Sep 30, 2015

September 29, 2015: Across the Alternate Universe, Hubris of the ‘Idiot-Wrong’, No-Nothing to Know-Nothing.

“Thoughts meander
Like a restless wind inside a letter-box
They tumble blindly
As they make their way
Across the universe”

                                    ----John Lennon “Across the Universe”

The vitriol of the idiot-wrong arcs across the alternate closed conservative universe, revealing the edifice to be nothing but a hollow echo-chamber amplifying as it does the cries of the damned.  As Michael Savage can declare with a straight face that the planet is cooling, or that the Pope is a Marxist, or Glenn Beck can lecture on what subjects the Pope is currently an authority and propose with equal earnestness that he [Beck] would be happy to get a group of people together and send them to the Vatican to ‘instruct’ the Pope on questions economic, the hubris of the ‘idiot-wrong’ is constantly demonstrating that it acknowledges no bounds. 

But there is a price to pay for this unseemly display of intolerant ignorance.  Increasingly the radical-wrong are seen drifting ever further off the political landscape to a place where fewer and fewer are willing to follow.  A place that is increasingly Caucasian, increasingly masculine, and increasingly older. 

The war waged by the conservatives upon the poor and the minorities is well documented, here and elsewhere and bears no repeating.  As we speak the Cons are about the business of attempting to once again shut down the Federal Government, this time over funding Planned Parenthood.  It’s another of those false crises designed to wring yet another series of spending cuts and further savage the safety net.  Once again the Cons are raising the bloody shirt of abortion and abortion funding, even though it has been illegal for the Federal Government to fund abortions (except in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother) since the passage of the Hyde Amendment way in the 70’s.  No matter, another false claim (like the planet is cooling) duly shouted from the rooftops of the giant media complexes sufficient to raise the blood pressure and testosterone levels of the vast throngs of ‘ditto-heads’.  This latest effort, combined with plans to cut spending on social services, opposing equal pay for equal work and concurrent efforts to keep ‘the woman in her place’, the misogyny of the modern Republican Party has become manifest.

It isn’t simply that the party is sexist, by declaring war upon science it has become the party of ignorance; by confusing Corporate America with the genuine article, it has become the vehicle for the most rapacious environmental policies, and most vociferous anti-labor policies; by embracing America’s racists it has become the staunch advocate of the most xenophobic anti-immigration policies, seeking wherever possible to limit the franchise and erect obstacles to voting.  Whatever face one tries to put on it, the facts are that it has become the party of rich, old, white, conservative men.  With the latest diatribes and screeds directed at the Pontiff, we can now add anti-Catholicism to the ever growing list of abuses.

The modern American Conservative movement has long been about rolling back progress.  It has long been about the business of not only obstructing progress (minimum wage, social security, child labor, environmental protection, education…etc.) but, when possible, of actually reversing the progress the larger society has labored to achieve by way of gaining a more equitable distribution of the fruits of our labors and a more just society.  To that end it has steadfastly endeavored to drag this country, kicking and screaming, back into the 19th and 18th centuries.

Accordingly the Republican Party is transforming itself from the “No-Nothing” party of obstruction and nullification to a modern reincarnation of the “Know-Nothing” Party of the 19th century.  All we need is a little more anti-Semitism and anti-Masonry for the metamorphosis to be complete.  What does it say about a group of increasingly rich, fat, old, white men that they would readily create a modern “Know-Nothing” movement?  Ask Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, George Will, and Patrick Buchanan about the clown-car presently in the Presidential race and who they represent. 



Sep 29, 2015

September 28, 2015: Boycotting the Pope, Savaging the Pontiff, A Hopeless Apologist

Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz) announced, ahead of the visit by Pope Francis to Washington, that he intended to ‘boycott’ the Pope’s scheduled address to a joint session of Congress.  The ideologically driven Congressman said he would welcome an address about conventional moral issues, but when the Pope chooses to “act like a leftist politician” by addressing climate change and human exploitation “then he can expect to be treated like one”; with all the scorn and contempt usually visited upon the heads of those who dare deviate from the duly approved ideological imperative. 

Gosar is not alone.  “Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) – who, like Gosar, is Roman Catholic – sat down with Politico this week to flesh out his expectations for the papal address.


‘I’m hopeful that Pope Francis will speak to these two issues: One is the church’s unfailing and steadfast opposition to abortion, the position that life begins at the moment of conception and it ends at natural death, and the dignity of every human person. That’s a position of the Roman Catholic Church that’s really unassailable and I’m hopeful that that position will be reiterated from the floor of Congress next week. I’m looking forward to that.


Second component that is so strong among the Catholic Church is the position of marriage, and it being between a man and a woman.’

Or put another way, Steve King is “looking forward” to his church leader telling Steve King how correct Steve King is. The pope, the argument goes, should stay in the GOP’s lane: there are moral crises, as defined by Republicans that warrant Pope Francis’ concern. Nothing else need be mentioned.” (1)

Declaring threats to the natural world merely, in a word, ‘political’, the GOP has taken the position that morality, a commodity wholly owned by the Republican National Committee, is a limited set of values revolving around the nuclear family and sexual behaviors.  All else, in their view, is ‘mere politics’.  And, since they have been about the business for at least two generations of doing their level best to reduce political life to the lowest intellectual and cultural denominator, the term has taken a pejorative meaning.  To contend, by these lights, that an issue is ‘merely political’ is a way of dismissing it out of hand. 


“In the culture-war debates”, writes Steve Benen for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s blog, “the right routinely argues that policymakers should heed the appeals from religious leaders.  More generally, conservatives express alarm about the left trying to push voices from the faith community ‘out of the public square’.  It’s the religious leaders, the GOP argues, that should help guide public debate”.  Unless, of course, one expands the discussion of morality and virtue beyond the narrow confines of Republican understanding.  Then one risks being ignored.  Representatives Gosar and King were hardly alone.  Three members of the United States Supreme Court, all Roman Catholics, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito likewise skipped the event.  It’s always best, when one has singular possession of truth, not risk such certainties by exposing them to alternative points of view. Justice is indeed not only blind, so it seems, but ignorant.

But the Pope, in coming to Washington, risked not only being ignored but being vilified.   The wrong-wing echo chamber that is Faux News and Talk radio went ape-shit crazy.  Wrong-Wing talk show host and beacon of malignant ignorance Michael Savage had this lead-in to the Pope’s visit.


“He [Pope Francis] has been selected - hand-selected - by the New World Order. He is the first non-European pope in twelve hundred years. The same people who gave us Obama gave us this pope. The same people who gave us Obama and the pope are giving the world a good beating. He is from an area where Marxist theory was used to rule over the people. The pope is a danger to the world. Yes, I'll be very clear on that. He knows about as much about weather as my -- well, let's put it to you this way. The only thing the pope knows about meteorology is that when it rains his highly-paid aides in the Vatican take out umbrellas and open them for him. The man knows nothing about climate. And for a religious man to do this is incomprehensible. How the Catholic people can put up with this, I don't know. And by the way, if he hates capitalism so much and wealthy people so much, I think the pope ought to begin with an example by selling off some of the great art in the Vatican.

And I think this pope, this deceiver -- what do you think because someone wears a holy robe, they're holy? Are you people nuts? How many imams are terrorists? Oh, you're willing to go along with that, aren't you?


Well, the pope is a Marxist. I stand by those words. He is a wolf in pope's clothing, he is an eco-wolf in pope's clothing. He is a stealth Marxist in religious garb.


The man sounds like the false prophet in Revelation. He sounds just like the false prophet in Revelation -- an ecumenical spiritual figure directing mankind to worship the Antichrist. The man is a false prophet. How could you buy this garbage? How in the world can you buy this? The world is cooling off, and the man is pushing this to attack capitalism?


This is unbelievable to me. We are living in global tyranny right now. We are living in global tyranny where the Big Lie is told over and over again. [Cumulus Media Networks, The Savage Nation6/16/15, via Rightwing Watch]” (2)

Such savage treatment was hardly confined to “The Savage Nation”.  Rush Limbaugh, demonstrating in one breath that he knows as little about Marxism and Catholicism as he does about birth control said “that if it weren’t for capitalism, I don’t know where the Catholic Church would be” , concluding “this is pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope.”.  In one foul breath the Icon of Ignorance conflates Catholicism with Marxism by simply overlooking the mere historical fact that Catholicism predates by nearly two millennium the advent of both Adam Smith and Karl Marx. 

From Limbaugh down the corridors of the conservative echo-chamber the voices of greed, gluttony and avarice pontificate.  Faux News’ Brian Kilmeade dutifully weighed in with the observation that the Pope “doesn’t like Capitalism” and “should stay home”.  Faux News’ “Senior Judicial Analyst” Andrew Napolitano “called Pope Francis a "communist" and a "Marxist" for linking the European refugee crisis to global poverty.”  Similarly, the often erudite and always wrong mainstream conservative columnist George F. Will observed:


“Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert's indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak -- if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.” (3)

Never mind, George, that given that half the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day, how the poor are so currently well off as to be ‘devastated’ by the Pope’s remedies.  Calling the Pope’s ideas demonstrably false and deeply reactionary is yet another vacuous characterization lacking even a feeble attempt at documenting falsehood or reaction.  In any case it’s rich coming from an established oracle of the status quo to disparage anyone for being ‘reactionary’.   George Will is the quintessential reactionary.

But George Will, whatever his shortcomings, and they are many, is a gentleman sitting at the bar in this den of thieves.  Will, with an air of pompous condescension, simply choses to dismiss the Pope saying:


“He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation's premises.” (4)

It is not only comfortable but profitable to pander to the desires of the masses, regardless of the global consequences.  Conversely it is unprofitable and unpopular to make your audience uncomfortable, best stick to the “tried and true”, the platitudes and bromides of spent dreams.  Such are the scribbling of an old political hack, a hopeless apologist for a fast-fading order. 



(1)  Benen, Steve.  “GOP to Pope: Stick to Religious Issues (as defined by the GOP).  9/22/15




(3)  Ibid.


(4)  Ibid.

Sep 28, 2015

September 27, 2015: The Adversary, Origin of Origin Handicraft of Beelzebub

“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary, and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct.”
           ----Political Neophyte and Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson (1)

“For anyone who’s confused,” writes Joe Clark for, “adversary’ is another name used to describe “Satan” or “The devil.”’  Carson, a retired Detroit neurosurgeon who should know better, is now standing before America and declaring in his best Flip Wilson voice that poor Darwin’s problem was the same as the one that dogged good old Geraldine: the devil made him do it
Nobody would be taking much notice except that Carson is presently one of the top three leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, polling just behind “The Donald” himself. It’s bad enough that none of the three, the real estate magnate, the neurosurgeon nor the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard have ever been elected dog catcher much less an office of some importance, it’s that their public utterances have become a crescendo of ignorance; some of it due to intellectual slovenliness, much of it a studied and determined strain.  Here the good doctor is not only demonstrating the total rejection of everything he learned in his biology classes, but a complete ignorance of the origin of the “Origin of Species”.  

Every public figure, at some point in time, must learn that problems will emerge by painting with too big a brush.  Making broad categorical statements, especially concerning ‘origins’, can quickly lead to embarrassing moments; moments conclusively demonstrating that one is “not ready for prime time”.  As a case in point, let’s take the dear doctor’s statement at face value and subject it to the scrutiny and logic of the historical record.

If what Darwin came up with was encouraged by “The Adversary”, then the ‘adversary’ was none other than Adam Smith, the founder of modern capitalism.  Darwin said later in life that his inspiration for the mechanism operating behind evolutionary change was inspired by Adam Smith’s descriptions of the operations of the marketplace and how competition forced an enterprise, and indeed a society, to change and adapt. 

Following the logic of Dr. Carson we can therefore reasonably conclude that the works of Smith and all that he inspired were the handicraft of none other than Beelzebub himself.  Capitalism is the work of the ‘devil’. 

Out of the mouth of babes and fools, perhaps the good doctor is on to something.  Perhaps he has revealed more than he could know.


Joe Clark, 9/27/15

Sep 21, 2015

September 21, 2015: Open Cesspools, Drinking from the Latrine, Basic Hygiene Demands It

The reports in recent months of the imminent demise of the most notorious, as well as the most repugnant voices of America’s contemporary “Know-Nothing Party” comes as long awaited and welcome news.  But by having transformed the village wells into open cesspools it will be a long time before the citizens of this country will feel safe enough to once again breathe, much less drink, in the public square.  For though the likes of Limbaugh and Coulter are receiving much less attention, the stench still rising from the pools of public discourse betrays clear evidence that it will take some time to degrade the mass of stinking offal.  In the meantime, the forum stands nearly vacated, occupied only by crazed conspiracy theorists, xenophobes, and capitalists—the only ones who can afford the necessary safety equipment. 

Breathing this air, and drinking this water has led to some bizarre behavior. From Donald Trump standing in Texas near the Mexican Border talking about building a giant fence from California to Texas, to Scott Walker warning us of the impending Canadian invasion and urging the immediate need to likewise build a wall along the Canadian border, the current GOP is now seen aping their Israeli counterparts by proposing to encase the entire United States and transforming it into a continental ghetto.  What we may do with the borders about Alaska and Hawaii remain to be seen.

Like the contamination of an old village well, the cesspool created by the demonstrably paranoid and psychotic conservative fringe, has spread the predictable and accompanying disease.  One simply cannot drink from the latrine and inhale its vapors without lasting and serious physical and mental effect.  Last week, after the second Republican debate, one of Trump’s supporters asked him what he was going to do about Muslim terrorist camps that are supposed to be operating in this country, adding that we know the president is a Muslim and isn’t an American.   Trump, himself having spent altogether too much time face down in the cesspool simply nodded, adding “Right…We’ll look into that…you can depend on it.”  

One can measure the damage done to the village water supply by the behavior of its citizens.  Eight years ago, when confronted by a woman in his audience making similar statements about then candidate Obama, John McCain corrected his follower and his audience.  Not this time.  So crazed has the idiot wrong become that these things are taken as fact and not questioned, not even by the current front-runner for the Rescumlican Presidential nomination. 

This is the legacy not only of Coulter, Limbaugh and that most clinically psychotic of them all, Glenn Beck, but the consequence of the airwaves being likewise daily polluted by the conspiracists such as Alex Jones, and the racist xenophobia of even ‘mainstream’ commentators like Pat Buchanan.  Decades of this nonsense added to cable television’s fixation with conspiracy theories and the reduction of the History Channel and the Discovery Channel to programs dealing with conspiracies, witches, ghosts and goblins and you get the idea of  not only what America now understands to be ‘news’, but in-depth “documentary” reporting.  Coulter’s screeds have become symbolic of a form of pollution that has reduced the public square into a toxic waste site.

It’s time to clean up this mess.  Basic hygiene demands it. 

Sep 20, 2015

September 20, 2015: See the Old Hag, Dressed In Conservative Drag, The Damage Done

“You should see Polythene Ann
She’s so good looking
That she looks like a man
You should see the old hag
Dressed in conservative drag
Yes, you should see polythene Ann”

                        ----parody of the Beatles “Polythene Pam”

As noted several times, I began these chronicles eight years ago in response in part to the vilification, vituperation and vitriol of the ‘idiot’ wrong directed toward liberals, progressives and others who have a greater understanding of sound public policy.  Foremost among the merchants of hate and intolerance were the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and, of course, Ann Coulter. 

 Back in the day, in my college years, I had a reputation for not suffering fools gladly.  A friend of mine, witnessing an exchange I had with a young pro-war adherent of Bill Buckley’s “Young Americans for Freedom” was moved to comment after the debate that he’d only seen two people in his life that would verbally kick a person when he had the best of the argument.  “Bill Buckley and you, you son-of-a-bitch!” he exclaimed.  And this observation came from a close friend of mine.  Mind you this was during the heat of disagreements over the war in which everything was on the table; everything from one’s patriotism to one’s sexual preferences were by one’s opponents considered fair game.  Debate was seen, and indeed at times were, no-holds-barred, take no prisoners, blood on the floor, gladiatorial events; sometimes even among friends. 

When it came to vitriol, my friend Larry Hamp was moved to remark, “no one holds a candle to you, you prick.”  I responded by reminding him that when you are dealing with swine you have to fix your heel securely upon the back of their neck and never let them up.  A lesson contemporary liberals and progressives have been slow to learn.

 “While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred” (1)

I have mellowed over the years becoming, over time, more complacent and tolerant.  But the shrill voices arising on the political wrong, careless and ignorant of facts and spouting the kind of intolerance and hatred that I had seen in the adversaries of my youth have stretched the bounds of tolerance and re-awakened the visceral reactions all too familiar to this old political gladiator.  Inspired by an adage of another old friend that “if you want to kill the rats, you’ve got to climb down into the sewer”, and in reaction to the miserable discourse of the likes of Limbaugh, Beck and Coulter, I decided to dust off the lethargy of the intervening decades, hone my old skills, and re-enter the colosseum.

Accordingly, calling Ann Coulter a “Banshee from hell”, I set about in an early post dismantling the ‘vicious little vixen’ in a mere two paragraphs.  Comparing her to a ‘Praying Mantis’, I concluded by calling her a “feminine Johnny Appleseed walking the landscape sewing kudzu wherever she goes; casting false pearls before real swine”. (2)

 It was a deliciously disparaging little piece coming as it did when she was the wet dream of a host of young white conservative males.  She was everywhere in those days, on television talk shows, in op-ed newspaper columns, in books on the newsstand. One couldn’t go anywhere without one’s sensibilities and intelligence being continually assaulted by her endless harangues. Featured, in 2005, on the cover of “Time” under the heading “Ms. Right”.  Heather Digby Parton, writing for “Salon” characterized Coulter as one of theedgier breed of right-wing provocateurs”. (3)
As “The Sporting News”,  in this new ‘age of shoddy’, would later make a mockery of sport by granting Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn it’s “Comeback of the Year” award, and Major League Baseball would follow suit the next summer by making a mockery of the All-Star game by putting Dunn, hitting near the Mendoza Line, on the American League team, So the mainstream media following the example of Time, moved to recognize the new ‘age of shoddy’, by enshrining the “Queen of Hate” and granting legitimacy to her faithless relationship to the truth.

 “In 2000”, Parton writes, “she (Coulter) had won the Media Research Center-presented “Conservative Journalist of the Year” award, and the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute gave her its annual conservative leadership award “for her unfailing dedication to truth, freedom and conservative values and for being an exemplar, in word and deed, of what a true leader is.”
Parton asks us to consider the meaning behind the titles of, and the statements in, her most notorious screeds:

“High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton,” “Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right,” “Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism,” and a collection of her columns, called “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter” — all of which were very successful. The theme of these books is obvious from the titles. She was famous for her cleverness in hating and baiting liberals. And in those heady days of conservative apotheosis, with sex scandals, stolen elections, terrorist attacks, unnecessary wars and liberalism on the run as never before, Coulter was the most deliciously vicious of all the haters. Among her famous quotes of the era were:

  •The “backbone of the Democratic Party” is a “typical fat, implacable welfare recipient.”

 •“My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that’s because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism.”

 •“If you don’t hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don’t love your country.”

 •“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity”

 •“Congress could pass a law tomorrow requiring that all aliens from Arabic countries leave… We should require passports to fly domestically. Passports can be forged, but they can also be checked with the home country in case of any suspicious-looking swarthy males.”


And one of her most memorable (to me at least) was this one:


“We need to execute people like John Walker [Lindh] in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors,”


Coulter later clarified what she meant;


“When I said we should ‘execute’ John Walker Lindh, I mis-spoke. What I meant to say was ‘We should burn John Walker Lindh alive and televise it on prime-time network TV’. My apologies for any misunderstanding that might have occurred.”


If that reminds you of certain fundamentalists operating today in the Middle East, you wouldn’t be alone.


“Slander” and “Treason” were filled with such vitriol. And they were also cited by numerous critics for their many inaccuracies. Coulter, like her talk radio funhouse mirror image, Rush Limbaugh, always slithered away from any such controversies simply by claiming that she’s a comedian of sorts. Here’s how that Time Magazine article illustrated her comedic talent:


 "People say [continues Parton] that Jon Stewart has blurred the line between news and humor, but his Daily Show airs on a comedy channel. Coulter goes on actual news programs and deploys so much sarcasm and hyperbole that she sounds more like comedian Dennis Miller on one of his rants than Limbaugh. Consider an exchange on Fox News in June 2001 with Peter Fenn, a Democratic strategist. At the time, Barbra Streisand had suggested that Californians practice more conservation, to which Coulter responded:



COULTER: God gave us the earth.


FENN: Oh, O.K.


COULTER: We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the seas.


FENN: Oh, this is a great idea.

            COULTER: God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.’

 Coulter and Fenn were both laughing. But her rape-the-planet bit would later be wrenched from context and repeatedly quoted as Coulter nuttiness. “What p_____ me off,” Coulter says, “is when they don’t get the punch line.”(4)

What ‘Polythene Ann’ doesn’t understand is that the cretins who are her audience do not understand the nuances of irony and sarcasm.  These are people prone, like any good Lutheran, to take things at face value and quite literally.  Others chose to interpret her bombast as some perverse form of humor:


“There was a lot of controversy over Coulter’s words in that exchange, but the author of the Time puff piece, John Cloud, helpfully explained that it was only because they didn’t understand the context. A lot of people believed him after reading that article, people like MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell who said in 2006:

 'Do not make the mistake of taking Ann Coulter seriously. She does fancy herself something of a comedian, a political comedian, and when you press her on a lot of these things, you find out that what’s really underneath it is the intent to make a joke. Now, it’s a joke that generally works only with the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. But she doesn’t mean a great deal of what she says.”' (5)


Mean it or not she has grown wealthy by polluting the airwaves and reducing political discourse by appealing to the base political instincts and the lowest intellectual common denominator.  The result is that she has become an embarrassment to her own movement.

Like her contemporaries Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, news of her decline is spreading as report circulate on the internet that she is no longer a welcome guest on mainstream media.  Citing Parton’s article in “Salon” the liberal blog “Ring Of Fire” featured an essay entitled “Right-Wing Corp Media has Dumped Coulter: It’s Killing Her Ego and Wealth”. 


“Now, they won’t give her the time of day. At a recent book signing for her most recent piece of pseudo-journalistic tripe, ¡Adios America!, she was heard whining, “They’re ignoring me, now!”  According to Annie Lowery of The Intelligencer, Coulter’s pathetic lamentation continued:

 ‘I haven’t been on CNN yet, because I was made up, my hair was done, I was mic’ed up, I was walking to the set…He [Don Lemon] was doing a full hour on the Doogans or whatever their name is…the next night, ‘We’re going to do all Doogans again.’ And then the next week, it’s the cop who yelled at a girl in a bikini! And then it’s Bruce Jenner!’

 Actually, Ms. Coulter, it’s “Duggars,” not “Doogans.”  The self-preoccupied Princess of Putrid and Poisonous Prose couldn’t even get that right.” (6)

Indeed, it has been reported she has even been refused an invitation to address that veritable concave of conservative idiots, the annual C-Pac Convention.  Ring of Fire Radio, commenting on her impending demise had this to say: “It may also be due to the fact that the GOP finds itself between a rock and a hard place over the immigration issue. On one hand, the aging herd of ignorant white males is hanging on every word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth about building walls and deporting “furriners” – an issue that Coulter’s Tweets and other writings put on steroids. On the other hand, Republicans know they cannot afford to alienate Hispanic voters (though the damage is in all likelihood, done).” (7)  She has become such a disgrace and embarrassment to the conservative movement that she is now left helplessly whining in the wilderness.

Her pending departure, along with Limbaugh and others, is a sign of hope.  Perhaps we can return to more civil discourse by transforming the current ‘Rescumlican’ party back into the Republican Party of our ancestors; back to a time when both parties venerated government, when both parties sought common ground, when both parties could reach compromise and work together, when both parties exhibited mutual respect.  


1. Dylan, Bob.  “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding). “Lyrics 1962-85”  Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1992. Page 176
2.  September 30, 2007: I Stink Therefore I Am, Polythene Ann, False Pearls Before Real Swine
3. Parton, Heather Digby, “Ann Coulter Has Fallen From Grace—And The Reason Why Is Terrifying”. “Salon”  6-29-15

4 Ibid.
5. Ibid.

7. Ibid



Sep 18, 2015

September 18, 2015: A Personal Note, Old-School Professional, All Things Must Pass

On a personal note, on the broadcast of today’s game between the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago White Sox, White Sox broadcaster Ken ‘ the hawk’ Harrelson announced the passing of Milo Hamilton.

Leland Milo Hamilton broadcast games for seven major league teams, but in the early and mid-1960’s he joined the longtime voice of the White Sox, Bob ‘the commander’ Elson, broadcasting over radio station WCFL.

Elson, who approached broadcasting the way an M.C. would introduce personalities and musical selections at a ‘big band’ concert, had a melodious voice guaranteed to put the young listener to sleep.  Listening to Elson on radio was like watching Lawrence Welk on television.  I can still remember being a mere 3 or 4 years old sitting in front of an old black and white television in my great-grandmother’s living room as the host of ‘Champaign Music’ would appear.  As the program droned on, I remember thinking to myself even at this early age “this too shall pass”.  Little did I know that something called PBS would come along and enable Welk to dog me well into retirement long after Welk himself had shed his mortal coil.  Elson was of this ilk.  Professional, establishment and, to my ears, boring.  When the Sox would get a hit Elson in his soft, melodious monotone would intone “and there’s a hit to center field.  A frozen rope single.”  If something really exciting happened he would add in similar vein “he really tattooed that ball”. 

My friends and I would tune in to WCFL to catch the Sox broadcast which would customarily begin with Milo coming on the air with an upbeat flair of excitement. “It’s White Sox Baseball Time!  Hello again everybody, this is Milo Hamilton, along with Bob Elson, bringing you the play-by-play account and description of today’s ball game between our White Sox and the New York Yankees….”  Reading live commercials during the breaks between innings, he would intone with equal urgency: “Remember only Budweiser is ‘Beach Wood Aged’, it’s a slow meticulous process but pays in extraordinary dividends in flavor and fine taste.”  Later, introduced to the word ‘mediocre’, as Milo described a particular team, I would add yet another adjective to my growing lexicon. Unlike many contemporary preachers, pundits, and politicians, Hamilton was no ‘howler’, speaking ‘up’ rather than ‘down’ to his audience. Accused of sounding like a graduate of a broadcasting academy, Milo was an old-school professional who learned from the ‘commander’ to bring no melodrama to the broadcast by saving one’s exuberance for the truly dramatic moments. Hamilton, like contemporary Howard Cosell and current White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone succeeded in making the game interesting while expanding, in the bargain, one’s vocabulary. 

He called Dave Nicholson’s shot over Comiskey Park’s left center field light standard. He called pitcher Gary Peter’s walk-off pinch-hit two run home run in a game against the Kansas City Athletics.  He described Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckleball, the speed and grace of Luis Aparicio, the gritty determination of Nellie Fox, and the pitching performances of Gary Peters, Juan Pizzarro, Ray Herbert, and Tommy John.  He moved on from Chicago, going to Atlanta where he became the voice of Henry Aaron’s then record-breaking 715th home run, finishing his career with a 12 year stint as the voice of the Houston Astros.

“All things must pass”, as George Harrison famously reminded us.  And so they must.  Everything except Lawrence Welk that is.