THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER. . .Sun Nov 20, 2005 13:09188.8.131.52
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER. . .
THIS: The L.A. Times fires Robert Scheer after 30 years.
THAT: Guess it didn’t work out.
THIS: Scheer: “The owner of this paper has taken direct control over the editorial page. (Publisher) Jeff Johnson is an accountant. He’s not a journalist. He has said, ‘I am going to run the editorial page. I'm going to run the columns and the editorials,’ very clearly, and. . .‘I'm in charge and I want this page to be more conservative.’”
THAT: Good that the Times doesn’t fire columnists on the basis of their politics.
THE OTHER: Cancel your subscription.
THIS: The U.S. has "detained" 83,000 people in the so-called "war on terror" in the past four years. About 14,500 still remain "detained."
THAT: Honey, I'll be home late. I've been detained by George W. Bush.
THIS: Robert Scheer was relentlessly attacked as a deranged un-American lefty by such noble personages as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’ Reilly.
THAT: Scheer’s writing is always thoroughly researched and backed up.
THE OTHER: Good that Limbaugh and O’Reilly have such influence with Times publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson. Cancel your subscription.
THIS: News item: Michael Jackson caught using the ladies’ room in a Dubai shopping mall.
THAT: Well, if there is any man out there who more needs to powder his nose. . .
THIS: Former president Jimmy Carter writes a commentary expressing concern that oh, the country is going straight to hell.
THAT: Carter writes with restraint and clarity about: the destruction of environmental policies, the torture committed in this country’s name, the breaking of various international treaties (including control of nuclear and biological weapons), greasing the wheels for the rich, massive increase in pollution. . .and many other achievements of the Bush administration.
THE OTHER: Deranged un-American lefty.
THIS: “President” Bush calls “irresponsible” rampant charges that he and his cronies faked and exaggerated WMD claims about Iraq, in order to drum up support for an invasion.
THAT: This is a half-step away from “un-American.”
THE OTHER: I am shocked---shocked---to find out that this administration lies to the people.
THIS: Robert Scheer’s replacement is a glibmeister named Joel Stein, who has lived in L.A. for ten big months.
THAT: An excerpt from Mr. Stein’s premiere column, which shot a duck in a barrel by denouncing the recent election (but praised the recall of Gray Davis): “As Karl Rove figured out by throwing gay marriage on every state’s ballot in the last presidential election, if you want people to come out, you’ve got to scare the crap out of them.”
THE OTHER: Good that the Times replaced Scheer with a local guy with such dignified command of English.
THIS: Governor Schwarzenegger claims that the repudiation of his initiatives by voters had nothing to do with the issues---that it was a repudiation of the initiative process.
THAT: I still can't believe I am typing the words, "Governor Schwarzenegger."
THIS: Hmm. . .Bush says the charges that he lied about WMD are “irresponsibile,” and Schwarzenegger says that his election losses had nothing to do with the ideas on the ballot. . .
THAT: Wonder what Schwarzenegger might say if, oh, there was a major earthquake here. Maybe “This is not my fault---heh heh heh.” Wonder what Bush might say if, oh, a big hurricane wiped out a major American city.
THE OTHER: Oh, yeah: “Brownie, you’re doin’ a heckuva job.”
THIS: The Times, of course, is owned by the Chicago Tribune, which treats it as second banana. Or banana peel, really. Times circulation is plummeting, along with circulations of most major dailies.
THAT: It is available for free on-line.
THE OTHER: Cancel your subscription. Hit ‘em where it hurts.
THIS: News item---FEMA warns an estimated 150,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees living in government-subsidized hotels that they have until Dec. 1 to find other housing before it stops paying for their rooms.
THAT: Merry Christmas!
THE OTHER: "Are there no prisons... and the Union workhouses, are they still in operation?"
THIS: The U.S. reverses its denial and finally admits to using white phosphorous in Iraq---as has long been reported by various media.
THAT: If particles of ignited white phosphorus land on a person's skin, they can continue to burn right through flesh to the bone. Toxic phosphoric acid can also be released into wounds, risking phosphorus poisoning. Skin burns must be immersed in water or covered with wet cloths to prevent re-combustion until the particles can be removed. Exposure to white phosphorus smoke in the air can also cause liver, kidney, heart, lung or bone damage and even death.
THE OTHER: I think we’ve found the weapons of mass destruction.
THIS: A Pentagon spokesperson has denied that white phosphorous is a chemical, and therefore is not banned as a "chemical weapon."
THAT: I did not use chemical weapons with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.
THIS: News item---House bill would let mining firms buy federal land cheap.
THAT: Of course, this “federal land” translates to national forests and desert.
THE OTHER: "Oh, we like to air condition, but the air has no ozone ring/ Still they're chopping down the forests for McDonald's and the Burger King. . ." ---George Harrison.
THIS: The Times has always been a pompous newspaper, under Otis Chandler and long before. Do a little L.A. journalism research, and you discover that all the other newspapers in town---there were variously four and five Times rivals---regarded the Times as the gray Republican pomposity on the other side of downtown, in the pompous gray building.
THAT: In multi-newspaper L.A., the Times was always second or third in circulation, and only became the top-selling paper after the Examiner made a deal to give the morning market to Spring Street, and kept the afternoon to itself.
THE OTHER: Cancel your subscription. Unless, of course, you really need that paper to find out where to buy the very best granite to remodel the kitchen in your million-dollar La Canada home, half-million-dollar downtown Skid Row-adjacent condo or West Side affluenza manse.
THIS: A White House document shows that oil barons met with President Dick “Vice President” Cheney's “energy task force” in 2001 -- something long known by environmentalists and other sane people, but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.
THAT: Bruce Babbitt, secretary of the interior under Clinton: “We are in the worst down cycle of anti-environmentalism in the history of conservation. In this administration, they presented a friendly face of consensus-building beneath which the systematic destruction of the environmental consensus is actually without parallel.”
THIS: I’m shocked---shocked---that oil companies and Dick Cheney would lie to the American people.
THIS: Times editors, publishers, and “staff writers” (they’re not mere reporters, you see) inevitably refer to the rag as a “great newspaper.” Even Marc Cooper, in his excellent piece about current Times/Scheer woes, falls into this trap.
THAT: The Times has done some great reporting through the years, and has featured some great writing. Still does.
THE OTHER: But it’s really just a great big newspaper.
THIS: Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s novel, “The Apprentice,” includes scenes of bestiality.
THAT: Bet Judy Miller keeps it right on top of her nightstand.
THIS: “Scheer served honorably as a Times national correspondent for two decades, producing unique and unconventional reporting on Reagan, Russia, Cuba, the Cold War and any other topic he tackled. As a columnist he’s built a loyal local and national following like few other Times writers.”---Marc Cooper.
THAT: “It’s inaccurate, however, to ascribe ideological motives to our decision to stop running Scheer’s column.”---Andres Martinez, Times Editorial Page Editor.
THE OTHER: I’m shocked---shocked---that a newspaper would lie to its readers.
THIS: The Rev. Adrian Rogers, a Memphis televangelist who helped engineer the arch-conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, has died at 74.
THAT: Dorothy W. Raphaelson, one of the last surviving “Ziegfeld Girls” who danced in the Ziegfeld Follies, has died at 100.
THE OTHER: Such great, wholesome, and constructive contribution to society cannot be overstated. Thank you, Dorothy.
THIS: The Times has lost four percent of its readership in the past year.
THAT: Scheer’s firing could make it five. There are a lot of people in this town who appreciated his straight-shooting lone voice of reason in exposing and decrying the deceit and corruption that is the Bush administration.
THE OTHER: Cancel your subscription. (Apologies to T.J. Simers, Al Martinez, Steve Lopez.)
THIS: Sen. Barbara Boxer's profoundly horrible novel, "A Time to Run," does not include bestiality, but it does feature a sex scene between two horses.
THAT: Our senator also writes sex scenes involving people. Here is an excerpt: "Greg's naked body was long and elegant, his embrace enveloped her utterly, and they meshed with ease and grace. He smelled good too, faintly and astringently of aftershave. He was clinging to her as if he'd never let her go, it was all so easy and right."
THE OTHER: They. . .meshed? I think this is grounds to vote her out of office.
THIS: A former US soldier who served in Iraq says breathing in smoke close to a "white phosphorous" shell caused the throat and lungs to blister until the victim suffocated, with the phosphorus continuing to burn them from the inside. Long-term exposure to lesser concentrations over several months or years may lead to a condition called "phossy jaw", where mouth wounds are caused that fail to heal and the jawbone eventually breaks down.
THAT: “We do not torture.”---“President” George W. Bush.
THE OTHER: Cancel your subscription.
THIS: If you decide not to cancel your subscription to the Times, you might want to make the threat anyhow, as you can get a better deal.
THAT: Callers cancelling over Scheer are first read a prepared statement about the newspaper undergoing a “redesign” or some nonsense, then it’s Let’s Make a Deal! Those who were paying $60 per quarter for the rag are being offered a year for $99---a 62 percent savings.
THE OTHER: Gee, what a great way to convince people you have a “great” newspaper.
THIS: News item: Iraq's government ordered an urgent investigation of allegations that many of the 173 "detainees" found by American troops over the weekend in the basement of an Interior Ministry building in a Baghdad suburb had been tortured by their Iraqi captors.
THAT: A senior Iraqi official who visited the "detainees" said two appeared paralyzed and others had some of the skin peeled off their bodies by their abusers.
THE OTHER: Honey, I'll be a little late tonight. I've been detained by paralysis and lack of skin in an Iraqi torture chamber.
THIS: News item---Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob
"The Snob" Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case that a senior administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed.
THAT: Woodward won't ID the rat who ratted out Plame, and previously withheld this information for fear of being subpoened. Oh, and to protect his source (he says.) His source who sought to discredit a CIA agent intimately involved in protecting this country from the spread of WMD.
THE OTHER: Speaking of rats. . .
THIS: Woodward's source is reportedly current National Security Advisor Steven Hadley.
THAT: If true, this would mean that the guy in charge of advising about national security blew the cover of a CIA agent dedicated to. . .national security. The snake eats itself!
THE OTHER: Maybe Libby could work all those rats and snakes in D.C. into his next novel.
THIS: The Times in recent years has been spectacularly inculcated with arrogance, condescension, and prissy little corporate martinets wielding authority as if they were vastly significant personages at a “great newspaper.”
THAT: But don’t take it from me---I only wrote for the paper as a “regular contributor” for ten years. I can’t possibly know what I’m talking about.
THE OTHER: 1 800 252 9141.
RIPOSTE is published on Wednesdays, barring natural gastrointestinal disasters.
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