Saturday, December 31, 2011

Have a great New Year!

As promised on this morning's radio show, here are my 2011 obituaries:




Swami Bhaktipada

Kate Schulte

Betty Ford

Joe Bageant

Ben Masel

Jessica Nathanson
(Plains Feminist)

Elizabeth Taylor

Owsley Stanley
(Bear)

Anne Francis

Anthony Dellaventura
(from 2010)

Requiescat in pace.

~*~


Blogging notice for the New Year:

Apparently, there is some sort of weird software that pops up on my comment page, but it doesn't manifest on all computers and phones. I am trying to figure this out, and sincerely hope to have it properly taken care of soon. (Blogger Help Forum is famously slack; the expression "you get what you pay for" comes to mind.) If you have any clue as to what this is and how I might get rid of the damnable thing (the pesky 'download manager' that pops up is called Ilivid, and yes, it certainly does make I livid), please help! I have already executed the recommended steps to uninstall on MY end, but here's the confusing thing: It isn't on MY computer. (?) I keep thinking it must be embedded in the Blogger html code itself, but I have no idea how it got there. And I can't figure out why this pop-up doesn't show up for me too?

(sobs)

I have been fiddling and futzing with this crap for hours now, whilst keeping one eye on my LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT New Year's Eve marathon. Otherwise, the whole afternoon would have been an entire waste.

~*~

I now present DEAD AIR'S OFFICIAL VIDEO OF THE YEAR! (appropriate hoots and hollers)

As always, my criteria is: which video did I listen to the most, after I initially posted it?

No contest.

Southern Culture on the Skids - White Trash/Greenback Fly



Have a Happy New Year, everybody!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Onward and Upward

At left: Occupy Greenville has kept our plucky heroine from dissolving into hopelessness during her long period of unemployment this year: THREE CHEERS FOR THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT, which has restored many folks' faith in America.

~*~

I used to wonder why people (usually women) deleted their blogs. No longer. I get it now.

As net-denizens Google various religious-and-Christmas-oriented-posts I have written over the past four-and-a-half years, I feel theologically and emotionally bereft. I was so certain, and now I am not.

Or rather, I am certain that uncertainty is the state of humanity. I no longer unequivocally declare that particular existential points of dogma are true, except to say, this is what I feel right now. This is what I believe is true right now.

And this is, in fact, what we are always saying, we just don't seem to realize that our personal truths collide over time. We re-arrange the biography to make our wildly different, disparate truths make sense. But they simply don't.

This is because we are not the same people we were.

The person that started this blog is me, yet it is another me, a past-me. I do not agree with everything the past-me wrote, in fact, I wince at a good deal of it. I can understand why people feel the need to delete that which makes them embarrassed and makes them wince. And women, specifically, can find this nearly intolerable. On the above-linked thread, Feminist Avatar wrote:

I almost deleted my blog as I was fed up with discussions going on in my online community, which I disagreed with and felt had been done so many times before, with no resolution. And, my gut response was- get out of here- and I think I saw leaving my blog up as leaving a part of myself 'there'; in that conversation, even tho' I wasn't and hadn't posted in ages.

A wiser person than me once said that women were more reluctant to 'let go of the authorial signature' than men (that is to stop owning their words- seeing cultural products as a creation of society and context rather than individuals), because they had only recently won the right to own them in the first place (ie women's right to a public voice is historically new and hard won). Perhaps, as a result, when we need to walk away from particular online communities or just the internet as a time suck, we feel we can't leave something of ourselves there- we can't stop owning our words (even if they may be out of date or not where we are any more). And perhaps, because of that sense of ownership, if we move beyond those ideas or no longer agree with them, we also can't leave them out there, as it is no longer us.
Yes, I understand that, as well as the Buddhist concept of impermanence.

~*~

I nearly titled this post "Can Ron Paul win the Iowa primary?" and then thought the better of it. Nah. But I am once again voting strategically for the good doctor, as I did in the last South Carolina Republican primary four years ago.

I heartily recommend Conor Friedersdorf's piece in The Atlantic, titled Grappling With Ron Paul's Racist Newsletters--currently up to a whopping 633 comments. The money quotes:
Do I think that Paul wrote the offending newsletters? I do not. Their style and racially bigoted philosophy is so starkly different from anything he has publicly espoused during his long career in public life -- and he is so forthright and uncensored in his pronouncements, even when they depart from mainstream or politically correct opinion -- that I'd wager substantially against his authorship if Las Vegas took such bets. Did I mention how bad some of the newsletters are? It's a level of bigotry that would be exceptionally difficult for a longtime public figure to hide.

For that reason, I cannot agree with [The Weekly Standard's Jamie] Kirchick when he concludes that "Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing -- but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics."

On the other hand, it doesn't seem credible that Paul was unaware of who wrote the execrable newsletters, and although almost a million dollars per year in revenue is a substantial incentive to look away from despicable content, having done so was at minimum an act of gross negligence and at worst an act of deep corruption. Indeed, Paul himself has acknowledged that he "bears moral responsibility" for the content.

Given its odiousness that is no small thing.
For the record, I certainly agree. I also agree with this quote--although regular readers might recall that as a true believer, I defended both Jeremiah Wright AND Bill Ayers:
For me, the disconnect between the Ron Paul newsletters, which make me sick, and Paul's words and actions in public life, which I often admire, put me in mind of the way I reacted when candidate Barack Obama was found to associate with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, both of whom had said execrable things. I couldn't defend any of it. But I could never get exercised about the association in exactly the way that writers like Victor Davis Hanson wanted, because it seemed totally implausible that if Obama was elected he would turn out to secretly share the convictions of the Weather Underground, or hope for God to damn America. It always seemed to me that those relationships were the unsavory product of personal ambition. I don't mean to suggest that the two circumstances are entirely analogous, but I do find it hard to believe that if Paul were elected, he'd turn out to be a secret racist, implement policies that targeted minorities, or drum up support by giving speeches with hateful rhetoric.
And then, he makes the points I wish I had been smart enough to make, says the things I wish I had been smart enough to write. YES!:
[Congressman Ron Paul] has a long history of doing what he says when elected, and no more.

"How could you vote for someone who..."

Isn't that a thorny formulation? I'm sometimes drawn to it. And yet. We're all choosing among a deeply compromised pool of candidates, at least when the field is narrowed to folks who poll above 5 percent. Put it this way. How can you vote for someone who wages an undeclared drone war that kills scores of Pakistani children? Or someone who righteously insisted that indefinite detention is an illegitimate transgression against our civilizational values, and proceeded to support that very practice once he was elected? How can you vote for someone who has claimed to be deeply convicted about abortion on both sides of the issue, constantly misrepresents his record, and demagogues important matters of foreign policy at every opportunity? Or someone who suggests a religious minority group should be discriminated against? Or who insists that even given the benefit of hindsight, the Iraq War was a just and prudent one?

And yet many of you, Republicans and Democrats, will do just that -- just as you and I have voted for a long line of past presidents who've deliberately pursued policies of questionable-at-best morality.

In voting for "the lesser of two evils," there is still evil there -- we're just better at ignoring certain kinds in this fallen world. A national security policy that results in the regular deaths of innocent foreigners in order to maybe make us marginally safer from terrorism is one evil we are very good at ignoring.

Prison rape is an evil we're even better at ignoring.

It is a wonderful thing that Americans are usually unable to ignore the evil of outright racism. It hasn't always been so. The change is a triumph. But important as rhetorical issues of race and ethnicity are in America, we're by necessity choosing the lesser of two -- or three or seven -- evils when we pick a candidate. And so it's worth complicating the moral picture with some questions we don't normally consider when we talk about race.

For example: What American policy most hurts people who'd be a minority group in this country? I'd say cluster bombs, missiles and bullets that inadvertently kill them while we try to kill terrorists or convert tribal or sectarian societies into democracies. Or perhaps an even graver harm is done by the subsidies we give to agribusinesses, destroying Third World agricultural markets and opportunity. To think of the damage done over the decades by sugar dumping in Haiti alone! And isn't it uncomfortable to think about how race and nationality is implicated in the priority we assign to folks who suffer from the aforementioned policies? The policies aren't rooted in personal racism, like the lines in racist tracts -- sugar dumping is rooted in an amoral agricultural lobby that wants to enrich itself -- yet it's hard to imagine such policies would persist as uncontroversially if "people like us" were the victims.

In the U.S., the War on Drugs arguably does the most grave damage to poor communities, especially in black and Latino neighborhoods, where the majority of arrests take place, though whites use drugs more often. The greatest threat to an ethnic minority in the United States isn't that doctrinaire libertarians are going to reverse the Civil Rights Act -- it's that Muslim Americans or immigrants are going to be held without trial in the aftermath of a future terrorist attack because we've allowed our and their civil liberties to erode.

Were it 1964, I'd never vote for Paul, precisely because my desire to protect and expand liberty would've placed the highest priority on the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Paul once said in a speech that "the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty," despite the fact that it clearly enhanced the individual liberty of blacks, the group the state was most implicated in transgressing against.

But it is not 1964. Other injustices better define our times. In 2012, when accused terrorists are held indefinitely without charges or trial, and folks accused of drug possession have their doors broken down by flash-grenade wielding SWAT teams in no-knock raids, Paul would arguably protect the rights of racial, religious or ethnic minority groups better than Obama, regardless of whether Paul is now or ever was a racist, and irrespective of the fact that Obama, as the first black president, has in some ways transformed Americans' thinking on race. (LBJ, who signed the Civil Rights Act, was not know for his personal progressivism on race or women's rights, but he nonetheless backed policies that had powerful consequences for women and minorities).

What I want Paul detractors to confront is that he alone, among viable candidates, favors reforming certain atrocious policies, including policies that explicitly target ethnic and religious minorities. And that, appalling as it is, every candidate in 2012 who has polled above 10 percent is complicit in some heinous policy or action or association. Paul's association with racist newsletters is a serious moral failing, and even so, it doesn't save us from making a fraught moral judgment about whether or not to support his candidacy, even if we're judging by the single metric of protecting racial or ethnic minority groups, because when it comes to America's most racist or racially fraught policies, Paul is arguably on the right side of all of them.
Read it all, and at least a few of the hundreds of brawling comments, well worth your while if you care about the Republican primary and the next election.

~*~

Check out our show tomorrow, where we will be doing a year-end round-up. In upstate South Carolina, join us at 9am on WFIS radio, 1600 AM and/or 94.9 FM on your radio dial. We have online streaming, so drop by.

And winding up with some holiday tackiness/nostalgia. At left: The Great Southern Shopping Center in Columbus, Ohio, my hometown. As you can see by the cars, this photo was probably taken some time in the early-to-mid 60s, and certainly, my fondest Christmas-shopping memories come from this period. (This shopping center was only a short distance from one of my very favorite and beloved Drive-In movie theatres, which I know I have rhapsodized about here before.)

The shopping center featured the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD in miniature, and we used to walk around them as kids, taking photos and gawking as if they were real. Surely, this was as close as most of us were ever going to get. My absolute favorite was the Taj Mahal, which apparently even had real water for awhile, but mostly I remember dried-up water with dirt and leaves in it. Unfortunately, my dogged net-searches could NOT bring up the Taj Mahal or Eiffel Tower, presented right alongside Woolworth's and hardware stores and everything else. At Christmas time, the tacky Christmas lights and faux-evergreens were draped around the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, and we thought it was the greatest thing we had ever seen.

Confession: I still think it was, but I have since learned how uncool it is to say so.

Thanks to Otherstream for the photo of little-Pisa, which brought back a nice Christmas memory.

PS: And if you have never read Truman Capote's amazingly wonderful A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, you should. Too wonderful for words, but get out those kleenex.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Family



FOR THE FIFTH YEAR IN A ROW, I hereby present our official Dead Air Christmas tradition of the ages, Robert Earl Keen!

Enjoy, and Feliz Navidad!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Greer Opry House


This is the legendary local Greer Opry House in downtown Greer, South Carolina. I took these back in October and forgot all about posting them--my apologies.

And a splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Two Father Christmases

Two Father Christmas songs, played on my radio show. We will be playing them next Saturday, of course.

Father Christmas - The Kinks



~*~

I believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake



The lovely melody in the song's middle section was borrowed from Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé, which always makes me think of the end of Woody Allen's Love and Death.

:: Your weekend dose of cute comes from HuffPo: Baby Seal Enters House, Sleeps On Couch. As adorable as it sounds!

:: This weekend's podcast is up! Yall come visit.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Alyssa Clemens explains it all for you

We now turn our attention to one Alyssa Clemens, Bob Jones University graduate and Fox News Carolina photojournalist. Clemens was sent by our local Fox News affiliate, to cover Monday's demonstration at BJU. (Yes, this is what passes for objective journalism in upstate South Carolina: A BJU graduate is sent to cover an anti-BJU demonstration. Do you believe?!?) And since Clemens attended BJU's so-called "journalism school"--she sees nothing wrong with openly broadcasting her bias on Facebook.

Clemens posted the following, gloating and baiting the demonstrators:

Dear bju people: because of your personal vendettas, illogical thoughts and distorted views, I am forced to cover your silent protest. But I'm not going to paint you in the best light. Not exactly the coverage you hoped for? Tough luck. Love your local news photojournalist.
Punctuation hers, not mine. (Remember, she went to Bob Jones, so there is going to be a lack of commas and proper capitalization, etc.)

For those who think I overstate the case, this is what the upstate is like.

As I have said a million times, Bob Jones University is running the joint, and they are proud of it. There is not even the pretense of fairness. I'm sure we could find just as many BJU-grads at the Greenville News and other local news outlets. Young Alyssa, drunk on arrogance and power, simply couldn't HOLD IT IN and had to brag and gloat... but I am sure there are many others who have been able to keep quiet and calmly write their biased news accounts, without anyone knowing where they went to school. Except those of us keeping track of the enormous pro-BJU bias, of course.

Alyssa's bragging got re-posted on an anti-BJU page (question: Is she so profoundly ignorant that she thought it wouldn't be? Or was this her intention all along, as I suspect?) and the shit promptly hit the fan. I called Fox News Carolina myself and asked them what was up. Are you serious?--I asked, amazed.

I got the following reply on Wednesday from Kelly Boan, News Director at Fox News Carolina. It is dated Monday, and was sent to all of the outraged emailers and callers:
The person you contacted us about does work for WHNS, but is not a reporter. She holds an entry-level position and does not have any control over the editorial decision-making. A biased version of the story was never actually in danger of making air.

A reporter could take the footage and create a very balanced story tonight, but because of the circumstances surrounding this, I will not air it in any form tonight. No matter how balanced a reporter can make it, I fully understand that many people will still believe the FOX Carolina version is tainted because of the comments on the employee’s Facebook page. Therefore, in the interest of journalistic integrity, the story will not air tonight. We may re-visit it with a different photographer and a reporter at a later date. But, because of the emotion that the comments have sparked on both sides, tonight does not seem appropriate.

The comments on Facebook do not reflect our staff’s view on unbiased reporting. My reporting and editorial staff know and fully believe that balance and objectivity in stories is required for us to maintain credibility and respect with our audience.

Sincerely,

Kelly Boan
News Director
WHNS-TV, FOX Carolina
Office: 864-213-2200
Fax: 864-987-1219
Email: kelly.boan@foxcarolina.com
Boan, who was very forthcoming, professional and polite on the phone with me, also added this private note addressed to me:
Thank you for calling and asking for a response, rather than making assumptions about our reporting and management staff, who are the ones who actually do the writing and make the editorial decisions. I appreciate that you reached out.
The problem is not simply WHNS, but the fact that anyone would HIRE a graduate of a Dominionist school and expect them to be able to cover news. Even Fox is far too liberal for the Dominionists. The problem is that people seem unaware of exactly what Bob Jones IS. It is not simply a religious school, it is a damaging CULT. These kids are not allowed to watch TV; you know that, right? Why on Earth would you hire them to WORK for TV?

They are not permitted to watch movies or read books of their own choosing. And they are spied on to make SURE they don't. They have no knowledge of popular culture, unbiased world news or political realities. And you hire them to work for a modern news organization? It's like MTV hiring the Amish or something.

What did you EXPECT to happen?

Unbelievable.

Perhaps Alyssa is smarter than we think, and she wrote her little Facebook missive to deliberately get the unflattering news account suspended/censored? If so, it worked.

WHNS, are you happy with that?

Future employees who might Google Alyssa need to know what kind of "journalism" she majored in: Dominionist crackpot cult journalism should not be confused with real journalism.

And I have a little message of my own:
Dear Alyssa, because of your fundamentalist idiocy, confused arrogance and profound ignorance, I am forced to cover the fact that a blundering "journalist" like yourself is allowed to work for a mainstream media outlet, which is an amazing fact all by itself. You shouldn't be anywhere near actual news coverage, as you have made abundantly clear. I am forced to cover you on my radio show tomorrow as an example of what a total disaster BJU-grads are. I'm not going to paint you in the best light. Not exactly the coverage you hoped for? Tough luck. Love, your local lefty blogger.
Note placement of comma in the last sentence.

Hope you will tune in! WFIS radio, 9-10am, tomorrow morning.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So true

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Haley Watch: Nikki wastes another $1M, needs tutorial in how to govern

This just in from the intrepid Renee Dudley of the Charleston Post and Courier:

SC Gov. Haley dictated health panel finding
Outcome ordered before committee met
BY RENEE DUDLEY
rdudley@postandcourier.com
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gov. Nikki Haley dictated the conclusions of a committee charged with deciding how the state should implement federal health care reform before the group ever held its first meeting, public documents show.

Now, some of those involved in the dozens of meetings are calling the entire planning process a sham that wasted their time and part of a $1 million federal grant.

In a March 31 email thread that included Haley, her top advisers and the committee member who eventually wrote the report, Haley wrote, "The whole point of this commission should be to figure out how to opt out and how to avoid a federal takeover, NOT create a state exchange," which is eventually what happened.

A central part of the federal health care overhaul, an exchange is a marketplace where various insurance plans eventually will be sold.

The emails were released to the newspaper Friday afternoon in response to a Nov. 16 public records request to the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The newspaper had made a nearly identical request of the governor's office in May, but the office did not include the emails in its response.

The documents show a first-term Republican administration focused on public perception of its handling of the Democratic health care reform law. They also reveal the tight control Haley and her top aides exercise over other state agencies, requiring media inquiries to various state departments to pass through the governor's office for inspection.

"Oh my God, we just threw $1 million away here," said Frank Knapp, who participated in the meetings as president of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. "This confirms this whole thing was an effort to justify the million-dollar grant, but the reality is they had no intention of even exploring whether the state should establish an exchange -- which is exactly what the grant called for."

Through a spokesman, Haley said she had no time to be interviewed Tuesday or today for this story. Spokesman Rob Godfrey said the governor's office responded fairly to questions about the committee.

"She has a lot to do over the next few days in preparation for the holidays," he said. "It's just a matter of a tight schedule."

Godfrey did not respond to questions related to the email discrepancy. In an email, he wrote, "The governor calls it watching out for the citizens of our state as we try to deliver the most health care for the least amount of money."

Lack of oversight

In a March 10 executive order, Haley established the nonpartisan South Carolina Health Planning Committee to "build trust and consensus among stakeholders" and to decide "whether or not the state should establish a health insurance exchange."

States that decline to set up their own exchanges are subject to federally run ones beginning in 2014.

Members of the nonpartisan committee and its four subcommittees, who met more than 30 times over the past seven months, did exactly that. In a report sent to the governor two weeks ago, the panel rejected the idea of a state-run exchange, saying South Carolina has few incentives to be a "first-mover" nationally.

Instead, it would "encourage and facilitate ... private exchanges," the report said.

It is unclear whether federal health officials will accept the private solution, but consumer advocates have raised concerns about lack of oversight and regulation. Insurance exchanges are the state- or federally-established marketplaces where health coverage will be sold to individuals and small business employees beginning in 2014.

Copied on Haley's March email thread was S.C. Health and Human Services Director Tony Keck, an influential member of the Health Planning Committee established by executive order.
Read it all.

I told yall NOT to vote for this woman, didn't I? (sigh) Her wanton mismanagement just gets worse and worse.

Here is the short version:
The newly released emails enraged consumer advocates, small business leaders, local economists, taxpayer watchdogs and S.C. Press Association officials this week.

"They took the money on the pretense they would conduct an objective analysis of whether the state should do the exchange or not," said John Crangle, executive director of Common Cause of South Carolina. "But they decided what they were going to find before they even started the research process."
This seems to be Haley's standard method of governance.

Bright lights, dark room

I am currently watching Dennis Hopper playing a neo-nazi on an old Twilight Zone episode. Very strange.

I heard this hypnotic old song from Speak and Spell the other night. (I have it on vinyl and therefore have not heard it in eons, since I have nothing to play it on.) Now I can't stop hearing: I.. take.. pictures... photographic... pictures... in my head, over and over, as well as the words of today's blog post title. Bright Lights. Dark Room.

Sharing the dreaded earworm!

Depeche Mode - Photographic



Although I usually agree with Eminem that "don't nobody listen to techno"--I always made exceptions for Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk. I also confess to an enduring love of Dirty Vegas's "Days go by"--something I would not ordinarily admit if I were not watching an ancient Twilight Zone episode.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Greenville News brainwashed by Bob Jones University

At left: Ex-faculty member Dr Camille Lewis and others at BJU Alumni Day yesterday, releasing red balloons in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse. Photo by Hannah Goodman.



I nearly titled this "Greenville News blows Bob Jones"--but as Ben Bradlee famously said in a similar situation: This is a family newspaper. Likewise, this is a family blog. Brainwashed is not the best word to describe their ass-kissing 'reportage.' The humorous initials of Bob Jones University popped into my head, and this post narrowly escaped being titled GREENVILLE NEWS GIVE BJ TO BJU.

Pretend that's the title, since that is the disgusting state of affairs we woke up to this morning in upstate South Carolina.

It isn't enough that the Greenville News totally ignored the recent appointment of a rape apologist to the board of BJU. It isn't enough that they ignored a Facebook-protest-page by students, and the threats of discipline against the students who organized it. It isn't enough that they have ignored the backroom deals by Bob Jones, that have cost Greenville County over a million dollars (at least) that we can scarcely afford. It isn't enough that they fawn all over Bob Jones and run their little just-so stories about their (19th century level) drama department, while a sex abuse scandal raged on. It isn't enough that they are too craven to investigate local right-wing politicians associated with Bob Jones University, like David Thomas--that is left to USA Today, to embarrass us nationwide with information that should have been reported on by our local so-called "newspaper." It isn't enough that they have not even covered the fact that Stephen Jones appears to be AWOL from the school he is supposed to be in charge of; much less ask why Bob Jones IV is not in charge, as he was originally intended to be. [see note below] And needless to say, there is NO investigation of the multiple accounts of ongoing psychological abuse that come out of Bob Jones University every year.

In fact, we might say that the Greenville News is busy getting in on the act and piling on the abuse, writing favorable, lovey-dovey editorials about an institution in which the ultimate authority, Bob Jones III, says to one of the faithful (about a 15-year-old girl):

Well, the truth is, she was raped but it was a consensual relationship. This man took advantage of her but she was a partner in all this. It wasn't, it was more than one time and she was a consensual person.
THIS is what Bob Jones III says, to anyone who will listen. He is not ashamed of this view. He allowed this conversation to be TAPE RECORDED, he is PROUD of his opinions. He says it was rape but "she was a partner in all this"--and do we hear any consternation from the Greenville News? Ha! Instead, we hear how great Bob Jones University is!

THESE are the scum they defend and write gushy editorials about, THE DAY AFTER the first student demonstration on record. Instead of writing about the demonstration and the subject (SEXUAL ABUSE) of the demo, they run a gushing editorial about how they are "seeking accreditation"--you know, joining the 20th (not the 21st) century at last? That's what passes for BJU news at their mouthpiece, the official campus newspaper, the Greenville News:
These changes [seeking accreditation and increasing sports opportunities] came during a week that also saw Bob Jones University accept the resignation of a board member who had attracted controversy because of the way he handled an alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl by an adult member of his church in New Hampshire in 1997. The board member, Chuck Phelps, maintains that he handled the incident properly and reported it to police; the victim disputes his account and says she was made to apologize to the church for her actions. Whatever account is most accurate, the controversy surrounding the incident should have given BJU pause in welcoming Phelps back to its board in 2009.

Phelps’ resignation was accepted following an online campaign from students and alumni that was conducted in part on a Facebook group that was called “Do Right BJU.” The university should be commended for responding to students and accepting Phelps’ resignation. This was another appropriate step taken by the university that demonstrates it understands and cares about the community’s perception of its staff, its students and the faith that it represents.
"Whatever account is most accurate????" Why don't they try, you know, REAL JOURNALISM and find out?

The so-called "changes" came this week for a REASON; they are called DEFLECTING ATTENTION and CHANGING THE SUBJECT. And I guess it works on Beth Padgett, aka Mary Elizabeth Padgett, the author and fangirl-in-chief of the Greenville News editorial page. Note that she left out the quote above from Bob Jones III, claiming that Tina Anderson consented. (Certainly, Tina Anderson is of no concern to Beth Padgett.) Padgett leaves out the fact that students were threatened about the Facebook page, instead, she implies that Phelps resignation was voluntary and not forced by circumstances and nationwide humiliation, including the ABC 20/20 story. She omits the forced pregnancy. She makes the "appropriate step" sound like it was BJU's idea--rather than a result of outraged demands by faculty, students and other community members--because they worried that THEIR DAUGHTERS WOULD NOT BE SAFE.

That's the shoddy, ridiculous level of "reporting" that Padgett and her fundamentalist friends and cronies engage in. It should not be confused with real journalism or a real newspaper.

I hope when the place is at last handed over to someone sane, there will be a RELIGIOUS-ABUSE TRIBUNAL, and the Greenville News and their fraudulent "reporters" put on trial for aiding and abetting abuse in all its forms. Thank God for bloggers; now you see why we are so important. Otherwise, the right-wing noise machine would be the only version you'd get, at least in this neck of the woods.

Thankfully, there is Spartanburg, which is close enough to cover the issue but far enough away that they aren't being totally controlled by BJU, as the Greenville News is. WSPA covered yesterday's demonstration by Bob Jones students, ignored by local media, which may be the first ever:
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A small, but vocal, group of Bob Jones University students spoke about Monday about what they call a "conspiracy of secrecy" at the school, and within Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches. The group of roughly two dozen students and alumni wore red in unity, as they attended the University's Monday chapel service. "We're just here to say we want to listen, we're here for moral support," says alumni Clinton Verley.

Student Chris Peterman, founder of "Do Right BJU", was one of the organizers of the event. Peterman says the effort stemmed from the University's connection to Pastor Chuck Phelps, a member of the school's board of Trustees, until he resigned last week. Phelps was surrounded by controversy after a case at his former church in New Hampshire, where a parishioner was accused of raping a teenage girl. "Do Right BJU" members say even though Phelps resigned from Bob Jones' Trustees, they are still unhappy with how the administration handled the matter. "This is about awareness and support for victims," says Peterman. "We want to say we're here for you and if you want to come talk to us, we'll help you heal."

University spokesperson Brian Scoles told Seven on your Side the school has a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to abuse, and students are encouraged to file grievances with the University.

Participants gathered at the school's fountain after chapel service to release red balloons in support of victims.
Possibly the first show of discontent in the history of BJU, and the Greenville News uses the occasion to pointedly NOT cover the story, but instead reward them with another hand-job.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a town that had a REAL newspaper. Wouldn't that be nice?

~*~

Note:

According to what I read online (available to anyone who does an extensive internet search), the would-be heir apparent to BJU, Bob Jones IV, lives in one of the most expensive cities in the USA, Miami. As oldest brother and next-in-line, why was he passed over for the job he was being groomed for? What does he live on? After much investigation, I can't locate any visible means of support. The rampant internet rumors are that he lives on the money of the faithful. (Now, why would he be doing that?) Also of interest is the fact that he attended Notre Dame instead of going to his own father's school (not that I blame him for seeking a REAL education, of course). BJU teaches that Catholics are evil and the Pope is the antichrist, and yet, Bob Jones III sent his namesake, Bob Jones IV to the "flagship Catholic university of North America" for a Ph.D.--which by my estimation would cost almost a cool half-million. Notre Dame ain't cheap.

So, Bob Jones III takes the money of the faithful, taught to hate Catholicism, and gives it to the most well-known Catholic college in the country, to EDUCATE his SON. Hello? Why is it okay for BJIV to go to Notre Dame, but the students of Bob Jones University are still taught vicious anti-Catholic propaganda and bigotry?

And that ain't all. As I asked, what does he do for a living? Why was he passed over for Stephen Jones, who is supposedly too sick to show up for work for the last 99 days (but as the link above shows, he sure can go to the movies, a privilege denied to the students)? Does this mean that BJIV will finally take over, since Stephen Jones appears unable to rouse himself to do anything? And why are they so secretive about these matters? Why do Bob-Jones-affiliated people freak out and run like scared rabbits when you ask them about Bob Jones IV? What's the big secret?

I wonder. If we had a REAL investigative newspaper, we might find out these things, you know?

The story is there, if someone is willing to tell it. Just like the story about David Thomas (above), we can't count on our local "newspaper" to be anything but cowardly; they won't dare touch it. I don't have the means to go to Miami or New York and hunt him down, but I hope someone else will.

Because honey, from what I hear, it's a doozy. ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fun Friday Links

From here, there and everywhere:


:: CNN reports that the newest poll shows that Voters want to throw em out:

76 percent of voters said most members of Congress do not deserve to be re-elected, the highest percentage Gallup measured in 19 years of asking that question. And the 20% who say congressional members should be re-elected is a record low-one point below the previous low recorded in August.
:: December 6th was the 22nd anniversary of the Montreal Polytechnique Massacre – during which a man named Marc Lepine killed 14 women because he was “fighting feminism”. Please pay your respects.

:: My beloved Elizabeth's jewels are going to auction, the estimated value is $30 million. A stunning collection, well worth ogling.

:: In Occupy news, Thuggish Republican Allen West Says It's OK To Beat Up Peaceful Protesters. Are you surprised? Family Guy writer Patrick Meighan was roughed up during his arrest at Occupy Los Angeles, and has written about it:
As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of LAPD officers used knives to slice open every personal tent in the park. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside, and then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park. They then did the same with the communal property of the Occupy LA movement. For example, I watched as the LAPD destroyed a pop-up canopy tent that, until that moment, had been serving as Occupy LA’s First Aid and Wellness tent, in which volunteer health professionals gave free medical care to absolutely anyone who requested it. As it happens, my family had personally contributed that exact canopy tent to Occupy LA, at a cost of several hundred of my family’s dollars. As I watched, the LAPD sliced that canopy tent to shreds, broke the telescoping poles into pieces and scattered the detritus across the park. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as “30 tons of garbage” that was “abandoned” by Occupy LA: personal property forcibly stolen from us, destroyed in front of our eyes and then left for maintenance workers to dispose of while we were sent to prison.

When the LAPD finally began arresting those of us interlocked around the symbolic tent, we were all ordered by the LAPD to unlink from each other (in order to facilitate the arrests). Each seated, nonviolent protester beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him: an LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestor’s legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor’s left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestor’s right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbor.

It was horrible to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us. At least I was sufficiently terrorized. I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the LAPD officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively. I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement. He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.

My hands were then zipcuffed very tightly behind my back, where they turned blue. I am now suffering nerve damage in my right thumb and palm.
There's more.

:: Lisa understands what some of us are going through, since she is going through it, too: Unemployment Diary: Shortfalls and little sins. Good luck, Lisa!

:: By way of wonderful Onyx Lynx, here is Herman Cain & Eddie Long: A Tale of Two Players, great reading from The Republic of T. He makes an excellent, overlooked point about the Cain scandal, in particular:
It would have been incredibly damaging to Republicans if Cain had actually gotten on the ticket as veep (because we all know he was never going to get the nomination), and then these allegation had come out. (Which is why I’m convinced that someone on the right is responsible for these allegations coming forward. Democrats just didn’t have any compelling reasons to want Cain out of the race. Republicans had lots of them.)
And they sure did, didn't they?

:: Andy Borowitz amusingly follows up on Cain and Mitt Romney's plummet in the polls, with this funny bit titled, Falling in Polls, Romney Considers Adultery:
CONCORD, NH (The Borowitz Report)– Troubled by his fading poll numbers, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is considering a bold strategy to reboot his Presidential campaign: engaging in a high-profile extramarital affair.

At a press conference in Concord, New Hampshire today Mr. Romney confirmed that he was consulting with senior advisors about the best way to proceed with an inappropriate relationship.

“Republican voters have sent the message that they want to vote for an adulterer and I have heard them loud and clear,” he said. “I promise that I will engage in a world-class extramarital affair that will make all of us proud again.”

According to one senior advisor, the Romney campaign was already holding focus groups and conducting special polling to determine the best person with whom Mr. Romney should conduct his extracurricular dalliance.
:: In South Carolina news, Labor Board Drops Case Against Boeing:
The [National Labor Relations Board]’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the labor board had decided to end the case after the machinists’ union — which originally asked for the case to be brought — had urged the board on Thursday to withdraw it.

On Wednesday night, the union announced that 74 percent of its 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington State had voted to ratify a four-year contract extension that includes substantial raises, unusual job security provisions and a commitment by Boeing to expand aircraft production in the Puget Sound area.

Mr. Solomon had filed the case against Boeing last April. Agreeing with the union’s position, he asserted that Boeing’s decision to build the $750 million plant in South Carolina constituted illegal retaliation against the union’s members in Washington for having engaged in their federally protected right to strike.

The case against Boeing enraged South Carolina officials, who saw it as an insulting blow to one of their greatest economic development successes. It also angered Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates, who asserted that federal regulators should not engage in heavy-handed regulation that tells companies where they can or cannot invest.
At left: Anti-Newt protester at our Fox News debate demonstration here in Greenville, back in May. This guy warned us that Newt wasn't down for the count, and we should have paid attention!



:: In Newtie news, we learn that Newt Gingrich Sells Books And Films While Campaigning For President:
Gingrich's personal financial disclosure form shows that he and wife, Callista, reported between $500,000 and $1 million in assets from Gingrich Productions, the couple's media company that produces books and films. The filings also list a promissory note worth between $5 million and $25 million owed to the production company, records show, although details of that asset are unclear.

The July filings list Gingrich's income and assets since early 2010, including rental income, investment dividends and capital gains.

Gingrich has turned over the production company to his wife as he works to build support for his White House bid. Yet he still promotes their films, often hosting a screening for them on the sidelines during conservative conferences.

Afterward, aides sell DVDs of the programs and their companion books.

It is a routine for Gingrich. He delivers a rousing speech, as he did at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Orlando, Fla., this summer; a short time later, he and wife are at a table signing freshly purchased copies of their books. The same was true last week at events in South Carolina: stump speech, book signing.
Utterly shameless. Even more shameless (as well as racist and bigoted, but what else is new?) is his recent comment that Palestinians are "an invented people":
Newt Gingrich did an interview with The Jewish Channel, and had some interesting comments about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — possibly leaning toward the expulsion of the Palestinians.

“Well, I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state, and I believe that the commitments that were made at a time — remember, there was no Palestine as a state, it was part of the Ottoman Empire,” said Gingrich.

“And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons, we have sustained this war against Israel now, since the 1940’s, and I think it’s tragic.”

This would seem to imply that Gingrich would not only oppose a Palestinian state — but thinks that Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories should have had to leave.
Watch Newtie grovel for that Evangelical money!
As I said, utterly shameless. (Interestingly, contemporary conservative pundits aren't having any.)

:: Your combination Friday Cat Blogging and Daily Dose of Cute, comes from Daisy the Curly Cat's new hat and new holiday skirt. Not to be forgotten is Harley, who looks exactly like my dear departed Zeppo Marx Katz, one of the greatest cats of all time. I am fairly certain Harley is Zeppo in one of his later nine lives! (((snugly hugs, purrs and kisses for Harley)))

:: Don't forget to catch me on the radio tomorrow morning, bright and early, 9am sharp! I will be talking about some scary stuff for upstate SC: how nonChristians celebrate this time of year. TUNE IN!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Real Daisy

... was my grandmother. I have no idea when or where this photo was taken, but it was probably in Pittsburgh.

Her eyes were so black, you couldn't even see the pupils. Her hair was likewise very black, naturally curly and silky.

My grandmother was Melungeon, which I have always intended to blog about, but there is so little known about them, I don't know exactly what to write. Suffice to say, they were very WEIRD backwoods people with all kinds of BIZARRE traditions you never heard of. (I later understood this is why my family was so odd and never fit in with the other nice, Midwestern families on the block.) Her youngest brother (who never left the backwoods) had an indescribable, hard-to-place accent that was nearly indecipherable, as did both of her parents. It went beyond mere Appalachian accents, and it was nice to finally learn the reason why.

When the Melungeons were asked questions by census takers, they told them all kinds of creative stories, claiming to be Portuguese, Arabs, Jews, and whatever else they thought the census-taker wanted to hear. That's why nobody knew for sure what race/ethnicity they were, and historians are still arguing over it. Much has finally been sorted out through DNA: Melungeons were "tri-racial isolates" -- Native American indigenous people (and refugees from colonial encroachment) and free African-Americans, intermarried with white colonists who decided to go off and live in the wilderness for whatever reasons. This accounts for their deep secrecy and suspicion of strangers (and especially the government).

When white colonists eventually migrated to the Cumberland Gap and the New River (where my grandmother was born), they found these strange folks already living there.

I am interested in learning more, as it becomes known. In studying the Melungeons, it is fascinating to note how some people don't mind being one of the first Americans, but twist themselves in knots to deny the African ancestors. My grandmother told me that as a child, she always knew there were Africans in her family tree... but that is not the rude terminology she used, which I will not repeat here. (What is interesting is that she found this amusing and never denied it. In all honesty, she seemed to find the idea of being related to Cherokee more disturbing.) When people snootily remarked that she looked like Lena Horne, she was obviously too thrilled to get mad about the racial thing.

Second photo is of my grandmother and my mother, Betty, on the right. I estimate their ages to be 37 and 21, respectively. (1955 - Parkersburg, WV)

















Third photo is my mother and me, ages 38 and 15. (1973 - Columbus, OH)
Yes, before you ask, I think that IS real fur. She thought fake fur was low class.

I miss them a lot during this time of year.

And now, your turn. Who do you miss?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa Claws

Starring wonderful Simon's Cat.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Everybody's having fun

I love this song passionately! Time to play it, officially kicking off the DEAD AIR Christmas season.

Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade



Look to the future now, it's only just begun.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rev Charles Phelps resigns from Bob Jones University board

As I mentioned on my radio show yesterday, Reverend Chuck Phelps has resigned from the board of Bob Jones University.

As usual, our local mainstream media initially said absolutely NOTHING about this situation and it was therefore left to the bloggers to take the lead. In fact, bloggers were actually singled out as Bad Boogeyman in BJU's original, official statement about the case, which has now been yanked from their website, and ceremoniously dropped down the infamous BJU memory hole. There is now a Revised Standard Version in its place (am I funny or what?). You will note the major edits in the second statement.

High-fives all round to the other bloggers, especially intrepid Camille Lewis, for doggedly staying on the case. It is true that many bloggers have piled on, and in reply, we say, SOMEBODY HAD TO COVER THE STORY.

There has been more coverage in New Hampshire than here in South Carolina, which is just shameful.

To recap, rape-apologist Phelps was appointed to the BJU board, causing a firestorm of controversy among BJU students, alumni, and fellow-travelers, as well as long-time critics of the institution.

And now, a day late and a dollar short, the Greenville News has at last deigned to cover the controversy. I am printing this story in its entirety, since the Greenville News is not accessible to everyone.

Italics mine.

BJU trustee resigns, denies allegations
By Ron Barnett, Staff Writer

A member of Bob Jones University’s Cooperating Board of Trustees resigned Friday amid an online campaign seeking his removal over allegations about how he responded to a 1997 rape case involving two members of a church he then headed in New Hampshire — allegations that he said are untrue.

The online petition alleged that the Rev. Chuck Phelps required the rape victim, 16 at the time, to apologize to the church and linked to an ABC 20/20 report earlier this year on the case. Phelps told GreenvilleOnline.com that the accusation is false.

“I totally deny that ever happening. That did not happen,” Phelps said. “She came before the congregation and asked for the congregation’s help in a time of need, and her specific words that she wrote herself were that she had been in a compromising relationship. Those were her words.”

Phelps told GreenvilleOnline.com that he talked with the perpetrator at the time and recognized that a crime had been committed, and he reported it to the police. He referred to his website, www.drchuckphelps.com, for details and said he wouldn’t allow a teenager now to present such personal issues to the congregation.

ABC reported that Tina Anderson became pregnant after being raped twice in the summer of 1997 when she was 15 and was a babysitter for church member Ernest Willis. Records show Willis was then 38.

Attempts by GreenvilleOnline.com to reach Anderson were unsuccessful.

Anderson told the network that she was forced to confess her “sin” — that she was pregnant — in front of her Independent Fundamental Baptist congregation. At the same meeting, Willis confessed that he had been unfaithful to his wife, ABC reported.

Phelps said he is offended by the statement that he “made” Anderson stand before the church for what critics have called a “shaming.” Although she was 15 when she was raped, she was 16 at the time she made her public statement, which made her “a young adult, basically” at the time, Phelps said.

Anderson said Willis had forced himself on her in the back seat of a car while giving her driving lessons, and later at her home, 20/20 reported. Willis was convicted in May of three counts of forcible rape and a count of felonious sexual assault, ABC reported.

Phelps says he believes it was his testimony in Willis’ trial that “put him away.”

The university announced Phelps’ resignation Friday at a board meeting.

“Board Chairman, Dr. Bob Jones III, read a letter from Dr. Chuck Phelps in which Dr. Phelps voluntarily tendered his resignation from the Cooperating Board effective immediately,” the university said in a statement. “In submitting his resignation, Dr. Phelps expressed that he did not want anything to distract BJU from its mission.”

“We are grateful to Dr. Phelps for his many years of loyal service to his alma mater as a member of the board of trustees,” Jones said in the statement.

Phelps, who had been on the BJU board previously and left it when he became president of another Christian college, rejoined the board in 2009 after leaving the college job and going back to the ministry at a church in Indiana, BJU spokesman Brian Scoles said.

Phelps says he reported the crime to police but “never received any follow-up communication” from them. A spokesman for the Concord (N.H.) Police Department couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Concord Monitor reported that police said their investigation stalled because they couldn’t find the victim after she moved to Colorado to live with a family Phelps was friends with a few weeks after realizing that she was pregnant.

Phelps said the move was Anderson’s mother’s choice and that the police knew how to get in touch with her while she was there, as well as before she left New Hampshire, and on return visits.

“It is regrettable that the law enforcement community failed to follow up in a timely fashion on reports filed by me and by Tina’s mother,” Phelps wrote on his website. “Had the law enforcement community worked to provide justice for Tina in 1997 there would be no story or confusion in 2011.”

The trial judge ordered Phelps to testify about his conversations with Willis in the aftermath of Anderson’s revelation that he had impregnated her, saying they didn’t qualify as confidential communication with a pastor because Willis hadn’t come to Phelps to confess or seek counseling, The Monitor reported.

Willis has filed notice of intent to appeal the guilty verdict to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, with one of the grounds being that pastoral confidence was broken, the newspaper reported.

Phelps said the police violated his confidence in identifying him as the person who reported the rape. They “were informed by my attorney that they were potentially liable for a defamation suit and they have not said a word since, and very wisely,” Phelps said.

Several Facebook groups with hundreds of members, including some who identified themselves as part of the BJU community, sprang up when word got out that Phelps was back on the board.

BJU students who opposed Phelps being on the board created a Facebook group called Do Right BJU and said they had planned to protest by wearing red during chapel service on Dec. 12, at the end of the semester.

“A sea of red during chapel and on Facebook could help change everything!” the moderator wrote.

Phelps didn’t attend Friday’s board meeting, and no replacement for him on the board has been named, according to [Brian] Scoles, the BJU spokesman.

Phelps was one of about 100 members of BJU’s Cooperating Board, according to Scoles.

He wasn’t a member of the board’s executive committee, which makes recommendations on who sits on the larger board, Scoles said, but as a member of the cooperating board, he had a vote in setting BJU policy.
Aside: Where is resident BJU media-flunky Jonathan Pait? Anybody know? Why is this second-stringer, Scoles, being called in to deal with this shitstorm?

Hm, peculiar.

And the saga continues.

Occupy the Christmas parade!

We showed up last night at the Christmas Parade in Greenville, with 99% Santa. In his regular incarnation, he is a regular caller to my radio show. (PS: Check us out from yesterday!)


He told us he made a list, checked it twice, and he knew exactly who had been naughty (Goldman Sachs, Bank of America) and nice (us!).

He also instructed us to Occupy!--and none of us would ever dare to disobey Santa.

Hope you like my other sparkly pictures of Christmas partiers and revelers, below. As always, you can click to enlarge.

~*~

Thursday, December 1, 2011

News flash: People on TV live better than we do

At left: Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason as Alice and Ralph in THE HONEYMOONERS.




I was looking at Ralph and Alice Kramden's tiny, dingy apartment last night, flipping channels and feeling some 50s nostalgia. And then, jarringly, I landed on some shiny new sitcom, and the same supposedly middle-class people are living in $350,000 homes.

Wait, what? How could they afford THAT? Alice and Ralph barely scraped by, and they didn't even have a car. They talked about not having a car, too. They talked about money. They talked about affording things and not affording things. I suddenly realized that modern TV characters do not talk about whether they can afford things now, unless it is something obviously expensive, like tuition to particularly-pricey colleges or spiffy sports cars or extended vacations to Paris. I also realized something else: Ralph and Alice didn't have credit cards. After all, they still bought ice for their actual ice box.

They didn't have much. No nice clothes, no nice furniture. People loved them because they identified with them.

When did that change? When did regular, just-folks TV characters turn into imitation-rich-people? Even though the characters are given simple occupations, they are clearly living way beyond their means and above their pay-grade.

I first became aware of this back in the 90s, when some wit (possibly in the Village Voice) wrote an article about the then-wildly-popular show "Friends"--suggesting that their respective apartments would cost ____ (something outlandish) that unemployed actors and waitresses (the "Friends" occupations) could never possibly afford.

This TV Trope became known as Friends Rent Control, which was the official excuse for this luxurious apartment-dwelling:

Besides appealing to audience fantasy, this is usually done because large sets are easier to film in. If Monica or Chandler's apartment on Friends had been realistic, the entire apartment would be the size of an average living room, rather than the entire first floor of a house. Doing a scene with all six main characters would have been a total nightmare for the cast and crew. It's for this very reason that Angel changed its primary set from a cramped basement office in Season 1 to a spacious hotel in Season 2. In some cases, though, the reason is that the writers and producers have either forgotten or never known how normal people live; born into prosperity with parents able to afford the best universities and pampered by the entertainment industry, they actually have no clue of how the majority of people live.
Ah, we get to the heart of it.

Jackie Gleason came from Brooklyn, and actually grew up at 328 Chauncey Street, the address he used in THE HONEYMOONERS. His parents were both from Ireland. He WAS Ralph Kramden, except he didn't drive a bus (but you could certainly imagine him driving one). Jackie Gleason was poor and never even graduated from high school. He hadn't forgotten how it was to live with an ice box that used real ice.

There is a similar TV trope called Living in a Furniture Store, the title of which sums up how these TV-homes are designed and arranged.

Speaking of furniture stores, does all of this STUFF in TV shows (which we are to believe is owned by regular people like you and me), cause viewers to crave more STUFF? I think it does. I was just admiring some of the bed linens and coverings in an EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND rerun, and thinking idly of my tacky, ancient quilts and how I fall short. I see no reason to have new quilts when I love my old ones, but... well... they ARE old, and I am suddenly conscious of it.

In fact, these thoughts started me thinking about this post, and got me wondering how other people feel about this phenomenon.

What do you think when you see dental-hygienists and waiters and other low-income people living like kings on TV? Do you laugh at it, or does it annoy you?

Have you ever craved something you saw on a TV show? And let me clarify: I do NOT refer to commercials and advertising; it is the JOB of a TV commercial to make you crave something, but it is simply a symptom of viewing that makes you crave something you saw on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND. (It is also a by-product of wanting to be like the characters, as when millions of women cut their hair like Jennifer Aniston back in the 90s.)

Your thoughts?

Moment of Panic

Uncle Dave played this great tune last night on the radio-inspired namesake of this blog, Uncle Dave's Dead Air.

Airplane - Widespread Panic

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Odds and Sods: Post-Thanksgiving edition

At left: I didn't mean to look so bloody GRIM! From Occupy Greenville yesterday, photo by wonderful Uma.



And we are still at it. For how long? I don't know, but I don't mind. I figure any lasting changes in our society will take a long time--and I figured that out a long time ago, as well. As it is, we are dealing with a society that often has no clue. People come out of the CVS and Starbucks and ask us what we are doing; they've never even HEARD of Occupy. Some Occupiers bravely went to the malls on the day after Thanksgiving, with signs instructing shoppers to "Buy Local!"--and various customers replied, "But we ARE buying local!"

Do they know that Walmart is in Arkansas? On some level, they seem to realize this. On another, they don't get it.

I think they are probably typical of the majority.

And we plow ever onward.

~*~

Back from Hotlanta, where I spent the holidays ingesting fabulous coconut cream pie and shopping in those amazing big-city thrift stores.

Some interesting stories for your perusal:

:: Occupy Atlanta occupied Lenox Square Mall, placing provocative "BUY NOTHING!" price tags over selected merchandise.

:: Highly recommended: Leonard Pitts column titled Seek holistic solutions.

:: Atlanta Journal-Constitution is all over Newt Gingrich's recent statements about immigration during the last Republican debate:

Gingrich has risen to the top of the polls recently on the strength of his debate performances and the shortcomings of other candidates, becoming the latest in a carousel of top challengers to front-runner Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

Rival campaigns pounced on the immigration issue as a chance to take Gingrich down a peg.

“I think there’s a major and legitimate difference of opinion on immigration between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney,” said Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. “Newt Gingrich supported the 1986 amnesty and even though he concedes it was a mistake, he’s willing to repeat that mistake by granting amnesty to today’s illegal immigrants.”
:: Amish Haircutting Attacks! The leader of the hair-cutters is named Mullet. Now, I ask you, is that funny or what?
Seven members of a renegade Amish sect face hate crime charges - and possibly life in prison - for a beard-cutting spree that terrorized fellow Amish in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

The sect's leader, Samuel Mullet Sr., and six of his followers, including three sons, were arrested in an FBI raid of their Ohio compound, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

They also are accused of heavy-heavy handed tactics to keep sect members in line - including beatings, forcing members to sleep in a chicken coop, and having sex with married followers in “cleansing” rituals, the Associated Press reports.

Mullet and his followers attacked those in the wider Amish community who disagreed with his sect’s interpretation of the faith, according to law enforcement officials.

The hair-cutting attacks, carried out with scissors and battery-powered clippers, were a particularly horrific affront in the Amish community, whose religious beliefs call for men to stop shaving their beards once they marry.

"You've got Amish all over the state of Ohio and Pennsylvania and Indiana that are concerned. We've received hundreds and hundreds of calls from people living in fear," Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. "They are buying Mace, some are sitting with shotguns, getting locks on their doors because of Sam Mullet."

Mullet justified the shearings to the Associated Press as retaliation for what he percieved as violation of Amish orthodoxy.
So much for those peaceful Amish we always heard about.

At left: a still from WSPA-TV, I am on the far left (as always) holding yellow sign, as in the above photo.


:: Interesting tax loophole has allowed New Yorkers to save money on roll-your-own tobacco, even though they technically aren't rolling their own, machines are:
NEW YORK – There is no place in the U.S. more expensive to smoke than New York City, where the taxes alone will set you back $5.85 per pack. Yet, addicts who visit Island Smokes, a "roll-your-own" cigarette shop in Chinatown, can walk out with an entire 10-pack carton for under $40, thanks to a yawning tax loophole that officials in several states are now trying to close.The store is one of a growing number around the country that have come under fire over their use of high-speed cigarette rolling machines that function as miniature factories, and can package loose tobacco and rolling papers into neatly formed cigarettes, sometimes in just a few minutes.

The secret to Island's low prices is simple: Even though patrons leave carrying cartons that look very much like the Marlboros or Newports, the store charges taxes at the rate set for loose tobacco, which is just a fraction of what is charged for a commercially made pack.

Customers select a blend of tobacco leaves, intended to mirror the flavor of their regular brand. Then they feed the tobacco and some paper tubes into the machines, and return to the counter with the finished product to ring up the purchase.

The savings come at every level. Many stores sell customers loose pipe tobacco, which is taxed by the federal government at $2.80 per pound (450 grams), compared with $25 per pound for tobacco made for cigarettes. The shops don't pay into the cigarette manufacturer trust fund, intended to reimburse government health programs for the cost of treating smoking-related illness. And the packs produced by "roll-your-own" shops are generally also being sold without local tax stamps, which in New York include a $1.50 city tax and a $4.35 state tax.

New York City's legal department filed a lawsuit against Island Smokes on Nov. 14, arguing that the company's Manhattan store and another on Staten Island are engaging in blatant tax evasion.
Busted!

Doncha know, the government will ALWAYS take their share? Nice try though!

~*~

I listen to my "Truckin with Albert Collins" CD when I travel! Now I have his infectious, curlicue 60s blues riffs lodged in my head.

Sharing the dreaded Thanksgiving earworm!

Shiver and Shake - Albert Collins



Kool Aide - Albert Collins

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

LEAVE THE TURKEY ALONE! He/she is innocent and didn't do anything to YOU!

Below, behold my popular, yearly Thanksgiving cartoon. (I started getting hits on it on SUNDAY!) Have a great holiday!