Saturday, March 11

Why Battlestar Galactica is the new CNN

I've been a fan of this show since 1978. I even collected the Marvel Comics adaptation of the original series through the early 80's. When the new series was annouced I was excited out of my skin, but then the series debuted and all hell broke lose.


The new show has ignited a fued between fans of the "wholesomeness" of the old show (who were invariably highly conservative "Red State-ers") and the gritty reality of the new show (whose fans tend to be more Liberal/Blue state people) that has been nearly as hard fought and vicious as the actions on the screen.


This show is practially the CNN we wish we had when it comes to 9-11, abu Ghraib, the election scandals of Florida, Ohio and even the issue of abortion.


With the New Series, Producer Ron Moore "reimagined" everything. Starbuck the brash macho womanizing fighter pilot - was now a woman. The warm loving father-son relationship between Capt Apollo (Lee Adama, played by Jaime Bamber) and his father Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) was a broken mishapen thing of angst, recrimination and regret. The enemy, the vicious robotic Cylons, formerly Alien and impossible to understand or sympathise, had suddenly grown human skin, flesh, blood and bone. They were now an invisible unseeable enemy with overtly religious motivations for horrific acts of mass murder and cruelty to women with thier horrorific experiments to mate and breed with "natural" humans.


In response to surviving the nuclear holocast that devastated their worlds in the initial Cylon attack, the remaining humans have fought as bitterly amongst themselves as they have with the Cylons - resorting to assasination, torture, rape, terrorism and election fraud.


Last night was the Season Two Finale and I have to say it was the balls-iest moves I've seen a TV show make since TNT's Witchblade completely rewound their entire first season back to ground zero. But I must point out that prior to viewing the episode, I received a heads-up that the last 20 minutes would 'blow us away' from one of the series associate producers Paul Leonard, and editor Andy Seklir (who were both attending a student film festival for Leonard's alma mater - USC).


According to Leonard they almost didn't air that last 20 minutes fearing that it was taking a bridge too far... but air it they did and I for one am very glad.


After President Laura Roslyn (Mary McDonnell) rigs the election, but is caught (oh, if only!) - the traitorous Dr. Baltar rises to the Presidency. His moment of glory is short-lived however as nearly simultaneous to his taking the oath of office - a terrorist (Tricia Helfer) sets off a nuclear bomb in the center of the fleet. A terrorist who happens to be a Cylon copy of a woman Baltar loved before the attack, a love that prompted him to free this verseion from imprisoment after seeing the horrendous torture she had suffered. A action which allowed her to assasinate her tormentor, Admiral Kane (Michelle Forbes). The irony of a woman killing another woman because one had been repeatedly and forcibly raped by men under the others orders, was quite thick - not to mention the point that unrestrained torture of a enemy directly led to a Nuclear Suicide Bombing!


Then with Baltar as President and the loss of several ships still hanging in the air the entire series takes off the gloves and skips ahead an entire year after the Colonials have settled on a new habital world deep in a sensor scrambling nebula. Many of the key members of the military have become civilians including the saucy Colonel Ty. Old friends Starbuck and Apollo have become estranged over Starbuck's husband Anders whose now suffering from pneumonia during a meds shortage. Others have grown together and begun families such as former Chief Tyrol and his very pregnant wife Callie. Baltar has become a letchorous, drunken tyrant on the verge of rounding up and detaining outspoken labor union leaders, including Tyrol, who themselves are on the verge of ordering a strike over poor conditions. Things are falling apart.


And that's when the Cylon's come back, catching everyone with their pants down around their ankles. (Balter's almost literally so...)


But in yet another twist, the Cylons aren't here to destroy the remaining 40,000 odd humans. Not yet. They're being led by Baltar's former lover - the original number six, "Caprica 6" - and the original Sharon Valerii (Number Eight) a former Galactica Pilot who didn't know she was a Cylon until activated and forced to shoot Commander Adama - MK Ultra anyone? - who herself was later shot during prisoner transport in a scene taken directly from the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. Exactly what the motivations and goals of this New Cylon Empire, with Original Six and Sharon at the helm remains to be seen -- but the initial forcast seems to indicate that their brave new home has just become a concentration camp, while the fleet escapes with just bare skeleton crews on board.


Througout this series the question of humanity - what is it and why does it deserve to continue - has been asked repeatedly.


If you fight your enemy because of their supposed "evil" by performing actions of clear and obvious evil yourself -- do you deserve to win?


Apparently Ron Moore feels that you don't. In all honestly I happen to concur. Just because you think you're the "Good Guys" and call youself the "Good Guys" doesn't mean that you are - your actions count more than the rhetoric. Clearly this show is parrelleling both the modern day struggle following 9-11 with al Qaeda, but also the historic aftermath of the Kennedy assasination, President Johnson's misguided invasion of Vietnam and the rise of the incredibly corrupt Nixon adminstration after Johnson's disgrace and fall.


Laura Roslin is Johnson, Baltar is Nixon.


But it's not exactly that simple. Leonard shared with me a little secret, that Ron Moore has been pulling quotes directly out of Bush speeches and inserting them into President Roslin's dialogue, and that if Mary McDonnell - who is a died-in-the-wool liberal who hates Bush with a seething passion - ever realized it she would probably hit the roof. However, I think the fact that her character summarily banned abortion two episodes ago (just prior to the passage of South Dakota's actual abortion ban) might have been a hint. Plus since her character isn't President anymore, so it's a moot point. Or is it?


This show matters, because it's able to cloak it's political commentary behind "Sci Fi" - it's not likely to get destroyed and cancelled as the excellent FX Show "Over There" was - it can address issues that seem to scare the begeezus out of ABC, CNN, NBC and MSNBC. CBS still shows occasional signs of journalistic courage - but they've been largely neutered by the National Guard Papers.


All I need is Battlestar Galactica and Keith Olbermann with a dash of truthiness from the Daily Show and Colbert and I'm good. Watching these shows tells me - Somebody is paying attention, and makes me feel we just might save this country (and world) yet. Maybe.


Oh, and the show drives freepers over the edge - and that's always a plus.


Vyan

Friday, March 10

Abramoff Spills to Vanity Fair

Raw Story has the scoop.

Vanity Fair is set to publish a tell-all interview with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, noting that his plea-bargain sentence can be "substantially reduced" by co-operating with investigators.

The piece makes much of many prominent Republicans' denials of having worked with Abramoff. Abramoff reminisces about jokes President Bush, who now claims not to remember him, made about his weight training program. Abramoff also recalls discussing the Bible, opera, and golf with Tom DeLay.

The author of the Vanity Fair article also spoke with Sam Seder on the Randi Rhodes Show Yesterday and dished a few details on his upcoming peice on Abramoff.

In the RS article...

Abramoff also alleges that RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman provided Abramoff political favors--including aiding in the removal of a State Department official.

Abramoff also claims to have funneled $50,000 donated by clients to a charity he set up to pay for a golf trip for himself, Ohio Republican Bob Ney, and former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed (currently seeking the office of Lt. Governor for the state of Georgia). Reed also once served as Abramoff's projects director.


Abramoff with Reagan and Norquist
From Sam Seder's interview, the Vanity Fair reporter stated that the thing that galls Abramoff the most is the attempt to "scrub his existence from the record" by his former friends and collegues. And the person that most annoys him in this regard, is Newt Gingrich. He found the attempts by the White House to erase all trace of his existence "completely overboard". Abramoff stated that most of his lobbying work was with Congress and had little to do with the White House - so there was little need to go to such extreme lengths of denial.

Other than the fact that that's IMO, their standard modis operandi - Deny Everything.

He further stated that "Abramoff is a right-wing ideologue", a Reagan-era Republican who believes devoutly, religiously in the righteousness of his cause. And that this is exactly what drove him to use any and all mean, neccesary and unneccsary to further his goals. He's an "Ends justifies the means type of guy".

Yeah, no kidding. But also what was most apparent to the VF interviewer is that Abramoff has absolutely no remorse, in fact he hardly feels that he did anything wrong at all - only played the game a little "better" than some others may have.

I think his eventual sentencing for bribery might change that view.

So let's review - those on the chopping block of extreme exposure from links to Abramoff appear to be Delay, Reed, Mehlman, Ney and Gringrich.

Guess what - not a single Democrat in the bunch, eh? Imagine that.

Having corruption allegations hanging around the necks of these people - particular Mehlman, whose a new player in this - leading into the 2006 elections should do a great deal to keep the Republican Parties heels dragging come November.

Gingrich's 2008 Presidential bid might also be on the back-burner - for good. It took him almost 8 years to live down his last scandal (an affair with one of his House assistants), which forced him to step down as House Speaker. Seeya in 2012 Newt.

Vyan

Diebold v Leon County Florida

An eerily familiar scenario to that currently being suffered by Stephen Heller (the Diebold Whistleblower whose actions led to the initial decertification of the companies electronic voting machines in California and who is now facing felony charges) today the Miami Herald has an update on another anti-Diebold activist, Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho.

Last year after conducting experiments on Diebold Voting machines, Sancho released a report that indicated how easily the machines could be hacked.

"In other words, you could steal the election and no one would ever know," Sancho said.
It's now looks the E-Voting Empire has begun to strike back, as Sancho has had difficulting finding replacement machines. ES&S says it "did not believe it could have a smooth working relationship with Sancho". According to the Miami Herald it looks like the State of Florida is also getting into the act.

When two of the only three voting machine vendors certified to do business in Florida (other potential competitors are shut out) refused to sell new machines to the troublemaking maverick from Leon County, the state snatched $564,421 in grant money away from Leon County for failing to meet a deadline for -- you guessed it -- obtaining new machines.

He may be a hero in California, but messing with monied interests makes him a pariah in Florida.

Ok, everybodies clearly hot under the collar here - but just what's gotten both the Florida Secretary of State and the various E-voting companies so excitable?


California's voting systems assessment board issued a report last month that cited -- in the very first paragraph -- Leon County's security tests. Sancho had dispatched renowned computer expert Harri Hursti of Finland to attempt to hack Leon County's Diebold voting system. He did. Hursti demonstrated that someone inside the supervisor's office could both alter the outcome of an election and erase any trace of his meddling.

But was this just a fluke? Skewed results from a test where everything neccesary had been handed to Husti? Er, not so much.

California's follow-up investigation ''absolutely vindicated Sancho's concerns,'' said David Wagner, a University of California computer scientist and a member of the voting machine assessment board. ``Our report found all of Ion Sancho's concerns were valid and, in fact, worse than anyone realized.''

As a results of the work in California as well as by Sancho security holes in the system are (finally) being addressed - but it appears that many of the companies hold a grudge.

Wagner noted, instead of getting credit, Sancho has been savaged. One vendor canceled his orders at the last minute, one refused to sell him machines, the third won't return his phone calls.

Salesmen are suddenly too busy to sell him machines. The state, rather than react to possible collusion, promptly canceled his grant and threatened to sue him for failing to fulfill his official duties. A couple of Leon County commissioners have joined the pummeling.

Corporate Clowns to the left him, State idiots to the right - Sancho finds himself caught in a bind.

''Can a vendor punish someone who exposes defects in their product?'' Wagner asked.

``If they can drive out Ion Sancho, this is going to have a chilling effect on election supervisors across the country.''

That it can, and maybe that's exactly the point eh?

I can't possibly stress how critical accurate elections are to the functioning of a free democracy, and especially to getting back control from this Rubber Stamp Congress.

They totally caved on the NSA Investigation, and IMO they're likely to fail on the Dubai Ports deal as well.

California currently has 6 Fighting Dems running for Congress, Florida has 5. Democrats need just 15 seats to take back the House and 6 to take back the Senate.

Defeating Diebold (and ES&S) before we get to the ballot box is the only way.

[Update from the Comments: Sancho has 'breach of contract' proceedings against Diebold.]

Vyan

Tuesday, March 7

Lesli's Fund

Last Friday I received some shocking news. My step-son Nathan called to let us know that our (future) daughter-in-law Lesli was in the hospital. She'd apparently collapsed and had a battery of tests run - including a spinal tap.


When Nate called she'd already been in the hospital three days and they needed to keep her for the next five to put her through the beginning of treatment. Now both Nathan and Lesli work pretty much full-time at Home Depot as well as going to school at American River College in Sacramento. Nathan is an actor, while Lesli is planning to go into medicine herself. They live basically paycheck to paycheck, with little or no real savings. A night out to have dinner is rare luxury.

Just like well over 45 million other Americans, most of whom also work, Nate and Lesli have no health insurance. So far they've been fortunate that the Emergency Medical system in Sacramento via UC Davis Medical Center is excellent. UCD took wonderful care of my wife when her gall bladder ruptured a few years back.

But generally speaking, being without Health Care fucking sucks. From Nate's Myspace blog.

Shortly before my birthday, Lesli, my girlfriend of a year and a half, started getting ill. Severe vertigo coupled with nausea, often followed by vomiting. Being the broke-ass college kids we are working in retail, we had no medical insurance. There are ways around that, though... County Medical services.

We go in, doc says "Viral inner ear infection and gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and small intestine)". Ok... cool. We have a reason. It's just going to take a little time, and she'll get better, right?

Wrong.

The doctors that compose CMISP are the lost dogs, the burnouts, and those who just don't really know what the fuck they're doing. All this doctor did was give her a sugar drip to get her blood sugar back up and give some meds for the dizziness and the nausea. It's viral, so no cure except time, right?

Wrong again...

Tuesday, I wake up at 4am to be on the 5:30am bus to be at work by 6am..

Later after work he writes...
Once we're home, Lesli starts with a major cough. Now, I'm used to the occasional cough out of her, but she couldn't breathe. She started vomiting... I called her best friend and we went to UC Davis medical center's ER. We got there around 8:30pm.

In the waiting room, we watched Ace Ventura 2 and part of Heart Condition on TBS (I watched all of it, good flick with Bob Hoskins and a very young Denzel Washington). They took her in the back, and I waited for word... and waited... and waited...

Around 2am or so I asked the clerks to find out for me. I get to go back to "Area 3" and visit. The night crew gets used to me coming in and out as I go out for a smoke and come back to be with Lesli. They're not so much interested in her cough anymore as they are with the vertigo. She's had it for 2 months... that ain't right. X-ray, CT... nothing... We'll have to get an MRI done... This whole time, specialists and big-wigs keep coming in and out, doing motor skill and perception tests on her. Around 8am, one of the heads of Neurology pops in like a bull in a china shop. When he leaves, I almost wish I'd kicked him in the nuts. In the end, I'm glad I didn't... but I've been awake for 26 hours with intermittent spots of bad sleep. I was ready to hurt anybody who didn't say "excuse me" if they got in my way.

MRI at 11am. I call work to give them an update. The Manager on Duty, Chad, is an inhumane corporate robot. He gives me shit about Lesli's 'attendance issues'. I almost tell him to fuck the shelves since the store matters more than the employees to him, but I manage to keep my mouth shut and give a simple "I understand". After the MRI, back to area 3... Lesli rests, I'm out of cigarettes, so I go and get more while she sleeps.

I get back in time for the results... They're going to admit her. The MRI has shown what appears to be lesions on the brain..

The result? They suspect she has Multiple Sclerosis. (MS is a degenerative nerve disease which has become far better understood thanks to Martin Sheen's portrayal of MS stricken President Jed Bartlett on NBCs The West Wing. It is fortunately treatable, but there is no cure. She'll have it the rest of her life and she's still only 21.) But they aren't sure - yet.

They have to be sure about this, however, and check the fluids. A "spinal puncture" they call it now... but it'll always be a spinal tap. They first attempt it at 7pm after they've moved her up to a room... I've been at the hospital 23 hours, watched my girlfriend become a pincushion... and Doc I want to nut-crunch is having a goddamn trainee shove a needle in my girl's spine while she screams in pain. I don't care how much 'numbing medicine' you pump in there... you hit bone, and it hurts. They stop with Lesli in tears and only 1/2 a vial of the 4 they need. I'm tired... I'm ready to kill... but I have to be sure.


This procedure has to been performed a second time before they have a decent sample, and it's not until the next day that they receive the results and I get the phone call.

It's MS.

With the time that Lesli is losing from work while undergoing treatment she and Nate are in some immediate danger of falling dangerously behind on critical bills like rent and utilities. Now if she'd had healthcare coverage and had regular checkups this condition might have been identified before it became chronic and debilitating without her and Nate having to spend hours in the emergency room - while missing work. Nate makes the case perfectly in this section...

I call work to give them an update. The Manager on Duty, [who shall remain nameless in this retelling], is an inhumane corporate robot. He gives me shit about Lesli's 'attendance issues'. I almost tell him to fuck the shelves since the store matters more than the employees to him, but I manage to keep my mouth shut and give a simple "I understand".


As I've discussed in previous posts, since 9-11 me and my wife's financial situation has been not much better than theirs. Still, I can do a bit to help them and I have been able to keep back the wolves somewhat - but I know they'll need more at least until Lesli's treatment begins to have an effect and she's back on her feet.

So I'm opening the door to others who wish to help including friends, family, aquiantances of course but also people passing by down the hall or even just through the various websites that I've been involved in recently (blogspot, dailykos, myspace, silencedwithin.com, truth2power radio and more). Anyone with a heart and a few spare dollars can make a difference.

Below is a paypal donate button that will send anything people are inclined to give directly to Nathan and Lesli.

Click to give to Lesli's Fund


You can also send funds using this link : https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?...


Nate can be reached at Nathan_Light@hotmail.com or on Myspace.


Those who prefer more general MS Charities can click here to donate to the National MS Society.


Vyan

Monday, March 6

Why Crash Won

Ok, I'm an LA Native. Born at Queen of Angels Hospital. If you know anything about LA, it's that most people in the city - aren't from here. They come from other parts of the country, they come from other parts of the world - to bask in the glow of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and Malibu.

Or in realty, to look deep into the belly of the beast with the mistaken belief that it doesn't look back...

Details over the flip. (The Photos are mine - taken around town on my Cellphone Camera)

    Many people are currently discussing Crash as a movie about "Racism", but I think they are missing the point. Crash is movie about LA. It's about how disconnected people in this city are from one another, and often from themselves.

    The Racism was simply a manesfestation of that disconnection. It's the most obvious way to display it - but there are also disconnections between Don Cheadle's character and his mother, disconnections with his brother. There were a clear disconnect between Sandra Bullock and her D.A. Husband - and between Terrence Howard and his wife.

    All of these groups of people - were of the same race!

    I was born and raised here, and it was something I never really noticed or realized - no, that's untrue, I knew it - hell, I was essentially proud to have survived it.

    I've read diary comments that state that the film was too strident, too over the top -- "Oh, yeah yeah, everybodies a racist - I get it already". No, you don't get it - everyone is frustrated and unhappy in this so-called paradise to one degree or another because they've learned to equate their personal worth, and the worth of those around them - to finances. Big fat gas-guzzling SUV's and Hummers (So Freudianly named) with spinning rims, a big fat juicy well-paying job so you can have a huge house that requires a maid (who you don't trust) and a lock (which you can hardly remember how to open).

    People in this city live in constant fear, constant anxiety -- and they take it out on each other, sometimes on themselves. This city has no heart.

    I didn't used to believe that, I used to love LA and was proud to be from here - but after moving away and living in Sacramento for 7 years working as a Consultant to the State - that changed. Consulting is what I used to do until Enron destroyed the California Budget and I had to limp back home with my Wife and our cats - broke, nearly destitute - to live with family in L.A. (The fact that I came back from Sacramento - where LA Hate runs quite high - is not a factor to be dismissed, there are reasons people in Sac hate LA, the chief one being LA's complete and total lack of soul as well as the blight of living in the shadow of "Paradise".)

    There was a scene on West Wing a few weeks ago that truly struck me. It was between the C.J. Cregg and the Chinese Ambassador where he stated "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, all of your ideals are financial - not ethical."

    That's LA, in a nutshell.

    When I saw Crash - I saw the L.A. I had returned too. It's become about Bling and MORE Bling. Millions of orally fixated people filling their lives with useless shiny SHIT just to try and feel sated. And when you spend most of your time and energy accumulating or pinning for trophies - trophy cars, trophy homes, trophy wifes - you usually spend the rest of your time worrying about how you'll lose them. Whose going to take them away from you? The result : you have almost nothing but bitter, self-absorbed, needy, strident people with an occasional angel - like the locksmith and his daughter - here an there.

    And the angels in this city are being overrun.

    I watched the film on DVD - and then listened to it with the commentaries of Don Cheadle and writer/director Paul Haggis which was even more iluminating.

    Paul started writing this movie after he'd been car-jacked. He started to wonder about the two men who put a gun in his face, where were they from - where they life long friends - had they known each other since 7th grade?

    Other scenes also came directly from real life. While interviewing a Latino actor whose parents were from El Salvador and Guatamala who claimed that "he loved all people equally". Paul asked him how he would feel if someone called him a "Mexican".

    "I aint no fucking Mexican." he angrily responded. So much for limitless brotherly love. This sentiment was woven into Don Cheadle's scene with his Latina girlfriend.

    The scene where Terrence Howard confronts the you're friendly neighborhood jackbooted thugs (uh, LAPD) in a near suicidal move -- is real. That actually happened to Terrence, he's just lucky he didn't die that day.

    The scene were Sandra Bullock is explaining on the phone to a friend that "I'm angry all the time, and I don't know why..." just as that friend blows her off for some trivial B.S. is priceless. There's no empathy in the relationship there - no heart. It's all "Me, me, me..". That's why she was pissed off - she didn't have any real friends, except for the one person she hardly recognized as a person - her Mexican maid. That realization causes her to grow, albiet ever so slightly.

    Oh, and the film isn't totally without humor -- one running inside joke is that all the Asian persons in the film are referred to as Chinese ("There's a China-man under the truck!") - they are in fact, each and every one, Korean. Even at the end of the film, when Ludacris takes two giant steps forward by putting his own anti-racist pseudo-enlightenment bullshit to the test and freeing several Korean Boat-people from certain Slavery - he still takes one step backward and ignorantly calls them Chinese.

    If you see this movie as simply being about racism, you're missing the point. It's about the fear that drives to racism to flourish. How Terrence Howard's fear allows him to let the police humiliate his wife -- and how that drives a wedge between them. And ultimately how that very same officer overcomes his fear to save her life after a car wreck.

    I've long felt that the only way to defeat racism, and defeat the emptiness in our hearts - is through courage. Having the courage to take the risk that your worst fear just might be true, you just might lose everything you have, everything you've struggled for - but be willing to stumble forward anyway. That courage is the Magic Cloak of self-assurance, humility, grace and compassion that this city is sorely lacking and desperately needs.

    Finally, I believe that Crash shows the LA that Hollywood sees. Most Hollywood stars and producers aren't from here. They aren't natives. As they struggle on their way up through the rungs of the industry, many of them enter the city as I did on my return from Sacramento - desperate, hopeful, hungry, nearly destitute - often getting several years to see the not-so-bright parts of town up close and very personal.

    What many of them saw is what I see. It's what Paul Haggis saw when he was car-jacked and then showed on the screen in that film. And that is why Hollywood reacted so vicerally to the film, they recognized the truth of it in a way that native Angelino's have become too callous to notice. And that is why no other movie nominated this year - fine though many of them were -- truly had a chance against Crash.

    I know I jumped up and cheered when it won. So did my wife.

    Hell, even the cats nearly danced a jig.

    [Update: Let me just respond to multiple comments about the film being predictable and/or contrived in one shot - my point here isn't that "Crash" is or isn't better than any of the other films, it's that "Crash" uniquely spoke to something that many people in Hollywood responded to personally. It reflected their own attitudes, anxiety and fears as Angelinos. It spoke to me in that way as an (reluctant) Angelino. The other films simply didn't do that in the same way and hence, didn't have a chance IMO.)

    Vyan

    Sunday, March 5

    Bill O'Reilly has lost his freaking mind

    Crooks and Liars has the video of Keith Olbermann responding to the recent O'Lielly meltdown over supposed "Harrasment" by callers who merely mention Olbermann's name.

    Windows Media - Quick Time

    I haven't seen anything so flop over and belly laugh funny on TV since Olberman danced a jig after O'Reilly mentioned that he thinking of retiring in two years.

    In response to a caller on his radio show who merely mentioned the words "Keith Olbermann", O'Reilly immediately hit the dump button (as if to hint that the person had made some threatening or obscene comment) and then proceeded to claim - "we have your phone numbers ... and you'll be receiving a visit from Fox Security."

    [Update : Olbermann transcript is now available]
    OLBERMANN: Bill O'Reilly is now threatening callers to his radio show, at least one of whom mentioned my name.

    Our third story on the COUNTDOWN, oh, here we go. First it was the warnings to NBC chairman Robert Wright, then the phone calls to NBC president Jeff Zucker, then the petition to get me fired and Phil Donahue brought back, then the erroneous ratings information he gave out.

    Even in that context, though, this is pretty special. Ted Baxter telling uncooperative listeners that he'll turn their phone numbers over to Fox security, and that Fox security will in turn contact the local authorities.

    Bill thinks he has his own police.

    A caller got through to O'Reilly's radio show yesterday. He insists he used no foul language, that all he did was mention my name, compliment my show, and asked, Why are you always smearing him, Bill? And the host, using the dump button all talk radio shows have on the seven-second delay, cut him off.

    We're not certain what actually got on the air, but this was what was posted on O'Reilly's Web site as the air check for that part of the show.

    (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, “THE RADIO FACTOR”)

    O'REILLY: Orlando, Florida. Mike, go.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE (on phone): Hey, Bill, I appreciate your taking my call.

    O'REILLY: Sure.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like to listen to you during the day. I think Keith Olbermann's show...

    O'REILLY: There you go, Mike is—he's a gone guy. You know, we have his—we have your phone numbers, by the way, so if you're listening, Mike, we have your phone number. And we're going to turn it over to Fox security, and you'll be getting a little visit.

    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe Mike is from the mother ship.

    O'REILLY: No, maybe Mike's going to get in big trouble, because we're not going to play around. When you call us, ladies and gentlemen, just so know, we do have your phone number. And if you say anything untoward, obscene, or anything like that, Fox security then will contact your local authorities, and you will be held accountable. Fair?

    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's fair.

    O'REILLY: So just—all you guys who do this kind of a thing, you know, I know some shock jocks, whatever—you will be held accountable. Believe it. We'll be right back.

    (END AUDIO CLIP)

    Rather than being the idol threat of a fever dream, it seems that Bill has done exactly that - twice.

    Olbermann's guest during the segment is a prosecutor who points out that the person whose commited an act of "harrasment" here aren't the callers - it's O'Reilly himself.

    SUSAN FILAN, FORMER CONNECTICUT STATE PROSECUTOR: Hi, Keith.

    OLBERMANN: Having done calling—I've done call-in radio off and on since 1975. I thought I knew this thing pretty well. The caller can only get into trouble if he threatens a violent or illegal act, right?

    FILAN: The only person that's going to get in trouble here is Bill O'Reilly. He's lost the plot entirely. To think that you can commandeer local law enforcement to be your personal henchman because you don't like something a caller said on the air is absolutely outrageous and absurd. It's an abuse of the media, it's an abuse of law enforcement, and he's now the one engaging in threatening behavior. You can't do that. He's crossed the line.

    What did the caller say that's obscene, “Keith Olbermann”? I don't think so.

    OLBERMANN: The people behind this and, as much as I'd like to claim I'm behind this, I'm not. I'm not as smart as Howard Stern is. But the people behind this say that one of their callers, Spinners, they call themselves, actually got calls today from somebody identifying himself as a former New York City policeman who is now director of FOX News security, who advised that organizer that if you call anyone to often in this circumstance, you can be charged with harassment.

    Is that a scare tactic or is there anything to that particular claim, the idea of harassment?

    FILAN: I think that's a scare tactic. Because what is too often? If one called and said every single day, “I love you, I love you” and he likes your message, is that too often? Is it only too often when he doesn't like what you're saying?

    The harassment here is coming from Bill—Bill O'Reilly to that caller. The caller calling up and saying your name on the air, how is that harassment? It's a public radio show. He's inviting people to call in. That person has a First Amendment right to say your name on the air, and Bill O'Reilly doesn't have the First Amendment right to threaten a visit from law enforcement, as if this person has committed some kind of criminal behavior. Bill O'Reilly has crossed the line and lost the plot.

    OLBERMANN: Well, he—he has a long history of trouble when it comes to phones, but that's another story entirely.

    Let's just admit it right here - Falafel boy has lost his freaking marbles. Besides the fact that his hero Bush's poll numbers continue to circle the drain, it just might have something to do with the fact that Olbermanns ratings are on the Rise, while O'Reilly's are starting to tumble.

    On Wednesday night, O'Reilly delivered 309,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic, while Olbermann had 231,000. Countdown had 75 percent of the Factor's demo numbers -- on third-place, also-ran, insert-your-cliche MSNBC. Paula Zahn had just 81,000 demo viewers.

    Here's another example of Bully-boys increasing psychosis : During last weeks broadcasts of his television program Mr. "We're looking out for you" has not even mentioned the biggest Story on the Planet - the Bush/Katrina Video Tape. Instead he's been trying to whistle past the graveyard of the Bush Presidency with the story of another tape - the Colorado School teacher who was taped making "anti-Bush" statements.

    Think about that a second - George Bush being proven wrong when he said "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levee's" is Not a story - but a teacher talking about things George Bush has said - accurately - Is a story. Huh?

    This just shows that O'Reilly and reality have clearly gotten a divorce and his alimony checks have started to bounce.

    On his program O'Reilly spoke with Jay Bennish's attorney and during the conversation he claimed that...

    • 10th graders are only 12-13 years old.

    • The kid must have taped the teacher because of his crazy rantings (as it turned out, on the very next show Hannity and Colmes where the student was a guests - he frequently tapes his classes as a way to take notes)

    • The teacher must have been trying to "indoctrinate" his students into a particular mode of thought claimed O'Reilly while ignoring this section of the tape where Bennish said "In no way am I implying, I don't know, you got to figure this stuff out for yourself, but I want you to think about these things--you know, "

    Imagine, a teacher asking his students to think? Where's Fox Security? Get that guy in a stress position. Quick before he tells the students about Bush's poll numbers or the fact that the Vice-President Popped a cap in some old dude's dome last month.

    The Truthiness is getting a little to thick up there in Colorado.

    Y'know if I was of a vicious bent - I would suggest that lots of people begin to listen in to O'Reilly's show call him up and say two words - "Keith Olbermann" then hang up.

    After about 15 or 20 of these, the Fox Security guys will be overwhelmed and swamped - and maybe, just maybe - they'll stop listening to Bully O'Liely's chicken little act. Now, I'm not suggesting an organized campaign of "harrasment" of poor Mr. O'Reilly. No, that would be wrong. But I do think that it could be considered a form of reverse aversion therapy - like having a person with OCD face the source of their greatest fears in order build up their tolerance, and help bring there behaving back more towards - y'know sanity. It just might even be good for Bill in the long run.

    I'm just saying...

    [Update 2: After looking at Firedoglake, I came to the realization that my idol pondering about an organized effort call up O'Reilly isn't idol at all. The caller who was featured in the Olbermann peice is Mike Stark of callingallwingnuts.com. This was no boating accident... Mike's been doing this kind of thing, calling up wingbats and giving them conniption fits for some time now. It probably wouldn't be so much fun , if it wasn't so easy to push them over the edge of their fragile sanity.]

    Vyan