Saturday, November 29, 2008

Almost done

My brief sojourn home to Indy is near an end, as I sit here in the Northwest hub in Detroit waiting for the 10:17 p.m. flight to Pellston (the airport for Mackinac Island). Other than too few minutes with Josie and lunch with my dad and his wife, the trip was a waste.
I kept hearing about dreadful air travel has gotten, but I have to say my experience this time hasn't been too bad. The planes are leaving on time and getting to them hasn't been a problem in Detroit or Indy. Having said that, I won't be making this trip again until late spring at the earliest. The winter months are gasoline on my rhumatiz fire and airplane seating exacerbates the problem.
I forked out five bucks to get Boingo service here in Detroit, primarily to have something to distract myself from the execrable CNN awards show being blasted at my fellow passengers and me while we wait to board our flight. I'm all for the triumph of the human spirit, but CNN enabling celebrities to make like humanitarians is just too much.
Work is good, for a pleasant change. I've got a hectic Sunday and Monday, but then things smooth out nicely for the next month or so. I need to get out to the surrounding towns and meet the local waitresses, cops and drunks and promote our newly enhanced Action News operation.
For now, however, my focus is on getting to Pellston, knocking the snow off my car and making the 20 or so mile drive home over snow swept county roads.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bust out

I'm taking an afternoon off from the day job (no Tribune on Thanksgiving) to relax a bit and do some prep work for an upcoming specialty publication for the local Kiwanis. I had just plopped into my $7 Salvation Army Lazy Boy when MSNBC reported that Bailout Fever will cost us $8.5 trillion by the inauguration on Jan. 20. That means the Treasury will dispense will trying to sell worthless notes and just print the money.
This is a bust out, my friends, and we are fucked. The Bushies have given up on trying to handle this situation and have opted for getting themselves and their buddies out as unscathed as possible. Obama is going to inherit Carter-era inflation rates, which will force him to force the Fed to raise interest rates to, well, Carter-era levels.
What's a bust out, you ask? Remember the film Goodfellas? Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci take over the tiki lounge, run up the owner's bills and steal inventory, then burn the place down for the insurance money. That's a bust out.
Our financial system will be a used up, dried out Maxi Pad by next spring. Obama will have to start from scratch and millions will suffer for years -- at least until 2012.
Hmmm...what happens again in 2012?

Same players, maybe, but a new game for sure

The blogs are rife with postings and comments about Obama's economic picks. There is hand-wringing over all of the familiar faces and understandable fear of more Wall Street-centric thinking.
Don't sweat it, comrades.
The one upside of our burgeoning economic disaster is the end of old, flawed perceptions. No one with a brain can still argue "government always bad, rich white guys always good." The Chicago/Laffer school of pseudo-economics is fatally wounded. Clowns like W., Gingrich, Gramm, Greenspan and their slavish minions on CNBC and Fox News got everything they wanted and it all played out to its inevitable conclusion. Trickle down has been proven every bit as idiotic as we lefties predicted oh so many years ago.
Ideally, we would return to a more classic Keynesian form of economic management -- deficits spending and tax cuts during recession, followed by spending cuts and tax hikes during expansion to retire the debt. We can't do that this time because, despite Bush's attempts to pretend the Iraq debacle doesn't count towards the budget, our deficits are exploding as fast as the economy is shrinking. There will have to be tax hikes this time to fund the very expensive, invasive steps needed to staunch the economic bleeding.
Even the old Clinton, Republican-lite hands in Obama's administration won't be able to deny the necessity of getting money into working peoples' hands ASAFP. No more cutting taxes and hoping nice rich people don't ship their business overseas. Money will be spent quickly on work to be done by American workers with goods manufactured in America, all aimed at goosing household incomes. There is no other way to deal with the flaming bag of shit Obama will inherit.

Monday, November 24, 2008

(Near) Tragedy

I've never been a hunter, nor had any desire to learn. This is a big reason why. A deer hunter's bullet flew into a house and nicked two kids last week up here.
I'm kind of torn about this story, personally. Those kids were victims, plain and simple, but the shooter was not at all an aggressor. It doesn't seem to me that she was negligent, either.
Hunting is big up here in the Straits, so big that you big city slickers can't really grasp it. And, despite my loathing of guns, it's a really healthy good thing. The hunters up here eat their kills. They leave out high sources of protein for the animals to help them through the winter. Sure, some of it is used for bait, but I have yet to encounter anyone going into the woods merely for trophies.
I'm a carnivore. I have no problem with hunters killing deer, provided the animal population isn't threatened. Hunting is a desperately needed diversion up in these parts; winter is long and tough and the economy is even worse.
As I said last week, I'm a long way from home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not quite the same as home

I like small town living a bit more each day, but I am far from the big city. At right you will see the front page picture for tomorrow's paper. At the end of the week, we will run a Buck Pole page, which will feature a lot more of this. It looks like I will finally get to try some deer jerky.

As usual, they're wrong

When you listen to Rush or Sean or Bill or Neil or Glen or any of the lesser-known-but-just-as-ignorant right wingers, they will tell you how the federal government caused the foreclosure crisis by forcing FannieMae and FreddieMac to give money to those people. That's not true.
If you don't believe me, ask the guy who just won a Nobel Prize for economics.
As I've said before, we are a country (and economy) of 300 million. To think that a dunderhead like Hannity could understand and explain anything affecting that many people is just ludicrous.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Too funny

So, lapsednewsguy, what's the funniest show on television today? I'd have to say this one:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Newsguy. Lapsednewsguy

I've become a James Bond afficionado over the last several years. I like all but one of Pierce Brosnan's outings (the one with Robert "Bigbee" Carlyle was awful) and Daniel Craig was excellent in Casino Royale.

I will stipulate to Sean Connery's stature as the Bond, but those films really haven't stood up over the intervening decades. The special effects are horribly dated and the "high" tech is too dated not to distract. We are forty years past the prime of the Connery as Bond era. I can take Roger Moore or leave him; his wit was appropriately dry and there was precious little he could do with mediocre scripts and an overreliance on exotic settings as the world grew increasingly smaller and more generally accessible to film audiences. Timothy Dalton was a good actor stuck with producers content to try and keep the Moore Era going.

This brings me to Brosnan as Bond. GoldenEye was the first Bond I had seen since Connery that I regretted missing in the theaters. Brosnan was helped with the installation of Judi Dench as M. Dench, a wonderful actress with tremendous screen presence, was able to transform the perception of M16 as a bunch of Oxbridge guys idling around their clubs in London into a more sanguine, real world context for Bond's character. Q branch was slowly dialed back throughout Brosnan's run. Brosnan's Bond eased off the Casanova thing and became a bit more John LeCarre and less Ian Fleming. Anyone who has ever read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold or The Looking Glass War could see that.

Brosnan's decision to exit came at a good time. I thought Die Another Day was, all-in-all, a decent spy flick. The bit about genetically turning a diminutive North Korean into a dashing anti-Bond was a bit ludicrous, but none of these movies are supposed to be docudramas. Brosnan hit each note well, never winking at the camera and giving Bond the appropriate vengeance and urgency without going over the top.

Daniel Craig was a terrific pick to succeed Brosnan. He handles the action scenes well and taps easily into Bond's not-quite-socialpathic lack of empathy. If you've seen the movie, you're probably muttering something about him falling for Vesper and trying to give up M16 for love. That's true; however, Casino Royale was about Bond's first gig as a 00 and was peppered with his struggles to adjust to the realities of his new life. By the end of the film, he has survived said love, betrayal and getting his nuts crunched repeatedly as part of his progress.

I haven't seen the new one, YET, but I will in the next week or so. I understand it's a direct sequel to the last one. I can't wait.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


An ombudsman, for those of you who don't know, is the person who is supposed to be the public's advocate for their newspaper, the spokesperson/inspector general who is charged with explaining coverage issues, as well as keeping the paper honest.
Most big newspapers used to have them; now they exist at places like the Washington Post and a few others. They have devolved into babysitters for conservatives who constantly complain that the cynical assholes they voted for don't get enough good press and that the libruls run the media.
As I've said many times before, anyone who seriously thinks the media is liberal has never worked in it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Will Arnett, comedic genius

This is fucked up, but funny:

See more Will Arnett videos at Funny or Die

Chit chat

Not too long ago, I promised to post some bits from my first manuscript, Black Helicopters. I thought the following passage could give you a good taste of it:
“Hello? Is this the Bill McCracken residence?” Mark asked.
“Yes, who is this,” the person asked.
“My name is Mark Wood and I work for the Spotlight,” Mark said. “I’m calling about a report on the radio station about a big sinkhole out your way.”
“Oh, that was my son’s place. I’m Bill Senior, Mr. Wood,” he said. “Yeah, he’s jist across the road out here. I’ll tell ya, it was the damndist thing I ever seen. I was over there getting’ his copy of the Spotlight — ya know, I’m retired and I cain’t afford that $40 y’all want every year fer the paper — and we were jist out there talking ‘bout his family bein’ gone down in Florida an’ ya know how bad the corn was this year? Well, it was bad and we was jist talkin’ how everybody out here to Monrovia and Hall is doin’…
Mark was in Hell. “Why can’t this old man tell me what I want to know?” he thought to himself.
The senior McCracken just kept going. “…then all the sudden, the ground starts shakin’. Well, I don’t know where yer from, Mr. Wood, but the ground don’t shake ‘round here. I’m 75 and I kin remember maybe one little-bitty earthquake in my whole life. Now, if this was California, well then I could see it, but not ‘round here.
“Anyway, about an acre or so out in the field, we see dirt moundin’ up, almost like it’s gittin’ pushed up from below. Like a coupla dang fools, we got runnin’ out there. I tell ya, the cows were fussin’, them damn dogs was barkin’ like the Devil hisself was gonna pop out. We git up to it and Billy tells me to stay back. Well, I’ll tell ya somethin’: that was my grandpa’s land and my daddy’s land and mine fer years and my son ain’t about to tell me where I kin go. I go on up anyway and I’ll be goddamned if there wasn’t this bigass hole with somethin’ stickin’ up in the bottom…”
The above was inspired by more phone interviews on behalf of small town newspaper readers than I could possibly recount. Small town journalism is actually very rewarding, as I am now recalling after a few weeks in the new job. The feedback is quicker and more immediate; you're able to do a more complete job of covering the news because there isn't as much of it and you deal with a smaller area. The only real downside is smaller staffs mean less quality control. I do all of the proofing and copy editing and, believe it or not, I do miss things.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Don't overlook Orcinus

David Neiwert aka Orcinus has done some stellar work tracking the white supremacist culture in the Northwest. He has a post today about the kids from Arkansas who planned to kill Obama and several dozen other blacks. Read it. They, and the tweakers from Denver, are hardcore clowns but so were Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols. And Lee Harvey Oswald.
I don't advocate paranoia in any form, but I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of heavily armed assholes out there incapable of accepting a black man as president. I don't take them seriously, but I do keep an eye out for them.
Even busted clocks work twice a day.

Viva The Field

As always, Al Giordano is 50,000 percent right about Rahm Emmanuel going to the White House. Progressives need to calm down. Obama's in charge. He's got his shit together enough to know that he needs an asskicker to terrorize Congress to keep the Blue Dogs on the reservation.
I, for one, can't wait for the new Chief of State to drop down on House GOP leader John Boehner like Batman. That crunching sound you will hear in January will be Rahm kicking Boner's nuts up into his stomach.
Al's point about Barney Frank is spot on, too. Frank is much smarter than Pelosi or Hoyer and will pretty much have his way with them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


If I were gay, I would be gay for The Rude Pundit:
Let's say, "Go fuck yourselves" to the right wing media, to the Fox "news" people and political analysts and insane columnists and idiotic bloggers who spouted lies and conspiracy theories and who rectally examined every aspect of Barack Obama's life, hoping that something, some association, some vague phrase he said, would make people think he's just another nigger. And you failed, you piss-drinking, talking points vomiting, garbage-fucking whores. Because, at the end of the day, America so rejected what you were peddling that the truly honorable among you should be dangling from your own nooses today, leaping out of your syndicate's or network's office windows, sitting in bathtubs and dropping your plugged-in TV's into the water.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ah, the sweet, sweet schadenfreude

Well, we made it to the big day and it looks to be going just as I told you all it would a few weeks ago.
The lines are long up here in the Straits, but that probably has more to do with a very nasty prosecutor race than Obama v. McCain. I have no idea about how the election will go here, other than to say that Carl Levin is a lock for another six years in the Senate.
Obama has this thing in the bag. McCain will be lucky to crack 200 electoral votes, as he is actually trailing a bit in several states that he should have been able to take for granted.
It's this simple: If Virginia or Indiana is called for Obama by 8 p.m., the rout is on. If not, then it may be midnight before you can start gloating to all of the conservative assholes you know about a comfortable, but not quite landslide, Obama win.