Jim Walsh's Big Hairy Weblog Thingy

Thursday, March 31, 2005

History Lesson

What with the Schiavo mess and the recent developments at the Vatican, I fear few will note the death of Fred Korematsu. What happened to Korematsu should stand as the ultimate cautionary tale of what can happen to civil liberties during wartime.

Sadly, few know the story. Of the few who do, some have drawn all the wrong conclusions.

Sad but not surprising. If there's anything we've learned from history, it's that we don't learn anything from history...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Death Of A Radio Hero

I'm saddened today to hear of the passing of Dr. Don Rose. Details are sketchy; apparently he passed away in his sleep last night.

For the uninitiated, Don Rose was an early-morning radio host who worked in markets like Atlanta and Philly before he settled in San Francisco in the seventies. Radio folks of that particular generation consider him a legend.

Most who listened to the good Doctor remember his constant barrage of excruciatingly corny jokes. Yet he was more than a walking joke book - much more. The Doc was a genuinely decent man who knew how to communicate with warmth and humanity. I recall hearing him as part of one of those Philly radio "reunion" shows, relating the story of his first heart attack and how he died - and came back - on the table. Powerful, moving, life-affirming radio.

Don Rose suffered a series of health setbacks in his later years worthy of Job - a string of heart operations, loss of a leg - yet he never lost his sense of humor or his burning passion for life.

A true mensch. Godspeed, Doc...

Get Real

From Yahoo:

Four male models who appeared in an ad campaign against domestic violence are suing New York City, saying the posters stayed up beyond the agreed time, leading people to think they really were wife beaters.

This reminds me of those stories from a few years ago about people accosting Joan Collins and Eileen Fulton on the street. It's scary how clueless some people are about models and celebrities.

Just ask Yoko Ono.

Scared yet?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Inherit The Wind: The Sequel To The Sequel

From Florida:

Republicans on the House Choice and Innovation Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to pass a bill that aims to stamp out “leftist totalitarianism” by “dictator professors” in the classrooms of Florida’s universities.
The Academic Freedom Bill of Rights, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, passed 8-to-2 despite strenuous objections from the only two Democrats on the committee.

The bill has two more committees to pass before it can be considered by the full House.

While promoting the bill Tuesday, Baxley said a university education should be more than “one biased view by the professor, who as a dictator controls the classroom,” as part of “a misuse of their platform to indoctrinate the next generation with their own views.”

The bill sets a statewide standard that students cannot be punished for professing beliefs with which their professors disagree. Professors would also be advised to teach alternative “serious academic theories” that may disagree with their personal views.

According to a legislative staff analysis of the bill, the law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.

So what's the problem, you ask? You mean aside from the First Amendment ramifications of the government telling a teacher what to teach? Read on:

“Some professors say, ‘Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don’t like it, there’s the door,’” Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.

So, if you disagree with a scientifically sound theory (however flawed it may be) because it doesn't coincide with your superstitious view of the world, now you can sue.

"Hey Prof, my religion says the world is flat. How dare you penalize me for that? I'm gonna sue your whole geology department out of existence."

Welcome to the Dark Ages II...can I take your hat for you?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Osama bin Baba-Booey

Interesting story at reason.com about one Qusair Mohamedbhai who claims that not only was he denied a checking account at a bank, but that a bank officer later went on to boast -- at a bank safety conference -- that she had stopped a terrorist and cited Mohamedbhai, a lawyer, by name.

My first thought was how many of my compatriots in the talk radio biz would, no doubt, get ahold of this story and, no doubt, with no more information than one would garner from reading the previous paragraph, slur the lawyer as an "obvious" terrorist and praise the bank officer as some kind of besieged American hero.

My second thought was to wonder just how it would sound.

I think it might go...somethin'...like...this…

RUSH: "Those liberals are destroying America! I've got a story right here where a leftwing wacko activist judge - listen up people, this is serious - has agreed to hear a lawsuit by international terrorist Muhomed bu-High..."

MIKE GALLAGHER: "Those liberals are destroying America! I've got a story right here where a leftwing wacko activist judge - listen up people, this is serious - has agreed to hear a lawsuit by international terrorist Muhomed bu-High..."

LARS LARSON: "Those liberals are destroying America! I've got a story right here where a leftwing wacko activist judge - listen up people, this is serious - has agreed to hear a lawsuit by international terrorist Muhomed bu-High..."

MICHAEL SAVAGE: "Those liberals are destroying America! I've got a story right here where a leftwing wacko activist judge - listen up people, this is serious - has agreed to hear a lawsuit by international terrorist Muhomed bu-High..."

RUSTY HUMPHRIES: "Those liberals are destroying America! I've got a story right here where a leftwing wacko activist judge - listen up people, this is serious - has agreed to hear a lawsuit by international terrorist Muhomed bu-High..."

LIDDY & HILL: (Liddy) "Those liberals are destroying America, Austin..."
(Hill) "Tom, I've got a story right here where a leftwing wacko activist judge..."
(Liddy) "Listen up people, this is serious..."
(Hill) "...has agreed to hear a lawsuit by international terrorist Muhomed bu-High..."

HOWARD STERN: "Today's guest is Bambi, a foot-fetish model..."

(sigh) Thank God for Howard...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Just Die, Already!

Enough already about the Schiavo case. I'm tired of the BS, sick of hearing from power-grabbing hypocrites and truth be told, I don't even have any sympathy for Terri Schiavo.
You heard me right. My heart doesn't bleed for "poor, poor Terri."
As far as I'm concerned, the condition she is in is something she brought upon herself.
I have no sympathy for these pampered, middle class white women in this country who let themselves get so screwed up in the head (usually with a bit of help from anal-rententive, domineering parents) that they find it necessary to starve themselves in order to achieve some unrealistic and totally arbitrary standard of beauty.
As George Carlin has pointed out, this is the only country in the world where you can find a homeless vet digging in a dumpster to find a peach pit for breakfast, while in the restaurant next door some self-indulgent, neurotic bitch is whining, "I don't wanna e-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-t."
Yeah, right. They're victims of a patriarchal society. In the immortal words of Jean-Paul Sartre, merde.
The hell with her. I honestly don't care anymore.
BTW: I can't be the only person totally creeped-out by her hag of a mother blubbering over her "little girl." Ya know lady, maybe if you thought of her as an adult, she wouldn't have found it necessary to starve herself in order to be more beautiful. Psychologists will tell you that anorexics tend to be the children of overbearing parents. Could it be that this whole mess is about Ms. Schiavo's folks trying to assuage their guilt? Just asking.
One more thing: all you "right-to-life" people, unless you actually knew the woman personally, stop referring to her as "Terri." That is reeeeeaaaaaaly creepy.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Inherit The Wind: The Sequel

I know, I know...the cut 'n' paste stuff is el draggo, but you gotta read this. Well, at least part of this. From the New York Times:

Several Imax theaters, including some in science museums, are refusing to show movies that mention the subject - or the Big Bang or the geology of the earth - fearing protests from people who object to films that contradict biblical descriptions of the origin of Earth and its creatures.
The number of theaters rejecting such films is small, people in the industry say - perhaps a dozen or fewer, most in the South. But because only a few dozen Imax theaters routinely show science documentaries, the decisions of a few can have a big impact on a film's bottom line - or a producer's decision to make a documentary in the first place.
People who follow trends at commercial and institutional Imax theaters say that in recent years, religious controversy has adversely affected the distribution of a number of films, including "Cosmic Voyage," which depicts the universe in dimensions running from the scale of subatomic particles to clusters of galaxies; "Galápagos," about the islands where Darwin theorized about evolution; and "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea," an underwater epic about the bizarre creatures that flourish in the hot, sulfurous emanations from vents in the ocean floor.
"Volcanoes," released in 2003 and sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and Rutgers University, has been turned down at about a dozen science centers, mostly in the South, said Dr. Richard Lutz, the Rutgers oceanographer who was chief scientist for the film. He said theater officials rejected the film because of its brief references to evolution, in particular to the possibility that life on Earth originated at the undersea vents.
Carol Murray, director of marketing for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, said the museum decided not to offer the movie after showing it to a sample audience, a practice often followed by managers of Imax theaters. Ms. Murray said 137 people participated in the survey, and while some thought it was well done, "some people said it was blasphemous."
In their written comments, she explained, they made statements like "I really hate it when the theory of evolution is presented as fact," or "I don't agree with their presentation of human existence."
On other criteria, like narration and music, the film did not score as well as other films, Ms. Murray said, and over all, it did not receive high marks, so she recommended that the museum pass.
"If it's not going to draw a crowd and it is going to create controversy," she said, "from a marketing standpoint I cannot make a recommendation" to show it."

Jesus! I kinda thought we resolved this issue (and threw out the mideval shit) a few years ago...

I just have one question:

Where is H.L. Mencken when we really need him?

Fed Up

From Yahoo News:

"We laugh together, we cry together, we smile together, we talk together," Mary Schindler told reporters as supporters maintained a vigil outside the hospice where her daughter is cared for. "Please, please, please save my little girl."

She's not your little girl, lady. She's a grown woman (or she was) with a husband who is perfectly capable of deciding her fate.

A little harsh? Perhaps, but this is a time for harshness. I'm tired of all the grandstanding behind this case.

And I'm especially sick of Congress and their shameless pandering to the power-hungry religious fanatics and their knuckle-dragging following (funny how all that "sanctity of marriage" crap flies out the window when it means the husband is making the, ah, incorrect decision. What a bunch of goddamn hypocrites).

Tom DeLay: you, sir, are a monster. Go to hell, you bastard.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Crucible

"I am not going to answer that question, Congressman Waxman, because I do not recognize the legitimacy of this proceedings."

Why doesn't someone say that? McGwire came the closest but even he hedged when it got thick.

"This is a witchhunt."

Are people just too scared of the government?

"Senator Bunning, have you no shame?"

Is it that the current generation of adults just doesn't place a premium on civil liberties?

"This, gentlemen, is a matter for Major League Baseball, and is none of your concern."

Tonight on "Nightline" Sweetie-Pie Stephanopolus and a panel of media bootlickers bounced the issue around the table and NOT ONE OF THEM seemed to have a problem with the Guv'mint horning in on this (my favorite was the one asshole who said, "well, I'm a libertarian, but..." No, shithead - you're not.) . It was all about what MLB should do, what the government should do, but everyone, to a man, implicity accepted the premise that Messers. Waxman, et al had every right to do what they're doing.
Not me.

I don't accept it for one minute.

Congressman Waxman, Senators Bunning and McCain, Mr. Serrano, and all the rest of you, as far as I'm concerned you're no better than a pack of Mafia extortionists.

You're all a bunch of thugs.

You go to hell.

And shame on you, MLB, for wimping out. When faced with the demands of a bully, you have two choices: you can back down or you can stand up for yourself. When you stand up for yourself sometimes you get your ass kicked. But at least you can walk - or crawl - away with your dignity intact.

A lot of people talk about whether athletes should be role models. Well, I don't know about you but my heroes are the people who stick up for themselves, warts and all, and refuse to take crap from bullies.

Where are the real heroes?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

We Remember Mama

One thing I've learned in my years as a broadcaster is that you never really know what is going to get a rise out of people.

A few weeks ago, purely as an afterthought, I knocked off some thoughts about what would have been my parents' fiftieth anniversary. I'm frankly astonished at the response I've gotten via email from friends who have been through something similar. Then again, if you're near my age, you're going through that ugly period of life when you know you'll be attending a lot of funerals. It's one thing we all have in common: dancing with Mr. D.
In any event, thank you, all of you, for your kind comments.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Where's That Drunken Commie When We Need Him?

So Congress has taken it upon itself to shake down MLB on the steroid issue.

And when MLB dared to question the legitimacy of this little witch hunt, Messrs. Waxman, et. al. responded with a pissy little lecture that said, in effect, we do it because we can.

I can't help think of how Dalton Trumbo might have handled it.

Don't get me wrong: Trumbo was probably every bit the Communist his accusers painted him out to be. He was also a first-class lush. But he had guts, and as Gunny Hartman would say, "Guts is enough."

When HUAC put it to him, Trumbo, in effect, told them to go jump up something sideways.
He went to jail. He lost a lot of work. But he stood up to the government bullies.

So when is somebody - anybody - going to take a cue from that wacky Hollywood Ten and tell assholes like McCain, Waxman, etc. to "go fuck yourselves"?

I won't hold my breath waiting...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

My Favorite Subject: Hosts Who Suck

A couple of years ago, I posted some comments on the All Access website about the sad state of syndicated talk radio (things haven't gotten any better) and singled out one particular host by name as exemplar of the mediocrity on the bird: one Mike Gallagher.

A couple of days later I got a call from a friend at a local Gallagher affiliate station; it seems Mr. Gallagher had devoted a precious hour of his syndicated programming ripping me a new one. Me! Jim Walsh! A relative nobody in the biz! Two thoughts ran through my mind at the time: 1) This Gallagher guy must be pretty thin-skinned, and 2) I should send him a note thanking him for the plug (to his credit, Mike sent me a good-humored response; I suppose it was schtick after all. God, I hope it was).

I mention this for one reason: the other night I was listening to a local station and a host named Lars Larson.

I think I owe Mike Gallagher an apology...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Back from the Mad City

I'm back from Madison. Well okay, I've been back for three days. Liked the town, loved the station. Will it turn into something more permanent? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind...