Exit: Bob.

The news would be easier to keep up with if it would just stay put. The missing banker I keep referring to? He’s a local resident who disappeared from his office in Macomb County a month ago, an office found “in disarray,” one of those cop/journalist words no actual human being ever says. It was a Sunday night, too, so he was alone there, just another CEO banker burning the midnight oil at his flatlining bank. This, the bank’s precarious status, was seen as interesting, as were rumors of a gambling problem (denied by family). The usual barstool detectives weighed in. In my mind, the possibilities boiled down to two obvious ones — he drained the accounts and fled for a country with no extradition treaty, or else flung himself off a bridge.

When his corpse was found by duck hunters a few days ago, floating in the lake not far from his office, the bridge theory gained credence. The autopsy revealed …something. No blunt-force trauma, probably drowning. It’s hard to find evidence on a body that’s been in the water for a month. I know it’s his job, but the medical examiner had my sympathies.

The family said they wanted a second autopsy, their legal right if they were willing to pay, and they were — they have the means. So the body is turned over to the m.e. in Oakland County, and what’s this? Why, it’s a bullet hole in the base of the skull. Back into the water the sheriff’s department goes, and what’s this? Why, it’s a .38-caliber handgun belonging to the deceased, not six feet from where the body was found.

This story has officially outpaced the efforts of a small hyperlocal website to keep up with it, just when it becomes really interesting. This is why we still need newspapers, folks.

I don’t expect it will do much for Oakland-Macomb relations, either. The wound was detected, the sheriff said, using a “sophisticated X-ray machine” that spotted the bullet fragments, a machine the Macomb m.e. did not have. Way to rub it in, richer county. Also, the sheriff is running for county executive, and this is an October surprise he doesn’t need. Finally, it raises the obvious question: Who killed the banker? He or she has had a month head start on the forces of justice. I expect all of this is being discussed in newsroom meetings all over the metro. Well, as I said, we just don’t have the boots.

Fortunately for bloggers, however, today is rich in material. Bob Guccione died, I see. In Plano, Texas. What the hell was he doing down there? Seeking out the sun like a lizard, maybe? Or just looking for cheaper housing:

The dissolution of the Guccione empire took years. A $200 million Penthouse casino in Atlantic City never materialized, and he lost much of his investment. A $17.5 million movie containing hard-core sex scenes and graphic violence, “Caligula,” was shunned by distributors, and Mr. Guccione lost heavily. He once hired 82 scientists to develop a small nuclear reactor as a low-cost energy source, but it came to nothing and cost $17 million.

The government took chunks of his fortune. In 1985, the Internal Revenue Service demanded $45 million in back taxes. In 1992, he had to borrow $80 million for another tax bill. In 1986, after a scathing federal antipornography report, Penthouse was withdrawn from many newsstands and circulation revenues — a major source of income — fell sharply.

The trend accelerated in the 1990s as Internet pornography grew increasingly available. Mr. Guccione responded with more explicit sexual content that drove advertisers and vendors away, limiting many sales to pornographic bookstores.

…Mr. Guccione, who developed throat cancer in 1998, sold artworks, media properties and his Staatsburg estate as revenues dwindled and debts soared. Penthouse posted a $10 million loss in 2001, General Media filed for bankruptcy in 2003, and he resigned as chairman and chief executive of Penthouse International. Creditors foreclosed on the Guccione mansion, and he moved out in 2006.

I saw the skeleton of the Atlantic City casino when I was there to cover the Miss America pageant one year. It was stalled at the ironwork stage, and every beam was branded with the Penthouse key logo. It loomed over and beside and around a tiny, shabby little house, one of those infamous old cusses who simply will not sell at any price.

The story went that construction stalled when a libel judgment Guccione won against Larry Flynt — something like $75 million, the highest ever awarded at the time — was appealed and knocked down to something closer to $1.98. Now there was a story, unfolding in a Columbus courtroom in 1979. The paper still didn’t have its act together, and it was covered by the usual courthouse reporter with no great fanfare. Hunter Thompson could have gotten a book out of it. I remember going over to J.C. Burns’ mom’s apartment (she lived three doors down from my parents) to visit one night, and she was laughing over it so hard she had tears running down her face. Her comedic sense was obviously more developed than the metro editors at the Dispatch, and could see there was something hysterically funny about one pornographer suing another pornographer for damaging his reputation. At one point Guccione took the stand and wept over the offense done to “the woman I love,” Kathy Keeton, his life and business partner, who sat at the plaintiff’s table knitting throughout the trial.

I forget what the insult was. Probably one of Flynt’s aggressively stupid humor pieces, like the one about Jerry Falwell, memorialized in “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” God knows what the jury was thinking, but the story went that the Gooch, flush with the anticipation of all that cash, decided to get in on the Atlantic City gambling boom when it was still young. Alas, it didn’t work out. Lots of stuff didn’t work out. Funny how rich men go crazy — a nuclear reactor? Eighty-two scientists? Imagine getting that job, telling your family: “We’re moving to New York to build a small reactor for a guy who publishes a skin magazine, family! Let’s get packing!”

And then there was “Caligula,” proof Guccione, like all pornographers, also sought the holy grail of respectability — a dirty movie that would keep ’em in their seats after they got what they came for. (Or came what they got for. Whatever.) It didn’t turn out that way, and is generally acknowledged as one of the world’s most expensive all-time stinkers. A few of us saw it one night, in some down-at-the-heels art-movie house in Columbus. There’s a scene where a female character masturbates by pedaling some sort of exercise bicycle that propelled a wheel of feathers that hit her in the happy place. It raised some question in my mind about the technology available in ancient Rome for such a thing, but oh well. I really can’t do better than this archival Time magazine piece on the fiasco, which contains gem after gem after gem:

Where (original screenwriter Gore) Vidal was liberal with sex scenes, Brass has been profligate: there are enough orgies to satisfy even Guccione, and phalluses in all sizes decorate walls, dinner plates and nearly everything else—with naked girls taking up the spaces in between. “To the Romans,” notes (star Malcolm) McDowell, “sex was like driving a car.”

Poor Malcolm McDowell. He later said the movie served as a lesson in the career dangers of doing nudity early in one’s career; you become the guy who can always be counted on to “take his kit off.”

Well, then. There’s so much good bloggage today, all of it from the NYT, which is sort of a carnival of Grim today:

In Indiana, Baron Hill could well be going down for daring to state heresy: Climate change is real:

A rain of boos showered Mr. Hill, including a hearty growl from Norman Dennison, a 50-year-old electrician and founder of the Corydon Tea Party.

“It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”

Blackwater will likely get away with it. With everything.

Does your kid play football? Check his helmet to see if it’s “certified” by a group consisting of helmet manufacturers. Yes, your kid can get a concussion from the Invisible Hand.

Well, I’m thoroughly propagandized. Off to Wayne State.

Posted at 9:36 am in Current events, Movies |

61 responses to “Exit: Bob.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2010 at 10:01 am

    With all due respect to Bob, and to the Proprietoress, I think we may not be done plumbing the depths of what today’s college students don’t know . . .

    [see second half of yesterday’s thread]

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  2. vince said on October 21, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Whoa there.
    How can I let this line pass? “…when I was there to cover the Miss Amer ica pageant one year.”
    I can only imagine what kind of Nallnian take you brought to that story.

    Do tell!

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  3. nancy said on October 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Vince, I tried. Unfortunately, no one told the copy desk what my orders were. By the end of the week, I was running on page B3. A prime illustration of the metro/copy desk power struggles of the early ’80s.

    However, I saw so, so much and had such a great time. I’ll save it for another day.

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  4. prospero said on October 21, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I allways wondered if Elizabeth Regina was aware of Caligula when she wrote Helen Mirren’s name in on that DBE list. Then again, maybe she own’s her own Blu-Ray. After All Sir John Gielgud and Sir Peter O’Toole are in it too. Seems to me it’s patently unfair that Malcolm McDowell hasn’t been rewarded an MBE for his efforts. I mean the fashion-challenged old biddy wanted to make Keef a knight.

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  5. coozledad said on October 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

    It’s fun to think about the bankers having to gun each other down to keep the extent of the macrotheft under wraps. All that sweet, sweet talent, floating in the nations’ rivers.

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  6. nancy said on October 21, 2010 at 10:54 am


    Did you know Tom McGuane has a new novel out today? I hope it’s better than the last one.

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  7. prospero said on October 21, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Oh Nancy, I sure do. My copy should be waiting for me right now at Barnes & Noble right now. Just reread Sporting Club and Bushwhacked Piano, two of the mosst hilarious books ever written by an American novelist.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2010 at 10:58 am

    There are bankers, Coozledad, and there are bankers. I wouldn’t leap to the assumption that this guy is one of the megathieves. Community banks in many towns are more than the glue, they’re the connective tissue, the ligaments, the actual bones of what holds the place up and allows it to move.

    I am biased: this county has some very progressive, customer focused, personal bank/savings & loan institutions. They’ve been a lifeline for many agencies around here as federal/state support craters. Never worked for a bank, no family working in one, but I’ll defend our local bankers pretty far down the road.

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  9. nancy said on October 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Yes, I have to come down with Jeff on this one. This guy ran a little community bank, and was well-spoken-of everywhere. However, he was also being sued by the estate of an elderly woman, represented by a respectable elder-law specialist, who said he encouraged the lady to invest in a company without telling her he owned it. Seems the offense stopped well short of requiring a bullet to the brain, but obviously, one of the themes of this story is: You never know. Ever.

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  10. dan_g said on October 21, 2010 at 11:24 am

    One more NY Times article on the front page today which I think is the most important and which will affect us all for longer:

    “Keynes Who? Europe Avoids His Approach”.

    I wake up every morning to the BBC World Service. The reporters talk about the massive budget cuts. The massive layoffs of government employees. The massive cuts in services. Then say say “Of course it has to be done. The country cannot keep living beyond its means.”

    Paul Krugman is saying that this will depress the economy. What we need is spending to increase demand. He shows that spending is just following the curve that it was already on. It’s tax receipts that have fallen which leads to more borrowing. And more layoffs means less tax receipts. And less demand because people cannot buy. It’s a vicious cycle.

    But with long term rates as low as they are it’s raining soup and we should be catching it in our bowls instead of junking all those pallets of soup in the warehouse because it’s too expensive to store.

    Taxes need to be raised on anyone making over $200,000 (I’d go lower but that seems to be the number) AND we should be borrowing as much as we can and pumping it into infrastructure repair and education subsidies and local government expenses.

    They’re going to run the economy into the ground, but the rich people will be safe in their castles. All they’re worried about is keeping inflation down so their money doesn’t lose value and they don’t have to give the gardener a raise.

    What we need is some mild inflation. A fixed rate mortgage with inflation gets easier and easier to pay. My dad’s mortgage on his house bought in 1946 was about $75 a month. My mom’s mortgage on her house bought in 1963 was about $225. Twenty years later between inflation and the raises people used to get, that became less of a strain and left more money to use to buy other things. Now? I don’t see the mortgage getting any easier and local property taxes keep going up because the towns aren’t getting the state and federal aid that they used to get. And they have to balance their budgets while they cut services and workforce.

    This isn’t new. Look at William Jennings Bryan’s speeches a hundred years ago.

    Minimal inflation or even deflation (which the rich would like even more) would let the rich get more for their hoarded money and hurt everybody else.

    The country is falling apart. We’re not educating our kids. We face more international competition than ever. We’ve cut the safety net. Wages have been flat for 30 years.

    What built the postwar boom with its 90% marginal tax rates and massive debt left over from World War II? We grew our way out, paid off the debt, built the interstate highway system and educated our people through the GI Bill. It paid your tuition plus a stipend at whatever school you could get accepted to. If you got into Stanford it paid for Stanford. If you got into Ruralville Community College it paid for that. You got out of school with an education and no debt and could build your life.

    We went to the moon. Now we can’t even build a much needed railroad tunnel from NJ to Manhattan. (Of course NJ Governor Christie cannot let a government project succeed on his watch or he’ll be drummed out of the Republican party.)

    Now it’s “I got mine Jack, but I hear there’s a dry cardboard box under the bridge and I’m sure that you can find an old curtain rod to use to cook your delicious roast sparrow dinner.”

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  11. prospero said on October 21, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Was Bob married. I mean, shot with his own .38? Sounds like a possible case of Goodby Bob.

    NPR’s terminated Juan Williams’ contract. Very good riddance. I’m not black, so I wouldn’t use the Uncle sobriquet. I’m comfortable calling him a lickspittle lackey and obsequious toady to purveyors of bigotry and bullshit. Juan Williams did the seemingly impossible, he made Alan Colmes seem vertebrate. I wouldn’t feel sorry for Ol’ Man Juan though, he’s still a valued field hand at the Murdoch Plantation.

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  12. Scout said on October 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

    dan_g, thank you for such an informative post. It is a talent to be able to boil economics down to the average person level. I felt smarter after reading what you wrote. I’ll add one more thing: we need to start MAKING THINGS in this country again. We’ll never get out of this mess if the only thing we manufacture is money on paper.

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  13. Scout said on October 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Re: Juan Williams – the termination happened for a very specific reason.

    >On Monday, O’Reilly asked Williams if there is a “Muslim dilemma” in the United States. The NPR analyst and longtime Fox News contributor agreed with O’Reilly that such a thing exists, and added that “political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don’t address reality.”

    “I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot,” Williams continued. “You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”<

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I have had my issues with NPR since they began trying to suck up to the right wing, but this is a decision I can totally respect.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Right on, Prospero.

    The alarming language of bigotry directed at Muslims is really out of control. As usual, our friends at Fair and Balanced Fox are leading the charge with those dopes on its morning show regularly screaming “oooga boooga” every chance they get.

    We’ve seen media figures bounced because of anti-Semitic remarks (Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez), but it is just fine and dandy to slur the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. In fact, it’s a great career move when you’re a right-winger.

    I have a significant number of young Muslims in my classes this semester and this rhetoric really tears at them. One of my students used his five-minute informative speech to discuss Islam and the Quran as a peaceful faith, which he felt was necessary because of all the hate-mongering he hears and sees on television. He was so sincere, so heartfelt. . .it was truly moving.

    These are some very bright and very nice young people. They all have impressive academic credentials and solid career goals. Yet I fear for them sometimes. It doesn’t take much for this kind of toxic sludge to move someone to violence.

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  15. Sue said on October 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I predict there will be a renewed interest in cutting funding for NPR, starting about 3 hours ago.

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  16. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Mama Malaprop and Mike Huckabee are indeed calling for the defunding of NPR, Sue. The Oracle of Wasilla is proclaiming on her Twitter account that the left has “censored” Juan Williams.

    I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I hate these people.

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  17. prospero said on October 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Why didn’t Juan William’s get his oreo ass fired when he pulled this bullshit? Spinmaster O is actual trying to rein the idiot in. Stokeley Carmichael? Ya think that went right over the head of the average Fox watcher? You know the weasel overheard it from somebody far more clever than he and looked it up on Wikipedia. The guy is just pitiful.

    By the way, this “conversation” was all about the race card and claims of victimization. Stokeley Carmichael more or less invented the idea of Black Power, and would have knocked these dumbasses out if they tried to claim he was anybody’s victim. Abject ignorance + casual bigotry? Heady mix.

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  18. dan_g said on October 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Scout. Thanks for the compliment.

    Re: Juan Williams. When he took over NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” from Ray Suarez the quality plummeted. He was never a good reporter or interviewer. I gave up on the show.

    Re: Caligula. I remember reading that the name stars weren’t aware that Guccione would add the spicier aspects of the film in editing. I’ve never seen it, but I remember in my Penthouse reading days an ad for the VHS tape of the film in every issue.

    Re: Muslims. We have freedom of religion in this country. Let them build the mosque near the World Trade Center (and Tennessee etc.). There are more of them than of us and 99.44% are peaceful. It’s the Wahabi influenced ones led by our good friends the Saudis who are the problem. I’d like to see a normalizing of relations with the Iranians. They are a helluva lot more like us than the Saudis. Read Lawrence Wright’s “The Looming Tower” about Saudi life. Look at the mass demonstrations in Iran in support of the US right after 9-11.

    Fox News is ruining the public discourse and needlessly making it more dangerous for our troops abroad.

    Look how rightfully pissed off so many Americans are over 9-11. Most Americans weren’t specifically harmed by 9-11. Most Muslims weren’t involved with 9-11. Most Muslims didn’t support the 9-11 terrorists. But why can’t they be upset over shock and awe against a country that had nothing to do with 9-11 and was effectively bottled up with the no fly zone and trade sanctions, over Blackwater operatives killing civilians, over the Israeli settlers taking Palestinian’s property and blocking trade with Gaza along with the myriad dehumanizing indignities that the Palestinians have to put up with in the occupied territories.

    Talk and negotiation are needed. There’s always some whackjob who is going to do something crazy. Is we going to let ourselves be held hostage until there is **no** terrorism. Never happen.

    It is in the interest of Fox and the people who support it to demonize “the other” to keep us from uniting to fix things that are wrong with this country and meanwhile the people who spend money to support Fox’s issues reap massive profits from never ending war and always widening gap between rich and poor in the US.

    And the christianists in the US are supporting Israel until every last Jew is dead in the war leading to the rapture.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    What dan_g said times one thousand.

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  20. prospero said on October 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Cat picture.

    Horse video.

    Courtesy of the ineffably odd, creepy, charming and beautiful Frog Blog.

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  21. paddyo' said on October 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Fortunately, Sue and Jeff @ 15 and 16, there isn’t that much federal money left to cut from NPR, though any amount more would mean even more of those beg-a-thons we all know and love-I-mean-loathe. Corporation for Public Broadcasting (the main fed contributor) gives 10 percent or so of the budget, and other government money (fed, state, local) amounts to 5-6 percent.

    BTW, Speaking of money, Tim Egan’s weekly NYT blog from my half of the country, just out today
    nicely sums up the devastating effect that the Roberts Supreme Court has wrought with the Citizens United decision that opened the anonymous, out-of-state, attack-ad floodgates this campaign year to a super-ultra-uber slimefest.

    I live in Colorado, which he rightly describes as ground zero. The crapola ads are heavily from the Rove Right but do come from all sides, five or six at a time during commercial breaks on TV and radio. The assault is relentless. I’ve been away this week, in another ground-zero state for this multimillion-dollar mockery of “freedom of speech,” Nevada. But my location is so remote, TV reception is poor and thus I am blissfully free of the onslaught that I’ll return to in Denver this weekend.

    Yeah, I know — just turn off the TV, right? Well, I often do, but many voters don’t or won’t shut off this brainwashing firehose — and it is they who will likely determine whom we send to Congress, the statehouse, etc.
    So yay, democracy, and a country where corporations have the same free-speech rights as individuals. Yeah, really.

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  22. Sue said on October 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I wonder….
    Not that the Citizens United decision isn’t heinous, but who are these ads actually convincing? Secretive organizations and corporations hiding behind the Chamber of Commerce are spending gazillions of dollars trying to influence (not buy) votes of ordinary Americans. Anyone from the extreme right or left has already decided, and won’t be swayed. Middle-of-the-roaders have at least (one assumes) a passing interest in politics and probably know more about current events than they’re given credit for, and can tag one of these ads just by looking at it. (They’re pretty over the top in my area, even before you see the credit line at the end of the ad.)
    So, who’s going to be moved by these ads? Which voters in America are worth this outpouring of money? What kind of bang for the buck are these organizations getting?

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  23. ROgirl said on October 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Sue, they’re trying to get the independents who went for Obama and the Democrats in 08 to go Republican this time.

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  24. paddyo' said on October 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Sue, I guess we’ll see what bangs the bucks get in 10 days’ time or so . . . but the sheer repetition of these ads, many of them with out-and-out lies, can turn enough votes to do the cynical trick. A race here, a race there, the balance of power shifts, tips, tumbles.

    I know, that’s all part of the political game, and a cynical one it is. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. But really, what a WASTE of resources, and a very un-American shouting-down and drowning-out of actual responsible voices in the political debate. That’s what these assaults of ads also bring. The level-headed discourse gets lost in the noise . . . and the slope just gets more slippery.

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  25. LAMary said on October 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm


    I’m shocked. Shocked I say.

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  26. Dexter said on October 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    The Brits just use a stroke of the pen and the budget is cut so deeply that even the queen’s Christmas party has been cancelled due to funds to Windsor Castle being slashed 14%.
    No Parliamentary discussion, no pols lay their heads on the chopping block to gain or detract support…the party in charge just does it.
    England will never be the same.
    France will cool off even if the age-62 retirement sticks (up from age 60), intense rioting eventually ceases, but England will never be the same. Ace pilots were complaining that they were going to be axed from the RAF as the military is taking massive hits financially.
    I guess it just seems strange to me.

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  27. prospero said on October 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm


    Someone should inform Huckleberry that NPR and PBS combined are funded at around$25million annually through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is itself funded at about $400mil every year. Most of the money is distributed to individual radio and TV outlets all over the country. Here on Hilton Head we get reception for three radio stations under the CPB umbrella–75% praise music programming for some reason.

    Oh and six of nine CPB board members were appointed by W.

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  28. prospero said on October 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I take back that Huckleberry crack. It does a disservice to two monumental literary figures whose jocks Huckabee couldn’t carry: Finn and Hound.

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  29. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm


    It is fascinating to see what the Brits are doing and, yes, it looks harsh and awful. But I’ll give them this: they are facing up to the mess and admitting it will hurt many, perhaps most, of the citizenry. And they are not excluding their military budget.

    Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, all we get is rhetoric about how more tax cuts will produce more investment which will produce more jobs, etc.

    And over here, the Defense Department budget is sacrosanct. I would gladly cast a vote for a candidate who vowed to cut waste and duplication in the DOD, but I’m likely to be pushing up daisies before a politician with the nerve to do that emerges.

    Looking at all the damage done to our nation over the past 30 years seems to me a direct result of Reaganomics and the other forms of “voodoo economics” we have pursued. The wealthy, as usual, have done very, very well, but the rest of us have been royally screwed. And if the right-wingers have their way, the last shreds of the safety net, ie., Social Security and Medicare, will be stripped away.

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  30. Peter said on October 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    You know, in a masochistic way, I would love it if funding to CPB and NEA were cut. It’s one the Tea party’s mantras – when Ms. Witch was asked how to reduce government spending, the question wasn’t even fully asked before she blurted out “Eliminate funding to NEA and CPB!” You go girl! Getting rid of those two liberal bastions would reduce the deficit by a buck or two, but then you gasbag douchebags wouldn’t have those two whipping boys around.

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  31. brian stouder said on October 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    And over here, the Defense Department budget is sacrosanct.

    Yes; the WingNut Witch of Delaware says that the actual words “Separation of Church and State” don’t appear in the Constitution, so it’s an unconstitutional concept. One wonders how she can possibly support a Federally funded United States Air Force, since airplanes don’t appear anywhere in the Constitution, either. For that matter, NASA is unconstitutional, too, right? If you’re a “Tenther”, then the CIA (et al) has to be as wrong as the IRS, right? And, why do we have a Joint Chiefs of Staff? SecDef, SecNav, SecArmy – OK; but CJCS?

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  32. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm


    You hit the nail on the head. Eliminating all the government functions despised by social and fiscal conservatives would eliminate, what, maybe 1% of the federal budget?

    It’s particularly rich for a couple of well-paid Fox News Channel whores like She Who and Huckleberry to demand the defunding of public broadcasting. NPR is competition for Fox, I guess, along with all other for-profit news organizations.

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  33. coozledad said on October 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    What kills me is around the time they replaced Suarez with Juan Williams the entire NPR brand declined completely. I always figured they were trying to bring the whole network down to the Scott Simon, Cokie Roberts and Mara Liason level.
    We hung on for awhile because Ira Glass and Terry Gross had good programs airing on our affiliate, but ultimately, the fact they were sharing reporter/ commentators with Rupert Murdoch was just too obvious a concession to the Bush administration’s bureau of information.
    Defunding would just be another demonstration that no matter how firmly you plant your lips on Stalin’s ass, it won’t be enough to save you.

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  34. mark said on October 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    dan g and those who agree-

    You’re right. Europe is rejecting Keynesian and Krugmannian solutions, as has the rest of the world EXCEPT the US. On the upside, since you think borrow and spend is the way to go, we should be in great shape soon while the rest of the world languishes in economic malaise.

    Odd,though, that the recovery appears to be happening faster everywhere but the US, even as the Administration promotes more borrowing and spending and the rest of the world is cutting spending and taxes.

    And maybe a little inflation to help the poor? It’s coming. Only a rapidly falling dollar and it’s downward pressure on commodity prices have slowed the arrival. Nothing like a return to the salad days of Jimmy Carter, when Keynes was proven wrong by the concurrence of prolonged high unemployment and high inflation, which he had thought pretty much impossible.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Soooo . . . both Fox and NPR are hopelessly compromised tools of the establishment? Or just controlled by the aliens in the black oil from Tunguska?

    Y’all are being pretty harsh on . . . everyone, as far as I can tell. Here’s some good news: Michael Steele is going on “Meet the Press” this Sunday. You’d have thought the mysterious GOP elites would have kept him nailed into a secure, undisclosed location through Nov. 2, but he’s going on live air — there’s hope, Dems!

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  36. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    And the winner of our Million Dollar Asshole Lotto game is. . .Juan Williams!!

    Roger Ailes just gave him a $2-million contract for additional new duties on Fox and a column at foxnews.com. Oh happy day. Maybe Juan had this planned all along. He gets to act like a martyr, then joins up with the GOP propaganda gang while pocketing a fat chunk of change.

    Damn. Whenever I say anything stupid, it costs me. But Juan gets $2-million.

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  37. Sue said on October 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    ‘the rest of the world is cut­ting spend­ing and taxes’
    And they STILL provide health care to most of their population. Damn, how do they do it?

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  38. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Oh, right on, Mark! We must return to the policies of the Bush era. Man, those were great days. Two free wars! Unfunded expansions of entitlements! Tax breaks for the wealthiest of the wealthy!

    Yeah, baby, let’s get back to those great days of yore. This Kenyan Marxist Fascist overlord in the Oval Office has totally fucked up our country, which was running on all cylinders until he arrived.

    I am so totally voting a straight Republican ticket. They’ll fix everything, just like they did in 2000-2008.

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  39. mark said on October 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    That’s a false choice Jeff, and I think you know that. Taking nothing away from Mr. Obama’s historic and effective campaign, Republicans were turned out in large measure because they borrowed and spent like Democrats. It’s not as satisfying as calling people racist or stupid, but the reality is many people are voting to try to curtail the level of spending and the growth of government.

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  40. nancy said on October 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I’d like it on the record: For $2 million, I, too, will write a column for Fox News.

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  41. Sue said on October 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Well then you’ll have to change your attitude and your hair color, girlie.

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  42. LAMary said on October 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Get ready for industrial strength lip gloss too. Fox lips.

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  43. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 5:59 pm


    When Republicans are willing to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest expire, I might take them seriously. When Republicans are willing to back legislation that penalizes rather than rewards American corporations for shipping millions of jobs overseas, I might take them seriously. When Republicans pull their noses out from under our beds and stop wishing it was 1955 again, I might take them seriously.

    What I hear is nothing but blather. Aside from Paul Ryan’s so-called blueprint –which three different economic forums have said would punish the middle class but aid the upper class– I have not heard a single notable Republican offer anything concrete beyond tax cuts.

    What I DO hear is frighteningly simple-minded, xenophobic horseshit. The GOP, I argue, is actually much worse now than it was just two years ago. It’s a party built on fear, anger and hate. St. Ronald would not be conservative enough for the current crop of GOPers.

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  44. LAMary said on October 21, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    mark, you’re saying that Republicans were turned out of office because they behaved like Democrats and we replaced them with Democrats? I don’t think that’s it. I think we turned them out because we were sick of the wars for one thing. There was Katrina as well, and general cluelessnes on the part of so many elected and appointed Republicans. Whether you’re talking about 2006 or 2008 it was about lots of money going to very few people and the feeling that the GOP didn’t give a shit.

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  45. coozledad said on October 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I’ll take Keynes over a legacy cokehead, any day. Or over the pimps for ADM, KBR, or the home mortgage industry. Or the Randians, poundin’ the ol’ pud to the moon.
    Still, I think Juan went shamelessly Milosevic for pretty cheap, even considering his prolapsed, deeply fissured asshole.

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  46. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2010 at 7:24 pm


    Thank you.

    There’s so much revisionist history being peddled on the right that we must remember what really happened. It wasn’t simply the pure evil –distilled through the empty husk that is Dick Cheney– but the sheer incompetence. The Bush Administration was the reverse of King Midas. Everything they touched turned to shit. They saw themselves as such big, tough guys, but they were really idiots, who couldn’t find their ample asses with a flashlight and a GPS device.

    The right these days is defined by an deep streak of anti-intellectualism, a hatred of reason and science, an abiding loathing for those less fortunate, fear of those unlike us, blind fury at a religion practiced by 1.5 billion, xenophobia and homophobia. What a lovely stew. As J.J. Hunsecker might say, the conservative movement is a cookie full of arsenic.

    I could no more see myself aligning with this political philosophy than I could see myself growing hair again. And folks, I am one bald motherfucker.

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  47. coozledad said on October 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Digby’s got the money quote for today, and she was only obliquely aiming at Juan Williams, if at all.
    So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: “Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor’s religion is.” Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code.
    – Mark Twain, a Biography

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  48. Deborah said on October 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Wow, just caught up with the comments. Nancy and the nn.c commenters are hot today! dan_g where’ve you been all this time, good comments.

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  49. Dan_g said on October 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Mark at 4:52 pm: the problem Carter had was the oil shocks following the 1973 Yom Kipput war. Remember the gas lines from the embargo? Remember Ford’s Whip Inflation Now! Buttons? Remember the Iranian hostage crisis and the cutoff of Iranian oil which flowed freely under the Shah? This knocked the economy for a loop. It wasn’t the 1968 to 1976 Republican Nixon and Ford administrations that caused the inflation that Carter inheirited. It wasn’t deficit spending. If you look at the graph deficit spending went up under Reagan, Bush and Bush. Especially W. With 2 wars on the credit card, a senior’s unfunded drug benefit and a ***massive*** tax cut for the rich.

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  50. coozledad said on October 21, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Dan_g: And it wasn’t Federal Reserve policy under Paul Volcker that created “Reagan prosperity”. All these clowns have is myths.

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  51. prospero said on October 22, 2010 at 12:01 am

    They, and I mean state, manipulators of state votes. If somebdoy is so dumb they don’t think the swiftboat assholes didn;t fix the vote in Cuyahoga County, I guess the painted lady didn;t fix the vote in Volusia County in 2000. Repub;ican vote suppression is legendary. That’s what these assholes do.

    There is Kenneth Blackwell. He had a direct line to the voting machines, He admitted to so much. These assholes robbed the Ohio election. Kenneth Blackwell is an admitted crimimnal.

    How is that not a fact? Cheney, he opened a clandestine agent to America’s enemenies. He did this knowwingly. He chose to injure CIA for some bizzare and possibly anti-american personal interest.

    Do there exist people that know better than the rest of us what might mean morality? Sorry, but I think that;s bullshit and I think when you decide that, you are an immoral little shit like John Woo.

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  52. prospero said on October 22, 2010 at 1:04 am

    They, and I mean state, manipulators of state votes. If somebdoy is so dumb they don’t think the swiftboat assholes didn;t fix the vote in Cuyahoga County, I guess the painted lady didn;t fix the vote in Volusia County in 2000. Repub;ican vote suppression is legendary. That’s what these assholes do.

    There is Kenneth Blackwell. He had a direct line to the voting machines, He admitted to so much. These assholes robbed the Ohio election. Kenneth Blackwell is an admitted crimimnal.

    How is that not a fact? Cheney, he opened a clandestine agent to America’s enemenies. He did this knowwingly. He chose to injure CIA for some bizzare and possibly anti-american personal interest.

    Do there exist people that know better than the rest of us what might mean morality? Sorry, but I think that;s bullshit and I think when you decide that, you are an immoral little shit like John Woo.

    Blew up the Murragh Building. I don’t think he was a Muslim, you fucking assholes, I think he was a terrorist and he was an incipient teabagger. He’s you’re sort. How does such an asshole convince himself that he isn’t a terrorist? How does such a piece of shit convince himself he’s not responsible for the lives of those kids in that daycare?

    Muslims didn’t do this, you asshole, O’Reilly and Beck acolytes did. Are you dickheads nuts? You buy Bill Lying his ass off? Let me put this another way. All terriss are Muslims? Well, there;s Tim McVeigh. There;s David Koresh. Are you morons or has it exceded tour wisdom that every single kid that died in his temple was shot in the back of the head before they the whckjobs set the fires? Murdered them, then burne them up.

    It’s an affront when people act like FBI did something wrong. These assholes had taken kids illegally. It’s kidnapping. It’s federal.


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  53. prospero said on October 22, 2010 at 1:09 am

    y’all are beary

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  54. prospero said on October 22, 2010 at 1:52 am

    You can’t be idiots,. Republicans stole Ohio. The Swift=boat shitwas maxing, ans it was bulllshit, One part true” No part and this comea from folks that juat flat out lie. What the hwll?

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  55. John said on October 22, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Well then you’ll have to change your atti­tude and your hair color, girlie.

    That’s not all. The short skirt and displaying the girls are high on the job requirement list.

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  56. mark said on October 22, 2010 at 8:31 am

    dan g-

    Thanks for the reply. For now I’ll just say that I agree that Carter policies didn’t cause the inflation that plagued his presidency.

    We are in the midst of a grand economic experiment, from which some conclusions may eventually be drawn.

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  57. prospero said on October 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I ansxiosly await fiction from Tom McGuane and William Gibson. . Nobody wrote that good since Tom Wolf. Well, there is all of Kurt Vonnegut, and all of John Gardner. And the positively blinding DeLilo. God save us all from Franzen. Novels are not meant to be earnest. The best ones are funny as shit, and they know it.

    And you never told me if you ever read Spoting Club. First novel. ridiculously spectacular Obviously only sojourning on the way to Big Sky. If you didn’t read The Sporting Club, Why not? Three hours, tops and it is brilliant.

    Michigan? You sure?

    But he wrote the best Michigan novel ever.

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  58. nancy said on October 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Don’t needle me, Prospero. I’ve read them all, multiple times. And while I obviously love McGuane, I still think Jim Harrison’s just a smidge better, as Michigan novelists go.

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  59. prospero said on October 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Jim Harrison’s a joker, compared,

    McGuane is closer to the real deal, which at this point would be Pychon, And I’ve read all his books, and I like them a lot.

    But there is no way they are so pluperferctly
    hilarious and so sad at the same time.Jim Harrison makes is up, Most people don’t get that. Jim Harrison sees in fewer dimensions, I think. Of course then you can read Don DeLillo or Margaret Atwood, and you’ll know it doan mean shit, or it does. The lady is the better writer, but I guess my point is, bring it, y’all. Criticism is automatically and immediately bullshit. Mothing matters but the response of the reader.

    Look ya dumbass. You could write a novel. It would be at least decent. You’d be proud. I would too, because I read your blog regularly and always knew you were a writing fool. A good one.

    But if you think Jim Harrison livea in McGuane territory, I’ll surely argue ’bout that, and Walker Percy i ssfunnier and more prfoound than either, and I’ll take both sides. Jim Harrison wrote Bridges of Madisn County because it was just like his other books, but he was embarr

    Harrison want’s people to get it in the end. McGuane doesn’t give a shit. Road goes on Forever.

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  60. David S said on October 26, 2010 at 11:53 am


    Sorry to late to this party, but:

    “Re: Caligula. I remem ber read ing that the name stars weren’t aware that Guc­cione would add the spicier aspects of the film in edit ing. I’ve never seen it, but I remem ber in my Pent house read ing days an ad for the VHS tape of the film in every issue.”

    A gag from UK radio when this first came out: A spokesman for Sir John said that he recalled no mention of all that sex and violence in his original cheque

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  61. Halloween Jack said on October 26, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    WRT Caligula: It’s worth remembering that, when it was made, in 1979, porn had been on the verge of becoming socially acceptable for some years, although the emergent social conservatism of the Reagan years put an end to that. I remember seeing ads for porn movies in small-city newspapers of the era (that, of course, was when there were still porn theaters), and IIRC even Jackie O. admitted to seeing Deep Throat. The magazines themselves often had bare-breasted models on their covers, something not seen before or since on American magazine shelves. Guccione probably thought that the cast wouldn’t mind so much that X-rated scenes had been added later when Caligula picked up some Oscars, or something. His reach certainly seems to have exceeded his grasp in many other things.

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