Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year in Review

Hard to believe it’s been over 3 months since my last post. Time flies while global shit is hitting the fan. My absence has neither been due to a lack of subject matter nor a lack of interest in said. The fact that I couldn't get up for the game to rant about Greece or Syria, Hamas or Newt is testament to information/bullshit overload. I mean, what can you say when the quote/unquote objective report says it all. You don't have to read into it. The bizarre and If you have read any of my posts then you know one of my fall-back tenets is that I can’t make this stuff up. I am constantly finding myself in awe of the pitiful state of America’s politics and economics, which are inextricably connected.

My temptation is to not recount the events of the year. Unless the media and the government have completely seized your brain, you lived through the year and know what happened. I hate to dwell on the bad and the ugly, so I won’t. Like I say, you know what happened. I don’t have a top ten of news stories. I don’t have a top ten list at all. I didn’t see ten movies this year. The music I listen to is mostly ten years old and I barely watch commercial television. And not in that effete way, like I am above it all... I've just lost interest.

The bottom line is, I agree with Time magazine, who named the Occupy Movement as “person of the year.” I don’t particularly agree with the direction the movement took. I don’t think shutting down our ports. I watched the movement evolve into turning the consciousness into encampments for the homeless, although I do think it is high time there is attention given to the homeless problem. More than anything else , the movement brought attention to the disparities between the haves and have-nots in the country. Personally, I find the adulation that the unwashed masses show toward anything and everything that relates to wealth is grossly unhealthy. I can’t blame Robin Leach for doting on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Like Billy Joel sang, he didn’t start the fire. But things have gotten so far out of control.


While Republican politicians and phony religious zealots preach family values, Kim Kardashian covers every tabloid and gossip rag in the country. In a country where half the children go to bed hungry, there is a certain level of obscenity when a talentless, pneumatic woman becomes a celebrity by allegedly being herself, along with the rest of her talent-deficient family. Where said woman gets married for $15 million, sells the rights to the event to People Magazine and separates from her new husband 72 days later. Basic math reveals that the amount of money spent could have put an average of 300 more teachers to work.

A convergence of collagen and cleavage.
Baby-dolls in public?

At the beginning of this past Christmas shopping season, one of the more popular viral videos showed a woman pepper-spraying other shoppers so she could get the latest gadget for her ADD addled, malnourished child. Last week, near-riots broke out as predominantly African-American shoppers literally fought to be among the first to buy a pair of $180.00 Air Jordans. They have bought the dream on layaway. The payments go on way past their misbegotten goal has been tarnished and torn.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark

As human gods aim for their mark

Make everything from toy guns that spark

To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark

It’s easy to see without looking too far

That not much is really sacred

It is sad and ugly to watch people shed their dignity like a slithering serpent crawling out of last season’s skin. How much proof does one need that our priorities have become so distorted and ultimately self-annihilating? Can I tell you something between just you and I? I used to go after that gold-toned brass ring. Hell, that was how I was brought up. I wanted the latest, newest, shiniest, coolest. But that drive has passed. It is not like I am not motivated. It is that my priorities have shifted. Last week, my wife and I went to a town in California’s central coastal region that has evolved into a wine growing Mecca. I literally got sick when I looked at the menu at a restaurant we went to with our friends. The prices were so stupid expensive, I had what could only be considered a panic attack. I just can’t do that anymore.

You say you’re sorry

For tellin’ stories

That you know

I believe are true

You say ya got some

Other kinda lover

And yes, I believe you do

You say my kisses are not like his

But this time I’m not gonna tell you why that is

I’m just gonna let you pass

Yes, and I’ll go last

Then time will tell who fell

And who’s been left behind

When you go your way and I go mine

Petra Ecclestone-- almost real

Ever read the New York Times Style section on Sundays? There lies the bastion of the idle rich for intelligent people to cluck their tongues at out loud but secretly envy. Have you ever heard of Petra Ecclestone? I never did until I read about her in said section of the “Old Gray Lady.” Now, there’s a piece of work. Admittedly not American, but included for buying a serious piece of it. She is 22 years-old, and, as far as I can figure, has never worked a day in her life. Well, that’s not really true nor fair. She has worked, as a model for Armani. But it is her diminutive father’s moolah that allowed her to buy Candy Spelling’s Holmby Hills estate for $35 million. She called the 57,000 square foot mansion a comfy little home.

The former Candy Spelling Residence... comfy

It is publicly known that she also has a $91 millon home in Chelsea, London for her five dogs. She reportedly has seven Rolex watches, each worth about $33,000 and ten Hermes Birkin handbags worth “upwards of $65,000.” And, how do you define obscene? How about this: in reaction to Paul McCartney’s proposal for meatless Mondays, Petra was quoted as saying, “I am not a veggie and I don't have much time for people like the McCartneys and Annie Lennox.” In all fairness to Ms. Ecclestone, she was launching her leather fashion line at the same time. Fashion line? Hmmm… makes me think of Paris Hilton and the Olsen twins.

Bernie Ecclestone, Petra Ecclestone, Slavica Ecclestone
A financial giant and human slug, with his wife and child
Where are your stilettos, Bernie?

I could never have imagined that an over-the-top Oliver Stone film (is that redundant?) would be so prescient. But the essence of his movie, Wall Street was right on. It hit the golden nail on the head. He pointed out, through the words of Gordon Gecko, that greed is actually not so good. That greed leads to really bad things.

* * *

Bottom line: if you want to find out what made the top ten lists, find it in the magazines and newspapers. Otherwise, cue up Blonde on Blonde, Beggar’s Banquet, Who’s Next and London's Calling, roll another joint and kick 2011 on down the road.

Thanks to Bob for the words, always.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The King's Speech and Mine-postscript

The Stuttering Foundation of America has gained a lot of traction with the movie, The King's Speech, and justifiably so. They are a wonderful organization focusing attention on a misunderstood and sometimes debilitating affliction. They raise awareness and urge those affected to seek help... any help is better than doing nothing.

As I wrote in the post, "The King's Speech and Mine (2/2011), I was a severe stutterer for the first 23 years of my life. I was fortunate enough to learn about and attend the Fluency Shaping Program at Hollins College, in Roanoke, Virginia. I will never say I was cured as no one is truly cured of stuttering, but when I arrived at the program, I was diagnosed as 33% fluent (which meant I couldn't be understood 2/3 of the time I spoke). When I left, I was 99% fluent. My life had changed. Literally.

The SFA ran a contest last month: What, if anything, are you doing differently since seeing "The King's Speech"?

This was my entry...

Let's see... I contacted some old acquaintances (pre-fluency) and, among other things, thanked them for their patience, friendship and understanding when I was at my worst, speech-wise. I put a call into Jane Fraser (Executive Director of SFA), who I have gotten to "know" over the years, but have never had the pleasure of actually meeting. I again offered my "pro-bono" services-- in the past, I have written and designed some ads for the SFA. I called Hollins to try to get in touch with some of the staff people who helped transform my life. And finally, I sat in with a monthly NSA support group meeting in Portland, Oregon and showed the attendees my "before and after" video from Hollins. For the most part, the people who were there were moderate stutterers--there was one man who was quite severe. What concerned me a bit is that, for the most part, the consensus among them was that I am "special" (because my speech improved so dramatically). I don't consider myself "special." I just took the Hollins Fluency Shaping Program as seriously as I could.

It's been over 38 years and I am, for all intents and purposes, fluent. As I have discussed with Jane, there are those who are almost contemptuous of the Hollins program and question their high success rate. I have always thought, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I also truly believe the line I wrote for one of the FSA ads: "There are many proven, effective ways to reduce stuttering. Doing nothing is not one of them."

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Image used for illustration only
Apologies to Ellie May Clampett

For 27 years, I read the Los Angeles Times. Stands to reason, since I was living in Los Angeles. For the last 5 or so of those years, my wife and I also got the New York Times delivered. To some, that would seem redundant. But we were informed. We moved to a little town in Oregon almost four years ago. We almost immediately subscribed to The Oregonian out of Porltand. Never mind that we live about an hour south of the "city." It was–and is–for all intents and purposes, the only choice we had. I'm not one of those people that can eat breakfast in front of a computer. Call me a Luddite. For that matter, call my wife a Luddite. We won't mind. I bought a book today, with a cover and paper pages. Imagine. But the point I am trying to make is that neither the LA Times nor the NY Times prepared me for The Oregonian. The paper is skimpy, and what seemingly little content it does have is filled to a great degree with small time crimes and white trash misdemeanors. For that matter, the Portland TV news also seems to occupy itself with the kinds of events and incidents that would never make it in a big city. Near drownings. One car accidents. And gang violence. I have said it before: if the Los Angeles Times covered gang-related crimes the way The Oregonian does, it would have the daily heft of the Manhattan phone book. And so, it is a convergence of a seemingly lack of editing and the contents itself.

I could have chosen almost any example. But the excerpted item from Tuesday's Oregonian particularly struck me. It should probably be read while throwing a shot of Elijah Craig down yer neck and listening to a raucous country song, (perhaps "Papa shot the Juke Box" by Mark Chesnutt)

* * *

Police arrested Sally Ann Lee, 57, on accusations of attempted murder. She allegedly fired a rifle about 8:00 pm at two people at Lee's U-Catch Trout Farm... about five miles from Vernonia.

Her brother, Tom Lee, 56, told 9-1-1 dispatchers his sister was drunk and armed. The dispatcher heard at least two shots during the call, and people were running for cover, Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said.

* * *

And don't you dare get me started on Salem's Statesman Journal.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Michele Bachmann scares me.

Michele Bachmann... scary.

And here I was thinking Rick Santorum (synonymous with sexual spooge) was going to be the fun/nutjob candidate on the right. But while Mrs. Palin is still creasing her butt on the fence, we have the irrepressible, always quotable and imminently laughable Michele Bachmann. This is not the first time I have written about her and I daresay as the campaign stumbles along, she will come up again. So while everyone is justifiably fretting over the debt ceiling negotiations, there is Mrs. Bachmann to offer, if nothing else a little comic relief in the midst of a national crisis.

The Republican party could not be more divided. Speaker of the house John Boehner is not only seeming to be moderate, he is also alone, swinging in the breeze. Traditional Republicans are pretty much keeping mum as the Tea Party is dictating unrealistic guidelines for the debt ceiling negotiations. They have soundly rejected Boehner’s proposal, saying it doesn’t cut enough. But Our Lady of the Land of Lakes takes it even further…

According to the AP, Mrs. Bachmann has “vowed to vote against any increase in the debt ceiling and called the deal being negotiated on Capitol Hill as one based on ‘illusory’ and ‘counterfeit’ savings. She said President Obama has misled the American people on when the government would run out of borrowing authority and has employed ‘scare tactics’ that have needlessly spooked Wall Street.”

Talk about scare tactics. If this is indicative of her thinking, the very idea, no matter how remote, of her becoming the leader of the country sends chills down my spine.

But wait, it gets better… in an article from USA Today, Mrs. Bachmann was quoted as saying that, “if (President) Obama raised the debt ceiling on his own, ‘he would effectively be a dictator.’

And, of course, Mrs. Bachmann concludes that at that point, President Obama would have to be overthrown.

Not wanting to be left out, obvious Tea Party nutjob, representative Tim Scott, who has been on the job about six months, but is clearly a constitutional scholar (NOT), said that any “unilateral” action could be grounds for impeachment.

Yeah, right.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse: Back in Black

There are plenty of pictures of Amy Winehouse you can find on a Google image search that show her at her worst: cocaine hanging out of her nose, her eyes rolling up into her head, in various stages of dishevelment, inebriation and worse. Amy became a joke. A sick and sad joke. Clearly, the woman had demons. She also was surrounded by enablers and fools. Family members, boyfriends (and a husband), and toxic hangers-on. Her death yesterday at 27 years-old was probably inevitable, but that doesn't strip the story of the inherent sadness and tragedy. It would be one thing if Amy was a no-talent pop star. But she wasn't. She was immensely talented. Her brilliant Back to Black album is both a personal watershed work and an important piece of soul-pop. Without her, we would never have seen the likes of Duffy or Adele and others. It is, I suppose, difficult to separate the artist from the woman, her artistry from her public personae. I sincerely hope that she will be remembered not as fodder for the tabloids nor just for one song (Rehab), but for her talent and a promise never to be fulfilled. Time may help. Bottom line: her death is a terrible waste. Her talent will be missed. Ironically, she and I shared our birthday. Her death, for the moment, is, according to the London police, "unexplained."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let Gary Haugen die.

"The law? The law's wrong."

Death-row convicted killer, Gary Haugen. Had a small victory today in his battle for the right to see his sentence carried out. He was able to fire his lawyers who have been publicly questioning his mental competence in his desire to see his sentence meted out. How incompetent is someone who would rather be put to death and spend the ret of his life locked up in a cell by himself with an hour or so a day outside? As I have written before, Mr. Haugen was tried in the beating murder of his ex-girlfriend’s mother. He was competent then to stand trial, and competent enough to be sentenced to life without chance of parole… until he, along with another inmate, crushed a third inmate’s skull and stabbed him 84 time. Again, he was competent to stand trial for the crime and competent to be sentence to death. Ah, but Oregon’s death penalty is hardly ever enforced. What Mr. Haugen is demanding is not beyond the realm of comprehension. It makes sense. He is clearly competent to have his sentence carried out.

It is of no small consolation to see that Oregon is not alone in the hypocrisy of having the death penalty on the books but makes every effort not to enforce it.

Not Ted Bundy

John Edward Duncan III was convicted in Idaho of kidnapping, torture and murder. He was sentenced to death. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has seen fit to request a competency hearing, to see if Mr. Duncan is competent to represent himself. The AP reported on Tuesday that “Duncan has been found competent by every court that has considered the issue that his three death sentences remain in place.” U.S. Attorney Wendy Olsen was quoted as saying the hearing was simply a procedural matter.

Mr. Duncan was sentenced to die in 2008 for kidnapping, torture and murdering a 9 year-old Coeur d’Alene boy in 2005. Prosecutors said that Duncan “snatched Dylan Groene and his 8 year-old sister from their Idaho home after killing their older brother, mother and mother’s fiancĂ©. Duncan kept the children at a Montana campsite for weeks before killing Dylan and returning with Dylan’s sister to Coeur d’Alene, where he was arrested.

Now, maybe I have mistaken the law according to fictitious San Francisco inspector Harry Callahan, but if a scumbag pervert like Mr. Duncan is not competent to being put to death—according to the law of the land for his crimes then the law is wrong… and there is no reason for the death penalty, at least in Idaho and Oregon.

* * *

UPDATE: The Statesman Journal reported on Saturday, July 16. that the two attorneys that the judge agreed to remove from the Gary Haugen case have filed a petition asking the Oregon Supreme Court to rescind the order.

The attorneys had noted that they had "explained to the judge at Thursday's hearing that 'the court should make a decision based on the request of someone who has been determined to be delusional and incompetent by the only mental health professional to examine him following the issuance of the appellate judgement."

Hmmm. Does this sound like a delusional, incompetent individual?

"You have attorneys that have agendas that have so overpowered their ethical obligations and oaths that they're willing to sit there and just blatantly lie in the face of a presiding judge."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Opinions on the debt crisis are kind of like assholes... everyone has one. I have one and I have this forum to lay it out for anyone who stumbles upon it or seeks it out.

1. Raise the debt ceiling. It is essential for the running of this country and its alleged good standing in the world. It need not--should not--have anything to do with cuts in spending or taxes or your mother-in-law. They can be dealt with later. Right now, raise the debt ceiling. And I say this to our weak-kneed, I-want-to-reach-across-the-aisle president.

2. President Obama should come out and announce he is not going to seek nor accept the nomination from his party for reelection. It worked for Lyndon Johnson. Dig in and make the next year matter more than anything.

3. Throw in congress. During the negotiations with the non-negotiating GOP scumbags, put their pay on the table. As part of the items "on the table" to reduce government spending, put congress's salaries and benefits. Fuck 'em. They have brought this on. They are holing the country hostage. Pull their bennies from under their noses. Stop reaching across the aisle and make them pay for their effete bullshit. Pull the fucking rug from out under Cantor, Boehner and McConnell. Strip them of the freebies and the fat salary. Sacrifice their sorry asses.

4. Tax the rich. They need to pay their fair share. Never mind fooling with loopholes and entitlements and the rest. Tax the rich the way you tax the middle class, which is disappearing faster than the bunny in the top hat.

5. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are off the table. Shall I emphasize the point? Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are off the table. End of conversation. You don't place the burden on the poor and the elderly. What's next, Mr. McConnell, you're going to run them over with your Escalade?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Out of the Box

Funny thing about Pandora's Box. Once she opened it, she couldn't get what had flowed out back in. A little like the negotiable items president Obama has let drop onto the table. Medicare. Medicaid. Social Security. The very items he promised were non-negotiable as a presidential candidate. The things that were never supposed to be "on the table." The leaders of the GOP are acting like terrorists, holding the country hostage. And instead of walking away, (as Representative Cantor did, in a rehearsed impulsive moment), and not negotiating with these fat cat thugs, the president flinches at first blush. You don't give in and give up before putting up a fight. Why no one can get through to t he GOP base and tell them that their leaders' tactics will only hurt them by burdening the middle and lower class even more than they already are, while continuing to enrich the top 2%, who are minimally taxed as it is. The GOP sham of saying increased revenues will hurt small business is so obvious, to everyone but those drinking the tea. In fact, damned near every argument on why taxes should not be raised for the wealthy can and has been debunked. Common Dreams ran a piece by Paul Buchheit on The 10 reasons not to tax the rich. And why they're all bad.--

The point is clear and the scenarios are only too obvious. The GOP represents the big business and the wealthy. They have stated their position and are visibly unmoving. The Democrats claim that they will not vote for anything that has the triumvirate of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in it. It is literally a matter of time before we know what the president said when he said, "Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to." I'm not sure if the influence for that kind of quotable is Vince Lombardi or Yogi Berra. We will have to see if, unlike Pandora, the president can take off the table what he has put on it.

Personally, I don't have a good feeling.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Not helping my ambivalence

The July 1 issue of the Jewish Review reported that former Fox News nutjob Glenn Beck will address the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee on July 11 during his “visit to Israel.” From past events, we know Mr. Beck doesn’t so much “visit” as trample. The meeting Mr. Beck will address “reportedly will focus on the September meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, when the Palestinians say they will ask for recognition of a Palestinian state.”

Mr. Beck will be filming his address to be shown on his subscription-based online “show,” which, according to the Jewish Review, will be used to promote Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally to be held in Jerusalem in late August. The report goes on to say that Herman Cain, CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and a current Republican presidential candidate and Senator Joseph Leiberman have said they will attend the rally.

My faithful readers may recall I wrote about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and my desire to understand it more fully. I must say, my research has not made me more of a supporter of Israel. I must admit, I am, to be diplomatic, ambivalent. But Mr. Beck rallying in Israel does not make my support any stronger. In fact, it makes me more suspect.

Oh and the Gaza flotilla issue is not helping matters any.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Liars and Morons

The news has reported that, after Michele Bachmann’s stellar performance during the Republican Presidential debate, she is rapidly ascending in the polls to be the front runner. Not everyone is happy about this development. And I’m not talking about myself. As much as I want to see Rick Santorum be considered a serious candidate, I don’t think he’s got snowball’s chance in hell. Not with Michele in the race… and Sarah in the wings. But I’m jumping ahead of myself. To get back to Mrs. Bachmann–she’s the liar I am referring to, although the label “moron” also fits her like a J.C. Penny’s suit. Her gaff about Lexington and Concord being in New Hampshire was one thing. Her claim that John Quincy Adams was one of our forefathers that fought in the Revolutionary War (when he was 8 years old) was ludicrous, but she did try to back it up. Like Mrs. Palin, she insists on being right (vis a vis, half-governor Palin’s explanation of Paul Revere’s ride), even when she’s clearly wrong. And there’s the one about our forefathers fighting slavery… while they all had slaves. But, let’s put all that nonsense aside. For the time being, let’s focus on Mrs. Bachmann’s well-earned title of “liar.” She has said that she has “never gotten a penny” from a family farm that has received federal farm subsidies when in fact the farm produced income of at least $32,500 and as much as $105,000 from 2006 through 2009. In addition, she reported in personal financial disclosure reports (required annually from members of congress) that she holds an interest in the family farm worth between $100,000 and $250,000.When pressed on the issue, Bachmann responded that she “wasn’t involved in decisions about running the farm.” Uh… no one asked her about “running” the farm, only about earning an income from it. Then, there’s the one about her husband’s Christian mental health clinic. While criticizing the Democratic healthcare program and making the repeal of “Obamacare” her number one priority, her husband’s clinic has received tens of thousands of dollars in state and federal funding. Her response to these facts in a Sunday morning interview with Bob Schieffer was to divert the conversation to the Obama administration’s reckless use of limousines. Yes, behind that beatific smile, big hair and scary eyes is a liar. Meet the new boss… same as the old boss.

* * *

And then there’s the perpetual moron. Half-governor, fully-loaded nitwit with a persecution complex and a bizarre level of pride of ignorance… Sarah Louise Palin. This week saw the world premiere of the movie, “Undefeated” in Pella, Iowa… the movie capitol of the world. Wha? The director, Steve Bannon, saw fit to begin the movie with drawn-out footage of Sarah bashing by Hollywood celebrities, clearly setting the star up as a martyr and victim. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the movie “opens with several minutes of Hollywood entertainers using some of the most vulgar language imaginable to express their displeasure with the former vice presidential candidate.”

“This is the first that I've seen much of that. It kind of takes you back," she told the Hollywood Reporter. "It makes you want to reach out to some of these folks and say, What's your problem? And what was the problem? And what is the problem?

"What would make a celebrity, like you saw on screen, so hate someone that they'd seek their destruction, their death, the death of their children? What would make someone be so full of hate and, I guess, a sense of being threatened that they would want to see that person destroyed?"

Don't hate me because I'm, uh... because, er....

You see? She’s a regular hockey-mom martyr like Jesus on skates.

Personally, the title, “The Undefeated” stopped me dead in my tracks. Am I mistaken or did she, along with presidential candidate, John McCain, lose the election? Weren’t they… DEFEATED??? Details, details.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A writer's obligation.

I would like to say that I am a voracious reader. The truth is, I read considerably less than I used to. What, with the television, the internet, the oncoming onslaught of increasing senior moments and attacks of CRS ("can't remember shit"), it's hard to find time to make a "to do" list anymore.

I also write. Again, not as much as I used to... I self-published two crime novels, under the pen name, Steven Mann, back in the '90's. Ah, yes, the good old days. Huh?

The complete works of Steven Mann.

At any rate, I did considerable research for my books. Since there was to be gunplay involved, I wanted to know what it felt like to shoot a pistol. I took a course at the Beverly Hills Gun Club (where else) and I shot semiautomatic 9mm's and revolvers--38.'s and 357. magnums. For the record, I prefer the Ruger SP-101. I wanted the knowledge so that the sentence or two that referenced handguns would ring true. I think that is the least a writer should do. He or she should know what they're talking about. They should never, never condescend to their readers nor ever think details are unimportant. I ran across a book once that had a character taking the safety off a revolver. It was the equivalent of hitting an unexpected STOP sign. Revolvers don't have safeties. A good example of a book where the author has all the hardware right is Chuck Hogan's Devils in Exile (a terrific, taut action thriller). Hogan, author of The Town, which was made into a damned good movie by and starring Ben Affleck, seems to relish the details, but doesn't bog down the story with them.

I once wrote to a writer after throwing down one of his books. I read the first two books by Robert Ferrigno, which I remember enjoying. Then I started reading a later one.

Writer, Robert Ferrigno
In the dark on facts.

He had his mysterious protagonist smoking Marlboros unfiltered cigarettes. There are no such things. I've known cancer-eager smokers who used to tear the filters off of bummed cigarettes so they could get the full-on benefits of sucking carcinogens straight/no-chaser, but that's different. Mr. Ferrigno had it wrong. Then his character got into his BMW 800 series sports sedan. BMW never manufactured such a vehicle. To my knowledge, the 850 was a sleek sports coupe, with pop-up headlights and enough horsepower to gobble up asphalt in seconds.

I didn't get very far in Mr. Ferrigno's book and subsequently gave away the books of his I had. I was never going to re-read them. By the way, I never did get a reply from Mr. Ferrigno.

Carl Hiaasen has been one of my favorite writers over the years. I've enjoyed his skewering of his home state of Florida from Tourist Season on. He shares his comic approach and locales with Dave Barry, who I also admire as a writer. Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs had me laughing out loud on the beach in Marina Del Rey years ago. It is clearly a bit of a stretch for Mr. Barry to write novels, though.

I have read all of Hiaasen's "adult" books (he also writes children's books) and even some of his non-fiction, including the brilliantly scathing Team Rodent as well as some of his collected Miami Herald pieces. His book, Nature Girl, should have tipped me off. The repetitive quality of his plots, characters and predicaments was showing. Okay. I can buy that. Robert B. Parker had a bit of a challenge keeping Spenser fresh. Hiaasen still provided a pleasant diversion. I have never not finished one of his books.

Except Star Island.

From the very first page of the book, paragraph two: "The stranger in Jimmy Campo's ambulance had two 35-mm digital cameras hanging from his fleshy neck, and a bulky gear bag balanced on his ample lap."

What is a 35-mm digital camera?

A camera can be one or the other, but not both. 35-mm describes the film size and digital cameras use no film.

I stopped reading the book. Was I being rash? Probably. Will I revisit it? Unlikely. Like I say, the writer has an obligation not to belittle or be inconsiderate towards his reader. DETAILS COUNT! Now, in his (and Mr. Ferrigno's) defense, Mr. Hiaasen is not writing police procedurals, but he is known for having cultivated a fairly sophisticated level of reader. He owes them better. There is no excuse for being sloppy. And, in my mind, Mr. Hiaasen has added insult to injury, by dedicating the book to Sonny Mehta, the publishing world God of taste and bestsellers. Hiaasen also thanks his editor(s).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Law

Gary Haugen–sentenced to death

First off, let me just say that one must be careful with Google searches. As Spellcheck misses things like homonyms, Google is kind of a non-discriminatory search engine. There is, for example, a Gary Haugen who is the president and CEO of the International Justice Mission, an international human rights agency that rescues victims of sex trafficking and human slavery. And then, there is a Gary Haugen who sits on Oregon’s death row. It is he that I am writing about.

I probably know less about the intricacies and nuances of the death penalty argument than I know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But that doesn’t disqualify me from commenting on it. I think it was Sophocles, the ancient Greek writer who said that “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.” And so, it is with that sense of self-empowerment that I let loose with my opinion on the Gary Haugen Case and capital crime in general.

Fact: Gary Haugen was found guilty of beating his former girlfriend’s mother to death in 1981 and was sentenced to life, with the possibility of parole.

Fact: Gary Haugen, along with fellow inmate Jason Brumwell, murdered another inmate in 2003. Brumwell had been sent to prison for his role in the murder of a convenience store clerk in Eugene. Haugen and Brumwell crushed David Polin’s skull and stabbed him 84 times. They thought Polin was an informant for the Oregon State Penitentiary officials and had told them about their drug use.

Fact: Capital punishment is legal in Oregon.

"I ask the court to at least respect my will and initiate the process for execution A.S.A.P!" Haugen wrote in an April 10 letter to the state court administrator. Haugen decried the "arbitrary and vindictive actions of this system" and said there will no efforts by him or anyone on his behalf to appeal his death sentence. (

Haugen’s public defenders made weak and mostly token efforts for a serious appeal. One of the motions for overturning the verdict was based on the fact that “the state should have provided an interpreter for a prospective juror who did not speak English and that excluding that juror violated his rights to a jury composed of a fair cross-section of the community.”


Haugen is scheduled to be executed on August 16. I will lay odds that it won’t happen. One of the reasons is so predictable and, in my opinion, wrongheaded. In this case, its name is “Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.” Despite Mr. Haugen’s wish for no appeals, the “group” has argued that the judge “initially agreed to let defense attorneys gather more evidence to establish whether Haugen was competent.” (The Oregonian, June 14, 2011)


Evidently, Mr. Haugen was competent enough to beat his ex-girlfriend’s mother to death, which sent him to prison in the first place. Once there, he seems to have been competent enough to procure drugs, and then to aid in crushing David Polin’s skull and stabbing him 84 times. How can he not be competent to be put to death, as was the punishment he was served in court? And if he is found to be incompetent, what then? Do we offer up treatment until he is deemed competent? And then, do we kill him?

The Oregonian reported that Muriel Lezak, the neuropsychologist who examined Haugen found that he “suffers from a significant attention-deficit disorder” and that “some aspects of cognitive functioning appear to be compromised due to fetal alcohol syndrome.”

So, Mr. Haugen can’t be executed as the law has determined because he has ADD? If he can’t pay attention for the time it takes to give him a lethal dose, the state can’t kill him? Is Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty suggesting Mr. Haugen get help with his conditions–say, counseling and medication–until he’s stable enough to be put to death?

Oh, and by the way, are you, in the least bit surprised that Mr. Haugen has fetal alcohol syndrome? What? Do you–along with Muriel Lezak and Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty–have your undies in a knot because Mr. Haugen is not considered normal enough to legally be put to death? Is a neuropsychologist really taken aback when she finds a brutal murderer's brain is wired badly? What did she expect? I don't think too many members of MENSA would beat someone to death. And don't give me the Ted Bundy argument. Like he was such a genius. In Bundy's case–as with Gary Haugen–there is the fact that he was a unfeeling, pathological killer, which supersedes his perceived brilliance. The fact that Gary Haugen has ADD doesn't totally explain why he would commit such horrifying criminal acts nor does it exonerate him in any way.

Why have a death penalty if you aren’t going to enforce it? Is it supposed to be a deterrent? Like all the other “deterrents,” criminals, by their very definition, ignore the threat of a death sentence. Do we expect criminals adhere to societal and psychological definitions of normalcy when we determine whether they live or die? If so, why? It’s okay to call criminals monsters in court but they need to be found human before we mete out their punishment… that’s crazy. Being a sociopath is not a sometimes thing. If you commit a sociopathic crime, your punishment should be measured as a sociopath, not a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome. Haugen is not a victim.

I said I didn’t know much about the subtleties of capital punishment, but I do know that the world would not be negatively impacted by Gary Haugen’s death. The state of Oregon, however, is negatively impacted by not carrying out the death sentence on Mr. Haugen. It has been reported that it costs the state well over a million dollars to house and keep criminal “lifers” alive and ensconced in seemingly endless appeals.

What do Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty want?

According to their mission statement from their website, “The mission of Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP) is to repeal the death penalty in Oregon as an essential step toward a more cost-effective, humane and restorative response to violent crime, and thus toward safer, more peaceful and just communities.”

And what exactly would be “a more cost-effective, humane and restorative response to violent crime?” What is cost-effective about keeping a seemingly incorrigible murderer alive and locked up? It costs $86.08 for the chemistry in a lethal injection, and a lot more to keep them alive in prison year after year. Oregon spends about a third more than the national average on housing, feeding and caring for prisoners. Each taxpaying household pays approximately $840. per year to the prison system. There are almost 14,500 convicts locked up in Oregon prisons–about 1 in 33 of all people in the state.

Bill Long, a Willamette University law professor and death penalty opponent who wrote the only book on capital punishment in Oregon, has estimated Oregon’s oldest cases could end up costing more than $10 million per defendant (the national average for capital cases is around $3 million). Hardesty estimated in 2005 that Oregon and its counties spend at least $9 million a year pursuing death penalty cases. (

School systems in the state are cutting teachers, librarians–even closing schools. They’ve also have had to reduce the number of beds in prisons—the way prison populations are measured. And what happens when prisons face budget cuts? They certainly don’t frontload the number of executions. No. They reduce sentences. Imagine if Gary Haugen was released? Would he come to terms with his fetal alcohol syndrome and live the rest of his life in a productive way? Or will he beat someone else to death? Where would you put your money? Personally, I think an informal “falling on a shank in the shower” program should be instituted in the Oregon prison system. But it would have to be kind of like the military’s former position on enlisted gays: don’t ask/don’t tell.

I am reminded of a pair of lines from an old Bob Dylan tune. “I’m liberal, to a degree. I want everybody to be free… ” But evidently, my liberalism ends at the door to the maximum security prison. There are just too many precedents, from Jack Abbot to Gary Gilmore, that indicate an absence of rehabilitation among felonious violent criminals. Gary Haugen will never get better. He will never be anything beyond a menace to society. He should be granted his wish and be put to death. This is not a Barry Scheck–the DNA proved him innocent–issue. Haugen’s DNA was all over the Polin murder scene. And this is not like Haugen is a first time offender. He is not going to get better. He will never contribute to society. He was convicted of life imprisonment when he participated in the violent prison murder of David Polin. Oh, and here’s a good one: his defense team argued in their appeal that the death sentence should be imposed after Haugen’s life sentence is fulfilled.

Oh and something else to ponder: is it hypocritical to be pro-life and pro-death penalty?

Just asking.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"The Saudi Arabia of Coal"

Virginia Representative Eric Cantor proved once again that his vision goes only as far as his pockets, which are clearly being stuffed by the rich, the corporate greedy and, in this case, the coal industry. He actually said that America is "the Saudi Arabia of coal." What a putz.

Sad to say, even President Obama has it wrong on this one; there is no such thing as clean coal. Consider it an oxymoron, as I consider Representative Cantor a conniving moron. Coal pollutes. But one thing the Republicans seem to be good at is pushing for planet-endangering policies that leave future generations a depleted, toxic planet. While the Republican continue to whitewash, mislead and/or downright lie, the semi-comatose hoards of blind followers buy the package, willfully ignoring the skull and crossbones on the label.

abandoned mine

Burn, Baby, Burn

Sunday, May 29, 2011

She's baack(and other movement on the right)

Saturday's Statesman Journal ran an AP story, reporting that Sarah Palin will "embark this weekend on a campaign style bus tour along the East Coast." The AP referred to half-Governor Palin as "telegenic but divisive"-- nothing if not tactful. She hasn't announced her candidacy formally, but was quoted as saying that she has "that fire in the belly" for a presidential bid. While most people would remedy that fire in the belly with Maalox or Pepto, Sarah takes it to mean the time is right to buy a house in Arizona and get on the bus. She said that the bus tour will serve as a reminder "who we are and what Americans stand for."

Scary thought, eh? We need an illiterate hockey-mom who quit a job less than halfway through the term to tell us who we are? If that is the case, "we" are in deep doo-doo. But the fundamental issue is that neither the Mavericky one nor any of the announced and/or unannounced Republican presidential candidates are talking to me. If I accept Mrs. Palin's premise, I have to imagine her telling me what Americans stand for amounts to respecting someone who is a quitter, who shoots wild animals from airplanes and helicopters, names her kids with nonsensical names, like Trig and Track, and, if I'm not mistaken, absconded with campaign funds the last time around to clothe herself in Manhattan finery. She better think this through before giving up her gig at Fox News. As it is, she has a movie coming out. IMAX? I doubt it... YouTube, more likely.

The AP article surmised that Mrs. Palin is looking at the current field and concludes, "why not me?"

The Kinkster (right) with Will Smith and Bill Clinton

Why not, indeed. The last person I recall saying that while running for office was the inestimable Richard "Kinky" Friedman. Actually, the Kinkster's tagline was "Why the hell not?" Unfortunately, Texans took him as seriously as Groucho and voted instead for Rick Perry. More on him n a minute.

Yesterday, Mrs. Palin photo-opped her way into the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride and rally. One could say her appearance was less than welcome by some of the participants.

Sarah Palin on the Stealing Thunder tour

Why just a few weeks ago, Newsweek ran a teaser placed above the publication's name. "Is Sarah Palin Over?"

Just when you thought it was safe...

She's baack!

* * *

No one is terribly concerned about my personal fave, Rick Santorum. I am a little saddened that he is not being taken seriously... yet. Before this whole thing shakes out, Rick may look damned good.

Newt certainly doesn't. Between his marriages, his infidelities, his flip-flopping on the Paul Ryan Medicare movement, Newt is just not being taken seriously.

Separated at birth?

Ah, and then there's former and closeted preacher, former governor, Fox News provocateur and bass player, Mike Huckabee. He has decided his "fair and balanced" gig is more better than being president. Somewhere down the line, Chuck Norris bailed as Mike's number one fan, replaced by inimitable Ted Nugent. Now, I have nothing against Mr. Nugent, other than the fact that the best thing he ever did was "Baby, Please Don't Go" with the Amboy Dukes. Actually, the picture below is Ted grooving out with Mike on bass, playing Ted's mega-hit, "Cat Scratch Fever."

Jammin' with Ted

I make the pussy purr with

The stroke of my hand

They know they gettin' it from me

They know just where to go

When they need their lovin man

They know I do it for free

Uh, Pastor Mike...? You should be ashamed of yourself.

Mike is out, but Rudy and Ricky are in the wings. It's like an off-night on the Ed Sullivan show.

Least likely to receive the nomination...
most likely to bow out before getting in, etc.

What am I thinking?

Which brings me to Texas Governor Rick Perry.

The mere fact that Mr. Perry didn't take the above mentioned Kinky Friedman's run for the governorship seriously is a huge negative. He may be a Te-Party fave for exactly the reasons I find him and his policies so detestable.

Lone Star Search winner.

I don't hold Mr. Perry's rugged good looks against him. He could be in a Cohen Brothers film or a character in a Cormac MacCarthy book. Rick Perry-- somewhere between Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin. He is the best–and the most obvious–that we can hope for. A good looking, empty suit. According to, Governor Perry is against federal funding for abortion, supports the equal rights amendment and the amendment preventing same-sex marriage. He opposes any restrictions on gun control, which seems to be less than a very smart policy, considering an alarming number of the guns bought in Texas are used during the commission of crimes in Mexico. In 2002, he had overseen the execution of a Mexican citizen, despite pleas from then President Vicente Fox. Also in 2002, he vetoed the ban on executing mentally retarded inmates. He is one of the governors in favor of citizens having to show photo I.D.'s in order to vote. Oh, and did I mention the guy's full of shit? In November, he emphatically stated he would not run for President.

Perhaps fate and the unpredictability of the race will set things right. Still, I've got my money on the other Rick... Santorum. No one else provides such slapstick over the top humor. But, wait... I forgot Michele Bachmann! No worries. There'll be time...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Maybe I'll be a Zionist.

opposing points of view

Tom Wolfe coined the term, the “Me Decade” in a piece he wrote in New York Magazine, extrapolating the line from the Clairol ads of the day, “If I have one life to live, let me live it as a… ”

I don’t necessarily want to be a blonde. Maybe I’ll be a Zionist. It seems like the time is right. Although, if I don’t get on the bus now, I may miss the opportunity. The chance to become a zealous supporter of Israel through Zionist eyes doesn’t come around every day. Listening to the rants of Ahmadinejad or watching Inglorious Basterds get the juices flowing. Or, more recently, the posts and comments of an Irish woman named Anna on Facebook.

Facebook can be the “six degrees of separation” gone terribly wrong. I know someone who knows someone who idolizes Sarah Palin and still doesn’t believe the president was born in Hawaii.

In this case, it is someone I met in Salem who, along with her husband, publish an online newspaper. I talked to them about writing about the gangs in Salem. We had a lively conversation and I never saw them again. When I got on Facebook, I friended them and the virtual newspaper. On the eve of Israeli president Netanyahu visiting the United States, our president spoke in favor of asking the Israelis to relinquish the West Bank, which they had taken over after winning the 6 Day war of 1967. To Netanyahu, it is simply not a topic to discuss. And this is where Anna comes in…

Under “Basic information” on her Facebook page, where damned near everyone else writes a little bit of puffery about themselves, Anna wrote:

“FREE GAZA... There will only be peace when the Jews leave. They do not belong on Arab land.

They are committing GENOCIDE everyday they are there. They have proven with all the ethnic cleansing and wars that they have no respect for Palestinians.

. . . thanks to all decent peaceloving Palestinians who are suffering so much right now.”

Ah, Hamas children... they blow up so fast.

Really? That's what you want people to know about you, first and foremost?

My heart goes out to all the peaceloving Palestinians, particularly the ones who dress their kids up in explosives. Maybe Anna hasn’t read the Hamas Covenant (or Charter), issued in 1988. According to Wikipedia, the Covenant “outlines the organization's position on many issues, and identifies Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and declares its members to be Muslims who "fear God and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors." The charter calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel."

Anna lists as one of her favorite books, “Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” And on May 18, she commented on Facebook that “Israelis are pure evil.”

So I’ve decided, rather than call this Irish Jihadist what she is in terms of Middle English, without any substance behind it, I would read up on my Israeli-Palestinian history. I’ve ordered three books on the subject. One claims to be unbiased. Another is clearly pro-Israel. The third is a collection of pieces, so it may be more balanced than the other two. I feel a little like Captain Renault in Casablanca, when he drops the bottle of Vichy water into the trash and kicks the can. My Judaism has lain dormant for most of my life. What there was of it was more traditional than religious, more custom than ritual. But if what Anna buys into and spews is representative of even a dozen others, it is dangerous, and far too reminiscent of events and attitudes of the past. Yes, those events and attitudes.

Now, of course, I don’t really want to be a Zionist. Even some Israelis don’t want to be Zionist nor do they particularly like what they stand for. But, at the heart of it, Zionism is simply “the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland.” Zionism takes many forms: Labor Zionism, Liberal Zionism, Nationalist Zionism, Religious Zionism, Green Zionism and so on. In 1975, the U.N. general assembly passed a resolution that designated Zionism as "a form of racism and racial discrimination." The resolution was repealed in 1991. By the way, the topic of accepting "Palestine" into the U.N. is being discussed. They are requesting membership if there is no peace with them and Israel by September. And who said there's no such thing as Palestinian comedy? Within the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Zionism is viewed by critics as a system that fosters apartheid and racism. The critics are, no doubt Arab. Wikipedia points out iin their page on Zionism that it “is dedicated to fighting antisemitism. Some Zionists believe antisemitism will never disappear (and that Jews must conduct themselves with this in mind), while others perceive Zionism as a vehicle with which to end antisemitism.”

All of which is to say that one needs to look past the labels and epithets and see people and their groups for what they are. Anna may be right– there may be some peaceloving Palestinians. Both of them may be very nice people. Then, there are the rest. I say that with an obvious tongue-in-cheek. Anna doesn't. From her words, she seems deadly serious, with an emphasis on 'deadly.' The thing is, there must be thousands–no, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands–who feel the way Anna does. I don't know if her comments are directed at all Jews or just the Israelis. Rarely is the distinction made. Did I mention I am Jewish? To paraphrase Jon Stewart, I'm not really a Jew... I'm Jew-ish. I am Jew Lite. But there are certain images indelibly etched in my mind that neither time nor tolerance will erase. When I went to Hebrew School, ostensibly to study for my bar-mitzvah, I had a teacher who had numbers tattooed on his arm. The girl of my dreams in high school was forbidden to date me because I was Jewish. I was assigned to a room in the dorm my freshman year in school with a kid from Sewickley, Pennsylvania who had never seen a Jew before and was driven to stab me or throw me from the nearest window in our room on the 16th floor. And like the hundreds of thousands of Anna's, there are hundreds of thousands of Jews (or Jew-Lites, if you prefer), who have had close encounters with the holocaust, brushes with anti-semitism, and feelings of persecution. The stereotype is nerdy, over-achieving and most of all, sublimating... sucking up and keeping a lid on it. There have been books written on the subject. But I digress. The topic is the hate thrust upon Israelis and Jews for things they have and have never done.

And this is where you should drop the needle down on "Neighborhood Bully," on Bob Dylan's Infidels album.

I will follow up on this topic once I gain insight and the necessary background that will invariably reinforce my dislike of the people like Anna and their ignorant, misdirected hatred.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Santorum: McCain doesn't understand interrogation


Former Sen. Rick Santorum said Tuesday that Sen. John McCain, who spent 5 1/2 years enduring brutal treatment at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors, doesn't know how effective waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques can be. The Republican presidential contender insisted the tactics led the United States to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a speech last week that waterboarding al-Qaida's No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, did not provide information that led to bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

McCain said he asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and that the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with fresh information from Mohammed. In fact, the name of bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, came from a detainee held in another country.

"Not only did the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed, it actually produced false and misleading information," McCain said.

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, Santorum said McCain was wrong.

Harvard grad and right-wingnut Hugh Hewitt,
broadcasting from an undisclosed location (his basement).

"Everything I've read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation," Santorum said. "And so this idea that we didn't ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he (McCain) doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works.

"I mean, you break somebody, and after they're broken, they become cooperative. And that's when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that's how we ended up with bin Laden," said Santorum.

He added: "Maybe McCain has better information than I do, but from what I've seen, it seems clear but for these cooperative witnesses who were cooperative as a result of enhanced interrogations, we would not have gotten bin Laden."

In the House, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the Intelligence committee, said the Justice Department should stop investigating CIA interrogators for alleged abuse of detainees under the Bush administration because their work was a "vital part of the chain" that led to the successful raid on bin Laden's hideout.

The Justice Department had no comment.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The former senator/Fox commentator is a deeply and publicly religious man. He may even believe he is a gift from God. And in that assessment, I couldn’t agree more. The guy is a gift. I am sure all the president’s men think so. Former senator Santorum is right up there–classified as a gift from God–along side half-governor Palin and “The Donald.”

Many pundits and right wingnut radio pretty much declared Mr. Santorum the winner of this week’s South Carolina Republican candidate debate. Fox, the host of the debate, declared Ron Paul the winner. “” declared Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain the “unofficial” winner. Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty was cranky more of the “candidates” chose not to participate. He was referring to Mitt Romney, but where was half-governor Palin, Michel Bachmann… and The Donald? Be thankful for small favors. Any of those three could suck the air out of the room… and Tom Pawlenty with them.

But back to our “gift from God” for a minute: In 2004, sex columnist Dan Savage launched a website and related campaign that defined “Santorum” as “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex.” Savage’s campaign was-and continues to be-so successful that any subsequent Google search on “Santorum” brings up the as the top link. The second highest link is Wikipedia, where “Santorum” is also defined as shitty spooge. Dan Savage, (no relation to Doc Savage, aka Michael Weiner) began his merry gay prankster campaign in response to former senator Santorum’s 2004 assertion that 2004 assertion that allowing same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality or, as Santorum put it, “man on dog.”

Homophobia should not be a dealbreaker for one running for president. No doubt, there are many Americans who probably agree with Santorum. For that matter, they may also agree with his statement during the debate (which he repeated in a post-debate interview with sympathetic blockhead, Sean Hannity.

“If you look at what President Obama has done right in foreign policy… it has been a continuation of Bush policies.” Santorum stated, adding, "He's done right by finishing the job in Iraq. He's done right by trying to win in Afghanistan. Those were existing policies that were in place." He continued, "What President Obama has done on his watch, the issues that have come up while he has been president, he's gotten it wrong strategically very single time."

Hmmm. Maybe Santorum could have alternate definitions. In addition to being a “frothy mixture,” it could also be a noun, synonymous with “liar” and/or “delusional simpleton.” erhaps, one could have a “Santorum,” which would mean a teeth whitening and brain reduction.

I need not go through a list of President Obama’s historic accomplishments since he’s been in office. Google it. They’re all there, and more... for example, what (or who) do we attribute the job growth that was reported on by the AP Friday?

Hiring now at fastest pace since 2006

WASHINGTON – American companies are on a hiring spree. Businesses delivered a jolt of strength to the economy by creating 268,000 jobs in April, the biggest monthly total in more than five years. The gains were solid across an array of industries, even beleaguered construction.

It was the third month in a row of at least 200,000 new jobs. The private sector has added jobs for 14 consecutive months. Even a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 9 percent appears to be a quirk.

The job growth was better than economists expected and perhaps the strongest sign yet that what they call a "virtuous cycle" has taken hold: When people spend more, corporate earnings rise, leading to more hiring and then more spending.

Companies have added more than 200,000 jobs for three months in a row.

… Retailers reported strong April sales, partly because Easter fell later than usual but also because people appear to be more willing to spend. Auto companies say sales are brisk. And factories have expanded production this year at the fastest pace in a quarter-century.

JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer – Fri May 6, 7:03 pm ET

No one is claiming credit for this. Maybe President Obama, fresh off his victory lap for having Public Enemy #1 killed on his watch, should (duly) take the credit. It sure ain’t anything Bush did. Nor, for that matter, can Representatives Cantor, Boehner and (economic policy architect) Paul Ryan claim credit. While their “Path to Prosperity” espouses stimulating the economy with a commitment to less government spending and even lower taxes for the rich, jobs have increased and the market is going strong under the Obama administration. Spread the good news…

And let Santorum run… Support his canidacy. Encourage him to keep talking mealy-mouthed gibberish. Let the wingnuts see him as the voice of the sleeper cells of stupidity in this country. I'm thinking, a vote for Rick Santorum is a vote for Barak Obama. Do I need to break that down for you? Santorum, as in divisive.

Meanwhile, the rest of us need to stay awake, stay focused and, to paraphrase W, “stay the course.”