New York City, 9/11, and its aftermath

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Monday, December 29, 2008


by Saul Bloodworth

I can't quite follow the outrage about the fake Holocaust memoir written by Herman Rosenblat (or his ghostwriter). So yes, he fabricated the part of the story that got him the book deal in the first place, the heartwarming story about his future wife throwing apples over the fence at Buchenwald.

So, everybody who is familiar with Buchenwald must know right away that this was made up. Buchenwald was not a place were children would get apples (let alone in the winter of 1944/1945). It was a very brutal camp for political prisoners, mainly Communists, Social Democrats and Union leaders, but also priests, Jehova's Witnesses, homosexuals and POWs, mainly from Tchechoslovakia, Poland, France and the Soviet Union, and also Gipsys. More than 50.000 died of hunger, cold, typhus, forced labor, or they were shot when they try to escape.

Among the prisoners were Leon Blum, the former French chancellor, also Ernst Heilmann, the head of the Democratic party in the Prussian government, who was killed, as well as Ernst Thälmann, the head of the Communist Party of Germany. He was killed as well.

Only a few of the inmates were Jewish, except for 1945, when Jews were brought there from Auschwitz. And I doubt there were a lot of children.

So, why am I not outraged? Because, in the end, Rosenblat was a victim of an attitude created by the publishing industry as well as Hollywood: Confuse fact and fiction! Pretty much most stories sold to you as "based on a true story" are fake, for the simple reason that real life does not make good stories in terms of Hollywood storytelling, i.e. the suspense and the happy ending and the good/bad-guys formula. Oddly enough, the same publishers that want fiction to be true force non-fiction writers to include narrative elements.

Of course he could have sold that story as fiction, but in this case, the publisher would not have bought it. The problem is the publishing industry, not the Rosenblats. So, lets try to untangle fiction and non-fiction and just label everything correctly. It would be a great step towards reclaiming the truth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For Whom The Shoe Shills

By Saul Bloodworth

By coincidence, the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie started the same week than the Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi threw his shoes, trying to hit George W. Bush. A plot to kill Hitler is not exactly the same thing than showing contempt for the Commander in Chief. After the plot to kill Hitler failed, about 5000 people were executed. Al-Zaidi is still alive. But he is in jail, he was reportedly tortured and nobody knows what will happen to him. His only defense is the Arab Street, at this point.

The chattering classes can't get enough of it. The video is on every channel. Readers of HuffPo are calling on Americans to send their old shoes to the White House. You can replay the shoe insult, or utter an opinion about it where ever you feel like it.

So, here is the point: For eight years, not one single American has mustered enough courage to throw a shoe, or an egg, or a tomato at Bush. So, I'm not saying I would have dared if I had the chance. Probably not. I'm not pretending I'm a hero.

However, isn't this week an opportunity to shut up for a while, stop chattering, and give it some thought if you would have dared to rise your hand against a real dictator? Or, at least, against someone who does, after all, allow Americans due process (just not foreigners)? Just a little bit more modesty right now would be nice. There will be more than enough time next year to show off easy Anti-Fascism.

And while I'm at it, the Unites States is still occupying Iraq. So, if Al-Zaidi gets killed in jail, that will be an American responsibility. The Obama magic will not gloss over it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bride of Chucky

by Saul Bloodworth

Now to something completely different: What can be done about Proposition 8? What outrages me most, by the way, is that a church based in Utah can influence legislation in California. This is not how direct Democracy was supposed to work. If a Korean-based church would pour money into an anti-gay campaign, would we put up with it? Surely not.

Anyway, the damage is done, now lets think about revenge. I've given that some thought, the first idea I had was: Introduce a Proposition that outlaws the Mormon Church in California. Ok, that's probably not doable, constitution-wise. So, here is another idea: What about a Proposition that does away with their tax advantages, on the basis that the Mormons are behaving like a political group and not like a religious affiliation?

A better idea, but still, legally difficult. Then I came up with a real idea: Lets call for a Proposition that bans Mormons - and everybody else of course, for that matter — from marrying child brides younger than 14, especially for men who are already married. This is a clear-cut non-discriminating goal everybody can agree on.

Yes, I know what you are about to say: Marrying child brides is already illegal in California, and elsewhere, and the Mormons have officially banned it. So what? This is about Public Relations. Lets have a campaign, fueled by gay money, to make sure that everybody knows we are against that evil practice of marrying child brides which surely still exists among Mormons, because why else would we run a campaign against it?

For legal reasons, it would probably make sense to throw something in that constitutes new legislation, such as: Law enforcement should be obliged to check on people who are suspect of marrying child brides for religious reasons, i. e. Mormons, like, once a year. That should do it.

If the Mormons want to have an ugly public fight about sex, they can have it

Monday, December 1, 2008

Last Man to Die

by Saul Bloodworth

Well, here is an interesting story: An American soldier, André Shepherd, who was supposed to be deployed to Iraq has deserted, he is asking for political asylum in Germany. He told at a press conference: “I’ve done enough research to come to the conclusion that what is happening in Iraq is not the equivalent of World War II but outright massacre. We are not the freedom fighters we think we are.”

Shepherd went AWOl already one and a half years ago. He has lived underground with German friends since, but now he came out of the woodworks.

So, now we will see an interesting conflict unfolding: Legally, Shepherd is entitled to political asylum, since Germany regards the Iraq war as an illegal act of aggression (as do most countrys). He also has the backing of the German press. Politically, however, this puts the Merkel government in a bad spot, since everyone has hoped that the relationship with the U.S. government would improve, now that Obama is elected.

Furthermore, there is a fierce debate in Germany going on about the treatment of Wehrmacht deserters during World War II, 23.000 of which have been executed (sorry, no English information available). As of now, some of them have been rehabilitated, but not all of them. There is talk about putting up a memorial in Berlin. To extradite an American soldier in this climate would be political suicide for everyone involved.

So, lets see what happens. It goes without saying that the American press is not covering any of this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

There they go again..

by Saul Bloodworth

I just read that there is a legal challenge to Obama's citizenship and I can't believe this nonsense is still going on. To be President, you have to be born an American citizen, not born within the borders of the USA. So says the Constitution. If one of your parents is an American, you're an American, end of story.

Otherwise, Obama (and the same goes for McCain) would not only be not an American, he would be an illegal immigrant. You don't become an American by simply spending time in the country. If you are not natural born, you need to apply for a Green Card and eventually for citizenship.

So, there is some red tape involved. Citizenship does not rub off. Since neither Obama nor McCain ever applied for a Green Card (unless I am deeply mistaken) and never took advantage of an amnesty (which involves, I believe, also applying for a Green Card) they are both either Americans or illegal foreigners. There is no third way.

And, coming to think of it, I have never heard of a child of an American born during a vacation overseas that needed to apply for a Green Card. That would be quite difficult, by the way. Imagine, you're on vacation in Paris and your give birth in a French hospital. If that child were not an American but French, you could not even take it back home because you can't take a French citizen out of the country without consent.

To be clear: The Amendment in the Constitution that declares someone an American if he/she is born here does not work the other way round, the same way it does not become dark if you cover your eyes with your hands. And it was not introduced to make immigration easier (at this time, every white person who made it to the shore was granted citizenship or sent back). It was introduced to give citizenship to black people born in the U.S. (albeit not to Native Americans born in Territories).

So, knock it off!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ms. Big

by Saul Bloodworth

Ann Coulter broke her jaw, now her jaw is wired (surgically), so she needs to shut up, at least for a while or two. Well, you can't make that stuff up. Now people are asking, how did that happen? My first theory was that she tried to adapt to the new times by giving a blow job to a black guy. But then I realized that this theory would not be PC, let alone family-friendly, as this blog aspires to be, so I dropped it.

Here is another little known fact about Ann Coulter: She said that the only regret she has about the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is that he did not bomb the New York Times Building. Gee, the only? Wasn't McVeigh a convicted Neonazi who killed 168 Americans and was close to the Aryan Nations? Later, his friends burned down the Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana (where McVeigh was executed).

So, if Ann Coulter had said that the only regret she had about Adolf Hitler was that he did not bomb the New York Times offices in London during the Blitz, would she have gotten away with it? I'm afraid so. In her defense, she does look pretty Aryan.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bring in the Public Safety Committee

By Saul Bloodworth

I'm back! I have been traveling quite some time, now I have some catching up to do. First, I would like to mention an appearance by Bill Kristol on the Daily Show, and yes, I know it was some time ago, but I still think it was remarkable.

Of course, Kristol is the same unapologetic Republican scumbag he's always been, but that's not the point. In the beginning of the interview, Stewart asks him about the New York Times, and Kristol goes like, "bah, The New York Times, who cares." Well, last time I checked he was employed by The Times. That's something Stewart also reminded him of, and then he said: "Well, they have one good columnist." I assume he was talking about Bob Herbert.

Corrected me if I'm wrong but dishing the paper you work for in public, especially on a popular TV show, used to get you fired when Punch Sulzberger was still in charge. What the fuck are they thinking at The Times? Or are they so desperate they put up with every scumbag?

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Forever War

by Saul Bloodworth

Yesterday, I attended a book presentation; the author was Dexter Filkins, a distinguished journalist from The New York Times. The title of the book was The Forever War. The book is, of course, about the war in Iraq and the occupation, and Filkins was rather glum. The surge did work, he said, even more, paying every member of the Sunni resistance $300 a month works. However, as soon as the U.S. would pull out, chaos would erupt, and a bloodbath would occur.

Well, I'm sure he knows Iraq better than I do (even though he admitted not to speak Arabic, then again, New York Times' reporters are not that great in speaking foreign languages). Anyway, he seemed well informed and he had spent a lot of time there. The striking thing, however, was not that he did not see a way out, he also saw nobody at fault. He said something along the lines of: "We did not want this war, you did not want this war, what can we do?"

Huh? This is not George W. Bush's war. Bush had an approval rating of 90 percent when he started his little Blitzkrieg against the Middle East, and he had an approval rating of more than 60 percent when the U.S. army attacked Iraq. The New York Times endorsed that war. So, now, everybody is a victim? Did they all follow orders?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Sun Also Shines

by Saul Bloodworth

I might be swept up in Obamania (I'm only human, sort of), but has anyone else noticed that relationships between blacks and whites have improved seemingly overnight? I live in a building where about one third of the tenants are black; not that there are any tensions, so far (except I once nearly got into a fistfight with a sister in the laundry room) but I did have the impression that blacks are mostly keeping to themselves.

Not any more. Suddenly everybody in the elevator is smiling. White people are congratulating black people and vice versa. It's as if someone has made the sun shine. And you have the same feeling just walking down the streets: Instead of that only so slight undercurrent of agressivity/fear. Everybody want to love everybody.

Even the girl at that chicken place who is always in a bad mood, smiles. And, two more things: Two white girls I know suddenly showed up with a black guy at my watering hole. Well, maybe I'm reading too much into this. But still.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Keeping the Clothes

By Saul Bloodworth

Here are two topics I would like the MSM to investigate, not out of necessity, but out of spite: Does Sarah Palin give her new $150.000-clothes to charity, and is her daughter Bristol going to marry that Levi-guy (my guess is, no)?

Seriously, here is the thing that strikes me most about the election. I have been in Harlem yesterday, everybody was celebrating, of course. Crowds of people taking the streets, music, drums, weed. The interesting part was that there were as many white than black faces. Even more, there was no animosity between Whites and Blacks.

I think this is huge. And there is more change to come.

While I'm at it, did anybody notice that CNN forgot to count Alaska yesterday?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Florida Style

by Saul Bloodworth

The election has started, and the first complaints are coming in — by international observers. The OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation), an international body based in Europe, has sent some 50 to 100 observers to the U.S, however, they are kept from observing.

One group, led by the Patrick Meinhard, a member of the German parliament (and a liberal, which means center-right in Germany), was turned away in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The group was only allowed to monitor one single location. On top of that, it was one that has been handpicked by Florida authorities.

"This is inacceptable," Meinhardt told the Financial Times in Germany. "You can't tell election observers what they can or cannot observe." Meinhardt is especially upset, since this happens in Florida, of all places, the State that became famous for voter fraud and voter roll cleansing in 2000.

It should not surprise anybody that this is not covered by the American media.

Monday, November 3, 2008

International Observance

by Saul Bloodworth

I'm back in New York - boy, it's a lot colder here than in Albuquerque, let alone Tucson. The TV has only two programs; either McCain/Palin speaking, or Obama speaking (what happened to Biden when I was away?). It's sort of like watching TV in the Soviet Union except their blacks are called Caucasians.

Speaking of which, Russia is one of the few countries that does not send its own experts to observe the elections in the U.S. But it does so under the umbrella of the OSCE, as do a number other countries.

The OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation is a 56-member, non-partisan organization that monitors governance and fights terrorism. It is based in Europa, the U.S. is also a member. It has sent 47 election observers to a number of states in the U.S., including North Dakota. In addition, there is team of 13 international experts based in Washington, D.C.

According to an interim report about the 40 states observed by the OSCE so far, "voter registration issues have sometimes been contentious, and an increase in registered voters raises questions about the capacity of polling stations. In addition, lawsuits across the nation have involved challenges to voter identification laws and the maintenance of voter registration lists".

According to other reports, there are up to 100 international observers, including some from Poland and Portugal. Even Kazakhstan is sending observers. That will be the most watched election in history. You betcha.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Mexican Independence

by Saul Bloodworth

After nearly one week in New Mexico and Arizona, I finally met the first person who did not tell me that he or she'd plan to vote for Barack Obama (although, at this point, I believe I might be magically drawn to aging hippies, because there must be some Republicans somewhere). That person was a guy I talked to at the Albuquerque Press Club; he works for Northrop Grunman and Homeland Security, it's one of these jobs, "if I'd tell you what I'm doing I would have to kill you."

Well, I met him on Halloween, at a party, he was a little drunk and he told me he had voted for Bob Barr (early voting). Bob Barr! No, he couldn't get himself to vote for either McCain or Obama, he said. Much less Palin. I asked him whether he was aware that he was, in essence, wasting his vote. He knew, but he did not care.

He was, by the way, dressed as John McCain himself, complete with a very sweaty-looking rubber mask, and he was accompanied by "Sarah Palin" and a very pregnant "Bristol Palin". I was dressed as the Devil. It was an easy costume.

He added that he wished the U.S. had many more parties, a Green Party that deserves its name, a Libertarian Party, real conservatives, you name it. But what can you do, he said. I asked him why he, at least, had not voted for Ron Paul. "I would have, but he is not on the ballot," he said. I think Sarah Palin is in for a rough surprise. I got pretty drunk so I don't remember much more.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Rolling The Dice

by Saul Bloodworth

Last night, I drove back to New Mexico, to Acoma. Acoma is an Indian reservation 60 miles west of Albuquerque. The Acoma tribe has some 6000 members, 4000 of which live on the reservation, the rest someplace else, mainly in New Mexico and Arizona. I asked some tribe members about the election, and I got some mixed reactions.

So first, a woman who works for the local cultural center told me that half of her staff isn't even going to vote. They believe, for them, it does not matter who becomes President. Later, I had lunch with two tribal members, two men in their fifties.

One of them told me he was leaning towards John McCain, even though he was a Democrat. "I met McCain one, he is a honest guy", he said. But more importantly, McCain has supported gambling on reservations, and that's how the tribe is making a living (a friend told me later that McCain, meanwhile, has shifted his support to Las Vegas gambling).

The other guy, however, was voting for Obama, not because of McCain, but because of Sarah Palin. He had read someplace that she had threatened to take away the sovereignty of the Native American tribes in Alaska. That would be something she could not do as a Governor anyway, but as a Vice President, maybe. He was not even sure if that was true, but he was taking no chances.

Does it matter? New Mexico has about 200.000 Native Americans, ten percent of the population. So it might, if they'd vote.

Rolling The Dice

by Saul Bloodworth

Last night, I drove back to New Mexico, to Acoma. Acoma is an Indian reservation 60 miles west of Albuquerque. The Acoma tribe has some 6000 members, 4000 of which live on the reservation, the rest someplace else, mainly in New Mexico and Arizona. I asked some tribe members about the election, and I got some mixed reactions.

So first, a woman who works for the local cultural center told me that half of her staff isn't even going to vote. They believe, for them, it does not matter who becomes President. Later, I had lunch with two tribal members, two men in their fifties.

One of them told me he was leaning towards John McCain, even though he was a Democrat. "I met McCain one, he is a honest guy", he said. But more importantly, McCain has supported gambling on reservations, and that's how the tribe is making a living (a friend told me later that McCain, meanwhile, has shifted his support to Las Vegas gambling).

The other guy, however, was voting for Obama, not because of McCain, but because of Palin. He had read someplace that she had threatened to take away the sovereignty of the Native Americans in Alaska. That would be something she could not do as a Governor, but as a Vice President, maybe. He was not even sure if that was true, but he was taking no chances.

Does it matter? New Mexico has about 200.000 Native Americans, ten percent of the population. So it might, if they`d vote.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


by Saul Bloodworth

I finally made it to Tombstone, but I was not especially impressed. This town might as well be located on a Hollywood back lot. In fact, they had some "old" Wild West buildings on a lot that had been a gas station in the 1960s, a local woman told me. All the Wild West stores on Allen Street were selling Indian jewelry, Wyatt-Earp-T-shirts, semi-precious stones and the like. I spent 12 bucks on a coffee mug with Betty Boop, saying, "I don't do mornings".

Neither do I, but traveling such long distances requires getting up before 9am. In the evening, I hit Tuscon, the house of a friend's friend. We had a little get-together with some of her friends, we ate chicken salad sandwiches, brownies, and had some wine. One of her friends hat just built a huge mirror that captures moonlight. If you sit in it and let the moon shine on you, you should be cured from depression (because moonlight is more gentle than sunlight). She was by no means a McCain-fan, she found him way too aggressive. The other woman, who was married to an Army officer, was unsure.

The woman who had invited us was pro Obama, because she was concerned about the economy. Many people are holding onto whatever money they have left, she said. She also felt that in these times she would rather not buy a new TV. That might not seem such a big deal, but she was not doing bad at all. She owned a great house. So how do people feel who are really strapped?

Then again, if McCain gets elected, I can alway visit her friend and take a bath in the moonlight.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Copper Queen

By Saul Bloodworth

My road trip took me to Brisbee, Arizona. I actually wanted to got to Tombstone, but I was too exhausted from driving those bumpy roads to make the last thirty miles.

Brisbee is an old mining town without mines; everthing has been closed down in the 1970s, due to a lack of copper, so now everybody is making a living off tourism, more or less. Probably less. The town has an organic coffee shop, a number of stores selling Indian jewelry, the Brisbee Grille, and quite a few hotels, the oldest and most fanciest being the Copper Queen Hotel.

That's were I spent the evening, at the bar of the Copper Queen Hotel. The TV was running — baseball — and three guys, who were local, were talking about, no, not the playoffs, about the election. The discussion went like — well, Obama will likely win, according to these polls we've just seen, but there are also two Republican Congressman from Arizona who could loose there seats, plus, the Senat, if you count ... — anyway, it was not what you expect to hear in an Arizona town in the Wild West, at 10pm in a bar. They also sounded quite enthusiastic.

And nobody was mentioning John McCain.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Highway to Hell

by Saul Bloodworth

Recently, John McCain had an appearance in one of these late night comedy shows — I believe it was Letterman, but I'm not sure — were he was joking about earmarks. He said he had never voted for an earmark in Washington, DC. In fact, when he became Senator, Arizona had hundreds of miles of federal highways, and now it has next to none.

Guess what: He was not joking! I arrived in Arizona today, and when you cross the border, coming from New Mexico, the Highway 10 suddenly disappears! Well, not completely, but it turns from a well-maintained street into a bumpy road, lined with potholes. It reminded me of the GDR in the 1980s, when they were already broke. Obviously, so is Arizona.

I then took a left turn to get into the Chiricahua Mountains, very scenic (and pretty hot, too), however, the road, that was not very impressive to begin with, turned into a dirt road! Dirt road really meaning a stone-and-stick road. I was driving a rental, and I haven't changed a tire since, like, Jim Morrison died, if at all.

I finally arrived at a coffee place in a tiny town called Portal, and the very friendly lady that runs it gave me a makeshift map. Guess what: pretty much all the roads in the Chiricahua Mountains are dirt roads.

So, thank you, John McCain. If my flat tire isn't covered by my insurance, is there any address I can send the bill to (probably not 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I hope)? Also, I filled the tank with $50 worth of gas, so give my regards to your twin brother, George W. Bush.

To end on a high note, here is a joke my nephew told me: A sailor lands on the coast of Tasmania (far, far away, farther than Australia). He finds a strange looking bottle, and as he opens it, a Dschinn appears.

The Dschinn: Sailor, you have freed me. I will grant you a wish - anything at all!

The Sailor: Well, I would like you to build a highway over the Pacific Ocean, all the way from Tasmania to San Francisco.

The Dschinn: Uhh ... well, a highway across the ocean, tens of thousands of miles? Well, I am a Dschinn, buts thats quite an endeavor. Is there anything else you might care for?

The Sailor: Ok then. I want to understand women.

The Dschinn: Do you want you highway with six or with eight lanes?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A left turn at Albuquerque

By Saul Bloodworth

I stil don't know who will win the election (although I'm guessing, at this point, Obama) but I do know who will win New Mexico: Obama. Why? Because I'm currently traveling in New Mexico. Saturday, Obama had a rally in Albuquerque, at the University of New Mexico, and pretty much everybody who lived there, came.

Ok, nearly everybody. Albuquerque has a population of about 450.000 people, that would make, I guess, 200.000 voters. I attended the rally with a friend, we came one hour early, had a hard time fining a (legal) parking space, and also found the university gates packed. There was a long, long, long line (and a fairly broad one, too), we kept walking towards the end of the line until we were close to Santa Fé, the end never came. We decided to give up, walked back and we (ok, me) found an opportunity were we could sneak in, cutting the line short.

There were still some 10.000 people in front of us. We waited another hour, eventually, the people broke down the barriers to the sports field because security took too long, so everybody got in. And everybody was in a good mood. First, Bill Richardson, the Governor, spoke (whom my friend does not like because he reminds him of Bill Clinton), Richardson counted 300.000 people, that was probably a little over the top, but who cares.

Anyway, if that is already the number of supporters actually showing up and standing in line for three hours, you can guess that the number of voters will be through the roof. McCain also had a rally, only thousand people came. To be fair, they had to be pre-screened, and only committed Republicans got access. But still. Anyway, gotta run.

Friday, October 24, 2008

TV Land

by Saul Bloodworth

Three days ago I met Leslie Stahl. She spoke at the New York Historical Society. She looked good from afar, but up close you could that she was, like, sixtyish (no offense, I admire accomplished women). She talked with Peggy Noonan, about politics, the election, it was very cordial. The point, however, I'm trying to make is that it was like being on TV.

And with being on TV don't mean Ms. Stahls CBS appearances because I don't watch network news. I mean Murphy Brown. Currently, TV Land is re-broadcasting old Murphy Brown episodes. Occasionally, a real person shows up and pretends to be part of that fake news organization called FYI. And one of them is Leslie Stahl.

So I felt like I knew her already. At Murphy Brown they are also making jokes about Dan Quayle all the time. Dan Quayle was the dopey Veep of Bush the Elder, he got himself into the tank when he was trashing Murphy Brown for becoming pregnant while unwed (inspite that she did not even exist). So Bristol Palin can be glad that Quayle is not around any more.

Dan Quayle's chief of staff was, by the way, Bill Kristol. So, maybe, Kristol is not that smart - otherwise he would have prevented this PR desaster. At least he has learned: recently, he called Sarah Palin a "a working woman who's a proud wife and mother".

This might sound crazy, but I miss these times. Then again, they probably never were real. Anyway, if Sarah Palin shows up on 30 Rock, I'll become sick.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


by Saul Bloodworth

I don't even think it's such a big deal that the Republicans spent $150.000 on clothes for Sarah Palin. After all, the election is about appearances (even though for that kind of money Obama could probably look like a less scary and whiter version of Michael Jackson).

However, the odd thing is the fakiness surrounding that decision. Sarah Palin is supposed to be the down-to-earth, small-town-values, ordinary-American-kind of gal. So how come she dresses like Carrie Bradshaw?

And speaking of fakiness in the Republican campaign, the money-making backbone of this country is not the Nebraskan cowboy who barely breaks even (no offense, I like cowboys). The economic backbone is — still — Wall Street, the corporations of Delaware, Silicon Valley and all of the West Coast, from Microsoft to Hollywood.

The rural Midwest, on its own, without farm subsidies and other Washington handouts, would collapse to the economic level of Guatemala, if the un-American part of America were to succeed. And so would Alaska. When Palin speaks about hard working small town Americans, what she really means is: white people, the same way Ronald Reagan meant black people when he was talking about Cadillac-driving welfare queens.

She might be in for a rude awakening.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Future in Frankfurt

by Saul Bloodworth

I just came back from the Frankfurt Book Fair, and for the first time I've spent more time in hall 4 than in hall 3. This does not sound especially impressive; however, hall 3 is where all the fancy publishing houses are, it's where you meet the famous authors, and where you get free wine and cookies. Hall 4 is for the tech freaks and used to be boring.

Now, hall 4 was pretty much in demand because everyone is afraid of that new thingy, the e-book. Google was presenting its e-book search, Amazon was showing its Kindle, albeit for one day only, and Sony was also in hall 4, passing its own e-book around (also for one day only, because the prototype got stolen).

My hunch is that we'll see a revolution in publishing, comparable with Napster and Gnutella. Because you don't need publishing houses for editing and advertisement — these people can be hired on a freelance basis anyway —, you need them for distribution. If they can be bypassed, there will be no more gatekeepers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Aryan Pitbulling

by Saul Bloodworth

Here is an interesting fact about Sarah Palin: The Governor from Alaska was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, and had returned to Idaho to attend the North Idaho community college in Coeur d'Alene; somewhat later she attended the University of Idaho.

Northern Idaho and especially Coeur d'Alene were, at that time, the heartland of white supremacism, the headquarters of the Aryan Nations were in Hayden, a suburb of Coeur d'Alane. The Aryan Nations are a neonazi group that worshippes Hitler.

So, I don't want to assume guilt by association, after all, she just lived there. Then again, the late leader of the Aryan Nations, Pastor Richard Butler, did sound a lot like Sarah Palin. Butler was the head of the Church of Jesus Christ–Christian. The church, originally known as the White Identity Church of Jesus Christ-Christian was founded, according to Wikipedia, by Ku Klux Klan organizer Wesley Swift, the son of a southern minister.

Butler was known for his rantings against Jews, much like Thomas Muthee, Sarah Palin's pastor in Wassila, Alaska, who wanted to replace the "Israelites" on Wall Street with Christian bankers. Even more eerily, when you listen to Palin's sneers against the "East Coast liberals" or "The New York Times" she sounds like Joseph Goebbels in drag (he also hated the Times).

While Palin at least avoids to be associated with modern-day neonazis, she has no problem with their predecessors from the 1930s. During a recent appearance she quoted Westbrook Pegler, an anti-semitic Hearst columnist who wished Roosevelt had been assassinated, and said that American Jews of Eastern European descent were "instinctively sympathetic to Communism." Or, in other words, you can't trust the East Coast liberals.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Polar Bears

by Saul Bloodworth

So, what can be done about Sarah Palin? I have given it some thought, so, how about this: Doesn't she shoot animals from helicopters? Wolfes? Mooses? Polar bears? Well, I would not put it beyond her that she might shoot this litte fellow.

How about putting that on a mug?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Empire Strikes Back

by Saul Bloodworth

Welcome to the wonderful world of digital publishing. When I designed this book, I had help from a friend who is in publishing, has all the necessary software and really no time at all. So, when I decided to do a few corrections I convinced myself that I could do it without his help. How difficult can it be to get and use Adobe Acrobat Pro? Because this is the program you need to turn your files into the PDF-format accepted by digital print services.

Very difficult, it turns out, if you work with Mac. Because Adobe does not have free trial software for Macintosh. Fortunately, I also have Windows XP on my MacBook, even though I never use in (I got it for a Sony program it refuses to work with anyway). Not only do I never use it, turning on Windows feels like watching that Alien baby worm grow inside Sigourney Weaver. Or talking to the Body Snatchers ... you get the point.

So, I downloaded Adobe Acrobat Pro, plus, as it turned out, I also needed a trial version of Microsoft Office. Because you can reach from the Windows part of your computer to the Mac part and pull files over to the Dark Side of the Force, but you can't pull over an application.

No easy task for somebody who is completely unfamiliar with the Evil Empire's operating system, however, I made it. Days later, my iPod broke down and I had to go the the Apple store and ask a Genius for help. While waiting for the Genius, a screen flashed all sorts of useful tips, such as: You can actually save any file as a PDF if you use Microsoft Work for Mac!

Back home, I tried it out. Yes, you can! turn your file into a PDF within ten seconds without going through the trouble of familiarizing yourself with two trial versions running on an operating system you hate while they keep asking for their serial number. Thanks, Steve.

So, this sounds as if I made it up, but during all these troubles I actually met Bill Gates. It was not a one-on-one, of course, he was speaking at a conference with Bill Clinton about Malaria and Philanthropy. Unfortunately, there was no Q&A. Otherwise I would have asked him why XP is not compatible with Sony applications. But I guess, that why there was no Q&A.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nextel And The Firefighters

by Saul Bloodworth

Usually, I don't watch TV ads since I have TiVo, sometimes, however, I'm to lazy to switch. So, I saw that Nextel ad where firefighters are making decisions. They make the decisions pretty quick, like Sarah Palin on steroids: water - check, housing - check, electricity, check. The point of the ad is that you have to be quick.

Why is this revolting? Because Nextel, now a joint venture with Sprint, was responsible for the equipment of the police and the fire department in New York City on 9-11. Equipment that, we remember, was to crappy to enable the police to warn to the firefighters who were rescuing people in the burning twin towers from the eminent collapse. This had caused the death of 320 firefighters who didn't excape in time. Nextel, by the way, is represented in Washington by Giuliani Partners.

The least they can do is not exploit their victims for commercial purposes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

7 World Trade Center

by Saul Bloodworth

7 World Trade Center, the new office tower adjacent to Ground Zero has lost a major tenant due to the current financial crisis, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. 7 WTC, we remember, was the building that had housed banks (mainly Citibank-subsidiary Smith Barney), offices of the SEC, the Secret Service, the IRS, the DoD, the CIA, and Rudy Giuliani's bunker. It collapsed in the afternoon of 9-11.

The reason for the collapse are somewhat disputed, to put it mildly. In the beginning, the official theory was that the diesel tanks had caught fire (on a personal note: I've visited a similar emergency building in Miami, and the owners assured me that diesel tanks cannot, under no circumstances, go up in flames). A newer theory is that it burned down because debris fell on it.

Be that as it may — it is undisputed that the new building has troubles finding tenants. Here is the deal: The building is called 7 World Trade Center, but for one reason only: It was built right next to the actual twin towers, by Larry Silverstein, in 1986, long after the twin towers had gone up. In addition, Silverstein had leased the actual World Trade Center from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, but only in July 2001.

Why is this important? Because Silverstein did not manage to get the WTC insured. He only had a preliminarely agreement which left the twin towers, in effect, underinsured. 7 WTC, however, is a totally different matter. This building was fully insured, Silverstein got the money and has used it to replace the skyscraper. On top of that, the city allowed him to top it with five additional floors at practically no costs.

It market terms, Silverstein should have found a lot of tenants a long time ago. So maybe, just maybe, tenants are afraid to move into a building called 7 World Trade Center?

Well, at least Silverstein won't have these troubles with the Freedom Tower, the replacement for the twin towers. This building is exclusively build and being paid for by the Port Authority, aka the taxpayer. Silverstein is just getting a "consulting fee".

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gotcha Journalism

by Saul Bloodworth

Sarah Palin said she would bomb Pakistan if she had to. She said this not to a journalist — since she is afraid to talk to journalists — but to a Democratic activist who posed as a voter; he had tracked her down in a Philadelphia Pizza place.

John McCain, of course, blamed "gotcha"-journalism for the incident; well, this is to be expected. He is running a campaign to get them both elected. But here is the odd thing: CNN tracked the activist/journalist down, and one of these pretty faces whose name I don't recall asked him repeatedly whether he was into "gotcha-journalism".

Huh? They guy held his ground against Pretty Face, but what did he actually do? He had asked a politician a question in a somewhat heated situation, the politician had produced a gaffe in response — now it's his fault that Palin is dimwitted?

There is no such thing as "gotcha-journalism", there is only journalism, as opposed to celebrity ass-kissing. And if CNN with all their resources can't track Palin down, they should as least keep their trap shut if someone else is doing their job.

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