Republicans Think Mr. Obama Is Muslim

 

That’s what a recent  Harris poll says.   57 percent of our Republican friends think President Obama is Muslim.   45 percent believe he was not born in the U.S.  Two-thirds think he’s a socialist and 24 percent say “he may be the Antichrist.”

Historians have said that the founders, were they to suddenly appear and take a look around, would undoubtedly be amazed our democratic experiment has survived.   With so much disinformation being promoted by people who should be held accountable for their irresponsible self-serving actions but are instead being allowed to get away with it by a media that’s been mostly neutered, you have to wonder how much longer we’ll be able to hang on.

Legendary Teacher, Jaime Escalante Dies

 photo:  msu.edu

It’s being reported that Jaime Escalante, the teacher made famous by the movie “Stand and Deliver,” is dead at the age of 79.  Escalante, is credited with turning around the math program at Garfield High here in Los Angeles.   His skills as a teacher were later portrayed by Edward James Olmos in the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver.”

It was my privilege to have met Mr. Escalante.  I didn’t know him well, but he appeared to be a gentle soul who genuinely cared about others.  Condolences to his family.

KABC-TV reports he died at his home in Sacramento.  RIP

Poizner And Whitman – The Same Old Political Hash

And so the fight between billionaire, Meg Whitman and millionaire,  Steve Poizner, has come down to the same old worn out hate-mongering “blame it on the immigrants” catcalls of the past.   I suppose it appeals to the far right, which is the voting block these two are going after in the primary.  Here’s part of Poizner’s pitch-

“As governor, he will address the challenge of illegal immigration boldly and unapologetically.  Steve will use the governor’s authority to fight illegal immigration with every tool at his disposal.  As governor, he will advocate for the following policies:

1. Cutting Taxpayer-Funded Benefits To Illegal Immigrants

2. Holding Employers Responsible For Following The Law

3. Ending Sanctuary City Practices

4. Securing Our Borders ” (stevepoizner.com)

Oh really?  How?  Notice that it says he’s going to “advocate” and not actually do anything?

That’s not what the anti-immigration argument is designed to make you think.  It’s designed to make you think that Steve Poizner is the cure for our immigration ills, and that he will somehow get it done by advocating policies which include securing the border with Mexico, whose residents come here to work and (or) escape the drug war in their homeland.   A drug war fueled by America’s appetite for illicit narcotics and our refusal to admit that the “war on drugs” was lost long ago and it’s time for people of reason to take a look at a new and more realistic direction on just how our national drug use problem should be handled.

Maybe legalizing and thereby controlling marijuana would be a place to start?    You know, fewer people in prison which would save us untold millions on law enforcement and incarceration?

“In 2007 the Department of Justice reported that there were 1,841,182 drug arrests in the United States; the report noted that there were  more drug abuse arrests than any other category of offenses.  Marijuana arrests accounted for 47.4% of the drug abuse arrests. This allows us to estimate that about 872,720 persons were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-nine percent of these arrests were for possession. The 2007 arrest data is even worse  than 2006 when 829,627 people were arrested for marijuana (a Project Censored’s top 25 story in 2008).  In 2005 there were 786,545 marijuana arrests, meaning that the number of arrests increased by 86K in just two years.   Clearly, marijuana is an intense focus of police interest and activity; far more, apparently, than the less important crimes occurring at the same time on Wall Street.” –Socialmedicine.org

If you want to turn someone into a hardened criminal, throw him in prison.  That’s what the hardened criminals say.

There will be a referendum on the California ballot in November, asking the state’s residents if they want to legalize and tax marijuana or continue paying the high price for throwing thousands in prison on pot violations.   Should be a no-brainer for anyone still in possession of a functioning brain.  I say this, only because roughly 50% of our population is walking around while under the influence of prescription drugs.   But that’s okay.  Or is it?

Here are some interesting numbers from the state of Florida:

“An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida in 2007 found that three times as many people were killed by legal drugs as by cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines put together. According to state law enforcement officials, this is a sign of a burgeoning prescription drug abuse problem.     “The abuse has reached epidemic proportions,” said Lisa McElhaney, a sergeant in the pharmaceutical drug diversion unit of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s just explosive.”

    In 2007, cocaine was responsible for 843 deaths, heroin for 121, methamphetamines for 25 and marijuana for zero, for a total of 989 deaths. In contrast, 2,328 people were killed by opioid painkillers, including Vicodin and Oxycontin, and 743 were killed by drugs containing benzodiazepine, including the antidepressants Valium and Xanax.”-Truthout

Did you catch the part about marijuana being responsible “for zero” deaths?

But I digress, we were talking about clamping down on illegal immigration, a concept which is interesting in and of itself because California has been losing population.

“For years more people have fled the Golden State than have arrived. In the year ended July 1, California was the country’s biggest loser, with nearly 100,000 more residents leaving than moving in.  Still, that was an improvement over earlier losses: In 2006 the net decline was 313,081.”  -CNN Money 12/27/09 

But hasn’t that big wall Mr. Bush built on our southern border made a difference?    That 700 mile-long wall that runs along our 2000 mile-long border with Mexico.  Hasn’t “The Great Wall of Mexico” done anything to stop the flood of illegal immigration?

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times calls the fence “A high-tech, low-result border fence.”   According to the paper, the fence is a billion dollar bust.   Not sure whether they are including the $50 million Homeland Security had to contribute to mitigate environmental impact issues. Anyway, what’s $50 million here or there when you’re talking about a billion dollar project?

Why are there always unanticipated cost overruns on government projects?  But back on point, why is the immigration problem we’ve created through decades of offering jobs to illegal immigrants and only made worse by our national drug habit now at the center of a heated debate for our two good Republican candidates here in California?

To her credit, Meg Whitman, appears to be taking the more realistic approach.

“The truth is we are always going to have a problem with illegal immigration as long as there is a demand for undocumented labor. We need to build an “economic fence” with a strong e-verification system that holds employers accountable for only hiring documented workers. The lure of well-paying jobs is the ultimate magnet attracting illegal immigrants to our state. To remove it, we have to give employers the tools they need to do the right thing, and then we must strictly enforce the law.

We also need to crack down through legislation on sanctuary cities like San Francisco that shield illegal immigrants from federal immigration laws.

But the real key to this issue rests in the hands of Congress and the president. The bottom line is we need more federal Border Patrol resources at the Mexican border. The California congressional delegation needs to work together with other border-state representatives to get something done on border security once and for all.” – Meg Whitman

Give employers “the tools they need?”  Crack down on cities like San Francisco?  Beef up resources on the border?

It’s all been said before.  It’s all been tried before.  It has all failed before.  Anyway, if you admit “the real key to the issue rests in the hands of Congress and the president,” aren’t you admitting a certain powerlessness to impact the situation?

Poizner, by the way, is now criticizing Whitman for agreeing with President Obama’s ideas on immigration reform.  More red meat for the far right.

We’ve tumbled through the looking glass, Alice.  We openly condemn a situation we helped to create and continue to support every time somebody hires an undocumented worker, passes a joint or pays a dealer.

California continues to lose population and jobs as companies relocate to more “business friendly” states.  The San Francisco Business Times reports a loss of 79,000 factory jobs over the past 12 months.

Never mind all that.  Advocate away while you throw more money at it.  Enforce unenforceable laws against hiring undocumented workers.  Build a bigger fence that doesn’t keep people out.  Put more guards on the 2000 mile-long border.  Continue putting people in prison for a prohibition that continues to fail in a war that can’t be won while we go broke paying for their incarceration.

And when the next election cycle rolls around, blame it on the immigrants.  It’s a political ploy that’s worked for decades.

Please Consult The Guide

Mr. Obama’s trip to Afghanistan resulted in numerous references to the Bagram Air Base.  Repeatedly, I’ve been forced to listen to American  broadcasters pronounce the name of the base as “bag-ram.”  According to the AP Pronunciation Guide, the correct pronunciation is ‘bah-GRAHM.’

When in doubt, please consult the guide or ask someone who has been there.   I’m not sure whether the AP continues to issue annual updates (it used to be available on the AP broadcast wire), but there are old copies of it floating around you can refer to.

Bankrupt Tribune Pays Big Time For Legal Fees

Since going into bankruptcy court 15 months ago, the Tribune Company has been hit up for $138 million in legal fees.  That’s one-quarter of their cash flow.

“Carey was the U.S. bankruptcy judge in Delaware who last year warned lawyers in the Tribune Co. case that they had better think twice about charging more than $1,000 an hour.

Chicago’s Sidley Austin, the lead debtor’s attorney, filed a top rate of $925. New York’s Chadbourne & Parke, which represents unsecured creditors, charged $955.” -Chicago Tribune

God help you if you have to hire an attorney or other “legal professionals. ”  These guys are almost as bad as the health insurance companies.  Almost.

Busted For Bunnies

 

                       photo: wiki commons

It’s Easter!  And Carla Hall reports in the LA Times, that street vendors are being busted for selling live wabbits and other small creatures here in Los Angeles.

 “In seconds, they were swarmed by half a dozen yellow-shirted Business Improvement District security officers and a Los Angeles police officer. A bucket of turtles ended up dropped in the middle of 12th Street.” -LA Times

From there, our seasonal joy only grows.

In Vatican City the headline from the AP is:   “Pope opens solemn Holy Week amid sex abuse crisis.”

This isn’t the first time the Vatican has found itself with a bit of a PR problem.

Consider Pope Alexander VI

Still being accused of breaking up his daughter’s marriage in favor if an incestuous relationship with himself, whispered to be involved in a few choice assassinations, and oh yes, there was that whole mistress and string of wild Vatican orgy parties…”

Or Pope Urban II

 “Cowed France into attacking the Muslim world, throwing the region into five hundred years of religious warfare, which as you can see by the current day turned out remarkably well…”

And don’t forget good old Pope Sixtus IV

(Had to be some kind of a dim bulb, if the fourth “Sixtus” was the best he could come up with.)

“……authorized the Spanish Inquisition and all it’s various forms of torture to gently convince the Jews, Moors, and Heretics that Catholic love and compassion were the way to God. While all this was going on it’s rumored that Pope Sixtus IV was busy fathering children with his eldest sister and carrying on several bisexual relationships.”

Or our generous friend to science, Pope Urban XIII

“…..struck up a friendship with a young Galileo which is probably what spared his life later on when the pope tried him for heresy. Galileo was sentenced to life imprisonment which was later changed into house arrest. He died nine years later still under house arrest for claiming that a spherical earth revolved around the sun. This decree of heresy was not lifted until 350 years later.”  -Popes Gone Wild: What the Catholic Church Would Rather You Forget

Happy Easter, everybody.

Vine Smuggling – Napa’s Dirty Little Secret?

 photo: flickr

The AP reports that the European Grapevine Moth has somehow found its way into the vineyards of California’s Napa Valley.  The suspicion is that it could have traveled in on wine vines, smuggled in from Europe.

‘”There are people who continue to spin their tales of smuggled plant material. People like a story with a glass of wine, and what that tends to do is legitimize behavior that not only threatens the industry, it’s illegal,” said Greg Clark, deputy agricultural commissioner for Napa County. “Knock it off.”

A handful of California’s best vintners today admit to having used “suitcase cloning” to avoid yearslong waits in USDA quarantine for their vines.’  -AP

Journalism Awards Deadline Extended

 

The deadline to enter the 52nd SoCal Journalism Awards Contest has been extended to April 7.
TV and Student submissions will be accepted until April 15.

Be Recognized. Win $1K. Enter Best ’09 Work.
Print/Online/Radio/TV.

Celebrate at the 52nd Annual Awards Gala, Sunday, June 27.

Anderson Cooper (CNN), Anne Garrels (NPR) and Dave Bryan (CBS2/KCAL) will receive top honors.
Download your entry form here. 

-LA Press Club

Top L.A. City Official Arrested For DUI

It wasn’t Miguel Santana’s night.  The Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Los Angeles left a dinner honoring District Attorney Steve Cooley and was on his way home when he was pulled over the the CHP and arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol.

” On Friday, Santana publicly apologized for the incident and said he would immediately seek counseling and “recommit myself to my family and work.” “I regret to say that last night I was involved in a very serious and irresponsible incident,” he said. “Driving home from a charity event, I received a DUI.” – LA Times

Jamie Oliver – Reality TV That Works?

 Jamie Oliver

  photo: flickr

I could be wrong about this, but it appears Jamie Oliver has come up with a formula to use the reality show format to actually try and do some good for the country.  Interesting concept, since Oliver is a Brit.  No matter, hats off to him, as his show on ABC appears to be genuinely tied to an attempt at convincing Americans to stop eating so much processed………well……..crap.   Particularly where school kids are concerned.

Give um some sugar water in a box with a straw and pizza from the microwave and send um’ on their sugar-rushing, get fat fast, diabetes-prone merry way.

Be it for personal gain, ego gratification, genuine concern, or all three, Oliver, it appears, wants to turn that around.  And so, it would seem (again, I could be wrong) that what we have here is a rare occurrence of a win-win on commercial tv.   Jamie Oliver, Ryan Seacrest Productions and ABC will win if they pick up an audience, and America will win if the show causes us to become more aware of the the need to improve the quality of our food supply.

Oliver’s show premiers tonight, Friday, on ABC  at 8 – 7 central.

London Times To Charge For Web Access

Murdoch’s London Times will begin charging $1.48 a day for web access in June.   Access to the website will be included in the price of print subscriptions.

‘News International expects to “attract a growing base of loyal customers that are committed and engaged with our titles,” News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks said in a statement. “We are building on the excellence of our newspapers and offering digital access to our journalism at a price that everyone can afford.”‘ –WSJ

LAPD SWAT Officer Killed In Afghanistan

“A member of the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite SWAT unit, who also served as a U.S. Marine, was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb, LAPD officials said.Sgt. Maj. Robert J. Cottle, 45, was traveling with three other Marines in the Marja region of the country, which has been the focus of an intense U.S.-led offensive against Taliban forces in recent weeks, said LAPD Capt. John Incontro, who oversees SWAT operations.

Their armored vehicle struck an improvised explosive device, killing Cottle and another Marine and seriously wounding the two others, Incontro said. No other details of the incident were available. Cottle, who joined the LAPD in 1990 and won one of the coveted SWAT positions six years later, is the first active LAPD officer to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, police officials said.” –LA Times

Cokie & Steve Roberts On Glenn Beck And Fox News

 

Cokie and Steve Roberts took off the gloves and went after Glenn Beck in their opinion column.  Good for them.   Click on the link at the end of the clip for the entire column.

‘”We defended Fox News when the White House attacked the network in 2009, partly because it employs many fine journalists, including several of Steve’s former students. But news folks at Fox are right to be worried. At some point, Beck’s fanaticism taints them all.

“They’re right on the cusp of losing their image as a news organization,” says Andrew Tyndall, a respected television analyst.

We are not denying Beck or anyone else their First Amendment rights. He can say anything he wants. But advertisers don’t have to support his brand of hate mongering, and audiences don’t have to take Fox News seriously if one of its top names has become a “circus clown.”‘-Cokie and Steve Roberts

Sarah Palin Gets A TV Show

Sarah Palin
The Los Angeles Times reports that Sarah Palin is being added to the roster of shows on TLC.

“TLC is the new home for a reality show featuring Palin and her family. Details about the show, which will be produced by Mark Burnett, whose credits include the CBS hit “Survivor,” are sketchy. The show has an eight-episode commitment and is expected to premiere later this year at the earliest.”-LA Times

Jane Wells For Governor (Sort Of)

Jane Wells

  photo: cnbc 

Remember Pat Paulsen?  That comedian who kept running for president, but it was really a running joke?   CNBC Correspondent Jane Wells, has a similar bit going with her campaign for Governor of California and she’s soliciting ideas on how she can fix the “Golden State” once elected.  Here are some,  more can be found on her “Funny Business” page.

Oh, and let me take this opportunity to say WorkingReporter.com proudly endorses her campaign and hereby assigns to the candidate all the responsibilities and duties entailed thereunder and heretofore neglected by others.  As a start, here are a few of those ideas posted on her web page.  She’s also looking for a good campaign slogan.

Vote for Jane: because we can still do damage to California!

–“Make it illegal for people over the age of 10 to wear Crocs. Burn ‘Mom jeans’.”

–“Pledge to continue ignoring voters, redistricting, and budget deadlines. In fact, ignore them even more.”

–“Mandatory prison terms for white people with dreadlocks.” (That one is from my sister, a musician, who is working on a campaign theme song.)

–“Ban gasoline and bottled water and get it over with.” Jane For Governor(not)