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Extortion for fun and political gain

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The American Heritage Dictionary says that one meaning for the word extortion is "the criminal offense of using one's official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage to which one is not entitled."   It can also mean "the exaction of an exorbitant price."   No nationally known and respected political pundits are using that word to describe the political maneuvering that the Republicans are using to get the Democrats to agree to some harsh budget cuts.   One or two radical bloggers who are jealous of the media attention given to the nobility of journalism, such as Bart the Bright, might bandy that word about recklessly in the hopes of landing a guest expert gig on a fair and balanced political TV debate program, but such rogues would also be prone to be card carrying members of the Associated Secret Society of Konspiracy Investigation Scholars and Students (You figure out their acronym) and the transparency of their grandstanding attempt would be apparent.

The National Lampoon magazine cover that depicted a cowering dog with a gun aimed at his head had the headline:   "Buy this magazine or we'll shoot the dog!"   That was a funny example of extortion but to use that word with regard to what the Republicans are doing is reprehensible.  

Is it extortion if the threat of reprisals is only implied?   At this point, the Democrats have to ask themselves one more question:   "Do I feel lucky?"

Is the military action against Libya listed as an active "war"?   In all the excitement of the Arab Spring, we've kinda lost track of the exact count.   Is it two or thee active wars?

The Scientists have learned how to manipulate the media to their own advantage by using polar bears (Ursis Maritimus) to extort alarmist reactions from the journalists and now they are doubling down with a crazy story about cell phones causing sterility in human males.   Really?   "Don't worry, baby, we won't need a condom because we are protected by my constant cell phone use!"?

Recently Karl Rove was a guest on Shaun Hannity's radio program and when he was asked to evaluate all the Republicans trying to become their party's next Presidential candidate, he forgot JEB Bush.   Rove has worked for the Bush family since 1973 and he forgot JEB.   How come journalists think Rove is a master of political strategy if he can forget JEB?   . . . Say, you don't think that was what the real political pundits call a "ploy," do ya?

As the 2011 anniversary of D-Day approaches, the USA's population of homeless is growing even as the number of empty homes that have been foreclosed increases rapidly.  

When President Obama said that the bombing of Libya to protect its citizens from a ruthless leader wouldn't last for days or weeks, was he trying to say that he knew then that it would take months?  

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If the part of the Constitution that says that Congress must vote to approve any new wars is obsolete, what other parts of that document are no longer viable?

What ever happened to the news reports from the folks who started releasing information about radiation levels in the USA following the nuclear disaster in Japan?   Would it be accurate to make a snide reference to "Gone With The Wind," if the prevailing weather patterns might actually be increasing the amount of atomic fallout?

Speaking of the all time greatest movies, has any political pundit pointed out the window of opportunity for a sequel to "The Blob"?   The monster is flown to the artic and put in a de facto state of suspended animation.   The victims agree that they will have no worries "as long as the Artic stays cold."   This columnist has been told that there is at least one palm tree living (in retirement?) in Paris (France, not Texas).

The residual good will generated by the American led efforts to liberate Europe in WWII, is rapidly diminishing.   Could it be compared to a melting snowman?  

Are America's claims to being "the Good Guys" perceived in The Hague much like the spectacle of an old woman traipsing down Main Street in scanty attire?

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Wouldn't being a paid staff member of an American news organization stationed in The Hague be an example of a sinecure?   (Note:   being a lazy journalist requires doing some work; doing none at all disqualifies a person from competing in any lazy journalism competition.)   Was using a story that warned an American that he would be arrested if he showed up in Switzerland for a speaking engagement an example of journalism or a tip-off?   What is President Obama's status as far as a visit to The Hague is concerned?   If you don't know, then we rest our case.

Speaking of Freedom of the Press and the Normandy Invasion, did you know that there was one printing plant that transitioned from printing Wehrmacht to producing the Paris edition of YANK?   We culled that tidbit of information from the Introduction to "The Best from YANK the Army Weekly" (E. P. Dutton & Co. hardback 1945)

The American TV program "Boston Legal" used to feature some eloquent oratory that questioned the wisdom of America's invasion of Iraq.   What ever happened to that program?   We liked the traditional "balcony time" closing sequences.

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)

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