Monthly Archives: December 2008

Hate Media Gearing Up

One should never beat a dead horse and perhaps not even a dead jackal, unless the jackal isn’t quite dead. The Hate Media, the jackal at the center of this piece, is not even dozing and has resumed full cry even though George W. Bush, the worst president in the history of the country and another moron from Texas presented and backed by the
Hate Media propaganda machine, has yet to vacate the Oval Office. While Bush runs about like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off yelling not my fault, not my fault, the Hate Media are gearing up with a whole new set of smear campaigns. Others have noticed (Even the New York Times get it right occasionally go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/opinion/28egan.html?_r=2&th&emc=th ) but the question is: has Obama noticed and more important, what the hell is he going to do about it? He has the power to re make the Federal Communications Commission and the Commission has the power to require the re institution of the Fairness Doctrine. In order to do this he has to face down the right wing media barons. He won the election. They did not. Nobody cares about an overbearing, rich corporate propaganda machine. Folks do care about the well being of the country and the well being of its citizenry. If he does what he needs to do, we return to some kind of civility in the political discourse in this country. He can, in fact, unite the country and try to see that it lives up to its promise. If he blinks, as he did during the Reverend Jeremiah Wright controversy, if he tries to appease this crowd of hate mongers, he loses his presidency. Barack Obama will then become merely a political and historical footnote.

Don Singleton
12/28/08

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Hate Media Defiles Christmas

One would think the Hate Media would find one day out of the year to give their mewling and puking a rest.  Not so.  On Christmas Night I caught a portion of Michael Savage’s insanity on one of the clear channel AM’s as he went on at some length about how Barrack Obama was clearly involved in some deal to sell his  vacated Senate seat. Although Savage admitted he had not a shred of proof, he was certain in his own mind that Obama must be guilty of something.

On Christmas Eve I was monitoring Oxycontin’s Own Ma Limbaugh on the local AM outlet for this garbage and a substitute moron named Jason Lewis launched a screed about the collapse of the American economy. He has figured out in the dim recesses of his pea sized brain the exact cause of the collapse of the entire economy. As you wait breathlessly for the answer to the question: Who killed the American economy?, I will be happy to tell you that he doesn’t think it was the prosecution of two unnecessary and immoral wars which cost trillions added to the national debt by the borrow and waste Republicans. It was not the huge unregulated banks which loaned trillions of dollars on property of one third that value and then rolled the worthless notes into junk derivatives. It was not the SEC who looked the other way while the greatest robbery in history was committed. It was not the oil companies which gouged the bejesus out of the American public or the war profiteers who wasted billions in Iraq, nor the privatization of the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor the huge tax cuts for the wealthy. No! None of these! It was, gasp and clutch your heart, Congressman Barney Frank and the liberals.

If this kind of idiocy was confined to the mutterings of the occasional homeless lunatic walking down the street waving his arms about and jabbering to himself, one would not care. But when a public property, the broadcast airwaves, is dedicated to this intellectual filth one should be concerned. After all impressionable children are listening. One should complain to the FCC and to one’s Congressional delegation. We need to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine. And one should never ever buy any product advertised on any program carried by the stations that allow this crap on the air. Finally, one should write to the companies who advertise on these stations and notify them that you will never buy their products if they continue to allow their products to be advertised in the middle of these idiotic rants. Vote with you dollars. Voice your concerns. It is guaranteed that the advertisers will get the message.

A Merry Christmas to all, even to Oxycontin’s Own Ma Limbaugh.

Don
Singleton
12/25/08

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Voyage to Mars

I just spent a few days in Silicon Valley and though there has been a million words written about the explosion and growth in the area, you have to see it to believe it. When the hit tune “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” was penned nobody could find this sleepy little village on the map. Now it is one of the largest and richest cities in California. Cal Train connects it to all points and there is an excellent light rail and streetcar system. They have a lovely performing arts center and a world class museum which was running the stunning Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. If you missed it in New York, you can catch it in San Jose!! Needless to say it was well worth the afternoon spent browsing among the notebooks and models that sprang from da Vinci’s genius.
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California has forever and a day been the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and in many ways, it still is. It was enlightening to compare the California I knew when I lived in L.A. years ago with the modern version in the Valley. The freeways are still clogged but as many as thirty percent of the cars are hybrids. Priuses are a dime a dozen and you see them everywhere. They come with the added advantage of automatic access to the HOV lanes, no matter how many folks are in the car, a perk worth at least two grand when you sell the car. The average home is still the small rancher but they now come with a decidedly un-average price tag. It is fair to say that the real estate market is the unreal estate market with a two bedroom, 800 square foot house fetching eight hundred thousand dollars. Yep. That is not a typo, not an error. A three bedroom 1500 square foot home will go for a cool million or better…and I thought housing prices on Maryland’s Eastern Shore were bloated and absurd.

Small sleepy hamlets like Mountain View have a thriving entrepreneurial spirit and all towns of any size boast a restaurant row to die for. You want it? You got it: Thai, Greek, Viet Namese, French, and Chinese of a half dozen varieties. We had an excellent dinner in a Chinese restaurant with a nightclub techno-pop theme and breakfast in another in Lafayette with a cast and menu imported directly from Singapore. We drove over to Palo Alto home to Stanford University and had dinner in a restaurant called Shokolaat. The food was excellent and the desserts were painfully sinful. No doubt, da Vinci invented the chocolate bomb.

There is a coffee shop in every block, ranging from Boulanger to Peeks to Starbucks and so you “pays your money and takes your choice.” I got attached to Boulanger since they had great breakfast sandwiches, great Danish and yummy coffee.

Kal-i-fornia is not with out its problems. The collapsing economy has put a huge dent in revenue and the state is running a gargantuan forty billion dollar deficit. Local Kal-i-fornia governments are handling the cutbacks in various ways but I was pleased to see that one of the local school boards had added up the cost of athletics and decided that since the football team had nothing to do with education that was a reasonable place to save a chunk. They simply cut out competitive athletic programs. There were the usual screams of anguish from the athletic supporters but the school board acted with intelligence and fortitude. Perhaps some good will come of this deep recession after all

At the state level the deep cutbacks are controversial with Governor Schwarzenegger and the Legislature at loggerheads. Schwarzenegger has made a surprisingly good governor and puts me in the mind of the Republicans of my youth who were fiscal conservatives and otherwise reasonable people. That the party has morphed into a clutch of wigged out right wing extremists, financial pirates, and religious bigots is one of the sadder chapters in American Political History. Schwarzenegger is environmentally friendly and forward thinking. He pushed very hard against the auto industry and the Bush administration for cleaner cars and tougher air quality standards. He is also pushing for utilization of natural resources—sun, water, wind–to generate energy. He has proposed an extensive solar collector in the Mojave dessert. Perhaps Schwarzenegger is the face of things to come in the Republican party, and the neo cons and free-booters, and so-called free marketers and their witless hate-monger followers can be consigned to the dust bin of history.

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Don Singleton
12/24/08

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Film Review: Cadillac Records

I grew up during the 50’s in a small Southern town in North Carolina where they rolled up the sidewalks promptly at 7:00 p.m. There was only one hang out open until 10 p.m. and then nothing. After Gene’s Drive-in closed, five or six of us would pile into one car, pony up money for gas and stop by the corner ESSO station. Usually the night attendant was one of us, a kid hired to work overnight, to fill up the occasional semi that rolled through the center of town along Highway 70. Usually we got out of the car and with much grab-assing bought chips and Moon Pies. Even at that late hour we were a gas station attendant’s nightmare, a solid line from a Chuck Berry tune. “Wipe the window, check the oil, check the tires, a dollar gas.” But in those days at 16 or 17 cents a gallon, “a dollar gas” would take you on a long ride into the wee hours of the morning. Loaded up again, amid cries of “Shotgun” and “Radio,” we would make the run to the local bootleg establishment, a place called The Old Dutch Mill, where we bought quart bottles of Colt 45 Malt Liquor which they handed out to us through the night window. Usually someone working inside would recognize me. “Aren’t you Gadget’s boy,” they would say. “Yeah,” I answered. “You boys be careful. Low and Slow.” they would say. Whoever was driving would drop the car into low gear and gun it; burning rubber we squalled out into the night.

Summer nights it mattered who rode shotgun, you could roll the window down, shoot the wing vents and get the full benefit of the morning cool. It didn’t matter who claimed radio. We tuned automatically to WLAC and we cruised the empty streets until the dawn sucking down the strong malt liquor and listening to records spun by John R, Gene Nobles and Hoss Allen. They played “race” music, music performed by Neee…gro blues men who had followed the river north from the Mississippi Delta and were now cutting sides for a new label out of the south side of Chicago called Chess records. Although somewhat dimmed by time, I can still recall the patter.

“This is Gene Nobles coming to you from WLAC in Nashville, Tennesee and brought to you by Randy’s Record Shop in Gallatin, that’s G A double-L A T I N, Gallatin Tennesee where you can buy the records we play and also brought to you by White Rose Petroleum Jelly.

And he would hit the White Rose Petroleum Jelly jingle:
Whether you’re a filly, a husband or a wife, you use White Rose and everything’s all right.
White Rose
White Rose
White Rose
Petroleum Jelly

And brought to you by Silky Straight hair pomade. Silky straight when you want to look AB SO LUTELY fine.
And then he would spin the records. The radio would moan with Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Memphis Slim and Etta James. Little Walter’s harp screamed in the background and Muddy Waters’s guitar rolled through the night.

That radio station, WLAC from Nashville, was a 50 thousand Watt clear channel power house that blanketed all of the central United States. And as much as I revere Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and those who made and led the Civil Rights Movement, I am not sure it would have occurred without WLAC and John R and Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf and Chuck Berry and Etta James and the host of performers who followed them into the hearts and minds of impressionable young folks all over the country.

It was in those wee hours of the morning, just a wee bit tipsy, that a lot of us began for the first time to hear, the voice of the “other America” and began to appreciate that there was something terribly rotten in the state of Denmark. When the civil rights movement began, it was simply a no-brainer. The music gave the lie to segregation. It was time to do something about that lie.

Some years ago I was working on a project for C-Span and number of us gathered in Washington, D.C. for work sessions. C-Span hosted a reception for us and at one point Brian Lamb who is the head of that organization began to draw a small crowd around him and it was clear from the fragments of conversation that floated over that they weren’t talking about the D Toqueville project. What they were talking about was WLAC. A number of us drifted over into that small knot. As teenagers, all of us had found the station. All of us had listened rapturously to John R and the music. It was a common experience, an experience that our parents would not have wished for us, an experience beyond the closed boundaries of segregated America, an experience of freedom embedded deep in our psyches. It was an epiphany to learn that we had all been connected by the radio waves streaming from the WLAC tower in Nashville.

With all that as an introduction, I will confess that I could not view the film, Cadillac Records, with any kind of objectivity. There are some films that just get you where you live. Cadillac Records is such a film. The film tells an abbreviated story of Leonard Chess and the group of blues and rock artists that gathered around the small studio in Chicago, the players who were the bedrock of rock and roll. The impact those artists and that label had on a generation of young people growing up in the towns and cities in America is incalculable.

I know there has been a movie about every super star in American music, but this one is different. This is about the beginning of rock and roll. In an earlier posting I promised not to tell you to go see movies. I renege on that promise. If you don’t know the artists and the music go see the movie. If you do, don’t miss it.

Don Singleton
Sunday 12/7/08

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Hate Media Abuzz

In  the last several days as a part of my surfing the Hate Media, I have heard Hannity, Limbaugh and Jim Bohannon grousing about the Fairness Doctrine.  They are worried to death that the American Public might once again have the right to be heard on the broadcast media.  Readers who are interested in in the public having access to the airwaves need to light up your  Congress Persons and the Obama transition team.  The Fairness Doctrine was rarely invoked when it was in force,  and it tramples nobody’s First Amendment rights.  It requires that the folks who are licensed to operate on public airwaves,  which are owned by us all,  provide reasonable opportunity for all sides of controversial issues to be aired.  I don’t necessarily want to generate enough buzz to scare manaagement into taking these hate mongers off the air but I do expect mangement to pony up the time for adequate response to the poisonous vapors they spew.  Licensees who think they have First Amendment rights that trump the rights of the public should transfer their licenses to me and I will be happy to see that all sides of controversial issues are fully and fairly aired.  I certainly would not want their little First Amend feelings to be bruised or trampled.  I also will be happy to buy a wheelbarrow so I can haul the millions of dollars these folks make from sitting a-squat and exploiting a public property down to my bank.

Don Singleton

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Hate Media Abuzz and Obama’s Challenge: SOSDD?

I have assigned myself a kind of monitoring project somewhat akin to those I used to assign students in Introductory Mass Media Courses. Monitor the local media for a week, I would tell them, log the stories, and at the end of the week, tell me what you have learned that makes you a better citizen. Of course what they logged was mostly house fires, murders, and car crashes–none of the information useful for good citizenship. In the same week, with little note by the local media, the City Council might have given away 20 million dollars to developers in a scam called Tax Increment Financing(TIF)—for the uninitiated TIF really stands for Taxpayers is F****.

My self imposed assignment is to see what the Hate Media are doing now that Obama is elected. One of the things that is interesting, given my screed on the Hate Media and their fear of the Fairness Doctrine is that the Hate media mavens are acutely aware that they have gotten away with this scam for twenty years and that an Obama administration is likely to reverse the policy that has allowed their unchallenged bloviating. In the past two weeks I have heard Limbaugh, Hannity, and Jim Bohannon, although I would not necessarily lump Bohannon in with the hard core hate mongers, whining about the possibility that the Fairness Doctrine may once again allow access to the media by the rightful owners. In Today’s Post there was a foul piece by the Right wing’s faux intellectual, George Will, decrying any attempt by the “reactionary left”—yes children he did use such a term and yes, I told you he was a faux intellectual, to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. You know if George Will is against it, you gotta be for it. Ironically in the local rag, The Daily Times, there was a column by Bill O’Reilly decrying the fact that Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington State had allowed a statement by a local atheist group to be placed next to the Christmas display inside the state Capitol. He goes on to rage at this “attack” on religion and to add Seattle to the list topped by Sodom and Gomorrah. Let me get this straight. Superstition is to be lauded but even to question that superstition is to be suppressed or at least kept from the same stage. Well we know how fair the hate media have been over the last twenty years so it is time to square away the publicly owned media or give the licenses to someone who will operate them fairly. The same goes for public places where the First Amendment has long been applied to controversial displays. It is more speech we want and not less. It is the right to reply. It is the right to “just say no” to bigots of any kind, religious or otherwise.

On another topic, given the nature of Obama’s cabinet picks, I am want to say: Lots of luck America. There is an old saw: Personnel equal Policy. Where is the change? He was elected on a peace platform and has appointed a crowd of war mongers to the major positions of authority and power. Is Obama no more than a slick, corporate suit (which is the argument a number of my friends made before it was clear that he would be this election’s lesser of two evils and I went off to North Carolina to volunteer for a couple of days in his campaign.) Let us hope that those of us who expect change will not be bitterly disappointed.

Although, I would give him an F so far for his cabinet choices, let us see if he has the courage to make substantive changes by dint of the fact that he is the Chief Executive. Let’s see him appoint a Robert McChesney as the FCC Chairman. Let’s see him appoint a Ralph Nader to head the EPA, and a consumer activist to head the FDA. In short let’s see him get some of the corporate and military shills out of positions of authority in Washington. Let’s see him reverse government policy on the environment, the drug war, abortion, education, global warming, federal land use, and host of other areas, neglected or dismissed under the miserable bumbling of the Bush administration. And let’s see him insist that the Fairness Doctrine for publicly owned media is once again the law of the land.

Change? Perhaps we have merely been transported to Oz. But let us hope that all of those who organized and worked so hard to get him elected are not looking at another sunrise on: SOSDD.

Don Singleton
9/12/08

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O’Really? Radio Gets a Little Less Bullshitty.

Bye bye, Bill.

Billy O, the man Satan looks up to when it comes to lying, is signing off his syndicated radio show, “The Radio Factor,” claiming he “can no longer give both TV and radio the time they deserve.”

I can understand this, seeing as it must take forever just to get enough spin to fill his “no-spin zone” on TV. Creative writing is a time-consuming process.

To paraphrase the Beatles, “You say good-bye, and I say…”

No, wait. I say good-bye too.

Truly,
Ryan

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