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 4chan.org
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.§
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.§
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.§
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.§
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear,
From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver!
A fiery horse with the speed of light
A cloud of dust and a hearty Hi Yo Silver!
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.§
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!§