Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An open letter to Victoria Taft:

Shut up.

Are those fangs I see, or... um, canines?

Really. Walk away from the microphone. Go back to your other job... what was it again? Oh, that's right. There is scant information on you on the Internet. All I could find out is that you attended the University of Washington. I don't know what you studied nor if you graduated. Linkedin says you are in "entertainment." Really? Baiting morons to spew hatred is entertaining? Inciting the unwashed masses to foment and call "them" Marxist, Socialists and... yes, Nazis. That's entertainment? Today, I heard you railing against the "enviros" because they want to cease coal production and export. You made it sound like it would be okay for China to continue to burn coal, and hell, why shouldn't we? You seem to believe that climate change is "junk science." Do you really believe that, or is that just you being entertaining? Facts don't seem to matter to you. But, in that you aren't alone. Your tricorn wearing idiots cast off facts that don't jibe with their twisted agenda. Does it matter to you that China is now ahead of the United States in developing renewable and sustainable energy resources? You advocate the continuation of coal mining because it gives people jobs. Developing alternate energy wouldn't? Have you ever heard of black lung? I'm not sure if people get cancer from working on wave technology or wind power. I do know mining kills people... a lot of people. Those that mine it and those that breathe in the emissions. It's funny, when I went to Google images to find a picture of you, there are posters of President Obama positioned with Stalin and Lenin. Really? I am not sure if riling up the idiots is entertaining, but in other countries you and your ilk would be arrested and charged with treason. You abuse freedom, not espouse it. Go home. Join a book club. Learn to knit. Find a hobby. Do the right thing. Tell KPAM you are done and tell them to take the other "entertainers" off the air. Montovani would be preferable to the extremist haranguing you and your cohorts spew. Oddly, I wish you had a National audience, so more people could hear the bile you spit, in the name of "entertainment" and expose the verbal ugliness you deal in. I actually do think you are fundamentally unhappy. And, what if you got your way? What would you do if Sarah or Newt or whoever you stand behind got into office? Would you be satisfied or would you find something else to rail against? Maybe you'd turn leftie and complain about the right. You'd be like Salk without polio. Who would need you? You are either very bright and know how to manipulate the morons out there with their guns loaded, their hatred against anyone not lilly-white or right-wing crazy, or you are a complete idiot. Personally, I am a bit tired of trying to figure out which you are. It doesn't matter. The message has gotten garbled. Whether a genius or a moron, just go away... or just shut up.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Piece, on earth.

This originally meant "ban the bomb" when that was fashionable and necessary. I don't know how much it helped or who decided to co-opt it to be the "peace" symbol. Maybe it needs to revert to the original meaning. True peace will never occur with the constant threat of militarization. Banning the bomb and the START treaty are all well an good, but as Ncholas Kristof wrote in yesterday's New York Times ("The Big (Military) Taboo"), the United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined. That's insane.

Not only is Kristof a compassionate journalist. He is also a gifted writer. This line popped out at me: "...if you're carrying an armload of hammers, every problem looks like a nail."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I don't know much about art...

Of course, I'm laughing.

( from the Sunday New York Times, December 19, 2010--"Big Bucks and Been-There Fare")
... "food artist" Jennifer Rubell, daughter of big-deal collectors Don and Mera Rubell, continued to draw big art crowds to her eatable installations. Slaughterhouse-worth of animals have been tortured and killed to enable Ms. Rubell's career, and everyone smiles and digs in. The Brooklyn Museum, which these days snaps up any bones it's tossed, recently hosted one of these things.

* * *

So many ribs, so few assholes.

Is that Mario Batali in the orange shirt?

Okay. My first reaction is, "are you shittin' me?" My second reaction is wondering why Ms. Rubell hasn't been arrested and why hasn't the Brooklyn Museum been shut down for inhumane treatment to animals?

I'm not an animal nut. Honest. Well, I didn't use to be. My wife is and well, stuff rubs off. But this? This is so fucking obvious. Which reminds me of what Henry Chinaski hated about Eddie the bartender in Barfly; his obviousness. Here is this spoiled überliberal Jewish girl, the daughter of art collectors, no less. Can you say 'privilege'? Of course you can. Unfortunately, Jennifer has not artistic talent or ability, so she reverts to the age-old desire to shock. Sadly, her second sin is that what she is doing is ultimately boring. Her first sin, of course, is her amateur butchering in the name of art. It kind of makes you want to retire the word, or come up with another that one must qualify to use. A "food artist" is someone who works on the set of commercials or a movie. A "food artist" is not someone who "tortures and kills" animals for her own and those of her lofty strata amusement. There isn't much difference between her and Michael Vick, other than he's black and watched by millions on Sundays and she's a white Jewish girl, (yet another one giving Jewish girls a bad name), with every advantage in life, but one. Lenny Bruce danced around the idea in his Thank You Masked Man bit when he said that "without polio, Salk was a putz." I don't know. To me, it strikes me that every disease needs a host, or hostess. Whether it's Jennifer Rubell or Mitch McConnell... there's enough illness to go 'round. Can you say ‘ Emperors' New Clothes'?

Hang on while I Photoshop the Brooklyn Museum in flames.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Out of Our Heads

The clamor seems to be subsiding a bit. "Life," by Keith Richards is now on the decline on the bestsellers' list, being unseated by George Bush's memoir. It's hard to figure who is the bigger fabricator. I imagine Bushie comes off more flatteringly in his "autobiography." I quote it because, really, someone else wrote the book, just as Keith's book would not be nearly as readable without the input by Robert Fox. I bought "Life" when it first came out and read it soon after. I wanted to like it. Keith has been to me, as with so many of my generation and those that frustratingly pick at an electric guitar, unconsciously striking a Keith pose, up-striking a chord, a little too loud for my tinnitus tinged ears. I won't find out how Bushie comes across in his book. I do have to admit, Keith did not come out all that well. Most reviews of the book have been positive. The preview in the December issue of Uncut, the British music magazine was not so generous. Evidently, a lot of the revelatory info has been known to the rabid followers of Keith and the Stones. For me, what came across as a bad little boy, who grew up into an isolated, coddled and ultimately damaged adulthood. Keith turned 67 today. He was just 21 when the Stones hit the big time. He went from very little to luxury hotels, country manors, blue Bentleys and everything else that went with untold wealth, including any and all drugs available. He speaks warmly of Gram Parsons, who, for all we know, died as much from hero worship as heroin. Brian Jones and Mick Jagger do not fare as well. Brian, who he credits as the impetus behind the band was a thoroughly loathsome creature, who practically asked that Keith steal the affections (and oral expertise) of Anita Pallenberg. The fact that Keith refers to Mick as a superficial prima-donna is overwhelmed by Keith's cattiness. You get the sense that there is not a remorseful bone in Keith's ravaged body. Nor, for that matter is there any sense of consequence. The gun and knife play just isn't all that amusing. Neither is his referring to women as "bitches." He admits to his heroin addiction but never goes near the core of it, describing the feeling and the coming off it. He makes it sound both inevitable and somehow not horrible. After all, he reasons, he shot up in his muscles, he didn't mainline. He makes it sound like he fell off the wagon as many times as he went cold turkey. Nowhere does he bring up his drinking. That evidently isn't a problem. Knowing what I know about Ry Cooder and his influence on Keith's "self-discovered" alternate guitar tunings is, at best disingenuous. And, for all I know, he has taken off the 6th string of his trademark Telecaster(s) to make playing easier, with no significance to musicality. Whatever. After reading "Life," I came away knowing more and like less of Keith Richard.

The same can't be said for the two most recent books on Dylan. I don't necessarily know any more about Bob than I knew before I read Sean Wilentz's book, "Bob Dylan in America," and Greil Marcus's "Bob Dylan." Mr. Wilentz's book reminded me of the predominant problem with most books I have read about Dylan. The adoration gets in the way of clear, informational writing. I did find it interesting, though that "They're coming to take me away (ha-ha)" and "Rainy Day Women 12 and 35" have the same drumbeat.

Mr. Marcus, on the other hand, reveals himself as a sort of navel-gazing throwback to early rock journalism, always treading the fine line of taking itself too seriously. But then again, Marcus isn't a throwback. He's the real deal. His book is subtitled, "Writings 1968-2010." Suffice to say, the early stuff doesn't hold up. What passed for journalism in Creem Magazine over forty years ago is both naive, and out of date. He recalls the joy of coming home with a new album, tearing off the shrink wrap and putting it on the turntable... and listening to it, over and over again. He doesn't acknowledge accessorizing his listening experience with cannabis, but the passages in the book reek of it.

There are a lot of Dylan songs that frankly, I don't know what he is talking about. The songs have unfolded for me over time. Some have made me work a little to get it. And, honestly, I can't be objective about Dylan. He is, to me, an artist of such tremendous output and impact on those around him and on the planet in general. He has no equal and he never fails to amaze, impress and provoke. The first installment of what has been reported to be an eventual trilogy, "Chronicles, Volume One," reveals some of the intricacy, multiplicity and origins of its author. It may yet be the best book about Dylan.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let 'em Eat Cake

Senator McConnell as Marie Antoinette

I could say it. But I've already said it. So has damned near everyone else. On one side or the other. Everyone in America believes the country is going to hell in a handbasket, for (at least) two different reasons. My posts have grown more infrequent and I either need to write about other things, they will pretty much end. Politics in this country are, for the time being, a lot like the dungeness crabs I shelled the other day; they smell bad and can make you sick. Oh, and one more thing, they can kill you. No one has talked about the suicide rate lately, but you might find it interesting. Oh, and watch it rise as Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor and John Boehner cut unemployment benefits and cater to the über-rich. Entertainment is only one reason why The Walking Dead, on AMC is/was such a huge hit. Sure, zombies are big, but so is fear of an apocalyptic breakdown. To quote David Byrne, "this ain't no party/this ain't no disco/thgis ain't no foolin' around." It's the end of the world as you know it. I feel somewhat consoled by the Oregon darkness and the rural semi-isolation, but I won't be safe for long. The politics will become like an organism growing out of control in a really big Petri dish. It will no longer be a case of the players. Senators and congressmen won't matter. It will be the will of the people. Of the thing. The "dittoheads" as Rush calls them. They're already like zombies, buying into Mrs. Palin's mavericky gibberish... and, for chrissake, really... what does McConnell look like if not the undead? John Kyl is straight out of Central Casting and Boehner belongs on an ad for Chesterfield. Chicken crap, indeed.

The Marshall Islands are disappearing into the ocean (really). The government is trying to wrest the control of Alaska from the Alaskans in order to preserve some of the ice for the polar bears, whose habitat is literally melting away. It's so far beyond America... or any contrived borders. It's more than the retirement age in France or the tuitions in England. And it's more than the malignant disease and devastation in Haiti. It's more than the raped women and children in Africa or the starvation throughout regions of Africa and Asia. It's the earth. I usually misquote her, but one of the most memorable things my wife ever said to me was that man fucks up the earth a little every day he lives on it, or something to that effect.

I am really glad that I am as old as I am, and don't have children. This is an insane world to grow up in, let alone, grow old in.

As it is, I have found myself turning away from television news. I am in a self-induced 12-step program to wean myself away from Keith Olbermann and even Jon Stewart. It's relentless and unfunny. Better I should wax on about the weather, photography or guitar porn.

Guitar porn. Hmmm... stay tuned.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fame—thankfully—is fleeting

Warhol said it, and hopefully, he was right. I would like nothing more than to see the likes of Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell relegated to answers in a future edition of Trivial Pursuit...

You know, I could be a little Asian, too

Separated at Birth?

Just as an aside, I found the Anti-Christ Alfred E. Newman on a Google search. It is from Interesting.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Let me take you down...

Living is easy
with eyes closed
misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone
but it all works out
It doesn't matter much to me...

On Sunday (Halloween), the Oregonian ran a story on p. 2 wih the banner, “Focus on politics.” The headline was Climate change skepticism, denial run deep in tea party movement. The story originally ran eleven days earlier in the New York Times ( I’m not sure what precipitated the Oregonian’s delay in running the story or if I should even read into it. Reading it was enough.

Understanding the world begins and ends here.

Norman Dennison, founder of the Corydon Tea Party in southern Indiana was quoted in the article as calling climate change a “flat-out lie.” He said he based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teachings of Scripture. “I read my Bible. He made this earth for us to utilize.”

Kelly Khuri, founder of the Clark County (Indiana) Tea Party Patriots calls the “so-called climate science just ridiculous.” She believes it’s “all just a money-control avenue.”

The article states that these views are “spread by a number of widely followed conservative opinion leaders, including Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, George Will and Sarah Palin, who oppose government programs to address climate change and who question the credibility and motives of the scientists who have raised alarms about it.”

Because scientists usually have untoward motives for their findings, right?

“The oil, coal and utility industries have collectively spent $500 million since the beginning of 2009 to lobby against legislation to address climate change and to defeat candidates who support it.”

What was I saying about motives?

The article quotes a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, which found that 14% of tea party supporters said that “global warming is an environmental problem that is having an effect now, while 49% of the rest of the public believes it is.”

“More than half of tea party supporters said that global warming would have no serious effect at any time in the future, while 15% of other Americans share that view, the poll found.”

“And 8% of tea party adherents volunteered that they did not believe global warming exists at all, while 1% of other respondents agreed.”

What does all of this mean?

Aside from the fact that if, as predicted the Republicans (re: Tea Party candidates) take control of either or both houses of congress, nothing will get done, specifically any climate change legislation. It also means that the fat cats, like the notorious Koch Brothers will continue to dominate the willingly ignorant into thinking they’re empowered and free, all the while, they accelerating the death of the planet. Kind of reminds me of a Bob Dylan song. In fact, it could have been written today...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The operative word is "moron."

Last night I was watching Anderson Cooper. On his "Keeping them honest" segment, he discussed the constitutional scholar, Christine O'Donnell and her understanding--or lack thereof--of the separation of church and state. He had three panelists discussing the issue. Two men and a woman. The woman turns out to be someone named Dana Loesch. She claims she is not a Republican, but a member of the Tea Party. That association earns Ms. Loesch the status of "moron." What? I have to respect these idiots? They give the old expression "collective unconscious" a new meaning.

But I digress... let's get back to the issue at hand.

I Googled Ms. Loesch. She's a 31 year-old stay-at-home mom, who had been a liberal until she met and married her husband, Chris. But, Dana is no Tammy Wynette. Tammy kept her mouth shut, except to warble and pop them pills. Dana spews. I tried Googling her name and the word "education." Nothing came up. Hmmm. It is claimed that she is the co-founder of the Tea Party. An auspicious honor if there ever was one. Playboy said, "Loesch is the sweet Midwestern goth version of Laura Ingraham." I wonder if they've gotten her to take her clothes off for that pictorial, "naked morons on the right." Actually, she is kind of cute. I think she was having a bad hair night last night. It was stringy and glued to her head. Meeoww. Michael Savage called her "My mental match" and has had her substitute for him, on "The Savage Nation." Now, there's an honor... coming from one of the most hateful, self-centered dicks on the planet and on the airwaves. There's a special place for Michael Savage but it is not on the earth but under it. Another topic for another post. For now, the topic is Dana Loesch and the idiots who buy into her nonsense speak.

Kind of cute, huh? Reminds me a bit of
The Mothers of Invention's song, "What's the ugliest part of your body?" Some say your nose. Some say your toes...
I think it's your mind.

From the transcript of Anderson Cooper's show:

" ...when you deny rights in the classroom to one group, when you deny rights to one group in favor of secularism, which is its own religion -- religion is not -- is not patented by just a faith in God or Christian principles. It's a devotion and a set of beliefs to a certain something."

A "certain something?"

Are you shitting me?

Does Dana really believe "secularism" is a religion? I think she does. Which earns her a merit badge is stupidity. says that "Calling secularism (the insistence on separation of church and state) a religion should be instantly recognized as an oxymoron." The operative word is... moron.

Dana and her ilk, and their access to the media scares me and makes me dread election day. Maybe she's smarter than she lets on and is just leading the lemming to the cliff's edge. But maybe she is really a moron... and is just leading the lemming to the cliff's edge. It is kind of a no-win situation. As Frank Rich pointed out in his column in the Sunday New York Times, if the Tea Party loses, they're just going to get angrier. If they win, they will gloat over the remaining sane.

This is no longer about birth certificates or being a muslim. This is about the safety and future of this country. Dana Loesch and her minions make me want to take my ball and jacks and play the game somewhere else.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Yesterday's Statesman Journal endorsed former NBA center and 75th draft pick and current Republican candidate for Oregon governor. On the front page of the same edition, the Statesman Journal ran a piece headlined, "NO GUARANTEES-- Biggest war chest doesn't always deliver governorship." It seems Dudley has almost twice as much in campaign funds as his Democratic rival, former governor John Kitzhaber. Dudley has received $2.25 million from the RGA (Republican Governors Association) and $285,000 from the Stimson Lumber Company. Kind of reminds me of the out-of-nowhere quip from candidate George Bush in his debate with John Kerry... "I am the owner of a timber company? Want some wood...?"

On the other hand, Kitzhaber/s biggest contributor (at $175,100) is the Oregon Educational Association PAC.

Does that make Kitzhaber a better person and/or a better candidate?

Perhaps, but not for that reason. I personally find a candidate for the governor of a state that has a fucking pine tree on their license plate in the pocket of a lumber company transparently repugnant.

Where is Ken Kesey when you need him?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Deja Vu all over again.

This seems to be a familiar subject and extrapolation of a Pete Townsend song. It's illustrated this blog before. According to, "Pete Townshend wrote this song about a revolution. In the first verse, there is an uprising. In the middle, they overthrow those in power, but in the end, the new regime becomes just like the old one ("Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"). Townshend felt revolution was pointless because whoever takes over is destined to become corrupt."

Townsend said in a Rolling Stone interview that, "It's interesting it's been taken up in an anthemic sense when in fact it's such a cautionary piece."

Today's extrapolation is driven by the Washington Post piece, (carried in the Oregonian), "Reports rip White House's response to BP spill." It seems the Obama administration "failed to act upon or fully inform the public" of the worst case scenario. Their underestimation delayed action on a response to the spill. The article quoted one of the reports, "the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent top handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem."


It's not like the current president and his administration haven't done anything. They have. He and his staff have accomplished a lot, in a short time, especially considering the adversarial climate in Washington. By the same token, the previous administration also accomplished a lot... let's see, they initiated an unprovoked war with Iraq, committed war crimes, created one financial disaster after another (including cutting taxes for the rich). Oh, and Dick Cheney was a disaster all his own. That's all behind us, right? The left plays the blame game–-and an accurate one--but who cares? They're as full of shit as the right... maybe more so. The right makes no claim to utilizing intellect. Melodrama and scare tactics are their ticket. The left is more disingenuous by claiming compassion, representing the "people" all the while bending over backwards and taking it up their collective ass, seeming to be thanking their rapists.

The Gulf disaster truly is Obama's Katrina, just like the right said early on. At this point, I really don't care what else he has accomplished. His administration's response to the reports was to minimize, and in some cases, flat-out deny the findings. Where have we heard this before?


The thing that makes this report so disheartening is that it completely feeds into the right's initial criticism. "Hope and change," they jeer, like some taunting chant at a baseball game.

So, what's left? (pardon the pun). A massacre is predicted for the mid-terms. The president has proven to be much less of a concern because of his color or foreign birth than for his same-old same-old. Really. I can't exactly turn to the dark side and start chatting up half-governor Palin or Newt. From the frying pan and all that. Really... what's left? If we gong the incumbent, what will replace him?

I don't know.

Not that long ago, we heard chants of "anybody but Bush." That "anybody" appeared to be somebody special. A charismatic, unifying agent of change... hope and change. Now that "anybody" doesn't seem to be working out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


emaciated fashion model, Freja Beha Erichsen and ageless rocker, Mick Jagger

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Stars Might Lie, but the Numbers Never Do

(lyrics by Mary Chapin-Carpenter

After last night's tough loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox are now 6 1/2 games back, with only six games left to play in the regular season. Mathematically, they can pull off an upset and land in the playoffs, but there are a lot of if's involved. If they win the rest of their games (3 with Chicago and 3 with the Yankees). If Tampa and the Yankees lose all their remaining games. The post-mortem for a tough season will come. Right now, the prayers are in and the money is, as always, on the home team. GO SOX.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You might have missed this one

From the Jewish Review (Portland, OR)
Kapparot rite said foul

Jerusalem (JTA)—A leading Israeli rabbi has come out against the tradition of using a live animal for the kapparot ceremony.

Religious Zionist Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the chief rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Beit El and the head of the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva in Jerusalem issued a religious ruling suggesting that it was better to give money to the poor rather than wave a live chicken over one's head and transfer one's sins to the animal in order to achieve atonement for sins in advance of Yom Kippur.

The ruling came at the request of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel, Haaretz reported.

* * *

The above article does beg for a comment: First off, this is crazy! However long this ritual of flinging a chicken about over one's head, it needs to stop, for more than the obvious reasons. It makes Jews look like nuts. We've got enough against us as it is, what with controlling the World Bank and the entertainment industry, and being the brunt of the ire of hate groups, racists and various and sundry other angry goyim, not to mention the arabs. In fact, the whole ritual seems like something the arabs would do. It just seems too barbaric for members of the tribe. Let me be clear, I am not governed by any Yeshiva or settlement on the West Bank. I haven't gone to a synagogue since moving to Oregon and used to go to the High Holiday services at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. My wife and I have chickens. I hesitate saying we "own" them. They are very much their own hens and roosters.We house and feed them. I would no more think of twirling one over my head than I'd put a loaded gun to my head. Especially, Fabio, who has had it in for me since the year gimmel, or last year, whichever came first. Come to think of it, I'd like to put a loaded gun to his head, but my wife would never forgive me. Besides, I'd have to get a gun. Which brings me to the conclusion that just because the Marx brothers and the Three Stooges, along with Henny Youngman, Lenny Bruce and Shecky Green were all Jewish is no justification for twirling a chicken over your head. The laughs you may get are outweighed by the shame you will feel of having chicken shit on your nice black coat and having to explain it to the Chinaman at the dry cleaners.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Las gallinas de arriba cagan a las de abajo.

The chickens on the top always shit on those below.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Sunday on Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer asked House Minority Leader John Boehner about the proposed tax cuts. He asked him three times, just to make sure he and his viewers heard it right. Boehner said that he would vote for the bill if it offered cuts only for those making under $250,000 a year. He said it three times...
... then he was called up on the carpet by his counterpart in the senate.

Is it me, or does Mitch McConnell look like an alien middle-age Ninja Turtle zombie? Yeah, I know... but I digress. McConnell stated emphatically there will be no exceptions to the tax cut. It is non-negotiable. His cohort from the land of Mex-bashing, John Kyl was quoted in today's paper as saying that "his party will not give ground."

The rich will get richer. And the blind will be led to the cliff's edge. Maybe the Tea Party populace can't read. Maybe they want to enable the rich more than they already are. Maybe their hate for our President and his party is so virulent that they will take every contrary position, even if it directly and adversely affects them. Can this issue be more transparent? It is not good for those who seem to be supporting it. It is bad for 98% of the population.

Maybe President Obama will stay try to his word and not back down to these hypocritical whores. And I don't use that term lightly. I don't quite know what else to call Mr. Boehner, especially after the revealing article in Sunday's New York Times. It the presumptive next Speaker of the House is not only a chain-smoker and avid golfer, but is best friend to big business lobbyists-- not surprisingly, tobacco company flunkies among them, who have contributed "at least" $340,000 to his campaigns. The Times article reported that "Mr. Boehner won some of his first national headlines in 1996 after he was caught handing out checks from tobacco lobbyists to fellow Republicans on the House floor. Then the fourth-ranking House Republican, he said he had broken no rules and was simply assisting his lobbyist friends, who were contributing to other Republicans’ campaigns."


"From 2000 to 2007, Mr. Boehner flew at least 45 times, often with his wife, Debbie, on corporate jets provided by companies including R. J. Reynolds. (As required, Mr. Boehner reimbursed part of the costs.)

In addition, over the last decade he has taken 41 other trips paid for by corporate sponsors or industry groups, often to popular golf spots. That makes him one of the top House beneficiaries of such travel, which has recently been curbed as a result of changes in ethics rules.

Mr. Boehner continues to travel to golf destinations on a corporate-subsidized tab, though now it is paid for through his political action committee, the Freedom Project. In the last 18 months, it has spent at least $67,000 at the Ritz-Carlton Naples in Florida, at least $20,000 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., and at least $29,000 at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, federal records show, for fund-raising events."

So, when the hapless Tea-Partyists rant about wanting their country back, what exactly are they talking about? Checkbook diplomacy? Maybe they mean taking the country club back. But they don't have a chance on that score. Those clubs are restricted. When they stick that bumper sticker on their family sedan, they'd better think of the ramifications. Between Glenn Beck, Boehner and McConnell, I am no longer sure who will play Lonesome Roads in the remake of A Face in the Crowd. They are all certainly as convincing as Andy Griffith, though not nearly as entertaining.

What? McConnell in a cowboy suit, singing and-a-laughing? I don't think so,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's alright, Ma...

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

Saturday, Glenn Beck brought about "tens of thousands" of people to the Lincoln Memorial to not talk about politics, but to tell the audience that he is channeling La Grande Fromage and that his holiness is telling him that this country is his, whoever HE is. I keep asking myself how people can be so stupid but, like Zimmerman sang, it's blowin' in the wind.

Out of the dream, out of the sky
Into my heart, into my life
And you were just a face in the crowd
Out in the street, thinking out loud

Thinking back, it was sinful... Sue Lyons, Carol Lynley sinful. Lee Remick. Ouch. Ga-Ga can't hold a candle to that kind of hot. Elia Kazen, Budd Schulberg, Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau, Lee Remick... oh, and Anthony Franciosa. A Face in the Crowd truly is a movie for the ages. Like a sped-up version of yesterday, and what will happen tomorrow. The truth will win out. Sooner or later.

The whole enchilada makes me somewhat happy or relieved I guess, that I'm in relatively rural Oregon and not the middle of Los Angeles. It's not 2012 I'm worried about. No apocalypto. More just the slow and steady grinding down of our moral and spiritual fiber. The very thing they are trying to win over is being lost to lowered expectations and mass disillusionment. I would like to think it is a matter of time before the vox populi come to their senses and topple Mr. Beck like the false idol he is.

Or we can sit our days out under the shade of a gently swaying pine tree, overlooking the rolling hills and carrying shades of the plots of land. The gold of the just cut wheat. The distinct rows of green meandering over the green hill. The blue skies and the ever present hints of "real America"-- not the words on bumper stickers or on Fox, but at the ongoing State Fair and the farms and ranches of the mid-Willamette Valley, the folks in Salem working on encouraging the diversity of the population. What Beck and his loud and mostly ignorant ilk are doing is stepping up the "blandification of the whole situation," (as stated by Greg Brown). The postings on his own website indicate the disparity and divisiveness of his followers:

Facebook User11:27 am
It was a very inspiring event. America to turn back to God and American values.

Mahilena Dianz10:53 am
It is always a good thing to see a great number of Christians and spiritual people together rejoicing in Love,....and this is good, but the messenger who brought it all together is not a true leader, he is camouflaged into a peace maker which he is not he is a conservative extremist which we do not need as a leader.

Hmmm, maybe they're not so ignorant, after all.

Mahilena Dianz10:51 am
This event will be forgotten pretty soon!!! ...this has and will not have any significance in our Nation...

Facebook User10:50 am
This event is a turning point for our nation.

Facebook User10:00 am
Blessed, honored, and oh so privileged to have attended Glenn Beck's rally on a sunny Saturday afternoon in our Nation's Capitol. From the people we met, to witnessing 'God's Fly-Over', to listening to His word (God's through Glenn), and praying among the masses, it was an awe-inspiring/glad to be there/God loving proud to be American kind of afternoon. God bless Glenn Beck for doing this, God bless all of us who are in His service (God's, of course), and God bless America ♥ If we haven't been doing it before, now is the time to go out and say the right thing, do the right thing, and get on our knees and pray to God for His Divine Providence in helping to get all of us back on track.

Oy, vey. I feel your pain but your blind allegiance to a gold coin huckster who proclaims on the top of his web home page that he combines entertainment with enlightenment. Well, I suppose he's half right... and all wrong.

Mark Burak9:37 am
Mahilenduh, please go away. This is a wonderful place right now and does not need to be infected by your mean ignorant spirit. Hava a great day... somewhere else

Mary Annette Nicholson Weeks9:29 am
I was truly amazed as I looked around me on Saturday and viewed the diversity of the attendees. The Spirit of God moved in Washington,DC on Saturday and we prayed as ONE for the restoration of the founding pronciples (sic) of this country!

Glen Beck, formerly a Roman Catholic, divorced his first wife, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He and his healthy second wife joined the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Why, if there is a Big Kahuna, would he decide to channel him or herself through such a flawed and transparently hypocritical "entertainer." This is the same man who has a bestselling novel that he didn't write. Beck is a deejay who stopped spinning platters and switched to selling himself and his self- taught deluded thinking.

If such a man has been chosen by the Big Kahuna to pass down the big words, what exactly does that say about BK? That He (or She) is a really bad judge of character? Perhaps. And perhaps His or Her lemming followers won't know what hit them when they fall from the metaphoric cliff.

I am glad that the blind and those void of original thought/incapable of thinking for themselves found solace, strength and revelation in Saturday's restoration event. Nothing was in today's (Monday's) paper about the "event." A blip on the screen. An aberration of less significance that the reflective interpretation of the Madonna on a recently washed office building window. Just as Lonesome Roads was found out for what he was, so too, will Glenn Beck. The sheep-like throng of drooling semi-literate Bible-thumpers will either wake up and smell the lack of veritas or find another phony huckster to follow.

What was attempted to be restored Saturday was neither hope nor honor. The masses should be praying to P.T. Barmum. There's a sucker born every minute, which is what people like Glenn Beck pray for.

"shhh! don't tell them!"

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Today's paper carried an AP article headlined, Looking for the oil? NOAA says its mostly gone." The article began with " ...the government said Wednesday that the mess made by the BO oil spin in the Gulf of Mexico is mostly gone already.

What's left in the water is still almost five times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez in 1989."

Remnants of that spill continue to show up... over 20 years later. The big point, though is... what happened? Didn't we all vote for the "YES, WE CAN" candidate? This report, in combination with its consistent support of the BP lies shows emphatically that the candidate of change is the president of same old same old. The handling of this felonious disaster by the administration has been fairly abysmal, but the explicit supporting and publicizing of such a ludicrous and obvious PR lie drops the administration to another notch on the believability scale.

"'I think it is fairly safe to say ... that many of the doomsday scenarios that we talked about and repeated a lot have not and will not come to fruition,' White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said at a briefing with NOAA's top scientist." (AP article)

Yeah, right. I suddenly feel like I'm reading about Ron Ziegler again. But with a nasty twist. Even beyond Tony Snow or Ari Fleischer. More like Dana Perino, who is now a pundit on Fox. Does that rate as an oxymoron?

But I digress. The point is, I will never be able to erase the broadcast scenes during 9/11. And I don't think I will forget the video on the news of the plumes of black smoke in columns spewing out of the surface of the ocean. There's something clearly apocalyptic, Blade Runner, Mad Max about the world we're living in. I just ordered a copy of Children of Men. I've only seen it once but it (god, I hate this word... ) resonated with me. Lately, I've been thinking about the Michael Caine character. We live in the country, surrounded by rolling hills and pine forests. An hour from a respectably sized city. But tonight, we're within earshot of an outdoor Pat Benatar concert at the Gardens. I guess you could call that comic relief.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


(July 4, 1930 – July 13, 2010)

When horrible stuff is going on every day in the news, it is so refreshing to actually smile at something in the newspaper (even if it is so obviously biased). Jack Ohman's cartoon in today's Oregonian was clearly drawn from an outpost of Red Sox Nation... all the more reason for me to like it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Letters to the Editor

The following are two letters printed in The Oregonian, verbatim with no changes, edits or personal comments. To paraphrase the now tired expression, "they are what they are."

Help me out, GOP (July 9)
I have been a strong supporter of the Republican Party my entire life. I was very disappointed when I read that my party was responsible for filibustering the Senate jobs bill.

I have been unemployed since Aug. 4, 2009. I have not been sitting around on my sofa eating bonbons and watching TV since. I have a personal website advertising my resume, I'm advertising my website on my car. I've been on the news and the radio to promote myself and my website. I search the job boards and newspaper classified ads daily. I'm working very hard to find another job.

I am still unemployed after almost a year, and it is very depressing. The unemployment check I receive each Wednesday is only half of what I was earning when working full time. I feel hopeless some days when all I receive is more rejection e-mails and letters from employers.

I do not understand why we can pass a massive health care bill, dump money into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and send money to other countries when a disaster hits, yet our government cannot help its own. I know I am not alone in my disappointment over the jobs bill, and I hope that the government will not turn its back on its constituents.


The party line (July 10)

Sherry Callahan (Letters, July 9), a "strong supporter" of the Republican Party her "entire life," is now unemployed and disappointed that the party has been filibustering the Senate jobs bill, which would extend unemployment benefits and preserve some existing jobs.

Since the Republicans' position on the jobs bill is consistent with the party's past positions on unemployment and jobs, apparently this position was acceptable to Callahan -- even laudable -- as long as she was not one of the unemployed. It is this kind of selfishness that the Republican Party has always counted on as it opposes legislation to benefit those in need.

Sorry, Sherry -- you got just what you voted for.

Southeast Portland

Sunday, June 27, 2010

You Can't Tell a Book by Looking at the Cover

(apologies to Willie Dixon)

Sunday's Statesman Journal carried a piece by Bob Minzesheimer of USA Today entitled, "Glenn Beck's latest a political thriller." I didn't have to get too far into the article to learn Mr. Beck doesn't actually write his own books. And how could he find the time, what with his TV show, his radio show and spending all his spare time looking for Nazis under his desk and in the cupboard?

Minzesheimer wrote that Glenn Beck "is not only a bet-selling author; he's an Oprah Winfreylike force in publishing."

The article goes on to report that "Beck and 34 employees have built a $32 million-a-year media empire that includes books such as Glenn Beck's 'Common Sense,' and his own magazine (Fushion)."

But–and Mr. Minzesheimer doesn't conceal the fact–Beck doesn't write his own books. Mr. Minzesheimer marvels at Mr. Beck's honesty (this is the part where I reach for the air sickness bag).

(Beck) "takes a team approach to writing his own books, including his first political thriller, 'The Overton Wiindow'. On the title page, Beck shares credit with three contributors. He calls the conspiracy novel 'my story,' but he said Jack Henderson, one of his contributors, 'went in, and he put the words down."

Uh... putting "the words down" is called writing.

The article went on. "Other novelists might not acknowledge such help, but Beck, a self-described 'fiscal conservative and common-sense libertarian,' said, 'I'm a team kind of guy."

Teams play sports. They don't write books. For Minzesheimer to claim that Beck has an approach to writing while having "contributors" is disingenuous. To praise him for admitting he has a "team" is downright sleazy. Glenn Back is not a "best-selling author"-- even though "The Overton Window" is number one on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover fiction.

For the record, Minzesheimer goes on to point out that the book isn't even Beck's idea: "The novel was inspired by two other ideological thrillers: Michael Crichton's 'State of Fear,' which challenged conventional science on global warming, and Brad Thor's "The Last Patriot"... and so on. Brad Thor refers to Beck as the "Oprah of right-wing fiction," which implies Ms. Winfrey doesn't write her own books, either. If I was the executor of Dr. Crichton's estate, I would sue Beck's plagiarising ass. Fortunately, for Beck, I am not.

I should be wearing hip boots when wading into this subject. It's like slogging through pond scum. No one else's name is credited on the bestseller list for "The Overton Window." The fact that it is number one on the list is more of an indictment of those that buy books than on the alleged author. The unwashed masses may buy the book, but they may not actually read it. It looks good on their book shelf, with Bill O'Reilly's books and, of course, their signed copy of "Going Rogue."

* * *

Half-Governor Palin, may still smart from being asked by "the Perky One" (Katie Couric) what periodicals she reads. She brought it up in her bestseller. And her defensive response at the time was "all of them." She, of course, couldn't name one. It was Randy Rhodes, who pointed out on the radio that "Going Rogue" was a bestseller "written" by someone who didn't write it and doesn't read. And she made $12 million on it and the signing tour? She and the morons that bought it should be ashamed. But they, like their idiot heroine, don't have the intelligence to even grasp the concept of shame or, for that matter, depth of any kind.

In 1972, the National Lampoon produced a spoof of a piece by then radio personality Les Crane, called Deteriorata. It is still funny, even without foreknowledge of the original. One of the lines I have always liked and find particularly appropriate in this day and age is "a walk through the ocean of most souls will barely get your feet wet."

I won't belabor the point of Mrs. Palin's non-acheivement. It is just too obvious.

* * *

And while we're on the subject of bestselling authors who don't actually write their own books, allow me to vent for a moment on the head of James Patterson.

When he did write his own books, they were't very good. I read "Along Came a Spider" and stopped there. I am a fan of crime fiction and suspenseful stories. Patterson was merely formulaic. You could tell he was writing to sell the story to Hollywood. And he did. Grishom did the same thing with "The Firm," but he has gotten better as a writer. Patterson has gotten rich, and lazy.

Caroline Leavitt, novelist, screenwriter, writing mentor and book critic, (among other self-admitted areas of interest and addiction) asked on her blog (, "Is it wrong for James Patterson not to write his own books?" Her answer was simply, "yes."

She wrote, "I just finished reading the NYT Magazine article about how James Patterson no longer writes his own books, but does the outlines and hires different co-writers. He does credit the other writers, and he probably does pay them handsomely, but the whole thing is coiled up in my stomach like bad diner food."

Ms. Leavitt is kinder than I.

I read the New York Times Magazine piece when it first came out. Patterson is like Warhol in the factory, but instead of a loft in lower Manhattan, the article reported that Mr. Patterson has the biggest house in Palm Beach and is building a bigger one. And in the background I hear Mark Knopfler. Money for nothing.

The shame of it is that there are some very good writers out there who can't raise spit, never mind get published. The publishing houses are no better than Hollywood, churning out sequels and the same shit in a different container season after season. I recall not that long ago Random House holding a contest to find a writer to come up with a sequel to Mario Puzo's "The Godfather." Is that really necessary? Are there no new ideas left?

I could rant on. The point has been made. I'm reading Stieg Larson at the moment. It's a bestseller.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I blog

I blog. I backed into the activity and sometimes I am not particularly proud of the fact that I became somewhat nerdy by participating in this endeavor. Yet I feel it is one of the most truly democratic things I can do. It is open to anyone. Even journalists. And, make no mistake-- I ain't one of those. To quote the great American, John Mellencamp,

Some people say I'm obnoxious and lazy
That I'm uneducated
And my opinipn means nothin'
But I know I'm a real good dancer
Don't need to look over my shoulder
To see what I'm after
Everybody's got their problems
Ain't no new news here
I'm the same old trouble
You've been having for years
Don't confuse the problem
With the issue, girl
It's perfectly clear
Just a human desire

I sometimes merely regurgitate what has been in the paper or on the news. As I have said, more than once, I can't make this shit up. We are living in strange, historic and truly frightening times. Occasionally, truth and good sense wins out, as in Dr. Orly Taitz being shut down mightily in the polls in California and seen for the emigré nutjob/birther conspiracist that she is. Sometimes, lunacy wins out, as in Dr. Rand Paul and/or one of my favorite targets, the conflicted former half-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, who is both an idiot and charismatic as hell.

If you have spent any time here, I appreciate it. Honestly and truly. If you have stumbled on here as a result of a clever label, visited, read and left because, really, I am just another left of center voice crying out for reasonableness, than thank you. I hope you come back. This blogging thing is a little like NASA sending out a gold record into space, with a little speech by Nixon and Chuck Berry.

Maybe somewhere in space, there is a green Marty McFly, with a made-on-alpha centuri Gibson 335, duckwalking and singing "Johnny Be Good."

When all is said and done, I am not much different than a dog licking his balls. Why? Because I can. And I make no bones about it. I blog. It is not what I am. It's what I do, occasionally...

Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum.

I drink, therefore I am.

I am what I am.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Going Rogue--a scary thought

Letters to the Editor, The Oregonian

June 6:
What would Palin do?
I find it interesting that the letter "Palin's good sense" (May 30) implies that Sarah Palin could handle the following: Iran's nuclear capabilities, North Korea's aggression, the war on terror, open borders, illegal immigration, two wars, etc. Please tell me what Palin, who bailed on Alaska, would do in these situations. I'm waiting to hear.


June 8
You can be sure of that
Lori Cohen said she was "waiting to hear" (What would Plain do?, Letters, June 6) what would Sarah Palin do about Iran's nuclear capabilities, North Korea's aggression, the war on terror, open borders, illegal immigration, two wars, etc.

Four little words: More than Obama has.


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Grover

Can I say, all humor aside, Mr. Grover, his sentiments, and those he is aligned with, scare me half to death? He and his line of thinking is so misguided. I don't know if her supporters have noticed, but Half-Governor Palin hasn't done anything. She talks of reloading and writes crib notes on the palm of her hand. She virtually admitted to the "perky one" (Katie Couric that she doesn't read, yet made millions on a book she didn't write. It is true she went from a sportscaster to a pundit for cable TV. So did Keith Olbermann. One ran for and was elected to public office in between TV gigs. One did not. One is more knowledgeable than the other. Mr. Grover may be right. Mrs. Palin may indeed do "more" than Obama has. But more does not mean better. Her foreign policy experience is limited to be able to see Russia from her kitchen window (where Joe McGuiness can now see in). If her response to Mr. McGuiness is any indication, I'd hate to see what "more" she would do with our border situation. And, though I shudder at the very thought of her attempting international diplomacy with the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il, it may be first-dude Todd, that shadowy omnipresent thug who might actually scare me more. As I say, Mr. Grover, be careful for what you wish for.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Same Shit/Different Day

The Brown Pelican, Louisiana's State Bird

I was looking for something in my office the other day. For someone who likes to think of themselves as neat and orderly I am an indiscriminate slob and collector of random bits of paper and minutiae that could be almost anywhere... except where I think I "filed" them. I'm not now sure if I found what I was looking for, but I did come across a page from The Oregonian, from June 29, 2008. The paper had printed a letter I wrote them in response to an editorial by gone but not forgiven right wingnut, David Reinhard. I searched the paper's website and Google, looking for the original editorial, but couldn't find it. I imagine The Oregonian has a filing system similar to mine. You can probably figure out,from my response, the gist of Reinhard's editorial...

Regarding David Reinhard’s column, “Look who can’t drill off some of our shores (June 26), offshore drilling is a bad idea, plain and simple. It’s no the solution to our short-term high prices, most of which can be traced to OPEC price regulation and American corporate greed.

Conservative estimates indicated that it will take no less than 10 years to get any oil out of any new offshore drilling sites, and what is there is not enough to solve our long-term needs.

Reinhard writes that a lot has changes, including environmental protection. In the very same issue of The Oregonian, the front page featured a story of the reduced penalty to Exxon Mobil — from $5 billion to $500 million — for spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil in Alaska in 1989. In essence, the Supreme Court has sanctioned the reduced responsibility for Big Oil.

President Bush is now urging offshore drilling as the answer. The Republican nominee for president, John McCain, is an active supporter.

But, except for those like Reinhard who have chosen to make it such, this is not a partisan, political issue. This is about clinging to the past, stuffing billions into the pockets of big business and killing the planet in the process. Or, we can approach the future as a challenge for our scientists, engineers and visionaries to create a cleaner, safer, more conscious world.

Separated at Birth

Friday, June 4, 2010

Life in Hell -- Gulf version

To he best of my recollection, I have never seen anything by Matt Groening even remotely resembling political or topical humor. Maybe this is how he expresses his outrage. Sometimes, humorists don't try to be funny. They try for something else, like a punch to the solar plexus.

Oil spill in the gulf, as seen from space.

* * *

From the Associated Press:

Newly disclosed internal Coast Guard documents from the day after the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig indicated that U.S. officials were warning of a leak of 336,000 gallons per day of crude from the well in the event of a complete blowout. The volume turned out to be much closer to that figure than the 42,000 gallons per day that BP first estimated. Weeks later that was revised to 210,000 gallons. Now, an estimated 500,000 to 1 million gallons of crude is believed to be leaking daily.

The damage to the environment was chilling on East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast, where workers found birds coated in thick, black goo. Images shot by an Associated Press photographer show brown pelicans drenched in thick oil, struggling and flailing in the surf. Authorities said 60 birds, including 41 pelicans, were being rescued. That more than doubled the number of birds at the rescue center next to Fort Jackson.

* * *