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May 8, 2005 - Seven Days in May

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World’s Laziest Journalist

May 9, 2005

By Bob Patterson


As soon as the last column had been sent off to Just Above Sunset world headquarters, we had seven days in May to come up with a new installation of insights and perceptive comments (if I do say so myself) from the World’s Laziest Journalist.


The next step in writing this column was to figure out what the topic would be.


About forty years ago (give or take a handful), we read something in the New York Times Sunday magazine section that predicted that by the time the new century began, the world, thanks to nuclear proliferation, would resemble a room full of guys with pistols trying to have a nice discussion.  They would all have their guns prominently displayed lest the others forget about it.  It was going to raise the tension level for all.  It was a very perceptive (and now relevant) article.  Without access to a Lexus-Nexus search, finding the specifics of who wrote that article and when exactly it was published, seems like too much work.  So, scratch that idea.


During the week of topic prospecting, the news media went overboard on the subject of “The Runaway Bride.”  Maybe we’ll do some research and get material for a June column that asks why, if there is an amnesty program (at least in California) for people who drop a foundling off at a police or fire station, can’t there be a similar program so that brides who get the “Cold Feet Syndrome” can register with the local police as “dropping out?”  It used to be that, when people went missing, if police found them they would not reveal their location if the subject of the search didn’t want that information revealed.  Now, with the overabundance of news coverage for missing persons, it’s difficult (if not impossible) for the police to keep a reluctant bride’s location confidential.  If brides could register with the police as “pulling a runner” they wouldn’t have to face dire consequences and waste police time and pay for a futile search. 


[A Google search revealed that Just Above Sunset did run an item about Lenore Long Bales (AKA “The Barefoot Bride”) case that occurred in Kansas in 1941.  There’s not much else on the Interned about her.  “The Runaway Bride will slowly fade into obscurity (if we’re lucky.)]


Bill O’Reilly is incensed about the case of Jennifer Wilbanks (AKA “The Runaway Bride.”)  He says he isn’t being vindictive when he insists that she be held responsible for the lies she told.  Hey, Mr. Compassionate Conservative, dig this:  Maybe she was on a top secret mission looking for the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, eh?  Some folks get an automatic “free pass” for their fibs.  Why shouldn’t she be one of them?  Go back to broadcasting from a basement studio in Avoca, ya big (hypocritical) bully.  You come down hard on her but the lies about WMD’s get a shrug. 


O’Reilly (on his May 5, 2005 radio show) said the Marine that shot a wounded Iraq was doing what had to be done to win the war.  Then he came down hard on Lynndie England. We should write a column that asks: If she shot the prisoners would she get a high O’Reilly’s approval rating?


On Tuesday May 3, 2005, the New York Times ran a story, written by Thom Shanker, alleging that there isn’t enough “depth on the bench” with America’s armed forces to contend with any new extended conflicts. 


There was a classic movie about what would happen if the United States armed forces disagreed with the president titled Seven Days in May.  What would happen if Congress were to declare war while the troops are stretched too thin?  That’s not going to happen, of course, because the president has the power to start a new war (thanks to a post 9-11 measure that is still in effect.)  The Pentagon is run (mostly) by folks who had to study for four years at places like West Point.  George W. Bush (as best we can determine) displayed exemplary acuity and aptitude for military matters and was granted an immediate commission, so that it is logical to assume that he can assess the situation much more perceptively than the folks who had to struggle along in classrooms for four years to get to a level that matches his natural abilities for command.  Some of the limp wrist liberals in the news media seem to harbor some deep rooted psychological fear that the president might go into Iran looking for weapons of mass destruction and come up empty-handed. 


Has anybody suggested that Congress reclaim the power to declare war?


What would happen if the understaffed Army gets orders to begin a new war that looks unwinnable to the folks at the Pentagon?  It seems like they have about seven days or so to ponder that dilemma. 


We prefer to (try, at least) to come up with a topic that is original, but sometimes when deadlines loom, we look around on the Internet for an idea for the column.  We noticed that Paterico’s Pontification got onto the blogdex list for an item that said that the Los Angeles Times excised some information from a Reuters story about the particulars of the Commie wench who nearly got suddenly dead while trying to run a checkpoint on the road to the Baghdad Airport.  We wonder how Paterico would fare in a courtroom because the tape in the story was not being run on all the evening news broadcast.  CBS apparently said the tape showed the car speeding as it approached the checkpoint.  Hearsay evidence is unacceptable in a court case.  CBS says something and everyone else says that CBS said it.  CBS did say it.  That’s the truth, but the important aspect of the story is what the tape actually showed and when a reporter can not access the veracity of what it does or doesn’t show it boils down to hearsay.  If reporters were shown the tape and given some grounding on what it shows, then they could include the facts in their story. 


Perhaps, if Paterico were to attend a course about evidence for lawyers, he would improve the quality of his blogging attempts a becoming a citizen journalist.  But then again he gets onto blogdex and we don’t so who cares about the rules of evidence?


One blog did point out that one of the points of contention is that the shooting was done after the car had passed the Americans.  (We were surfing around in skim mode and did not jot down the exact name of that blogger.  It was mentioned by Daou Report on Sunday May 1, 2005, if that helps any fact checkers who care.)  The blogger did note that the car’s driver wasn’t killed, the folks in the back seat received heavier fire.  Photos did show only one bullet hole in the windshield.  We haven’t seen photos of the back end of the car.  We failed to get the name of that eagle-eyed blogger, so we can’t do the column about that.


Another topic was the findings that Pat Tillman had been killed by friendly fire.  Seems that initially that fact was obvious but the real story was held back temporarily. 


As the week of April 24 to 30 drew to a close, an on-air personality for Air America, got some publicity because the program (reportedly) included the sound effects of a gun shot in conjunctions with a question about how to deal with President Bush.  The conservative radio talk show cabal immediately demanded tough justice be dealt out to the guilty party.  Later, we saw that conservative radio personality G. Gordon Liddy had feigned outrage at the offense and insisted that conservatives demand that she be treated harshly for the offense.  A blog then printed a transcript of one of Liddy’s radio broadcast from 11 years or so ago.  The transcript indicates that he had informed his listeners that if they chose to shoot ATF agents they should aim for the head because those law enforcement representatives wore bulletproof vests.  How are we going to believe a transcript?  If that is true, wouldn’t Air America (and fair and balanced news media) run tapes of that particular bit of broadcasting history? 


When conservative talk show hosts say such outrageous things it is a given that they are just kidding, but the liberal personalities must be held to a much more rigid standard.  Didn’t Malcolm X maintain that there were two separate but unequal tiers of justice available in America?  If (mindless speculation alert!) Malcolm X were still alive and still believed that, wouldn’t he be predicting that the all white jury might convict Michael Jackson based on flimsy evidence? 


Last week, radio talk show host Michael Savage coined a new word for use when discussing Bush’s term in office.  He used the new word: presiDUNCY.  Savage lives in San Francisco.  Famed columnist Herb Caen used to be very clever about making up new words.  He is credited with creating the word “beatnik.”  He lived in San Francisco, too.


Is there some kind of creative “gene” in the water up there, which fosters manufacturing new words?  Is there a word that denotes the ability to coin new words?  (Does William Safire, who writes the On Language column for the New York Times Sunday Magazine Section read the World’s Laziest Journalist column?  Odds are he would know what such a hypothetical word is, if it does exist.)


Well, we found some interesting items but nothing good enough for a full column.  Dang!  Wait a minute!  We’ll just type up our notes, call that this week’s column, and send it off to the JAS home office and start looking for next week’s topic.


This week for the Bytes of L. A. we offer our readers a website where folks who used to live in L. A. can once again hear: “ …or your mattress is freeeeee!”


If you have never been to L. A. and you are coming for a visit and you want to see movie stars if that is possible try this.


Folks who are headed for L. A. expect weirdness.  They will be glad to learn that there is one website devoted exclusively to the unusual in L. A.


G. Gordon Liddy has been quoted as saying: “Obviously, crime pays, or there'd be no crime.”


Waylnon Jennings’ song, How Much Is It Worth to Live in LA?, has a line about dodging bullets on the freeway, so we’ll ask the disk jockey to play that song while we clean our Weatherby and shoot on out of here for this week (faster than a speeding bullet.)  Come back next week when we will ask the question: When NRA members go shopping do they aim their efforts at Target stores?  Until then, have a bull’s-eye week.



Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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