Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kelsey Bransby's Pals

The news came suddenly, without even a hint from local police that they were onto something. It hit the net a few hours ago and details are at best minimal.

Two people were busted yesterday and charged with the murder of Kelsey Bransby, who was killed last October in an apartment on the far south side of Oklahoma City. Their names are Cole Dean Hopper and Danielle Marie Cooley. Hopper is listed as 20 years old. Cooley, depending on who you read, is either 19, or 21.

On the local CBS affiliate's site, reporter Adrianna Iwasinski writes that a person who found Bransby that awful day told her Cooley was Bransby's best friend and Hopper was Cooley's boyfriend. KOCO is the ABC affiliate, their site is reporting that Bransby's mother, Sheila Davis told reporter Katy Bakey that both Hopper and Cooley were friends with her daughter. I suppose that revelation should come as no surprise. If you are murdered chances are overwhelming the crime was committed by a relative, friend, or acquaintance. It would seem we prefer to have relationships with our victims before we do them in.

There is, as yet, no word as to why the pair would murder, Kelsey Bransby. The motive will no doubt be revealed once attorneys start trying the case in the media. So will the reason the police came to suspect the pair and what evidence has been amassed against them. At this point no one knows if they've been the prime suspects all along, or if someone ratted them out when they screwed the pooch and blabbed about the murder over too many beers, or hits of meth to a fellow traveler. In this age no one can keep their mouth shut. If you say something, anything, it is immediately public knowledge.

KOCO reports that Bransby's mother is glad this part of the ordeal is over. She tried to put into words what really can't be explained fully by the parent of a dead child. She is emotionally drained, especially after finding out Cooley and Hopper were the ones charged. She says she has no idea why they would have done it. She'll find that out shortly and bets are her current daze will turn into a white hot anger fairly soon.

Three girls perished last autumn in this burg. Suspects in Carina Saunders' gruesome murder currently reside in the Oklahoma County lockup. Now two people have been charged and are being held in the Cleveland County detention center for the slaying of Kelsey Bransby. That leaves the death of Alina Fitzpatrick the only one seemingly without a hope of being solved.

No one has been convicted yet. As the blurb on the TV cop reality show says, "All parties are considered innocent until proven guilty."

It is hard to keep that ideal in mind right now.

Kelsey Bransby is dead and no one outside of police headquarters, or the people who did it knows why.

When the reason is revealed it will be foul and stupid. That we can be assured of. Because, if they did did do it, those two sets of vacant eyes staring out at us from their mug shots guarantee it.


Money Talks

As an NBC-Marist poll shows the race between Mitt Romney and Barak Obama essentially dead heats in Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada, the spending by conservative super pacs continues to impact the campaign.

According to MSNBC pro Obama forces have spent $38.7 million and pro Romney spending stands at $46.7 million. However breaking it down further there is a glaring discrepancy in who is actually doling out all this cash. According to the report the Obama campaign is directly responsible for $31.4 million of their expenditures. On the other hand the Romney campaign has kicked in only $5.2 million. Everything else has come from right wing super pacs who are promising to spend as much as a billion dollars to unseat the president.

According to the supreme court this is free speech at work. To the average person it looks an awful lot like bribery, but then what do we know? You say tomato etc.

The only significant chunk of cash being spent in anti Romney, ads outside of the Obama campaign itself, comes from Planned Parenthood who has bought $1.2 million in ads. The ads will be appearing in Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. They point out that Mr. Romney wants to gut the organization and roll back Roe V. Wade while he hems and haws about things like women earning the same amount of money as men for doing the same job. In other words, making America great again means getting into a time machine and traveling back to the 1950's. Yes, that was a lovely age. Racial segregation was wide spread, homosexuals were routinely beaten by just about everyone else and women were ordered by the state to carry their rapist's fetus to full term.

The figures do appear to show the Mitt has given up even trying to woo Hispanic voters, hoping instead they'll simply stay home on election day. So far his campaign has spent a whopping $21,000 on ads targeting the Latino population. In the mean time the Obama people have gone all in and have currently run up a tab of $1.4 million playing to that demographic. No wonder the republicans have all ready written off California. Look for every voter even suspected of being Hispanic to be challenged by republican poll watchers come November.

It is unclear as to how we got to this state. It has been a slow creeping process that probably began back when Eisenhower found out people actually watched TV ads. Then Jack Kennedy came along and he played to the camera perfectly, while Nixon came across as a jowly gangster, which, of course, he later proved he was. The television networks had found a new sales windfall and a  vast gaggle of media consultants and experts became eminently employable. And it all cost money. More than any single human being could hope to raise no matter how many improbable promises he made.

Add that to the right turn the republicans made first with Goldwater and then later with Reagan, you know that turn that led them to the path of you're with us, or you're a traitor and things went straight down hill. With the advent of Pacs and superpacs they could suddenly put their money where their mouths were. Their guy could remain above the fray while ads ran that said things like John Kerry didn't deserve his medals and Barak Obama was born somewhere in Africa, or Indonesia, well, anywhere but here. No depth was too great to sink to and no price too high to pay. Screw decency and the truth, we're talking about our boy running the country and keeping the barbarians at bay.

Yes, at some point democracy went by the way side and the oval office became available to the highest bidder.

Unfortunately for millions of Americans and perhaps the very future of the republic, the election of the president has come down to that crass and brutal golden rule.

"He who has the gold rules."

Hey, it isn't class warfare. Class warfare is a liberal myth. It is simply the cost of doing business. Besides, if you can't afford the car you shouldn't be in the showroom.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mitt and Donald: There's No Business Like Show Business

It was all very patriotic yesterday.The President placed a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns in Washington and later visited the Vietnam War memorial. Yes, it has been fifty years since that deadly mis-adventure began. Mitt Romney was in San Diego delivering a speech to an estimated crowd of 5,000. His people actually had the balls to say the appearance was "...a Memorial Day service paying tribute to the war dead, not a campaign rally."

Such bald face bull shit should be reserved for children who still believe in Santa Claus. Everything, I mean everything, both Mr. Romney and the President do from now until election day is politically motivated. For the next few months both of them won't even take a leak without getting feed back from some focus group first. We are now witnessing the super bowl of American politics. As Holmes would say "the game is afoot," and every move, every word will be dissected by a blood thirsty press. Every speech, every visit to some blue collar diner is designed to appeal to a bloc of voters. There is no down time in a presidential race.

All of which makes you wonder why Mitt Romney is currently hanging out with Donald Trump. It is an odd, almost surreal, mystery. The obvious answer, of course, is money. Trump has a lot of it and presidential campaigns hemorrhage money in astounding amounts. However there are more than a few people who consider Donald Trump nothing more than an extreme version of a  self promoting carnival barker. You know, the guy who waves you over to his tent and tells you all you have to do is knock over those metal replicas of milk bottles and you win the big fuzzy doll for your girl.

Brother Trump still insists that there are doubts as to the birth place of Barak Obama. It is a notion so far out on the fringe that it tends to rival those alien abduction stories you hear every now and then. He also believes that Mr. Romney should dredge up the Jeremiah Wright connection and exploit it. Certainly someone in the Romney camp should understand that playing the Wright card would allow the Obama people to call into question the "Mormon issue." We are talking about a can of worms so ugly on both sides that millions of people might just walk away from the two candidates in utter disgust.

Even the articulate arch conservative reprobate George Will doesn't understand this eerie symbiotic moment. MSNBC quotes him as saying, " I don't understand the cost benefit here. The costs are clear. The benefit--what voter is going to vote for him (Romney) because he is seen with Donald Trump? The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious it seems to me."

The wags at MSNBC speculated that by cozying up to Trump now it will be easier for the Romney campaign to deny him speaking time at the convention. In other words, let him "bloviate" now and then shuffle him off to the wings and ignore him. Or, more pragmatically, cash his check as quickly as possible, then don't let him any where near the candidate again.

Actually the very idea that this sort of horrid used car salesman is somehow influencing the campaign for the presidency of the United States of America should frighten the bejeezus out of us all. Have we actually sunk this low? What is left? Asking for the support and input of Vince McMahon and his cast of World Wrestling Entertainment characters.

There used to be some dignity associated with the office of president and those who sought it. Now it seems we've put choosing the next Commander in Chief on a par with deciding who moves into the next round of "Dancing With The Stars."

Things just get weirder and weirder. Politics isn't what it used to be. Neither are we. Entertainment has overtaken responsible decision making.We have entered the People Magazine age. And, as always, money rules.

Just ask Mitt Romney tonight when he is speaking at the Trump International Hotel as the Donald beams vacuously at his side. He will be appearing in the ultimate episode of "Celebrity Apprentice."

I suppose the only thing left to say is, there's no business like show business.

Bring on the dogs and ponies. This garish revue has just begun.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day: Dead Soldiers and Cold Beer

So here in the states it is Memorial Day Weekend. It is a time when, in order to commemorate our honored dead, we go out to ball games, car races, beaches, and lakes while huge numbers of us guzzle enough beer to keep a dozen breweries profitable.

There will be ceremonies held at different venues. The sad lament of "Taps" will be played on bugles and little American flags will flutter at innumerable grave sites. The attendance at these rites will be sparse compared to the multitudes swilling brewskies in the bleachers, but hey it is a free country, right?

If we know anything about the republic it is that we will never have a shortage of war dead. We don't make a lot of things any more, but we are extremely efficient at rolling out that product. The United States doesn't outsource dead soldiers, sailors, and marines. There will always be some crisis that calls for us to sacrifice our sons and daughters in far away places that shouldn't mean squat to us. We will place our hands over our hearts as the coffins are carried out of planes and tell each other that mangled corpses are the price of freedom.

Other than the bitter divisiveness at the end of the Vietnam conflict and then in the months after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington war has had no daily impact on us for 67 years. Unless you have a child, or spouse serving in the military the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has nothing to do with how you conduct your life. There is no food, water, or gas rationing. There aren't any power outages. There aren't any bombs falling. We might be inconvenienced by a few security checks at airports and stadiums, but we aren't concerned that Iraqi tanks will come rumbling down the street firing indiscriminately. There won't be any Taliban helicopters strafing shopping mall parking lots. War has become such an abstract to the American public that we go along with sending troops anywhere for any reason without blinking an eye or asking the simple question, why. We don't love it, we just don't hate it enough because it doesn't hurt the vast majority of us.

War is sometimes an evil necessity. Sadly, for us, it has become an evil habit. A habit that we simply don't want to kick. Too many of us equate a willingness to go to war with patriotism. Too many of us take pride in a high body count off in some foreign land. Too many of us believe war should be the first option rather than the last.

Yes, some of us will honor the dead this weekend while many won't even give it a second thought. All the weekend means for millions is that there is an extra day off from work and summer has officially begun.

Why dwell on something as grotesque as war and death. After all, it really is far away and right here and now the brats are on the grill, the pool is open, and the party is on.

Or, as the great philosopher, Alfred E. Newman said, "What, me worry?"


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guns, Guns and More Guns: Wyatt Where Are You When We Need You?

In today's Oklahoman an article by Megan Rolland deals with the aftermath of the shooting of eight people following the OKC-LA Lakers basketball game the other night. One Miles Hall, the owner of a local gun range, believes, according to the article, that since hand guns are not allowed in the Chesapeake Energy Arena and most, if not all, the Bricktown restaurants and bars, it has created a "victim rich" environment.

Hall is quoted as saying, "I'm not looking for a Wild West shoot out in the street, but chances are pretty good the bad guys know the victims are not carrying." Later in the story he is also quoted as saying, "I think responsible, educated, gun owners are the solution to an awful lot of crime woes because the bad guys don't want to get hurt doing what they are doing. They tend not to be that stupid."

Sorry, Miles, but yes they do tend to be that stupid. The specific crime we are talking about involved a teenager and a fight over what one attorney describes as "stupid high school stuff--boys, girls, telephones--stupid little high school issues." Trust me Mr. Hall, the last thing on that toad's mind was whether anyone else was carrying a weapon, or not. When you are sixteen and want to be a tough guy, analytic thinking is really not part of the equation.

I've said it before and I will say it again here. I've been hunting twice in my life. I have no problem with people who do, so long as they have the decency to eat what they've shot. The problem is that Glock 9 millimeter semi automatics and even that little five shot Rossi .38 tucked away in my night stand are not designed to bring down a deer, or a covey of quail. They are designed for one purpose and one purpose only. That is to kill another human being.

If everyone out there has one, no matter how "responsible" they might seem when they buy it, no matter how "educated" they might pretend to be, somewhere down the line a pecentage of them are going to use it at the wrong time in the wrong place for the wrong reason.

Yes, I can just imagine the family friendly environment at the arena. You get some Johnny Ringo wanna be all beered up and then when Metta World Peace throws that elbow into the side of James Harden's skull, he saves the commissioner the problem of deciding how long the suspension should be. Or, more realistic, there won't be any need to call in an usher to deal with that asshole in front of you who won't sit down.

It is unclear if Miles Hall advocates the use of gasoline to put out raging fires, but considering his logic in this instance it isn't that far fetched to believe so.

Back during the real Wild West, when places like Dodge were out of control, the first move by guys like Wyatt Earp was to halt everyone from bringing a weapon into town. This is known as gun control. It was strictly enforced and the murder rate plummeted. The streets became safe.

But that is okay. Hand gun advocates have never worried about history or logic. They just want to have that warm fuzzy feeling of manhood strapped to their hip. They want that sexual rush of knowing they are the ones who decide who lives and who dies.

I have a gun and I am dangerous, therefore I am. Wanna' see my erection?

Wyatt, where are you when we need you?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Obama Si, Romney No

According to a report by MSNBC, Mitt Romney is in trouble with Latino voters. In fact it could be said he is in real trouble. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Latinos indicates that Barak Obama holds a 61 to 27 point lead over the former governor. Those are numbers that could be described by some as a landslide.

When broken down further the numbers don't get any better. Only 26% percent of those polled view the Mittster in a positive light, while 35% consider him negatively. Conversely Obama's favorable rating is 58% while only 23%  rate him as a negative. When it comes to handling the economy 61% of those polled say they approve of the president's policies.

Actually this isn't a new trend. Four years ago Obama ran 67 percent to John McCain's 31% among these very same voters.

No wonder Mitt's people are vetting Florida senator Marco Rubio as I type. The good news for Romney is that Rubio is of Hispanic descent, the son of Cuban immigrants. The not so good news is that Rubio is considered in some quarters as the crown prince of the Tea Party. Shifting further to the right is probably not the direction Mitt wants to take. He maybe many things, but he isn't dumb. He knows how well the far right ideologues fared in the primaries outside of the deep south and places like Oklahoma. They were so distasteful to the electorate that people actually voted for him.

And of course the Cubans are only one part of the Latino community which cannot be looked at as a monolith. Many, if not all of them, fled a communist dictatorship. The very mention of the name Kennedy still throws huge numbers of them into fits of frothing anger. This isn't true of the rest of the Latino community.

So how is it that Mitt doesn't play well in a socially conservative, heavily catholic voter block? Well, the elephant in his living room is named immigration. He has had to pander to the far right and they want fences built, troops deployed, and live ammunition distributed to stem the tide of illegal immigration. They aren't subtle about it either.

The Latino community is fully aware of where these yahoos stand. You're a tough sell to someone who knows you have scads of supporters who would prefer to shoot a cousin out in the Arizona desert rather than let him roof a house in Flagstaff.

No, it looks like Mitt is going to have to write this minority off as a lost cause. His only hope is that they stay home on election day. Unfortunately for Obama there is some indication they might. The only inkling of trouble for the president in this poll is that only 68% of those responding say they are highly interested in the election. That number is 81% for everyone else.

There is a long way to go before November, but with the race too close to call, Romney is going to have to make up for these votes some how. The question is where and with whom?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oklahoma City Goes Big League: Eight Shot

When I moved to Oklahoma City in 1959 I was told there were 325,000 people here. No one ever mentioned the term metropolitan area. A place like Edmond, which is just north of the city limits might have had 5,000. Moore, which is just south probably had fewer than that. Norman, which is south of Moore and the home of the University of Oklahoma might have had 12,000 permanent residents.

Although the city did have a history of minor league baseball and surprisingly, minor league hockey, when my family hit town there wasn't a pro team to be had in any sport. If you wanted to go to a sporting event you went to see high school football, high school basketball, or wrestling. The only thing even approaching big time was OU football during the fall down in Norman. The stadium held a little over sixty thousand and every now and then it sold out.

Things, as they say, have evolved. The metro is now hovering around 1.2 million. A few years ago some giddy dreamers began talking about trying to land a major league franchise. The NFL and MLB seemed a bit far fetched, but the NHL actually did seem doable.

The NHL did toy with the city a couple of times. They were never truly serious though. The league was using OKC as a threat to wring concessions out of other cities, bigger markets because the market is everything.

To make a long story short, Seattle had a basketball team called the Super Sonics. They were playing in a dump called Key Arena. They were owned by a guy named Schultz who was far better at brewing coffee than he was running a NBA franchise. The people of Seattle having tired of paying for pro sports franchise stadiums refused to ante up for a new arena. Schultz sold to a whiz bang Oklahoma group headed by Clay Bennett who had married into the Gaylord family and was fabulously well to do. After only a year in Seattle he moved the team to Oklahoma City and renamed them The Thunder.

People in Seattle went ballistic and still do even a few years after the fact, although hardly any of them went to Sonic games in the first place. Everyone else just sort of groaned. Down in Dallas, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban mumbled some things about creating a "Dust Bowl Division" in the league. Eyes rolled in places like Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and New York. The daily paper, "The Oklahoman" which was then owned by, you guessed it, the Gaylord family ran a head line that went something like this, "BIG LEAGUE!" You could almost hear the disgusted whispers. It was as if the Clampetts had just crashed the country club dinner.

Seattle continued to boil and OKC got a chip on its shoulder. The team also started to win during the second year here. Last year The Thunder went to the Western Conference finals by thumping Denver and edging out Memphis. It didn't take long for Cuban's Mavs to end that dream, but the seeds were sewn.

This year every game was a sell out and large numbers of people could be found standing outside the arena watching the game on a big screen video screen. In the first round of the playoffs OKC blew out the defending NBA champs, Dallas in four games. In the second round, the storied LA Lakers came to town.

Unless you are from this burg you really cannot grasp what that means to a life long, or nearly life long OKC resident. A couple of years ago the Lakers knocked the Thunder out in the first round in six games. Still the idea of Oklahoma City taking on Los Angeles as an equal in anything, anything at all, just takes the average Oklahoman's breath away.

Last night, in game five The Thunder beat the Lakers 106-90 to win the series four games to one.  Inside the downtown arena there were 18,203 screaming fans. Outside it, depending on which estimate you believe there were somewhere between 6,000 and 7,500 more. They witnessed what even ten years ago was a fantasy so ridiculous that if spoken aloud it would have gotten you laughed out of any bar in town. The party was ON!

Then of course some stupid troll opened fire. It happened about three blocks east of the arena. Details are fuzzy, something about an argument between a group of guys and a group of women. Police don't think it had anything to do with the game, or at least they aren't admitting to it. Eight people were wounded, one seriously. A couple of arrests were made.

Yes, welcome to the big leagues, Oklahoma City and all that comes with it. It has become painfully obvious that we have more in common with Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and LA than just a NBA team. We have arrived in more ways than one.

For decades we wanted to be counted with the big boys. I guess we will be now. The city was never that innocent to begin with, but this was stunning. That small town glow was happily and finally sacrificed for the bright lights. Today we understand the bright lights cast very dark shadows. And, it only takes a single step to go from one to the other.

We won last night and then we lost. Unfortunately we should probably get used to that symbiosis. It comes with the territory.





Monday, May 21, 2012

Mitt's Bain is His Bane

You have to love politicians. Mitt Romney has been running around for months claiming that while he headed up Bain Capital he created 100,000 jobs. In fact rather than point to his record as Governor of Massachusetts, he seems convinced Bain is his best selling point. It probably has to do with that whole universal health care thing he pushed through in the Bay State. You know the one used as a model by the Obama administration for its national health care program. The one  the Mittster now seems to want to repudiate, or ignore, or at least treat as if it was some boyish prank gone too far.

Now, the Romney people are crying foul that the President's campaign is focusing in on the downside to the Bain operation. They are saying it is unfair to spotlight just the layoffs, reduced benefits, and lower salaries that Bain imposes on the companies it has eaten.

Former "car czar" Steve Rattner agrees. Rattner is a financier and was the lead auto industry advisor to the Treasury Department when Obama saved places like GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Despite his willingness to bail out the big three automakers, he says downsizing and bankruptcies induced by people like Bain, "Are part of capitalism. This is part of life." He did go onto say that Romney should have never bragged about those 100,000 jobs because Bain isn't in the business to create jobs. "Its responsibility is to make profits for its investors." The part about screwing rank and file labor while doing so was left unsaid, but is understood.

Even Newark Mayor, democrat, Cory Booker felt it was unfair to point out Bain's short comings when it comes to the average middle class citizen. On Meet the Press he said, among other things "Bain is a successful business, end of discussion." It didn't take him long to rethink that position. Within hours His Honor was doing a nervous little tap dance saying, "Romney has made his business record a center piece of his campaign. Therefore it is reasonable and I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine that record and discuss it." It would appear the Mayor was made an offer he couldn't refuse. It is, after all, Jersey.

A few years ago, when John Kerry went to the democratic convention and talked about his service in the Navy the republicans jumped him like a pack of blood thirsty hyenas. Suddenly Kerry's war record was the only germane issue in the campaign. They grinded on it for weeks. Now they are appalled Obama is pointing out that the Bain success story depended heavily on its willingness to throw innocent people out onto the street.

Bain is a double edged sword. Romney should have known that by now. Hell, people in his own party used it against him during the primary gang fight. Did he seriously think Obama wouldn't? If he did then I have a bridge out there somewhere to sell him.

Yes, Mitt the lesson here is quite simple. There are two sides to every coin and when you flip it the odds are half the time you are going to lose the toss.

And, you brought it up in the first place pal, now live with it.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Trayvon Martin and The Great Divide Part Two

So here is how it plays out in the conservative media. The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City's daily paper, is and has been a bastion of white republicanism for over a century. In every survey taken so far white people and especially white republicans think the Trayvon Martin killing has been getting far too much press. In other words they want it to go away because it challenges their public view that racism isn't a problem in this country any more. Besides, he was probably just another gangster wanna be in the first place.

Evidence in the case is now being made public. Yesterday MSNBC reported that Martin's autopsy states he died by a single gun shot fired at intermediate range. That mystical distance still hasn't been determined, or at least explained. It is at odds with a lab report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. After an analysis of Martin's sweatshirt, the dreaded hoodie, their conclusion is that the fatal wound was inflicted by a muzzle shot. That George Zimmerman's gun was pressed against Martin's body when he pulled the trigger.

Lab results also show, according to MSNBC, trace amounts of THC in Martin's blood, but at levels lower than what medical experts believe would cause "performance impairment." As just about anyone who came of age in the late sixties can tell you THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the magical mystery tour ingredient in marijuana. It is the reason you smoke it, or eat it in brownies, or, in my one time favorite, banana nut bread. In addition, as anyone who has ever had to take a drug test can tell you, it lingers in the system for weeks after your last toke. Perhaps as long as a month. So what we are talking about here is that Trayvon Martin might have smoked a joint the day before, or even the week before, but certainly not that night.

Enter the Oklahoman. In today's edition on page 4A they ran a brief snippet regarding the Martin-Zimmerman case. The head line reads: "Martin Autopsy Lists Marijuana." The breathless lead sentence that rambles on forever begins with, "Trayvon Martin's autopsy shows he had marijuana in his system the night he was killed..." Well that certainly seems fair and balanced considering what the truth of the matter is. The sentence concludes by telling us Martin was shot "at close range." What The Oklahoman failed to mention, other than the amount of THC in Martin's blood was negligible, is that George Zimmerman had Tamazepam, which is also known as Restoril, in his system the night of killing. It is used to treat anxiety and insomnia.

I've never taken Restoril, so I really can't comment on it. I can tell you that unless there have been some pretty dramatic changes in the composition of marijuana in the last forty or so years it does not, I repeat, does not cause you to be aggressive. In fact that is the last thing it does. Think fine tunes on the stereo and Fig Newtons. Think rambling observations about the nature of the universe. Deep thoughts. As a friend of mine told me one bleary evening, "Cheese is eternal." Be that as it may, the evidence shows without a doubt, Trayvon Martin wasn't stoned that night. The Oklahoman deliberately left you with another impression.

Buried at the end of the article the paper finally does admit that one of the cops thought Zimmerman should have been busted for manslaughter after the shooting, but was over ruled. That won't matter to some older white dude who is tired of the whole affair anyway. He just caught that headline and said to himself, "I knew it," then shrugged and moved on to the sports section.

The Oklahoman played the perfect game of disinformation, which is what the right wing media loves to do. While what they said was technically true, they didn't tell us the entire story. They left it to the reader's lurid imagination to fill in his, or her own conclusion. They also carefully avoided saying anything about Zimmerman's involvement with prescription meds. Why muddy the waters with something like that? Lets keep it short and clear cut.

The country is fracturing. White vs. Black. Left vs. Right. The media is playing an important role in this great dissolve. They don't report, they pander to specific audiences. They tell people what they want to hear, or more darkly what politically motivated editors want them to hear. And in a state where Barak Obama failed to carry a single county four years ago the Oklahoman has decided those of us in OKC and beyond want to hear that Trayvon Martin was whacked out on an illegal drug.

They want us to believe that somehow it is Trayvon Martin's fault he is dead. Then they want to story to go away.

God Bless the First Amendment and all those who abuse it for their  own twisted ends. Where on earth would we be without them?


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and Joe Ricketts: The Music Never Ends

This is all going down hill so fast that it makes the head swim. Details of Trayvon Martin's just released autopsy say that he was killed by a single shot to the chest from "intermediate range." Does anyone even know what intermediate range means? I'm assuming that George Zimmerman was far enough away so as to not leave powder burns on Martin's clothing, but close enough to hit his target with a fair amount of accuracy. In other words Martin and Zimmerman were not locked together in a clench, or even at an arm's length apart when the trigger was pulled.

A doctor has written a report saying that the day after the shooting, Zimmerman came to him with what appeared to be a broken nose and two black eyes, which is not uncommon when you get your nose broken. That I can personally testify to. He also had two lacerations to the back of the head. Neither of the cuts were significant enough to require stitches. There was also a bruised lip and he complained of lower back pain. Zimmerman's lawyers and supporters will point to these injuries saying it proves that the neighborhood watch captain was attacked by Martin.

That of course, as we say in Oklahoma, is horse shit. It proves he was in a fight and nothing more. It doesn't discount the fact that Zimmerman told police dispatch that Martin was running from him. It doesn't explain away two audio experts who have said the voice yelling for help in a recorded 911 call was not George Zimmerman's.

It does tend to confirm that at some point in the chase Zimmerman cornered Martin and a confrontation ensued. If Martin felt trapped he probably decided he had no other option, but to turn and fight. If he was here to defend himself he could and no doubt would cite that same stand your ground statute that the defense is going to use in the upcoming trial. Unfortunately, thanks to Dead Eye George, young Mr. Martin isn't available at this time.

In other proof we are headed toward a complete racial dystopia the New York Times uncovered proposals made to a republican Super Pac for TV ads that would air this summer. Joe Ricketts, who owns the Chicago Cubs among other things, operates the political action committee. One of the ideas was to link Obama to Reverend Jerimiah Wright and insert the issue of race into the campaign. In order to offset the inevitable charges of race baiting the ads would cause, the proposal advocated the use of an "extremely literate and conservative African American" as a spokesperson. This unnamed person would accuse Obama of misleading the public by presenting himself as a "metrosexual black Abe Lincoln." 

It is a concept so vile the Romney people immediately disavowed it, although they did accuse Obama of running a negative campaign in the very next breath. Republican operative Steve Schmidt said Sarah Palin wanted to do the same thing four years ago, but John McCain wouldn't allow it. The McCain camp believed it wouldn't swing any Obama supporters to them and in fact would energize his base and probably disillusion many independents.

Ricketts himself is now claiming he'd never use such tactics, even though he was quoted in the proposal as saying that, "If the ad had run four years ago Obama would never have been elected."

God how we love to hate each other. Actually we love to hate everyone. If there were Martians we'd hate them too. The list is practically endless.

At times like these the republic appears to have been one giant and ghastly mistake. The grand American experiment somehow went all afoul and instead of a tolerant and civilized people we turned out to be caricatures of Dr. Frankenstein's monster.

It is time for a drink. Maybe two.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trayvon Martin and Brian Beckman

It just keeps getting uglier and uglier. The latest episode in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman tragedy involves a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue captain. Well, he used to be a captain, recently he was demoted two ranks to firefighter.

According to MSNBC, Brian Beckman went on facebook and wrote this: "I and my co workers could rewrite the book on whether our urban youth are victims of racist profiling, or products of their (expletive) ignorant, pathetic welfare dependent excuses for parents, but like Mrs. Corey (prosecutor Angela Corey), we speak only the truth. They are just misunderstood little church going angels and the ghetto hoodie look doesn't have anything to do with why people wonder if they're about to get jacked by a thug."

Unfortunately for Brother Beckman the Chief of the Miami-Dade fire department doesn't agree with his assessment of the situation. Besides the demotion the former captain must complete a "fit for duty evaluation" and diversity sensitivity training. The firefighters union plans to appeal.

Beckman is, of course, white and he was echoing the hard core beliefs of not just a few members of his race. If you look at the statistics there is a yawning  abyss between what most white people think of this affair and what most black people think. If you don't believe it, just hang out at a sports bar one morning sipping bloody marys. When the wonks at Fox News, or CNN start talking about Martin and Zimmerman the reaction is always swift and intemperate.

Now Beckman himself will become a cause. There is nothing that will drive conservatives into a foaming fit quicker than something like "diversity sensitivity training." There will be howls that Beckman has the right to free speech, even though a lot of what he said was dead wrong. Number one, neither of Martin's parents are on welfare. Number two, Trayvon Martin was in Sanford that night because his father was concerned enough for his welfare that he didn't want to leave him home alone in Miami.

And yes, we do have the right to free speech, but we ultimately have to be responsible for what we say. Just because you can say it doesn't mean there won't be consequences for you saying it. All you have to do is ask Miami Marlins manager, Ozzie Guillen. He will explain it to you.

Beckman is reported to have claimed he wasn't the author of that ugly little screed. Apparently he is saying he copied it from what he thought was an editorial reply to either a news article, or a blog. Maybe, but it doesn't really matter now does it. He agreed with every word of it, or he wouldn't have copied it and posted it on a social network site.

Meanwhile the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Angela Corey has filed a witness and evidence list with the court in Seminole County. The paper says most of the witness names have been redacted for now because of security concerns. I can't blame the prosecution for that. I wouldn't want my name out there until I took the stand and probably not even then. The pressure is going to be immense and at times ruthless from people on both sides of the argument. The Sentinel is saying the evidence includes video and crime scene photos. There are also 56 audio recorded statements.

This whole dance is starting to look like some dreadful Poe-Shakespeare hybrid. The most frightening aspect of it is that its going to get even worse the closer we get to the trial.

It has become terribly evident that we might not ever get past the racial divide in this country. Oh we will all be polite, or at least correct when in mixed company. However that heart of darkness that has dwelt in the American soul ever since we came to these shores refuses to fade. It lurks within all of us and at times like these it becomes exposed in all its horrifying brutality.

Bis interimitur qui suis armis perit.


Monday, May 14, 2012

We All Make Mistakes

J.P.Morgan Chase dropped two billion dollars the other day on a bad bet in the investing game. It is a breath taking sum of money for most of the people on this planet. For Jamie Dimon, the chairman, president and ceo of the banking firm it was just an unfortunate error.

He went on Meet the Press and in the rat a tat tat style of speaking most often associated with TV hucksters who sell things like Sham Wow explained that these things happen sometimes. "We all make mistakes," he said. "Every business does."

Well there are mistakes and then there are two billion dollar mistakes. Dimon used words and terms like, "sloppy, stupid, screw ups and badly monitored" to describe J.P. Morgan's. He also said, "There is almost no excuse for ignoring the warning signs."

He did not explain what the word "almost" meant in this context.

Dimon is a happy warrior, optimistic and self confident to the extreme. He claims J.P. Morgan is not at risk over this debacle and will make money this year. He is probably right. Wikipedia lists Morgan's assets at two trillion dollars, making it the largest bank in the United States. Billions and trillions are, of course, numbers that mean as much to most of us as some astronomer telling us a star is 300 million light years away. The average human brain just can't accurately picture such massive amounts and distances.

Dimon is a registered democrat, but he favors deregulation of Wall Street firms. He does admit, however the goof at Morgan will fuel the argument that more, not less regulation is needed. In fact that is probably why he used all those unflattering words and terms to describe it. He is obviously upset the money was lost, but he is REALLY upset that it gives those who want to clamp down on this orgy of excess and greed an argument.

He claims he understands the disenchantment with Wall Street many, if not most, Americans feel. However listening to him talk you very quickly figure out that there is a huge difference between him understanding the problem and wanting to do something about it. Yes, Jamie Dimon might know you feel he and those like him are utterly out of touch with the average citizen, but that doesn't mean he cares. "You can't paint all of Wall Street as bad," he says. And even though he admits that under Obama the economy is getting stronger he claims the recovery would be happening quicker if we'd just let him go his merry way without any restraint whatsoever.

Back in the day one of the Yellow Cab drivers in OKC became a legend by forcibly taking away the gun of a would be robber. It was a brave and some would say, foolish act. The cabbie ordered the thief out of his vehicle, then as the guy was leaving, he asked the driver, quite seriously I'm told, if he could have his gun back.

Why do I think that clown should be working for Jamie Dimon? I suppose it is that whole birds of a feather thing. They are both completely unabashed by their mind boggling gall. That and in the end the only major difference between them is the size of their profit and loss margins.



Friday, May 11, 2012

Shoeless in Oslo, Warning Shots in Florida, Bristol Outraged, and Mitt Romney, Preppy Gangsta

It is not entirely clear how we got to this state. Sometimes things just start to slip away slowly and in the blink of an eye we find ourselves knee deep in the muck of brutal nonsense.

The Friday dispatches have bordered on the Dadaesque. It has been a convoluted news cycle at best.

Over in Norway our pal Anders Breivik is still on trial. Earlier he was upset because the judges wouldn't allow him to question witnesses and victims as they described his deadly rampage. Finally the brother of one of the people he murdered snapped, screamed. "Go to hell, go to hell, you killed my brother," then chucked a shoe at Breivik. He missed but fortunately did manage to nail a co defense attorney named Vibeke Hein Baera. It is reported by MSNBC that while some of the gallery looked on shocked and uncomfortable, others applauded. There was no comment from the defendant who was hustled out of the court room. There is also no word as to whether spectators will be forced to sit barefoot during the remainder of the proceedings.

In Florida a woman named Marissa Alexander got twenty years for firing a warning shot near a man she had accused of physically abusing her. Her defense was that same stand your ground law that George Zimmerman is citing. The judge wasn't buying it. Apparently Ms. Alexander had gone into the garage to fetch the weapon, then returned to the room where the man and his two sons were. The judge decided that her act of returning to the same room proved she did not fear for her life. Ms. Alexander says the only reason she went back into the house was because the garage door was jammed shut. Sticky things these laws involving deadly force. Just ask Oklahoma City pharmacist James Ersland. He shot a would be robber, but then made the mistake of going back behind the counter, getting another gun so he could finish the unarmed kid off. He got life.

While Joe Biden was apologizing to Barak Obama for starting this whole same sex marriage mess, Bristol Palin was blogging about it. She condemned the president for his decision to support it and for consulting his children about their thoughts on gays. Palin, who proved she wasn't a homosexual by humping her boy friend while still a teenager, should be worrying about the back child support he owes her. It is reported that Levi Johnston is twenty-two months behind in payments and owes Ms. Palin $39,000.

Finally the Washington Post has run a story detailing an incident where Uncle Mitt went all Crips at the elite Cranbrook school in Bloomfield, Michigan when he was a student. Citing five different witnesses, a couple of whom participated in the affair, Mitt was the leader of a gang who held down another student and forcibly cut his hair. Apparently the Mittster was incensed by the kid's long, bleached blond hair, telling pal Matthew Friedmann, "He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him." Various witnesses say the attack was "vicious" and that the student, John Lauber, was "easy pickin's." He was-- you knew it was coming-- perceived as being gay. Mitt has gone on Fox News saying he doesn't remember the incident, but did apologize for some "pranks" that "went too far." The apology is a bit late for Lauber. He died in 2004. Cranbrook, which has a tradition of strict discipline, let young Mr. Romney slide on this one. According to Friedmann, "they didn't do anything to him." At a later date, however, the school did expel John Lauber for smoking a cigarette.

There you have it. Just another day in the asylum. As Kurt Vonnegut used to say, "and so it goes."



Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Troubled Start for Obama

It wasn't the campaign kick off he wanted, or envisioned. It would seem Barak Obama has stumbled badly coming out of the gate. The president probably wanted to talk about the number of jobs created during his administration, the slow, but steady recovery of the economy, and the shell game being perpetrated by Mitt Romney on the public. Instead, thanks to his own vice president, Joe Biden, he has had to address the issue of gay marriage.

It is one of those hot button topics where he can't win, no matter what he says. It is one he would have, no doubt, preferred to have avoided until his second term. You know the one where he can let loose with a barrage of initiatives that will enrage the right even more than they are now and alienate some of the more conservative leaning independents. The one where he doesn't have to worry about another election.

Obama did take the courageous road. Instead of hem hawing and dancing around the issue he came out in favor of same sex marriage. It will garner him some, but not all of the gay vote. Not all because some gays will steadfastly support the very people who loathe them to the point of wanting them chucked away in camps. I call this the martyr syndrome. There are some who prefer to feel persecuted. They are uncomfortable with the idea of not being the oppressed minority. As the man in a movie once said, they've "learned to love the rope."

Tragically now the howling minions and their boy, Mitt Romney can hammer away at homosexuals at the altar rather than talk about their own warped vision of America. They won't have to explain the details of their vague and inherently flawed economic plans. They can run all over the country waving their arms wildly over their heads as they scream, "Obama likes fags, Obama likes fags!" They will guarantee that there will be sodomy openly practiced in the streets. That children will be made to accept and perform blow jobs with people like Jerry Sandusky. Trust me, that is on the way. Subtlety has never been the strong suit of conservatives.

One can only hope someone has kicked Biden's ass for opening this can of worms. The media is equally to blame. As always the feral dogs of the press would much rather write and talk about sex than things that actually mean something. Things like the economy, or foreign policy, which Mitt looks about as at home with as Sarah Palin did. Yes, the ignore the important stuff that could seriously impact the future of the republic and go straight for that National Enquirer sound bite. Shocked gasps, outrage, and the occasional surreptitious erection is what the media has decided America wants. Screw any sort of substantive debate.

This is all eerily familiar to that swift boat thing that derailed John Kerry's campaign. Obama needs to put it behind him immediately and focus on his opponent and the tea party slugs that want to drive this nation back into the 19th century.

Ultimately sexual orientation and issues such as should Cindy be able to marry Wanda have nothing to do with the well being of the nation. Everyone one is going to keep having sex exactly the way they want to now that Santorum is out of the picture.

The race is too close to call at this point Luckily voting day is still a political life time away. Hopefully we can get past this initial sensationalism and move on to things that actually matter. If we can't, if we let something like this decide the November election, we will be the lesser for it.    




Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mitt Knows Who To Tax

In 1950 the minimum wage in the United States was 75 cents per hour. The average rent was $42 per month. That meant a person being paid the minimum had to work 56 hours a month to pay his or her rent.

The good news is the wage has increased steadily over the years. The bad news, it can't keep up with what it costs to rent a home or apartment.

By 2010 the minimum wage hit $7.25 per hour. Not bad for flipping burgers, or frying fish fillets right? Well the average rent is now up to $789 per month, unless you live in the New York City and North New Jersey metro area. There it is well over $1000 per month. What it boils down to is that you now have to work 109 hours a month just to keep a roof over your head. In NYC-NJ you have to put in 155 hours a month. All this is before you buy yourself some food, or pay a utility bill, make a car payment, or kick in for the insurance on it. In short, if you are living by yourself, or rather trying to live by yourself and making $7.25 an hour you are screwed. Your diet probably consists of mac and cheese and a lot of raman noodle soup. Something akin to a night on the town is simply science fiction.

Someone is going to read this and think, hey, it isn't my problem. They should have stayed in school. Well most of them actually did and most of them graduated from high school somewhere. That is as far as any of them got, because to them college is a myth reserved for people they don't know and have never been around. They've probably been working part time during high school since it was legally permissible just to ease the financial burden on their parent, or parents. Those ripe blue collar manufacturing jobs are gone to Mexico, or Korea, or China where there is no minimum wage and profits are higher. Hope has, in fact, left the building.

Now enter presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Mr. Romney has a plan to save the economy. He is going to give a $249 a year tax cut to the middle class. He is going to lower taxes on those who make over a million a year by $146,000. To make up for the revenue short fall he is going to raise taxes on those making $7.25 per hour.

According to him this will fix everything. We'll all be happy and the grass will grow and the rivers will flow. Unless you make $7.25 per hour. But then if you do you, you are all ready fucked, so a little more buggery will probably come as no surprise.

A number of years ago that arch liberal, George Herbert Walker Bush called this trickle down nonsense "voodoo economics". That is an insult to practitioners of voodoo every where. What it really is, is a crass shakedown perpetrated by the powerful. Capone was a cheap two bit hustler compared to these brutes.

Oh Mitt will pitch this well. That all American smile and perfect hair do will make it seem so very right. He will talk about a return to greatness and the beauty of free enterprise. All the while he'll be praying that those who do make minimum wage will be too busy trying to grind out a living to spend time in line to vote. He'll have his thugs challenge the ballots of every man and woman wearing a Burger King uniform at the polls. He will speak in tongues and many will hear and follow him.

It is beautiful magic. All you need to do is believe and it will come true. Give it all to us and you shall benefit greatly.

Now I know where TV evangelists and used car salesmen get their material.

And their morals.



Monday, May 7, 2012

Economic Darwinism : The One Percent Deserve a Break

In an upcoming installment of his personal memoir, author Tom Fowler writes:

At the end of 1989 I lost my job. I was one month short of my 40th birthday and had spent 18 years in telecommunications. At the stroke of midnight on December 30th my career, at least for a time, was a thing of the past. On my last day in the office I and several others were given the morning to clean out our desks and company vehicles. As you would imagine the office that morning was a quiet, subdued, place. My supervisor, a very nice lady, spent our last hours weeping in her cubicle. We were in the strange position of comforting as we prepared for our final exit.

Very brutally I learned the hard way what modern corporations think of their employees. It is easy to desensenitive yourself to this if you are one of the fortunate ones to retain your position after a round of downsizing. The persons laid off disappear and unless you are personal friends with one or more of them they are not seen or heard from again. I have attended church and other social functions with many besides myself who have experienced employment separation and have noticed the tension in their faces as an uncertain future drags out day by day.

Brother Fowler is an eloquent and civilized man. I am not.

What he points out is that if some twit bean counter decides the corporation can make and extra buck and a half a year profit by cutting your ass adrift he won't even think twice about it. Your loyalty to your employer, while demanded, or at least expected, is not now, nor will ever be reciprocated. You aren't on a team. The board of directors and the major shareholders are the team. You are a bolt, a wrench, a pair of pliers. Once they find a cheaper tool you are done.

America becomes the most frightening place in the world if you are 40 something and suddenly out of work. There aren't any golden parachutes for the 99 percent. Everything you own and have saved for is suddenly at risk. You have no medical insurance. You are drowning and life rafts are rare.

Enter Mitt Romney and his pal Edward Conrad. Conrad was at Bain Capital. Bain of course is Mitt's old stomping ground. Conrad has written a soon to be published book saying that the United States of America needs more economic inequality rather than less. His theory is that if the super rich can be made even richer it will trickle down to we peons and everyone will be happy. He is the alpha male taking care of the pack. He deserves the biggest portion of the kill. Mitt won't admit it, but you know this is exactly what he believes. You don't run a place like Bain Capital and not think that way.

This sort of economic Darwinism drives the republican party establishment. The middle class deserves to pay more taxes than the one percent, because the one percent are the providers. Well, unless they are downsizing. Then, screw you.

There are people I know who ask me why I trust the government so. I don't know that I necessarily trust the government. However I do know, without a doubt, I don't trust the cretins who run corporations and outfits like Bain Capital. They are sociopathic and narcissistic slugs. They care for nothing but their own well being and certainly don't mind high body counts if that is what it takes to achieve their goals.

The bottom line is that a bureaucracy, no matter how unwieldy and bloated, exists to solve a problem.The corporation is there to make a profit no matter who, or how many they have to mug to do so. Given the two options I'll take the former over the latter every day of the week.


Friday, May 4, 2012

The Pro, The Secret Service, and The Failed Business Transaction

It was apparently a bender of epic proportions that sordid night in Cartagena, Colombia. The local pro at the center of the whole debacle says that while the crazed North Americans weren't using drugs, they were "buying liquor as if it were water." She maintains she wasn't aware that the man who approached her was a member of the United States Secret Service. However she says if she had known and been a terrorist it would have been easy to get him to give up the details of President Barack Obama's visit.

That window of opportunity has probably passed. The crackdown on this sort of behavior has been swift. Seven agents have "resigned", one was fired, and three more have received administrative punishment. Those still in the service can look forward to spending the rest of their careers searching for illegal whiskey stills in someplace like Point Barrow, Alaska. The bar has been closed for the foreseeable future.Two, or three generations of agents will grow old and die before another presidential security detail goes so far off its collective nut.

Questions of professionalism abound on all sides of this sweaty mess. The escort, Dania Londono Suarez, a mother of one, claims the agent in question approached her and asked, "Sex?" She says her response was, "Baby, cash money." He responded with "Ok, how much?" She told him 800. Presumably the figure was in in Colombian currency, because it has been widely reported that the whole episode spun out of control over fifty U.S. dollars. Why she didn't attempt to collect the fee up front remains a mystery. Back in the lost years, between marriages, it was my experience that all monies were paid in advance just so something as awkward as this didn't occur. Maybe it is a cultural difference. Who knows?

Despite the man's terse ineloquence, or perhaps because of it she went to his room in the Hotel Carib. When they woke up together around 6am, he kicked her out, refusing her efforts to collect the tab. During a radio interview reported by MSNBC news she said, "Only a stupid guy wouldn't understand that we had an agreement."

Obviously intelligence wasn't in overabundance during any of this squalid affair. As the agent shoved her out of the room he told her to "Let go, bitch." She began pounding on the door and then security got involved and as we know heads began to roll.

I don't know for sure, but I'm thinking this dope was deep in the throes of a blackout that night. He woke up feeling like hell and to his horror there was a strange woman in bed next to him. I mean that "Pretty Woman" scenario never happens in real life. No one in their right mind goes to sleep with a hooker in their room. The whole heart of gold thing is a myth and cash and credit cards are right there for the taking.

Anger and panic probably set in. Even if he didn't remember the financial arrangements the payoff should have been made. He knew he was screwed if anyone found out, so give her the cash and start praying to Almighty God she can keep her mouth shut. However in the heat of the moment, during what was probably an overwhelming surge of shame, painted lime green by a massive hangover, he made exactly the wrong decision.

No, not even Wild Bill Clinton would tolerate this sort of nonsense. We are, after all, talking about the security of the President of the United States America.

Finally, for those contemplating engaging the services of a working woman in the future, remember there is one cardinal rule which should never be forgotten. It is this: You aren't paying the hooker for sex. You are paying her to leave after the sex.

It is the nature of the business. Always keep it in mind.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Adolf Wasn't Such a Bad Guy, But Barak Is

I sometimes hope people say outrageous things on the Internet just because they know it will make others mad. To them being able to post the most incredibly moronic comments about news stories is their way of playing a warped practical joke on the rest of us. Act the beast and someone will notice you and take time out from their lives to respond. Besides it is all in good fun and it is anonymous. It is like spray painting graffiti on a wall while knowing you can't get caught.

At other times I fear that some of these goofs really do believe what they are saying and they actually are insanely brutal and cruel. That notion makes the bile rise up in my throat. Then paranoia sets in. I make sure the .38 is clean and loaded just in case one of the monsters shows up at my door.

Right now MSN carrying a very brief bit about a post card written by the late Herr Hitler during the first world war. They gleefully point out that he misspelled a word on it. It is the sort of fluff that shouldn't even be dwelt on.

Then came the comments. Many, if not most fall into two categories. One, Adolf was a dynamic leader who lead Germany into prosperity and got the population back to work. We here in America would be lucky to have a guy like him in charge. He was, and this part is so inevitable that it abuts the obsessive, a much more effective leader than Barak Obama.  Those not admiring the charm of der fuhrer make direct connections between his regime and personality to that of the current president.

The hatefulness and total stupidity is simply mind boggling. Every time I read the crap I am stunned. I always flashback to the time I was sitting in the lounge of a cigar store enjoying a smoke with someone who I considered interesting and intelligent. I can't remember how the subject came up, but he assured me in all seriousness that the holocaust didn't actually occur in Europe. Or if it did, it was very minor and only a relative few were gassed and thrown into the ovens. He wanted to make sure I understood it was all propaganda meant to prop up support for Israel.

It was a revelation regarding the man's character that was so breathtaking I was at a complete loss for words.  It was as if I had caught a glimpse of a woman being sodomized by a baboon.

I have spent sixty two years on this shimmering blue ball and  I'm really tired of suffering these assholes. I have, as they say, reached the end of my rope. I not only don't want to hear it any more, I don't want to be anywhere near it. In the past I have made jokes about moving to Belize, but it may be time to seriously consider it. It only costs $450 bucks to renounce your U.S. citizenship. Record numbers of American ex-pats are paying that fee right now as I type.

Indeed, you vicious pukes can have the place. I give up. You win. Well, at least until I get a couple of gin and tonics in me.

Despair, you are too many times my companion. In the end only my anger rescues me from you. It is at best cold solace.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

OPUBCO Still In Charge

Once upon a time a man named E. K. Gaylord moved to Oklahoma City. He bought a newspaper called the Daily Oklahoman. Then he bought a lot of other stuff. Like the leading AM radio station, back before anyone even knew FM existed and later the Oklahoma City NBC television affiliate. He didn't use tobacco or drink alcohol. He got off on making money and running things.

He was an arch conservative and since he basically controlled most of the news content in the state's largest city he was able to  incessantly bombard the population with his version of events. He owned politicians like other people owned toy soldiers. If you got on his hit list you never got off it.

The old fuck lived until he was 101 years old. After he died his son, Edward took over the corporation known as the Oklahoma Publishing Company, or OPUBCO for short. Ed wasn't the newspaper man his father was, in fact he seemed bored with it. He went out and bought most of Nashville and established cable TV channels dedicated to country and western music. He built huge hotels and bought others. Like his father he was a conservative whirling dervish who made no secret of his loathing for all things left of say, Barry Goldwater. He hired a bunch of right wing thugs to run the paper, which in time became basically a republican party newsletter. Other than the sports pages and obituaries most of everything you read in it was culled from AP wire reports and carefully edited to reflect a hard core conservative view of America. It was a publication so unabashedly biased that the Columbia Journalism Review called it, "The worst newspaper in America."

Ed's daughter Christy took over running the paper as he continued to spend most of his time promoting the careers of people like Reba McIntire and buying into ventures such as Bass Pro Shops. Christy is married to a guy named Jim Everest. Among other things Jim's father made millions distributing magazines in the state. Back in the late 60's and early 70's when I knew him Jim was a stark raving racist. You know, the Ku Klux Klan obsessive sort. Every conversation with him, no matter where it started out, ended up focusing on the dual threats of black people and Jews.

These were the people who manipulated and controlled what Oklahomans read, heard and saw for decades. They gave fabulous amounts of money to politicians they liked and relentlessly hounded those they felt were a threat.

Last year the family sold almost all of it to a Colorado billionaire named Philip Anschutz. In a parting message Christy assured her fellow Oklahomans that Mr. Anschutz was just as conservative as the Gaylords. She swore they would have never sold to anyone suspected of anything less.

Under the leadership of Phil Anschutz the paper has continued its conservative bent and remains the really big stick when it comes to politics. The Gaylords may be gone, but no one wants to be on the bad side of what is now known as, The Oklahoman.

Yesterday, I posted on this blog that Senator Tom Coburn was holding up the judicial nominations of Robert Bacharach and John Dowdell. Most of the information I used appeared in a front page story written by The Oklahoman Washington Bureau writer, Chris Casteel. It was not a particularly flattering piece for Coburn and seemed to tacitly question the motives for his inaction.

Less than twenty four hours later, Coburn gave his go ahead on both nominations, clearing the way for hearings to be held. That revelation was buried on page 10A. I suppose even The Oklahoman knows it is unseemly to wantonly display its power on page one. One can only imagine how red Coburn's face became when he learned about yesterday's article. People like the ones who run The Oklahoman do not send their reporters out on political stories unless they have a message to convey to someone. Obviously Coburn got it.

It is nice to know The Oklahoman still runs things around here. I hate to think there would, or could be a power void where those in elected office go off willy nilly doing whatever they actually believe. Yes, we all must be responsible to a higher power. Anarchy is, after all, an ugly and chaotic state. Order has to be preserved. Someone needs to be in charge.

And today, Tom Coburn and the rest of us know exactly who it is. The old Big Brother is gone, long live the new one.