Pope’s Twitter account to close as he leaves office, Vatican Radio says
Pope’s Twitter account to close as he leaves office, Vatican Radio says
From Mother Jones:
FreedomWorks Made Video of Fake Giant Panda Having Sex With Fake Hillary Clinton
Most Religious States Are Most Likely to be Addicted to Antidepressants
From The Independent [Ireland]:
Bird droppings, bull testicles among pre-Oscar beauty treatments
From The Independent:
‘I was acting like a madman’: Television adventurer Ben Fogle hospitalised after ‘psychotic episode’ LSD drinks spike scare
Fogle said during ‘episode’ he began doing a sketch from Monty Python
One of the most infamous paragraphs in the history of modern investigative journalism was written by a member of the UC Berkeley journalism faculty, repudiating his own reporting about on of America’s most prominent gangsters.
Here’s what Lowell Bergman and his colleague wrote to ease themselves out of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed by, among others, Morris Barney Dalitz, the syndicate thug who ran the mob’s skimming operation in Las Vegas back in the days esnl was working his first daily newspaper job in Sin City:
“We feel it right to acknowledge the positive information received about you [Dalitz] in recent years and, accordingly, to express any regret for negative implication or unwarranted harm that you believe may have befallen you as a result of the Penthouse article.”
The article, “La Costa: The Hundred-Million-Dollar Resort with Criminal Clientele,” appeared in the March 1975 issue of Penthouse, and focused on the mob’s involvement in a posh golfing resort in North San Diego County, a few miles from Oceanside, where we joined the staff of the late Blade-Tribune in 1967, shortly after leaving the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Our job had us covering Carlsbad, the adjacent town and closet to La Costa [the town’s city manager would soon take a posh job at the mob watering hole]. When a story took us to the resort, we found ourselves amazed when we looked at the membership board: Familiar names included Moe Dalitz [previously, and here], Frank Sinatra, Carl Cohen [the Sands casino manager who famously knocked out some of Sinatra’s teeth after the drunken crooner drove a golf cart through one of the hotel’s plate glass windows], and Don W. Reynolds, the publisher of the Review-Journal. For a fresh Vegas emigre, it felt like coming home.
We remember telling our managing editor the next day, “That La Costa looks like quite a place.”
We learned about the Penthouse story when a spotted an ad for it on the side of a bus in Los Angeles, where we had just started work for the Southern California Visitors Council — a gig we worked for a year before returning the ink-stained wretch trade at the late and much-lamented Santa Monica Evening Outlook.
We found the story of the resort’s financing by the mob-controlled Teamsters Central States Pension Fund fascinating, making sense of that membership board we’d seen seven years before.
But resort owners Merv Adelson, Irwin Molasky, Dalitz, and Allard Roen filed that $522 million lawsuit, and when push came to shove, the journalists folded, followed by Penthouse, with apologies accepted in exchange for each side bearing its own legal costs.
From the magazine’s 1985 skinback [a journalism term for what Kansas folks used to call “eating crow”], a declaration that Penthouse
did not mean to imply nor did it intend for its readers to believe that Messrs. Adelson and Molasky are or were members of organized crime or criminals. In addition, Penthouse acknowledges that all of the individual plaintiffs, including Messrs. Dalitz and Roen, have been extremely active in commendable civic and philanthropic activities which have earned them recognition from many estimable people. Furthermore Penthouse acknowledges that among plaintiffs’ successful business activities is the La Costa resort itself, one of the outstanding resort complexes of the world.
But now, 28 years after the settlement, comes conclusive proof that the journalists were right.
Here’s a telling quote from “Remembrance of Wings Past,” a remarkable profile of Merv Adelson by Bryan Burrough in the March edition of Vanity Fair:
The Rancho La Costa resort opened its doors to the public in 1965. From the outset Adelson could tell his dreams of escaping the Mafia had been dashed. “The first guests, they were all Teamsters!” he exclaims. And then Detroit and Chicago Mob bosses, all the way up to Meyer Lansky himself. “There were hundreds of them!” Adelson adds. “I couldn’t get rid of them! The Teamsters treated it like their country club. It got a real reputation. I didn’t like it at all. But I couldn’t stop it. We owed them money! What could I do?” His children were soon being teased with the same taunts they had heard in Las Vegas. He was trapped. A very rich trap, but a trap nevertheless.
Lansky was the mob’s money wizard, portrayed as “Hyman Roth” by Lee Strassberg in The Godfather, Part II, a man who got his start partnering with Bugsy Siegel [“Moe Green”] and Charlie “Lucky” Luciano:
Adelson is rather disingenuous in his interviews, claiming he had no idea who he’d gotten in bed with — hard to believe of anyone circulating in his circles in the Sin City of the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, he claims, only with the publication of The Green Felt Jungle, a 1963 bestseller by Ed Reid and Ovid Demaris did he realize just who he’d partnered with in his Sin City business dealings.
The profile paints a picture of a down on his luck octogenarian, living in a Santa Monica apartment no larger than the walk-in closets of his salad days dwellings.
So Bergman’s skinback was a farce, and the Penthouse article he disavowed was right. It didn’t hurt Bergman’s career, since he went on to produce for 60 Minutes, then found himself a nice nest at UC Berkeley’s journalism school.
Somewhere in hell, Moe Dalitz must be laughing his boney ass off.
It’s been a while since we offered an episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin’s RT show. Martin launched her career in video journalism on Berkeley community cable before landing her own show on RT. In this episode she talks art [including her own].
The program notes:
On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin Talks to Bob English, Financial Contributor, about the recent jobs report and US financial policy. Abby then showcases some of her political artwork and explains art’s importance in reflecting the times. BTS airs a short interview with artist Andrei Molodkin and his exhibit ‘Crude,’ a critique on the global oil industry. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with muralist, Mear One, about his art and inspiration.
From the New York Observer:
Win Your Very Own Drone in Journalism School Contest
From the London Telegraph:
Leveson: EU wants power to sack journalists
A European Union report has urged tight press regulation and demanded that Brussels officials are given control of national media supervisors with new powers to enforce fines or the sacking of journalists
Delivered at the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan, Jones delivers what us simply the most searingly eloquent and concise evisceration of the pretense and sham of the corporatized realm of social media. H/T to Adbusters.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Girls accused of spiking parents’ milkshakes
A daughter and her friend allegedly put sleeping pills in the drinks so they could break a rule and use the Internet past 10 p.m.
From the Scranton Times Tribune:
Police: Towanda man tried to order hit on psychic mediums
For Americans, it’s better read than dead, according to the latest survey data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project:
Speaking from the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Assange focuses on the plight of 232 journalists now behind bars and those like Bradley Manning now facing long prison sentences for exposing the secrets of those in power. He has few kind words for the mainstream press.
And then there’s his announcement that 2013 will see a million new documents posted on WikiLeaks.
Yep, the man with the velvet tonsils does The Christmas Carol with the Mercury Theater troupe.
What more to say?
H/T to Open Culture.
From the Los Angeles Times, Dick Van Dyke, 86, on his recent marriage to a 40-year-old:
“When you marry a young girl, you marry her iPhone.”
From the Los Angeles Times, atop a tale about the latest newly discovered health threat from cell phone use:
Teen bitten 6 times by rattlesnakes while searching for cell signal
A brilliant and prescient dissection of GATT and NAFTA from 1994 by then-UT Austin Professor of Economics and Latin American Studies Michael Conroy, including impacts on U.S. labor, Mexican corn farmers, and so much more.
Note also that he compares the loss of sovereign state powers created by NAFTA to those implemented by the creation of the European Economic Community.
Note too that he predicts the rise of the Mexican drug cartels, enabled by NAFTA’s facilitation of fast movement of goods across borders.
We were warned.
From the late, lamented, and utterly wonderful Austin public access show, Alternative Views. Lots more on their website, including this previously featured and utterly fascinating conversation with a brilliant journalist on the role played by the Central Intelligence Agency in the Reagan-era collapse of the U.S. savings and loan industry.
Hosted by Larry King and sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, whose founder, Christina Tobin, joins in the questioning, the debate — held last night — features four candidates appearing on presidential ballots but excluded from the staged debates appearing on the mainstream media.
All questions were submitted via social media.
They candidates are:
In response to widespread blackout from both the mainstream media and political establishment alike, RT is honored to be presenting a platform for the major third-party candidates also vying for the White House this election year to debate. We offered the event live in cooperation with the debate’s organizers, the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.
The event was moderated by multi-award winning broadcast journalist Larry King and was broadcasted live from Chicago, Illinois. Thom Hartmann, the star of RT’s The Big Picture and noted radio host, was one of a few select journalists hand-picked to hit the candidates with questions about their campaign.
The Washington Post actually covered the event.
From New Europe:
Public prefer porn to presidents
From France 24:
How not to have an affair like a French president
We’ll leave the last word to George Carlin, a man who outspokenly preferred porn to politics:
From the inimitable Frank Zappa:
The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.
H/T to Moussequetairre.
Our favorite Zappa line was a riposte to Joe Pyne, a very conservative Los Angeles TV and radio talk show host of the 1960s who had lost a leg from cancer and walked with a prosthesis.
We were living in Oceanside, California, in those days, and often listened to Pyne because we enjoyed the dialogue between Pyne and some of his guests.
One night he had Zappa on, and began with a zinger: “Oh, you have long hair. You must be a girl.”
Not missing a beat, Zappa fired back: “Oh, you have a wooden leg. You must be a table.”
We laughed so hard we cried.
We began blogging soon after being laid off from our last newspaper job, a consequence of the economic crash and an advertiser boycott of the Berkeley Daily Planet organized by a trio of militant Ziocons.
In the following three years we’ve made 7,296 posts [this is the 7,297th] about a wide range of subjects, selected on the basis of both personal interest and a desire to share our thoughts of issues we think are very important to understand in an age when events are spiraling rapidly toward a critical turning point in the history of both our species and our planet.
In the last year, we’ve been focusing intensely on the developments in Europe, where a concerted efforts is underway to destroy the institutions built up over the course of the last two centuries to stem the rapacity of the financial elites who rose to power through the confluence of forces embodied in the imperial colonial adventures that began in the late 15th Century, the creation of central banks, the invention of the modern corporation as a weapon of colonial conquest, and an industrial revolution by the exploitation of the planet’s non-renewable energy reserves.
We have watched as the forces of money and multinational corporations have eaten away at labor rights, social protections, and the machinery of democratic process — the latter gutted by international treaties transcending national laws and the evolution of powerful and secretive transnational organizations.
All of this has transpired under an agenda epitomized in the quotation from Aldous Huxley’s Island featured on the blog’s flag: “Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence — those are the three pillars of Western prosperity.”
Now, as the era of cheap energy reaches its end and our environment is being poisoned by the “externalities” of the industrial age, we are facing a crisis that is both global in scope and of our own making.
Accompanying this massive transformation and environmental degradation has been the capture of the Western world’s communications media by giant corporations which have severed the links between media and community, laid off most of their journalists, and transformed the media into machines for selling both product and propaganda.
And lest we forget, all the alternative media are carried through corporate channels, and can be shut down by a simple flick of a switch.
Governments that fail to play by the rules set down by the bank-and-corporate-owned governments and transnational alliances of the West are destroyed. While the West was busily demonizing Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya, the flood of stories rarely if ever mentioned that Libyans received guaranteed incomes, health care, housing and education, and that the government had created the greatest civil engineering project of the 20th Century, the Great Man Made River, to bring water to the cities along the coast.
While the West was busily bombing Libya, using bombs from Israel in the case of Denmark, the violence unleashed in the country was carried out in large part by members of the same groups NATO was fighting in Afghanistan — including Al Qaeda. But all this was lost on most of the Western media, which hewed to the official line, just as they did to the myths of Iraqi WMDs.
Death of the American news media
We discovered our journalistic vocation on 9 November 1964, when we walked into the newsroom of the San Luis Valley Courier as a college sophomore and left that night having written the lead front page story and shot the accompanying photo. We’d never thought about reporting before that day.
Of the seven newspapers where we served on staff, only two have survived, the Las Vegas-Review-Journal and the Sacramento Bee. All the rest were either merged into larger, chain-owned papers or succumbed to the loss of advertising revenues and subscribers that have plagued the American press over the last 35 years.
In the most extreme case, the Oceanside Blade-Tribune — where we served first as reporter, then as city editor — the newspaper was bought and folded into a chain. Of the dozen local, community newspapers which then existed in North San Diego County California, only one remains, and that was recently bought by the same owner, Manchester Lynch Integrated Media Holdings [a developer], who bought the only large newspaper in the county as well as one of the last remaining papers in Riverside County to the north. The inevitable layoffs followed.
This cartoon, from another since-closed paper, deftly sums up our concern:
The world’s in trouble, and it’s up to us to act.