Archive for the ‘operation itch contributing writers’ Category

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“Advertisements for Herself: Come Back, Not-So-Little Sheba”

February 4, 2009

me-maskMaralyn Lois Polak • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
©2009 ML Polak
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No one understood why a decade or so ago, “Sheba,” not her real name, subsequently herein known as “She,” gladly tossed aside her barely scuffed 27 pairs of second-hand cowgirl boots and tottered away from her vaguely glamorous if sodden dream-job of two decades as a professional, um, mainstream journalist, profiling more than 1.2 thousand of the most famous of American celebrities, Oprah included, in an award-winning nationally syndicated magazine interview column praised by some deluded Podunk media maven for her “ability to go up the aorta and into the ego.”

Only now, nearly but not quite completely recovered from her ensuing dissolute downward spiral of booze, drugs, pretty boys, whips, chains, Ben-Wah Balls, capsicum nipple paint, intermittent hooking, petty theft of rare Fifties flea market finds, compulsive fellatio, Pizza binges, Margarita orgies, filthy public poetry performances, sordid swing and swap scenes, bulimia, rampant hypochondria, fetishizing rejection and abuse as sexual foreplay, stalking, lascivious solo shows at the Fringe Festival, exorbitantly witty phone sex banter, garden-variety exhibitionism, and general self-indulgence and excess in the name of art, can She reclaim the books She wrote during that troubled, dissolute decade and offer them to the world for possible publication.

Hard to believe, but, all her life, or at least up until then, She actually believed She was well-balanced. Silly gurl! How could She be the last to discover She probably suffered from a maladaptive emotional syndrome known as “Hysteroid Dysphoria”? Meaning, someone pathetically obsessed with being the center of attention through any means possible: lurid language, loud clothing, intrusive laughter, exotic jewelry, excessive cleverness, peculiar-looking male companions, bitchy whining, aberrant sexuality, weirdly human pets, spellbound hangers-on, you name it.

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Springsteen Should Donate Wal-Mart Profits To Employee Free Choice Act Campaign

February 4, 2009

al normanAl Norman • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
more in NEWS & ANALYSIS
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Four weeks ago, I figured out something that took Bruce Springsteen months to conclude: it’s a mistake to do business with Wal-Mart.

This week, Springsteen had to do a little “shuffle” of his own to explain his strange consort with the company that puts profits ahead of people.

In this space (Dec. 28th ITunes, Wal-Mart, Springsteen Killing Off the Independents) I wrote: “The Boss has signed on with the Retail Boss, much to the chagrin of his many fans, who saw Springsteen as the voice of the disenfranchised. Now he’s just another Walton commodity. Born in the U.S.A. meets China-Mart.”

It is jarring to see the Greatest Anti-Union Corporation promoting Springsteen’s Greatest Hits CD as a “Wal-Mart exclusive” (for $10–you save $2.98). Now Springsteen is apologizing to his fans for having “dropped the ball on it.” But until he “drops the money” from this deal, Springsteen’s regret doesn’t go far enough.

“It was a mistake,” Springsteen told the New York Times. “Our batting average is usually very good, but we missed that one. Fans will call you on that stuff, as it should be.” In response, Wal-Mart went right to the heart of the problem, anticipating the backlash Springsteen would cause: “We are proud of the good jobs, benefits and career opportunities we provide to more than 1.4 million U.S. associates who choose to work at Wal-Mart and serve our customers every day.”

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MAYBE HE CAN! OBAMA REVERSES CRIMINAL POLICIES, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CRIMINALS?

January 23, 2009

 dennis-trainor-headshotDennis Trainor, Jr • Operation Itch writer/ editor header
more in NEWS & ANALYSIS

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Bye- Bye GITMO

Bye- Bye GITMO

Barack Obama went from becoming the first black president of the Harvard Law Review (1990) to becoming the first black president of the United States of America so quickly, that it is not a stretch to say that we have only known him as a candidate. His life, for the last eighteen years, has been one carefully modulated and expertly managed campaign. Even when he held such underachieving slacker status positions such as United States Senator, his votes, his appearances, his public statements- and even the shirtless beach photos – have all been part of the larger campaign. As a candidate, perhaps no one has ever been as good as Obama. He has been so good, in fact, expectations of his presidency are rivaled only by an Evangelical Christian’s expectation that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Like Christ, Obama is now a myth. The man will never walk in step with what we think of him, because we have projected so much onto him. Yes, it does speak well of his campaign that it was able to leverage the desperation of so many who were so horrified of our own inaction these past eight years. We needed a savior to rescue us from the shame brought on because we had, collectively speaking, done nothing after George Bush stole the 2000 election save for prop up a cottage industry that fed us a steady stream of clever anti-Bush t-shirts and bumper stickers for us to brandish on the sidelines as our President proceeded to treat the constitution as a pesky little obstacle in his way as he waged his comic book battle of good vs. evil, now let loose from the safe confines of his little village idiot of a head and leaving a trail of blood soaked deserts and unknown blowback in its wake. 

There are some who will give Obama high grades for a longer than average honeymoon period simply because the man has replaced will be remembered by history as the worst president to ever hold the office. Alfred E. Newman would have been an improvement on Bush, the subliminal thinking will go, and Obama is surely better than Alfred E. Newman. But for many, the bar is set unreasonably high. Like Christ, many praise Obama as a revolutionary. I’m more inclined to agree with Ashley Sanders, former spokesperson for the Ralph Nader campaign, who described the change that Obama has sold us as

a hazy feeling that Obama (despite all evidence to the contrary) was the peace candidate, the environmental candidate, the Black candidate, the people’s candidate. The whole production borrowed ideas that were actually dangerous to Wall Street, gutted them of danger, and resold them as ideas that were dangerous to Wall Street. It used spectacle to create the illusion that an infinity of similar options was the same thing as a meaningful choice, as real change or authenticity. It was the triumph of ideology: getting people to vote against themselves in the name of themselves.

The whole thing smacked of buying punk clothes at Hot Topic. 

As Americans, we know not where to get punk clothes but at Hot Topic, and are so entrenched in ad culture that we would not know a revolution unless it was being sold to us. Here is what is being sold to us in the first week of the Obama presidency: Obama has swept into town and takes swift action in reversing the criminal culture of torture and rendition and secret prisons by issuing an executive order to shut GITMO. This much is true.
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Five-way Green primary to take place in Illinois; twenty six candidates in total

January 23, 2009

ross Ross Levin • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
more in  NEWS & ANALYSIS  
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In Illinois’ fifth congressional district, over two dozen candidates have filed for the March 3rd primary.  The special primary and special election are being held to replace Rahm Emanuel, who will be moving from the House to the White House.  He will become Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff.

The five candidates are Deb Leticia Gordils, Mark Arnold FredricksonAlan Augustson (who was previously reported on here), Mathew Reichel, and Simon Ribeiro.  Only 30 signatures were needed to qualify for the primary ballot.

There are interesting political histories behind these candidates.  First, Deb Gordils challenged an incumbent, Dick Mell, for city council in Chicago’s Ward 33 who could not be unseated in 2003.  She is Hispanic and the district has a fast-growing Hispanic constituency.  Even though she was unsuccessful, garnering 13.75% of the votes in the non-partisan two-way race, it amounted to a Pyrrhic victory for the incumbent.  An ally of his was defeated because he had to focus on his own reelection instead of focusing on electing this ally.  Two cops even tried to take pictures her as a “representative of Mell’s,” and her video recording of this led to the defeat of one of the cops in a race for Alderman:

Gordils made headlines earlier when she confronted two uniformed police officers taking pictures of her and identifying themselves as Mell’s representatives.

“They said, ‘What are you looking for? What job can we get you? Do you want something with the Water Reclamation District? You only have to go to a couple of meetings,”” Gordils said.

Gordils turned her video camera on them. One was Chester Hornowski, who’s running against Ald. Tom Allen (38th).

As IPR has previously reported, Alan Augustson ran in the same district as a Green in November.  He got just over 9,200 votes – or 4% – with the Democratic winner getting over 170,000 votes, and the Republican getting about 50,000.

Another former opponent of Rahm Emanuel in the race is Mark Fredrickson, who ran against him in the 2006 Democratic primary and got about 9% of the vote.  Emanuel is a Democrat of the highest order – apparent from his recent appointment by Obama and being the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaigns Committee – so Fredrickson had an uphill battle to fight with his 2006 candidacy.  Emanuel is also infamous for being a vicious partisan and relentless fighter.

Candidate Matt Reichel is only 27 years, yet has some political experience.  He worked with the peace movement while in college, volunteered for political causes in France during graduate school, and in 2007 he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and worked for the Dennis Kucinich for President campaign.  After Kucinich conceded, he went to Ohio’s 10th congressional district to help re-elect the Congressman.

Interestingly, Simon Ribeiro is the nephew of former US Senate Alfonse D’Amato, who represented New York.  The following video was posted at Ribeiro’s campaign website:

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Dear Barack Obama:

January 23, 2009

anitameditation-1Anita Stewart • Operation Itch Contributorheader

 Congratulations to you and Michelle for making history. Now I will be honest and tell you now that I did not vote for you. I belong to the Green Party. I and many that I know expect you to do the right thing by the American people. I would love to see you keep your promises. This cannot be just a honeymoon moment. I hope that you can lead us with the same amount of integrity, honesty and fortitude that led you to Chicago to study and serve your local community there years ago. I would love to see America respected around the world again. Can you make that happen? I have a firm commitment to make sure that I spread the word to everyone I know, that we as Americans can never, ever again take our liberty for granted. Liberty is free, but we must all do our parts to maintain it. It can disappear quickly with the simple flick of a pen to the bottom of a document. And in bits and pieces. Will you continue to do what the people want or bow to the corporations and lobbyists and powers that be? Will you do the right thing and restore those rights that were viciously taken away from us in a very calculated way, bit by bit during King George’s Reign of Terror?
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‘O’ Is for Ox: Inaugural Predictions for the Chinese New Year

January 22, 2009

me-maskMaralyn Lois Polak • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
©2009 ML Polak
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You gotta believe, minus the tragic parts, the cosmos is one gargantuan comedy. Consider, despite a burgeoning global financial slump, the Chinese New Year of 2009 arrives Monday, January 26 — the Year of the Ox, symbolizing, yes, calm, hard work and risk-aversion. Strangely enough, outgoing 2008 was, according to the same Chinese calendar, the Year of the Rat: charming and clever, yet cunning and selfish! Right! As in Bush and Cheney, perhaps?

Just as you might suspect, the Year of the Earth Ox promises “stability and dependability,” writes Stephanie Dempsey on Tarot. com.  “Oxen place great emphasis on authority and tradition. Therefore, 2009 will lay an especially heavy burden on world leaders. Government officials, CEOs and community organizers will be expected to correct society’s ills. If they slack off, they’ll be thrown by the wayside. Substance is always favored over style in the Year of the Ox.”

 We’ll see, won’t we.

The Ox, or the Buffalo sign of the Chinese Zodiac, generally represents prosperity through fortitude and hard work, but it can seem like forever. Previous Ox years were 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997. And, according to Wickipedia, the USA’s new President Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961, which makes him a Leo in conventional astrology. But in the Chinese calendar, he’s an Ox, which considerably ups the ante. “People born in the Year of the Ox,” according to San Francisco’s Chinese Cultural Center, “are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others. They tend, however, to be eccentric, and bigoted, and they anger easily. They have fierce tempers and although they speak little, when they do they are quite eloquent. Ox people are mentally and physically alert. Generally easy-going, they can be remarkably stubborn. They hate to fail or be opposed.”

Oy.
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Tipper Gore to be Inducted into Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame

January 22, 2009

kevinby Kevin Egan • Operation Itch Contributing Writer   header 

 see more posts in Humor  more  in Arts & Culture      read all posts by Kevin Egan

 

CLEVELAND (AP)-In what might be the most controversial news in the world of rock ‘n’ roll since the passing of Elvis Presley, it was announced today that Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President, Al Gore, is to be inducted in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, causing both praise and outrage from rock ‘n’ roll fanatics throughout the world.

Gore, 60, besides being known as the wife of the former vice president, had also made a name for herself back in the Eighties by leading a group composed mostly of Washington wives called, The Parent’s Music Resource Center (or The P.M.R.C., as it was more infamously known).  The P.M.R.C.’s main task was to force the music industry to label  each record it released, in the same manner films were rated by the MPAA, particularly those that included “explicit lyrics.”

In response to many of the rock videos Gore had watched as part of her research with the P.M.R.C., she had once publicly cried, “The images frightened my children!  They frightened me!  I am frightened!  Way frightened!  The graphic sex and the violence were too much for us to handle.”         

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Eventually, a Senate-hearing on the “dangers” of rock music was held and artists including Frank Zappa, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and legendary folk artist, John Denver, came to the defense of the first amendment rights of the artists in question.  It was later decided that each record company would “voluntarily” label albums if they felt they might cause a disturbance in certain communities.  Still, once the smoke had cleared, Tipper Gore had become a full-blown enemy of the rock world.   

Ironically, years later, after her husband and Bill Clinton had won the 1992 presidential election, The Gore’s made an appearance on MTV, the very channel they had once accused of perpetrating “pornography,” thanking all the young people that had supported them in their campaign.  Those that remembered the Tipper Gore of the 1980’s were shocked and somewhat perplexed by the appearance.
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