Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Air America brings it all back home

Air America Media continues to reorganize and bring everything in-house, and their latest move is to create its own advertising sales division.

On Wednesday (May 27), the progressive talk radio network announced the end of its relationship with Westwood One, which formerly handled the network's national ad sales. In its place, is the creation of AAM Network Sales, an in-house sales division.

Recent moves by the network include taking over affiliate relations and the creation of a seperate division, AAM Syndication, which will handle shows outside its normal progressive talk fare.

AAM Network Sales has offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, with the company’s chief revenue officer, Scott Elberg, spearheading this initiative.

“I’m excited to continue to develop Air America into a multimedia organization with new shows, and now a sales division to accompany our newly-announced syndication division,” said Bennett Zier, chief executive officer, Air America Media.

“We’re confident that our strong roster of talent, including Montel Williams, Rachel Maddow, Ron Reagan, Lionel and Ron Kuby, will be an appealing buy to advertisers,” said Elberg.

The recent moves are part of an effort by Air America to increase its affiliate base and present a more attractive package for potential advertisers. Air America Media CEO Bennett Zier feels that these moves can help the network expand its affiliate base "into triple digits."

Next on the Air America makeover list: A relaunched web site.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Tuesday newsday

Here's what's the haps for today...

More Randi on the radio

As kind of an update to last week's entry, a couple more affiliates have added Randi Rhodes, both owned by Clear Channel, which syndicates her show. WXXM Madison, after not being able to agree with her on a suitable time slot, has compromised with a little shuffling. Her show will air on 92.1 The Mic weeknights 6-9P (CT) starting May 26. Mike Malloy has been shifted to 9P-12A, followed by Ron Reagan 12-3A.

In Denver, KKZN adds her to the 7-10P (MT) shift, replacing Ron Kuby.

And if you don't mind staying up late, Ohio Majority Radio, which offers its own streaming station, is webcasting her show in the 1-4A ET time slot.

WWR(e)Location time

With the shuffling of Air America's talent lineup, 'flagship' station WWRL in New York has done some minor tweaking. Montel Williams is now airing in the 3-6P ET time slot in place of Ron Kuby. Also the station has added the third hour of Stephanie Miller's show in the 11A-12P slot, following the station's two-hour mid-morning infomercial juggernaut.

In case you missed it, Kuby moved his show to the vacant 12-3P slot, and Air America is currently airing a replay of Williams' late-morning show in the (now vacant) 3-6P slot.

And Jon Elliot is no longer at Air America, having taken over afternoons at XEPE in San Diego. You can hear his show streamed 3-6P PT (6-9P ET) here.

No further word on any network replacements thus far.

More radio mayhem

They say that radio programming runs in waves. Some formats become the flavor of the month, while others become audio pariahs. The latest dying format appears to be smooth jazz, which has just been nuked in two of America's biggest markets. In San Francisco, KKSF dropped the format after a more than two decade run, switching to classic rock. And in Chicago, WNUA, another long-running smooth jazz outlet, is reportedly reaching for the handle. Both stations are owned by Clear Channel, which appears to make all their programming decisions in bulk.

Granted, perhaps only a scant few will shed tears over the slow demise of smooth jazz. The mix of bland funk and elevator music really can't be considered 'jazz' (I call it 'supermarket jazz'), particularly when the likes of Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and other true 'jazz' geniuses (which, incidentally never get played on a smooth 'jazz' outlet) are weighed in on the mix. Rather, the increasingly watered-down 'fuzak' format features unspontaneous light jazzers like Kenny G (who is to jazz what Nickleback is to grunge) mixed with dreary lite-rock fare like Phil Collins, a recipe for an audio valium tablet. I briefly did a smooth jazz format myself and found it quite dreadful, but perhaps that's just me.

Granted 'real' jazz is an even deader format on the nation's airwaves (save for a few non-commercial outlets and some really good streaming services), but maybe, just maybe, a pending death of smooth 'jazz' will help return the term 'jazz' to it's proper place.

Steel Town shakedown

Here's an added update for Wednesday. Sheridan Broadcasting is selling three of its Pittsburgh stations, including WAMO-AM/FM and WPGR to a religious broadcaster. For local listeners, that means that the city's only urban contemporary-formatted station, the venerable WAMO-FM, will soon be gone, and along with it a strong community voice and employer of African-Americans in on-air and management positions.

What it means to liberal talk listeners in the city is that local talk fixture Lynn Cullen will soon be out of a job again. She started working at WAMO's AM outlet only a few months ago. Also gone will be the syndicated Bev Smith. Cullen is pondering retirement, as she refuses to leave Pittsburgh and her on-air options there are very limited.

KMNY shuffles lineup

Here's another Wednesday item. KMNY (1360AM) Dallas ("Rational Radio") is not adding Randi Rhodes at this time (as far as I can tell). However, they are replacing Ron Kuby with a popular local duo. Pugs & Kelly (a.k.a. John Myron and Kelly Mohr) will air from 1-4P CT, taking over Kuby's 2-4P shift, and cutting off the last hour of Thom Hartmann's show.

Pugs & Kelly have worked at three local stations in the past year, with a long stint on the now-defunct FM hot-talker KLLI (Live 105.3), and briefly at KDBN ("The Bone").

The station airs a healthy amount of local programming compared to other similar stations.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Air America taps Lionel for morning drive

Looks like Air America, in the midst of all its on-air shuffling, has found a new place for the currently-in-exile Lionel. He will be offered in morning drive via Air America's syndication division.

By sending him out via Air America Syndication, rather than their normal channel, they are positioning him not necessarily as a liberal, or any other type of ideological political talker, but rather as someone offering “breaking news of the day and topical discussions with high-profile guests and callers.”

No word yet on other shifts soon to be vacated by the departing Jon Elliot (who has been hired to do afternoons in San Diego) and Ron Kuby (reportedly moving to the vacant 12-3P ET time slot.

Here's the press release:

NEW YORK -- AAM Syndication, a division of Air America Media, is launching “The Lionel Show” nationwide on Tuesday, May 26. The new morning show will air weekdays from 6-9A ET and stream live online at

"The Lionel Show" will feature breaking news of the day and topical discussions with high-profile guests and callers, mixing it up with Lionel in the unpredictable way that has become his trademark.

"Lionel is the perfect morning talent for today’s talk radio stations, both AM and FM," said Bill Hess, senior vice president of programming for Air America Media. "Talk stations in all genres are looking for entertaining, topical programs for the key morning drive time slot. Lionel is a proven winner in that daypart, given his top-rated performance at WABC/New York and success in national syndication over the years."

"Lionel is a long-standing member of the Air America family, and we’re pleased to renew our relationship with the launch of his new morning drive-time show," said Bennett Zier, chief executive officer of Air America Media.

Lionel is a 20-year talk radio veteran. Prior to joining Air America in 2007, Lionel hosted a nationally-syndicated show six days a week on the WOR Radio Network. Beginning his career at WFLA 970AM in Tampa, Lionel has also worked with WABC 770AM in New York, WCBS 880AM, Premiere Radio Networks, Rex Broadcasting and, an internet-based talk radio service. He also hosted "Snap Judgment" on Court TV (now TruTV), and has been a guest on numerous television outlets. In 2007 and 2009, Talkers Magazine highlighted Lionel on its "100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America" list. Newsweek described Lionel as "an intellectual known for his irreverent politics and social humor." In addition to his radio work, Lionel is an author and musician. Prior to radio, he was a prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer in Florida.

After earning his undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida, Lionel attended the Stetson University College of Law.

"The Lionel Show" will originate from AAM’s studios in New York City.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wanda Sykes makes 'em cry

Gee, it seems so long since we've had a ridiculous media obsession germinating from the thick, grimy logic swamps known as the right-wing blogosphere. Sure enough, we have one now. And quite frankly, it's as ridiculous as one could possibly imagine.

And like most incidents of 'mockrage' (meaning 'mock outrage' - neat new word, huh?), this one will likely be forgotten in a few days.

Now, allow me to stir the pot and get this thing started with a joke:

Q: What's the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg?
A: One's a flaming Nazi gasbag, the other's just a balloon.

Okay, now come on feel the mockrage! Certainly comedian Wanda Sykes is feeling it from some rather thin-skinned people who appear to be experts at dishing it out, yet lousy at being the butt of jokes.

This past weekend was the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, an annual light-hearted affair more akin to a PG-rated celebrity roast than a stuffy cocktail party. Invitees (primarily from the news media) are traditionally allowed to invite others, most typically celebrities. And in keeping with the lightness of the proceedings, a comedian usually steps up to the podium. A few years ago, you may remember Stephen Colbert ruffling Bush's feathers. Another recent host was Cedric The Entertainer, known for his hilarious but tasteless "fuck Jesse Jackson" rant in the movie "Barbershop".

Ms. Sykes was this year's controversial Dinner speaker du jour. And she let it rip. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Michael Steele (perhaps the most ridiculous RNC chairman in history) and others were not spared by her verbal jabs, which to many ears were witty but not altogether vulgar or shocking. Surprisingly, it was somewhat tame.
(Here's the video).

But does it really matter to a bunch of sniveling right-wingers with talons engaged, ready to pounce on any piddly shit thing that offends them? Hell, they'll make mountains out of those molehills, by golly! Sure enough, they have. They're going apeshit, appalled at supposed attacks on their false idols. And it's yet one more reason to ignore this sniveling bunch of crybabies.

Seriously, what is offensive and what isn't to these people? Let's compare and contrast. Here's what Sykes said about Dick Cheney on Saturday night:

"Oh my god, that’s a scary man. Scares me to death. I tell my kids if two cars pull up, and one has a stranger, and the other car has Dick Cheney, you get in the car with the stranger."

Contrast that with, say, a recent comment from CBS golf analyst David Feherty, who said this about our Democratic congressional leaders:

"...if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there’s a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."

Guess which remark is most likely to get the righties all riled up? Certainly not the one from Feherty. They probably agree with that one. And last I checked, Feherty still does golf for CBS.

Okay, so a comedian rips Bush and Cheney. Ehh, old news. 'Typical unhinged moonbat hatred,' the outraged sneer and whine. But you just know that they were ready to pounce once she started dissin' Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the other current 'great white dopes' of the mouth-breathing wingnut movement. Well, then the fur starts to really fly.

Here is Ms. Sykes, on 'The Turd of Absurd', a.k.a. Limbaugh:

"...Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails. That’s like saying, ‘I hope America fails.’ Or that ‘I dont care if people are losing their homes, their jobs, our soldiers in Iraq.’ He just wants the country to fail. To me, that’s treason. He’s not saying anything differently than what Osama Bin Laden is saying. (turning to Obama) You might want to look into this, sir. Because I think maybe he was the 20th hijacker. But he was just so strung out on Oxycontin that he missed his flight.

(crowd gasps)

“Too much? But you’re laughing on the inside…

She continues:

"...Rush Limbaugh [says] 'I hope the country fails.' I hope his kidneys fail. How about that? He needs some waterboarding, that’s what he needs."

On Hannity:

"Let Keith Olbermann waterboard him. He can”t take a waterboarding. I can break Sean Hannity just by giving him a middle seat in coach."

Not surprisingly, the tighty-righties - those masters of 'political correctness', mockrage, hypocrisy and outright thin-skinnedness, are pissed! Pat Buchanan, the world's most depressing role model, said Sykes' jokes will "hurt" the public impression of the dinner event (as if Bush's "can't find the WMDs" bit and "Rappin' Rove" didn't). The Washington Times' Amana Carpenter, who is employed by a destructive religious cult with its tentacles wrapped around the GOP, claimed Sykes "went over the line." Limbaugh's boot-licking lackey Brian Maloney lost what was left of his marbles with the wild-eyed headline "A bitch called Wanda" while yet again ripping into 'unhinged media and Hollywood elitists' (while disregarding that Limbaugh himself could easily be classified as an 'unhinged media and Hollywood elitist'). Other pro-GOP bloggers launched their own attacks. Funny, they elicited nary a peep when Don Imus cruelly ripped into Bill Clinton at the 1996 Dinner. Clinton was not amused. Right-wingers said tough shit.

But this is different. After all, how dare this... this... BLACK LIBERAL (and a LESBIAN to boot!) put a pox on Rush's kidneys! Or call him a (gasp!) terrorist! Make fun of his drug addiction! And how dare she claim Hannity ain't tough enough to fly outside of first class! Hey, even the 'mainstream' news media, ever so quick to do backflips in order to give Limbaugh "the Maloney treatment" (i.e. kiss his ass and beg for scraps), will probably make hay of the whole Sykes non-controversy.

But will the suck-up myopic media go along with the wingnut attempts to turn a silly comedy monologue into a banal non-scandal for President Obama? Particularly since he had the unmitigated gall to... get this... laugh at Sykes' jokes? The horror!

Yeah, that's right. Obama laughed. And quite frankly, after all the cruel, mean-spirited shit he's taken from loudmouth assholes like Limbaugh, Hannity, et. al., Obama deserves to laugh the loudest. If these right-wing media rabble-rousers are so danged tough (or tough enough to even fly coach like us rank-and-file), they can take it in stride without their lemmings crapping their diapers and falling over themselves demanding personal apologies from Sykes, Obama, the attendees and anyone else watching who laughed at the cruel, mean-spirited and hate-filled jokes aimed at their fearful leaders.

Hey, I laughed. And no, I won't apologize.

So, why always the kids-gloves treatment for Limbaugh? After all, it's alright for Limbaugh to cruelly mock Michael J. Fox's crippling bout with Parkinson's Disease, but not okay for a comedian to take jabs at El Dumbo? Am I getting this right?

And how many outraged right-wingers no doubt laugh their asses off at just about every vile rant that falls out of Ann Coulter's mouth? Where's the outrage there?

Needless to say, few are better at playing the 'victim' card these days than the 'holier than thou' tighty-righties. And they consider themselves to be the hardass tough guys? Lord have mercy!

'But, but...,' they say, 'Limbaugh's a private citizen speaking his mind. He should not be subject to public ridicule.' Well, what about 'private citizens' like the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore, who were viciously attacked in recent years by countless right-wingers for speaking their minds? Tell ya what, when Limbaugh becomes the subject of death threats, blacklists and radio boycotts like Dixie Chick Natalie Maines, then I'll sympathize.

Limbaugh calls himself an 'entertainer' as he strives to become the tail that wags the mangy dog that is today's Republican Party. Sykes is an entertainer, and aspires to nothing more.

Crybaby conservatives have no shame cruelly savaging the likes of Maines, Moore, Janeane Garafalo, Linda Ronstadt and any other outspoken left-leaning celebrity in Hollywood for the mere sin of publicly voicing their opinions. Even going so far as to issue their own personal fatwas (i.e. death threats). But turn the tables? And in a humorous manner, no less? They go crying to their mommies!

So, let me spell it all out for you tighty-rightie sissies that are reading this. Your movement is out of favor not only because of your idols' self-indulgent 'scorched earth' attacks on this very nation, resulting in endless wars and the worst economic turmoil since the Hoover Administration. It collapsed because nobody likes sore losers, crybabies and sniveling wimps who love to dish it out but can't take it. We've put up with your shit for eight years, while you called us traitors, 'anti-American' and worse. You've spent the past decade and a half attacking this mythological thing you call 'political correctness', deeming it as some sort of fiendish liberal plot, all while using your own version of the very concept to suit your own needs. You people are weak and pathetic.

I say to wingnuts everywhere, pull your heads out of Rush Limbaugh's cyst-covered fat ass and take a deep breath. You are not victims. You are wussies. Nobody respects wussies. And nobody likes hypocrites. Or sore losers. So take your medicine and suck it up. That's karma coming back to bite you in the buttocks.

And if you want respect, or perhaps an eventual return to power, then grow a thicker skin, for crying out loud. Because, quite bluntly, you guys are really just a bunch of chickenshits.

In closing, I've got the punchline to beat all punchlines to wrap up this whole story. This fall, Wanda Sykes gets her very own Saturday late-night talk show. The place? Why, the FOX network, of course.

Monday, May 11, 2009


NOTE: Keep checking this entry for updates

Well, Monday is the day that many have been looking forward to for several months. The return of The Randi Rhodes Show, this time via Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks, home to personalities as diverse as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, George Noory, Bob and Tom and Ryan Seacrest.

The big question among her overly-patient listeners is, of course, where can we hear She Who Must Be Heard, a.k.a. Randi Rhodes?

And that's a very good question. As of this writing, nine 13 stations and XM Radio have confirmed the addition of her show to their lineups, with XM, Los Angeles affiliate KTLK and Buffalo's WWKB airing her live. KTLK is the best bet for hearing her via live webstream, and it is listed in the center column under listening links. The initial affiliate lineup is as follows:

XM Channel 165 (3-6P ET) (live)
Albuquerque, NM KABQ 1350AM (4-7P MT)
NEW! Anchorage, AK KUDO 1080AM (11A-2P AT) (live)
Buffalo, NY WWKB 1510AM (3-6P ET) (live)
Ithaca/Syracuse, NY WNYY 1470AM (3-6P) (live)
Los Angeles, CA KLTK 1150AM (12-3P PT) (live)
NEW! Monterey, CA KRXA 540AM (12-1P, 2-4P PT) (live)
Portland, OR KPOJ 620AM (3-6P PT)
Reno, NV KJFK 1230AM (12-3P PT) (live)
San Francisco, CA KKGN 960AM (4-6P PT)
NEW! Santa Barbara, CA KIST 1490AM (12-3P PT) (live)
Seattle, WA KPTK 1090AM (6-9P PT)
West Palm Beach, FL WJNO 1290AM (6-9P ET)
NEW! West Palm Beach, FL WBZT 1230AM (3-6P ET) (live) (starting 6/1)

Most of the stations listed offer a free webstream, but many are delaying her show for later airing. So far, three stations offer a complete live (3-6P ET) stream - KUDO (stream), KTLK (stream) and WBZT (stream). For those of you that prefer non-browser listening, KUDO has a non-browser stream accessable here. It should work in Winamp and other third-party media players.

KRXA also has a stream that can be heard via third-party programs (like Winamp and iTunes). However, they do delay the second and third hours.

UPDATE: You can temporarily download podcasts via Green 960 and KTLK.

In other related news:

  • More affiliates will be added soon, particularly since Nancy Skinner, who had replaced Rhodes at the ill-fated Nova M Radio and continued her show following their demise, has put her effort on hiatus effective this past Friday. That would open up more potential affilites, including KXLJ in Juneau, AK (a nice addition, since they offer non-browser streams). Rumor has it they may add her show, but in the meantime, they're carrying Ron Kuby. Speaking of Kuby, Air America will reportedly be moving him to a new time slot. Starting next Monday, his show will take over the vacant 12-3P ET slot on the network (thanks to dxfool for the heads-up).

  • WXXM (92.1FM) in Madison has been in negotiations to carry her, but can't find an opening in their lineup.
  • KMNY (1360AM) in Dallas had previously been rumored to be carrying her show, but the status at this time is unknown.
  • UPDATE: Per comment below, KTNF Minneapolis will not add Rhodes to their lineup. The owner of the station isn't too keen on her.
  • KGOE Eureka currently has two holes to fill in its daily lineup. That could be a possibility. As is KBAI in Bellingham, WA, which currently lists Kuby.
  • And then there are the other Clear Channel-owned progressive talk stations. There have been some rumors in regard to WDTW Detroit, but nothing solid. KKZN Denver seems content with their current lineup. WPEK Asheville, NC is limited due to its daytime-only status and KPTQ Spokane won't carry it right away, but says they are working on it.
  • Rhodes' own relaunched website has more affiliate information.
  • Finally, I'd like to ask a favor of all of you. Check your local talk stations (yes, even the right-wing ones, since Clear Channel owns a ton of 'em and could possibly push her show that way). If Rhodes is on your local station (or any others that you know about), post it in the comments below, listing the city, call letters, frequency and airtime (it could air on delay). Thanks much.
  • Elliott out, Kuby moves at Air America

    Acording to All Access, Air America Radio late night host Jon Elliott is exiting the network to take over the 3-6P PT afternoon shift at XEPE ("San Diego 1700"). Elliott's last day at on the network will be this Friday (5/15), with his San Diego show starting Monday(5/18). The show will also be made available to Elliott's current AAR affiliates and other interested stations.

    Elliott is a long-time resident of San Diego, and currently does his Air America show from there.

    Elliott's show, which has aired on the network since 2006 when he replaced Mike Malloy, is currently the longest-running weekday show on the network, aside from Rachel Maddow.

    XEPE is currently a bit thin on talk programming, with a local morning show, a couple finance-oriented shows and Dennis Miller's syndicated offering. Previously, the station employed ex-KLSD talker Stacy Taylor, but dropped many of their local hosts last year. Currently, most of the day is essentially a feed of CNN Headline News (HLN), which tends to be the last resort as far as radio programming goes.

    (Here's a side thought, to the people running things at XEPE. How 'bout bringing back progressive talk? Nobody's listening to your station now, so there's no way to fall off the floor, right? Going liberal might just put 'San Diego 1700' on the map. KLSD did great with it until the regional suits went all sports-crazy and made the big mistake of switching formats. Hey, progressive talk won't get a five share, but it's gotta be better than the HLN feed.)

    Meanwhile, some more shuffling is taking place at Air America. Afternoon host Ron Kuby will move his show into the vacant 12-3P ET time slot on the network, effective next Monday. Nicole Sandler had previously been holding down the slot, following the departure of Thom Hartmann in February.

    There is currently no word on what Air America will do with the soon-to-be vacant 3-6P and 11P-2A slots.

    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    The not-so Savage Nation

    If you plan on visiting Great Britain in the near future, by all means go. So long as you aren't some racist, xenophobic blowhard like anti-gay Christian crusader Fred Phelps or former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and white supremecist Stephan Donald Black. Or controversial radio host Michael Alan Weiner, a.k.a. Michael Savage. All three, along with 19 others (16 of which were mentioned by name), are not allowed to step foot the country. In essence, they got union jacked.

    The British government published a blacklist on Tuesday of people that are banned from entering the United Kingdom. This list also includes Yunis al-Astal, a Hamas lawmaker, Jewish Legion leader Mike Guzofsky, and several Islamic preachers linked to terrorism. And don't forget the Savage Weiner.

    The AFP sez:

    Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she decided to publish the "name and shame" list -- which identifies 16 people banned since last October -- for the first time to clarify what behaviour Britain will not tolerate.

    "I think it's important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it's a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won't be welcome in this country," she said.

    "If you can't live by the rules that we live by ... we should exclude you from this country and, what's more, now we will make public those people that we have excluded," she told the GMTV broadcaster.

    The San Francisco Chronicle sez:

    ...Along with Savage, who has called the Quran, the Muslim holy book, "a book of hate," Muslim extremists, jailed Russian gang members and a militant Israeli settler were banned. Smith cited "public interest" reasons for not disclosing six of the names.

    Since 2005, the United Kingdom has excluded 101 people for "unacceptable behavior, including animal rights extremists, right-to-life, homophobe and far-right extremists, as well as those who advocate hatred and violence in support of their religious beliefs," Robin Newmann, spokesman for the British consulate in San Francisco, said by e-mail Tuesday. In 2008, he said, Smith "introduced new measures that favored excluding people who have spread hatred."

    Well, nobody will really complain about most of those types of people being 8-balled from The Commonwealth. I'm sure even the Bushniks would applaud that. But throw in a crazy right-wing radio squawker like Savage? Oh, then the tighty-righties of America will go ballistic. And the people named aren't too happy either.

    Gee, what are they gonna do, call them un-American? Fer cryin' out loud, they're British!

    Now, I have three schools of thought on this Brit blacklist. First, a country minus guys like Phelps, Black and Savage sounds kinda Utopian, though I kinda do like that freedom of speech thing, even if it encourages a few nuts. Second, it's their country, they can do whatever the hell they want. I'm not too keen on ideological blackballing in general, but I'm not the one in charge there.

    But here's the third and most important point, and one that the people whining about this have completely forgotten about or disregarded: Our government's been pulling the same shit with the Brits for years.

    Here's a name you'll all recognize: John Lennon. Remember him? Well, you may recall that the Nixon Administration, the J. Edgar Hoover-run FBI and Republicans like Strom Thurmond waged a very ugly campaign during the first half of the 1970s to have Lennon kicked out of this very country. The reasoning they gave was John and wife Yoko's piddly 1968 London drug bust, led by an over-exuberant Scotland Yard flatfoot bent on nailing pot-smoking, acid-dropping British rock stars. But that was a pretty flimsy excuse. Consider the fact that other British pop stars busted for drugs, such as Donovan and the Rolling Stones, ran into limited interference as they came and went from our shores. Lennon's former Beatles bandmates, the lower-key George Harrison and Paul McCartney, were involved in similar pot busts but were free to come and go as they pleased. Harrison even visited the White House (as a guest of then-President Ford's son, a huge fan) a few years later! British bands like Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie and The Who laid waste to hotel rooms across the land during the 1970s. Yet John and Yoko were the ones who were made an example of. This was purely vindictive. Lennon was rather prominent on Nixon's "Enemies List" due to his very vocal anti-war leftist politics and for palling around with guys like Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and Bobby Seale. For Nixon, it was personal.

    So, how is the Lennon example different than what merry ol' England is currently doing? Let's face it, the Brits are only looking to keep the hatemongers out. The Lennons were hardcore peacenicks. And in a rather disturbing act of irony, John Lennon, years after finally obtaining his green card, lost his life in an appalling act of violence perpetrated by an American screwball in a city and country he has long professed his admiration for. Makes your head spin, don't it?

    This puzzlingly selective gatekeeping still occurs up through the present day. We're still blackballing Brits. The former lead singer of 1980s one-hitters Frankie Goes To Hollywood was denied entry to our country due to his HIV-positive status. British folk singer Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, was on U.S. terrorist watch lists and subsequently deported in 2004, mostly due to his heavy devotion to the Islamic faith and vocal support for its followers. And many subversive corporate-owned oldies stations still play his hit "Peace Train". It gets even nuttier. Amy Winehouse still isn't allowed on American turf, even after a Grammy win and a couple best-selling albums, due to a destructive drug habit that has hurt nobody but herself. Same with Pete Doherty, a drug-fueled basketcase of a rock singer known more for his tabloid antics than his music. Yet lesser musical talents like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan can get plastered and mow down pedestrians on the streets of L.A.

    Let's tally up this mess. They keep out a few extremist hatemongers. We ban inoffensive rock stars. Advantage, U.K.

    So, if you're someone like, say, a Brent Bozell-type, just how firm is your footing when you bitch about the British blackballing of Michael Savage, yet elicit nary a peep about John Lennon? Or Cat Stevens? Or even Amy Winehouse? Well, not very firm, most likely.

    Now, all this banning on ideological grounds seems a bit petty. And it's really more symbolic than anything else. I can't imagine a guy like Savage being all that willing to visit the U.K. anyway. But it is kind of an ironic 'back atcha' toward a country that's done more than its fair share of questionable gatekeeping. Namely us.

    Tuesday, May 05, 2009

    Cuatro de Mayo, and unhappiness is a warm gun and a half-cocked jock

    Yeah, it's one day before the much more-celebrated "Cinco de Mayo". But if our president can observe it, why not me? And since it's been a week since I've written anything, why not invent a holiday?

    And it's quite fitting that I create something out of nothing. Especially since the only thing half-interesting to talk about is some unhinged conservojock down in Orlando who went nuts and shot off more than his mouth.

    Shannon Burke, who described his talk show on RealRadio 104.1 as a "mixture of outrageous daily, biker attitude and personality, and right-wing style rants," claimed that he got mad at his dog, went for his 40-caliber handgun and threatened to shoot the naive housepet, who likely did not know what the hell his master was ranting and raving about. Not surprisingly, the gun "accidentally" discharged, and the bullet went through the dog’s leg before grazing the side of his wife's head. Or so he claims.

    "I was playing with a gun that I didn't know was loaded and I hit my wife," Burke told a 911 operator late Thursday.

    Um, Okay.

    Deputies claimed he has been arguing with his wife before the shooting.

    Burke was charged with two counts — aggravated battery with a weapon and animal cruelty. He's ordered to wear an ankle bracelet monitor. He is also under an order from Seminole County Judge Jerri L. Collins not to have any contact with his wife or to go within 1,500 feet of their home.

    Both wife Catherine and the dog were treated for non-life threatening injuries and are fine.

    And not surprisingly, Burke got canned from his job at the Clear Channel talk station.

    Okay, I realize these hard-assed conservogoons are more pissed off than normal with Obama in the White House and the conservative Republican movement almost dead, but perhaps these guys should seek counseling before they seriously do damage.

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