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What does “member-supported radio” mean? Friends don’t let friends air junk

It is that time again. Twice a year local public radio affiliate KRCC holds a fund drive during which it expects community support for its exclusively corporate programming. By what stretch of the imagination should listeners feel they need to pony up for somebody else's agenda? Of course, bathed in enough misinformation and indoctrination, a community will wallow, and pay for the upkeep of their own barbed wire. Yeah, those fence-sitting fence-keepers are going to be a bitch --and creative I expect, with their sardonic apolitical joie-de-rire. I don't look forward to it, but the next local effort to elevate KRCC begins Saturday. KRCC: Enough with COStupid.

NPR: women berserkers, oil whores, Goebbels Surge, presidential DNA

I accidentally listened to NPR today, what an earful of crap! No wonder Americans are so uninformed, none more than self-identifying progressives, waylaid by Corporate Public shysters. Here's what I overheard:   The Defense Department is running short on recruits so they need to draft women into combat roles. Leon Panetta has righted a constitutional injustice apparently and will deploy women into battle. Because women want equality to torture, join kill squads, shoot children, get PTSD, join ranks of homeless or commit suicide. Greatest gender advance since Virginia Slims.   NPR interviewed oil workers who shrug off risk like Algerian massacre and speak fondly of their rape of Africa. According to them it's "all about the Benjamins" to pay cash for sports cars and ATVs, and international travel for access to "cheap women". Funny, the interviewees declined to reveal their full names. The energy industry promises jobs, but decent people need not apply.   General "All Up In My Snatch" Petraeus is being credited with inventing a counterinsurgency tactic called "the Surge". Yeah, we've heard of it. Formally just a word, the "tactic" is not military, but public relations, attributable to Joseph Goebbels, to minimize an escalation or troop buildup by pretending it's temporary.   The Benghazi Kerfuffle, now a DC sideshow instead of the foreign relations comeuppance where US intervention operatives in Libya got their just-desserts, is being amplified to be a vehicle to kick off Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. The ex Secretary of State was praised for her gravitas and standing, leading MSNBC to suggest that "diplomacy is in her DNA". Spouses share DNA? Are talking heads confusing DNA with VD? berserker

Restoring honor of USAF General John Lavelle for sake of post-Vietnam war criminals

Air Force general John Lavelle fell from grace in 1971 after overseeing unauthorized bombing raids over North Vietnam. Now his family has allies trying to rehabilitate Lavelle's reputation, obfuscating his "rogue" misdeeds. If today's US air strikes can carpet bomb adversaries and collateral civilian bystanders with precision impunity, you can't blame Lavelle's champions for expecting US impunity to apply retroactively, it's only fair, in American terms.

Choice of NPR vs. FOX is like Obama vs. Bush, difference is only skin deep.

Petition mongers are hoping you'll help pressure the White House Correspondents' Association to assign the front row briefing room seat recently purged of Helen Thomas to the public-serving NPR instead of the right-wing FOX. I favor whoever will unmask the corporate choke hold on the media and government, not who'll perpetuate the facade that policy is guided by public discourse. "Give Helen Thomas' former briefing room seat to NPR, which has provided public interest coverage for decades - not Fox, which is a right-wing propaganda tool, not a legitimate news organization." I'd not give the seat back to Helen Thomas, if she asked. Talk about a caricature to confine the purported extremes of the Left.

Bob Edwards asks “We still Top Dog?”

Longtime neo-liberal shill and NPR war drummer Bob Edwards consults a soothsayer to placate his weekend audience's fears about where their hopeful handbasket appears to be headed. To his question about the USA still being top dog, the economic clairvoyant's answer is YES. Also, America has the psyche and bipolarity of a teenager, leaving us to infer also the same self-unawareness. But the big question was about President Obama's apparent inability to change the course set for him. YEP. The tracks of Bush's trainwreck read like your palm. Nothing to be done.

Success! Afghan trainees mean as US

NPR ran a report praising the Afghan National Army, hoping I suppose to allay US public anticipation that Afghanistan should be conducting its own slaughters and incurring a greater share of soldier casualties. As if not enough ANA are getting caught in the friendly fire of US air strikes. They're skilled fighters, we're assured, especially when they have combat experience in other parts of the country, meaning, they are now being deployed outside their tribal regions, meaning, against other tribes. For every accusation of ANA soldiers mistreating civilians, there are reports apparently of them "eagerly taking up the fight." Those don't sound like contradictory motivations to me. Where their PR for the unpopular ANA means to ameliorate Afghan outcry, the US military trainers seem to be taking credit for inherent tribal hatred.

Healthcare reformist TR Reid visits COS to say universal coverage not possible

COLORADO SPRINGS-- [UPDATED] My question to TR Reid, who speaks tonight at CC's Palmer Hall, is how can voices for health care rights get past the corporate media editors? As Washington Post Denver bureau chief and NPR reporter, Reid's answer will reveal his earnestness, because most clearly his editors have kept the upper hand. The Independent, which is sponsoring tonight's event, has invited two respondents to offer rebuttals, but both represent the health care status quo, there is no one advocating for socialized medicine, automatically framing Reid's centrism as the people's best hope. I remember a TR Reid interview on NPR, which left me with the distinct impression of a hobbled argument. Look at the subtitle of his Frontline documentary: Sick Around the World: Can the U.S. learn anything from the rest of the world about how to run a health care system? They don't say "what can the US learn" but can it. That's the same false question the corporate media use to approach Global Warming. Though the answer is a multiplicity of affirmatives, the headline posed as a question leaves the viewer with the impression the conclusion is his to decide. The moon: is it there? A follow-up Sick Around America was famously, in alternative media circles at least, altered to endorse insurance mandates. Reid broke away from the final product when PBS refused to mention his conclusion that health insurance should not be for profit. Reid chalked it up to a disagreement, not specifically a motive. The book Mr. Reid will be signing is titled The Healing of America: a global quest for better, cheaper, and fairer health care. His own disjointed title reflects why he returned empty-handed. Can you imagine if it had read simply: a global quest for health care? Better, cheaper and fairer are redundant qualifiers and load the theme with false perspective. "Better" assumes American care can be ranked on a scale, this book is obviously only for those getting care. "Cheaper" assumes health care must have a price -- Universal health care is free. "Fairer" again assumes that our current equilibrium is in some measurable aspect fair, besides which, the concept is a fallacy. There's unfair and fair. Moving from one toward the other, fairness is unfair until it is fair. Besides which, every schoolchild knows "fairer" is expressed as "more fair." If Reid had been honest, he would have phrased it "less unfair." TR Reid applauds the health care available in other developed countries, but notes the other systems are not without their flaws. Is this some sort of psychological inducement to feed the American ego, that US reform can aim higher than the health care as a right provided elsewhere? I think it's a loophole with which to scuttle his proposal. It seems TR Reid is ignoring the chief obstacle to health care. It's not reason, it's not taxes. The chief obstacle is capitalist greed, it's class warfare, and the social systems of our like nations are under attack as well. The shortcomings which

US health industry tells Vic to snuff it

Vic Chesnutt took his own life on Christmas Day. By coincidence, he'd just given an upbeat interview to NPR's Fresh Air in spite of an ongoing battle with his health care providers. The segment seemed to pierce the celebrity veil we imagine insulates our talent castes from the worries of everyman. When he died, I reflected on the interview. I was reluctant to mar a eulogy with the villainy of the US medical system -- but then NPR re-aired the piece, en memoriam, minus the damning testimony. They added in its place a remembrance by three colleagues who concluded: "To say poor health care killed Vic Chesnutt would be very reductive." Reductive? These corporate musicians, at the behest of NPR, have to throw an artisan spin on Vic Chesnutt's legacy because his art should transcend his mortality?! Vic's art, real art, is about mortality. Vic's death was real and the anxiety he expressed in his interview was real. He hadn't chosen to keep his troubles to himself for the sake of the listeners' seamless pleasurable enjoyment. Who are these commercial artists to mute Vic's story? It made me sick. Others wonder aloud why Vic's rich musician friends couldn't have offered to pay for the medical procedures he needed. Perhaps they did, who knows. And perhaps their concern not to be "reductive" was extracted from a much longer session where Vic Chesnutt's struggles were discussed at length. Vic's talent may not have been lost on these would-be eulogists, but we can't fault them for not being artist spirits enough themselves to know how to shepherd an honest narrative about Vic. I point my finger at NPR for the rewrite, and I'll take issue with one of the musicians. At a wake, there's always someone who uses the opportunity for self-promotion, and at this one it was REM's Michael Stipe. He discovered Vic Chesnutt, let's get that out of the way. Michael's remembrance of Vic was an anecdote about a lyric he thought he'd stolen from Vic. It was so good, he must have stolen it. Stipe was so honest, he called Vic to confess. Vic's response was gracious, no it's yours. Stipe insisted, and so did Vic. Such was Vic's grace, and so elevated was Stipe's regard for Vic, and evidently so great is Stipe's humility and --in the end it turns out by Vic's own lips-- his genius. He transcended his master. Much of the draw of coattail opportunism at funerals is that dead men tell no tales. NPR's problem, and shall we imagine, the problem of its underwriters, the major health insurers, was that Vic Chesnutt killed himself right after telling an NPR audience he could succumb any day for lack of proper medical care. Chesnutt died from an overdose of pain killers, which raised the disquieting suggestion to listeners that he lived in a lot of pain. Sure Chesnutt had attempted suicide before. He'd written a love song to suicide. The trouble was, he declared in his interview that "Flirted

War on Islam brought home to Ft Hood

Says President Obama of the Fort Hood shooting that claimed 12 US soldiers: “It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.” Where does Obama think we are killing our adversaries? On their home soil, actually the majority of them in their own homes, with their family members. According to Army spokesmen at Ft Hood, the shooter has been identified as an Islamic-named man, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, himself now slain. Confusion persists among witnesses that there may have been several shooters, in part because the civilian police officer who shot the shooter was himself then killed. How convenient the shooter bears a name that infers an al-Qaeda sleeper cell operative, and not a corn-fed PTSD case gone postal. Twelve soldiers lay dead, among them the killer. How do you know which it was. We have only the Army's word, the Army which misreports, whether it's fired a missile, whether it's raped a village, or whether a whole truckload of female US soldiers has been blown to bits, but the Army believes it more prudent to tell the public about it one gal at a time. So why believe the Army? I'm not going to suggest that Major Hasan's body was kept on ice for just such an eventuality, but I do believe he is among the November 6 casualties of Ft Hood, and he may not be the triggerman at all. I believe the Army might have looked over the mess and decided that Hasan would make a far better villain than a good old Baptist jock. Who's going to know the difference? This would certainly explain why witnesses and wounded cannot agree on who did the shooting. His very Muslim name notwithstanding, the FBI is already telling the press that the Ft Hood killings were not terrorism. In an act of sheer Zionist defiance, NPR is second guessing that statement. They believe everything else they're told, but when the government want to make sure that the public isn't roused to acts of racist violence, NPR decides to be skeptical. In news reports tonight, they're letting the audience decide for itself, if Major Hasan's suicidal gunman mission wasn't an act of terrorism.

Is NPR blocking health care reform?

If the corporation from which you get your news is NOT TELLING YOU that the US could give its citizens Universal Health Care for less than the cost of today's system, and could do so tomorrow by expanding Medicare offering free medical care to all like every other developed nation, then they are lying to you. How can you expect any reform if the status quo defends itself with the complicity of the corporate media. That includes the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, all the more duplicitous for pretending to serve the "public." The CPB's underwriters are big oil, big agra, big pharma, the banks and the insurance villains. Listen closely and you can still hear NPR News pronounce the question mark after "Global Warming." NPR's corporate clients, whose PR firms dictate the news show content, represent a near complete lineup of the opponents of the public interest. How then do NPR member radio stations have the nerve to solicit listener contributions? Our local NPR member KRCC is scheduled to begin its fund drive next weekend. Perhaps this is a fine time to question why they subscribe to a news outlet which stands between you and health care reform. Now is no time to quibble whether NPR is lesser evil than Fox. If they distort the mandates which brought President Obama to office, if they cite polls which misrepresent the public, if they hedge their bets by protecting the insurance industry, they serve you not the least. We are better off with no NPR, than a program which poses as a progressive-leaning perspective, informed by educated commentators, only supply a fraudulent left which places the bipartisan "center" fully on the side of the conservative right. Do you want health care, or any reforms at all? You'll need an honest media.

Ding-Dong, the Liberal Lizard of the Senate is dead… Sing along, Democrats!

As I was heading for work this morning, the imperialist faux liberal, faux public radio, 'National Public Radio' was informing the whole world that 'The Liberal Lion of the Senate' was no more. In Heaven, no doubt... But... if I had been able to tune into Rush's or Dreck's programs there is no doubt, too, that they would have informed me that it was 'The Liberal Liar of the Senate' that had just departed for Hell. Both these delusional camps and their camp followers are wrong though. The truth is that he was neither saint nor devil, but rather something in between. Maybe a lizard? Ding-Dong, the Evil Lizard of Odd is dead! Ding-Dong, the 'Liberal' Lizard is no more. The wizard of Odd still lives, and all the munchkins 'move on' and please stop the pretense that there was anything very special about this alcoholic Senator from Massachusetts. Yeah, that's right. In some ways he even reminded me of Dubya, except that Dubya was Texas and Kennedy was New England. But both supported American militarism and Big Business in their own manner and style. And both got demonized by the opposing camp in America's delusional pseudo democracy. Did Edward Kennedy, or any of the Kennedys for that matter, ever really oppose the US war machine? No, he did not. Did 'Ted' ever really push for all that Medical System 'reform' we keep hearing about? Not really. In fact, it was left up to Bernie Sanders to put forward single payer legislation this year in the Senate. Fact is, Ted Kennedy was your standard American political hack same as the other brothers were, and it is silly to pretend otherwise. He was a wheeler and a dealer and no lion of any kind at all. Lions can roar and Ted could not. Let's leave it at that. He is dead now and other Slick Willies still carry on inside the DP in his place. We are no better for it either.

Does NPR have a hiring impediment?

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO- I can laugh at speech impediments with the best of them. But I'm less comfortable if there's no laugh track. Specifically, when it's a speech-challenged news reporter, I utterly object to being made to decipher from mispronunciation. On the radio, poor diction is as unacceptable as inaudible recording, and disabled- enunciation is as appropriate as a paraplegic delivering your piano. Take NPR's Louisa Lim. Give someone a job they can handle, but don't celebrate equal opportunity without consideration for the task required. Louisa Lim can't pronounce her Rs. Might not someone have thought to counsel Lim fwom puhsuing a caweeuh on the wadio? Dropped Rs represent an alphabet 1/26th deficient. More, if you adjust inversely by Scrabble point value. Monte Python's Pontius Pilate of Life of Brian was mocked by the chorus for not being able to say his R's. And yes, his Roman audience found the hilarity unending. It's why he was urged to release Bawabas and not Jesus. Gilda Radner similarly mocked Barbara Walters. Mispwonouncing her Rs didn't keep Bahbwa Wahwah from a lengthy career, but that's the point I'm coming to. If speech impediments were congenital, it would still be no reason to exhibit them center-stage like cultural accents. Aren't most speaking disorders remedied in the primary grades, given extra attention from speech therapists? Why do the exceptions seem to become Communications Majors? It's as if students who have reason to work on their locution, end up becoming the professionals. But choirs don't tolerate tone-deafness, why would broadcasters burden themselves with mis-speakers? Louisa Lim can't say R, but she's only one of a majority of female voices on NPR hobbled by flawed presentation. Don't you find that strange? Considering that Amy Goodman's delivery is criticized for being shrill. It's as if NPR thinks strong feminine voices would come across as too authoritative, unless a physical weakness is empirically discernible. Would this explain why most the female voices on NPR are nasal, or supported by the weakest lung capacity? Their tiny voices sound like they could extinguish themselves without the next breath. Audiences like it too obviously. Accents too, foreign and domestic, work to temper the projection of authority. Male presenters traditionally have sported commanding voices. Today, those who don't moderate for sporting events most often have voices in the higher registers, or modulate their voices with rises in pitch which communicates timidity.

World news and the everyday teenager

There wasn't any conversation to speak of on the drive to school today, so I turned on the news. From the back a teen immediately interjected "Is that completely necessary?" I muted the sound and turned around, completely incredulous. "What?" "Is that completely necessary?" she repeated without a hint of what I hoped to have been mischievous insolence. "Not really." Is all I could muster as I turned the volume back up and refocused my attention. I can't say that listening to corporate propaganda is necessary, or even a good idea. But I am at an equal loss for how else to stay tuned to what's happening around us. It's a good thing my honest ambivalence tripped up the teaching moment I might have offered. There are probably far too many ways to get entangled in current affairs, but for children with school, sports, video games, television, play, music and the odd meal, there is no break for non-academic reality. One might argue that kids could be spared the complications of the world outside. I can hardly see the merit to that school of unthought. Especially as domestic politics have certainly invaded their education, the piss-poor vocational experience few are willing to admit that American schools have become. This drive-time comment came after an evening spent not being forced to attend a journalist's lecture last night. It was off-putting enough to have to wait in the atrium apparently. Although, as dense as the economic principles might have been, I sorely regretted that all of the kids, especially the girls, had not witnessed Naomi Klein, about as apt a role model as any young woman could dream. So what if much would be above their head? Won't they grow into it? Are there realities too shocking for children? Shouldn't our challenge be to address those horrors, sooner than shield ourselves by pretending they do not exist? What a luxury that our children have even the choice to know how they are impacted. It's one thing to expose kids to pictures of highway accidents, or television programs about serial killers, quite another in my opinion to complicate their understanding of societal malevolence. Can they not gleam from parental example that such obstacles do not render life hopeless? We cope. We blot out certain realities to pamper our own delusions. Is that a difficulty level beyond young people? There's no doubt a fine line about forcing experiences on children, the morning news for example, but isn't that to pretend that almost all their indoctrination isn't involuntary? Can you think of any accomplished person who wasn't pushed? We can be thankful our children aren't experiencing household raids, aerial bombings, and marketplace bombers which take the lives of their friends and relatives. How sheltered do children need to be? Even if their Social Studies will eventually teach them Zinn or Chomsky, aren't the lessons sabotaged by the context of isolation? How are children really to learn that they aren't working in factories but for blood spilled by labor unions; that their

Palin gets natural lip gloss from NPR

We may all be eagerly awaiting the Thursday VP debate trainwreck, with finally a sense that sanity cannot but otherwise prevail on coverage of the Sarah Palin dunce cap corner. But Americans don't have to look far to see that media bemusement with Palin is not unanimous, in fact NPR is still fawning. Nina Totenberg's recent profile of Palin was as facetious as Palin herself. And the NPR website transcript suggest the staff don't want to leave a record of Totenberg's unbending endorsement. Morning Edition listeners get propaganda, websurfers get something more palatable than pure barf. Totenberg knew she could not ignore the public's growing repudiation of Palin, fueled by Palin's self-immolation on ABC and lampooned by MSNBC, SNL and everyone in between. In her Morning Edition report, Totenberg began by paying lip service to her uphill task, putting the proverbial --you'd think a little too cliche at the moment-- lipstick on a pig, paraphrased as sugarcoating. And then laying on the sugar anyway. In the excerpt below, the words in bold are actually Totenberg's emphasis, not mine! There's no way to sugarcoat this. After a BRILLIANT debut at the Republican Convention and a speech that ELECTRIFIED the delegates and the country, Sarah Palin is STRUGGLING in her second act — as a candidate seeking to persuade uncommitted voters that she's prepared to be vice president of the United States. She draws HUGE crowds, though not as huge as G.O.P. staffers would like you to believe, still, by most standards, they're ENORMOUS — five, ten, fifteen, even twenty thousand! People, particularly women, are thrilled to see someone SO like themselves up there and SUCCEEDING. And she remains a SPUNKY speaker. Let's see. Nina Totenberg concedes that sugarcoating will be impossible, then piles it on: "brilliant," "electrified," "huge crowds," "enormous." Not as huge as someone would have you believe, but ENORMOUS? Did you know huge was less than enormous? And then: "someone so like themselves," "succeeding." Now would either of those descriptions fit the Sarah Palin you've seen? She's SO like you? She's succeeding? Of course Totenberg doesn't say she thinks so, nor that YOU think so, but simply that people do. Particularly women. Really Nina? Then there's a sample of Palin's "spunky" speech: [PALIN:] "Okay Pennsylvania. Over the next forty days, John McCain and I, we' re gonna take our message and our mission of reform to voters of every background, in every party, or no party at all, and with your vote, we're going to Washington to shake things up." Now I think it's one thing to clean up Palin's English, maybe even to prettify the grammar, but quite another to add or delete words. Compare the above semi-corrected transcript of Palin's eruditeness to NPR's. Further on, Totenberg covers Palin's energy policy expertise, playing a portion of Palin's speech where she takes credit for a natural gas pipeline. Totenberg debunks, sort of: News reports DO INDEED give her credit for the pipeline agreement, but suggest that Palin has left so many financial and land-rights problems unresolved that

This American Life -live it in fear

Did New York City based NPR need to hype fears of an economic collapse to Main Street USA, who's so far not spooked by the bogeyman in Wall Street's closet? NYC called in help from partners in the Chicago, the radio program THIS AMERICAN LIFE. Together they fashioned a monster to scare the heartland. TAL Reporter Alex Blumberg collaborated with NPR in creating a story defining "commercial paper," the money market, and the cryptically un-ominous "Breaking the Buck" to an audience who might not otherwise be standing on their chairs. They interviewed a treasurer in Arizona who had been trembling in the privacy of his office at the prospect of a Wall Street meltdown. He was monitoring the signs as they crossed his computer screen in the form of zillions of numbers. We were made to imagine a Matrix-like cascade into which, if you peered closely, perhaps with eyes unfocused, you could hear Godzilla's heartbeat outside your door. They even referred to the looming danger as a monster. Was this a reflection of American life, or a projection?

Mainstream media ignores RNC arrests

(Masked civilian below is a reporter who didn't report what he saw.) RNC protesters in St. Paul are coming up against preemptive arrests and arbitrary detentions. Do you hear about these events? Houses raided, suspects held without Habeas Corpus, a prominent journalist arrested. These are getting no coverage from the mainstream media. TO THROW SALT ON THAT: On Public Radio International's news-lite program THE WORLD, a correspondent lamented the Gustav-upstaged convention and so filed a story decrying his and his fellow international journalists' dearth of news to report! Let's see, the Republicans raised money for those threatened by Hurricane Gustav. Senator McCain kicked off the GOP fund with a $25,000 contribution. In proportion to he and Cindy's net worth, that's a tithe of 0.025%.

Obama fields loaded questions from NPR

A public radio listener wrote to criticize the interview of Barack Obama on NPR's All Things Considered. They thought the coverage too favorable, plus there was no equal time given to John McCain. I suspect this is the result when public radio courts the lower denominator of the American media audience. Did they hear the same broadcast as I? All six questions posed to Obama were loaded, disguised in the insufferable sucrose voice-of- concern of Michele Norris. Is she the half-wit she pretends if she composed this soft-pitch spit-ball: Democrats are generally regarded as the 'tax and spend' party. Are you prepared to tell us that tax-n-spend is good for America? Actually I was paraphrasing. Here are the six questions, front-loaded with false characterization or innuendo. 1. "The GOP has used the same argument for decades, that tax and spend liberalism is bad for America. 'Tax and spend' is almost a hyphenated phrase that's become equivalent a dirty word. Are tax and spend policies really bad for America or is that what you're intending to do?" 2. "Its been said many times that the candidate who will win in November will be the one who can convey that they really feel their pain ... How do you convey that message?" 3. "It's said ... you just didn't seem to connect with white working class voters ... How will you do that in the general election?" 4. "Do Americans perhaps need a reality check, high gas prices might be here to stay, and are you the person who perhaps is willing to deliver that unwelcome message?" 5. "Will gas prices stay high?" Trying to force Obama to be the unwelcome messenger. 6. One last question: Lakers or Celtics? Hoping he'd alienate one half of the listeners or the other. Naturally Obama handled all these questions with aplomb.

KRCC promoting Amy Goodman and DN!

Most radio listeners are in their cars. That AM stations retain their clout is because for the longest time most cars could only receive the AM signal. Older established technologies present critical links not just older generations but to lower socio-economic populations.

When America wheezes…

"When America sneezes, Asia catches a cold."   Or so the adage goes. NPR referred to it as a cliche, and canvassed the foreign press for regional varients. The news being, apparently, that the American economy hiccuped or other such trifle. I cannot help thinking of Chekhov's The Death of a Government Official, adapted for the stage as The Sneeze. NPR went on: "When the US sneezes, Shanghai catches a cold." A subset. "When America sneezes, Britain catches a cold." Mimicry. "When America sneezes, things get feverish in South Africa." Credited for imagination. The trivialization continued, from: "When America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold" to "When America sneezes, does the world still catch a cold?" Then NPR asked a financial skeptic to assess the veracity of this cliche. She explained that a sneeze had a generally small radius of effect, and that a handshake was more likely to spread a cold. She was on the right track, wasn't she? A sneeze is but a trifle. The net effect of course, was to reiterate, reinforced through repetition, that America has sneezed, and it's up to others to mind their health. It was a sneeze, that's all. The light headed, somewhat hazy feeling you are experiencing? Just a sneeze. You're not faint, you're not about to collapse into an indefinite convalescence with pneumonia. When America is bed bound with consumption, there's no one unaffected to bring her chicken soup. That's where the medicinal analogy ends. When our economy is out for the count, competitors have their arms raised in the air, ready for the next comer, looking for the next Golden Goose. Business is war. Sun Tsu's Art of War is after all shelved under Business. If this were a child's game, it would be King of the Hill, not Doctor.

The Cloverfield al-Qaeda Witch Project

Cloverfield is The Blair Witch Terrorist Project where there’s nothing in focus but black unknown, so we’re left to fear what kids do: the dark. Fearing the unknown was for the Dark Age. By exploiting the imagery of a post-democracy America, these filmakers promote our culture of fear by appearing to lampoon it.

Jesus vs. Santa rivalry is nothing new

A holiday detente: As Easter sprung from fertility celebrations befitting the rebirth of spring, so Christmas originated from offerings of the season's greetings to the winter solstice. And while Christians might have taken over the party, they've had to retain the yule tree and other pagan party favors to ensure converts would still RSVP to the festivities. The struggle between Jesus and Santa is nothing new. The First War on Christmas happened in Oliver Cromwell's England when Christmas idolatry came to be forbidden by law. Popular merriment was deemed to have strayed too far from the Protestant message of the church, the Lord's Day etc, so Lord Protector Cromwell reined things in, for a time, until the reformer's dominance over the parliament and the influence of the Puritans waned. I heard this story on NPR, half of it actually. They described Christmas having been made illegal for a period, but curiously didn't mention which period, and who in England had done it. Puritans you say? Might these have been the same Puritans who came to America's shore? The same. Well, they shared forefathers (Our forefathers, if our WASP history books can be believed, emphasizing as they do our "Christian Nation" while minimizing Jefferson and the other 90% of our settlers). Thus religious intolerance, on the part of the Puritans, drove the rest of England to send them packing, post paid, to take their anti-everybody else's Christmas to New England, where it was thought there were no revelers to be bothered. The Puritans fled religious intolerance to THEIR intolerance basically. What BS to assert that English merry folk did not accord them freedom of religion. England wanted freedom FROM the Puritan's brand of religion. For some reason our historians seem content to leave open the suggestion that the Puritan party-pooper recount being expelled from the party because of his "wild and crazy" ways! Just as in Old England, the American puritanical pin heads every so often revive to prominence, usually in reaction to economic or social catastrophe, to prescribe austerity across the board, from no drinking to unhappy holidays. In their current incarnation they're Fundies aghast at what's become of their Christmas. The "true meaning" having become too commercial, too secular, not enough infant Christ worship, etc. We've got a nation of party-poopers, wanting to repo the universal Xmas holiday and its international message of brotherhood: Peace on Earth, Goodwill To All Mankind. Puritans aren't about being good, they're the fine folk who who accepted the turkey, then thanked the Lord, not the heathens. Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!

Colorado Springs Mack the Knife

The Gazette reported this weekend that Alexander Pring-Wilson, now of Court TV fame, has won a second reprieve against accusations of knifing an Hispanic Boston teen in 2003. Pring-Wilson's legal team has twice successfully confused juries by defaming the victim's poor man's past, detracting from Pring-Wilson's drunken, unprovoked pounce with a knife. In the fawning article about the family's blue blood Wood Avenue heritage, the Gazette oddly shrunk Pring-Wilson's 4-inch-blade Spyderco military jackknife to a "penknife!" We're informed the CC grad will be spending the holidays in Colorado. And will the ex-rugby captain be drinking?   I say, won't somebody visit the CSPD and ask if the Colorado College campus hasn't any unsolved closing-time stabbing deaths among its cold cases? Maybe Pring-Wilson can stop by the Police Department and volunteer the DNA sample he refused to give them from Boston. The CSPD were alerted in 2003 about the similarity of the Boston stabbing to the fatal assault on Jocelyn Sandburg in 2002, and have yet to be given evidence to preclude him as a suspect. But Pring-Wilson's mother was a long time Colorado Springs prosecutor and, as the Gazette article reminds us, is from a very influential family. In Boston, Pring-Wilson was stumbling home from a Reggae bar after closing time. He came upon a car parked next to a pizza joint, with two Hispanic teens who he thought were laughing at his drunken state. Pring-Wilson approached the car, opened the passenger door and began stabbing one teen as the other ran from around the other side to pull Pring-Wilson off. The driver had not realized that the pummeling he was witnessing involved a knife. Pring-Wilson claims self-defense, prosecutors are suspicious of Pring's having begun at the onset with his knife unpocketed, blade open. Before Pring-Wilson moved to Harvard, he attended Colorado College. The year after graduation he still returned to Colorado Springs regularly to visit his former-teammates, parents and girlfriend. Might one of his visits have coincided with Jocelyn's murder, a weekend night in 2002, a little after 2am? Jocelyn and passenger were just a block from home when someone threw an object at their car. Jocelyn stepped out to address the young pedestrian, he suddenly threw what looked like a punch but oddly Jocelyn fell face forward to the pavement. She got up to chase him further into the CC campus where her body was found later with multiple stab wounds. If you trace a direct route between the bars of Tejon Street and Pring-Wilson's house, as a drunk might navigate, you cross Jocelyn Sandberg's car right in the middle. It happened at an hour when Jocelyn was returning from a concert in Boulder, and when a drunk would be turned out from a bar at closing time. And what an unusual scenario for an altercation: knife-wielding pedestrian versus car.

St Patricks Day denoument chronicled

Council must prevent parade pandemonium John Weiss INDY editorial, Dec 6 Largest US Civil Disobedience Movement Underway AfterDowningStreet.org, Dec 6 Ousted protesters unsure of trying luck at St. Patty's parade ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec 1 City attorney says prosecution is 'not in the public interest' CS GAZETTE, Nov 29 St. Paddy's Day Two off the hook CS INDEPENDENT, Nov 29 City Drops Charges Against Last of St Patrick's Day Protesters KRCC, Nov 28 The St. Patrick's Day Two -After a mistrial, the city decides to retry just a pair CS INDEPENDENT, Oct 4 Two of St. Patty's Day Seven Could Be Retried -Charges dropped for all except Fineron and Verlo CS INDEPENDENT, Sept 27 UPDATE: The Gazette article is still among the top commented. Here's a string of the initial comments, in chronological order: hmmmmm wrote: Well this proves that if you break the law, and they did, and complain and whine enough then you can get off. Very disappointed in our DA on this one. quote “When you consider dragging an old woman across the street and not lifting her up, it’s really hard to see how that’s doing nothing wrong,” Verlo said. end quote. When this "old woman" refuses to get up and follow police orders, Yes they did nothing wrong. It's called the law, and they broke it. 11/28/2007 7:44 PM MST on Gazette.com csaction wrote: No part of this trial was ever in the public's interest and the city prosecutors were the last to see that. Some of the police used excessive force and that ruined their case. The parade rules weren't applied to everyone equally, and that ruined their case. You aren't guilty of obstructing the street when the police throw you down in the street. Explaining that you have a permit to march, just like the year before, is NOT failure to disperse. Allowing every politico in town to make a political statement EXCEPT those with a message of peace, is NOT equal protection under the law. The strangest part of the city's position, other than the obvious lame claim that they could get a conviction but decided not to, is Ms. Kelly's apparent distrust of the legal system: "everything the police did was justified and there was probable cause for an arrest, but getting a conviction is another story". It is NOT another story IF the police did nothing wrong and there WAS probable cause for an arrest, and that's ALL been decided by a jury of their peers when they couldn't prove their case to 6 people in this town. Is she suggesting that the jury system is wrong or that we, the people, are too stupid to see that the police and city are always right, no matter what they do? Does she think we can't sit on a jury and decide the ruling based on the evidence, and get it right? The jury already got it right and the city wanted to intimidate the remaining 2 people with the threat of a trial, until the last minute, to stop them from suing for the police brutality, already proven to a jury. 11/28/2007 7:49 PM MST on

To John Weiss, INDY peace ambassador

Dear John, I'm sorry to have let you down in your efforts to negotiate a settlement with the city on the Saint Patrick's Day affair. I have always valued your advice and I remain hopeful that the city will consider a reconciliation over this matter. If it's alright I'd like to explain my position relative to your proposed terms of a settlement offer to the City Council. I am absolutely in favor of foregoing any civil lawsuits, but this must be in exchange for an admission of wrongdoing on the part of the police department. Why would the city or police department have to cling to the formality of denying culpability if there would no longer be a threat of a lawsuit? You've described that having the police attend a public discussion would be admission enough, but I fear that if I am so hard to convince, probably most of Colorado Springs will not grasp the subtlety either. You may insist that the police department will never admit it conducted itself improperly. I say it must. Excessive force and reckless endangerment must be condemned. As I've explained before, I have no interest in being awarded a public meeting only to give the police chief a forum to cross his arms and reiterate both that his men did nothing wrong and that firm policies are necessary when dealing with unpredictable crowds. You also make the point that we cannot hope to reprimand Officer Paladino, owing to the strength of police union and the brevity of our police chief's tenure, etc. The most we could hope for according to you would be to have an unspoken agreement that Paladino would not be assigned to protest or parade duty. Even that request you fear may out of the question. I say with all due respect, nonsense. Officer Erwin Paladino was the direct instigator of our unnecessary arrests and the escalation of violence, Probably not by coincidence in 2003 he was also found to have acted outside his jurisdiction in the Dairy Queen arrests. Would it be enough to ban him from functions requiring crowd control? No! Paladino is on the New Hire Police Advisory Board. We must ensure that his dim regard for dialog and non-violence is not perpetuated with new officers. What happened to my friends and I at the St Patrick's Day parade should not have happened, and I fear that the repercussions may still be felt next year. As the city prosecutor persists in trying to justify the actions of its police, I have no alternative but to stand firm. An expeditious settlement with the city might be better for public relations, but it does not address the need to assure the rights of citizens will be respected in the future.

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