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Profile of true meglomania. Thx Mark Morgan for the link.
“You guys are having fun at the expense of new travel security measures. And they are a pain in the butt, no doubt. But there is a problem and you're not offering alternatives to a real problem. Why aren't you in any way critical of the reasons for the necessity of these things? Just wondering.”
Since we’re having a special guest (Rudy Delson!) on our next show, we thought we’d answer Listener Steve here on the Blog.
1: The TSA scanners are a virtual strip search. The Fourth Amendment says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ...” How is it reasonable to require every single traveler to submit to a strip search?
2. The TSA scanners are not safe. Jason Bell, a molecular biologist and biophysicist, has reviewed the TSA’s own safety reports, and has concluded that people should opt for the pat-down search rather than go through the scanners. Here are some (long) quotes:
“Essentially, it appears that an X-ray beam is rastered across the body, which highlights the importance of one of the specific concerns raised by the UCSF scientists... what happens if the machine fails, or gets stuck, during a raster. How much radiation would a person's eye, hand, testicle, stomach, etc be exposed to during such a failure. What is the failure rate of these machines? What is the failure rate in an operational environment? Who services the machine? What is the decay rate of the filter? What is the decay rate of the shielding material? …These questions have not been answered to any satisfaction …”
“… the statement that one scan is equivalent to 2-3 minutes of your flight is VERY misleading. …relating non-absorbing cosmic radiation to tissue absorbing man-made radiation is simply misleading and wrong. ... a total body dose is misleading, because there is differential absorption in some tissues. … Even more alarming is that because the radiation energy is the same for all adults, children, or infants, the relative absorbed dose is twice as high for small children and infants because they have a smaller body mass (both total and tissue specific) to distribute the dose. Alarmingly, the radiation dose to an infant's testes and skeleton is 60-fold higher than the absorbed dose to an adult brain!”
There is much more, including Bell’s call for the TSA agents to be equipped with radiation badges to monitor their own exposure. You can read Bell’s full post here.
(Thanks to BoingBoing for the link.)
3. BUT! You don’t have to go through the scanners, you can opt for the “pat down.” Still an unreasonable search, and guess what? The TSA agents don’t change their gloves for each one! That hand going down your pants carries the cooties of 1,000 junk-touchings. The TSA’s own blog has a lot of posts about the problem they’ve had with spreading scabies at Boston’s Logan Airport. Scabies today, flesh-eating bacteria tomorrow, n’est-ce pas?
Finally, to address Listener Steve’s question about the “necessity” of strip searching all travelers: What is the reason for it, really? Does it really make traveling safer? Really?
As midterm elections approach, here's Lillian Brooks, from what certainly was (in many ways) another era, paying tribute to her President, and that President's First Lady. Those who listen closely may discern a bit of subtle similarity between the songs and arrangements heard on the A and B sides of this 45.
Here's a tape which found it's way into my collection some years ago, featuring a broadcast of an interview with Edward Hunter, featuring discussions of both his background and his knowledge of brainwashing. It appears that his he really was, as he claims here, the person who first brought the word "Brainwashing" to the English language. Although he is presented here as an author, a few online sites state that he may have actually been a CIA operative at this time.
This interview was broadcast on WJW, Cleveland, no doubt sometime in the mid 1960's, based on the content of the interview. A decade earlier, WJW had been the home of Alan Freed, and, a bit later, of Casey Kasum, but by the time of this broadcast, had become a news/talk station.
I find this recording to be both peculiar (mostly because of Mr. Hunter's accent - which is of a type I can't say I've heard before - and manner of speaking) and fascinating, as an historical document. I also get a kick out of the name of this program - "The Important Show".
The very start of this interview has the unmistakable sound of someone having made an attempt at bulk erasing this tape. Thankfully, the effort failed, but there is an annoying fading in-and-out at first. This becomes less noticeable after the first couple of minutes, and disappears completely not long after that.
The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that the FCC's indecency policy is "unconstitutionally vague." Damned straight! The FCC will most likely appeal this decision, sending the issue back to the Supreme Court, who could actually force the feds to finally clarify the rules for what is deemed unsuitable for broadcast.
Currently, the FCC's guidance on obscenity, indecency, and profanity reads as follows (more here):
Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution and cannot be broadcast at any time. The Supreme Court has established that, to be obscene, material must meet a three-pronged test:
An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
The FCC has defined broadcast indecency as
“language or material that, in context, depicts or
terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary
standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory
activities.” Indecent programming contains patently
sexual or excretory material that does not rise to the
The FCC has defined profanity as “including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.”
'Vague' might be an understatement! Imagine trying to apply this to each piece you want to air in the course of a 3-hour radio show. In any case, I'm hoping the FCC appeals this decision because I can't wait for the Supremes to hash it out. It could mean that a new wave of censorship will sweep the nation, it could open the floodgates, or it could make life as a broadcaster a whole lot less confusing. I'll be staying tuned...
Here’s an interesting reel of tape that I picked up at least 15 years ago, probably at the late, lamented Mammoth Music Mart in Skokie, IL. It's background is a bit confusing to me. It was apparently created for use at the U.S. Army Academy of Health Sciences, but it sounds to me as if it had to be for use by members of the military from other countries, who would be serving with Americans, as most native speakers of English would be familiar with the vast majority of these phrases and words. Whatever it's background, the tape contains no less than 547 of what it calls “Typical American Expressions”, each with an explanation and an example.
It would appear that this list may still be in use, as it can be found online here. For the dozen or so words I crosschecked from the tape, they are all both on that website and contain the same definitions and examples. But it’s much more fun, I think, to hear them read by this rather humorless and mechanical sounding announcer. Plus, these can be great fun for those who like to make any of the countless styles of sound montages there are to make.
This was a supposedly a big week in United States Democracy, a number of state primaries and opportunities for election pundits to opine. My favorite bit of analysis was Moira Liason's statement on NPR yesterday, she said "the primaries demonstrated both the power and the limits of power of the Tea Party." Thank you for that. Most of the coverage concerns California and Arkansas. But what about South Carolina? The above tweet is from a noted Teabagger talking about Alvin Greene. I wish someone could get him on the radio! According to this piece from Mother Jones, Greene is "an unemployed 32-year-old black Army veteran with no campaign funds, no signs, and no website" who won the SC state primary. How did he do that? The consensus suggests a plot, a Greene plant so to speak. Is this the power of the tea party? Newsweek suggests that Alvin Greene has a better name than his opponent Vic Rawl, "perhaps voters chose based on their reaction to the names, which appeared as “Alvin M. Greene” and 'Vic Rawl.' Maybe “Senator Greene” has a nicer ring than 'Senator Rawl.'" Hmm. Unfortunately this story might be over by the time you read this blog post - as evidence has now emerged that Greene has a dirty record - nudie pictures and co-eds. Whoops - but If we have more candidates like Greene though, I will pay more attention come November.
What the hell is going on with the CIA? They seem to be screwing up everything these days - they can't seem to figure out which folks they should be disappearing and which folks they should search before letting into the secret bunkers. But a new report suggests that things are REALLY bad at Langley, somehow that guy who wrote FAG on everyone's locker in high school is now in charge!
According to the Guardian our secret service came up with the brilliant plan of making a Saddam Sex tape. A few young brown-skinned agents were to be shown having sex with a Saddam look alike! Someone pulled the plug before the cameras rolled "but that did not stop a CIA video being shot of a fake Osama bin Laden sitting around a camp fire, drinking booze and boasting of his own gay conquests." !!!
Our psyops are clearly bereft of good ideas. Feeling generous this morning I am going to offer them a free idea.
How to deal with Osama Bin Laden/Taliban/Al Qaeda for once and for all:
Denied the opportunity to go goth, many youth in the middle east turn to Jihad to deal with their angst and Osama is still one of the top google results. I say keep the video, guys in turbans sitting around a camp fire drinking is a good start. But instead of a gay thing, make it a secret meeting of the top Taliban and Al Qaeda commanders paying tribute to their supreme leader Osama Bin Laden. But then have Osama remove his rubber beard and reveal that he is actually George W. Bush! Now let me explain why this is the most awesome idea ever and not a five year old stale photoshop joke: The CIA uses the REAL ACTUAL George Bush for this video - and they film it on his ranch in Crawford, Texas. I think George would be totally down for this, he's not really doing much anymore, plus it would totally go to #1 on youtube. I mean Americans would know it is fake of course, but no Muslim kid would ever ever want to join Jihad again.
Ok, now that I have typed this up - maybe it is the most stupid idea ever, perhaps you have a better one? But we need to do something, the CIA needs our help!
Today's album features C. Northcote Parkinson, naval historian, novelist and political scientist, in one of what was a series of ten albums discussing different aspects of politcal science.
In this case, the subject is Democracy, and, as with all the albums in the series, the discussion is between C. Northcote and Julian H. Franklin.
I came across the entire set of these albums, 25 years or so ago, but only bought three of them, for whatever reason. This one's cover is badly damaged by a flood we experienced last year, so I have offered up only a section of that cover, featuring C. himself. If there's interest in hearing the other two albums from my collection, I can try and find them.
"Washington humor takes many different directions. Sometimes the razor-sharp quip can puncture an unsound argument or cut through to the heart of a complicated issue. Sometimes, humor is the means by which a candidate charms and attracts voters to his camp. And sometimes, humor is used for no other purpose than to make people laugh...even when the humorist himself is the butt of the joke. Listen carefully and you'll hear all three types on this disc."
Today we have as evidence the first side of Cameo 1044, hosted by Chet Huntley; one of the select but large club of records with a big smilin' JFK head on it. With a lovely high-gloss coating on it, too, yumm. I like the idea of going right to the source for comedy, as opposed to using actors to portray 'Kennedys' or other characters, here's a laff record with the real deal.
If I had a regular show on WFMU again, and if the American government would let us play curses over the air, then I would play this song by Die Antwoord for you. And if I had been paying attention when they explained how to embed video in the Typepad thingie, I would do that, too. Except that this song doesn't have any video. In a perfect world, I guess it would.
Growing up mainly in the small Missouri town of Warrensburg, one couldn't help but become acquainted with the town's famous canine 'mascot' Old Drum. Over the years I've heard many incarnations of and references to the eulogy written about him in 1870 by George Graham Vest.
The oft-recorded "Tribute to a Dog" text was originated by Mr. Vest after he took the case in Sedalia, Missouri, working for a farmer who was suing for the top dollar of the day- $150.00, because his prize foxhound had been shot by a neighbor, who had warned him, by the way, that he'd better keep his dawg at home.
Vest's closing arguments in the case became known as his much-quoted "Eulogy on the Dog". Mr. Vest was a Missouri secessionist who served on the Confederate Senate at one time, and in 1853 had defended a young African American man accused of murder, later acquitted, the poor fellow was burned at the stake anyway by an angry mob. From 1882 on Vest was well-known for his spirited defense and political protection of Yellowstone Park.
I recently came across yet another recording of the text (or at least the pertinent part of it that everyone seems to quote) as well as an a capella rendition of the Old Drum story on a seven-inch single, produced in Kansas City on the Damon label and performed by the Dockery Four (Bill Grace, Jerry Fuchs, John Chronister and Ed Grace). It went a bit higher than most singles that I buy, and I hoped that it would be in playable condition. I wasn't disappointed- it's actually rather nice. On the personal side, I was also interested because during my mother's singing career in the late 1940's and early 1950's, she had recorded a number of sides at Damon, and they were the only records that I had on that obscure label up to the present.
Sadly, I couldn't track down much info about the Dockery Four themselves, although I haven't searched on their individual names. The label informs us that this version of Old Dog Drum was originally titled Old Dog Tray. Well, be it tray or drum, I'll always give a listen to any songs about dogs or food. I had expected that this would be some snappy little country song, but was pleasantly surprised with the actual style and content of the single.
To flesh out this subject a bit, I have included another version of the "Triubute to a Dog" text, by my main man Walter Brennan (some people used to say that I could always steer any subject back to Brennan eventually), and a bonus tear-jerking dog song as well: Old Shep. I learned recently from experience that it IS actually easier to write a tragic dog song, rather than a happy-go-lucky dog song. Oh yeah, these pieces are from Walter's brilliant Dutchman's Gold lp, really his best work, in my opinion. I hope y'all enjoy these melodramatic servings of Dawg Music. The MP3s:
OLD DOG DRUM
TRIBUTE TO A DOG - The Dockery Four version
Just in time for Halloween, I discovered my own grave today. Apparently I died in November 1918, age 31, and am buried in some little town in Pennsylvania. Sluggo and I are planning a road trip to go visit Dead Me very soon. If you'd like to find Dead You, then I recommend searching your own name at FindAGrave.com, one of my favorite websites. (My thanks to Find a Grave Member Beth for locating Dead Me, and to Patty Matthews for the photo of Nanticoke Cemetery.)
I've been a devoted collector of all the fine, fine, superfine commemorative state quarters, issued five a year for 10 years from 1999-2008, especially up through the 2005 quarters when anybody--school kids, pancake-house artists, lunatics--could still submit design proposals. From 2006 on it looks as if the Mint decided they'd had enough, because after that the only designs considered were the ones the Mint came up with themselves. No more 26 amateur designs, like Florida! (And even then, look what they ended up with.) I have written about the state quarters here on Beware of the Blog—more than once!—and just when I thought 2008 was the end of it, the Mint announced that 5 MORE special quarters would be released in 2009: THE COMMEMORATIVE QUARTERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND UNITED STATES TERRITORIES! Guam! American Samoa! Puerto Rico! THE NORTHERN EFFIN' MARIANA ISLANDS!
Deaths come in pairs, and sometimes it seems that News of the Dead does, too. In the past week there have been two stories about the remains of Civil War soldiers in this area.
First there was the ceremonial burial of the remains of a
New York soldier who died at Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862—the bloodiest day of the
war, with over 23,000 killed). A tourist at the battlefield found some bone
fragments, uniform buttons, a belt buckle, and scraps of fabric about a year
ago; the buttons identified the remains as being that of a soldier from one of
the 24 New York regiments that fought that day. Government Scientists and
Experts had a go and decided the soldier was between 17 and 19 years old when
he died. That was about as much as they could figure out, so the bits and bones
were put into a box inside a “period-appropriate” pine coffin and sent to the
National Cemetery near Schuylerville. Civil War re-enactors stood guard over
the coffin until it was buried last week on the 147th anniversary of
the battle. The grave marker says it’s an unknown soldier who died at Antietam.
“We’re going to remember him as a hero,” says Donald E. Roy, the director of
New York’s Military Forces Honor Guard (and a civilian)—although, of course, no
one knows who the soldier was or what he really did.
First there was the ceremonial burial of the remains of a New York soldier who died at Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862—the bloodiest day of the war, with over 23,000 killed). A tourist at the battlefield found some bone fragments, uniform buttons, a belt buckle, and scraps of fabric about a year ago; the buttons identified the remains as being that of a soldier from one of the 24 New York regiments that fought that day. Government Scientists and Experts had a go and decided the soldier was between 17 and 19 years old when he died. That was about as much as they could figure out, so the bits and bones were put into a box inside a “period-appropriate” pine coffin and sent to the National Cemetery near Schuylerville. Civil War re-enactors stood guard over the coffin until it was buried last week on the 147th anniversary of the battle. The grave marker says it’s an unknown soldier who died at Antietam. “We’re going to remember him as a hero,” says Donald E. Roy, the director of New York’s Military Forces Honor Guard (and a civilian)—although, of course, no one knows who the soldier was or what he really did.
Next was the story of John F. Wescott Jr., who was fooling
around with findagrave.com and discovered that his great,
great, great grandpa, Capt. Andrew W. Davis of the 8th Infantry Regiment
of New Jersey, was buried in an unmarked grave in Newark. Last Saturday the
Wescotts got together and installed a marker from the Veterans Administration
over the Captain, who died from the wound he got when he was shot in the leg at
Next was the story of John F. Wescott Jr., who was fooling around with findagrave.com and discovered that his great, great, great grandpa, Capt. Andrew W. Davis of the 8th Infantry Regiment of New Jersey, was buried in an unmarked grave in Newark. Last Saturday the Wescotts got together and installed a marker from the Veterans Administration over the Captain, who died from the wound he got when he was shot in the leg at Gettysburg.
These two dead Civil War soldiers caught my attention
because at the time I was reading This
Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, by Drew Gilpin
Faust. Of course I was aware that the Civil War changed the way death was
regarded in the U.S.—it furthered the development and use of embalming, for one
thing. But Faust’s book explains how far-reaching the changes were. The
slaughter brought about the Federal Government’s first foray into arranging its
citizens’ personal lives, caused people to reject their religious beliefs, and
resulted in both widespread sentimentality and cynicism. It launched a
tentative move towards women’s rights, created big advances in the field of
statistics, and made James Russell Lowell write bad poetry (and lots of people
write atrocious songs). It caused people to fret about identifying and
returning the remains of their dead—just like the box of bone bits in New York
and the Captain’s grave in New Jersey. It’s a terrific book, well-researched
and well-written, and I recommend it to you.
These two dead Civil War soldiers caught my attention because at the time I was reading This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, by Drew Gilpin Faust. Of course I was aware that the Civil War changed the way death was regarded in the U.S.—it furthered the development and use of embalming, for one thing. But Faust’s book explains how far-reaching the changes were. The slaughter brought about the Federal Government’s first foray into arranging its citizens’ personal lives, caused people to reject their religious beliefs, and resulted in both widespread sentimentality and cynicism. It launched a tentative move towards women’s rights, created big advances in the field of statistics, and made James Russell Lowell write bad poetry (and lots of people write atrocious songs). It caused people to fret about identifying and returning the remains of their dead—just like the box of bone bits in New York and the Captain’s grave in New Jersey. It’s a terrific book, well-researched and well-written, and I recommend it to you.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and may God bless.
Just after the 8th anniversary of the WTC attacks, I discovered this shocking cover of a 1976 Sesame Street special "Monsters on the Loose!" on David Icke's official forum. Click the link to read more about this story the government doesn't want you to know.
In the midst of our grand de-hoarding effort (Everything Must Go! preferably for cash) I came across a box full of scripts for “Truckstop Teaparty,” a radio show I used to do on WFMU. I’ve been told that people often didn’t realize there were scripts for that show, probably because I always sounded so befuddled, but in fact every word I said on-air was written out in advance. In fact, even the umm’s and uh’s were written out, in an attempt to make myself sound more “natural.” This was because I was so terrified of being on the radio that my mind went completely blank every time I went on mic. If I hadn’t had something to read, no sound would have come out of my mouth at all. So it was interesting to see what words were coming out in 1989-90-91.
Even more interesting were the hefty piles of newspaper clippings I’d saved with every show’s script. These were news stories I’d reference as I talked about “News of the Dead” or “Danger!” or any of the various other regular Truckstop Teaparty features. It’s incredible to me that newspapers—common, everyday tabloids--were ever so informative, with long, well-referenced articles about all sorts of actual news. There seemed to be a lot of stories about eroding privacy rights, the plight of homeless people, the environment, and political upheaval in other countries: Iran, Romania, Panama, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and so on. There were “first woman” stories (the first woman to lead U.S. troops in combat, the first woman minor-league umpire, etc.) and weird racism stories. There were way too many stories about accomplished, talented people dying of AIDS. There were stories about drugs, murders, serial killers, and the successful development of the first genetically engineered foods. There was a story about how the first President Bush had admitted falsifying intelligence information to win approval for the first war in Iraq. These newspaper stories were literate, well-written, and told you something, and it was kind of shocking to see how much newspapers have changed in just … well, okay, 20 years ,,, and how much everything else is still the same.
Anyway, I threw ‘em all out. The only clipping I kept was a torn bit of a longer article, the final three paragraphs of what apparently was a review of something—a book or TV show involving Nat Hentoff?—written by someone named Vince Passaro. Here’s what he wrote:
“Censorship begins in fear: fear of contradiction, fear of insult and injury, fear of confusion, paradox and despair. Hentoff points out that in many cases the censoring parties have valid objections to the material they wish to suppress. Yet he also shows that the best way to deal with ideas you don’t like is to inform yourself about them and counter them with ideas of your own—to debate, in other words. But where does a culture learn the language of debate? Currently, we willingly misuse the word to refer to the meeting of opposing political candidates in which rehearsed speeches pass as answers to predictable questions. If that’s what we call debate, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll last as a democracy.
“In fact, the great censorship of our times is the self-censorship of our reporters and editors, our writers of books, our television commentators. Why is it that the Iran-contra story had to be broken by a Lebanese weekly, although several American journalists knew of it? Why was the great menace of Iraq trumpeted far and wide, with fancy graphics and musical scores, while the arming of the menace, by us, illegally, is still only mentioned in whispers? Why is it that there is so little discussion, in an election year, of the S&L failures and a possible collapse, of greater magnitude, in commercial banking?
“Like vampires or cave-dwelling fish, we have lost the ability to live in light because no one has been shedding any. Unless you have a $40-million production budget, it’s pretty much impossible to disseminate an upsetting idea in this country; when you do, the crowds scream as if they’ve been hit with acid. Hentoff, for all his fervor, never takes the parties responsible for our condition to blame. We don’t need to be introduced to school boards in the heartland to see censorship in action; all we have to do is open our major dailies, or watch network news.”
“Major dailies”—who’s even gonna know what that means in 5 years? And yeah, I googled him. I don’t think Vince Passaro is writing book reviews for tabloid newspapers anymore, and I don’t think any future Vince Passaros are, either.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and may God bless.