Friday, December 30, 2011

The Year and Us

So here we are, right at the end of the year of Our Lord, 2011.

It was at times ugly and disgusting, but at the same time we are all still here and that is at least a small victory. And there is nothing more satisfying than small victories. If you survived then you won. There is nothing better than beating the grim reaper.

More gruesome stuff is certain to follow, but we can always hope that things will improve. That is the greatness of Americans. Hope. We always think that the next year will be better than the last. It is what separates us from the beasts in the field and those who want to hunt them down.

There is, at our core, a decency that is appalled at cruelty and evil. Oh we have had our moments of both cruelty and evil, but the majority has rejected that and moved on. There are still elements of this country that will never understand kindness and decency, but most of us do. Those fools who want to hate and be angry will always be angry and hateful, but the majority of us understand that to exist, to remain American, we must shed that awful stench and become one as a people and a nation.

There are times that, as Thomas Paine said, "try the souls of men". Paine was an atheist and died a pauper. However he was a believer in the idea of democracy. There is nothing finer in all the history of humankind than to believe in the idea of democracy.

America, as flawed as it is, still remains the great dream. Ask those who flock here in droves. There are a lot more people trying to get into this country than are trying to get out. Can you say that about any other country in the world? Everyone wants to own a McDonald's franchise and here they can.

The New Year always brings hope and a new beginning in the United States. We can do better and we strive to. In much of the world, they just seem to be treading water. As civilized as they are, there is nothing for them, but more of the same.

Herr Hitler called us a "mongrel nation" and said we'd have no influence on the outcome of WWII. Well, the old boy was wrong. Those who despise America have always been wrong. We've never been perfect, but our ideals will never be less than perfect.

If you don't believe in America as she exists, which at times is hard to do, then you should always believe in the idea of America.

Nothing is finer than that dream.

Well, nothing that I know of.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Past Catches Up to Dr. Paul: He Didn't Read It, But Someone Did and Why It Doesn't Matter

"I never read that stuff."
Ron Paul.

That stuff would be things like this, "Order was only restored in LA when it came time for blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after the rioting began." And, "95% of black men in Washington are semi criminal, or entirely criminal."

Things like that "stuff" are pretty hard to defend in civilized conversation and on most campaign stops. Its no wonder the congressman from Texas has retreated to the Ken Lay defense. "I was in charge, but I didn't have any idea what was going on."

Yes indeed, plead complete ignorance, disavow and deny. Unfortunately for Dr. Paul video tapes and newspaper articles from a decade and and a half ago show him defending the quotes that appeared in some of the newsletters that he was publisher of from 1985 to 1996. Pesky archives. You'd think after Nixon someone would have learned a lesson.

In 1984 Paul formed Ron Paul and Associates. He was president of the publishing firm that in 1985 began issuing both "The Ron Paul Survival Report" and "The Ron Paul Investment Letter". In 1987 along came, "The Ron Paul Political Report." At its height the now defunct business was making about one million dollars a year. The editor was former Paul chief of staff, Lew Rockwell. He denies writing, "the stuff" too. He says at the time there were seventeen or eighteen freelance writers working off and on for the newsletters and since there are no bylines he doesn't know who wrote them.

But he knows who allowed them in and mailed them out to subscribers. He did. And Ron Paul was in charge of it all.

A little while ago Rachel Maddow, the arch liberal, talk show host was questioning the viability of the Paul campaign with this sort of hateful nonsense in his background. She and Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor of politics at Tulane University, were wondering what Ron Paul could do to truly prove he is repelled by what once appeared under his very bold name on the masthead of these publications. They are missing the point entirely.

He doesn't have to truly prove he is repelled by any this. Look at his core constituency. Hell, most of his true believers liked what he said. That is why they subscribed and are making phone calls for him in Iowa as I type. These are people who really did agree with "The Ron Paul Political Report" when it said Martin Luther King Day, is "hate whitey day." He is not now, nor has he ever been playing to the black vote, or the Jewish vote, or any other vote except the ever shrinking white conservative, racist, tea party, crowd.

Ron Paul is not going to be nominated by the republican party to be their presidential candidate. The fact that he got this far is a tribute to the fear, loathing and activism of the conservative fringe. They know they are on the way out and their death throes are gruesome and loud, just as their past is as offensive as their hero's.

No, despite a lead in Iowa the Paul campaign is a futile exercise in blue suit, well groomed, extremism. When it comes to his candidacy it is best to paraphrase old Joe Conrad: "Mistah Paul, he's dead."


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Week to Go In Iowa: Paul in the Lead, Gingrich on the Fade, and Steady On, Mitt

Times are getting desperate for many in the republican field and ugly for others. The Iowa caucuses are next week and New Hampshire's primary follows quickly. After all the debates, ads, campaigning, and bizarre dallying with Donald Trump, the herd is in for some serious culling.

Latest polls show that in Iowa Ron Paul is in the lead with 23%, despite the disclosure of some extremely nasty racial comments written in his name decades ago. Paul, of course, has claimed he never actually wrote the offensive remarks, despite them appearing in a "Ron Paul Newsletter." The New York Times notes that while Paul has disavowed extremist views he has never disavowed support from extremists. The fact of the matter is a Paul victory in Iowa may do nothing more than prove how irrelevant those caucuses are. He has no chance of winning the nomination and by throwing their support to him, Iowa republicans will do nothing but illustrate that they are completely out of touch with the remainder of the nation.

Newt Gingrich's numbers have, not surprisingly, taken a nose dive. In three weeks the former speaker and over paid shill for Freddie Mac has gone from a 27% rating to 14% which puts him in a distant third place. News for Newt has grown increasingly sour. He failed to qualify for the Virginia primary despite living there and now the Wall Street Journal has unearthed a memo which quotes him as saying, "We agree entirely with Governor Romney and the Massachusetts legislature that our goal should be one hundred percent insurance coverage for all Americans." It would seem his fifteen minutes are about done, although because of places like South Carolina he will probably last until at least May. Gingrich's main problem, as it turns out, isn't even major league flip flops like the latest one involving Romneycare. It is that everyone who has ever worked with him in Washington, especially members of his own party, simply hate his guts.

Romney is running a fairly tight second right now in Iowa with a 20% rating. What the governor has proven in Iowa is that he can take a succession of punches. It seems everyone in the world, including pizza delivery guys have taken a run at him and he has been able to weather each storm. Despite their dislike of the man, the conservative wing of the party has not been able to come up with a viable and sustainable alternative. Now, Mr. Romney, who when running for the highest office in Massachusetts, aired ads that proudly proclaimed him to be a "moderate and progressive" seems on his way to the nomination.

There is still along way to go and unforeseen disclosures and scandals could change the nature and face of the nomination process. However it appears the rest of the field, when it comes to Iowa and other places, are staring at a very large sign that says something along the lines of "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here".

No, despite all the fads and flavors of the moment, it appears this race is going to boil down to three people and only one of them has proven staying power. A second place finish in Iowa will not put a severe dent in the Romney campaign. No one else can say that.

The nomination is Mitt's to lose.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Down For The Count: The Life, Times, Trials, and Tribulations of Gregore the Great

The easiest thing to say is that it was a different time. So I will.

It was a different time.

No one knows this better than author Tom Fowler who has written a biography of John Ferguson, who among many other things, was and is a beloved Oklahoma City TV personality. The biography, published by Sabre Enterprises, is an ode to a member of a select group of people that in this media diverse, crass and down right brutal age would seem an anachronistic fraternity at best.

As hard as it is to fathom there was a period, an era, when television in places like Oklahoma City had only three stations and those stations had to produce local programming with local talent. There was of course the news, weather, and sports, but there were also local variety shows, and local programming for children. People at the stations wrote, produced and acted in what amounted to mini serial comedy/drama/action adventures which aired in the afternoons and sometimes on Saturday mornings.

Ferguson was one of those brave souls who did all of the above, primarily in the guise of the sinister Count Gregore. If you are of a certain age and grew up in Oklahoma City the name Count Gregore is synonymous with your youth. He appeared at about the same time your parents would let you stay up late on the weekends, but still wouldn't let you out of the house. You were too old for tucking in and too young to drive.

Fowler has captured the essence of the man who we watched on those quiet evenings alone in the den or living room while everyone else in the house was snoozing. His book, "Count Gregore, Oklahoma Legend: The John Ferguson Story" paints a portrait not only of a unique and talented individual, but chronicles an age when we baby boomers were in awe and wonder of all that was around us and indeed, life itself.

Beginning with Ferguson's up bringing in small town Indiana, Fowler follows his life and career through the decades. As with any such saga there are twists and turns, triumphs and tragedy. Ferguson's persona on TV masked a seemingly unending series of family health crises. From a loving wife with chronic heart disease to a daughter who was first born without a developed hip socket, then suffered not one but two serious injuries in accidents, Ferguson and the Count plowed on.

He was and still is a renaissance man with a strain of the daredevil to him. How else do you understand someone who was a self described mediocre student striking out for Hollywood to find work in the movies. Or, meeting a woman, falling in love with her and moving to a strange town after a Vegas wedding, because that is where she lived. Or, finally, becoming a highly successful television sales rep, who improvs his way through decades of skits during the airing of movies such as "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" and "The Thing From Outer space."

Years ago, growing up in central Oklahoma meant you were probably fans of four people. HoHo the Clown, portrayed by Ed Birchall. Dan D. Dynamo, played by Danny Williams. Foreman Scotty played by Steve Powell. And finally Ferguson's Gregore. Birchall and Powell have passed away. Williams is retired in Phoenix. Ferguson is doing things like being the grand marshal of the annual Halloween parade in downtown OKC. It would seem you can't keep a good ghoul down.

Some of Fowler's Gregorian chant becomes unstuck in time, leaping back and forth between the ages. It is of minor concern. If you are a boomer, especially one from Oklahoma, this love letter is something that should revive your soul and warm your heart. It is a revealing portrait of a brave, complex, and genuinely kind, man who we all grew up with.

As you read it, just keep in mind his oft repeated warning. Make sure your doors and windows are locked, for the Count lives.

Long live the Count.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

John in Charge and We Don't Need No Stinkin' Middle Class

John Boehner is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. That makes him third in line for the presidency and the second most powerful man in the United States of America. Right now, he wants to prove to you and me he ranks as the top dog when it comes to politics in this country.

Other than the fact it doesn't help out his most affluent contributors, how else can you explain his killing of the pay roll tax cut extension to the middle class earlier today. John Boehner is using this bill during the last moments of a pre election year to illustrate that Barak Obama is a weak president not worthy of votes come next November. He wants everyone to know he and his party are in charge when it comes to politics in Washington D.C.

Be careful of what you wish for Congressman.

Obama's numbers are low, but the poll ratings for this congress deserve a description along the lines of, abysmal. In fact the only people with a possibly lower approval rating are those actively involved in the American Nazi Party and even then it might be close. No one has crunched those numbers lately.

Boehner's act of hubris even has some republicans on the run, especially those in the Senate who are up for re election next year.

Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts says "The House republican plan to scuttle the deal to help middle class families is irresponsible and wrong." He goes on to say "The refusal to compromise now threatens to increase taxes on hard working Americans and stop unemployment benefits for those out of work." In other words, "Hey, you idiot, I'm trying to hang onto my job here!"

Republican senator Dean Heller of Nevada puts it more succinctly, "What is playing out in Washington is about political leverage, not what is good for the American people."

Earlier today, in an act of institutional cowardice, Boehner and his pals sent the bill back to conference rather than allow an up or down vote on it. In other words the republicans killed the bill without having to go on public record saying they did.

For many this will be Washington as usual and the cynicism and disillusionment will continue to grow in the body politic. For many more this means an additional tax burden, approved by those supposedly against tax burdens. One that increases the ever widening and dangerous gap between a drowning middle class and the wealthiest one percent of the country. Thus, the inexorable march into extinction continues for what used to be the greatest strength of this nation.

In this case, why?

Because John Boehner wants you to know he is the one really in charge and he can.

And there are actually people out there who wonder why I'm a registered democrat.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Day and Another Kim

Another day and another Kim in North Korea. Even though they can't grow food there in great quantities it appears there will never be a shortage of these pudgy little clones who are going to run things just like the last one did.

The latest is named Kim Jong Un. He is the third of the Kim dynasty that dates back to the post world war two partition of the peninsula. It would seem that the North Korean version of communism is best led by what amounts to a royal family. Of course communism everywhere has always been long on rhetoric about the people and short on actually doing something for them. However no where has that disparity been more evident than in North Korea.

Kim Il Sung, the eternal leader, who began the Korean war by invading the south, then was bailed out by the Chinese army, fashioned his Korea into a insular, paranoid state. He knew three things that apply to dictatorships everywhere, no matter what their label. First, pound it into each person's head day in and day out that some outside force is threatening the lives of every man, woman and child in the country. Second, blame everything, including the latest famine and economic collapse, on that outside force. Third, keep the military fat and happy.

His son, the lovable, Kim Jong Il learned these lessons well and took them to the final degree when he started up the North's nuclear program in earnest. Not only was there the possibility of blackmailing the south and Japan, but also who knows what kind of monster profit could be made from selling a couple of thermonuclear bombs to someone with both a marvelous cash reserve and a grudge.

Despite a questionable health history when Jong Il croaked the other day the US and others were taken by surprise. The ascent of his youngest son to throne, however wasn't. Last year Jong Un, who is thought to be twenty-seven was named a four star general in the North Korean army. He had already made a diplomatic trip to China, probably to introduce himself to the in crowd in Beijing.

The youngest Kim is thought to have been educated in Switzerland under an assumed name. He is believed to have learned both English and German there and developed quite the taste for basketball and James Bond movies. It is said he is also a big fan of Michael Jordan.

Well who isn't?

The problem is no one is sure of any of this and no one knows exactly what this kid thinks. And make no mistake, any twenty-seven year old, despite running the second largest military in all of Asia and an aggressive nuclear weapons program, is a kid. All you have to do is reflect about yourself at that age. Look for him to keep the military well oiled and happy, no matter what it costs his civilian population. The civilian population isn't going to show up at his door with a tank, or pop a cap in the back of his head.

Will he do something rash, like invade the south? One would hope not, but quite simply, we don't know. He is an enigma at this point and he is in charge. We can only hope he learned a little about how the rest of the world works if that really was him in Switzerland.

The world turns, but as things change they stay the same. One last rumor about his character is this: Kim Jong Un has a ruthless streak.

Why isn't that a surprise? After all, you don't get to inherit dad's business unless you think like him and he knows it.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Everyone Hates Tim

He is a fabulous athlete. Sure his passes sometime look like dying ducks or knuckle balls on steroids, but he is a fine physical specimen who can run the football and lead a team down the field.

So why does the name Tim Tebow evoke groans, moans, disdain and outright hatred?

Besides the fact he might have just beaten your team there are a lot of intangibles simmering in this cauldron. It is an odd toxic mix that speaks more to the current American psyche than it does to Tim Tebow himself. The fact is Americans are quickly becoming a people best defined not by what we've accomplished, or who, or what we love, but by our phobias.

The golden age of the ALL AMERICAN HERO is over. It died a gruesome death, having been run to ground by that nebulous monster known as the media and reduced to so much gory chum. Everyone has weaknesses, many of them fatal, but never have so many had so much fun exposing them, or made more profit off the seedy disclosures.

The public which has been bombarded by the foibles, follies, philandering, and out right criminality of the famous time and time again for decades now has become jaded to the extreme.

Yeah, he can hit the ball, but his head is as big as a watermelon and his testicles have shrunk to the size of almonds. Yeah, he's fast, but he is also a serial adulterer who has a strange fascination with whips and chains. Yeah, yeah, yeah, if he hadn't been drunk all the time he could have broke every record in the book that he didn't break.

The list of names and offenses goes on and on and it numbs some and makes complete cynics out of many.

Enter Mr. Tebow. He of the extreme emotional outbursts, which half a century ago would have been taken for intensity and now is looked at by not just a few as self serving, self promoting, and utterly fake. He of the quite public and frequent prayer which is not only suspect, but considered out of place and down right embarrassing by huge throngs of people.

Indeed, with the collapse of the mainstream protestant sects and the rise of the evangelicals and their television hucksters, Christianity is now considered a refuge for rubes and frauds by huge segments of the population. And they don't mind letting everyone know it.

These are the same people who, if they don't dislike Tim Tebow, keep waiting for him to be exposed as the opposite of what he plays to be on camera. They keep waiting for that dirty shoe to fall and his pious image to shatter like so much stained glass thrown down from a high place.

We have become a nation of anti worshippers. We've been so disappointed, so disgusted so many times we not only expect, but we enjoy seeing mega stars and the powerful go down in flames. Every time we do it is a reaffirmation that in ways they are no better than those of us grinding at it in the shadows, far away from the bright lights and glory. It is a reaffirmation of our agnosticism when it comes to all things heaven and earth.

The fact is now days we don't like anyone very much. We're just rooting for Tim Tebow to prove to us we're right.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Romney on the Run, Ron on the Rise and It is a Nasty Business

Yes, things are getting a little testy in Iowa and elsewhere. Mitt Romney is now officially on the defensive as his numbers shrink and Newt Gingrich's climb. Negative ads have started to fill the airways in Iowa and more are soon to follow. Mr. Romney is not going to let this nomination get away from him without a fight and some serious name calling.

Romney's main problem is that he is suspected of being a republican in name only by the right wing of the party. He has that Rudy Giuliani feel to him. He's a little too slick looking. He is from an arch liberal state where all that tea party, evangelical, social conservatism doesn't play like it does in the south and southwest, so he stayed mum or at least not sufficiently outraged on certain issues. In the past he has had to make deals with the devils. Most importantly his positions have morphed from the center to the right only since his presidential campaign began. His recent politics seem more the result of focus group polls rather than true conviction. In short he is suspected of past political heresies and crass opportunism.

All of which might be true. Nothing will make a man change long held beliefs quite like a run for the white house. Everything you've ever said, or done can and will be altered, denied, or repudiated when going for the grand prize in American politics.

The biggest winner in all this could well be Ron Paul. The gritty libertarian from Texas is fanning the flames of the anti Gingrich fires himself. Why not? He has absolutely nothing to lose and he, unlike Gingrich, actually does have a true conservative track record and is free from charges of profiteering off his career. His quasi isolationist foreign policy will play well to a nation tired of wars past, present, and future. And, who knows even the heroin users might register and vote for him given his stated position on drug legalization.

The situation is, as they say, fluid. Gingrich is building a lead, Romney is fading and Paul has moved up to third in many polls. Everyone else in the field is playing out the string, hoping for a cabinet position, or ambassadorship if the nominee can knock off Obama.

In this media driven society one mis-step is all it takes to destroy months of hard work. Loose lips will sink ships and that is perhaps Gingrich's greatest weakness.

Look for the Romney and Paul campaigns to slash and stab with increasing ferocity as they both try to provoke Mr. Gingrich into that fatal error. It is out there. They both know it. It is just a matter of getting Newt's blood up in front of the national audience and turning the mic over to him.

Its a nasty business, but someone has to do it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Newt Problem, Squirming Republicans, and The Sphynx Factor

It is a conundrum that perplexes even the most seasoned republican operative. What is one to think of Newt Gingrich's sudden emergence as the rock star of the GOP field?

Why are people believing him? Why are people forgiving him for past sins that should and would sink any other republican candidate like a large stone in black waters?

What the hell is going on here?

If they knew they'd fix it, trust me.

These people know Newt Gingrich. They've worked with Newt Gingrich. They have as much trust in him as they do a wounded Gila Monster. Just mentioning his name makes them squirm.

Part of the problem, of course, is Mitt Romney. He is too New England. He has dallied with a universal health care plan. His religion is suspect. His conservative credentials are too new and seem minted just for the occasion. He reeks of being an infidel who will play to the center and compromise at all the wrong times on all the wrong issues if he is nominated, or elected.

The fact that Mr. Gingrich has a continuing track record of bellicosity plays to this mob of rank and file tea party yahoos. Out raged rhetoric, it would seem, counts for more than actions. The republican leadership on the other hand, the same guys who voted Gingrich out of the House Speaker's chair, know that while he talks the talk, he'll never walk the walk.

He is too self serving. What else do you call a guy working on his third marriage? He is petty and vindictive. The government had to shut down under his watch because of a perceived affront by Bill Clinton. He is too much the career politician, everything the tea party supposedly abhors. As soon as he left congress he started cashing in on his career and that includes taking $1.6 million from a sinking Freddie Mac for "strategic advice". Strategic advice that apparently didn't work since the feds are still throwing money into that black hole.

Ron Paul, who has his own problems during this campaign. has called Gringrich's acceptance of the Freddie Mac money immoral. Oklahoma senator, Tom Coburn, who served in the house with Gingrich has questioned his leadership abilities. The acerbic conservative John Sununu loathes the man.

What is certain, is that to the extreme discomfort of those who run the party, Gingrich has the lead in Iowa. Even more disconcerting is that the winner of the republican primary in South Carolina has won the nomination in each election cycle since 1980. Right now, both there and in Florida, Gingrich is running away from the pack with double digit advantages.

The whole affair is beginning to look like the Egyptian labyrinth. Mubarak was bad and he had to go so that there could be free elections. In the free elections the Muslim Brotherhood scores a huge victory. Yes, you can give people a choice, but you can't trust them to make the choice you want them to.

Beware the public. It has a short memory and knows only what it sees on Fox News. That and they vote.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Satanic Messages, the Homosexual Threat, and Marxist Muppets

It was a bleary night. One of those where darkness closes in around the peripheral vision. Where the hands seem to flutter like butterflies in front of you, oddly detached from the rest of the body and reality. Yes, it was a different age: an era of herbal remedies and outlaw pharmaceuticals.

I have no idea how I stumbled across the Trinity Broadcasting Network that night, but I did. And there they all were, Born Again Christians in their finest pastel colored suits and white sateen dresses. They were slathered in garish makeup and dreadfully sincere. The subject that night was one of great concern. Subliminal Satanic Messages found on rock and roll recordings.

So, there I sat, transfixed, for well over an hour as these perfectly coiffed upscale tent revivalists played one song after another backward on a turntable. With each new LP came more startling evidence that the entire rock and roll industry was undermining the moral well being of America's youth with coded messages from Lucifer himself. Honestly, their fear and loathing was lost on me because I swear, the gruesome messages they were howling about were decipherable only by them. To my ear the sounds were nothing but gibberish, but then I don't speak in tongues either.

That was the night, the very second in my life, that I realized, understood with supreme clarity, that those people are as crazy as bed bugs on LSD.

Over the years I've had other brushes with this particular form of insanity. The Reverend Jerry Falwell, at a later date, warned of the grievous harm being done to America's children by the Tele Tubbies. He pointed out that one of them wore a head piece that was in the shape of a triangle, the known icon of homosexuals everywhere. Obviously Tele Tubbies were, according to Mr. Falwell, promoting the homosexual lifestyle to the very young. The mind reels. What sort of sick twist sits around trying to make such connections?

Later still, that well known fraternal organization, the Ku Klux Klan warned white children to not watch Barnie the Dinosaur on PBS because the guy inside the purple dinosaur suit was black. Who knew? How did they find out? Will this insidious infiltration never cease?

Apparently not, because the other day on Fox Business, anchor Eric Bolling pointed out that the newest muppet movie is an obvious piece of socialist propaganda. I promise, this really happened, you can google it. He assured the viewing public that because the movie heavy is named, Tex Richman and is an unscrupulous oil baron that Hollywood is brainwashing kids into conducting class warfare. His guest, one Dan Gainor agreed, "They hate the oil industry, they hate corporate America," he said.

There you have it from the source. Kermit, the green frog, is actually a red. Burt and Ernie are Trotskyites. Bolling and Gainor were both appalled at the cynicism of the left. "Why don't they leave children alone?" they whined.

Gentlemen, why don't you get a life? It would seem there is nothing that can be said anywhere that these paranoid Groupers won't fixate on. There is nothing that can be shown that can't be interpreted as anti, well, anti them.

All this would be laughable, except they are actually serious and they act on these hallucinations. Their insecurity goes as far as monitoring high school student's tweets. Sam Brownback's gubernatorial staff in Kansas does just that. Instead of doing something productive, like say run the state of Kansas, they came down hard on an eighteen year old's anti Brownback rant. They very nearly got her kicked out of school before Brownback himself reigned them in.

I don't know why I'm surprised. All of these people are the direct descendants of Big Joe McCarthy, a man apparently ahead of his time.

Yes, the entire country is besieged by a grand and dark conspiracy. The very foundations of capitalism quake as the muppets run amok on the wide screen. I can picture the sequel now. The title will be, "The Muppets, Yes!" The final dramatic scene will play out as the nation is in flames.

There among the shattered ruins of Wall Street stands a ragged Donald Trump, wounded and beaten. Before him looms a blood thirsty, dagger wielding, puppet. He looks into its eyes with weary resignation and says, "Et tu, Miss Piggy?"

Then the screen fades to black and credits roll to the stirring strains of "The Internationale."

Jim Henson and his old pal, Karl Marx will be proud.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Last Straw, American Reality and So Long, Mr. Cain

And then along came Ginger White and there went Herman Cain's improbable bid for the presidency. His campaign was dying a slow painful death to begin with. Every new day brought more bad news and seemingly another woman accusing him of harassment. Ms. White was the straw that broke the back.

Herman Cain now knows the truth. When you're selling pizzas no one cares who you're boinking. When you're running for political office on the national stage everyone does. That and when it comes to presidential politics there are no secrets that can't be and won't be uncovered.

The fact that Cain apparently didn't realize this speaks to his naivete. Before he ever announced his run he should have known someone was going to rat him out. He could deny the accusations all he wanted, but they would be there and people were going to convict him on the spot. That is what we do in this country.

Ever since Nixon went down for the count and Woodward and Bernstein became wildly famous every journalism student in America has had recurring wet dreams about taking down a big time politician. It is as much fun as lion hunting and sex all at the same time and one doesn't have to worry about coming down with malaria or the clap in the middle of the African veldt.

One of the reasons I tend to write off almost every political conspiracy theory out there is because I, unlike Herman Cain, understand that no one in this nation can keep their mouth shut. Everyone wants their moment with Wolf Blitzer in the "Situation Room". Everyone thinks that their fifteen minutes will catapult them into something bigger and better. Everyone WILL talk and that includes your mother who caught you masturbating in the basement when you were thirteen years old.

It is a media driven world and everyone wants air time, no matter how much they have to debase themselves to get it. There is a reason reality TV is all the rage now, beyond the fact the producers don't have to worry about writers and story lines. All of America is willing to make complete asses of themselves in front of a national audience. And, in lieu of making it to the stage, laughing derisively at those who have.

No, Herman Cain is apparently so out of touch with today's reality he never stood a chance. His complete ignorance of foreign policy not withstanding his was a campaign that was doomed as soon as he made the announcement he was running. It was only the complete unacceptability of Mitt Romney to the baying hounds of the right that kept him in it this long. Now that the Newt has caught his stride, all the accusations and finally this last infidelity came home to roost. He was riding high in October with a 27% national approval rating. By late November in Iowa he was struggling to get to 8%.

So now the list of republicans has been pared by one. More are soon to follow, especially after the Iowa caucuses and the contributions begin to dry up. By next summer, barring unforeseen revelations, only Romney and Gingrich will be left along with the hopeless romantic, Ron Paul. Everyone else in the current field will have taken the Cain option and moved on to "Plan B of my public life."

Politics on the presidential level is an extraordinarily expensive and ugly business. It is run by the ruthless and monitored by the blood thirsty. If you are going to declare you are seeking the highest office in the land you have to sell your soul to billionaires and you had better not even have the hint of an indiscretion in your background.

It is an exclusive fraternity. Most who pledge never become full fledged members. The hazing process is just too harsh for all but the elite. Herman Cain didn't make the cut. Few do.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Night Crawlers, Ball Boys, and Uncle G

Where do these night crawlers come from?

It appears they slither out of the cold, damp, dark earth and morph into human beings. They walk among us for years, seemingly perfectly normal, all the while the electrical circuits of their brains are mis-firing in terrible ways. Their fantasies bubble and ooze within them like black sludge escaping from a cracked sewer line. Then, finally, they act on these grotesque urges and somehow, some way, they get away with it for years on end. Psyche's are irreparably damaged, lives are destroyed. We are left stunned, appalled, and vengeful. Casualties are many, denial is rampant, at least at first, then the torch carrying mobs take to the streets. As always it is too late for the victims, as always journalists and public alike end up acting as if lynching is the only solution.

Bernie Fine was hired by Jim Boeheim to be an assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University in 1976, Boeheim's first year at the helm. In 1982 the alleged molestation of Syracuse ball boy, Mike Lang started. Two years later the alleged abuse of ball boy, Bobby Davis began. At least that is according to both Lang and Davis.

By 1990 Davis says he was having sex with Fine's wife of five years, Laurie. By 1998 he claims he was performing sex acts with Fine once more for a payment of several thousand dollars. Caligula apparently had nothing on this crowd.

In 2002 Davis contacted the Syracuse Police but was told the statute of limitations had run out on these alleged crimes. The chief at the time was former Syracuse basketball player, Dennis Duval.

Later that year Davis called up Laurie Fine and recorded the call secretly. During the conversation she admitted she knew of the abuse.

It took until this year for the excrement to hit the fan, not coincidentally shortly after former Penn St. coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted for similar crimes.

Boeheim has so far escaped the Paterno solution, but he has to feel the earth shifting beneath his feet. While there is absolutely no evidence he had heard of any of this monstrous folly, he initially called Bobby Davis a liar in public. Then when ESPN aired the call to Mrs. Fine he began to do an edgy two step shuffle. When Fine was fired by Syracuse on the 27th of November the head coach agreed with the decision while "regretting" his previous statement. It is unknown as to whether the bus was in gear when Boeheim threw his former assistant squarely under it.

Locally, Kimberly Crain, an elementary school teacher in McCloud, Oklahoma, was charged with possession of child pornography and lewd acts with a minor. Ms. Crain apparently had a pizza party at her house for several of her female students aged seven to nine. While there and decorating a Christmas Tree Crain allegedly had the girls undress, then pose for photos and videos in Christmas themed bras and under ware. Ho, Ho, Ho.

Beyond the Christmas party Crain is accused of taking pictures of students in provocative poses in her classroom and having them chat via Skype with a mysterious man known only as "Uncle G." No doubt at this very moment, Uncle G. is frantically wiping hard drives clean and disposing of all manner of electronic images.

This has all become far too familiar. It seems each new day brings more sickening revelations of depravity and pedophilia run completely amok. We don't want to think about it. We don't want to admit that the local youth basketball coach, when home alone, might be Uncle G. We try to look away for a variety of reasons.

There is no curing this, we can only try to contain it and isolate it. Witch hunts are ugly things, but someone needs to start asking some questions when there are accusations. No one wants to purge an innocent man, or woman because of an ugly rumor, or a spiteful individual. However it is better to investigate before there are other victims, before the fourth estate and the masses begin to howl for heads.

Justice will be better served if we do.