Frontier Former Editor

February 2, 2010

More reasons why Walmart must be eliminated from the face of the earth

Conversation between me and a Walmart employee about two weeks ago, between snows . . .

Me to Walmart employee: “Do you have any snow shovels?”

Walmart employee: “We’re out.”

Me: “Are you geting any more in?”

Walmart employee: “No. They’re a seasonal item.”

Me: “But it’s still winter for a month and a half.”

Walmart employee: “There’s no demand for them after winter.”

At this point, there are two responses roiling in my mind . . .

Me, talking in my mind: “You f***ing moron, it’s still winter!”

Me, opening my mouth: “Never mind.”

March 17, 2009

Here’s another reason to major in history, or at least read it more than once every few years . . .

The Credit Mobilier scandal of 1872 – a good reason to hold big business’ s and elected government’s collective feet to the fire on a regular basis.

“Crédit Mobilier of America was formed by George Francis Train, the vice-president in charge of publicity for the Union Pacific Railroad. Crédit Mobilier of America was designed to limit the liability of stockholders and maximize profits from construction with the hefty fees being paid by federal subsidies. The company also gave cheap shares of stock to members of Congress who agreed to support additional funding  . . .

“It was claimed that the $72 million in contracts had been given to Crédit Mobilier for building a rail only worth $53 million. Union Pacific and other investors were left nearly bankrupt.”

Okay folks, and that was 57 years before the 1929 crash. Dubya, let’s go over the success of the “No Child Left Behind Act” again, shall we?

March 15, 2009

Cry me a river, you neo-fascist turd

Dick Cheney is aggrieved because Dubya didn’t pardon his familiar:

“I was clearly not happy that we, in effect, left Scooter sort of hanging in the wind,” Cheney said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union with John King.” He acknowledged a “fundamental difference of opinion” with Bush on the matter.

A federal jury in Washington convicted Libby of lying and obstructing an investigation into who blew the cover of CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had criticized the Iraq war.

Bush earlier commuted Libby’s 2-1/2-year prison sentence but before leaving office in January, Bush refused to give Libby an outright pardon.

Cheney said Libby had been unjustly accused and deserved a pardon but Bush disagreed. It was one of the few areas that Cheney has publicly said he disagreed with Bush on during their eight years in the White House.

I’ve made my opinion of Dick Cheney clear in this blog many a time – from his term as Secretary of Defense to the last eight years of a neo-fascist pall over this country. But now, I truly think he is this country’s Beria or Feliks Dzerzhinskiy, or even a low-rent Himmler.

Please, Cheney, find yourself a lair with some self-destructive mountain militia.

March 13, 2009

Where have you gone, Louis Rukeyser? Our nation holds its lonely eyes to you . .

If anyone ever questions or trivializes the role of satire and humor in society, they should remember this 10-minute segment.

Especially in a time where Citibank is hosting conference calls – on our tax dime – to encourage union-busting and who-knows-what-else.

What Stewart did is in the best tradition of Petroleum V. Nasby, Herblock, Samuel Clemens, Mort Sahl, George Carlin, Tom Lehrer and hosts of other humorists – ridicule, embarass, shame, humiliate and destroy anything that would prey upon society.

This society needs a huge sweep to remind ‘big business,’ ‘Wall Street,’ and every other over-dominant segment of the American business and political scene that acting like Charles Keating did in the  years leading up the the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s may not be child molestation but is just about as legally and morally defensible as being a child molester.

And while we’re at it on a bleak Friday afternoon, please allow Rush Limbaugh to continue broadcasting and expressing his opinion. Part of a free society is having the right to express one’s opinions and having the responsibility to defend the logic and rationality of those opinions.

And please allow Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele the right to express his political views for the same reason – even if he lacks the intellectual weight to generate rational policy and philosophical positions.

By the way – even Louis Rukeyser got caught violating federal trading rules, so be thankful, Jim Cramer. Be very, very thankful.

March 6, 2009

I’m a believer . . . .

Filed under: Be HEALED!, guitar heroes, observations, old times — Tags: , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 4:24 pm

Confession: If I had ever had to hang out with the Monkees, I would have hung out with Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork. Micky Dolenz was just a little wound up and Davy Jones still has to apologize for that Brady Bunch appearance . . .

Anyway, Pete, I’m rooting for you on this one:

Peter Tork, a former member of the 1960s pop group the Monkees, says he has a rare form of head and neck cancer, but the prognosis is good.

The 67-year-old Tork had surgery Wednesday in New York. His spokeswoman says he is doing well and will begin radiation treatment after a short recovery period.

He announced on his Web site Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma on the lower region of his tongue. He says it’s an uncommon but slow-growing type of cancer, and it hasn’t spread beyond the initial site.

February 22, 2009

Army strong-arm?

Having grown up as a military dependent and now working in a profession where I see how the economy is wreaking havoc on soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guarsdmen, I’ve always been a firm believer in giving military personnel and their families needed aid and comfort. Consistently, they face one of the crappiest professional and home enviroments found in American society, and we ask them to do it at a mere pittance while bankers, entertainers and sports figures drain wealth far in excess of their usefulness to society.

I’ve seen how that aid and comfort has been provided over the years, from service relief organizations to the firm yet fatherly guidance of a senior NCO  for a wayward soldier or sailor. But this bit of news is something that our new National Command Authority might want to consider tending to in short order:

Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.

Tax-exempt and legally separate from the military, AER projects a facade of independence but really operates under close Army control. The massive nonprofit — funded predominantly by troops — allows superiors to squeeze soldiers for contributions; forces struggling soldiers to repay loans — sometimes delaying transfers and promotions; and too often violates its own rules by rewarding donors, such as giving free passes from physical training, the AP found.

Granted, you can’t run a military like it was a democracy. But a democracy certainly can impose some core values conducive to discipline, good order and humaneness toward the troops.

February 15, 2009

Is Facebook making me more social or more anti-social?

Filed under: blogging, observations, societal niceties, writing — Tags: , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:27 am

I got bit by the Facebook bug about a month ago (along with a nip by Twitter) and I’ve left my blog abandoned.

 

Part of it was because I may have the germ of a teaching and consulting gig in PhotoShop. That’s not a bad thing.

 

The other part may very well be Facebook.

 

It’s getting addictive. I’m getting a little less literary (like I’ve ever been literary).

 

I don’t like it.

 

Being a former newspaper person, I was worried that blogging had made me even terser than I had to be for print.. But now, it’s quit being even terse.

 

I’ve got to do better.

At least I’m not doing this: www.thenadyasulemanfamily.com

January 11, 2009

Nothing like conflicting emotions.

Filed under: journalism, newspapers, observations, old times — Tags: , — Frontier Former Editor @ 6:24 pm

The first newspaper managing editor I ever worked for died last Friday (01-09-09). After two years in his newsroom, I found myself with little respect for him as a manager or a journalist. I can’t speak for him as a family man, but I do remember several incidents concerning him that still leave a bad taste in my mouth 17 years later.

One that still galls me is when I covered the Southmountain Mine underground explosion in 1992.

After two days of waiting in barely above-zero weather to see if men had died, and of watching certain people parade around for publicity, I returned to Bluefield. The managing editor had saved a copy of an Associated Press wire photo from  the site where I was in the background. He dressed me down because I wasn’t wearing a tie.

That was one of the minor episodes.

The man, in my estimation, worried more about making his community look good (and, by extension, making himself look good to the community) than doing good for the community. I know of one example where he suppressed a story because it would have exposed a family member to public questions of why that family member might have, at best, ignored a criminal financial transaction.

The reporter writing his obituary (not the link above) was also a personal acquaintance from the period. His effort lived down to my expectations of him. Perhaps he’s expecting either that the man will be coming back from the dead, or that he’ll get the job.

I’m sorry for the man’s family.

I can say that he did inspire me by his example . . . to avoid following his example at all costs.

October 12, 2008

Read this and make up your own mind . . .

I would like to state for the record here and now that the reservations I have held regarding Barack Obama have been solely based on his level of experience. Looking at those reservations, I think I fall in the same category of many who expressed concerns over Abraham Lincoln’s suitability of experience before the 1860 Republican presidential nominating convention.

No concern about his race, religion, creed or gender. Just his experience.

Given that, I should state that, in 2000, I voted in my first Republican primary because I thought that George W. Bush was a threat to this country and that John McCain was a counter to that threat. Until McCain began supporting the war in Iraq, I still had hope that he might one day prove a counter to neoconservatism.

So much for that idea.

Secretly and not so secretly, I’ve been hoping for some return to reason and gravitas in how this country conducts its affairs. Admittedly, that return might involve a trip in the wayback machine to George Washington’s election.

I haven’t seen much hope in that return among the ‘mainstream’ national Republican machine. The reasonable ones are in a wilderness between the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee. When Barack Obama attempts to elaborate his positions – many of which seem fairly reasonable given a framework of logic and rationality and acknowledgement of the American social and political landscape – any debate gets lost in a spiral of irrelevant verbal feces generated by McCain staffers and that nitwit Palin.

There’s been no policy debate in this country during the election cycle. There’s been a lot of noise about patriotism, innuendo about name, race, inexperience and modern-day Red scare tactics.

I hadn’t run across this until this morning – mainly because I never thought that ‘Rolling Stone’ still had it in them – but it is worth a read. There’s nothing really new in it, but it does sit down and recount much of what has been out in the public for most of four decades. Before reading it, I’ve questioned McCain’s stability for several years jokingly and in darker corners of my mind. After reading it, I found that I’m not the only one asking some of those questions.

To Barack Obama:

No matter what my vote next month, please know that your race, creed, religion or name don’t enter into my thought process.

Just work on convincing me that you are a reasonable, rational and upright person who will listen to and work with other reasonable, rational and upright people to get us moving away from the center of the domestic and international messes in which we sit.

I have no illusions that you and others can solve it all in one or two terms. It would take decades to do that. Just show me that you’re willing, able and committed to doing it.

 

To John McCain:

I don’t know anymore, but I do know that you are what my father – a retired Navy senior chief petty officer – would call a bullshit artist.

Your vice presidential running mate is also a bullshit artist.

Your campaign staff, if examined by art scholars, would be given their own section in art textbooks as the ‘bullshit art’ movement.

The national Republican Party organization backing your try for the White House obviously knows its taste in art: bullshit. Even compared to many in the national Democratic Party leadership, your national backers have a superb eye for bullshit.

 

One of my blogging acquaintances told me a year or so ago that there’s nothing wrong with America that what’s right with it can’t fix.

I really hope so.

October 11, 2008

Bobby May

After two years away from covering Southwest Virginia politics, it warms my heart to watch a late season election train wreck.

Except when you know some of the principals in the wreck. Then it’s a combination of laughter, cringing, headshaking, disgust, incomprehension, pity, anger, bemusement, lather, rinse, repeat.

Any of you who read the Los Angeles Times or watch MSNBC may already have digested the story of Bobby May from Hurley, Va..

I know Bobby May. I also know Earl Cole, the newspaper entrepreneur who printed Bobby’s discourse on Barack Obama.

The Los Angeles Times apparently broke the story, so go get a gander at it here.

Bobby is (and quite possibly was, if this little tempest runs its course) an entrepreneur whose stock in trade is political paraphernalia: buttons, signs, banners, stickers, key rings, change purses, pocket knives and just about any other promotional paraphernalia with political slogans or commercial advertising.

Covering politics, I got acquainted with Bobby and, I have to say, he was pretty entertaining and not all that bad a dinner guest. Of course he was a raging Reagan Republican but he came by it honest, unlike folks like Edwin Meese, Donald Regan, Newt Gingrich, Lee Atwater and a whole host of national Republicans in the Reagan, Bush pere’ and Bush fils administrations.

Bobby treated me relatively fairly, even if I was part of that mainstream media. But Bobby decided more than a few years ago that the mainstream media just didn’t get it, like many Republicans decided long before him.

And a few years ago, May got his crack at being mainstream media when Earl Cole started a little newspaper called ‘The Voice’ as his own way of being a gadfly to the political establishment of Buchanan County.

Especially the Democratic establishment.

I still enjoyed Bobby’s cracks at Democrats, if only because I knew Bobby was just being Bobby. But when someone called me over to their computer to show Keith Olberman’s meanest person in the world for Wednesday night, I – to crib a line from Charlie Daniels’ ‘Uneasy Rider’ – damn near died.

There was Bobby May of Hurley, Virginia with an honor typically reserved for Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter or some idiot congressman or Bush Administration figure.

Bobby had written his op-ed de grace. A sample:

The (clarified) platform of Barack Hussein Obama
The Voice
by Bobby May, bobbyleemay@yahoo.com

In response to criticism that I favor John McCain for president and only present “one side of the issues,” I am listing for your consideration the platform of Barack Hussein Obama as best as I can figure it out after venting all of the hot air, straining out the honey and removing the smelly substance similar to what the old bull left behind.

I think I’ve did (sic) a pretty good job of boiling his positions down to their very essence for the sake of clarity. . . .

REPARATIONS TO BLACK COMMUNITY:  Opposes before Election Day and supports after Election Day.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION: Mandatory Black Liberation Theology courses taught in all churches–raise taxes to pay for this mandate.  Put Rev. Jeremiah Wright in charge.  Condemnation of homosexuality from the pulpit will become a Class 1 Felony.

HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE:  Raise taxes.  And coddle sexual perverts.  Give tax breaks for NAMBLA membership fees. . . .

DRUG CRISIS:  Raise taxes to pay for free drugs for Obama’s inner-city political base. . . .

2ND AMENDMENT:  Under Obama will only apply to gang-bangers, illegal aliens, Islamo-Fascist terrorists, and Senator Jim Webb’s aide. . . .

FOREIGN RELATIONS:  Appoint Rev. Al Sharpton as Secretary of State, Jesse Jackson as UN Representative and let Bill Clinton handle all other “foreign relations” … as long as Hillary doesn’t find out!  And raise taxes.

THE WHITE HOUSE:  Hire rapper Ludacris to “paint it black.”  Taxes to be increased to buy enough paint to do the job plus spray-paint for graffiti.

THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES:  Raise taxes to send $845 billion, send most to Africa so the Obama family there can skim off enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream. . . .

NATIONAL ANTHEM:  Change to the “Black National Anthem” by James Weldon Johnson.  And raise taxes. . . .

U.S. CURRENCY:  Updatephotos to reflect U.S. diversity; include pictures of “great Americans” such as Oprah Winfrey, Ludacris, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson(Obama’s new Secretary of the Treasury–50 Cent refused position after learning that he would lose his crazy check if he accepted the nomination).  And raise taxes. . . .

U.S. MILITARY:  Confiscate all weapons, substitute water pistols, pea shooters, and bows with suction cup arrows.  Replace U.S. flag on uniforms with peace symbols changing uniform color grom green to pink and abolishing the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, replacing it with “A queer in every foxhole and a camouflage sex toy in every backpack” requirement.  Condoms will be issued instead of bullets and brotherly love encouraged.  Barney Frank will be the new Secretary of Defence (renamed Secretary of Peace and Love) and Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres, Lindsay Lohan and Rick Boucher will be made 5-star generals.  And raise taxes. . . .

Whilst one part of me read it and thought, “Yep, that’s typical Bobby May,” another part of me thought of the four most dangerous words one can hear in the South: “Hey y’all, watch this!”

(Editor’s note, 11-12-08: The site where a facsimile of Bobby’s article resides, it should be noted, failed to include what accompanied it: a counterpoint piece by Ron Coleman supporting Obama’s campaign. Not that it necessarily makes Bobby’s piece any more palatable, but it should be included if only to put its appearance in context of what ‘The Voice’ was trying to present.)

If this had been all there was to the story, Bobby’s little essay might have passed relatively unnoticed. But that wasn’t all. Remember how Bobby was a diehard Republican? Well, Bobby’s beliefs not only complemented his business. They extended into his extracurricular life as the treasurer of the Buchanan County Republican Party and as the local organizer of Team McCain-Palin activities.

And the special sauce on this political hoagie? The Los Angeles Times happened to send a reporter to Buchanan County to sample the red state-blue state dynamic in Virginia last week – including the availability of a certain publication titled, ‘The Voice.’

And “watch this” the ‘mainstream media’ did. And, to Bobby May’s enduring discomfort, they did ‘get it.’ So did the McCain campaign machine, which officially dropped Bobby May from Team McCain-Palin.

Given the McCain machine’s rational for zapping Bobby May, however, I have to wonder why Palin is still on the ticket.

Does this mean that Southwest Virginia is a bunch of racist, stereotype-spouting idiots? No more so than any other geographic region of the Unites States. I certainly have my misgivings about Barack Obama, but they in no way are reflected in the satirical foray made by Bobby May.

But I have plenty of misgivings about John McCain, and I saw a glimmer of reflection of those in the story of Bobby May. How is what Bobby wrote fundamentally different from the stuff that has been spewed from the McCain campaign since the Labor Day weekend?

Bobby May might have been trying to be Jonathan Swift in his modest view of Obama’s political stances. He has a lot to be modest about now.

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