Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rush Limbaugh's Pathetic Letter To President Obama!!!

The headline got your attention, didn't it?

Confession: I wrote one hell of a commentary about Rush and his letter to President Obama and why he wrote this letter.

I mean, it was probably one of the best commentaries I've EVER written, buuuut...

After I read it, I decided to delete it. This might be my last blog for a while (more on that in a minute) and I don't want to end with what might appear to be a "kicking a guy while he's down" editorial.

So I'll simply say the following about Limbaugh's letter to President Obama.

In case you hadn't heard, Limbaugh let everyone know that he wrote a letter to President Obama that (in essence) was asking President Obama to assure him (Rush) that President Obama wasn't/isn't going to pursue or support a new "Fairness Doctrine" or something new that would be like the old "Fairness Doctrine".

Translation? Rush doesn't want to be fair, his act has never been about being fair and he doesn't want to be told he has to be fair.

But here's all we have to know about this letter. President Obama didn't respond to it.

I mean, it was a few weeks ago when some Congressman begged to come on Rush's show so he could kiss the Rush body part that Rush wanted kissing while pleading with Rush to please FORGIVE HIM!!!

But the President of the United States IGNORED Rush Limbaugh!

THAT, my friends, is CHANGE!!!


Did you watch or listen to any of the speech last night? (Tuesday, February 25)

We're all mad at the banks, right? They get all this bailout money and too much of it seems to be going to bonuses, etc., etc.!!! I know it ticks ME off! Bill Maher wrote a terrific Op-Ed column about what bankers have been getting away with in last Friday's L.A. Times. The column was headlined, "Make 'em Pay". He wrote about how China handles people like this and in China, death IS an option. Maher's recommendation was that two bankers should be selected for death and once all the bankers saw those guys die, they'd start behaving themselves. But Maher went on to say he knew that wouldn't happen here because we're not China, we're just owned by China and that because we have more than a million lawyers here in America, doesn't ONE of them know how to put a banker in JAIL?!?

Amen to that, Brother Bill!!!

In his speech last night, President Obama addressed the anger we have about bankers and after saying he knows how we feel, he said, "We cannot, afford to govern out of anger."

And to that I say, yes sir, Mr. President, but every once in a while, making decisions based on anger does make us feel good. But yes, Mr. President, it's only a temporary feeling. But stillll....

Did you hear or read what President Obama said about Iraq? Are we really gonna be pretty much done with that mess in 19 months? If so, wouldn't it be nice if we could also get our asses out of Afghanistan as well?


Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to President Obama's speech. A lot of people think that Governor Jindal is presidential material and he is often talked about as being the Republican who will be the candidate against Obama a little less than four years from now.

Of course, the same people who say that also looked at Governor Palin like she was some kind of political savior as opposed to the bimbo she is who just happens to look good in a skirt.

Anyway, here are the words Democrats AND Republicans used to describe Jindal's response speech. "Childish!" "Disaster!" "Insane!"

Bottom line? Governor Jindal, that was the bad news. Here's the good news. You have more than 3 years to correct what appear to 3 major concerns that folks now have about you.


In his first exhibition game since his steroids use was made public, Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) hit a home run.

Manny Ramirez was offered a 2-year contract by the Dodgers today. First year, 25 million. Second year, 20 million, but Ramirez could choose to reject that second year if he wants to. Basically, what that means is this; If (for example) Ramirez has a lousy year this year, he might want to take that 20 million for 2010. But if he has a great year this year, he can refuse the 20 million and force the Dodgers to give him more. To me, this is a win-win deal for Manny.


Did you watch the Oscars telecast this past Sunday? I did.

The new producers did some things differently and some folks didn't like the changes that were made.

On the Barbara Walters show that was taped BEFORE the Oscars show was aired, Oscar host Hugh Jackman told Barbara that while the Oscars show is a show about show business, the emphasis this year would be MORE about "show" and LESS about "business".

Was it ever!!!

And I LOVED it!!!

No, everything didn't work. Ben Stiller, Bill Maher, couple of other things.

But I loved the singing stuff Jackman was involved with. The first song that included what appeared to be a surprised Anne Hathaway, but the way she ended her singing tells us that she knew she was going to be performing. I mean, who knew she could sing like THAT? Especially the way she dragged out her last note! WOW!!!

I liked his second number with Beyonce (and others) as well. Was it long? Yeah, but it was also a showcase for the "show"!

And how about Queen Latifah? And the singing SHE did while show business people who died this past year were remembered! Yowzuh, Yowzuh, Yowzuh!!!

Were you as suprised as I was that Jerry Lewis didn't say or do more than he did? But what he DID do was deliver a very classy and short acceptance speech.

Now here's what I loved MOST about this year's Oscars show. When the five previous Oscar winners came on stage to each talk about one of the five nominees for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor and Best Actress.

Twenty former Oscar winners telling the twenty Oscar nominees and the whole world why these Oscar winners thought these Oscar nominees DESERVED to have been nominated and in fact, deserve(d) to WIN the Oscar!

Sure, all twenty of those performers wanted to win. Sixteen of them didn't. But what those previous Oscar winners said to the sixteen who didn't win, was a "cushion" those nominees could use to replace some of the disappointment.

I hope this is something the Oscars show does EVERY year!


I have been asked do some work on a brand new play that will open here in Los Angeles in a few weeks. It will require a lot of studying and rehearsing because my character is the LEAD character.

I also need to spend time going to festivals where a new film I have a starring role in is being shown. We're trying to get a distributor. Schmooze, schmooze, kiss, kiss, etc., etc.

And sometime after this Friday night, I will find out if I'm going to be one of the main characters in a video project that will be set in the year 2450 and will require all actors to be wearing Star Trek kind of makeup.

Bottom line?

I don't know if I'll have time to write a new blog every Wednesday until all this stuff calms down. Believe me, I'm not complaining. I wish I had these problems more often.

THOUGHTS OR COMMENTS? Please write to me directly at If you write to the blog, I have no way of knowing what your email address is and that means I have no way of responding to you. All emails sent to me at are answered by me. No exceptions.

THE NEXT BLOG? Please look for it next Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. If it isn't there, it'll be because I'm tied up with all these other things. If that happens, please try again the following Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, etc., etc. In the words of Ahnold..."AHL be BAHK!!!"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why Oh Why Are We At War In Afghanistan?!?

Unless I'm missing something, this war in Afghanistan that we're involved in is more leftover b.s. begun by the most incompetent of incompetents and that would be the recently "relieved of duty" I'M THE DECIDER Bush administration.

The war in Iraq? Unconscionable!!! All that wasted U.S. MONEY!!! OUR money!!! All those wasted U.S. LIVES!!! And for WHAT?!?

This war in AFGHANISTAN?!? Billions MORE U.S. dollars being spent! Thousands MORE U.S. troops killed and or suffering from devasting life altering injuries. And our U.S. commander there, General David McKiernan says that 55,000 of our troops figure to STAY in Afghanistan for up to FIVE YEARS!!! And again I ask, FOR WHAT?!?

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan was asked about victory in Afghanistan and his answer was/is, "First of all, the victory, as defined in purely military terms, is not achievable, and I cannot stress that too highly."

Ya gotta appreciate his honesty, but my initial response is, "SAY, WHAT?!?"

And have these military and diplomatic bozos forgotten what happened to Russia when THEY decided to be unwanted military policemen there? The Russians got their clocks cleaned and they finally got the hell out of there!

Ever since I started this blog almost 2 years or so ago, I have advocated a military mission in Pakistan because that is where Osama bin Laden has been allowed to hide from us.

The incompetents in the Bush administration kept insisting that Pakistan is an "ally" of ours and in essence, we need to be very careful about possibly making those people mad at us.

What a load of horse manure! If they really WERE an ally of ours, they would have helped us smoke bin Laden out of whatever cave he's in so he can be killed or punished for all the 9/11 murders of our citizens he was responsible for.

Are we now to believe that the Obama administration thinks that Pakistan is an ally of ours? If so, that's frightening.

Something else I've been writing about since the time this blog began is about how the feeling here was that we were facing an economic mess, that if not corrected, could lead to Great Depression Two! And if a dumb guy like ME could see that...And if a dumb guy like ME could see that Pakistan is not a real ally of ours...And if a dumb guy like ME could see the financial destruction caused by these wars while not taking care of business HERE at HOME...I mean, no wonder that darn near everyone in America is scared to death. No, we're not scared to death because of the people in Iraq or Afghanistan. We're scared to death of what is going to happen HERE!!! Day after day we know friends and relatives of ours who have lost their jobs, watched their 401k's become virtually worthless, watched banks jack up our interest rates on our credit cards to levels in the upper 20% rates just because we were late for one payment or because THEY JUST FELT LIKE IT!!!


These banks have recently gotten billions of dollars of bailout money. Do you know who they got it from? US!!! YOU AND ME!!! THE TAXPAYERS!!!

And now these sorry son of a bitch bank bastards THANK you and me, the taxpayers, by royally screwing ALL us with these outrageous interest rates on our credit cards because they CAN!!!

Well, here's something WE can do! Seeing as how these banks are a big reason we're in the financial mess we're in, maybe it's time we tell our elected officials that we want to NATIONALIZE these banks! Have the government run them!

Just a thought.


This Sunday, the 81st Academy Awards ceremony will be held at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre with host Hugh Jackman. You can watch it on ABC.

I'm not going to tell you who I think should or will win the major awards, but I will tell you who I would really LIKE to win the major awards.

First of all, I'm very disappointed that Clint Eastwood wasn't nominated for Best Actor, or Best Director, or Best Film for his "Gran Torino" movie.

Having said that, I would really like it if Marisa Tomei won the Supporting Actress Oscar and that Josh Brolin won the Supporting Actor Oscar. I would really like it if Angelina Jolie won the Best Actress Oscar and that Brad Pitt won the Best Actor Oscar.

I don't CARE who wins the Best Director Oscar and I don't CARE which film wins the Best Picture Oscar.


I'm currently starring in a little film that's on the festival circuit. We're hoping to land a distributor for a film that's titled, "Manos Partidas" (Split Hands") that was shot near the Mexican border. In the recently completed Beverly Hills Film Festival, 56 films competed, 3 prizes were awarded and our film was awarded 3rd place.

Our next festival appearance will be at the 11th Annual Sarasota Film Festival, March 27 through April 5.

Our film will also be at the 9th Annual Phoenix Film Festival, April 2 through April 9.

We're also being shown in other venues, but you get the idea.

My role was that of a "vigilant" border patrol agent who's on a mission because his wife was killed by an illegal immigrant. Unbeknownst to my character, his son is dating an illegal immigrant which adds to the "family dynamic".

The first time you see me on the screen is when I drive to a dusty area where my son is drunk inside a trailer. A close-up of the bumper sticker on my Border Patrol truck shows the audience these words; "Putting the panic back in Hispanic".

THOUGHTS AND OR COMMENTS? Please write to me at If you write to the blog, I don't have any way of knowing what your email address is, so I can't write back to you with a response. A emails sent to are responded to by me.

THE NEXT BLOG? Unless something unforseen comes up, our next blog will be written and posted next Wednesday, February 25 in the early or late evening. THIS BLOG was a little late because I didn't start writing until a little after midnight on Thursday, February 19.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

According to the headline in the new Newsweek, "WE ARE ALL SOCIALISTS NOW" But guess who STARTED us down this road?!?

Ah, yes! As someone much smarter than me once said, "The devil's in the details!"

And let me say this for the record; I don't think "The Fairness Doctrine" will return anytime soon, but even if it does, I hope it doesn't affect the employment of people like 'El Rushbo", Sean "Little Lord Fauntleroy" Hannity or any of their wild-eyed copycat clones.

When you listen to them lie or (because of ignorance) give out partial bits of truth combined with "supposition" that is (I'm being kind) absurd, yes, when you (we) know better, it can drive us crazy, but there's one thing they say that I'll ALWAYS agree with and that is, "Hey, we're ENTERTAINERS!!!"

"Entertainers" who are scared to death of the possibility of the return of "The Fairness Doctrine" because they don't know how to have real conversations with people who have views different than their views. Oh, they know (especially "Little Lord" and the squeaky voiced so-called "Great One") how to YELL at and attempt to INTIMIDATE callers who express different views, but to try that with someone they had to LOOK AT? It wouldn't happen, because a "pro", would sit there until they were out of breath and then say something like, (while chuckling) "Are you finished?" What would happen next would be embarrassing because they would then hear their pious nonsense being ripped to (verbal) shreds.

I know this because before switching to sports, acting and writing, I was a talk show host on some major radio stations when we HAD "The Fairness Doctrine". I was very opinionated (I know, it's shocking) and I LOVED having someone on who disagreed with me.

Okay...Back to this Socialism business I mentioned in the "headline" of this week's blog.

The cover headline of the February 16 issue of Newsweek is, "WE ARE ALL SOCIALISTS NOW".

If you've listened to the talk hosts I referred to, you know that they have mentioned this Newsweek headline and story. Especially the egotistical "Little Lord" because his name is mentioned in this story, but the MAIN reason they have mentioned this story goes straight to what I wrote about regarding the "partial bits of truth" they are so good at exploiting.

They have immediately pointed to what they've claimed to be a big concern of their "blowhard selves" and that's the belief the new Obama administration is RESPONSIBLE for taking America down this "Socialism" road.

And now we get to THE DEVIL'S IN THE DETAILS part of this story!!!

As this Newsweek story makes very clear (and truthfully), "The architect of this new era of big government is George W. Bush."

For those of you who are saying, "Whaaat?!?", I simply say it ain't that complicated, folks. George W. Bush became the "architect" of our current foray into "Socialism" when he made the move to bail out the financial sector with $700 billion a few months ago.

If and or when you read the whole story in Newsweek, you will learn that the opinions are that we (the USA) will not become a Socialist country permanently, nor are we one now. We're simply using some of those kinds of ideas to help get us out of the horrible mess caused by ill advised economic principles going back to the Reagan years. Principles that have now come back to bite us all in the ass! Big time!

Deregulation benefits THE RICH!!! Deregulation benefits ONLY the RICH!!!

Trickle down, my ass! The FIRST President Bush was RIGHT when, while running for President AGAINST Reagan, referred to Reagan's economic ideas as VOODOO ECONOMICS!!!

Full Disclosure time...

Just before President Reagan was still "Candidate" Reagan, I had the opportunity to have a terrific conversation with Reagan prior to him participating in a 7-hour radio special I was producing and narrating about Gene Autry. And we had this conversation while every major newsperson in America was waiting outside for Reagan to be in what was a major pre-election news conference.

A couple of years later, President Reagan did another major favor for me!

I will always be grateful to President Ronald Reagan. While Reagan was President, I was making good money as a television sports anchor here in Los Angeles and I thought his economic principles were terrific.

Looking back, I realize that the economic principles he preached are principles that benefit very few of us while the rest of us are left "wanting".

Because our economy was very strong, what Reagan and his administration pushed through and what subsequent administrations continued to push through (yes, even the Clinton administration), it took quite a while for what we're facing now to rear it's ugly head.

We became a nation of borrowers, folks. When credit cards made you feel like they were giving you/us "free money" with cash advances, we loved it. We took that "free money" and spent it on stuff we didn't need, houses we couldn't afford or gambled it away. When did this "free money" cash advance business BEGIN? During the Reagan administration. I remember the first time I went to a bank with a credit card because I had heard about this cash advance business. I sat down with someone at the bank and I remembering saying to her, "That's IT?!? This is ALL I have to do?" She said (with a smile), "That's it!"

And I walked out of the bank with several thousand dollars that I didn't need.

More and more deregulation followed. In the radio and television business it was "consolidation" that turned those businesses into businesses that are (now) doing nothing but firing thousands of people a week, while losing millions of dollars, on top of millions, on top of millions.

And every business you can think of is in the same sorry boat.

Deregulation. Voodoo Economics.

Yes, gang. The chickens HAVE come home to roost!


Again...This is the February 16 issue and it's at your favorite supermarket, favorite 7-11 store or wherever you buy magazines. On pages 24, 25, 26 and 27 you will see an easy to read section titled, "Booms and Busts" that takes us on a fascinating tour of the good and bad economic times our great country has experienced since the year 1791 and WHY they were good or bad times! No bought and paid for "spin". Just some simple facts. Like who it is who BEGAN the Socialism ways that we're now using to try to keep us from becoming part of what would probably be called, "GREAT DEPRESSION TWO"!!!


There's a new film out right now that sold a lot of tickets immediately. "He's Just Not That Into You". I liked this film a lot! It has an all-star cast of actors and I think they all used their screen time well. The audience I sat with (mostly women) reacted often to what was happening on the screen and that gave me (a guy) an additional bit of a fun film watching experience. Near the end of this film is a bona fide "tear jerking" moment. There were several women sitting behind me who were sniffling and telling each other about the tears they were shedding. And while I heard them whispering to each other, I was wiping MY OWN EYES!!

Television news and observations...

I'm liking "24" again. I'm still liking "Desperate Housewives", "Brothers & Sisters", "United States of Tara" and "The L Word".

We are told that sometime near the end of this season, "Desperate Housewives" will be saying goodbye to Nicollette Sheridan. She'll apparently be killed in a car crash.

We are told that sometime near the end of this season, "Grey's Anatomy" will say goodbye to TWO of THEIR lead characters. T.R. Knight and Katherine Heigl who have already had their television careers killed because of their Big and ungrateful MOUTHS!!!

Baseball items...

It's beginning to look like "A-Rod" might BE "A-Fraud", huh? 104 names on a "confidential list" of baseball players who flunked drug tests in 2003 and A-Rod's name is the ONLY name that got LEAKED?!?

Today (February 11) Miguel Tejada stood before a judge and admitted he had lied about steroid use?

Do most of us even CARE about this?!?

I don't. Not really. I'm like most of you in the sense that I read the stories about these characters, but the fact of the matter is, if baseball officials, the union and owners hadn't quietly SANCTIONED this, it could have been stopped IMMEDIATELY!!!

WHY wasn't it stopped? Because what was happening was GOOD FOR BUSINESS!!!

THOUGHTS AND OR COMMENTS? Please write to me at
If you write to my blog, I won't know what your email address is so I won't be able to respond to you. ALL emails sent to are responded to by me.

By the way...Thank you very much for your reaction to the Limbaugh essay that was written by Beau Weaver. I was going to print a response I sent to an angry guy who thought that I wrote the Limbaugh essay, but a number of the points I made to him were (in essence) made at the beginning of this blog when I was commenting on the Newsweek story.

THE NEXT BLOG? Unless something unexpected comes up, next Wednesday, February 18, early or late evening.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Rush Limbaugh: A Comprehensive Perspective!!!

The Rush Limbaugh "perspective" will be our final story!

I'd like to remind you again about the brand new song, "Born Again American" that's available on this blogsite. This is a song that is six minutes and 15 seconds long, but when you watch and hear it, you will not get the sense it's long at all. It IS, in my view, simply sensational! If you would like to listen and watch something that will tap into your soul (unless you are soul-less), simply look to the right of this blog where the "Links" section is. Scroll all the way down to the last link which will say, Born Again American. Click it, watch it, listen and enjoy!

And now we'll comment on some things that YOU have been talking about!!!

Pretty good Super Bowl, huh? It was the highest rated Super Bowl (television ratings wise) in history! This game was also (arguably) the worst REFEREED game in Super Bowl history!

Despite that, the game was entertaining!


Yesterday, I saw the new film, "Taken", starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace and a whole bunch of bad guys.

WOW, WOW, DOUBLE AND TRIPLE WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The film "Taken" takes you on a thrill ride that's virtually a major adrenaline rush! Liam Neeson plays an ex-CIA agent who has retired so he can be closer to his daughter who is played by Maggie Grace, who plays "adorable" as well as I've EVER seen anyone play "adorable". Famke Janssen plays Grace's mom and Neeson's ex-wife. Janssen is an actress I've had a major crush on forever and she's also an actress who "delivers" when she's given a role and for the life of me, I don't understand why she hasn't had the opportunity to do bigger things, but that's another subject for another time.

Anyway...The Maggie Grace character gets kidnapped after she has taken a trip to Paris. She's on the phone with her father when it happens. It is a kidnapping that the people who are responsible for, will live (then die) to regret it because this Neeson character is one bad hombre.
Again...The film is called "Taken" and you should take yourself to your favorite theatre and SEE this fun thrill ride!

Does anyone ELSE on President Obama's team have TAX problems?!?

Three truer words were never spoken than the three words spoken by President Obama yesterday when he said, "I screwed UP!!!"

There are two things we can take away from what has happened regarding people who have tax problems.

(1) If you're being asked to accept a job working for the President of the United States, you need to let him know immediately if there's any kind of problem with your taxes, because if you don't, someone else will tell him in one of two ways. If it's a friend of this administration, the message will be given privately. If it's an enemy of this administration, the information will be given to someone like Drudge, Limbaugh, Hannity or anyone else who wants to publicly embarrass President Obama.

(2) It is long past time to SIMPLIFY the tax code! I mean, REALLY simplify it! Right now, when people are trying to figure out their taxes (especially RICH people), they spend so much time trying to BEAT the tax system that they often unintentionally miss something that they obviously will have to pay a tax for.

I have been in favor of a "Flat Tax" for a LONG time!!! Do you know who is deathly AFRAID of a "Flat Tax"? Rich people, the tax preparing industry (H&R Block, etc.) and pointy-headed people who should know better.

Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was ON to something when HE was advocating a "Flat Tax". Once he brought that proposal up, did you notice who were the FIRST group of his "supporters" who ran for the hills and QUIT supporting Huckabee? RICH RELIGIOUS LEADERS!!!

When are these BANKS going to quit spending bailout money like it's THEIRS?!?

I mean, when is some federal official (maybe with a badge) going to tell these banks who are in financial trouble that if they (the banks) use any MORE bailout money from US, the TAXPAYERS, for bonuses or fancy parties, the person or persons RESPONSIBLE for using our money in that fashion IS GOING TO JAIL!!!

Sudden thought: Because so MANY banks and other bailout recipient types are guilty of believing they can act like it's "business as usual" with all this government money they've been getting, it occurs to me that a nationwide overcrowding jail problem might make it difficult TO put all these people in jail.

Wellll...Because I like to consider myself to be part of the solution as opposed to being part of the problem, please be advised that those private torture prisons that the Bush administration was using figure to have lots of vacancies now. Just a thought.


Are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens going to end up in PRISON?!?

Here in the Los Angeles area, there has been a lot of conversation about a woman who has no husband (nor does she want one), she lives with her mother and she recently had 8 kids. Yes, she gave birth to 8 kids. All at once. She requested and was given fertitility treatments. She was given these fertility treatments in spite of the fact she already HAD/HAS six other kids, the oldest being seven years old.

How does she plan to SUPPORT these 14 children? Ahhh, details , details. Right now, those details are whacha call, sketchy. As in, there aren't any. We are told that she would like to "SELL" her story for $2 million. Wouldn't we ALL?!? We're told she wants to talk to Oprah Winfrey and Diane Sawyer. Apparently someone hasn't told this mother of 14 that getting money out of either of those two media moguls will be like trying to get blood from a stone, but if this mother of 14 was a rocket scientist, she wouldn't have had all these babies, but that's another story.

Let's go back to what she says she wants to do. Sell her story. For $2 million. Hmmm...A book deal, perhaps? Because there doesn't seem to be much "there, there" as far as a fascinating or compelling story to TELL about this mother of 14, she will need an eye-catching TITLE for her book. Hmmmm...Got it!!! I AM THE DUMBEST PERSON IN THE WORLD!

I can see THAT title front and center at MY favorite book store right now. And I would probably buy the darn thing.


Our economy sucks! You know it and I know it. You and I both FEEL it!!! Every damn day!!!

It ain't just here, folks. I'm in regular contact with several successful women in Russia. From what THEY tell me, it sounds like they've got it worse than we do. A LOT worse!

But they seem to have one thing in common with us. Over the last number of years, a small group of Russian people have gotten very rich. And now, the whole country is in deep doo-doo.

Here in America, over the last number of years, a small (population wise) number of American people got very rich. And now, OUR whole country is in deep doo-doo. We hear know-nothing de-regulation apologists like Sean "Little Lord Fauntleroy" Hannity holler about how President Obama's proposals will result in a massive "redistribution of wealth"!

No, "Little Lord", the "redistribution of wealth" is what has gotten us INTO the economic mess we're in right now. America and Russia. If we're not walking around with our rulers trying to show each other who has the biggest bomb, we're busy showing each other how we can ruin our standard(s) of living. Some people just never get out of high school, do they?

Speaking of people who have redefined the word, "Simplistic", it's now time for the "Rush Limbaugh" essay.

Yesterday (February 3rd), my good friend and publisher Don Barrett printed an essay about Rush Limbaugh that was written by Beau Weaver. A lot of you readers have probably never heard of Beau Weaver, but trust me when I tell you that you HAVE HEARD HIM because he has done thousands of radio commercials and hundreds of movie trailers. You know, the guy who's doing the talking while you're watching a preview of coming events before the film "Taken" starts. Because I spent a lot of time as a radio guy, I was very much aware of Beau Weaver, who before becoming a big time voiceover guy, was a successful radio personality. What I DIDN'T know about Beau Weaver (until yesterday) was his interest in politics, the human condition and Rush Limbaugh. What you are about to read is Beau Weaver's essay about Rush that will also include some references to himself. And it will give those of you who are interested in radio in general, a little history lesson about how things are done, how they used to be done and how dangerous it can be if you forget who you REALLY are!
I hope you find this to be as fascinating as I did and do.

And it starts NOW!

Rush Limbaugh is getting a lot of promotional help these days, though he does not need it, from the preposterous suggestion that he is the new head of the Republican party. This makes about as much sense as suggesting that Kiefer Sutherland should head the CIA. You do know that Jack Bauer is just a character on a television show, right? Just as Rush Limbaugh is a character invented by a radio deejay who had to reinvent himself as a talk show host many years ago.

Mistaking Limbaugh for an actual political authority is not much different from thinking Stephen Colbert is actually a conservative talk show host. You see? The media fun house mirror has distorted our perceptions beyond belief. And, in this confusion, former top forty deejay Limbaugh is in a real way responsible for the complete breakdown of civic discourse is America.

In the early 70's, I had the pleasure of working in the hallowed halls of some of America's big time pop music radio stations in major markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Top Forty is a genre that no longer exists. Rush Limbaugh was a radio jock trying to get there too. He used the air name 'Jeff Christy', and was...well, just not really major market material. At one point, he got out of radio entirely for a sports marketing job. But radio was in his blood, and he found his way back into broadcasting as a talk show host in Sacramento.

Though Rush Limbaugh is his real name, the "conservative blowhard" persona was a character he created, largely to play against his expectations of "liberal Northern California". Contrary to popular myth, California is not a liberal monolith; the Golden State gave birth to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and the John Birch Society, for crying out loud! Confounding the expectations of most media observers, the Bombastic Right Wing act worked. However, in time, El Rushbo forgot that it was just a character. He became it. Or, it became him.

Radio personalities understand this all too well. Just ask Howard Stern's ex-wife, Alison. Radio performers often use their own name, and the on air persona they create is, in fact, based on their own personality, but writ large, with some new fictional elements, and other parts of their actual life edited out. Even though "that radio guy" has the same name as your own, and is similar to you in many ways, it is in every sense a character you have written and developed over time. It is a role which you play on the air every day, but which is most definitely not you.

An actor in a play or a film knows very well where the character ends and he, the actor begins. He takes off the makeup and costume and resumes the use of his own name. For the radio personality, the line is blurred. Soon, the vast majority of the world you live in relates to you as this character. He is the one who gets the accolades and praises if you are successful. He is not you, but, who would blame you for preferring to be him?

In the early 80's, I was an on air talent in Houston. The once dominant but now declining AM station that employed me assigned me to experiment with reinventing the call in talk show format at night. The ratings were so low, there was nothing to lose. At that time, talk shows were mind-numbingly boring, all public affairs-ish and shades of grey. My program director charged me with applying all of the tricks and techniques of radio showmanship to this moribund genre to see if we couldn't make something happen. I achieved a small measure of success.

But I observed something curious. People assumed that since I had a talk show, that I must "be something". At that time, the few talk shows around were hosted by actual experts in some field. But I was shocked at how often I was mistaken for being someone whose opinions might actually matter. I would get a call from someone who identified themselves as, say, the director of the Rice University International Symposium on Middle Eastern Affairs. She would be inviting me to be a guest speaker at their big annual event featuring Ph.D's and Foreign Policy experts. "Well, er, okay", I said. "But do you guys know who I am? You guys know I am just a disc jockey, right? And that my hair is down to my ass, and I am typically wearing a Foghat tee shirt and cut-off jeans?" "Oh, Mr. Weaver, you are just being modest", they would say. No, I wasn't. "Look, I'm telling you the truth here, I'm just a disc jockey, who dropped out of college when he no longer needed the draft deferment." They were not having any of it. "But, Mr. Weaver, we listen to your program all the time, and we greatly respect your keen insights. We realize that the self deprecation is just part of your charm, which is why we would value your participation so very much." Yikes. They were buying my act!

That is exactly what happened to Jeff Christy, er, I mean...Limbaugh. His audience thought he was really that guy. And pretty soon, he forgot that he wasn't. While I was doing talk radio, I also discovered that thoughtful consideration of both sides of the issue did not make for compelling radio. The middle road may be the most reasonable approach to a particular idea, but it does not make the phones ring. I discovered that when I would extend the logical extreme of a viewpoint and exaggerate it for the sake of irony, the phones would explode. The audience did not perceive the irony. Phil Hendrie built a career around this observation. It made for entertaining radio. But when the audience does not understand that you are doing parody, you have a dilemma. Either you go back to the bland, or you start building credibility for something that you know is not truthful. What's more, the more extreme I became the more free media publicity my show would get. A dozen television and newspaper feature stories were done on me. And then the station manager started lobbying for me to make my parody bits into a full time format.

On a march larger scale, this is what happened to Limbaugh. I will give the devil his due however; as a broadcaster, Rush Limbaugh is a master showman, using all the tricks of the radio man's art. But Rush's success has almost completely destroyed our ability to have a constructive national dialogue about policy.

The rhetorical techniques Rush uses are primarily hyperbole and mischaracterization. You simply take your opponent's ideas, then caricature them until they are a complete misrepresentation of their actual views. You insist always, that your opponent actually represents the most extreme fringe faction of people who hold their beliefs, then demonize them as being the personification of evil. Not just wrong, but evil. And the root of all evil. Then you stick with that position, repeat it relentlessly and never, ever waver. Never back down. Never apologize. You are always 100% confident that your opponent is wrong, and self consciously evil.

This makes sense for a radio man, trying to create a consistent share of mind for his "brand". His position must be absolute, and without nuance. Just like the radio station whose slogan was "All News All The Time", Rush had to be "All Conservative Blowhard All The Time". The radio consultants told him he had to repeat his core branding position every 7 minutes, because that is how often the audience turned over. This is a great way to position a brand, but a bad way to have a serious discussion about important national issues, which are always full of nuance.

This is the problem we are struggling with as a nation trying to make sense of some extremely complex problems. As Rush became hugely successful in national syndication, radio consultants reduced his act to formula which was imposed on almost all other talk hosts around the country. And, when Cable News Networks had a bunch of hours to fill, they simply imitated the Rush Limbaugh format on television. Over a dozen or more years, this has changed the way we discuss issues, and it does not serve us. What was once constructive deliberation, now resembles the WWE.

The Republicans demonize the Democrats as being Socialists, when they are the ones who vastly increased the size of government and federal power. They accuse the Democrats of being the "Tax and Spend" party, even though they are the ones who put an unnecessary trillion dollar war on the national credit card, and passed out billions to Wall Street with no strings attached. But by repeating the old argument ad infinitum, it persists. You see, this is the top forty dictum of "Play the Hits" that they learned by imitating Limbaugh. Those arguments won for them in the past, so the strategy is to simply keep repeating them over and over, like the Classic Rock stations keep playing Stairway to Heaven over and over.

Limbaugh has taught the Republicans to continue to call the Democrats "the party of big government". Actually, the truth is, the conservatives won that argument many years ago. Even progressives don't want the government to be big; they just want it to be effective. But the Right learned Rush's deejay lessons well. When you have a hit record, you just keep playing it, over and over again. And of course, it must be added that it is not only the Right that has reflexively used these rhetorical blunt instruments. The Limbaugh scorched earth style of engagement has infected and demeaned the entire national conversation, including, sometimes, that emanating from center left. This has to change.

We are in a worldwide financial emergency. For survival's sake, we have to stop looking at everything in terms of the political chess game. We have some really big national problems to grapple with. Like it or not, our elected representatives are going to have to find a way to reinvent the way capitalism works. Our political and economic system is not ideologically pure; It is a hybrid of individualistic and collective elements. The tension between the two will always be with us, and is in fact the genius of American politics. Continuing to demonize the other side as being evil extremists is simply not going to fix anything. The solutions we end up with will be somewhere between the 40-yard lines. We cannot expect our short term emergency solutions to be ideologically pure.

Rush Limbaugh is a compelling radio character. His pig-headed consistency is a brilliant example of effective radio branding. But you have to stop taking the things he says seriously. He is a cartoon! An entertainer! And we as a nation must learn to have a national dialogue about public policy that involves listening, cooperation, collegiality and compromise.

I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Jeff Christy had made it to WLS or KFRC, undoubtedly his dream stations, back in the mid 70's. The world we live in might well be a much more civilized place.

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THE NEXT BLOG? Barring unforseen circumstances, the next blog will be written Wednesday, February 11 and will be posted early or late that evening.