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Mouser's View

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Month

August 2015

The baddest of the bad

Today I turn the post over to Blaze, a female American shorthair as sweet as they come. She owns an old friend, Darrell Simmons, retired from the AJC. Here’s Blaze:

You learn by listening. Darrell is an old newspaper war horse who grew up during the Depression. No TV. Not everybody had a radio. Mrs. Floyd had the only phone on the block and let neighbors use it. It was out of the movies, with an earpiece that hung on the hook.

In those days, folks sat on the front porch and talked. Smart young’uns kept their mouths shut and learned about Joe Louis, Max Baer, Red Grange, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Sid Luckman, Wally Butts and Joe DiMaggio, immortalized in song. (“Joe … Joe … DiMaggio / We want him on our team.”)

Between naps, I’ve been educated by listening to Darrell and his son, plus what’s on radio and TV. I heard Freddie Coleman on ESPN Radio ask listeners to pick “the baddest people in sports.” He got votes for John McEnroe (tennis), A-Rod (baseball), Ndamukong Suh (football), Dennis Rodman (basketball) and O.J. Simpson (various activities).

I can’t call in, but Darrell has a nomination. In 1958, University of Florida defensive tackle Velles Heckman was the Gators’ first All-American since 1952. After a game against Mississippi State in Gainesville, the reporters (male only then) went to the locker room and saw Heckman mopping his face. Blood was dripping from his broken nose.

But there were dark spots on the front of his jersey. “Is that blood?” a writer asked.

“Naw,” Heckman said. “Them Mississippi State linemen spit tobacco juice on you.”

That may not sound so bad. But as a cat over 18 who has learned things by listening, I guarantee you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near them Mississippi State players.

I vote them the baddest.

Sleeping through Rev. Al

Time to address cable news, starting at the bottom.

Of course, that’s MSNBC, where Brian Williams is coming aboard to report on “breaking news.” In the offices at 30 Rock, hosts of low-rated prime-time shows (that would be all of them) are nervous.

The afternoon lineup already has been shuffled. Al Sharpton’s sorry-assed 6 p.m. show has been busted down to Sunday mornings. Rev. Race Card told the New York Daily News: “I never wanted to be a weeknight pundit. I wanted to be a Sunday morning newsmaker. I wanted to be Dr. Martin Luther King, not Larry King.”

Will his new show have a laugh track?

MSNBC’s ratings suck largely because it’s the 24/7 headquarters for the talking points of the Democratic National Committee (Notorious D.W.S., chairman). Dissent is not tolerated. Ed Schultz once came out in favor of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. He quickly had to recant and is now an ex-host.

At the top of the ratings, Fox News gives off a distinct Republican establishment vibe. That became apparent when Trump started rising in the polls.

Fox’s edge on its rivals is that controlled dissent is built in. Every discussion panel includes one member whose role is to give the liberal viewpoint. But stick to the script, or else.

Is the illusion of balance (forget fairness) the difference between mega-millions for the Murdoch family and a place that draws little viewership? This TV stuff may be easier than it looks.

I didn’t forget CNN, but unless there’s a missing airplane or a riot, they are a snoozefest leaning toward commissioning more documentaries. It’s like tuning to The Weather Channel looking for the forecast and finding “The Tornado That Ate Schenectady.”

The Weather Channel and MSNBC are controlled by the same company, Comcast.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Sniffing out a slumlord

Drowned out by the political stenographers (with predicable punditry) and workplace violence playing out on live TV, real news is reported by smaller newspapers.

This story comes from Cairo, Illinois, at the southern tip of the state. Some of the town’s 2,800 live in squalor while a slumlord thrives. The Southern Illinoisan of Carbondale, 50 miles to the north, went to investigate.

The headline: “Alexander County Public Housing Authority in financial turmoil as employees ‘lived it up’ and residents went without.”

Molly Parker’s lead: “While some of the state’s poorest residents and children have been living in public housing … described as ‘third world’ and unfit for humans, some employees and management of the Alexander County Housing Authority have taken home hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars via questionable payments, consultant contracts, retirement incentives and legal settlements in addition to their regular pay …”

This was no TV hit-and-run showing an outraged resident and a rat or two. She nailed hides to the wall.

The former executive director of the housing authority denied wrongdoing, but told Ms. Parker, “We lived it up too good.” In other words, the Illinois way — sweetheart deals for unions and retirement promises that can never be kept.

Meanwhile, as drug deals go down and shots ring out, impoverished residents pray the feds will swoop in and clean up this hellhole.  Whatever happens, they will continue to worship their slumlord, the government.

For Ms. Parker, I see journalism awards. Perhaps she will move to a big city, covering politics until she digs up something that doesn’t sit well with her sh**-for-brains boss or the publisher’s friends.

Mouser’s career advice: Try TV, then make a break for PR, also known as honorable work.

A link to the story: http://tinyurl.com/p8a954k

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