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The Rachel Hoffman Story – Why?

August 31st, 2012 by Michael Tabor
Rachel Hoffman, Confidential Informant No. 1129, would have been 27 at the beginning of this summer and have had her whole life ahead of her. Just be caught with a little bit of weed (if you are poor) and the DEA will deem you as an expendable throwaway. What makes the story all the more appalling is these “throwaways” (This week’s New Yorker Sept. 3, 2012 uses this byname) are not used for strategic purposes (even this would be wrong) but for economic reasons. It’s just too expensive to train a highly skilled operative, it’s much cheaper to use a poor person with a drug problem, no one cares about them anyway.
Rachel Hoffman was murdered in 2008 by a couple of vicious violent felons; she was found dead a couple days after the botched drug/gun deal in a small town in Florida with 5 bullet holes in the chest and head from the very gun she was supposed to safely buy. Rachel was 23 but the police have no problem using drug-addicted disposable pawns as young as 14 or 15 and very often they are instructed and expected to carry out these unspeakably dangerous, often complex transactions while still trying to function through the drug-addled haze of addiction. The most sickening account which was outlined in the ‘New Yorker’ occurred in Lebanon, Kentucky in which the 18 year old, Lebron Gaither, an untrained informant was “tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods. ” Doesn’t law enforcement know that in the twisted world of criminality, there is nothing worse than a “rat”. So if things don’t work out, you can be assured of a nasty brutal death.
What makes the this whole business of enlisting confidential informants even more harrowing is the police make it sound so easy and almost impossible to turn down such a seemingly sweet deal. You are 18 and you face 5 years of prison for having a few ounces of pot or cooperate and you get 6 months’ probation.
What is the value of a 23 year old Rachel Hoffman if it were possible to put a $$ amount on a precious, yet poor and troubled (Rachel should been sent to rehab, not prison, and certainly not recruited for a sting operation.) human being ? Lebron Gaither, the young man who was tortured beyond words, the family of whom thought that perhaps one-hundred and sixty-eight thousand dollars would suffice and help them cope with their loss for wrongful-death. Sadly they were awarded this paltry sum (no $$ amount is enough) and then it was vacated; the appeals court ruled that “the police could not be held accountable because the execution of the undercover operation was left to the judgment and discretion of the detectives.” What ?
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think? How can we allow this to go on.? R.I.P. –Rachel Hoffman.
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ARE YOU READY?

August 30th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

Written by Le Duke de Fromage

With the summer season winding down to days of humid torpor, comes a spectacle that only fanatical sports fans can understand. Pro football starts its annual frenzied extravaganza. For millions of fans the next 5 months is the only meaningful time of year. All the hype and buildup of training camps is over and now the real deal begins. Television has been showing a numbing array of preseason games that are mostly ignored except by the most die-hard fanatics, and an even more puzzling lineup of announcers unknown to most people. If you watch these games notice how empty the seats are. Ex jocks,station sports guys and dubious sports celebs revel in calling these games. This obviously is their time to shine.But woe to the poor fan who has to endure their inane, repetitive chatter. In most cases, their home team favoritism is embarrassing even to the most die-hard fan, and please learn how to pronounce players names.
In addition, this does not include the obligatory sports chick reporter. Above all this is an insult to every true fan. They appear to be chosen for their their looks, at times debatable, their ability to engage in inane chatter, and give the impression to the fan they really care about the game. They usually conduct interviews from the sidelines with players who seem to take it with complete lack of interest or slightly disguised humor. Or at times give the impression they just wonder what the reporter looks like with no clothes on. Reporting breathlessly on the latest injury or seizing a coach running into the locker room just before halftime, they barely justify the fact they are on the field.
[ watch Bill Belichek, Patriots Coach react to a pre halftime interview]
The idea that they can take themselves serious, never mind the poor suffering fan watching is hilarious. Not that their male counterparts are any better. Some of the biggest idiots in sports broadcasting are thrown at the public week after week under the guise of of pro expert. Retired from pro football, no matter, you are now a football expert, even if you cant speak intelligently. Have you ever seriously watched E.S.P.N.with a critic’s eye? where do they get these people? I dare you to tell me that such personalities as Suzy Kolber, Tray Wingo, or Skip Bayless knows more about the game than you do. In addition, the constant commercials, every 5-6 minutes bombard your senses to a point of dull acceptance, enough to go back watching Skip Bayless analyze anything of no real importance. Yet they do it with the sense that would suggest they are omnipotence. Stating the obvious fills about 20 minutes of a half hour show the rest are commercials. Admittedly they are clever at their presentation;some would say they are good at what they do. But what do they do? Does it justify your watching? Evidently the networks think so.
It is a mind numbing. hypnotic, gambit designed to keep you glued to your easy chair waiting for the games. And who knows some may find Suzy Kolber’s smarmy, yet coy demeanor appealing. Her condescending attitude is designed to make you feel she is all knowing, or at least more than the poor dummy watching. The fact that she is just a ploy or even more unsettling, eye candy for some is disturbing and an insult to intelligence. Her appearance is supposed to make you keep watching. Picture thousands of fans in front of their TV’s screaming,”WE want Suzy”. Honestly, I have never ever met a fan who said they watched a game because Suzy Kolber or Pam Oliver was on the show.
At this point I am stating I am not anti-feminist. It is just that if you accept the job you are open to the criticism that goes with it. Especially if you are there for the wrong reason. However, the networks insist that is what the public wants.I am inclined to believe that is what they think that’s what we want.
Sports announcing can be a very well paid job, the industry averages run from $28 to $210 thousand per year.Of course the big boys get a lot more. Some examples are Chris Berman $3 mil per yr., Terry Bradshaw $2.2 mil per yr. and Al Michaels $5.0 mil per. yr. E.S.P.N. does not publish salaries so you can only guess what your favorite sportscaster is making vs. what he or she is worth.The great thing about American sports is that everyone understands the average fan knows more about the game than the clown broadcasting. So why the hell don’t I have that job? Finally, this comment from Mike Ditka, ex player, coach turned broadcaster, “What’s the difference between a 3 week old puppy and a sportscaster? after 6 weeks the puppy stops whining”. Well the football season lasts a lot longer and these guys just ain’t gonna stop.
Whadayathink? turn down the sound or watch Turner Classic Movies

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Island Guy

August 29th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor

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The Fable of “Creationism” is Destroying Our Once Great Nation

August 28th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
Before anyone jumps down my throat, I am talking about the notion of creationism in its truest sense, which is the doctrine that matter and all things were created, as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator and not gradually evolved or developed. That’s how creationism is defined by OED, Webster’s, and every other reputable dictionary. None of the life sciences would make any sense at all if one doesn’t figure evolution into the equation. This is just a fact of life! Now if you want to redefine creationism with intelligent design, then I have no problem with this; though certainly there isn’t a single human being who knows whether or not there is a “God”, we do however know evolution is true.
So read the Bible, the Torah, or Koran but don’t discard science, especially evolution which is really the backbone from which all knowledge about the physical world flows.
Fortunately, for the world, roughly only .01 % (still too much in my humble opinion) people don’t believe in evolution but in this country, the most technologically advanced country in the world, almost half – 46% don’t. Why ? The evidence for our species to have evolved is as sound as the Theory of Gravitation (theory in science is different from the word in layman’s terms; theory in the science world is factual, and what too many people don’t know is that when they hear the word theory, they are referring to an hypothesis – another blog)  and it’s no more outrageous to say that if I drop my coffee it will fall to the ground than it’s to say that we and other animals have evolved.
Didn’t we resolve this problem with the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925; what is this inane resurgence of creationism? Yes, I know we live in a predominantly Christian society but that’s no reason to turn your back on the truth. One can still be a full-fledged Christian and believe in evolution. I mean seriously – the Bible is mostly allegory, does anyone actually literally believe in Noah’s Ark?
I will end this essay with a little video clip I found on YouTube which I urge you to watch (it’s only 2 ½ minutes and skip the ad)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbYJfwFgOU
This is a clip By Bill Nye, American science educator, and Disney’s ‘Science Guy” for children. So whaDaYaThink ? Personally, I am not a Christian but I believe in a higher power (I’m a Deist), besides whether or not you’re a Christian, evolution has nothing to do with your faith. I like what Mr. Nye said that if you refuse to believe in evolution and you’re over 50, then fine – but don’t deny your children the truth. We can’t afford it! When Obamacare kicks in full throttle, we won’t have enough doctors to handle the overload. STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math is what creates jobs, builds infrastructure and keeps us all healthy.
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Sky Spider

August 28th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor

The spider climbs
The sky.
An invisible ladder
To the clouds.
She hangs suspended,
A star sapphire
I am loathe
To wear.

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Island Guy

August 26th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor

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Comparisons in a Confused Universe

August 25th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

” If sex is so much fun how come old whores don’t do much giggling”-Hunter Thompson
Written by Le Duke de Fromage
Confused, Erratic, Humorous, Bewildering and at times painfully truthful describes reading Hunter Thompson, but it sure is fun. Author Tom Wolfe called Hunter Thompson the greatest comic writer of the 20th century. In response Hunter Thompson called Tom Wolfe numerous things -all unflattering.
Hunter Thompson died Feb.2005, Jack Kerouac died Oct.1969. There are certain parallels between the two that continue to be questioned today. In death,both choose suicide as a means of escape. Kerouac by excessive drinking, Thompson by a shot fired into his head. In an illogical universe Thompson was a natural succession to ‘Beat’ literature. In fact, their lives were strangely similar. Thompson popularized ‘Gonzo’ journalism, a style written without claims of objectivity often as a first person narrative. Use of sarcasm,humor,exaggeration and profanity is common. Kerouac ,a leading exponent of Beat journalism, a form that included rejection of values and disdain for ruling class. “Comparisons are odious”, claimed both Marlowe and Shakespeare. Possibly, but sometimes necessary in order to establish lines of clarity.
“Don’t touch me I am full of snakes”,-Jack Kerouac
Both authors wrote in an abuse fueled frenzy, Hunter often haunted by delusions and strange visions, at times unable to complete. Kerouac as a means to finish in one long marathon of alcohol and uppers. In life, there is no evidence they actually met, nor is there evidence that Kerouac was aware of Thompson. Conversely,Thompson was acutely aware of Kerouac and had met more than several of his friends.The list included Allan Ginsburg, Greg Corso, and Neil Cassidy. Thompson was enamored of Cassidy and stated that Kerouac’s use of him in “On the Road” had influenced his thinking. He also stated that Kerouac’s confessional prose made an impact on his own philosophy for living. He later said that his own wonder-lust made Kerouac look like a piker.
“Too strange to live, too rare to die”- Hunter Thompson
The similarities of their lives draw strange conclusions. They both had fathers who deserted them, strong mother’s influence and both athletic, Jack football,Hunter baseball.Each had attended Columbia. both had taken memorable cross-country trips and both had alter egos, Jack’s was Sal Paradise, Hunter had Raoul Duke.As a result the pressure to live up to the legends helped destroy them.They also shared a certain disdain for women, which is evident in a great deal of their published works. Women were either objects of scorn ,sex, or no great importance. Curious, considering both were raised by strong women whom they held in high esteem. Although Hunter’s mother suffered from alcoholism. They were mediocre husbands and not considered very good lovers.Both were self destructive in abusing alcohol and drugs, and a hatred for authority, class elitism, and a conventional thinking which was strongly voiced in their works. See Thompson’s ranting hatred for Richard Nixon.
” I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion”-Jack Kerouac
Toward the end of their lives, they both suffered from years of alcohol and drug abuse, Their writings faltered and both were accused of rehashing old material due to their inability to produce. It appears they had either lost interest or were unable to to generate enough enthusiasm to write. Hunter Thompson realized he was sick, tired of life and decided to to end it. Jack Kerouac lost in alcohol died of abuse. Two writers, great impact. Did Kerouac have more of an impact on Thompson than he admitted? or was gonzo journalism a logical extension of the beat style of writing?
Whadayathink, connected, similar, or nothing alike?
[some writers quotes from wikiquote.com]

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Why Do People Hate Barack Obama?

August 23rd, 2012 by Michael Tabor

I have said over and over again, should Romney and Ryan win and turn around this absolutely awful economy, I will change party affiliations (except on social issues). It would require divine intervention to turn the worst recession (if that’s what you want to call it) since 1929 to the heydays of the Clinton years in just 4 years. I know that George W. Bush isn’t the only culprit (he’s not smart enough to ruin this great country single-handedly), it’s a lot more complicated than that, but W. Bush and his GOP administration are certainly not without blame – and the bottom line is “W” was commander-in-chief when the stuff hit the fan.
I am not a trained economist but I am an informed citizen and after speaking with my buddy (a CPA and finance guru) and reading the New York Times every day, here’s what happened in a nutshell: To start, there are 4 institutions with which we ought to be outraged -1. The Federal Reserve 2. The Treasury 3. The W. Bush administration of course and 4. Congress (then and now). When everyone started buying houses back in the early 2000’s, including people who could not afford to maintain a monthly mortgage payment (Walt, the CPA, said when B*** S**** bought a house back then, he knew there was something rotten in Denmark) it was just a matter of time before the real estate bubble would burst and foreclosures would reach epic proportions – 2006. Two years later, in 2008 the stock market crashed, the banks melted down, there was no more credit, and unemployment soared (on paper up to 10%, but the real #, even now is probably 20% e.g. people with lousy, under-paying jobs, etc.)
I feel the pain and everyone I know feels it too (except for Walt the guru – lol). Just as a matter of conversation, I have a habit of asking in a friendly way “how business is”, and there isn’t a single person or establishment such as retailers, banks, and barber shops (are people cutting their own hair?) who doesn’t sadly say, they’re one creditor away from closing shop. However, what shocks me is, there is an incredibly competent and intelligent man who is trying to get us out of this mess. Granted, it’s still bad but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even the Republican’s hero, Ronald Reagan, had a disastrous first four years. An administration needs, at the very least 8 years to see improvement, so why would we want to start all over with Romney.
I will conclude this essay by touching on a movie I saw recently called ‘Margin Call’ (loosely based on the fall of Lehman Brothers). We all knew that the good times wouldn’t last and the bubble would burst eventually (congress, Bush, Investment bankers who were for years screaming for less regulation, got it, and then ripped us off) but we all thought it would last just a little longer. GREED is part of the human condition and though Gordon Gekko maintained that greed is good and it’s the soul of capitalism, I think the lesson we ought to come away with is that competitiveness is good, but as the ancient Greeks said, moderation, clear-thinking, and the notion that “this is one planet and we’re all in this together” should resonate.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I don’t have a crystal ball, but one thing I do know is that we have a damn good president now and I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather see in the oval office over the next 4 years, than Barack Obama.

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Tide and Time

August 22nd, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
This is the summer
Of sweetness.
Of memories
Stashed on shelves
Like jars of preserves.
To relish the taste
And curb the want
Of its excess
By the slow savoring
Of time relinquished.
In the space of a day,
An hour,
Or even a moment…
The tide lets go.
Tumbles with the laughter
In our ocean of being.
Its breath the salt
On our tongues.

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A LOOK BACK AT KEROUAC

August 14th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

Once again a wonderfully written piece by Le Duke de Fromage

I was an aging teenager when I first read On The Road, sitting on a park bench in Boston Common. It was not exactly a high point in my life I was outa school, outa work, and outa money and I was mulling over whether to join the army. When I finished the book, I remember thinking WoW, that’s it. Free, no responsibility, constantly moving, jazz and sex included. It was early spring and a beautiful day something that Boston weather can rarely brag about.I still picture myself sitting there absorbing the book. Always an avid reader, my fault was I read a tremendous amount of what is considered junk.However this was different; this was now. Kerouac made it easy to identify with; he lived in Lowell Mass. only 25 miles from my home.If he could make it out ,well , so could I. As time went on,Kerouac became someone to be taken serious, if not as a significant writer then as an author who was making an impact on future writers.
As his fame grew, he started appearing on mainstream television and not always favorable.Most interviewers were intent on his involvement in what was called “The Beat Generation”. Kerouac hated this tag and always disavowed the title. I remember watching a Steve Allen interview that was embarrassing and awkward. Allen played piano jazz and Kerouac read quotes from his latest book. Uncomfortable,stilted,and staged. However he was never at his best before an audience. Jack appeared to have demons lurking, always a heavy drinker, drugs entered his life. For some, a deadly combination when writing serious prose.
Raised by a mother whose impact weighed heavily all his life,Jack also had a strong religious catholic influence that reflected on his personality. A former girlfriend claimed in many years of friendship he never swore or cursed. He flirted with Buddhism for a period of time but never could embrace it to his liking. Kerouac could be described in melodramatic terms as a tortured soul.
Considered somewhat straight-laced, with his mother’s influence always lurking in the back of his mind, he flirted with both straight and gay sex. A contradiction never fully explained. Alan Ginsburg stated several times that Neil Cassidy who also went both ways influenced Jack and not always to his benefit. Having married three times he also claimed having relations with over 200 women, a claim not seriously taken, and probably made during the later part of his life when boastful alcohol took over.
Kerouac wrote 20 books always in a frenetic jazz hipster style. A way of life that has evolved and is unknown to today’s youth. One would be very challenged to duplicate that lifestyle today, which may be part of the appeal. Recently I reread On The Road and Dharma Bums, two of my earlier favorites and was disappointed to find that the attraction I once had was not there. They seemed dated and less appealing than I remembered. The writing once considered cutting and new , now rather pedestrian. The lifestyle, once shocking and exciting now drab, pointless, and shabby. Truth is there is nothing sadder than an aging hipster.There seemed to be just a little too much of him in his writing,possibly that may have been part of the appeal.
Age changes perception and that may be the answer to why I am no longer drawn to Jack and his aging books. Another possibility is that Kerouac should be read when you are young. Truman Capote said when asked about Kerouac, “That’s not writing, that’s typing”. I am somewhat inclined to agree. Whether fan or not reread Kerouac and judge for yourself.If you have not read him,it is worthwhile just to experience the style and a culture that has passed.
Whadayathink?Still great or fading as time goes on.

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