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Archive for the ‘News Media’ Category

According to Joe the Talking Head Who Smokes Cigars and Sweats Profusely, here is absolute proof that Obama is a failed President.

  1. Tiger Woods isn’t going to take questions at his public appearance tomorrow.
  2. Heidi Montag is going to bare it all for Playboy.
  3. A Utah state senator proposes to eliminate the 12th grade in Utah schools.
  4. Tim Urban replaces Chris Golightly in American Idol’s Top 24.
  5. God told Moses, “Do not lust in your heart for Hollywood bimbos, either.”
  6. A plague of grasshoppers is expected to descend on Northern Nevada this year.
  7. Joe stepped on a crack and nothing happened.
  8. The alien body in Area 51 is the real Barack Obama.
  9. Joe thinks, but he isn’t certain, Gavin Newsom (will) (will not) (who cares) run for Lieutenant Governor of San Francisco.
  10. Dick Cheney supports waterboarding.
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That’s a headline that will probably never find its way into newspepers in California, even though it’s perfectly logical when you think about it.

Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, has been mulling a run for Lieutenant Governor of California. The major duty of the Lt Gov is to act as “Vice-Executive of the State of California.”

I’m sure the subtle double meaning of “vice executive” hasn’t escaped your attention.

According to Dictionary.com, the word vice has several meanings. Heading the list is “an immoral or evil habit or practice.”

Naturally, folks in the Heartland have probably already pegged the State of California in general and the City of San Francisco specificlally as the universal center for the practice of immoral and evil habits of all sorts.

Gavin Newsom came to their attention when he declared same-sex marriages legal in the City and immediately began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In the minds of many dedicated Red Staters, homosexuality is the ultimate vice, an act voluntarily engaged in by a depraved segment of the population, most of whom reside in San Francisco.

To this segment of America, it is therefore merely stating the obvious to consider the Lieutenant Governor of Californiato be the state’s vice executive in the most evil sense of the word.

To most reasonable and erudite individuals, however, the word “vice” may evoke images of a “combining form meaning “deputy,” used in the formation of compound words, usually titles of officials who serve in the absence of the official denoted by the base word: viceroy; vice-chancellor.

In other words, the Lieutenant Governor acts as Governor when the Gov is absent for any one of a variety of reasons.  The Lt Gov acts in lieu thereof, a rather innocent interpretation.

Still a third group may use vice in an entirely different sense:  any of various devices, usually having two jaws that may be brought together or separated by means of a screw, lever, or the like, used to hold an object firmly while work is being done on it.

The members of this group, to which I belong, will probably respond, when asked to define vice, by grabbing the questioner’s thumb, sticking it between the two jaws and tightening the screws until he or shc screams.

This is exactly how I feel when think about the U.S. Senate.

Postscript. The ultimate outcome of the legality of same-sex marriage in California was settled, sort of, with a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The Amendment succeeded because conservative forces in California, with a little help from their friends outside of the state, carried the day. But Newsom gained a reputation as a champion of same-sex marriage nationwide.

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Will he or won’t he? No, wait. Won’t he or will he? No, wait. He won’t, but maybe he will.

What’s all the fuss about? The media and the blogosphere have been abuzz in recent days with speculation about whether or not The Gav will run for Lieutenant Governor.

Lieutenant Governor? Is that still a real California state elective office? What does a Lieutenant Governor do anyway?

For a more complete rendition of the Lieutenant Governor’s duties and responsibilities than I have the time and interest to repeat here, see this Wikipedia page. It’s as good as most job descriptions I’ve read, mundane as all get out, vague, ambiguous, and open to more interpretation than the U.S. Constitution.

One part did catch my eye, however. The Lieutenant Governor serves as “vice-executive of California.”

Now, that’s a job I might consider running for myself.

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This morning I was chatting with a Facebook Friend about finding a suitable blog platform. She’s a professional writer, so she’s a little pickier than me. She’s looking not just for an audience but for the right audience. Professional writers need the exposure that could lead to a paid gig. And, of course, all professional writers write to be read widely. Otherwise, why write.

I’m not a writer myself. I write basically for my family and friends. A blog is a good way to reach them beyond the bounds of E-mails and letters. Oh, sure, it’s nice when others write nice comments about the things I write, and I have met some fine people through my blog. Can’t deny that, and I hope to meet more good folks with interesting things to say.

My own approach to blogging is simple. I am not at all good at writing about myself. My inner feelings are boring even to me, and I am sort of bored right now. That’s why I tend or have tended to write about external events. And since my interests are quite broad, I am inclined to write according to no particular pattern. Today, I might write about a political event, tomorrow a blurb about an article I ran across in GQ magazine. Whatever strikes my interest at the moment will likely be the topic for the day.

I also like to add a humorous touch to most of the topics I am interested in. That doesn’t mean everything is funny. Some topics are absolutely without humor, child abuse, domestic violence, murder, and suicide, for example, are devoid of laughter.

That’s why the current run of murders in this country is disturbing. Thirteen soldiers murdered at Fort Hood, Texas, one murdered and mayby 15-plus wounded in Orlando, Florida; these are just two of the most egregious examples of recent violence in America today.

Of course, the perpetrators of these crimes will always have an excuse. The guy in Orlando was fired from his job two years ago and he was mad at the company. Oddly, the individuals he murdered are not, “the company.” But somehow in the mind of this deranged individual, the employees who worked for “the company” became “the company.” So, he decided to murder as many human beings as he could.

He may or may not have known or cared that he was shooting individuals rather than “the company.” Is this insanity, or is it a failure of the ability of some people to understand distinctions?  One individual is dead but “the company” lives on. Similarly, thirteen dead but the United States Army survives.

In addition to the damages done to the survivors of these monstrous acts, the perpetrators have harmed the United States in more ways than one. Globally, they’ve added to the perception that this is the most violent country in the world. Say what you wish, but the perceptions of other nations are important within the global system when it comes to the achievement of the vital national interests of the U.S.

Domestically, the current rash of violence has exacerbated the feelings of fear and parnoia among ordinary Americans.  Who among us might be the next mass murder? That guy down the street who looks odd with his little round glasses and close-set eyes? Or a respected Army psychologist?

The most disgusting cipher in the equation is society’s failure to deal with the violence that seems to be a part of our cultural DNA. Why are we as a country so reluctant to tackle the issue? Is it because we feel helpless? Maybe we think its someone else’s job. Or have our leaders failed us? We have a justice system that excuses criminal behavior and a penal system that has become a breeding ground for violence and gang activity.

Whatever the answer may be, it’s a puzzle. As far as solutions go, my own personal impression is that the violence has largely missed the elites of our society. As long as people below the elite level murder each other, as long as the elites do not find themselves the targets of random and mass violence they will continue to largely ignore the issue, appearing on television and uttering meaningless words after a mass shooting or an especially egregious murder.

Somehow, in America, we tend to look at the moment and at the situation. Broader ramifications seem beyond our comprehension.

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I wouldn’t exactly characterize it as rife, but speculation about Gavin Newsom is in the air. It started this past Friday when he announced his withdrawal from the governor’s race. In the beginning, everyone seemed inert, hardly grasping what had just occurred. But the talking pointy heads are beginning to emerge and as time passes, we can expect the underwhelming story to gain a little staying power.

Newsom’s expressed reason for his withdrawal was a desire to spend more time with his new baby daughter. That’s understandable. First time parents always seem a little overwhelmed at the 24/7 tasks of caring for a newborn infant. Some have wondered, however, if a couple as rich as the Newsoms hasn’t already employed a baby sitter or whatever they’re called by rich people, nannies or something European chic such as Au pair.

Naturally, as soon as Newsom ended his press conference Friday, the questions began. Everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted to know the real reason he decided to drop out. The thinking class figured, based on its experience with politicians, that a simple explanation could not possibly be the right one. The want-to-be-with-my-family excuse has been used by virtually every politician in the country at one time or another. Political analysts have a difficult time with both simplicity and repetition.

In the case of Newsom’s real motives, a couple of explanations hit the media waves almost immediately. The first one posited that Gavin was far behind Jerry Brown and falling further in soliciting money for his campaign. In modern American politics, so the theory goes, money equals success. No one aspiring to a political office can approach electability without the monetary resources needed to get his or her message out to the voting public. Gavin came up short in this area.

The second reason Gavin withdraw, according to the pundits, was his standing in the polls. Since the beginning of his efforts to become the Democratic nominee for governor, he has lagged in the polls. In the latest, he was a full 20 points behind Jerry. Overcoming a deficit like this is a challenge to say the least.

Those are the motives proffered by the punditry class. And both of them are valid and logical. But are they the primary motivating forces behind Newsom’s withdrawal? Some have suggested other reasons.

At the top of the list is a hint, never directly articulated, that someone lined up against Newsom was prepared to cover every inch of Newsom’s personal life, or at least enough to brand Newsom as an untrustworthy individual. Does this one hold water? Perhaps. But most likely, given Brown’s commanding lead in money and polls, the nuclear option would never have been needed.

Another possible motive plays on Newsom’s expressed desires in the past to achieve political office beyond San Francisco. This one suggests implicitly that Gavin may be looking for something at the federal level, a congressional seat or something like that. His failure in the Democratic primary would definitely put a damper on further political aspirations. By withdrawing now and using the usual reasons, Gavin leaves open the possibility of revisiting the issue at a more propitious time.

Whether or not any or all of these are the real motive, one fact remains clear. Gavin has withdrawn from contention. At this point in time, motives are irrelevant. Some recognize this and concentrate on the matter of his future. What will Gavin do now?

Again, several ideas have been floated. For the time being, he will finish his second term as mayor, putting his energies into the changes he wishes for San Francisco.

After his second term ends in 2012, the possibilities are open. He may return to his business interests, of which he has several in the pleasure and entertainment business, successful enterprises such as a winery, resorts, restaurants and wine bars.

Some, such as former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, believe Newsom will return to politics at some time in the future when the political environment is more receptive.

Regardless of the political tack Newsom may eventually take, he will continue to be a polarizing figure. His stand on gay marriage has illuminated the nascent strength of California’s conservative majority in certain areas of the state such as the interior valleys where conservatives, along with many of California’s statewide population of Black voters, were instrumental in killing state-wide gay marriages.

Of course, outside forces were a strong factor in the passage of Proposition 8, an Amendment to the State Constitution that restricts marriage to one man and one woman. But the point is that conservative strength is there and can be mobilized easily against Newsom.

Perhaps the biggest mystery surrounding Newsom’s sudden withdrawal from the primary against Jerry Brown is the question of who predicted Newsom’s decision to hang it up, at least for the time being, as far back as September 15, 2009.

On that date, an anonymous item appeared in the blog  I Love You Gavin Newsom. The post predicted with uncanny accuracy not only Newsom’s withdrawal but also the exact reason given by Newsom in his public statement on Friday, October 31, a month and a half after the blog post.

Someday, the identity or identities of the author(s) will be known. In the meantime, speculation about the conundrum that is Gavin will continue. Our speculation is that Gavin’s absence from the political arena will be temporary. He is an ambitious individual with a taste for the power political office brings. Power once experienced is difficult to forget.

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Be honest now, men. If you had a chance, would you pose full-frontal nude in Playgirl Magazine if the editors invited you?

A lot of men have actually exposed all in the pages of that publication, including Burt Reynolds when he was still a hunk. Now, Levi Johnston, the father of Sarah Palin’s grandson, is getting ready for a nude photo shoot. His unadorned pecs and abs and er…equipment…are expected to grace the centerfold of Playgirl’s next issue.

Why is Levi opting for his 15 minutes of fame in the nude? He’s a hardened Alaskan male who, if he wants to pose, would make a more lasting impression as a really masculine guy shooting at a rabbit with an AK-47.

But standing or sitting or whatever in a position carefully calculated to demonstrate his manliness in another way is dangerous. A lot of men are going to see him in Playgirl. Men are not kind when assessing the endowments of other men. In fact, regardless of the size and appearance of his equipment, Levi is going to wish he were on the moon to escape the inevitable razzing.

Besides, his fame may be short-lived. It may dissipate long before his 15 minutes expires. America’s magazine buying public prefers female over male nudity. Playboy is still going strong after 35-plus years. Playgirl’s print version is already out of business. The mag is strictly an on-line publication now.

Which brings me around to the question I used to introduce this post: would any of you men pose full-frontal nude in Playgirl like Levi?

Here’s my take. Your courage would be directly proportional to the length and girth of your appendage. If you were well-endowed, hell, you’d catch the red eye to New York in a heartbeat. If you were lacking, you’d kill any son of a bitch who came within a hundred yards of you with a camera.

This is why I believe Levi is well-endowed. And I think we can expect an exciting Playgirl issue when it hits the internet.

I’m wondering, though, if money plays a role here. I’m sure Levi will be paid for his services. But in your own personal case, how much money would it take to get you to strip naked on a beach on Maui and pose in front of a bunch of gawking giggling tourists?

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Another child murdered. Another family in turmoil. Another mother in pain so excruciating that she collapsed on television. This mother now joins other mothers forever deprived of the pleasure and joy of loving a child and watching it achieve in life and in school, attending proms, graduating, heading for college, and eventually having its own family.

What monster could perpetrate such a crime? What kind of twisted personality could snatch a child walking from the school bus to home in virtual plain sight of the child’s friends? Who in God’s name could murder an innocent young human being and toss it’s body on a garbage dump as if it were a piece of trash?

This is what happened to Somer Thompson and her family in Florida. One day, they were happy and loving, the next day, they were thrown into absolute chaos, forever touched by a vicious murder, lives forever dark and brooding. This family and this mother will never “move on” They will live their lives forever in the grip of depression and a Post Murder Syndrome (PMS), which seems to be a peculiarly American disease.

As much as it tends to trivialize and remove the human element from despicable acts, the statistics of child abuse and murder stagger the imagination. Every year in America, about 3,000,000 incidents of child abuse are reported to various government agencies. Sure, not all of these turn out to be legitimate cases of child abuse, but if even ten percent are valid, 300,000 children are the objects of some sort of abuse. That is staggering and it suggests a society that hasn’t come to grips with its acceptance of cruelty against children.

The numbers on homicides are also mind boggling. From the time that statistics on murder began to be reported to the federal government in the early 1900’s until the present time, more Americans have been murdered in this country than have been killed in all of the wars America has engaged in since the birth of the nation. If you doubt this statistic, do as I did. Visit your local library and take a look at a publication called The Statistical Abstract of the United States. Tabulate the number of murders per year, beginning with the first year on record, 1900. My own tabulation covered the years 1900 through 2000, and the total number of murders was just short of 2,000,000. That’s almost two million dead people in a span of 100 years, an average of about 20,000 murders a year. Of course, the number per year will vary. In some years the figure may be less than 20,000 and more in others. But the total number of almost 2,000,000 is still there.

The number of Americans who died in America’s wars, roughly 1,000,000 (I’m working from memory here), pales in comparison to the number of murders. But at least we can understand and accept death as a result of military conflicts. We cannot understand and we ought not to accept senseless murder and child abuse.

What in God’s name can we do to prevent the violence against innocent beings in our society? At the moment, solutions seem elusive. When a murder is sensationalized in the media, we get on a roll and the air and cable waves are loaded with talking heads and experts of all sorts who raise our righteousness to a new level the way a balloon with a (rumored) six year old boy in it rises and soars across the Colorado prairie. Then, as soon as the current murder or sensational event loses its immediate emotional impact and hence its revenue potential, those same media twerps file the story in the bin of yesterday’s news. Remember Elian Gonzales?

Concurrent with the loss of media interest, our righteousness subsides and the victim loses its identity, relegated to the obscure and forgotten pages of The Statistical Abstract of the United States. Unfortunately, there are no solutions in this obscure government publication.

As individuals, we may be powerless to effect change, but as a society, we ought to be ashamed.  Shame, however, is un-American. Murder is the price we pay for freedom.

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