Saturday, July 25, 2009

Blog #98: Non Caring Republicans

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The Mona Lisa Responds to Republican Attempts to Savage President Obama’s Health Care Reform Bill

Graphic from


Is Obama’s Star Dimming?

Well, these days some of the shine and luster is off of the Obama presidency. Republicans are smelling blood, and have figured out, rightly or wrongly, that if they are able to kill the Democrats health care initiative they can bring down President Obama. As Senator Demented gleefully said, “the defeat of President Obama’s Health Care Initiative would be his Waterloo.” President Obama rightly points out that Health Care Reform isn’t for him, he has excellent health care coverage, as do all of those Senators and House members fighting reform tooth and nail. But of course the Republican opposition cares not one whit about the health care needs of the citizenry of this country. Their hearts and minds and welded to the for-profit health care industry, the insurance companies racking up huge profits while denying care, the pharmaceutical industry which sells to Americans at prices double and triple what they sell to the rest of the world.

And after all, if you look at it superficially, history seems to back up their position, at least if you don’t look too carefully as to how things really are different these days from the Clinton’s attempt to bring health care reform to the country. I must say it is eerie to see Harry and Louise resurrected from that 16 year hiatus to again attempt to reason the corporate health insurance and pharmaceutical points of view. They look more than a bit older these days, however, although these days Harry and Louise do seem resigned to the idea that something needs to be done, they have returned to use whatever influence they can still muster to make sure the desires of their corporate masters are listened to. However, television is so much a part of our lives these days that we sometimes confuse what we see on it with reality. We must remember that Harry and Louise aren’t real, they are the concoctions of an advertising agency serving the needs of the Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries who originally dreamed them up to sabotage Bill Clinton’s attempt to bring health care reform to America in 1993. We need to keep in mind that they are not real people, but actors mouthing the words of the Health Care Establishment. Of course these days the really virulent of the negative ads are the ones that hysterically yell at us to not turn health care over to the federal government. Those attempt to stoke the embers left from years of Republican propaganda which made people fear, loath and question the ability of the federal government to run its programs efficiently.

Of course, what they neglect to tell you is that it was only Republican administrations which ran government programs inefficiently, while piling up huge deficits along the way. Democratic presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt, through Harry Truman, Jimmie Carter, and Bill Clinton, ran their respective presidencies with skill and precision. And especially Bill Clinton deserves kudos for turning Republican mountainous deficits into surpluses while the Republican Defamation Machine harassed him every step of the way. I’ve always felt the Republicans should be ashamed of themselves, but I’m afraid a Republican wouldn’t know shame if it snuck up behind him and bit him in the ass.

Republicans are coming on strong trying to delay, and preferably kill any Health Care legislation which truly brings down the price of health care while getting everyone involved in the system. But just think about it. When have Republicans sponsored any legislation that helped anyone other than the very rich and the big corporations? The answer, of course, is never. Republicans don’t serve you and I, they don’t even pretend to. They only serve the very rich and well connected. They have opposed all legislation that serves as a safety net to protect ordinary Americans, beginning with Social Security, and continuing through Medicare. Most of them make no bones about this, although at election time some pretend to have been in our corner the whole time, in the fond hope of getting our vote.§

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The Washington Post had a running discussion Saturday on the “birther” phenomenon which is the latest craze of our nation’s nut cases. In the comments a reader calling himself Hillman1 had a most down to earth take on the case, which we quote below:

Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and various other Republican leaders egged this whole 'birth certificate' idiocy on during the campaign. Now they rather disingenuously express shock that the idiot story continues. They birthed this mess. It's up to them to clean up after it.

To which we reluctantly add, “fat chance.” We managed to liberate ourselves from Lou Dobbs some weeks before this birther foolishness re-surfaced. Although Chris Matthews is not exactly an exercise is sweetness, we found that he rings our bell far less often than Dobbs used to. Lou proudly calls himself an independent voice, independent of what, reason and common sense?

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Cambridge Police Mugshot of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.


President Obama: “Cambridge Police Stupid!”

Well, now that we have a black family in the White House racial profiling is a relic of the past. Right? Wrong! Noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. (whose Cambridge Police Mug Shot sits above) was arrested on his own front porch after showing a Cambridge Police Officer ID which proved he lived at the house. According to Prof. Gates he simply asked for the officers name and badge number, and for his trouble got himself arrested. According to the Boston Globe online, although the Cambridge police department subsequently dropped all charges, it appeared to professor Gates to be a case of too little, too late.

Black leaders continued to condemn the actions of a Cambridge police sergeant who handcuffed the African-American professor outside his own home Thursday. Gates extended an unusual offer to the officer: in exchange for an apology, personal tutoring sessions on the history of racism in America.

Gates, still angry five days after his arrest, broke his silence Tuesday to chastise Cambridge police for his treatment, dispute their assertion that he had made inflammatory remarks during the encounter, and seized upon his brief incarceration as a teaching moment on race relations, not only for Cambridge, but for the nation.

After being apprised of President Obama’s remarks at a softball game Cambridge Sergeant James Crowley, who arrested Gates last Thursday, declined to respond to the president. Asked at a softball game in Natick last night about Obama’s remarks, Crowley shook his head and said, “I think I’d be better off not commenting on that one.’’ However in the same edition the Boston Globe headlined: Officer in the Eye of the Storm Says He Won’t Apologize. And further perusal of the story brings up even more contradiction as it turned out that l6 years before the officer Crowley desperately tried to save the life of black Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis after he collapsed while practicing in the school gym. Lewis died, but not after officer Crowley did his best to revive the basketball star.

In our opinion, although the officer consciously does not admit to racism, he nevertheless practiced it when, though he knew that Professor Gates did indeed live in the home and was not burglarizing it, Sergeant Crowley arrested him for disorderly conduct after the professor came onto his front porch asking, perhaps loudly and demandingly, that the officer give him his name and badge number (which the officer is required by law to give, by the way.)

The case is perplexing to blacks all over, including the black Mayor of Cambridge, who must surely be agonizing over support for her officer and the arrest of the professor for no justifiable cause. The Department’s later dismissal of the charges of disorderly conduct is their tactic admission of the officer’s mistake, even though the officer himself refuses to admit it. However, this is not altogether a race problem. Many years ago my mild mannered college journalism professor (who was white) was beaten and arrested by Houston Police officers after he went to headquarters to air some sort of grievance. Police officers universally seem to have zero tolerance to any level of criticism or even so much as a hint of uppityness on the part of a protesting citizen.

If you still have doubts that racism is alive and well in Obama’s America read the comments this story has garnered in the comments which followed the story, or the reactions television stories have generated. Fully half of them back the police, and criticize Obama’s comment, in spite of the fact that Professor Gates was arrested on his own front porch in spite of a picture ID proving residency. Officer Crowley on Friday was getting his share of air time to tell his side of the story, but the fact remains the professor posed no kind of physical threat to the officer, he merely tripped his irritant meter out of the ballpark. President Obama tried to tamp down the conflagration by backtracking his "stupid" characterization of the Cambridge police department a wee bit, and by inviting the principals, Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates, to the White House for a beer.§

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Is There Actually Hope for the New Generation?

There has been a lot of criticism recently about the present generation of students being far too complacent and accepting. There have been few protests by students against a war seemingly less justifiable than Vietnam. However the video below proves once and for all that there is still a flicker of rebelliousness and street theater left in today’s law students. The YouTube video was taken in the classroom of John Woo, who is one of three lawyers credited with turning out the memos which attempted to legally justify the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture during the Bush Administration. Woo these days is a professor of law at the University of California. (The other two are Jay Bybee, presently a judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Steven Bradbury.) (Our thanks to Daniel M. Badeaux for emailing us this video.)


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The Scoop No One Wanted

What do you think the American media might do if a whistleblower brought them a story of how ATT and other telecoms were furnishing the N.S.A. with internet emails and voice conversations with no legally required court order in place. Robert McMillan on the Computerworld website interviews Mark Klein whose new book tells all about how he was ignored when he tried alerting the media of this obviously criminal behavior on behalf of the federal government.

The book is called "Wiring up the Big Brother Machine ... and Fighting It." It's an account of his experiences as the whistleblower who exposed a secret room at a Folsom Street facility in San Francisco that was apparently used to monitor the Internet communications of ordinary Americans.

It's an account of his experiences as the whistleblower who exposed a secret room at a Folsom Street facility in San Francisco that was apparently used to monitor the Internet communications of ordinary Americans.

Klein, 64, was a retired AT&T communications technician in December 2005, when he read the New York Times story that blew the lid off the Bush administration's warrant less wiretapping program. Secretly authorized in 2002, the program let the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) monitor telephone conversations and e-mail messages of people inside the U.S. to identify suspected terrorists. Klein knew right away that he had proof – documents from his time at AT&T – that could provide a snapshot of how the program was siphoning data off of the AT&T network in San Francisco.

Amazingly, however, nobody wanted to hear his story. In his book he talks about meetings with reporters and privacy groups that went nowhere until a fateful January 20, 2006, meeting with Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Bankston was preparing a lawsuit that he hoped would put a stop to the wiretap program, and Klein was just the kind of witness the EFF was looking for.

With the EFF on board, Klein was briefly a media celebrity – the man who had the guts to expose the NSA's secret wiretapping program. In his book he provides the documents and the stories that illustrate how all of this transpired.

These days Klein lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Linda, and his two dogs. He self-published his book. You can read the entire Computerworld story by pointing your cursor and clicking here

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And From Our What Else is New? Department

Guess what? The Bush/Cheney withheld data from us. Surprise? This time it had nothing to do with Iraq or torture, but instead concerned distractions in driving automobiles. Here are excerpts of the story by Matt Richtell as published in the N.Y. Times:

In 2003, researchers at a federal agency proposed a long-term study of 10,000 drivers to assess the safety risk posed by cellphone use behind the wheel. They sought the study based on evidence that such multitasking was a serious and growing threat on America’s roadways.

But such an ambitious study never happened. And the researchers’ agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, decided not to make public hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the use of phones by drivers — in part, officials say, because of concerns about angering Congress.

Can you believe that? Obviously, with all that has since come out about the secrecy practiced by Bush/Cheney nothing would surprise us. Anything was possible. What about the motive for withholding the data? Do you really believe that they were afraid of offending Congress. Offending the cellphone industry, that’s who they were afraid of offending. For more on this program place your cursor and click here

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One of our favorite writers is Dana Milbank, who writes the Washington Sketch column in the Washington Post. In a twitter-like treatment of a memo to Republicans from Alex Castellanos, a political strategist and contributor to CNN, Mr. Milbank was able to beautifully expose the un-originality of RNC Chairman Michael Steele. We offer you a short excerpt of the piece here, and for the complete article we urge you to point your cursor and click here!

"We need to bring new language to this debate," Republican message man Alex Castellanos wrote in a memo to fellow GOP strategists this month. "If we paint the house the same color, no one will notice anything has changed: We will still be the same, outdated Republicans who have no new ideas and oppose everything."

Castellanos, a consultant to the Republican National Committee, offered poll-tested language that the party could use to kill President Obama's health-care legislation in Congress. "If we slow this sausage-making process down, we can defeat it," he reasoned.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele must have liked what he read. When he gave a speech at the National Press Club on Monday, he all but read aloud from Castellanos's memo.

"Slow down, Mr. President: We can't afford to get health care wrong," said the memo.

"Slow down, Mr. President: We can't afford to get health care wrong," said the chairman.

Memo: "The old, top-down Washington-centered system the Democrats propose will empower Washington to restrict the cures and treatments your doctor can prescribe for you."

Steele: "The old top-down Washington-centered system the Democrats propose is designed to grow Washington's power to restrict the cures and treatments your doctor can prescribe for you."

Memo: "President Obama is experimenting with America, too much, too soon, and too fast."

Steele: "The Barack Obama experiment with America is a risk our country can't afford -- it's too much, too fast, too soon."

Well, you get the idea. In our mind the piece de resistance of the piece was in its title. Milbank called his piece, Health Care for Dummies. Edgar Bergen lives again!§

Edgar Bergen and friends


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What Recession? Apple Has a Banner Quarter

CUPERTINO, California—July 21, 2009—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2009 third quarter ended June 27, 2009. The Company posted revenue of $8.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.23 billion, or $1.35 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.46 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.07 billion, or $1.19 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 36.3 percent, up from 34.8 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 44 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold 2.6 million Macintosh® computers during the quarter, representing a four percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 10.2 million iPods during the quarter, representing a seven percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhones sold were 5.2 million, representing 626 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.*

*From Apple’s end of the quarter financial report.

Take that Michael Dell and Steve Ballmer. And a Happy Recession to you both. Of course there’re lots of good reasons people are switching. Three of them include people discovering the Mac thanks to the iPods, people are getting tired of having to stay forever vigilant to keep an internet full of malware at bay, and most of all, Apple invented, and keeps improving on, the iPhone. People can try before they buy at an Apple Store in a Mall near you. And more often than not people buy because even though Apple didn’t invent ease of use, they have made an obsession of bringing it to their products.

Apple’s iPhone


Ain’t it pretty? I don’t have an iPhone myself, I must admit. In fact, I don’t have any kind of cellphone. I bought a cheap one last year to be able to communicate with my son Joel after Hurricane Katrina knocked out the power. But power was back on two and a half days later, and I haven’t used it since. Of course, the main reason I have no use for a cellphone because these days I’m at my iMac computer six to eight hours a day. I even view movies and episodes from the first three years of Saturday Night Live on it in the evenings.

Microsoft which never saw a computer program they didn’t want to copy, announced recently that in the fall they are planning to open their own Microsoft Mall stores. They even hired some expert marketer to guide the program. But there’s one little thing they lack, and it is the key to the Apple Stores’ success. It is product to sell.

You come in the Apple store and you are invited to try out a computer or an iPod or iPhone. You can use it as long as you like, and you don’t have to buy a damn thing. One person wrote a book on a Macintosh at an Apple store in New York. She was actually encouraged by the employees, and came in late in the evenings to work on her project.. And children are encouraged to play with the computers even though it obvious that they’re not going to buy anything.

The other key to the success of the Apple stores is the Genius Bar, staffed with experts to help you with whatever you want to know about Apple Computers. And the Bar also offers service on injured machines, often while you wait, or the next day at the latest.

Gateway tried stores in affluent Malls. But they were forced to close their stores at around the same time Apple was opening theirs. But the difference was, Gateway stores sold nothing. It had a repair desk, and it had Gateway computers and monitors a’plenty, but nothing you could walk out of the store with. If you wanted a computer the store placed your order for you, and after it was assembled it was shipped to you. Usually in a week. There’s no instant gratification in that.

No one can foresee whether Microsoft stores are going to be the raging successes that Apple stores have been. But I find it really difficult to imagine how they are going to be able to get the hook on customers that the Apple stores do.

There has been a lot of talk lately about Microsoft’s Laptop Hunter commercials dimming Apple’s bottom line. But in a final note, tech writer Joe Wilcox (who usually sits squarely in the Microsoft – PC camp) notes that according to NPD nine out of every ten dollars spent for computers over $1000 are spent on a Macintosh. Wilcox reports that it has 91% of the over a thousand dollar market. The complete story lurks here

And we can’t leave the subject of Apple without pointing the way to this most interesting projection on a possibly forthcoming Apple product. You might call it our final byte of the Apple:

Tech writer Jason Schwartz writing in a blog called Seeking Alpha, predicts that the rumored upcoming Apple iTouch Tablet is going to revolutionize the way we use digital content and change society as we know it. He predicts the demand for this product is going to overwhelm Apple. You can read this amazing article here! We wonder if he will pass around whatever it is that he's smoking. But of course, there’s always the distinct possibility that he may well be right.§

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For Monty Python: Do Her Majesty’s Twits Twitter?

One highlight of recent late night television was actor Kevin Spacey teaching David Letterman about Twitter, which in case you missed it you can see, or if you saw it, you can relive by clicking on the triangle below.


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And so another edition of the Little Eddy Blog goes down the drain. We trust it won’t pollute the waters of Buffalo Bayou as it flows through Northwest Houston’s pipes. Buffalo Bayou is where much of Houston’s waste flows.

We look forward to seeking out more news of interest during the next week, and we’ll try not to to chew it beyond recognition as we digest it into our blog. Meantime, thanks for stopping by this week, and do drop in again next week. We upload on Saturday mornings around 8 a.m. CDT. Bye bye.

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blog # 97: Of Diss and Dat

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Dissing the Iranian Establishment!

As we view this photo from Iran during the recent demonstrations we can’t help but wonder as to the fate the demonstrator who was expressing her displeasure while standing in the path of the vehicle containing Iranian incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Note the evil grin on the face of the driver. What do you think the odds would have been of her surviving this confrontation?§

–– Photo from


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The Inquisition Moves Merrily Along

If this week’s blog shows less time devoted to its creation than usual it is all the fault of the Sonia Sotomayor hearings in the Senate. Watching the hearings is like revisiting High School Civics 101. The hearings have been on my television set with the sound up full since Tuesday morning, and they made it difficult to create a blog as Republicans tried desperately to sew the seeds of doubt, not on the fifteen years of the judge’s actual court decisions, but solely on a few statements in her speeches over the years which were deemed by Republicans as being out of the ballpark. Most especially it was the one about a wise latino woman with her experiences will hopefully come up with a better decision than a (white) male without that experience. You can bet that all of Inquisitors who pressed the judge on this were white males subconsciously resentful that any ethnic opinion might be on an even keel, much less superior to a white male’s like theirs.

Even their one trap sort of fizzled out in the end. The Repugnant ones had invited those Connecticut firemen, whose case had been ruled against by Sotomayor's appellate bunch, but which was recently found in their favor by the Supremes. Their spokesman went on and on, generating much sympathy as he told about how hard he had studied, using flash cards, time spent away from his children, only to have all of his hard work go for naught. When a Senator asked of him his feelings about the judge who had ruled against his interest, he wouldn't say a word. He explained he didn't have the legal expertise to comment on the ruling, and reiterated how happy he and the others were that the Supremes had overturned the appellate's initial ruling. So much for bringing all of those firemen to Washington for the hearing to trip the good lady up.

As you would expect CNN had its A Team on hand as the Senate’s inquisition of Sonia Sotomayor pressed ahead. And the President’s first Supreme Court nominee made an excellent showing of herself. Of course, the real question underlying the proceedings is how many Republicans are going to end up supporting this President’s obviously superbly qualified nominee? Summing up the performances of the day, Senator Lindsey Graham of North Carolina gave the best imitation of the Southern Gentleman as Inquisitor, winning in both the charm and mint julep categories. Ms Sotomayor, in spite of her recently broken ankle, managed to dance gracefully around her previous statements concerning the superiority of judgement of a female latino justice over your average white, caucasian no-nothing. This left many a white caucasian no-nothing a bit green around the gills, but knowing the male ego and his inherent sense of superiority as we do, the condition is predicted to be only temporary.§

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Defining Moments Growing Up Female in the 1950’s!


Who is Your Favorite Motivational Speaker?

Your average motivational speaker usually conjures up religious or spiritual elements in their presentation. But not our favorite. Our favorite has the product to back up his words. He is the recently returned CEO of Apple, Inc. whose name of course is Steve Jobs. Our favorite motivational speech of his (the only one we know of) is the commencement address he gave at Stanford University in 2005. Thanks to a Silicon Insider appreciation of Jobs that you can see here! we were able to embed the YouTube documentation of that event which you can view by clicking on the arrow below. If you have not experienced it recently you will find clicking in the triangle below well worth your time.§


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Unravelling the Layers of Secrecy

Well, those of us who were puzzled about why our former president of vice Dick Cheney was freaking out over how unsafe we’d become under the Obama presidency as compared to those grand old secure Bush/Cheney days are finally learning the truth. Now, admit it? You’re as panicked as I am about Obama’s trying to reason with those people and reduce the level of tensions and hatred, rather than invoking the spirit of Crusades while calling them names and sending out waves of agents over to assassinate them.

Meanwhile each passing day is peeling back another layer of truth in the answer to the questions of our concerns. Of course Mr. Cheney was trying to project a feeling of fear and insecurity, all the while pretending that the Republicans had everything under control back in their good old days of service. But it turns out that Mr. Cheney and the CIA were up to their ears in all kinds of illegalities. And in order to protect his own rear end and keep himself out of the pokey, he must remind us of how dedicated he was to protecting us from the terrorists all during this period.

Of course, at the time it probably didn’t feel so illegal. After all, we were massively attacked. Three thousand people met their maker at the hands of 19 mostly Saudi terrorists who guided three commercial airliners into the two World Trade Centers in N.Y. City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a fourth airliner into a field in Pennsylvania. And what’s the saying, “all’s fair in love and war.”

However in spite of the fact that on the surface it seems a lot more efficient to target Al Qaeda leaders for assassination, than to try and pick them off with high flying drones, which take out a lot of innocent civilians along with their targets. However, it is patently illegal for the Administration and the CIA to keep an assassination program secret from Congress, whether or not it ever got off the ground. But in the latest little tidbit to surface, that’s exactly what happened; the C.I.A. was evidently instructed by Cheney to not tell Congress about a CIA program that has not been publicly identified, but which according to a vast amount of cable leakage was a program to target Al Qaeda members for selective assassination.

Their justification for keeping the program secret from the Congress is that the program was never fully operational, which we presume to mean that it was never actually able to target anyone. However, a million dollars was evidently spent checking out the possibilities of the program, and the LAW says, (and we are, or claim to be a nation of laws, don’t we?) The LAW says the administration and the CIA shall not plan or engage in a program without informing the appropriate members of the Congress.

Ah, but assassinating Al Qaeda leaders would be illegal, you might say. The CIA hasn’t been allowed to assassinate people since word came out in the seventies about CIA post World War II assassinations. People became outraged that what James Bond was doing in films, the CIA was doing in the real world. And the public was outraged enough that the Congress was forced to draft laws making it illegal.

Well hell, waterboarding and other forms of torture were illegal also, but that didn’t stop our erstwhile ex-vice from obtaining made-to-order legal justification changing its classification and then ordering the practice be carried out in full secrecy. We must say we’re in awe of a man who could undergo 183 waterboardings and not have his spirit broken. We wonder how many other illegal activities were ordered and practiced during those dreadful Bush/Cheney years? We certainly had our dark suspicions during those dictatorial years, and now we wonder if we’ll ever learn how really close to a fascist state the B/C cabal were able to take us?

Poor Barack Obama, he must be so torn about this turn of events. He has a full, gigantic plate on his to do list, what with winding down the war in Iraq, the ramping up of the one in Afghanistan, the solving of the nation’s economic crisis, and getting a meaningful health care bill through a non too sympathetic, fractured, Congress. With his substantial majorities in the Congress these would seem to be possible without an ounce of Republican assistance, but it would sure be far easier with at least a modicum of Republican help.

But Republicans are a skittish bunch, skittish because they are well deservedly one step this side of oblivion, and they aren’t liking their position one damned bit. And any investigation of the Bush/Cheney years will make them downright apoplectic, sure to cause them to fight Obama’s agenda tooth and nail every step of the way. Of course, they will anyway, so what else is new? But although Obama would clearly like to avoid such a confrontation, he can’t easily rein in Attorney General Holder, should the man decide to assign a special prosecutor to investigate those golden years. And so Obama holds his breath, as do we hold our collective breaths, as we wait and see.

All in all an interesting turn of events. And perhaps we will find out once and for all just how law abiding we happen to be as a nation.§

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Defining Moments from Past Presidential Campaigns

Starring Barack Obama and John McCain

Picture from


Blogging Up a Storm!

Some people might question what the point is of this or any blog. And what an excellent question that is. In case you have been rip van winkling in a cave for the past twenty years, a blog is an author’s web log, a running account of his personal history, or perhaps his investigative reporting, or in some cases simply his rants. To earn the title a blog must be published on the world wide web. Why should a person waste his time writing a blog, you might well ask?

Well, if you are famous and/or successful at what you do you write an autobiography yourself, or else you commission someone to write your biography for you. Or best of all, some publisher assigns a writer to do your biography with no incentive from you. Publishers will pay a writer to tell your story if you are successful enough because people will pay money to buy and read your story, perhaps hoping to pick up some little secret to your success for their own use, as well as to live a bit vicariously through your success.

But if you're not famous and/or successful, if you have nothing of particular interest to say, then all there is left is for you to write a blog. Will anybody actually read it? Probably not. But if you can type and use spell check, and if your grammatical skills are adequate for basic understanding, Google’s Blogspot or one of the other internet blog clients will probably publish you. And thanks to the magic of internet search engines one or two surfers might stumble upon your blog and read it. And if you can manage to capture their interest maybe they will link it to a few of their friends and return for future posts.

Besides, putting up a personal blog is a real ego boost. And no matter what your age that's something we could all use a shot of from time to time.

In case you are new around here, I need to direct your attention to the profile to the right of these words. It is there that I give away my age, which at this writing is 83. One of the prime qualities of a blog is its presumed honesty. You’re not selling anybody anything (other than your mental ramblings) and so there’s no reason for you to lie or put on airs. So regarding that longevity thing I have to tell you right up front that this aging gig ain't worth a globule of warm spit.

“Golden years” indeed? What that phrase really means is that year after year you will get to watch this or that bodily function which you have depended on all of your life, throw in the towel. I would love to register a complaint about this fact of aging if only I knew who to file it with. I suppose one could seek out ones nearest minister, priest or rabbi to vent to, and though it is their calling to listen and they will surely be polite about it, I'm equally certain they have a huge pile of their own personal problems to deal with and don't really need to hear about other people’s puny problems, whether yours or mine. And so I guess we'll just have to stuff our batch of catch 22 complaints into our own personal File 13. Empty the trash then move right along writing blog # 97.§

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Memories from a Misspent Childhood

Remember this?

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear,

From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver!

The Lone Ranger rides again!"

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Or this?

A fiery horse with the speed of light

A cloud of dust and a hearty Hi Yo Silver!

The Lone Ranger Rides Again!

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The Long Ranger and Tonto

Photo from

Memories Down Lone Ranger Lane

Both of the introductions above the photo were alternate opening lines in radio’s first and most successful syndicated show. The original Lone Ranger was an entity born of radio. It originated on radio station WXYZ, Detroit, and was conceived by George W. Trendle and written by Fran Striker. According to Wikipedia the first episode (of 2,956 episodes) premiered on January 30, 1933 on WXYZ radio in Detroit, Michigan and later on the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network and then on NBC's Blue Network (which became ABC, which broadcast the show's last new episode on September 3, 1954). The program consisted of half hour episodes, transcribed (onto a large 16” disc) and syndicated for broadcast daily to radio stations in most every major city in the country. Because the program was transcribed it was likely to be broadcast at different times in different cities, each broadcasting different episodes. At the height of my own interest I used to be able to get programs from nearby towns like Dallas and San Antonio, and stations of a much farther distance like Chicago and even the station of its origin, WXYZ Detroit. On a good, clear night I could get as many as four different episodes, sometimes more.

The Lone Ranger was played from May 16, 1933 until April 7, 1941 by a Detroit area actor named Earle Graser. On April 8, (after having a goodnight drink with the actor who played Tonto) Graser died in an automobile accident on his way home. The writers covered up the program’s loss for five episodes as they had his Lonesomeness critically wounded, unable to speak beyond a hoarse whisper, with Tonto left to carry on the action of the five episodes. Finally, on the broadcast of April 18, 1941, deep-voiced performer Brace Beemer, who had been the show's announcer for several years, took over the role of the Lone Ranger and played the part until the end.

As a fifteen year old I remember the shock of reading of the actor Glaser’s death on April 8th (my first encounter with death, by the way.) The Houston Post’s headline had read “Hi Yo Silver silenced in death,” and I couldn’t help but wonder what the show would do to cover for him. They covered the change of the lead actors very well, even though I instantly recognized that after ten days of whispering and heavy breathing, the Lone Ranger was suddenly being voiced by the person who had formerly been the program’s announcer.

The Lone Ranger was without doubt the most successful of syndicated programs up to its time. It went on to be featured in Hollywood serials, in films, and later on television. Somehow, that image of the lone surviving Texas Ranger and his faithful Indian companion caught the imagination of a generation, and even survived being transported into film and television where the protagonists could be seen as well as heard. But it was somehow in its most pure form as voices and sounds coming from a radio set, leaving it up to you and your imagination to bring the story to life.§

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And so we hereby decimate this week’s edition of the Little Eddy Blog. We snuff each week’s edition on Saturday mornings as a new week’s presentation is uploaded to Google. However, each and every episode lies preserved in the Blog Archive, indexed in blue, to the right of our blog and which stands ready for immediate activation at a click or two of your mouse.

We do hope you will find your way back here next week; meantime, don’t take any wooden nickels or disgruntled ex-presidents of vice. Bye now!§

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blog # 96: Dribs and Drabs Plus

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And we DO mean limber


Dribs and Drabs

Hey, let’s extend the welcome mat for some of the new words that made the grade in this year’s Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Words like Acai (1868): a small dark purple fleshy berrylike fruit of a tall slender palm (Euterpe oleracea) of tropical Central and South America that is often used in beverages. And Carbon footprint (1999): the negative impact that something (as a person or business) has on the environment; specifically: the amount of carbon emitted by something during a given period. Others include Cardioprotective (1984): serving to protect the heart, Earmark (15c): a provision in Congressional legislation that allocates a specified amount of money for a specific project, program, or organization.

Fan fiction (1944): stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet, Flash mob (1987): a group of people summoned (as by e-mail or text message) to a designated location at a specified time to perform an indicated action before dispersing, and Frenemy (1977): one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy. And former vice president Dick Cheney will be happy to learn that the term waterboarding (2004): an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee's mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of drowning, has proudly (or not so proudly) made its way into Merriam-Webster’s 100 new words. The dictionary can’t make the process legal or moral, but at least it is an admission of its existence . . . .§

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And the so-called Young Republicans seem on the verge of making a not so young 38 year old Obama hating racist named Audra Shay as its new leader. If you are a Republican John Avlon gives you several good reasons why you should be concerned here! And conservative blogger Meghan McCain gives you even more reasons for concern here

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The End of All Going Away Parties

In case you happened to sleep through last Tuesday or had been in some kind of drug induced state of non comprehension, the memorial service for Michael Jackson which was held in the Staples Center in Los Angeles dominated both cable television and the internet. It was a moving, tasteful production lasting between two and three hours, which of course is exactly what you would expect from the producers of Jackson’s ill-fated London concerts, which hastily put the program together. The cable news networks played little else for the rest of the day and night. It really was a day of closure, and the Cable News Networks have since gone back to reporting the news.

According to Gigaom, a website which tracks such things, the Memorial program pushed internet limits, but did not bring down websites as had happened on the afternoon of Mr. Jackson’s death. According to Om Malik, the King of Pop was also King of the Net, at least on that one day. The streaming video distributor Akamai says that it was the second-largest day in terms of total traffic on its network. Akamai delivered more than 2,185,000 live and on-demand streams in both the Flash and Windows Media formats. Total traffic on the Akamai network surpassed a rate of more than 2 terabits per second during the memorial service. Akamai says that it delivered 548 Gbps of live and on-demand Flash streams utilizing Adobe Flash technology. There were 3,924,370 visitors per minute as of 1 pm EST. For a more complete rundown on the day’s statistics point your cursor and click here!

At usual The Daily Beast was the place to go for lively remembrances of Michael Jackson. For instance: "He was 10 years old, and he had just come to Motown, and [Motown artist and Jackson 5 mentor] Bobby Taylor and I used to take Michael to the golf course with us. He would ride around in the cart with us and critique our golf game, and when we'd hit a bad shot, he'd laugh. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I saw how talented he was when he was 10 years old. He was 10, but he was 30! He sang like he was 30, he danced like he was 30. He was awesome."—Smokey Robinson

In 1978, Sidney Lumet pulled me kicking and screaming into doing the music for The Wiz, starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael as the Scarecrow. Michael dived into the filming, learning not only his lines but everyone else's. There was only one problem: There's a scene where the Scarecrow starts pulling proverbs from his stuffing and talking about Socrates. Michael kept saying "So-crates." It was really interesting to watch; either because of his age or his fame, no one wanted to correct him. After about the third time, I pulled Michael aside and told him the correct pronunciation. He looked at me with the big, wide eyes of a child opening a present under the Christmas tree and said, "Really?"— Quincy Jones

"He was such a sensitive guy that when we would go out to dinner —he was a vegetarian — he would apologize to each vegetable before he ate it. He ordered steamed vegetables and he literally would say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Carrot" and "I'm sorry, Mr. Broccoli." He was so empathetic to other people and all living things — that's really what I remember most about Michael, even more than his dancing and singing. When you talked to Michael, you really felt he was feeling what you were feeling."—Rob Cohen, producer of The Wiz

You can find two pages full of these delightful remembrances by pointing and clicking here!

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In New York state an obscure Republican Congressman named Peter King has Senatorial ambitions, and is presently eyeing the Senate seat recently held by Hillary Clinton, before she abdicated it to join Barack Obama’s White House as Secretary of State, and which has since been filled by another Democrat, Kirsten E. Gillibrand, who was recently appointed to the post by N.Y. Governor David Patterson.

Now Congressman King is not what you would call an empathetic human being, although dropping the prefix em just might make the word appropriate. Even the use of the term “human being” could be called into question in his case. He is very conservative, and undoubtedly ambitious, and obviously has a stark deficiency in the area of personal taste with which to guide him on his quest.

When the Fourth of July Weekend found news of Michael Jackson’s death still dominating the national news cycle, Mr. King got an aide to film him standing outside an American Legion hall delivering a rant which he later posted on YouTube. He began by calling Mr. Jackson a pervert and he questioned the media’s exhaustive coverage of the star’s death. He went on to decry the fact that society is glorifying a “low-life” while hardworking teachers, police officers, firefighters and veterans don’t get the credit they deserve. “This guy was a pervert,” King went on, warming to his subject. “He was a child molester. He was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country?”

Of course Mr. King is right in one sense. For better or for worse ours is a free country. Mr. King has the right to any opinion he might hold and wish to express, no matter how outrageous or how it may differ from that of yours or mine. And his position as an ambitious House member means that he will get media attention which will allow his opinions to be widely heard and read. Of course, he is showing a complete lack of taste by trying to elevate his political fortunes on the memory of a recently deceased icon and much loved celebrity. I believe this will hurt him with every voting group except the most extreme conservative, unfeeling Republicans. Rush and Newt will be rooting for him in his upcoming political skirmishes, but I suspect ordinary folks joining them will be few and far between.

Michael Jackson’s personality was far too complex for a simple minded conservative like Peter King to comprehend, much less pontificate upon. It is far more impenetrable than even those with above average wits like you and me can fathom. However, whether King or his conservative friends like it or not, Mr. Jackson created a unique place for himself in the culture of our world. And as a consequence he is beloved in almost every corner of the globe.

Whereas it is true that he didn’t create the music video art form, he certainly broadened its frontiers, and took it to previously undreamed of heights, and in the process he managed to integrate the previously all-white video music channels, MTV and VH1. His dancing put him right up there with the Fred Astaires and Gene Kellys. He sold records by the truckload, and helped create the tradition of music stars caring about and aiding the world’s poor with his and Lionel Ritchie’s song “We Are the World,” and the subsequent royalties the song brought in. In short, he had more talent in his left hand pinky than Congressman King has in his entire being.

Now, fortunately for the world’s population I discovered at an early age that I am not a deity cloaked in human flesh, and that my opinion bears absolutely no weight in the world’s general scheme of things. However I have been blessed with the ability to dream. And upon reading of Mr. King’s crude attempt to elevate his political fortunes at the expense of one of the planet’s most beloved departed icons, I took the liberty of wishing for Congressman King the following fate. As for his political future, for defaming a deceased Michael Jackson for his own ill conceived political advantage, we would sentence Peter King to spend his entire eternity watching the video of 11 year old Paris Jackson’s tearful farewell to her father. Paris Jackson proved one thing as that Memorial Concert wound down. She proved that even at eleven she is real person, a genuine caring human being. Rather than flesh and blood, however, Mr. King proves himself to be made of blubber. Representative King is the type of thinker whose every utterance is as flotsam and jetsam floating on an ocean of irrelevance.§

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And The Winner Is . . .

. . . Serena Williams!

Last week we published an incredible photo of Venus Williams taken as she was playing in the women’s semi finals at Wimbledon. Well, the sisters were pitted against one another in the finals, and for a change younger sister Serena came out on top. We thought it only fair that since last week we showed you Venus, this week we honor the winner. Congratulations to both of you.

We Impatient Americans

We Americans are nothing if not impatient. Last week’s polls showed that President Obama’s approval ratings have taken a real hit, dropping from the mid-sixties to the mid fifties. We can only speculate as to the reasons. The stimulus money has been out there for awhile but to date the jobless rate is not falling, as promised, but may actually be inching up a bit. Are some of the states with conservative leaders using the stimulus money to settle past debts, rather than putting the money to work improving their infrastructure. The proposed health care legislation has been estimated to cost in the area of a trillion dollars over the next few years. Pressure on the Democrats to drop the public option in their forthcoming health care bill and fear that they will do so has undoubtedly added to the president’s popularity slide.

On Thursday came a report that jobless claims actually fell for the first time down 52,000 from the week before, while those filing ongoing claims rose to another all-time high, according to government data released Thursday. And so another small crumb for those of us who are rooting for the President and his plans for putting the U. S. economy back on track.

So now is the time for all of us to keep our cool. Just like it had been with president George W. Bush once we woke up to the fact of what we had, we can do nothing about the presidency of Barack Obama. Of course, he is not going to represent all of our needs every minute of every day. No one can do that. But, for the first time in eight years there is an even hand directing our foreign policy, and international tensions are ramping down and presently lay at a helluva lot lower level. Obama is beginning to mend the fences that Bush, through ignorance or arrogance, allowed to be broken over the past eight years. And most important of all, the nations of the world are beginning to respect the United States of America once again.§

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The feud between House Democrats and Obama appointed CIA director Leon Panetta seems to be ramping up, with a letter written by five leading Democrats charging that the CIA mislead them. Panetta seems to be sticking by his previous statement that “it is not the intention of the CIA to intentionally mislead the Congress.” That reminds us of the legendary statement comedian Mort Sahl attributed to the German developer of the V2 rocket, who after World War II the United States recruited to its own space program, Werner Von Braun. His statement, as attributed by Sahl, concerned the goals of Germany’s World War II V2 Rocket Program. “We aim for the stars . . . and sometimes we hit London.”

Of course the CIA lied to Congress, just as it has lied to the American people. Regularly. Incessantly. The lie is a major tool in the quiver of the spy. The truth would make the entire intelligence program useless and ineffective. Of course, secrecy is the reason that the CIA has been so effective in the past. No one, other than a handful of select House and Senate committee leaders, know what the CIA is up to at any given moment. And evidently at times even they have been cut out of the loop. And so over the years the CIA has assassinated certain world leaders that we don’t like, until such clandestine activities were exposed, after which presumably they ended such programs. So, lighten up Leon Panetta. Don’t pretend that this agency you now lead is without sin. You have done useful and effective things in your past jobs. Don’t use up your political capital in fights with Democrats in Congress, particularly over something as silly as denying the CIA has lied to the Congress. Of course they lied. The truth would always have been their last resort, and then only to use after all of their lies have failed. So come off of your high horse Leon, and rejoin the party.§

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The Beatles


All You’ve Got Left is Love!

Paul McCartney (Upper left above, as if you didn’t know) in a posting on his website denied rumors he was upset that Michael Jackson did not leave him his songs in his will. Here is his posting:

”Some time ago, the media came up with the idea that Michael Jackson was going to leave his share in the Beatles songs to me in his will which was completely made up and something I didn’t believe for a second.

"Now the report is that I am devastated to find that he didn’t leave the songs to me. This is completely untrue. I had not thought for one minute that the original report was true and therefore, the report that I’m devastated is also totally false, so don’t believe everything you read folks!

”In fact, though Michael and I drifted apart over the years, we never really fell out, and I have fond memories of our time together.

”At times like this, the press do tend to make things up, so occasionally, I feel the need to put the record straight.”


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Heeee’s Baack!

The Return of the Fake

When I decided to explore the idea of writing a blog I will have to admit getting a gigantic wad of inspiration from a blog called: The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, which was written by someone calling himself the fake Steve Jobs. Of course, Steve Jobs is the most colorful figure in all of technology, this admitted fake seemed to capture Jobs’ language, or at least how many of us thought he might talk, occasionally taking honesty to the level of crudeness. Who was really behind the blog was the talk of Silicon Valley, for at the time no one knew who might be writing it.

Even Jobs’ longtime arch rival Bill Gates, denied being the mysterious author when they appeared together a couple of years ago on an All Things Digital conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal. At the time the real Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, "I have read a few of the Fake Steve Jobs things recently and I think they’re pretty funny."

Within a few months the author was unmasked, he was shopping around a book at the time, and a N.Y. Times reporter traced him to the Boston area and exposed him. He turned out to be Daniel Lyons, who was a technology writer and editor for Forbes Magazine, and who at the present time writes on technology for Newsweek Magazine.

On July 9, 2008, Daniel Lyons announced on the Fake Steve blog that he will be launching a new site under his own name and discontinuing writing in a faux Jobs style. He later announced that his decision to place the Fake Steve blog on indefinite hiatus was out of respect for the real Steve Jobs' health:

"I began hearing a few months ago that Steve Jobs was very sick. I wasn't sure if these rumors were true or not. Then I saw how he looked at [the Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, 2008] and it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I just couldn't carry on."

Well, to make a long story interminable the Real Steve Jobs is on the mend from a liver transplant a couple of months ago, and so Fake Steve Jobs lives again. His latest tirade takes on the Mighty Google on its new Chrome operating system, which he refers to as vaporware.

So everyone is worked up about this new browser operating system from Google. Drudge apparently has gone off his meds again and calls it a "death blow" to the Borg. No spinning red light, but still, pretty over the top. I guess it's supposedly going to destroy us too -- like we're some kind of collateral damage. Man oh man. Where to begin?

First of all, nobody seems to appreciate how goddamn hard it is to make an operating system. You don't just wake up one day and fall out of bed and make one. Not even the smarty pants kiddies at Google can do that. These things take years. Decades, even. Ours started out 20 years ago, at NeXT. You could say it goes back to 1977, with the BSD guys. Heck, you could even say it goes back to 1969 with Dennis Thompson and Lionel Ritchie. Even Windows is -- what? Twenty years old? Something like that. For that matter, look at Linux. Correct me if I'm wrong – and I'm sure you fucking freetards will find something to correct – but I think Linus Tordalv started working on Linux back in 1991 when he was a high school student in his native Denmark. That's nearly twenty years ago, and the shit still doesn't run right. Point is, whatever Google might release in the second half of next year, it will just be a starting point. It won't come close to what we've got.

Welcome back to Blogville, Fake Steve. That’s all we’re gonna crib from your latest blog here, if any of you readers want the entire enchilada point your cursor and click here!§!

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And so another edition of the Little Eddy Blog winds down and fades gingerly into the sunset, or sunrise, or wherever you might happen to be reading this. This week’s blog didn’t create much in the way of smiles. It’s hard to make funny when you and most of the country are in the death throes of a beautiful talent and life gone away. But we made it through, it’s all over now, and we can go on to fresh dirisives down the road.

We will do our best to find our way back to these parts for a fresh posting next Saturday morning. We hope you can find your way back during the coming week. As Fake Steve would say, namaste.§

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blog # 95: Happy Fourth of July!

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Next Time Fly Amish Airlines

Photo by way of


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In On Being Series, 5 yo Talia Steals the Show

The Washington Post has its own version of a reality series. It’s called On Being, and it is a series of videotaped interviews with ordinary people each of whom has an uncommon and interesting point of view. The series is produced and videotaped by Jennifer Crandall. This week’s interview (they are published on Wednesdays) is with a 5 year old girl named Talia. If children bore you, don’t bother to check it out. But if you delight in the human species, and enjoy seeing one completely without artifice then don’t hesitate to point your cursor and click here! Unfortunately I couldn’t find the means to embed the video in my blog, but I was able to get a screen shot so that you can see what you’re in for if you decide to click your way to the video.

Talia and her stool


If you decide to go there what you will see is a beautiful specimen of the female of our species, talking, not with her voice alone, but with every fiber of her being, her arms, hands, fingers, her legs and feet. I suspect there is much to be learned if you truly analyze where this effervescent five year old is coming from. But it is just as refreshing to not try and analyze, but instead to just sit back and enjoy the child as you marvel at this miracle of one of the more beautiful examples our species developing the skills of communication right before your eyes and ears.§

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Born on the Fourth of July

Congratulations and Happy Birthday greetings go to first daughter Malia Obama, who turns 11 on this national day of celebration. For a Daily Beast photo essay chronicling her years point your cursor and click here!

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The Passing of a Frail Giant

What did last weekend’s tv coverage remind you of? If you said the assassination of President John Kennedy, then you’ve got a good memory. Of course, there were no cable channels back then, but the overseers of the three networks had the good sense to realize that the first ever recent assassination of an American president meant a suspension of business as usual, and so we who watched television that black weekend were treated to views of long lines of mourners filing through the Capitol Rotunda to view the casket of our very first slain leader and nothing else.

Of course Michael Jackson’s passing was nowheres near comparable of the slaying of President Kennedy, but in this age of cable news networks it received nearly 24 hours worth of attention, day after day after day. How many of you out there realized that Michael Jackson was in his fifties? I sure didn’t. Michael Jackson seems to have damn near cured that nasty condition called aging.

Jacko as Pied Piper


Obviously Michael Jackson was not a normal human being, for normal human beings do not reach the heights he had reached in the projection of his public persona. He mastered his arts, singing, songwriting, dancing, and created within his idiom like no other has before or since. Like most of us Michael was unhappy with his looks. Unlike most of us he used his unparalleled fortune to change his facial characteristics more to his own liking. Blessed with a monetary success unknown by any of his peers, he sought to fill his dream with tangibles, and so Neverland Ranch.

Jackson had this mile high Peter Pan complex. He saw himself as leading the children of the world into a safe Neverland, and until his legal problems threatened to consume him, he was succeeding beyond even his wildest dreams. And I don’t think it is a bit of an exaggeration to say that among the children of the planet, Michael Jackson was the most beloved human being on the face of this earth. This is not a title to be taken lightly. This is a title that had to be earned.

It has been written that Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India’s freedom movement against the mighty British Empire, and in the process the inventor of the nonviolent resistance movement, was so revered by the people of India that they gratefully allowed him his eccentricities. For instance Gandhi liked to bathe young girls in a nearby spring, and his people indulged him this simple pleasure by offering him their little girls to bathe, and they went even further, sending those very same little girls into his bed at night in order that their blessed savior might be kept warm and so make it through yet another cold night.

Our problem as a civilization is that we think we have all of the answers, whereas in reality we haven’t yet figured out the basic questions to ask, much less who or what to ask them of. And so in our civilized world the most pleasurable physical feelings our children can have without chemicals and drugs is labeled abuse by the adult world. Even if a child discovers these feelings completely on his or her own, when grownups become aware of it they scream that terrible word abuse. Absurd?

Our children’s disconnects happen early these days. Sometimes I wonder if we as parents realize the full implications of what we are actually saying to our children when we tell them, “no no, stop that. To make yourself feel good is very, very bad. And to let anyone else make you feel good is the worst thing of all.” Suddenly what had been moments of pure physical pleasure has been turned into something dreadful. Something shameful!

Our way of life seems to have adopted the no-no’s of virtually all of the various peoples who have gone to make up our culture. It is the lazy person’s way to lead our children, it’s so much easier to just say no. And perhaps it is safer too, unless you begin to suspect that these unnatural, inhuman feelings we are thrusting upon our children, these lies we are propagating, are warping them from their natural impulses so far that some of them are taking out their frustration by shooting their fellow students in our schools. In my day children did not bring guns to school, much less unload them on their fellow students. Something is eating on the psyche of our children these days, and we better damn well find out what and do something to stop it.

So Michael Jackson had the need to express his love for the developing males of our species by taking an occasional little boy into his bed. So what? In our so-called civilized world of today, shaped by experts who have little more than a clue, but who pontificate as if they are reading God’s Truths directly off of Moses’ tablets, grown men aren’t supposed to take such an interest in children, and particularly shouldn’t have have physical contact with them. So say our pundits.

But take a cue from John Lennon and imagine for one moment. Imagine the delights which might have come from Michael Jackson’s Mighty Muse had he been left alone to continue his creative journey without the devastating humiliation and financial ruin of being dragged through the courts over his little eccentricities. If he could have just been left unmolested as it were. What a richer, more beautiful world ours might have been if Michael could have been either accepted, or at the very least ignored, and who like the most delicate of the world’s orchids, had been allowed to live and grow in love and peace. We’ll never know of course, but at least in a free country like ours we are free to imagine.§

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The India People Train

Photo from


Some Random Musings

Welcome to the Senate, Al Franken. Although we were disappointed at the slimness of your margin of victory (as we're sure you were too), and the length of time that it took the courts in Minnesota to confirm your victory, we are immensely happy that you finally won. From what I’ve read Mr. Franken has more than paid his dues, meeting and greeting voters from all parts of the state of Minnesota. And in spite of his history as a comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live, from all indications Mr. Franken is taking his duties as an incoming Senator quite seriously.

The important thing about the win is not that the Democrats got their 60th, filibuster proof vote (although that is indeed a blessing), but that Mr. Franken replaces the late Paul Wellstone, once again giving Minnesota the progressive voice it has had over many years. Thank you, people and courts of Minnesota, for making Bill O’Reilly’s and Rush Limbaugh’s worst nightmares come true. The people of Minnesota have done a service to the country by elevating Al Franken to the position of Senator. We hope that Mr. Franken manages to retain his gift as a satirist to go alongside the seriousness of his new position. Satire is a weapon that has never been used in the Senate before now, but it doesn’t take much in the way of imagination to see what a powerful weapon it could be in the quiver of a really sharp witted archer. It is undoubtedly what has fueled the O’Reilly, Limbaugh nightmares.§

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The real question, largely unspoken in the health care debate which is currently going on in the Congress, is a very basic one. Do we as a society owe a responsibility to our fellow citizens to support them by insuring their care when ill? Or are we going to be a true capitalist society, a dog eat dog, every man for himself, a pillar of selfishness type society as championed by Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and other retards from the ice age of Ronald Reagan. Don’t pay a bit of attention to nay-saying Republicans. The only solution to savagely escalating health care costs is to devise a system which will take care of us all. It’s a helluva job, fellas of the Congress, and we don’t envy you one little bit. But we’ll take our hats off to you if and when you succeed. Just don’t water it down by separating the care from the health.§

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In our book, the award for the most compelling website of the year goes to Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast. It is where we go each morning after scanning the latest sports and technology news. It leads off our day with the seven most compelling stories, then you can scoot down the left side for the most recent stories and blogs, or travel down the middle list of stories which they call the Daily Cheat sheet. On the right are the video clips of most interest on this day.

Technically, it is an aggregator, as it assimilates news from all over, although it also contains more than its share of material especially written for the site. But as an aggregator it covers the world with a wider swatch than do most of the others. For instance, several black and white nude studies of a twenty year old Madonna are going on sale in London, and the Beast brings them for your perusal here!

And while you are in their gallery check out these offerings, Julie Heffernan’s Earthly Delights, and most importantly, Images That Changed the World, which begins with a Civil War image of dead bodies at the Battle at Antietam, 1862, and takes us through images of the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the Vietnam War, and ending with a picture of Neda, the victim of the Iranian uprising of just weeks ago. All three of these portfolios are must see, particularly those Images that Changed the World. A incredibly moving experience. Congratulations to Ms Brown and the entire staff for creating what has truly become the Beast of the Web.§

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This photograph of Venus Williams in action at Wimbledon, was taken by Kirsty Wigglesworth for the Associated Press and appeared on the N.Y. Time’s website on Thursday, has to be one of the most impressive photographs of an athlete in action that we’ve ever seen. The muscle tone in the arm, the pursing of the lips, the eyes focussed on the incoming ball, the magnificence of her concentration, in our opinion makes this photograph a unique experience and an unforgettable expression of the human condition.

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Do You Bing? Or Google?

There’s a new search engine in town. Or online we should say. Well, it’s not new, actually, more like “warmed over,” or perhaps we should say retooled. It is from the Gigantic Microsoft Envy Machine, and it is named Bing.

The other day I was wondering what would come up if I Binged my blog, Little Eddy. And so I did. On Bing a reference to my Blog #81 was nine items from the top, but there there was no link to take you to my actual blog #81, only a reference to it in regards to a Wikipedia page which somehow mentioned it. Well hell, what would you expect out of Bing? Microsoft lights up the entire web with its Google envy, and Little Eddy’s Blog is hosted by Google’s blogspot service. So much for Microsoft and Bing in a search for the Little Eddy blog.

We would quite naturally expect to do better searching for Little Eddy on Google. And of course we scored. On our Google search even though the page was cluttered with near misses like, In her youth, Little Edie was a clothes model, primarily in department . . . or team player Posting and Toasting Blog about the Eddy Curry, or a MySpace profile for a 32 year old Little Eddie with pictures, videos, personal blog, interests, etc., but thankfully items numbers one and two on the page Google called up did refer to the Little Eddy blog which we write. Item number one referred to what I consider one of my more creative blogs, #81, entitled Obama’s Impervious Cool. Clicking on it brings up the blog itself, which begins with a rewrite of John Lennon’s Beatles’ song “A Day in the Life,” the words adapted to an Obama’s news conference. The blog goes on to give a brief history of newspapers first covering up presidential deficiencies (newspapers and newsreels never showed Franklin Roosevelt in his wheel chair, or being lifted for a talk. Then how all of that went down the tubes with Gary Hart’s presidential campaign, where he playfully dared some tabloid news media guys to get anything incriminating on him, and they came up with pictures of Hart fooling around with a woman not his wife. From that point on the press knew no bounds, and politicians had best be on their good behavior.

The second item on the search page brought up Blog #91, which is headed, Of Politics, “Potency Pills” and Planned Obsolescence and which opens with a reproduction of the cover of The Beatles’ final studio album, Abbey Road, which captures the Fab Four crossing the street in front of the famous recording studio. Moving away from Politics we tapped our satirical muse for a parody on one of the potency pills designed for old men with erectile deficiency, and finally on this blog we lament the fact that modern manufacturing seems to have added planned obsolescence into the dna of their products.

Thank you Google, for bringing two of our better blogs to the attention of searchers for Little Eddy, and for putting us at the top of the page. Now if some greater power induces more people to search for Little Eddy then perhaps our fondest dreams will be realized. Of course, our invariable favorite is the last blog we have written, the one that lies just below the one you’re presently reading, and the one which is guaranteed to soon be replaced by the one you’re reading now. Such is the fleeting life of a favorite blog.§

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And so the curtain falls on yet another edition of the Little Eddy Blog. We hope you have gotten something out of it, a laugh, a smile, a flash of understanding at a point of view probably markedly different from your own. The religion we practice is that of the humanist, our focus is the human condition, its beauty and its promise. We try to unearth topics of interest each week, and through the miracle of the blog, everything we have written is accessible by way of the blue index to the right of the blog.

We hope you got enough out of your stay today to meander this way again sometime next week. We post on Saturday mornings, usually around 8 am Central Daylight time, and our blog stays up during the week. Meantime, thanks again for spending time with us this week. We hope to see you next week. Bye now.

The Real Little Eddy