Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FOK News Channel for Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Snappy Answers For March 30

Mica expertly puffed his conservative feathers in citing Maddow's former colleague Keith Olbermann. "I used to look forward to being his 'Worst Person' of the week. I think I got that at least a half a dozen times...

Answer: That was "Worst Person In The World" and it was nightly and you didn't win it more than once or twice, Rep. John Mica of Florida – who again confirms my contention that most in his party are pretty damn dumb.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Keith speaks at Cornell
Photo of the Day
Keith speaks at Cornell:

Part 1, University Days
Part 2, America and Labor
Part 3, Questions and Answers
Video via

video 'podcast': part 1, part 2, part 3

The Cornell Speech: America and Labor

This is the script I wrote as the centerpiece for my "Evening" at Cornell, so the thirty minutes of hilarious recaps of every second of my Cornell life - plus my observation that while Karl Rove will be speaking at this University, he will be speaking in the Agriculture quad and thus by Ann Coulter's definition won't be speaking at the "real" Cornell - and the question and answer session that followed will have to wait until we edit and post the video, probably Thursday afternoon.

But here are those serious remarks, more or less as delivered:

Let me start in the MOST exciting way possible, by reading you part of a bill proposed in our United States House of Representatives. This is HR 1135, introduced by Mr. Jordan of Ohio, Mr. Scott of South Carolina, Mr. Garrett of New Jersey, Mr. Burton of Indiana, and Mr. Gohmert of Texas.There's a lot of interesting stuff in here but nothing more interesting than paragraph three, which is titled, with amazing straightforwardness and the kind of gall that would make a cat burglar flinch, "STRIKING WORKERS INELIGIBLE."

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no member of a family unit shall participate in the Food Stamp program at any time, that any able-bodied work eligible adult of such household is on strike as defined in the Labor Management Relations Act - 1947 (29 U.S.C., 142, 2)...

Howdy, College of Industrial and Labor Relations students.

College of Industrial and Labor Relations students

"No member of a family unit shall participate in the Food Stamp program at any time, that any able-bodied work eligible adult of such household is on strike as defined in the Labor Management Relations Act - 1947 (29 U.S.C., 142, 2), because of a labor dispute (other than a lockout) as defined in section 2 (9) of the National Labor Relations Act."

We should all be passing out at this point. Not even hidden in flowery legalese is a Republican measure that if passed by the House and somehow by the Senate, and then inexplicably not vetoed by the President, would - even more simply put - deny food stamps to any American worker, public or private, who has the audacity to go on strike.

It actually gets worse. Let me quote again from HR 1135. If a worker is already so abused and battered by our economic system, so failed by education, by industrialization, by international corporations, by outsourcing, by the greed of Wall Street, by Bernie Madoff and a million as-yet unidentified Bernie Madoffs, even - throwing a bone to the Conservative Paranoia Of The Month Club - even so failed because illegal alien terrorist atheist anarchist liberal socialist fascist communist immigrants have come in and taken all those good jobs like cleaning the deep-fryer at McDonald's or the horse stalls at Lou Dobbs' daughters' favorite horse and country club - if an American, one of us is so failed by some part of the system that he's got a job and he's already on food stamps - and there are 42 MILLION of us on Food Stamps right now - when a strike occurs, these Congressional Republicans will not go all Ebenezer Scrooge on their ass - they will not actually take those food stamps away.


Quoting HR 1135 yet again, food stamps will continue, "If the household was eligible immediately prior to such strike. However, such family unit shall NOT receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member or members of the household."

In short, you want to go on strike, whether over unsafe work conditions or subsistence wages or forced unpaid overtime? Great. Prepare to starve, too.

That is where we are today, in the greatest nation on earth, at the time of the greatest wealth in its history, at a time that would make the Robber Barons of the 19th Century think about turning themselves in to the police.

We are threatening every low-income American, for whom the safety net is already way too narrow and way too aged, with a choice of their legal right to strike, or their moral right to eat food not cardboard.

Mr. Jordan of Ohio, Mr. Scott of South Carolina, Mr. Garrett of New Jersey, Mr. Burton of Indiana - who I thought was dead - and Mr. Gohmert of Texas, the one who believes that pregnant women are immigrating here illegally so their babies would become citizens and then they can train them to be suicide bombers. Mr.Gohmert - the "Terror Babies" moron - who apparently got on this cause because he read it in... a comic book or something.

Mr. Gohmert has now signed on to a bill that would bring a kind of medieval climax to two months of the most concentrated action against organized labor in this country perhaps since the Peekskill riots of 1938 - when the cops and the strikebreakers did the rioting. Or perhaps it's the most concentrated action against organized labor in this country since the Haymarket Bombing in 1886 when a bomb was thrown into a crowd at an union rally in Chicago and seven so-called Anarchists were sentenced to death for having written pro-Union works that might have inspired whoever actually threw the bomb to throw it, since they never found who did throw it. They wound up hanging six of them and the other blew his own head off.

Do not mistake me. I am not a supporter of bombs and I don't think the union is right every time and I don't think every strike is justified or even in the self-interest of those who go on strike. But the strike is inherently dangerous to the rich, and to the corporations who have brought this country to her knees, because it is the only defense the ordinary citizen has. It is perhaps the greatest progressive act - indeed the greatest progress - since the emancipation of the slaves - or at least it's tied with votes for women.

It is the only thing that tilts back the playing field from its natural condition in this country - natural since a clerk in the Supreme Court accidentally declared that corporations were people; natural since a jerk in the Supreme Court named Scalia helped declare that those corporate people could spend whatever the hell they wanted on political advertising because you can't deny our corporate citizens their First Amendment rights merely because the First Amendment was clearly designed to protect individual breathing human beings and not artificial entities created by lawyers billing at a thousand dollars an hour.

Thus 21st Century America goes after the Unions.

You know about Wisconsin. You know about the Governor Scott Walker, the kind of sad looking, overmatched goofball who was clearly misinformed about what would happen when he would become a henchman for the corporations and the almost religious zealotry of the Koch Brothers and their Un-American Ilk.

But maybe you don't know about Mr. Carlos F. Lam (that's not L-A-M-B, as in Baa Baaa Baaa, that's L-A-M as in "on the"). Mr. Lam is "on" kinda. He is - or more correctly, Mr. Lam was - a deputy prosecutor for the state of Indiana, and a big fan of Governor Walker, who really is turning out to be completely overmatched.

But back to his friend Mr. Lam.

Well, to his pen-pal, Mr. Lam, on the 19th of February this year, decided to send Governor Walker a little suggestion.

"FROM: Carlos Lam

TO: Governor Scott Walker

Subject: Stay Strong!

Dear Gov. Walker,

This Hoosier public employee is asking that you stay strong and NOT cave to the union demands! The way that government works HAS to change and - by all appearances - that MUST begin in WI. We cannot have the public unions hold the taxpayer hostage with their outrageous demands."

You know: a living wage, collective bargaining rights, and food. Or food STAMPS. Or EDIBLE STAMPS. But again, I digress.

"As an aside," Mr Lam's email continued, "I've been involved in GOP politics here in Indiana for 18 years and I think that the situation in WI presents a good opportunity for what's called a "false flag" operation. If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you) you could discredit the public unions."

I'll just read that part again. "You could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you, or even use a firearm against you." Mr. Lam does not suggest exactly where on the body Mr. Walker should get himself shot.

I would suggest not in the FOOT... because the Governor seems to have done that a couple times already.

"Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions.

"God Bless,

Carlos F. Lam."

That's right, Gov. Try to get yourself shot. Take one for the team. That'll show those bastards willing to work for the people, for state governments! That'll show them that they don't deserve the same right of collective bargaining afforded to most private employees. That'll teach 'em to volunteer for public service!

Confronted with this email, Mr. Lam at first explained that he hadn't written it, that he was out shopping for a mini-van with his family at the time stamped on the email. Later, as the fine folks over at the Help Desk traced the email to his town, then to his neighborhood, then to his street, Lam said that clearly his email account had been hacked, insomuch as it had been hacked previously and he was damn sure those bastards had done it again. Which doesn't explain why he didn't... you know... get a different email account.

Having run out of stories and apparently unwilling to say that the family dog was very bright and might possibly have written the email as a joke, Mr. Lam finally called his boss at 5 in the morning last week and said "yeah, I wrote it, I think I should resign."


Governor Walker is not responsible for crazy emails from gun-happy nutjobs from the Great Hoosier State. The problem for him arises when you remember that this isn't the only time that this prospect of what Mr. Lam so aptly called a "false flag operation" was raised to him.

Three days after this email, a blogger called the very gullible governor and posed as one of the Koch brothers - David Koch, a huge donor to the Walker campaign - and suggested, in a conversation that was fully recorded, that the next time the capital in Madison filled up with this pro-union rabble, Walker should plant troublemakers in the crowd so that there'd be violence that could be blamed on Democrats and unions and Rush Limbaugh would get to breathe heavy on the radio and talk about liberating American workers - liberating them from safety regulations and food and stuff.

And Governor Walker committed political suicide that day, February 22nd. "Well the only problem with that - because we thought about that... my only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle, to avoid all these problems."

So. False Flag Operation? No problem. Get thugs to beat up somebody in the crowd? No problem. Use state resources to arrange such atrocities? No problem. The possibility that the reaction would be "My God, the Governor has to compromise on this union stuff? That was the problem.

The good news in all this is pretty simple. In just under three months in office, Governor Walker has managed to turn a five or six point favorable margin into a five or six point unfavorable margin because he forgot that there were also Republican union members.

Once again, the strongest defense of the staples of our democracy is not vigilance, not intrepid reporting, not dedicated public service, but the stupidity of Conservatives who will never settle for two-thirds of everything. They want the rest of it too. The whole premise of being Republican is the awful thought that somewhere, some poor person has a dollar that some rich person actually deserves.

Mistake it not. Whether or not you've ever been in a union, you are benefiting, right now, from unions. The 40-hour week, the 8-hour day, holidays, overtime, rules that keep you from getting your fingers cut off, these didn't happen because John D. Rockefeller said "Say Fellers, we've got enough money, let's be nice to the little folks." They did it because they were forced to. And they will keep doing it only because we keep forcing them to.

And if the obviousness of that isn't plain to you - if a Governor contemplating getting people on his own side beaten up by plants, or not calling a news conference to say "this idiot from Indiana just said I should get myself shot by a friend and blame it on the unions," doesn't make the point - or a bill to deny food stamps to you if you go on strike and your family does not have enough to survive - if the obviousness of that isn't plain to you, consider what last Friday was.

Last Friday, it was a century since the Triangle Waist Company Fire on Washington Square in New York City. ILR has a wonderful, honorable website to this nightmare of our history, which I urge you to look at in case you don't know the story. In brief, on March 25th 1911, 168 young workers in an underwear factory in Manhattan died, horribly, crushed or suffocated or burned to death at the doors of their sweatshop, or by crashing to the street after they jumped or fell from the windows on the 9th floor at a time when fire ladders only went to the 6th. Mostly young women. Mostly with their clothes or their hair on fire. Jumping to the deaths.

It was the birth of the real American labor movement in this country and the true nightmare of it is that the reason they all died - is not because of the fire - but because the doors to their work floor were locked from the outside. And the doors were locked from the outside because the owners wanted to make sure that union organizers did not sneak in and try to convince the girls to join up.

Strike... or Eat!

Strike, or Live!

And don't tell me it can't go back to being that bad. Because after the parades and the mourning and the new legislation that followed in the torrent of tears after Triangle, in the days and months that began 100 years ago right now... the owners of Triangle Waist, opened a new factory. And on the 20th of August 1913, a year-and-a-half after they killed 168 Americans just to keep them from joining a union, those owners were convicted of going to the doors of their new factory floor and locking them from the outside to make sure that union organizers did not sneak in and try to convince the girls to join up.

They were fined 25 dollars.

The march of this nation has been, from the day of its founding, inexorably towards progress. We are not a "center-right country"...we are not leftist and we are not conservative and we are not socialist and we are not Christian and we are not Muslim and we are not Jewish and we are not Protestant.

We are a Progressive nation.

And from any point in the past, to any part of our society now, we can look with pride at what we have done to increase the happiness and the health and the welfare of the largest number of Americans the quickest we could do it.

But this does not come without vigilance!

The Triangle Waist Company is alive and well and living in the dreams of the Koch Brothers and Carlos F. Lam and Governor Scott Walker. And Ann God Damned Coulter.

And let us make sure that that is exactly where the Triangle Waist Company stays.

Photo Of The Day For March 29 2011

With the founder

Friday, March 25, 2011

FOK News Channel for Friday, March 25th, 2011

The Triangle Waist Victims

In memory of the 146 identified victims of the Triangle Waist Company fire, March 25, 1911, New York, New York. We can honor them by remembering the tragedy, and remembering their lives as summarized at a wonderful site at the Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations school, and by continuing the fight they inspired – to protect the rights of American workers to safety, to fair wages, to life itself:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Snappy Answers
Fridays with Thurber: The Luck of Jad Peters
Fridays with Thurber: The Luck of Jad Peters

Video via
video 'podcast'
Snappy Answers For March 24

Senator Chuck Grassley Tweets: "Quit complaining abt my Twitter shorthand I know how to spell But Twitter limit is 120 characters."

Answer: Oh, No! The Obamacare Death Panels Got The Other 20!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Four FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Special Comment: Libya, Obama and the Five-Second Rule
Snappy Answers
Photo of the Day
Worst Persons
Worst Persons For March 23
video 'podcast'
via YouTube

The bronze, to Fox News actress Jennifer Griffin, who not only lied about CNN and Reuters television crews being used as "Human Shields" in Libya, but even after being confronted with a complete and furious denial by CNN's Nic Robertson plus the information that a Fox employee accompanied the CNN and Reuters people during the event in question, she went back on Fixed News and repeated the lie.

There's a kind of 3-A award here to Mr. Robertson himself. While his response to the allegation was appropriate and necessary, he did say:

When you come to somewhere like Libya, you expect lies and deceit from a dictatorship here. You don't expect it from the other journalists.

Oh, Nic! They're not journalists...they're Fox!

Number two on the list: Franklin Graham. He is continuing his father Billy's ministry of divisiveness, condescension, fear-mongering, and cash in easy to carry packets. Per "Mother Jones," the evangelist has now insisted that on instructions from President Obama, the 'Muslim Brotherhood' has quote "infiltrated every level of our government," unquote. Graham also contends that Obama is more concerned with helping American Muslims than American Christians. He, of course, offered no proof and no further explanation.

In the great baseball book 'Ball Four,' Jim Bouton recounts how his 1969 Seattle Pilots teammate Steve Hovley sidled up to him before a game one day and announced "Billy Graham Is A Cracker." Who could have guessed, 42 years later, that Graham's son would be even dumber and more racist?

But our winner: Good Old Lonesome Rhodes Beck.

As his daily warnings about the end times suggest he's modeled himself after Boake Carter, who was America's top newscaster in 1937, fired by CBS in 1938, reduced to apocalyptic visions by 1942, off the air entirely by 1943, and dead by 1944 – Beck has now offered this pronouncement:

"The world is about to be plunged into complete and utter darkness, despair (and) famine."

Gosh, Glennie. That's old news. That happened already. On January 19th, 2009. The day the "Glenn Beck" show premiered on Fox News.

Lonesome Rhodes Beck... today's Worst Person!
Special Comment: Libya, Obama and the Five-Second Rule
Video via FOK News Channel
video 'podcast'

We all know "the five second rule." Drop food on the floor and if you pick it up before that span of time elapses, and it'll still be "good." There is also a life-and-death version of this: the five-day rule, by which we have surrendered to any U.S. President the right to kill people in our name, provided he only does it for a couple of days.

I'm not defending this policy, I am simply stating that at some point in the last 60 years it has been established. And from the Bay of Pigs, to Reagan's Trophy War in Granada, to President Clinton's bombing of Iraq, to President Clinton's bombing of Sudan, to President Clinton's bombing of Libya - "the horse of undeclared war" has pretty much left the barn.

Nevertheless. After that Imperial period of a few days, a President - this one included - is required to either call it off, or justify why it must continue, or maybe even follow the Constitution and get approval from Congress by explaining the threat to this country that rationalizes the continuing action. Especially when we now have American pilots bailing out over hostile territory.

Not only have not yet we gotten this from President Obama about Libya, but five days into our involvement in bombing, what we are getting is a series of extraordinarily mixed messages. And none could be more stark than what he said, compared to what his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said:

From the President, Monday - quoting: "It is U-S Policy that Qaddafi needs to go."

From the Chairman, Sunday - quoting. "It's not about seeing him go," unquote. He added that the mission might be accomplished even if Qaddafi stays in power.

And from the President's War Powers letter to Congress... quoting: "United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster. Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime's air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi's armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas."

So. This is about making sure Qaddafi goes. Except, it's not about making sure he goes. Except it's about making sure he can't attack his own civilians.

If, Mr. President, you some day want to announce "Mission Accomplished" about this, there is no easier route than to identify two mutually exclusive outcomes as the Mission.

I wish the conflict in goals ended there, but it does not.

Your War Powers Message also included the news that "we will seek a rapid, but responsible transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives..."

Except this seems to be news to those "coalition, regional, or international organizations." The British Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron, said responsibility would be transferred to NATO. The French Foreign Minister, M'sieu Juppe, said the Arab League would not accept control of the operation being given to NATO. But Turkey opposed the use of force by NATO and was promptly excluded from a NATO meeting to plan that use of force. In case the situation is not confused enough, the Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Erdogan said Turkey did not object to NATO's participation, providing the organization could assure him the action would be brief and there would be no occupation - which simply seems to send us right back to where we were earlier with the "five-second rule" of when and for how long it's ok to kill people.

The metaphorical five seconds has expired, Mr. President. We are not clear why we are fighting, who exactly we are fighting with, who the 'rebels' are that we're fighting for, what a No-Fly Zone accomplishes with a dictator who has ground troops, how long we are to be there, to whom we are to "hand-off," and why, Sir, if we are intervening on behalf of civilians at risk, why we did not do so in Egypt, why we are not doing so in places like Bahrain, and - if the local government were to somehow screw-up the containment at the Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, if this new doctrine would somehow permit us to go in and try to take over Japan.

The longer we go, President Obama, without a clear and compelling argument for why we are doing whatever we are doing, and how soon you are going to stop doing it, the more room there will be for explanations such as those provided by Congressman Ed Markey, and by the Dictator Qaddafi himself.

The latter, Mr. President, said "We will not leave our oil to America or France or Britain or the enemy Christian states that are aligned now against us." The Brookings Institution helpfully translated this phrase tersely. It means either he intends to blow up Libya's oil infra-structure, or he intends to wait us out, and then if he prevails, to give all his nation's oil business to countries who stayed out of this, like, say... China.

The less crazy summary of this came from Congressman Markey. Seven words: Quote: "We are in Libya because of oil."

This, Mr. President, is not the impression you want to leave with the people of this country.

Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News - of all of those people - just recounted the story of how a previous President vowed to handle Qaddafi after a previous external outrage - and at just about the same time of year. He bombed Tripoli, then went off to throw out a first pitch at the opening game of the baseball season. One of the players at the game told that President that he was worried about Qaddafi and the Libyans. That President told the athlete not to be worried. He supposedly pointed to the bench in the dugout and said of Qaddafi, quote, "We ought to nail his (privates) to that log over there and push him over."

That President was Ronald Reagan, and this was after the Berlin Disco bombing, and thus the 25th anniversary of empty, vague, and unfulfilled threats against Qaddafi happens next month. Qaddafi has outlasted four presidents, going so far as to con the last of them, George W. Bush, into actually saying that Qaddafi had 'renounced terrorism' and merited immunity from the lawsuits over the Lockerbie bombing, plus a visit from Condi Rice, and the home version of the "Play the U.S. like a two-dollar banjo" Game.

Now - as ever - Libya is enticing yet a fifth U-S President to try to have his cake and eat it, too - before he drops it and the five-second rule applies. He will not commit to war, he will stand as far back from war-like actions as he can, and he believes it's about Qaddafi "going" while his Joint Chiefs Chair says it isn't.

Chairman Mullen said something else which kind of sums this quagmire up. Quoting again: "The goals are limited." This is the fifth Administration for which that's been true. Once again, it's just too bad that we don't really know... what the goals are.

Mr. President, it's time you made those goals clear... and then let us decide whether or not we agree with you.
Snappy Answers For March 23

New York Times Obituary Of Elizabeth Taylor Written By Theater Critic Who Died Six Years Ago

Answer: Proving the theory that you should never get into an argument with the guy who owns the ink factory – he'll always have the last word.

Jeff Daniels In Talks To Play Aaron Sorkin's Third Version Of Me

Answer: Josh Charles, Peter Krause, Jeff Daniels. To say nothing of Ben Affleck. How can I complain? They could've gotten Robert Prosky or Wilfrid Brimley. By the way, that's no typo about Krause. Aaron told me that the reason (he thought) Sports Night didn't really work was that while he based the character Josh Charles played on my demeanor and overall approach, both he and his partner, played by Peter Krause (who was physically patterned on Craig Kilborn and Dan Patrick), behaved like I would have in real life. Thus, as he put it, there weren't enough conflicts since he had "two Olbermanns." I tried to explain that should've provided more than enough conflict, but I let it go. This also seems the right moment to mention that he had an alternate ending to the series in which the fictionalized version of ESPN is bought out by some evil guy who hated sports, and who turned it into a shopping channel. The guy he wanted to play that role, in the last episode? Me!

One other note. During the 2000 World Series I was walking up 6th Avenue when from a distance of two blocks, who did I spy walking towards me, but none other than Josh Charles himself. Thus I had plenty of time to prepare my greeting. When we finally reached each other, I stared at him, he briefly gave me that "yes, I'm an actor, I'll sign an autograph" thing, then his eyes opened wide and I got to say my carefully rehearsed line: "Excuse me, but you don't get to ask this question very often in life. Didn't you used to play me on tv?"

Josh and I had a very nice 20-minute conversation about which was worse, working for ESPN or working for Aaron's version of ESPN.
Photo Of The Day For March 23


Actually, that's just the hand "holding" the sign on Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Times Square.

Monday, March 21, 2011

FOK News Channel for Monday, March 21, 2011

Cut The Unions, Hire The Girlfriends

The ham-handed self-serving greediness playing out in the background of Governor Scott Walker's attempt to make Wisconsin into the central battle zone in the Koch Brothers' attempt to end collective bargaining in this country, roared to the forefront Sunday night when the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the supposedly financially imperiled state had enough money to hire State Senator Randy Hopper's mistress.

Valerie Cass, a former Republican legislative staffer, was hired Feb. 7 as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. She is being paid $20.35 per hour. The job is considered a temporary post.

A lot of things in Wisconsin – especially those pertaining to one of Governor Walker's State Senate henchmen – appear to be temporary:

His estranged wife, Alysia, issued a statement to WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) accusing Hopper, 45, of beginning an affair with Cass, 26, last year. He filed for divorce in August.

Oh but this gets better and better. How did Ms. Cass wind up being hired by the state with no money, away from a Madison firm called "Persuasion Partners." Surely Governor Walker with his dedication to saving the Koch Brothers Wisconsin's residents every dollar he could find, could not have known about this!:

But who exactly recommended her for the post? Cullen Werwie, spokesman for the governor, confirmed that it was Keith Gilkes, Walker's chief of staff. She was then interviewed by the Department of Regulations and Licensing's executive assistant and deputy and hired by Secretary Dave Ross, a Walker cabinet member.

You can hear the hamsters running extra fast in that wheel inside Scott Walker's otherwise empty head. 'What? I can't hire this woman as payback for this guy's support in the Senate? Just because I'm telling everybody we don't have any money?'

And when you thought this couldn't get any sleazier, the saga of the hiring of the married Senator's young girlfriend during a supposed fiscal crisis of biblical proportions, manages to reach to...the election of the new chairman of the Republican National Committee!:

Werwie said Cass spent part of January in Washington, D.C., helping Reince Priebus with his bid to become the chairman of the Republican National Committee. He was elected to the post midway through the month. She brings up this duty in her note to Gilkes. "Things are really heating up with Reince's campaign and shaping up nicely," she wrote. "With the RNC vote coming up in a few weeks and Governor-elect Walker's inauguration this week, I was wondering if you had any more details about when you would have a spot ready for me?"

So beneath the attempt to rollback a century of labor reform, and beneath the millions of dollars of Koch Brothers influence-buying and beneath all these dreamt-of sweeping social changes lies a little somethin'-somethin' on the side who wants to know when the Gov "would have a spot ready for me?"

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The greatest defense of our way of life and our democracy is not vigilance nor protest nor political skill, but the rampant and always-to-be-relied-upon stupidity and avarice of the Republican Party. God Protect their devotion not to murdering freedom, but to shoplifting a $4.00 can of soup.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Snappy Answers
Worst Persons
Worst Persons For March 20 2011
text only

While we reserve judgment on whether this country can in fact still participate in a four-day war, or if we've all been suckered into another economy-ruining foreign adventure for the benefit of the military-industrial complex, here is a rare weekend edition of the Worst Persons of the Day:

The bronze: Coultergeist. The bad news for Ann is that she has finally jumped the shark even among Conservatives. The good news is, there may finally be an explanation. She has written, and repeated on television, that the tense, terrifying, and still uncertain nuclear calamity in Japan is being hyped, because...large amounts of radiation are good for you:

...the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer. This only seems counterintuitive because of media hysteria for the past 20 years trying to convince Americans that radiation at any dose is bad. There is, however, burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine.

The studies she goes on to cite, of course, are premature follow-ups. The nightmare of radiation exposure is that the cancers it may produce don't all show up immediately, or even within 20 or 25 years. We may only begin to get a grip on Chernobyl, for instance, around 2016 or later.

Ann is always good for a laugh, of course – in the same way mean people laugh at the kid who flubs his lines in the 4th Grade Class Play:

I guess good radiation stories are not as exciting as news anchors warning of mutant humans and scary nuclear power plants — news anchors who, by the way, have injected small amounts of poison into their foreheads to stave off wrinkles.

Speak for yourself, Toots. Although I would opine that this would fully explain that glowing bio-hazard-sign quality to the color of her hair, which is reportedly visible from space.

The runner-up: Sister Sarah, the Half-Governor of Alaska. I don't think it's just the fact that I haven't been on television for two months that leaves me with the sense that her borderline relevance has actually dropped further still. A peck of Republicans was caught dismissing her as divisive and useless, and then from India we got a little peek into the depth – and the retroactivity – of her delusions.

Speaking at the "India Today" conference in New Delhi ('Wait, there's a new Delhi?'), she revealed a little too much during an exchange with the "Session Chairman," the newspaper's editor-in-chief Aroon Purie:

Palin: I don't play the victim card...

Purie: Why do you think you lost the election?

Palin: The media (laughs)...Candidate Obama had a strong campaign. Though he was inexperienced, he was change.

Purie: You could have been change.

Palin: I wasn't the top of the ticket!

So McCain-Palin lost because it wasn't Palin-McCain. And this is from a politician who within the last month has described a third-year President of the United States as "inexperienced."

That woman is an idiot.

But our winner: Little Jimmy O'Keefe, Boy Investigative Reporter. He's up to his old antics again, doctoring tapes in hopes of wreaking havoc among the hated left-wing media like NPR . Do you listen to NPR? If anything defines what's wrong with the supposed "left-wing media" it's NPR: condescending yet mealy-mouthed, dedicated to stuffing the most startling of Conservative usurpations through the deflavorizing machine, and when criticized, as resolute as a discarded straw wrapper in a hurricane.

It's also genuinely fascinating to watch the truly lost media mouthpieces of the far right continue to follow O'Keefe right off the cliff and miss entirely the fact that he has once again been caught as a dishonest, non-journalistic, corrupt tape-doctor (I'm thinking of mouthpieces like a Baltimore Sun columnist who regurgitates the talking points and denies the facts while insisting – and apparently, in a sign of deep mental distress, thoroughly believing - that he and he alone is being insightful and/or truthful while the rest of the world is made up of lying midgets).

But I digress. O'Keefe – one of America's great journalists when he's dressing up in an outfit that would make Huggy Bear burst into laughter, but 'just a misguided kid' when he goes in to try to illegally screw around in the office of a U.S. Senator – actually had the chutzpah to say this in a speech to some Tea Party clowns:

"What I do is expose things for what they are. I show that a triangle has three sides. And I do it on a video camera...What we do is we is we outrage people by what we show them to be true, and that is more powerful than any type of spin."

Out of context (the only kind of context O'Keefe endorses), those quotes don't seem so outrageous – until you realize that during the same event he insisted on stopping the videotaping by a legitimate reporter of his speech about the importance of videotaping.

James "Don't Tape Me, Bro" O'Keefe – the Worst Person of the Day!
Snappy Answers For March 20 2011

Kentucky Derby Hopeful "The Factor" Is Indeed Named After Bill O'Reilly's Show

Well, this actually makes perfect sense. Just like Bill, the nag can count by stamping his foot, spends its life running around in circles, and produces an average of 31 pounds of horsecrap a day.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Rudy Giuliani Mocks How Obama Talks?
Photo of the Day
Rudy Giuliani Mocks How Obama Talks?

I'm going to start this by saying that I came to loathe Rudy Giuliani so much that I regularly violated one of the rules to which I wanted most to adhere: mock nothing more serious than a public figure's hairstyle or accent. A speech impediment, or baldness, or anything else that is physical rather than style-challenged? Probably out of bounds. And in the case of Giuliani, my on-air impression of him sounding like a New York version of Sylvester – as in "Sylvester V. Tweety Bird" – that whole "Sufferin' Succotash, it's a noun, a verb, and 9/11," was too much.

It was too much, that is, until Giuliani decided yesterday to mock President Obama as some kind of stutterer.

Having learned nothing from his humiliating 2007-2008 campaign for the Republican nomination ($50,000,000 = 1 Delegate = Mitt Romney looking like a model of fiscal/political efficiency), Mr. Giuliani is obviously running again, and this time deciding it is prudent after all to begin in New Hampshire.

Which is where he made fun of the way the President talks.

I thought the Associated Press account of Giuliani's speech might have been over-ripe (and incidentally I can't stop you if the voice you hear in your head as you read this gets all sibilant on stuff like Giuliani's and Speech and Associated Press):

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose drive-by approach to campaigning in New Hampshire drove his 2008 presidential campaign into the ground, began setting the stage for a do-over Friday with a fiery speech in which he mocked President Barack Obama as a stuttering weakling on foreign policy.

Stuttering weakling, Gracie (Mansion)?

Giuliani, who as he spoke probably did not know the difference between Libya and tv chef Lidia Bastianich, mistook the nuanced leadership of the President and an actual coalition involving Middle Eastern countries, for the worst foreign policy he's ever seen.

Everybody gets an opinion, even an under-informed unfaithful hack who in the days after the attack on New York, dropped his political pretension, and for two weeks was a simple human being sharing grief and sadness like the rest of us who were here, and then quickly reverted to being the same opportunistic whistle-ass he'd been for the twenty years before they blew up the building in which he put the command center that they'd told him not to put there, and actually tried to get an American election postponed so he could stay in office a few more months.

But do you get to say it this way, Rude?

When France proposed instituting a no-fly zone, "Our president, the leader of the free world, said, 'A what? That's hard! A no fly zone is r-r-r-really hard!'"

I'd like to thank the Mayor for thus giving me implicit permission to resume doing my impression of how he stammers and spits and shlobbers whenever he talks, when I return to television in late spring.


I have told the story of my first encounter with Giuliani many times but I can't recall the last time I did it, so here goes. This saga informs my opinion of him, and I have yet to see – saving those two weeks after 9/11 – anything that argues against the premise that this is the true Giulaini, unfiltered, unthinking, and unqualified.

In the mid-'90s when I was still at ESPN, I was asked by the Baseball Hall of Fame and the then-Deputy Mayor of New York Fran Reiter to come down from Connecticut to City Hall to emcee an event honoring a peck of Hall of Famers. My task was simple: I was to introduce each great with some tidbit about his career. I was honored by the invitation and in those pre-internet days, I spent hours looking for anniversaries of great dates in their individual histories and anything else that would give just a little extra added value beyond saying: "He hit more homers than anybody else – Hank Aaron!"

So the day came, and I and some friends set out at the crack of dawn from Bristol for the two hour drive to the city. It was a beautiful spring morning, and Deputy Mayor Reiter couldn't have been more gracious, nor more clear about what was ahead. From a podium built on the steps of city hall, she would welcome the dignitaries and the dais, and then introduce the executive from the Hall of Fame. He would introduce Mayor Giuliani, who would in turn introduce me. I would introduce each player (there were at least two dozen of them – it was really a fantastic event) and then I would turn it back to the Deputy Mayor to wrap it up, and then we'd all go into City Hall and attack the Hall of Famers for free autographs. "But first," she said, "we have to make Rudy understand."

The Mayor Giuliani I met was glassy-eyed and a little reminiscent of an automaton. Fran Reiter had a great big booming voice and she was using it emphatically as she ran through the sequence of speakers. "After you speak, you introduce him," she grabbed me by the shoulders and shoved me in front of the mayor as if I were a two-headed heifer at a county fair. "This is Keith Olbermann. He is from the sports tv network, ESPN. He is the emcee. Got it?"

Giuliani nodded mechanically. Reiter was not satisfied. "Got it? Then repeat it!"

He looked at me. "You're Keith Olbermann. You're from the sports tv network, ESPN. You are the emcee."

The Deputy Mayor seemed relieved. She sat us down next to each other in the first two seats to the right of the speakers' podium. Just before the man from the Hall of Fame finished, Giuliani turned and looked at me for the first moment since we'd been seated and said "You're Keith Olbermann. You're from the sports tv network, ESPN. You are the emcee." I agreed with him and he seemed delighted with himself for remembering.

The speaker finished, and the Mayor bounced up and got a nice round of applause from the 500 or so folks who had filled the little plaza in front of City Hall. Giuliani spoke extemporaneously and rapidly. He'd always been a baseball fan and it was tough rooting for the Yankees in Brooklyn but he knew a winner and he was glad the Yankees were winning and he was delighted he had made it happen because of his close relationship with George Steinbrenner and he was happy the Mets were doing so well too because he had helped them by not knocking down Shea Stadium or anything and since baseball was invented here in the greatest city in the world it was important that we had winners and if he'd been mayor when the Dodgers and Giants moved out the Dodgers and Giants wouldn't have moved out and then we'd all have four winners to root for what with the Dodgers and Giants and Mets and Yankees and this wonderful spring morning and he was absolutely overjoyed he could be responsible for bringing us the nice weather too but of course you're not here to listen to me talk about baseball when we have all these Hall of Famers here so let me introduce you to the man who will introduce them to you...

And here is where Rudy Giuliani froze.

The silence didn't last very long and wasn't all that painful. What Rudy said next was painful – largely because the microphones they were using that morning were omni-directional. They picked up not just what was said directly into them, but also what was said on either side of them. Such as when Giuliani turned, thinking he was no longer audible, and bellowed to Fran Reiter: "What's his name?"

Reiter was pissed. "Keith Olbermann! The emcee! From ESPN! You remembered it! You promised! You repeated it to me!"

I could hear my ESPN friends laughing in the crowd. They weren't the only ones.

Giuliani now turned back to a microphone that had broadcast his sotto voce remarks as loudly as they amplified his intended ones. "And here he is, our encee, from ESPM, Keith Oblermann."

Various thoughts raced through my mind in that split second. I wondered if I should get up and say "Thank you, Mayor LaGuardia" or "Thanks, Mayor Judy Ruiliani." Even more meanly, as I heard Hall of Famer Al Kaline laughing behind me, I contemplated invoking Giuliani's predecessor whom he had barely beaten in the last election, David Dinkins. But I was representing ESPN and the Baseball Hall of Fame, not just my own bruised ego. Instead, I simply made him introduce me a second time. "C'mon up, Keith!"

He couldn't remember it, which is fine, that's not part of the job description for Mayor or President. But he didn't think to do what anybody else would do if they thought there was a risk they couldn't remember something, which is to write it down.

Even on the palm of your hand.

Rudy – don't mock how other people sound when they speak, or how they might hesitate or even not perfectly remember things they're supposed to say.

You have no standing on the subject...Sylvester.
Photo Of The Day For March 19

This is from a few days ago, but priceless nonetheless. Ignore for a moment the Fox correspondent who looks exactly like Anthony Teague as "Bud Frump" in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Concentrate instead, please, on the sign over his left shoulder, remembering that the Koch Brothers pronounce their name "Coke."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
County Judge Blocks Wisconsin Union-Busting Law
Snappy Answers
Snappy Answers For March 18

Provision In House GOP Bill Would Require IRS To Ask Those Audited If Anybody In Their Family Had Abortions

I'm beginning to think the GOP is so paranoid about "Sharia Law" because its too Liberal.
County Judge Blocks Wisconsin Union-Busting Law (Update 1)

In midair as I write this so the link isn't cleverly embedded but a County judge in Wisconsin has agreed that the farce of the state Senate passing the Gov. Scott Walker/Koch Brothers union-killing law without a true quorum violated the state's Open Meetings law. This will not necessarily derail the medieval bill and does not address its merits but if upheld it sends the minions of Corporate domination back to square one. More later here; for now here's the link, old-fashioned style:

More fun for Gov. "Look At Me When You're Talking To Me" Walker: Wisconsin Democrats charging that his February meeting with Frank Luntz was illegal. Wow – you'd think just having to sit in the same room with Luntz would be bad enough. Again: Ole-Time-Eddie-Shore link follows:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

FOK News Channel for Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Snappy Answers For March 17 2011

Republican National Committee Tries To "Sell Broadcast Rights" To GOP Presidential Debates As If They Were The Olympics

$39? Do I hear $39? $38.75? Do I hear $38.75? Anyone? Anyone? Why are you laughing, Roger Ailes? $35? $34.50? Hello?

Next: Naming Rights! Watch them bid each other into bankruptcy over the right to be the "Saint Ronald Reagan" candidate.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Four FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Wikileaks: Japan Was Warned About Fukushima
Photo of the Day
Snappy Answers
Worst Persons
Wikileaks: Japan Was Warned About Fukushima

We are now at this stage in the life of our country and our world: WikiLeaks revealed that the Japanese Government was warned three years ago that earthquake preparedness at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant was dangerously insufficient.

Naturally, the leaders of the world are – or wish to start – prosecuting WikiLeaks, and not the Japanese Government.

The IAEA was saying in 2008 that Japan's nuclear safety guidelines were dangerously out of date. A government whistleblower in that country was quoted in a cable to Washington the same year that a Japanese ministry was "covering up nuclear accidents, and obscuring the true costs and problems associated with the nuclear industry."

And our government, in our name, continues both to seek ways to prosecute WikiLeaks, and to stick by the President's ludicrous 2009 suggestion that we accelerate our national Nuclear Power program. The uncensored real oversight, and the truth about Japan's irresponsibility, are both buried because the illusion of Japan as a successful safe nuclear nation is necessary to President Obama's pitch, and President Obama's pitch is necessary to some labyrinthine political calculation, and to the bottom lines of sundry international corporations.

We could say that the worsening news from Japan is coming by drips, except that the latest information from our own Nuclear Regulatory Commission suggests that there's nothing to drip; that the water in the cooling system for Dai-Ichi Reactor 4 has evaporated and NHK broadcasts, late night our time, were filled with images of helicopters trying to douse the facility with seawater, as if it were a forest fire.

Most ominously are reports that read like the worst days of the dark, sick humor of the Bush Administration, when Americans were told to stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting to protect their homes from radiation (and memorably one poor soul in Connecticut put it up on the wrong side of his windows). Why, truly, do you think people around Fukushima are being told to stay in their homes and offices? Because going outside somehow significantly reduces the chances they will be exposed to radiation? Because they're safer indoors in the event the worst-case scenario develops and the thing spews out a kind of nuclear holocaust? Or is it because it'll be easier to keep track of the victims of a best-case scenario if they stay where they are and don't try to flee the area, and thus no effort will be required to see where they go and if they have taken radiation with them?

And the saddest story of them all: Gregory Jaczko, the head of our NRA stating this, bluntly, matter-of-factly, and even blandly:

We believe that around the reactor site there are high levels of radiation. It would be very difficult for emergency workers to get near the reactors. The doses they could experience would potentially be lethal doses in a very short period of time. This is a situation where people may be called in to sacrifice their lives. It's very difficult for me to contemplate that, but it may have reached that point.

As you think of Japan, and you think of the aging nuclear plants in this country, and their nearness to our major metropolitan areas, remember that there are 180 human beings – our brothers and sisters – working around this Doomsday Machine that their government was warned about at least three years ago, about which it did nothing!

180 men and women, the same as any Americans, and very possibly the forerunners of any Americans, who are facing this reality: "This is a situation where people may be called in to sacrifice their lives."
Snappy Answers For March 16 2011

Former ESPN anchor and MSNBC news host Keith Olbermann is a longtime friend of Francona, and was milling around the Joker Marchant Stadium area prior to the game. He walked over by the Sox dugout during the Sox skipper's pregame media availability, and Francona perked up with: "There's my bench coach!"

I appreciate Terry's joke and Mr. Haggerty of Comcast's genial reporting of it but I must gently complain that he missed something good when I literally gave Francona a snappy answer, namely: "'Coach'? No. Just 'Bench.'"
Photo Of The Day For March 16 2011

This would be me taking a picture of Andy Kindler taking a picture of me:

Andy and the usual alert, uniformed Late Show With David Letterman camera crew and staff, visited George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to gather material for a baseball season-starting bit on the program. Trust me, Andy did a lot more than this. I saw his crew leaving the hotel at about 10 AM and they were still there after the game started at 7 PM. Supposedly they'll be back today.
Worst Persons For March 16 2011
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The bronze goes to the Huffington Post. For a change, this is not about Arianna selling out for $315,000,000. It's about what's happened in the wake of the AOL purchase: a post by the notoriously shamed anger mismanagement goober, Andrew Breitbart that references Little Jimmy O'Keefe's "success" and trumpeting NPR as "collateral damage." I really don't know what I would do if AOL offered me $315,000,000 for this blog (or $315, for that matter), but I would be prepared to see it turned into almost anything including a site devoted to the best of Carl Palladino's emailed photos. And I would be prepared to hear booing. Breitbart?

Silver: who else but the impossibly perfectly named Kansas state legislator Virgil Peck. He got worldwide attention by prefacing remarks to the State House with what you could call 'Conservative Humor':

"It looks like to me as if shooting these emigrating barrel hogs works, maybe we have found a solution to our illegal immigration problem."

And how do they shoot emigrating barrel hogs? Marksmen fire at them from helicopters, Palin-style. And if you don't believe even the state representative from Tyro, Kansas could say anything that stupid, it's on tape.

Peck says he's not apologizing, and is only talking the way people do in his neck of the woods (now he owes them an apology, too). Of the controversy, he added "I think it's over."

You might want to give that a second think, Representative Goober.

But our winner, Lonesome Rhodes Beck. This gives me the opportunity to explain why I call him "Lonesome Rhodes." I refer you to the Elia Kazan 1957 classic "A Face In The Crowd" in which Andy Griffith gives a bone-chilling performance as a clever vagrant who rises to the top of the television ladder and suddenly becomes a political influence, and then power-crazy. It's a kind of cornpone version of Arthur Godfrey's success matched with his abuse of his employees, with the homespun qualities of Will Rogers or maybe an evil John Henry Faulk. The movie is nicely summarized on Wikipedia. It is disturbingly predictive of Beck's success.

Well, his success until now. His radio show has been canceled in New York, Philly, and other major markets, his tv ratings are dropping, and more than 200 advertisers have bailed out. But it's worse than that.

What's the old rental car ad slogan? "Ever get the feeling some people just stopped trying?" Beck has now dismissed the lethal threat presented by the deteriorating nuclear plants in Japan by counting as victims of the Chernobyl disaster only those killed during the first release of radiation:

The UN says the worst nuclear disaster in human history is Chernobyl. The UN says 4,000 people died because of that. That's the "I hate nukes" people that have adjusted that number. Stu, what are the confirmed dead in, from Chernobyl? Was it 40?

Beck grudgingly later ups the total to around 70, including those who went in to try to contain the disaster. The number of nuclear-related cancers, which leads to the 4,000 figure – those he leaves out. Not even most conservative morons think only 40 or 70 were killed at Chernobyl.

This, of course, was on top of what Beck had said Monday about the Japanese nukes, which is where the old Avis commercial comes in. He said it was a message from God. Then this man who produces conspiracy theories the way Charlie Sheen produces self-rationalizations didn't even bother to guess what kind of message it was:

We can't see the connections here. I'm not saying God is causing earthquakes – well I'm not not saying that either! What God does is God's business. But I'll tell you this – there's a message being sent. And that is, 'Hey you know that stuff we're doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.' I'm just saying...

Later, Lonesome Rhodes started working Pat Robertson's side of the street by claiming the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan because we all weren't abiding by what he called "The 10 Rules of Thumb" – meaning, "The 10 Commandments":

What do you say we start doing those things? Because the things we are doing really suck. And they're not getting better.

Lonesome? Did you ever think maybe the thing "we" are doing that really sucks, is your show? Or that if there is an inscrutable message from some deity translated via earthquake, tsunami, and really bad nuclear power plant construction, the message is: "Glenn Beck Needs To Stop Doing His Nitwitted Show"?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Three FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Thank You, Mr. Science
Snappy Answers
Worst Persons
Thank You, Mr. Science

After I wrote here on Saturday – not to minimize the tragedy nor the nightmare of Japan and particularly the psychologically destabilizing crises at the various atomic energy facilities there – but that this was the death knell of American Nuclear Power, I actually got two snarky, condescending tweets.

One chided me for being a 'typical liberal who tried to turn tragedy into politics.' The other dismissed our risk of something similar to the fact that 'flyover country was safe from earthquakes and tsunamis so cares about the coasts?'

Seriously. I'd quote them verbatim but neither was as non-scatological nor as concise as that. That's right, I'm trying to turn tragedy into politics by pointing out that the super-safe Japanese Nuclear Power complex that even President Obama applauded while trying to pitch the same Doomsday Machines to us two years ago, turned out to be not so safe after all, and there's no reason to assume our antiquated nukes are somehow even as impervious to disaster as Japan's obviously weren't.

Oh, and about 'flyover country is safe so screw the coasts'? Read on... We associate American earthquakes with California, and to a lesser degree the Pacific Northwest. What most Americans don't know is that the strongest series of quakes in the history of this country took place on the New Madrid fault line in a seven-week span in the winter of 1811-12.

"New Madrid" was in Missouri - which last time I checked was definitely in flyover country. On 12/16/11 (that's right, we're approaching the 200th anniversary off at the horizon) something around a 7.5 hit northeast Arkansas. Fortunately there was almost nobody living there, or in the future site of Memphis, Tennessee, which also rumbled. Liquefaction was reported – you know, when the solid ground suddenly turns into a kind of quicksand. It's usually reserved for landfill and other unstable surfaces found in places like San Francisco's Marina. Six hours later there was another quake of roughly the same magnitude. Then they had a month off, until 1/23/12 when a neighboring fault let go with another quake which would have scored at least a 7.0 on the modern Richter scale. The "big one" in the sequence hit on 2/7/12 at New Madrid, which was promptly wiped out. St. Louis was hit hard and the force was so strong (perhaps an 8.0) that it caused temporary waterfalls on the Mississippi River.

There are also legends that the Mississippi ran backwards for a time, and that the quake was so strong that it rang church bells in Boston, but these stories may be apocryphal. Still – temporary waterfalls are enough for me, thanks.

The point is, they wouldn't be apocryphal now. An earthquake "swarm" like this along the same fault – which has been relatively quiet for nearly 200 years – would devastate an area that has literally grown up with almost no awareness of the prospect of seismic activity. There is one nuclear facility at Fulton, Missouri, and dreams of another – dreams probably already scotched by the Japanese disasters. Lord knows what would happen to an earthquake-ravaged nuke in the middle of Missouri.

And lord knows what kind of tsunami or similar water-borne force a New Madrid quake could conceivably generate to the south. Could it send force waves intense enough through Arkansas and Louisiana to produce more liquefaction in New Orleans? Could there be enough juice left to produce a small tsunami in the Gulf of Mexico? Could Texas be threatened?

All of a sudden that condescending attitude of 'Good riddance to the coasts' seems cretinous. Do we want to find out if the New Madrid fault still has power? If Texas is threatened?

The other part of this is the previously linked piece at Mother Jones that contains all those unfortunate quotes from the President from October, 2009, that were not disavowed Monday by the new Press Secretary:

"There's no reason why, technologically, we can't employ nuclear energy in a safe and effective way. Japan does it and France does it, and it doesn't have greenhouse gas emissions, so it would be stupid for us not to do that in a much more effective way."

Stupid. Maybe President Obama would like to circle that word and rethink it's meaning. It would be stupid to keep pushing nuclear power at the exact hour that the "safe and effective way" in Japan is proving to be 'that slight increase in radiation in Tokyo is nothing to worry about. But if you're within 20 miles of the plant please stay indoors because we don't know if the thing is going to meltdown, blow up, shoot nuclear rods into the sky or into the ground water, or what. Have a nice day."
Snappy Answers For March 15 2011

Evan Bayh, Alleged Democrat, Joins Fox News As Paper Lion Punching Bag Commentator, Months After Complaining Of The Shrill Partisanship In The Senate:

Well, it's nice to see the former Senator sticking to the policies on television that served him so well in politics: promoting bi-partisanship by giving up to the Republicans and letting them do all his thinking for him. Which ain't much. HERE KITTY KITTY KITTY.
Worst Persons For March 15 2011
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Just one this morning: Good 'Ol Scott Walker.

My earlier point that the push (putsch?) to wipe out the unions of Wisconsin had again shown that liberty's best defense was the Republicans' inability to know when they had bitten off more than they could chew?

Look at this. This is from the broadcasters' union, AFTRA, not the most belligerent nor plugged in of outfits. My boys be steamed:

AFTRA Member Alert

Stand in Solidarity with Working People on April 4

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., where he was standing with sanitation workers demanding their dream of a better life. Today, the right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a middle-class life are under attack as never before.

People across America - black, white, Latino and Asian American - are electrified by that same dream and are standing up for the right to join together for our common dreams.

Join us to make April 4, 2011, a day to stand in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for. It's a day to show movement. A day to be creative, a day to show that "We Are One."

Save the date.

When you have honked off AFTRA, you have really crossed a serious line. AFTRA added, for more information "click here."

Every time you click, another Scott Walker Recall Petition Gets A Signature!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

FOK News Channel for Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brett Hulsey's Picture Really Is Worth All Those Words

There is an official police estimate for the crowd at today's blowback against the Union-Busting efforts of the Wisconsin GOP, and the neanderthalian despotism of the lunkheaded Governor Scott Walker: 85,000-100,000:

This Twitter image – and an even clearer and now nearly-iconic photo shot by Wisconsin 77th District Assemblyman Brett Hulsey from the Capitol Assembly Chambers (see the above link) – really do prove the old adage. If it really isn't enough for you, there's video too.

Friday, March 11, 2011

FOK News Channel for Friday, March 11, 2011

Photo of the Day for March 11, 2011

'90s Braves World Series Alumni Day in Tampa (Mark Lemke, 2B; some guy who covered the Series; Fred McGriff, 1B)

And Good Night, American Nuclear Power

This is not to minimize the horror or the suffering of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but for our purposes here the headline is a stark and inarguable one: Japanese Power Company Says It Has Lost Control Of Three Nuclear Plants.

There is really very little else to say. The perfected, flawless, clean-operating, state-of-the-art, ideal future of energy has in 32 years given us Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now the nightmare scenario of one company saying there is rising pressure at three of its nuclear facilities and it really doesn't have a damn thing it can do right now except tell everybody to run.

Time to shut down this nation's nuclear energy program. For good. Already, nuclear energy apologists are formulating their "yeahbuts" – yeah but... it's not like we'll ever have an 8.9 earthquake in the U.S. (check your U.S. Geological Survey and CalTech data for earthquake probabilities in Southern California, The Bay Area, and elsewhere, and you'll realize the proverbial "Big One" in each area is overdue, in some cases by decades). Yeah but... the real damage here was from the tsunami and we don't have tsunamis in this country (that's why Hawaii and Northern California were on alert this morning – after an earthquake halfway around the world). Yeah but... our American safety technology is so much superior and there's American Exceptionalism and let's wave the flag and it's for the economy and and and...

The virtual freeze on nuclear development in this country since the near-hit of Three Mile Island has been a useful stall, but it is only a first step. And instead of enabling the resumption of building such Doomsday Devices here – as he pledged to do a year ago last month – President Obama should officially reinstate the unofficial moratorium, and pledge to begin the process by which we dismantle these sleeping monsters. Nobody with a brain wants to increase our reliance on fossil fuels but if I'm required to choose two of the following options: a) rapid development of truly safe alternatives, b) continuing fossil fuel utilization at current or slightly increased levels and then scrubbing the planet a little harder a little sooner, or c) living in a world where we can hear "Southern California Edison says it has lost control of San Onofre, so if you're near San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, areas of New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico, please flee" – guess which two I'm taking?