youth with low IQs who, frankly, could be duped into carrying backpack nukes onto domestic U.S. flights in a Tehran second. That is what American Airlines was faced with Sunday at the Newark, N.J., airport, forcing the pilot and airline into quick action to ban a 16-year-old boy with Down syndrome from a flight to California and possibly avert a repeat of the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001.

Or at least spare the crew and passengers from having to stare and point for hours on end at an exotic-looking male with a low IQ who, heaven forfend, would want to act all weird . . . and interact with the normal people.

This is what American Airlines bravely nipped in the bud with its bold and decisive action, action made necessary by the selfish refusal of the Vanderhorsts more than a decade and a half ago to abort the abnormal problem child and spare the world a possible terror threat at worst and certain discomfort at best.

Some 92 percent of women have abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis, so one has to wonder what Joan Vanderhorst's problem was.

Religious freakery? Antisocial tendencies?

What, is she nuts? It would seem she'd have to be to inflict such misery on herself and everyone else.

A SOCIETY must have standards, lest mayhem rule. If we start letting the retarded live -- not to mention fly -- it won't be long before the country is overrun by huggers, smilers, wavers and Special Olympics competitors . . . to disastrous effect.

But according to the New York Daily News, it's mayhem we have, and American and United airlines are on the front lines:
Joan and Robert Vanderhorst, of Bakersfield, Calif., said they intend to sue American over the "humiliating" incident at Newark Airport, in which they were told their special needs son posed a "flight risk."

"It's defamation," Robert Vanderhorst told the Daily News. "It's a violation of his civil rights and its defamation."

Joan Vanderhorst pulled out her cell phone and started recording the incident on Sunday in which Bede is seen quietly playing with his hat and an American Airlines official warns that she was prohibited from filming "in a security-controlled area."

At one point, Port Authority police were even called on the confused family.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to us before. That's what's so shocking. He's usually our good luck charm. Good things usually happen when Bede is with us," Vanderhorst said.

Bede and his parents had been in Jackson, N.J., visiting family and were eager to make the long return flight home. On a "lark" they had even upgraded their seats to first class, shelling out an extra $625 dollars.

"My wife said, 'oh Bede's never flown first class,' he'll be so excited."
Vanderhorst said Bede, a freshman in high school, has flown "at least 30 times" through his life and has never caused any trouble.

Nothing was different before Sunday's flight, he said. Bede was sticking close to his parents and was not acting unruly, nor was he upset.

But as the family waited to board, an American Airlines official pulled them aside and said the pilot had observed Bede and didn't feel safe allowing him on the plane.

Joan Vanderhorst quickly snapped on her video camera and can be heard sobbing. "We are being singled out," she said. Robert Vanderhorst, an attorney, calmly pleads with the airline official. "He's behaving. He's demonstrating he's not a problem."

The agitated American Airlines employee instead called Port Authority police to escort the family away from the gate.


Vanderhorst said he has spoken with his attorneys about a lawsuit, accusing the airline of violating Bede's civil rights and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"My son cannot defend himself," he said. "I expect that American Airlines will not give their pilots the ability to discriminate against anyone; gay, black disabled," he said.

The family's trip home deteriorated even further when they were loaded into a full United Airlines flight and placed in the very back row.

"For a second time, we were discriminated against. Segregated."
LinkSO? That's what you get when you don't take care of your problems when they're small.

They eventually let Rosa Parks sit in the front of the bus, and now look at America's inner cities. They're trouble with a capital "T," which rhymes with "B," which stands for "Bad." And "Black." Am I right? Am I right?

What the Vanderhorsts need to learn is that 92 percent of retarded-baby-bearing women can't be wrong. Just like 92 percent of white Southerners had it right back in the day and 92 percent of National Socialists in Germany before that!



Habe ich Reich . . . er, recht?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grace crashes high-school reunion

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We live in a world that doesn't easily grasp the concept of divine grace.

Likewise, we live in a world that doesn't believe it is fallen -- as in, "No, I'm not OK, and you're not OK, either." We think we're nice people, and that's all that counts.

I'm here to tell you that I'm a pretty big rat bastard and that you may be, too. Or that, at some point, you likely were.

A bunch of teen-age rat bastards circa 1987 just received grace, which led to insight, which led to repentance, which led to more grace . . . which may lead to healing for a woman who was horribly bullied in her California high school and for those who bullied her all those years ago.

God often shows up when and where you least expect Him. That's the reality of this MSNBC story . . . and that's the deeper reality that American mainstream journalism is constitutionally incapable of reporting.

A woman says a Facebook poem she posted about bullying has brought pleas for forgiveness from former classmates who tormented her at a California high school 25 years ago.

Now, some of those classmates want to make amends and have asked Lynda Frederick, 42, of Rochester, N.Y., to attend her 25th high school reunion in Escondido, Calif., on July 27, compliments of the Orange Glen High School Class of 1987.

“I am nervous,” Frederick told on Friday. “I am looking forward to seeing them, even knowing that what has happened has happened. I have forgiven those who have hurt me in the past.”

Frederick said she received phone calls, emails and Facebook messages from former classmates after she posted a poem on the Orange Glen High School Class of 1987 Facebook page.

In her poem, she wrote:
that little girl who came to school with the clothes she wore the day before
instead of asking why.. you picked on her
the little girl who had to walk to school while others rode the bus
instead of asking why.. you picked on her
the little girl who had bruises and was dirty
instead of asking why.. you picked on her
the little girl who was always crying
instead of asking why.. you picked on her
“They’re all apologizing now for how I was treated,” Frederick said. “I had one man call me up and we talked for an hour on the phone. He cried and cried. I kept saying, ‘You can’t fix yesterday, so let’s fix today.’”
GRACE. It's what's for sinners.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's like Tabasco, right? Everybody likes Tabasco

When fascists get their own cable network, hilarity is sure to follow.

And what's funnier than Bill O'Reilly and some Fox News Channel legal analyst looking for ways to justify spraying peaceful protesters -- college kids who were just sitting there -- point-blank in the face with pepper spray, sending two to the hospital?

OK, I lied. It's not funny at all. It makes me want to throw up for one important reason . . . or rather one frightening thought that occurred to me. What if Bill O'Reilly had been a prominent national TV commentator in 1963?

What if O'Reilly had been on television every night convincing just enough Americans that they couldn't believe their eyes, not when it came to what they just plainly saw on the TV news. That the horrors being inflicted on blacks in the segregated South weren't nearly so bad as they appeared.

Move along. No injustice to see here. No need to do anything about it.

Can you hear him in your mind's ear, telling a nightly audience of about 4.5 million that it was just water coming out of the fire hoses blasting young civil-rights protesters in Birmingham, Ala.?

C'mon, everybody drinks water. You need water to live, right? It's the stuff of life -- listen, your body is, what, 80 percent water anyway.

And the police dogs being turned loose on those black kids? Who doesn't love dogs? C'mon, it's
Fido, for God's sake! If you make nice with the doggie, he'll be nice to you.

Besides, "I don't think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police." Especially a longtime public servant like Bull Conner.

Right, Bill?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Questions for a nation past its sell-by date

University of California, Berkeley
Nov. 9, 2011

Earlier that day a colleague had written to say that the campus police had moved in to take down the Occupy tents and that students had been “beaten viciously.” I didn’t believe it. In broad daylight? And without provocation? So when we heard that the police had returned, my wife, Brenda Hillman, and I hurried to the campus. I wanted to see what was going to happen and how the police behaved, and how the students behaved. If there was trouble, we wanted to be there to do what we could to protect the students.

Once the cordon formed, the deputy sheriffs pointed their truncheons toward the crowd. It looked like the oldest of military maneuvers, a phalanx out of the Trojan War, but with billy clubs instead of spears. The students were wearing scarves for the first time that year, their cheeks rosy with the first bite of real cold after the long Californian Indian summer. The billy clubs were about the size of a boy’s Little League baseball bat. My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down. . . .

My wife bounced nimbly to her feet. I tripped and almost fell over her trying to help her up, and at that moment the deputies in the cordon surged forward and, using their clubs as battering rams, began to hammer at the bodies of the line of students. It was stunning to see. They swung hard into their chests and bellies. Particularly shocking to me — it must be a generational reaction — was that they assaulted both the young men and the young women with the same indiscriminate force. If the students turned away, they pounded their ribs. If they turned further away to escape, they hit them on their spines.

None of the police officers invited us to disperse or gave any warning. We couldn’t have dispersed if we’d wanted to because the crowd behind us was pushing forward to see what was going on. The descriptor for what I tried to do is “remonstrate.” I screamed at the deputy who had knocked down my wife, “You just knocked down my wife, for Christ’s sake!” A couple of students had pushed forward in the excitement and the deputies grabbed them, pulled them to the ground and cudgeled them, raising the clubs above their heads and swinging. The line surged. I got whacked hard in the ribs twice and once across the forearm. Some of the deputies used their truncheons as bars and seemed to be trying to use minimum force to get people to move. And then, suddenly, they stopped, on some signal, and reformed their line. Apparently a group of deputies had beaten their way to the Occupy tents and taken them down. They stood, again immobile, clubs held across their chests, eyes carefully meeting no one’s eyes, faces impassive. I imagined that their adrenaline was surging as much as mine.

My ribs didn’t hurt very badly until the next day and then it hurt to laugh, so I skipped the gym for a couple of mornings, and I was a little disappointed that the bruises weren’t slightly more dramatic. It argued either for a kind of restraint or a kind of low cunning in the training of the police. They had hit me hard enough so that I was sore for days, but not hard enough to leave much of a mark. I wasn’t so badly off. One of my colleagues, also a poet, Geoffrey O’Brien, had a broken rib. Another colleague, Celeste Langan, a Wordsworth scholar, got dragged across the grass by her hair when she presented herself for arrest.

-- Robert Haas,
UC poetry professor,
former poet laureate
of the United States

From a New York Times essay published Sunday

'Paternoville,' Penn State
September 2009

Some ad hoc tent encampments on public property are more equal than other ad hoc tent encampments on public property in these United States.

If you're, say, a student at the Pennsylvania State University and you're one of, say, 700 students and their tents crammed into a lot outside Beaver Stadium, and you're there because you want choice seats in the student section for this week's home game, that's a good thing.

That's a beloved tradition.

Media types will write whimsical stories about those wacky campers in State College braving the rain and the cold in a tent --
and doing it all week -- for the sake of college football. The school's football coach will drop by to pose for pictures with his worshiping flock. ESPN personalities will drop by to press the flesh. The 60-something university president will go slumming amid the teen and 20-something campers for kicks and giggles.

You'll get your own university website, a "mayor," a plaque and a write-up in the alumni magazine.

You are what America's all about.
You are Paternoville.

PERHAPS you just fancy Apple products. If the gadget's name starts with an "i," you have to have it. Now. Before anyone else does. So help you Jobs.

There's a way to achieve that. You camp out to stake your place in line. Scores of you camp out for the love of "i." Hundreds of you, even.

It's all good. Apple is happy to let you do it in exchange for your iMoney.

Media types will write whimsical stories about those wacky campers in
(fill in the blank) braving the rain and the cold in a tent or a lawn chair -- and doing it all week -- for the sake of the brand new iWhatever. The store's manager will drop by with coffee for his worshiping flock. Noted tech bloggers will drop by to press the flesh or -- hell -- join you in your campout. The 60-something mayor will go slumming amid the 20- and 30-something campers for kicks and giggles.

You are an American patriot. You are buying s***.

BUT IF YOU'RE a student at the University of California-Davis or Cal-Berkeley, and you're one of, say, 100 students and their tents crammed into the quad, and you're there because you're alarmed at how tuition is skyrocketing, how a college education is becoming more and more unattainable for those of modest means and how American society is becoming more and more unequal, you are a dangerous thug and an anarchist. Your tent encampment is a threat to public health, public safety and public access to public property.

That's an unacceptable situation.

Media types will write serious stories about brewing unrest. Pundits will warn of the sheer unsustainability of your unruly protest --
random tents and shelters mired there in the rain and the cold -- for the sake of an amorphous agenda you cannot articulate.

Riot police will drop by to beat the s*** out of the "criminals," fog the dirty hippies in the face with pepper spray and tear down the troublemakers' tents.
Fox News Channel personalities will make fun of the liberal wackos on the air. The 60-something mayor will denounce the "mob" of 20- and 30-something "occupiers" for political advantage.

You'll get thrown in jail, receive a court date, and your wrists will have nasty bruises from the handcuffs for quite some time.

You are what's wrong with America.
Get a g**damn job, you filthy commie freak.

* * *

PAY NO ATTENTION to that question behind the headlines and official concerns for public health and safety.

Ask not why you're no threat to public health and civic order if you squat on public property for superfluous reasons. Or why doing so in a peaceful political protest is a transgression requiring raids by riot police employing chemical agents, truncheons and excessive force.

Ask not what kind of a country celebrates the unserious as its riot police beat professors, pupils and poets driven to civil disobedience as a last resort for asking serious questions and demanding serious answers.

Ask not these things. Your betters have decided you don't need to know the answer.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Your Daily '80s: High school radio, 1982

Do you remember rock 'n' roll radio?

Here's a little of how it went at North High School in Torrance, Calif. Or, we can put it this way . . .
Rock'n, rock'n'roll radio Let's go
Rock'n, rock'n'roll radio Let's go
Rock'n, rock'n'roll radio Let's go
Rock'n, rock'n'roll radio Let's go . . .

. . . to the wonderful world of 1982 at KNHS.

SADLY, KNHS left the airwaves in 1991. About all that survives of the voice of Torrance's North High -- at least that survives in cyberspace -- is this video. And the cache of a now-deleted history of the station on the school's entry on Wikipedia:
KNHS, was an FCC licensed FM radio station transmitting on 89.7 MHz, serving the Torrance, California area with a variety music format. KNHS was first licensed in the mid to late 1950s and ceased when a short-sighted TUSD allowed the station license to expire in 1991. The station originally broadcast with only one Watt and did not transmit with its full licensed power until 1972 when its studios and transmitter were moved to the second floor of the Industrial Arts building according to the High School newspaper The North Wind.

There was no professional management for the station and students of North High School ran the station, therefore the programming, educational value and financial earnings potential of the station was never realized. There was no engineer for the station except for a contract engineer who was only called on when something was known to be wrong.

In 1967, Mr. McKenzie managed KNHS activities, to include the broadcast operations, setting up and running the audio system for plays, and calling play-by-play for Saxon football games, sometimes even broadcasting from remote locations (other high schools). KNHS also had speakers at various parts of the campus, including the "quad," cafeteria, and other areas. During breaks and lunches, the speakers were turned on to let students hear the station. A "landmark" is the tower with the two omni-directional "halo" antennas at the top. The tower originally was above the old broadcast area by the cafeteria (a sound booth, the operations booth with a Gates audio console and Ampex tape recorders, and a music storage room). The theme song for basketball games was “Sweet Georgia Brown.” When KNHS moved in to the (then) new 2-story industrial arts building (with the auto repair area on the first floor), the antenna tower was also moved to the roof of the industrial arts building. Mr. Fields took over for Mr. McKenzie around the time KNHS moved to the industrial arts building. KNHS conducted monthly tests by turning on the transmitter and letting it stabilize, then a monitoring company was called to measure the frequency to comply with FCC regulations.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It pay$ to be a $crew-up

Isn't it funny how some of the best political criticism ever comes quite by accident and unawares -- in this case, into an open mike?

The scene was a Sarah Palin address Friday night at a Cal State -- Stanislaus fund-raiser. You can see some of that above. Afterward, unawares into the open mic, an unseen reporter utters the money quote of the year in political analysis:

"Now I know the dumbness doesn't come from just soundbites."

THE ASCENT of Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate, says something really bad about America today. And I'm not necessarily talking politics; I'm talking about things moral and culture here.

How is it that the biggest thing in the Republican Party right now is a woman who, judging the YouTube evidence, was a pretty horrible sportscaster on Anchorage TV? This before going on to be equally bad at everything else.

After tanking as a TV sports babe, Palin went on to be mayor of a little Alaska city, then parlayed that into the governor's mansion.

In Juneau, she served as an unexceptional (and basically unknown) chief executive, before being plucked from obscurity by Sen. John McCain to be his running mate in 2008. In that role, she was an woefully unprepared, extraordinarily gaffe-prone veep candidate who excited crowds by playing to their worst instincts.

And, unsurprisingly, the woman who sowed as much division inside the McCain-Palin campaign as she did among the electorate became a
failed vice-presidential candidate when the Republicans went down in flames. This was before, less than a year later, she became a failed governor -- resigning her office amid a flurry of media scrutiny and state ethics investigations.

MEANWHILE, some point out that the woman isn't doing so hot at parenting, either.

But there is one thing at which Sarah Palin is really, really good -- promoting herself. And by extension, making money --
lots and lots of money -- off that self-promotion.

In a Salon column by Joan Walsh, we learn this about that "fund-raising" speech Palin gave in Turlock, Calif.:
Palin's entire appearance was controversial. Raising money for California State University-Stanislaus, she reportedly charged a $75,000 speaker's fee and asked for another $18,000 or so in expenses, including first class plane travel for her entourage and luxury accommodations. Although CSU is a public university, its leaders didn't disclose Palin's demands -- saying a private foundation was raising the funds, and was thus exempt from public disclosure laws – and we only know about them because intrepid student journalists found the contract in a dumpster.

In her speech Friday night, the vengeful Palin trashed the students as "dumpster divers" with her trademark meanness: "Students who spent their valuable, precious time diving through dumpsters before this event in order to silence someone ... what a wasted resource," she told the crowd. "A suggestion for those Dumpster divers: Instead of trying to tell people to sit down and shut up ... spend some time telling people like our president to finally stand up." CSU student journalists were barred from the speech.
IT TAKES a special lack of integrity to make the kind of money Palin does for being such a colossal f***-up. For being such an ill-informed, unprepared doofus. For being such a political failure, not to mention a quitter.

It takes a special kind of gall to charge $93,000 to give an awful speech at a fund-raiser for a cash-strapped public university.

It takes a special kind of moral disorientation to be the public embodiment of Sarah Palin, Inc.

And we're just the kind of morally disoriented country to let her get away with it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

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.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Forgetting to stick to the script

In Fresno, Calif., a pro-choicer forgets the "violent pro-lifers are really scaring us poor defenseless victims, oh please help us somebody" script and unshackles her inner Rambo.

I forget . . . who's the victim here again?

"Fascist piece of s***, hates women's rights. F*** you! F*** you! F*** you!"
AH . . . if only Bob Dylan had had such a muse as this in the early '60s. It wouldn't quite have been akin to the Beatific Vision, but -- f*** me -- to the righteous' ears, it would f***ing be as if we f***ing gazed upon the chimes of f***ing freedom flashing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jesus is straight outta Compton

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I turned on the network news tonight and found Jesus.

All my churchy friends will think this odd, but it's true nevertheless. It seems Christ hit a rough patch for a while and got messed up with blow, but he's clean now and still hanging in there in Compton, that hardest scrabble of Los Angeles suburbs.

HE'S COACHING Little League baseball in the 'hood, Jesus is. Resurrected an abandoned ball field, too, so the kids would have a place to play.

And, by extension, Christ is the father a bunch of these Little Leaguers never had. He knows the value of a good stepfather.

What up? Jesus is. Jesus is straight outta Compton . . . living in his car -- never was much on real estate, don't cha know? -- and watching the Dodgers on a little bitty TV. Watch more here.

Quo vadis, Domine?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

San Francisco is just different

It's 4 a.m. Someone you do not know walks into your home and into the can.

What do you do?

Well, if you're a techie guru like Dave Prager and you live in San Francisco, that could be the subject of much debate and hand-wringing. All of it online, naturellement.

NO, REALLY. It must be true, it's in the Telegraph over yonder in London:
Mr. Prager, an online technology writer and web video star for internet television station Revision3, immediately posted the event onto social website Twitter.

“Maybe I should lock my door - I swear a random dude just walked into my bathroom and I can't believe I haven't freaked out.” He continued to post updates as he wondered how to react.

“I can't believe I'm tweeting about it while he is still in there.”

Mr Prager then took advice from online followers on what to do about the man in his bathroom, who he described as a combination of “hobo and drunk and sleepwalking dude.”

“Should I call the cops like you guys have recommended? Find a blunt object before opening the door? My gut tells me he's harmless."
UNBELIEVABLE. Considering that San Francisco is, well, San Francisco, you wonder whether folks there have gotten too "progressive, hip, happening, open-minded and now" to retain the instinct for self-preservation.

I wonder if the Romans had this debate when Attila the Hun was on the march? Luckily for Prager, the guy did turn out to be a more-or-less harmless, passed-out drunk. Blessedly unarmed, as Mr. Tech showed him the door.

Live on the web cam. Of course.

NOW, I WONDER how this might have played out, say, in Tejas?
Billy Bob Eustis, an oil-refinery pipefitter and deacon at the First Baptist Church of Sabine Pass, immediately interrupted his Twitter updates to sping into action.

“DAMN!" he wrote before leaving the computer. "Left the damn door unlocked. Some sumbitch done walked into the crapper. Hang on.”

The microphone in his computer's webcam streamed the sounds of gunshots to startled Internet viewers.

Mr. Eustis, back at the keyboard after a few minutes, assured his Twitter followers all was well.

"That ol' boy ain't gonna do no more home invading," he tweeted, to use the lingo of the American microblogging service. "Called T-John over at the sheriff's department. They coming right over. I'll never get that damn bathroom cleaned up. Gotta go."

Jefferson County authorities ruled the incident justifiable homicide, citing Texas' "shoot the burglar" law. Mr. Eustis, after taking a couple of days off from the refinery to clean up his damn bathroom, will receive Port Arthur's first-annual Don't Mess With Texas award in a city hall ceremony.
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: In which community is sanity closer to holding sway?

Friday, February 06, 2009

A century of voices through the ether

People speaking, and singing, through the ether. Voices and music in the air. Mass communications -- instantaneous.


Music continuing on the ether. It started 100 years ago this year, in San Jose, Calif., the dream of Charles Herrold -- on again and off again from atop the Garden City Bank Building. Where once there were only the dots and dashes of Morse Code, suddenly into radio operators' headphones came music and voices.

PASSING THE TIME . . . through the ether, they called it a century ago.

Passing the time. Through the ether, from miles away. New friends discussing the news, talking about the weather and playing records on the Victrola.

Regular broadcasts began in 1912, with the water-cooled carbon microphones wired directly into the spark-gap transmitter. And so was, in effect, everybody listening to such a marvel.

A century later, San Jose Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy
is on a mission to make sure "Doc" Herrold isn't forgotten. Not this year.
Charles Herrold was an inventor and teacher who opened the Herrold College of Wireless and Engineering on San Fernando in 1909. As Herrold and his students noodled with the emerging technology, they would play phonograph records into microphones so they could test their radio signals.

Turns out the noise was a hit among crystal set hobbyists, who were suddenly picking up music and voices on their contraptions.

"They'd call up Doc Herrold,"
[retired San Jose State journalism professor Gordon]
Greb says, "and say, 'Hey, could you play some more songs?' " No word on whether the requests came with dedications.

Herrold kept up the broadcasts until the United States entered World War I, at which time the government commandeered the air waves. By the war's end, newfangled vacuum tubes rendered obsolete Herrold's system, which relied on arcing electrical currents.

Herrold struggled financially after the war and gave his KQW to a church in return for a job at the station. The church eventually laid him off and sold the station to a company that renamed it KCBS, of which perhaps you've heard.

It's a genuine Silicon Valley story: An innovator makes a bet on technology and comes to market before the market is ready. Disruptive technology throws him off his game. He fails, but his original concept changes the world.

Of course, we like to end our Silicon Valley failure stories with a comeback. Herrold's story didn't work out that way. He finished his working years as a janitor at the Oakland shipyards. He died alone in 1948 in a Hayward nursing home, not far from where Greb was enjoying a budding radio career.
TRAGIC, but somehow appropriate. The father of radio as we know it met a fate emblematic of broadcasting today -- talented individual innovates, builds an audience, gets thrown away by the industry he helped build, fades into obscurity. Whadda ya know, even in radio, everything old is new again . . . including eating its own.

The ingrates who bought KQW from Herrold fired Herrold from KQW sometime in the 1920s. By the early 1940s, KQW was the Columbia Broadcasting System affiliate for the Bay Area and became the CBS-owned and operated KCBS in 1949.

By 1945, Doc Herrold's creation had grown so that
it could produce a half-hour docudrama celebrating KQW's 33rd anniversary, calling dibs by nearly a decade on the 25th anniversary of commercial broadcasting's birth with KDKA in Pittsburgh. An entire industry had grown out of Herrold and his radio students chatting about the news and playing the Victrola into a carbon microphone wired up to a spark-gap contraption.

TODAY, those days -- the 1930s and '40s "golden days" -- mark something of a high-water mark for the radio arts in America.

And a century on from those first rudimentary broadcasts to California wireless enthusiasts . . . the industry Doc Herrold dreamed up has cast aside all the innovators who trod his path and filled his shoes.

Ten decades on, the wireless languishes in a high-tech rest home of its own making . . . alone, destitute and waiting for the last sign off.

This is San Jose calling. Is anyone there?

Los Angeles calling. Is anyone there?

New York calling. Anyone there?

Chicago calling. Is anyone listening?

This is the wireless station at Omaha calling. Is anyone there?

Omaha calling CQ. Is anyone out there?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tolerance and diversity on the march

When an angry mob attacks a grandma, rips a cross out of her hands and stomps it to splinters, then sets upon her and the TV crew trying to interview her. . . . Well, I don't know about you, but in contemporary parlance, I think that's called a "hate crime."

HAT TIP: Catholic and Enjoying It.