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However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Florida Joined the Union ► Throwback Thursday

It was probably inevitable -- Manifest Destiny, and all that -- but on this date in 1845, Florida became the 27th state in the Union.

The first Europeans to set foot in Florida were the Conquistadors, led by Juan Ponce de León in 1513. It is a myth that he was looking for the famed Fountain of Youth.

Of course, long before the Spanish got to Florida, there were aboriginal peoples living all along the peninsula. According to the WikiWackyWoo:
By the 16th century, the earliest time for which there is a historical record, major Native American groups included the Apalachee (of the Florida Panhandle), the Timucua (of northern and central Florida), the Ais (of the central Atlantic coast), the Tocobaga (of the Tampa Bay area), the Calusa (of southwest Florida) and the Tequesta (of the southeastern coast).
The Spanish founded St. Augustine in 1565, making it the oldest continually inhabited city in the U.S. But, St. Augustine has another distinction, so says the Wiki:
Florida attracted numerous Africans and African Americans from adjacent British colonies in North America who sought freedom from slavery. The Spanish Crown gave them freedom, and those freedmen settled north of St. Augustine in Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first free black settlement of its kind in what became the United States.[citation needed]

In 1763, Spain traded Florida to the Kingdom of Great Britain for control of Havana, Cuba, which had been captured by the British during the Seven Years' War. It was part of a large expansion of British territory following the country's victory in the Seven Years' War. Almost the entire Spanish population left, taking along most of the remaining indigenous population to Cuba.[14] The British soon constructed the King's Road connecting St. Augustine to Georgia. The road crossed the St. Johns River at a narrow point, which the Seminole called Wacca Pilatka and the British named "Cow Ford", both names ostensibly reflecting the fact that cattle were brought across the river there.[15][16][17]
However, England lost Florida back to the Spanish after they lost the Revolutionary War to the insurgent 'Merkins. 
In 1810, parts of West Florida were annexed by proclamation of President James Madison, who claimed the region as part of the Louisiana Purchase. These parts were incorporated into the newly formed Territory of Orleans. The U.S. annexed the Mobile District of West Florida to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Spain continued to dispute the area, though the United States gradually increased the area it occupied. 

Seminole Indians based in East Florida began raiding Georgia settlements, and offering havens for runaway slaves. The United States Army led increasingly frequent incursions into Spanish territory, including the 1817–1818 campaign against the Seminole Indians by Andrew Jackson that became known as the First Seminole War. The United States now effectively controlled East Florida. Control was necessary according to Secretary of State John Quincy Adams because Florida had become "a derelict open to the occupancy of every enemy, civilized or savage, of the United States, and serving no other earthly purpose than as a post of annoyance to them.".[23]

Florida had become a burden to Spain, which could not afford to send settlers or garrisons. Madrid therefore decided to cede the territory to the United States through the Adams-Onís Treaty, which took effect in 1821.[24] President James Monroe was authorized on March 3, 1821 to take possession of East Florida and West Florida for the United States and provide for initial governance.[25] Andrew Jackson served as military governor of the newly acquired territory, but only for a brief period. On March 30, 1822, the United States merged East Florida and part of West Florida into the Florida Territory.[26]
Florida was admitted to the Union as a Slave State on this day in 1845.

I've lived in Florida for the past 10.5 years and, to be perfectly honest, I don't like it all that much. 

South Florida is hundreds of miles of continuous suburbia; single family homes and gated communities, between strip malls and gas stations, only interrupted by larger malls, condo complexes, and man-made drainage canals to keep The Everglades at bay. Not to mention Florida Man. And, the never-ending corruption. And, the stifling heat and oppresive humidity.

I agree with Bugs Bunny:


It hardly matters. Florida will be under water soon anyway.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Annotated Bill O'Reilly Talking Point Memo #2


Welcome to the 2nd Annotated Bill O'Reilly Talking Point Memo

The Falafel King drops one of these piles every weekday and, if I were so inclined, I could answer him every day, but life's too short for that. Today, Loofah Lad wants to pontificate on the The State of the Republican Party, but he's really defending his good buddy, Donald J. Trump.
I have to say I'm a bit surprised that Don Rickles is now apparently a Republican contender.
I'm not. I'm just surprised that someone who has called hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of people "pinheads" would be concerned about the mud being thrown in the GOP race. This is merely your attempt at a false equivalency in order to deflecting from Trump's hateful comments about Mexicans, Muslims, women, John McCain, the handicapped, Megyn Kelly, and everyone else he's attacked over the years. However, do play us a supercut your staff put together of how they're all doing it.
DONALD TRUMP: “So I’m looking at little Marco and I’m saying man there’s something happening with him and he’s like melting.”

((EDIT))

MARCO RUBIO: “He’s always calling me little Marco.  I’ll admit, he’s taller than me – he’s like 6’2’’ – which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5’2’’.” (LAUGHS) ((EDIT)) And you know what they say about men with small hands?”

((EDIT))

TRUMP: “You had to see him backstage.  He was putting on makeup with a trowel! (Mimics using a roller to apply his makeup) ((EDIT)) I will not say that he was trying to cover up his ears!”

((EDIT))

RUBIO: “He doesn’t sweat because his pores are clogged from the spray tan that he uses!”

Now that's not exactly the Lincoln-Douglas debate is it?
Well, no. It's not even in Kennedy-Nixon territory. Hell, it's not even the neighbourhood of the Bentsen-Quayle debate.


However, you have called people names for decades. Stop clutching your pearls and take credit for the coarsening of the 'Merkin Culture you brought about.

Oh, wait. You have an alternate theory, doncha?
But here's why it's happening:
Oh, this should be good. Do tell.
In the beginning of the campaign, Donald Trump did something very brilliant.  He staked out two essential issues that he knew Republican voters were angry about: the border and the economy.

But rather than getting into policy, Mr. Trump kept it simple.  He'll build a wall and deport illegal aliens.

He'll make deals that will turn the economy around and punish countries like China and Mexico that he believes are treating the USA unfairly.

That quickly got the new candidate a lot of attention and criticism.
To be fair: It got your vanilla milkshake drinking BFF a lot of attention and even more valid criticism. However, I hardly think spewing racism and xenophobia is very brilliant. That's when this whole race started going south -- both puns intended.

OH! WAIT!! Look who I'm talking to. Never mind. I'll go back to drinking my M-Fing ice tea. Forget I interrupted.

Then what, Loofah Lad?
Trump then immediately counter-attacked, using hot rhetoric that most politicians would never even consider.
Which you continue to defend to this very day. It's not presidential. Of course, you'd be having a fit if any Democratic candidate said anything slightly critical of Donald Trump.
That got him even more popularity.  The more he insulted, the higher his poll numbers climbed.
Historians will be trying to figure this election out for decades to come. Is this the year Racism and Xenophobia trump logic and good governance?
So he's two for two.  He chooses emotional issues, simplifying them for potential voters, then scorches anyone who doesn't like it.
That's not why he scorches people, you sanctimonious liar. He scorches people because he's a narcissistic psychopath.

OH! WAIT!! Look who I'm talking to. Never mind. I'll go back to reading the Paris Business Review.
Even if you don't like Mr. Trump, you have to admit the strategy has been brilliant and he would not be leading in the polls today if he had not employed it.
It's only a brilliant strategy if you admire appealing to people's fears and worse instincts.

OH! WAIT!! Look who I'm talking to. Never mind. I'll go back to reading about Dr. Tiller's murder. 
The other Republican candidates were taken by surprise as he hammered Jeb Bush and anyone else Trump considered to be a rival.

After months of watching Trump's poll numbers go up, finally Senators Rubio and Cruz began to counterattack in the same way.

The problem for both Rubio and Cruz is that Americans do not know them, and the media has paid so much attention to Donald Trump that getting well known is almost impossible.

Unless of course you hurl insults, which is what Marco Rubio is now doing.
No. The problem is that Rubio and Cruz left it far too late to start telling the truth and attacking your racist and xenophobic milkshake buddy, Donald J. Trump. BTW: I think it's telling that they are vanilla milkshakes. You can buy those Freudian Slips at Frederick's of Hollywood.

Sorry, I interrupted again. Go ahead, let's hear more of your bullshit false equivalency.
For his part Cruz is hammering Trump in a different way:

TED CRUZ: “There have been multiple media reports about Donald's business dealings with the mob, with the mafia.  Maybe his taxes show those business dealings are a lot more extensive than has been reported.”

Now I don't believe anyone's tax returns are going to give insight into organized crime.  Mr. Cruz obviously casting aspersions on Mr. Trump.
Aspersions? It's well-documented that Trump's companies dealt with other companies that were mobbed-up. The tax returns may not show that, but you get Bonus Points for deflection, Mr. Falafel King.
But all of this negative stuff hasn't really altered the race so far.
Because, as I said above, it's too little, too late. Cruz and Rubio should have been hammering Trump on his bankruptcies, Trump University, the KKK, and his freakishly small hands starting last year. Now it just looks like tit-for-tat mud slinging and almost nothing is getting traction, even Trump's latest smears on his opponents.
Recent polls say Mr. Trump is leading in all the Super Tuesday states with the exception of Texas, Ted Cruz's home state.
Which is why 'Merka is becoming a laughing stock all over again around the world. You thought George W. Bush was reviled around the world? There are already countries who are working to make YOUR FRIEND Donald J. Trump persona non grata.
So it looks like tomorrow Trump will prevail again.  It is how close Cruz and Rubio can keep the vote that is uncertain.

The south is friendly territory to Donald Trump.  
And, racists everywhere. That is hardly a ringing endorsement.
When the votes shift to the northeast and Midwest, his challenge might grow but by that time he might have things sewn up.

If that happens, if Trump is the Republican nominee, you can expect a media assault on him that will be unprecedented.

Every day the press will hammer Trump, exposing every part of his life.
And, you are doing your best to pre-inoculate the voters against any factual attacks on YOUR GOOD FRIEND, Donald J. Trump.
Trump is getting ready:

TRUMP: “So that when the New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected.”

Mr. Trump talking about what he would do as president, attempt to change the libel laws, but he can't do that now.
Don't you care about the First Amendment, Loofah Lad? Or are you only concerned about the 2nd Amendment?
And believe me the press is just waiting.
So now it's a media conspiracy to sink the worst presidential candidate to come down the pike. What else you got that we can laugh at?
A preview is this David Duke stuff, a complete non-story.  I've spoken with Trump hundreds of times.  I have never heard him run down anyone because of race.

He does not care about that.
A non-story? And, how would you know if you ever heard him say anything about race when you blow the same dog whistle he does? Your ears are no longer attuned to hear the racist hate disguised by your White Privilege!
The GOP madness is of course good news for Hillary Clinton, who has major problems of her own but who the American press will get behind.

Newspaper endorsements for president will run 20:1 Clinton.
What if she's 20 times better for 'Merka than your Racist and Xenophobic friend Donald Trump? Wouldn't she then deserve the endorsements?
So the question becomes, can Donald Trump bring in millions of new voters to overcome his deficit among the press, minorities and other groups that may not like him?
People who may not like him? This isn't the competition for Prom King. This is a Winner Take All contest to decide the next President of the United States. Your decades-long friendship with this Racist Xenophobe disqualifies you from even commenting on this election, but that's never stopped you from misinforming your viewers before.
Trump thinks he can do it and has confounded his critics thus far.
He's confounded Good Ol' 'Merkin Common Sense. Hopefully the electorate will wake up and see Trump for the Racist and Xenophobic Charlatan he really is. Even tho' Joe Scarborough finally saw the light, it's clear that you never will.
And that's the memo.
 And, that's why you're nothing but a hack, O'Reilly. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Was Elvis' Manager A Murderer? ► Monday Musical Appreciation

It's always been a curious thing. During the entirety of Elvis' career, he only played overseas once and only performed in Canada only 3 times. Despite the proximity Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, didn't accompany his star client.

I've long heard rumblings that The Colonel was a wanted man, which is why he never traveled outside the country, but had never bothered to research the back story. A random Facebook post this morning took me to a page about The Colonel at the Smithsonian Institute published 4 years ago. What I learned was stunning. Colonel Tom Parker may have been a murderer hiding in plain sight. This article gets right down to the Colonel's skulduggery:
So far as the wider world knew, the Colonel was Thomas Andrew Parker, born in Huntingdon, West Virginia, some time shortly after 1900. He had toured with carnivals, worked with elephants and managed a palm-reading booth before finding his feet in the early 1950s as a music promoter. Had anyone taken the trouble to inquire, however, they would have discovered that there was no record of the birth of any Thomas Parker in Huntingdon. They might also have discovered that Tom Parker had never held a U.S. passport—and that while he had served in the U.S. Army, he had done so as a private. Indeed, Parker’s brief military career had ended in ignominy. In 1932, he had gone absent without leave and served several months in military prison for desertion. He was released only after he had suffered what his biographer Alanna Nash terms a “psychotic breakdown.” Diagnosed as a psychopath, he was discharged from the Army. A few years later, when the draft was introduced during the World War II, Parker ate until he weighed more than 300 pounds in a successful bid to have himself declared unfit for further service.

WHOA! But it doesn't stop there. I continued my research, jumping onto the WikiWackyWoo:
Presley fans have speculated that the reason Presley only once performed abroad, which would probably have been a highly lucrative proposition, may have been that Parker was worried that he would not have been able to acquire a U.S. passport and might even have been deported upon filing his application. In addition, applying for the citizenship required for a US passport would probably have exposed his carefully concealed foreign birth. Although Parker was a US Army veteran and spouse of an American citizen, one of the basic tenets of U.S. immigration law is that absent some sort of amnesty program, there is no path to citizenship or even legal residency for those who entered the country illegally.[50] As Parker had not availed himself of the 1940 Alien Registration Act, and there was no amnesty program available to him afterwards, he was not eligible for US citizenship through any means.
Foreign birth? Undocumented immigrant? What else was The Colonel hiding? According to The Inside Story of Elvis and the Colonel, a chapter from the (self-serving) book Leaves of Elvis' Garden:
Colonel Tom Parker was a master deal-maker who made Elvis the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.   While other actors may have commanded per-picture fees in excess of the $1 million Elvis got, he often made double that again because he received an unprecedented 50 percent of all profits. It didn’t matter to the Colonel that the films were, for the most part, artistically vapid. Colonel Parker proved his worth, moneywise.

The Colonel, as he liked people to refer to him, displayed a ruthless devotion to Elvis’ interests, and he took far more than the traditional 10 percent of his earnings (reaching up to 50 percent by the end of Presley's life).  Under his brilliant, skillful and cunning guidance his one and only client, Elvis, reached unimaginable heights.  Elvis considered him a genius.

But Elvis grew restless, feeling the Colonel had limited his Hollywood career, even while acknowledging they had been successful financially.  He felt trapped. 

John Lennon, famously, had several things to say about Elvis. Here are two:
"Before Elvis there was nothing."

"Up until Elvis joined the army, I thought it was beautiful music and Elvis was for me and my generation what the Beatles were to the '60s. But after he went into the army, I think they cut "les bollocks" off. They not only shaved his hair off but I think they shaved between his legs, too. He played some good stuff after the army, but it was never quite the same, It was like something happened to him psychologically. Elvis really died the day he joined the army. That's when they killed him, and the rest was a living death."
But I digress.

As Smithsonian Magazine continues the story: Back in 1960, soon after Elvis was discharged from the army, Parker's family back in the Netherlands recognized him in a photo as Andreas van Kuijk, a long-lost brother who had disappeared into thin air. Sure he was older, and fatter, but there was no mistaking it. A brother was sent to the States. He met with Dries -- as the family called him -- who revealed very little about his personal life.

Even stranger is when he went back to Breda, the brother kept Parker's secret which didn't leak for another few years, but only in a small Dutch fan magazine called It's Elvis Time. Then it was picked up in the '70s by Albert Goldman in his Elvis biography. However, there were deeper secrets to unveil.

Journalist Dirk Vellenga, who also lived in Breda, got a tip that the Colonel was originally from there, which led to a 30-year investigation:
Vellenga had been filing occasional updates on the Parker story—the Colonel was by far the most famous son of Breda—and found that he was building a detailed picture of what was by any standard a hasty departure. Parker, he learned, had vanished in May 1929 without telling any of his family or friends where he was heading, without taking his identity papers, and without money or even the expensive clothing he had spent most of his wages on. “This means,” notes Nash, that “he set out in a foreign country literally penniless.” In the late 1970s, Vellenga ended one of his newspaper features by posing what seemed to him a reasonable question: “Did something serious happen before Parker left that summer in 1929, or maybe in the 1930s when he broke all contact with his family?”
At least one of his readers thought that question deserved an answer, and a short while later an anonymous letter was delivered to Vellenga’s paper. “Gentlemen,” it began.
At last, I want to say what was told to me 19 years ago about this Colonel Parker. My mother-in-law said to me, if anything comes to light about this Parker, tell them that his name is Van Kuijk and that he murdered the wife of a greengrocer on the Bochstraat….
This murder has never been solved. But look it up and you will discover that he, on that very night, left for America and adopted a different name. And that is why it is so mysterious. That’s why he does not want to be known.
Turning hastily to his newspaper’s files, Vellenga found to his amazement that there had indeed been an unsolved killing in Breda in May 1929. Anna van den Enden, a 23-year-old newlywed, had been battered to death in the living quarters behind her store—a greengrocer’s on the Bochstraat. The premises had then been ransacked, apparently fruitlessly, in a search for money. After that, the killer had scattered a thin layer of pepper around the body before fleeing, apparently in the hope of preventing police dogs from picking up his scent.

The discovery left Vellenga perplexed. The 19 years of silence that his mysterious correspondent mentioned took the story as far back as 1961—exactly the year that the Van Kuijk family had made contract with Parker, and Ad van Kuijk had returned from his visit to the Colonel so remarkably tight-lipped. And the spot where the murder had occurred was only a few yards away from what had been, in 1929, Parker’s family home. Members of the Colonel’s family even recalled that he had been paid to make deliveries for a greengrocer in the area, though they could no longer remember which one.
Of course, all the evidence is circumstantial. There is no proof, even in the original police files, that Parker, or van Kuijk, was ever a suspect in the murder. This will always remain an unsolved mystery, but several of Elvis' biographers truly believe that the biggest secret the Colonel was hiding was the fact that he was a murderer who had fled to 'Merka to avoid suspicion.