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Alex Baer

Lemonade Stands and Paranoid Crackpots

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Every once in a while, an email floats in that you'd like to share with the whole nation.  It doesn't happen often, but it did happen again yesterday.  The Twainian email was in the form of a hopeful donation note from former Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, who is now running in the newly-created 9th District there.

The letter is sharp, clear, and darkly humorous, filled with heady satire and parody. It is also filled with lots and lots of heart. There is much humor and truth here, and is of the kind you may have thought not made anymore.  As you read, be prepared to grimace some --  you know, where your face starts to smile through the insistent, persistent frown etched there by the times. Prepare to hear yourself laugh out loud, knowingly.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 16:54

Testing the Applause-O-Meter

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Closely watching the news can become a bleak deal, trying to follow and figure what's behind headlines, trying to see what may be written between the lines.  Nature of the evolved beast called news:  We want to know what went sideways, and how bad it got.  Not what went right.

Still, for good mental hygiene, balance is recommended -- not that we're about to burst into song and dance here.  Goodness knows those "happy news" attempts made decades ago crashed and burned, but, we can try to be a bit less dismal.

(Meanwhile, Perky and Sun-Shiney live on only, I imagine, in Disneyland, where it's instilled in service workers under threat of immediate dismissal.  Perky also shows up quite a lot in those morning network shows mislabeled as news -- the ones giving 12-minute segments to fashion, 8 minutes for movie box-office updates, and 2 minutes for a 14-member panel discussion on the possibility of life on other planets, with an update on nuclear power throughout the world tossed in for good measure.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 16:03

Fighting for the Right to Keep Elections None of Your Business

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It was just another, typical, ho-hum, routine, Republican day at the Congressional office:  Republicans doing nothing whatsoever for the average American, but fighting tooth, nail, claw, skin, and fur to protect the rights of corporations and the obscenely rich.

"Don't tread on us?"  Oh, man -- that is sooo rich.  What a hoot!

Don't expect any of this to make the news, stated clearly, or show up at the water cooler in chit-chat, of course.  This yawner-material is the new normal -- has been, since ignorance was declared the new genius, since banks have been too big to fail, since theft was made the new success, and since astroturf groups like Teabaggers sprang up to do the artificial grassroots business of billionaires.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 00:20

You Know, This Could Catch On

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Some businesses have figured out a way to make a go of it, even in tight times:  Just do business like the Pentagon and its contractors.

Say you're out in the country, seeing the sights, when you spot a nondescript place with a giant, neon sign that screams, "EAT!" in three colors.  You pull in, go inside, order a 'burger, fries, and a pop -- the penultimate American meal.

"Sure thing," says the guy at the counter, all smiles, and says, "that'll be 14 million dollars, on the nose -- if you buy it now, and can take delivery in 60 days."

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 July 2012 23:31

Pretending We Care About Spending

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No one really thought it would work, a reality teevee show about government spending.  And it didn't, not at first.  Understandably.

It started out as "Let's Pretend We Care About Spending!"  It was a once-in-a-while program on cable access teevee -- a standard talking-heads, earnest round-table discussion, sprinkled with flat, mic-in-the-audience-of-five comments.

Intentions were pure, with producers trying to jump-start civic involvement and legitimate political discussion -- replacing apathy and posing -- in the country and its people.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 July 2012 21:23

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