Archive for February, 2005

Would You Like to Take A Survey?

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

WHAT HAPPENED? Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Adams, Hamilton. Things were going well. Then Ford, Quayle, Mondale, Agnew, Nixon, Clinton, Dole, Bush I, Bush II. What happened? — George Carlin WWJBTPC p 52

Note the final paragraph of this article.

By age group, Clinton is favored by the youngest (18-29), Reagan by the 30-49 group, Kennedy by the 50-64 baby boomers, and FDR by the elderly.

I ponder how it is that people’s sense of history is destroyed to the point where they hark back to the president they most directly experienced during their formative years — whether this is the state of things in nature or due to the fact that High School History is frequently taught by Football coaches that regard teaching History as a side project. But it seems that people’s sense of history is directed to the immediate now. They like the president they grew up with… or at least, the ones that left triumphantly. Keep in mind that Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter all left in disgrace of one sort or the other– so we have this huge gap between Kennedy and Reagan. The warm and fuzzy feeling associated with one politico or another is likely divided between Kennedy and Reagan.

I recall a survey result heard in the corner of my ears in the summer of 2001 that an increasing number of youngsters, coming of age during Clinton, regarded themselves as “liberal”. (Leave aside how far liberal the actual president Clinton really was.) Which works in well with the 1980s Reaganites (Michael J Fox’s character on “Family Ties” epitimizes the standard). On election day 2004, Tom Brokaw or Chris Matthews called our new batch of crappy Republican Senators as being “Reagan’s Children”, and we received a number of comparisons to Politicos from the 1950s who were “Roosevelt’s Children”. (That Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn makes absolutely no sense to me either underscores or is beside the point.) Grover Norquist believes that the dying out of the generation that grew up with Roosevelt will allow us to go onward and upward to the great Gummint-Less State — what, historical memories of what wrought the Great Depression and what was needed to get by during trying times having been vanquished. He’s probably right to some degree.

Today’s children get to admire Bush II (as I guess I’m supposed to gravitate toward Clinton), which brings us back to these survey results:

One in three U.S. high school students say the press ought to be more restricted, and even more say the government should approve newspaper stories before readers see them, according to a survey being released today.

The survey of 112,003 students finds that 36% believe newspapers should get “government approval” of stories before publishing; 51% say they should be able to publish freely; 13% have no opinion.

Asked whether the press enjoys “too much freedom,” not enough or about the right amount, 32% say “too much,” and 37% say it has the right amount. Ten percent say it has too little.

It is all starting to make sense to me. At least my age group gets to parse out the meaning of “oral sex”. (Though, this is another general sense of the Children of Clinton… and that makes sense to me as well.)

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Return

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

Wow. The “Swift-Boat Veterans for Truth” (the same marketing firms) are now going to go after the AARP!

That sounds like a bad parody…

Actually it’s like the Saturday Night Live spoof where the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” went on the attack of what Kerry’s war record meant for domestic policies. “And it was there, in the jungles of Combodia, where I witnessed John Kerry perform… a same sex marriage.”

It didn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense last time, and it doesn’t make much sense this time. I hope this time around people notice that.

Roosevelt Redux

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

Recall this post, from March 7, 2004.

The flipside, found deep within An Underground History of American Education, comes something of the flipside:

The third and final part of the Gary story comes straight out of Weird Tales. In all existing accounts of the Gary drama, none mentions the end of Superintendent Wirt’s career after his New York defeat. Only Diane Ravitch (in The Great School Wars) even bothers to track Wirt back home to Gary, where he resumed the superintendency and became, she tells us, a “very conservative schoolman” in his later years. Ah, what Ravitch missed!

The full facts are engrossing: seventeen years after Wirt left New York City, a government publication printed the next significant chapter of the Wirt story. Its title: Hearings, House Select Committee to Investigate Certain Statements of Dr. William Wirt, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, April 10 and 17, 1934. It seems that Dr. Wirt, while in Washington to attend a school administrators meeting in 1933, had been invited to an elite private dinner party at the home of a high Roosevelt administration official. The dinner was attended by well-placed members of the new government, including A.A. Berle, a famous “inner circle” brain-truster. There, Wirt heard that the Depression was being artificially prolonged by credit rigging, until little people and businessmen were shaken enough to agree to a plan where government must dominate business and commerce in the future!

All this he testified to before Congress. The transformation was to make government the source of long-term capital loans. Control of business would follow. Wirt testified he was told Roosevelt was only a puppet; that his hosts had made propaganda a science, that they could make newspapers and magazines beg for mercy by taking away much of their advertising; that provided they were subservient, leaders of business and labor would be silenced by offers of government contracts for materials and services; that colleges and schools would be kept in line by promises of federal aid until such time as they were under safe control; and that farmers would be managed by letting key operators “get their hands in the public trough.”

In the yellow journalism outburst following Wirt’s disclosure, Berle admitted everything. But he said they were just pulling Wirt’s leg! Pulling the leg of the one-time nationally acclaimed savior of public education. Time magazine, The New York Times, and other major media ridiculed Wirt, effectively silencing him.

Of Wirt’s earlier New York foray into the engineering of young people, New York City mayor Hylan was quoted vividly in The New York Times of March 27, 1922:

The real menace to our republic is this invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy length over city, state and nation…. It has seized in its tentacles our executive officers, our legislative bodies, our schools, our courts, our newspapers, and every agency created for the public protection…. To depart from mere generalizations, let me say that at the head of this octopus are the Rockefeller Standard Oil interests.

Like many of the rest of you, I was conditioned early in adult life to avoid conspiracy talk and conspiracy takers by the universal scorn heaped upon the introduction of such arguments into the discourse. All “responsible” journalistic media, and virtually all of the professoriate allowed public access through those media, respond reflexively, and negatively, it seems, to any hint of a dark underside to our national life. With that in mind, what are we to make of Mayor Hylan’s outburst or for that matter, the statements of three senators quoted later on this page?

Don’t expect me to answer that question for you. But do take a deep breath and make the effort to read Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, written back in the 17th century but easily located in every lib

These are not muturally exclusive conspiracies, mind you. But if the former can be called “Left-wing”, and the latter “Right-wing” in nature, fused together it does go into that old “Synthesis — Antithesis — Synthesis” Dialectic.

And that’s the 70-year old conspiracy theory I mentioned a post ago.

Plugging into the Blog Ziegist

Saturday, February 19th, 2005

Okay. It’s time I do my duty as a political blogger and comment directly on the blog-o-rific issues of the day… if anyone who’s writing a political blog that would command you to sit on the right-side of some Crossfire-esque quasi-debate show, that has neglected to do so in lieu of comments about some stupid suicide pact and a mad mass-murderer from a decade ago…, I recommend you get on the balls right now.

If not Jeff Gannon, you have Eason Jordan to attack. Or Ward Churchill. You hear that FDR’s grandson dissed Brit Hume for throwing a FDR quote out of context? (If you don’t like dissing Brit Hume, you can always gravitate right back to Dan Rather.)

Eason Jordan’s comments, either said or not said (it’s impossible to say from Davos), was completely out of line. Soldiers targetted and killed twelve journalists? Please! Twelve is such an arbitrary number that it looks like Eason Jordan is just grabbing stuff out of his butt! Now parse out the eleven deaths, and you might find one or two or three… or four, perhaps… but where does this guy get off spouting off imaginary numbers like twelve???

Ward Churchill? “Little Eichmans”, I guess, is the phrase that, 3 and a half years later, embroiled him in some controversy… befitting the phrase “The Blame America First Crowd”. It is a point, a frame of reference which stomping away does not render meaningless or incoherent. For his part, Ward Churchill says the essay was akin to a first draft, work on it a little and you get this book.

Thump through the right-wing radio shows and their comments on the Ward Churchill comment, and I hear this: “Those are fighting words! The First Amendment don’t protect ‘fighting words'”. It may be beating up straw, but… um… no. “Let’s fight” is fighting words… a controversial critique of American foreign policy, — you’d prefer the comments George Carlin made of, when all is said and done, remarkably similar though with a more amoral tone, in When Will Jesus Pass the Pork-Chops? (Or Chalmers Johnson‘s more… highbrow and scholarly version.)?

The Jeff Gannon saga throws me back to the Bush desire to “get past the media filter”, which is to say, something is plugging up what would be their pure undiluted messaging. Everything is starting to run together… Maggie Gallagher and Armstrong Williams are thrown into the mix here. And the kids today believing we should scrap the First Amendment. There’s something… there… there.

Brit Hume, you ask? Well… maybe there are lessons for how to reform social security for those born in 1865 or thereabouts.

There. I did my blogging duty. Now I can go back to talking about… I don’t know… some 60 old conspiracy theory.

An Ironic Future

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

From Good Will Hunting:
SEAN: Hey, Gerry. In the 1960’s there was a young man graduated from the University of Michigan. Did some brilliant work in mathematics. Specifically bounded harmonic functions. Then he went on to Berkeley, was assistant professor, showed amazing potential, then he moved to Montana and he blew the competition away.
LAMBEAU: Yeah, so who was he?
SEAN: Ted Kaczynski.
LAMBEAU: Never heard of him.
SEAN: Hey, Timmy!
SEAN: Who’s Ted Kaczynski?
TIMMY: Unabomber.

Ted Kacyznski spent his career as a Mathematician composing brilliant mathematical formulas of such esoteric abstraction and high specialized nature that the number of people on Earth who could understand and appreciate them number in the tow digits. The formulas, naturally, serve no practical purpose.

Imagine, though, that something he did becomes the basis of a as-of-now completely unimaginable technology. A technology that shifts paradigms of human experience around and reshapes the landscape of how we perceive our existance. (In the process, of course, humans serve this technology in equal measure to how the technology serves humans.)

Kacyznski’s current status as extreme Luddite, mad-man, hermit terrorist, et al would then fall by the wayside, and his name would become synonymous with this Paradigm-Shifting technology. (The nature of his writings, personal and political gripes relegated to mere curiosity, a footnote in the history of this Grand Technological Breakthrough.)

That would ironic.

Programming a different Liberal Radio Station

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

Fox News is supposed to be giving us the profile of what a true conservative looks and acts like. However, what they truly give us is a world where every opinion is raped and beaten in confrontational paradigm. They make conservatism look like a war. The well groomed Sean Hannity prattles on about how the American hegemony is good for the world, while his so–called liberal sidekick adds to the conversation “We’ll be right back.”

They create an illusion of what we are supposed to be like, and in effect create stereotypes and divisions. There are now Red States and Blue States, Conservatives and Liberals all looking and acting the way the networks decide.

Even Air America, in their attempts to bring some balance, creates stereotypes about liberals that make you wonder if you are being sold an image to identify with. We are all to believe that liberals are nothing more than effeminate, soft– spoken wisecrackers like Al Franken, or pseudo–lesbian brain trustees like Janeane Garofalo.

It is a good point about Air America, though I’ll just have to brush aside the phrase “pseudo-lesbian” and picking up with “brain trustee” (You can add “Hollywood Elite” into the equation). Randi Rhodes represents another odd Liberal Stereotype, if the idea of a slightly quirky aunt makes sense as a Liberal Type. In the realm of Donkey versus Elephants (which isn’t where Clyde Lewis would want anyone to riff off into from that, but I don’t particularly care), perhaps Air America Radio is doing Brand Air America a favour by shoe-horning onto their assortment of affiliates the North Dakotan Ed Schultz. (I don’t know what you can say about Matt Malloy, whether or not he is Mr. Lewis’s “soul brother”.)

So what do you have? A station with a dedicated listenership wherever over 20 Starbucks are located within a 5 mile radius. (And not a Walmart in sight!)

So, therein lies the secret to programming a different Liberal Talk Radio Station. Find and create another type for the listener to identify with. We now enter into the domain of “Red State”-land.

Start with Ed Schultz, because he’s now pretty easily identifiable. Convince the Texan Jim Hightower to try another go at talk radio. (You now have the format ready to go and don’t get sucked into the equivalent of a Garth Brooks song in between Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.) Jerry Springer seems to be a good bet… he has a radio show.

Beyond those three, I don’t really know. Scour the South for regional balance of sorts. Maybe you can toss in Lionel, who’s a bit off in this brand identity (I guess he’s an ACLU Libertarian-minded person), because we need to program something here.

Homeowner’s Association

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

“I think it’s the ultimate sign of disrespect. We have troops dying for us,” Land Park resident Mark Cohen said.

“(I’m) annoyed and disgusted. I think if this is the way someone feels they can find a better way to vent their opinions,” Land Park resident Pete Miles said.

The homeowners behind the controversy are Steve and Virginia Pearcy. They released a statement saying, “There will always be people who are offended by political speech, and the most important forum of all … is one’s own residence. The First Amendment is meaningless unless dissent is allowed.” […]

“Even if you don’t agree with it, he has the right to state his opinion. I don’t find it offensive at all,” Land Park resident Cece Williams said.

The matter has been reported to the police department and to the city attorney. The City Council has even heard about it, but said they can’t solve the problem.

Unfortunately or fortunately, this is protected speech by the First Amendment … so there is nothing we can do about it,” Sacramento City Councilman Rob Fong said.

Exchanges from a message board forum:

#1: This guy seems a bit confused. Or maybe he came close to admitting that he’d like the First Amendment to go the way of the Dodo, but covered his butt by his inclusion of the word “fortunately.”

#2: Personally, whether you are for or against the war, I can’t think of a more appropriate way to express one’s strong feelings about people killing and dying than in one’s own neighborhood, on one’s own private living space.

Think about it? No disruption of traffic or commerce.

I have a feeling that people who are trying to pass a law against this form of expression are the ones that really want to live in a complacent and smug world of denial, and care very little if anything about the troops’ well being or the well being of the Iraqi civilians.

#3: where I live- if I had hung that up my house woud be stoned!
windows broken ,and outright shouting by the people living around me.

Seeing that the place I live has 80% Bush death cult supporters.
there would even be the risk of being shot.