Brother, do you have the time?

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Rio Grande 3317 / Claire O’Brien 2012

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Alberta’s exuberant discovery of her ability to transform a photograph into a painting was soon tempered by Buster’s usual skeptical expertise.

Three hours later,  Buster said” Okay, forget everything else. Let me put it this way,”   He leaned forward:

“It’s not a painting.”

It was just this sort of linear,  yet  decorative logic that never  failed to give Alberta pause. She hid a small smile of admiration by bending studiously over her laptop and squinting at its current photo population.  Recently, Alberta had resolved to develop and maintain a muscular and nimble brain via the mastery of chess – okay, checkers , or Battleship… maybe Clue – and to cut down on free verse, especially at night.

_________________________________________________

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CLAIRE O’BRIEN / 2012

________________________________________________

“Some of my photos are clearly nomadic and never  bother to let me know when they’re in residence,” Allberta mumbled furiously to herself, while practically whacking the keyboard.

“Oh that’s nice. That’s a nice way to recruit volunteers for Painting’s Great Leap Forward  ” said Buster, looking over Alberta’s shoulder.

“Aren’t you going to do another one?” he added casually.

??????????????????????

 

Buster absently ate a HoHo with bean sprouts and watched

as Alberta turned another of her photos into a painting. Into

what she just felt like calling a painting.

“Let whatever I call them be a poem,” she said.

Buster was quiet for a long time.                       

“I just really, really miss Che Guevara,” he said.

Alberta put an arm around her friend and instinctively looked at the clock. It was twelve, but neither of them knew whether it was noon or midnight.

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LANDING ZONE / CLAIRE O’BRIEN 2013

                    

Ernesto Che Guevara, Google Images

                     

Genius came early to Flatbush that year

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JMSgKvs

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“I tell you Alfonso, Flatbush be damned – the world  is our oyster”

“I couldn’t agree more. Our form is absolutely exquisite. One performance with Katherine Dunham will put the dance world at our feet.”

“Meanwhile, I refuse to dance the polka ever again.”

________________________________________

Teodora’s adventures in culture: a new chapter

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One day, Teodora decided to be an artist. Readers may be certain that this is old

  news, but a fetching surprise awaits those who persevere.

 

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“They appear identical, yet are  not,” she  pointed out to an imaginary audience,

 practicing early in the  unlikely event of  a  sudden lecture invitation.

 

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  At  6:oo PM, Teodora removed her new salmon-colored beret and began

chopping the last of the begonia leaves into a classic Autumn Desert Salad.   “Let’s

see,” she mused as she whisked a fried egg into a light dressing of Heinz Catsup,

“Tomorrow I shall manage a hedge fund.  Either that or tow barges up the

 Mississippi  River by tug boat”

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Teodora  bit into a large begonia leaf and reconsidered as she chewed.

“On the other hand,”she remarked “Considering the current state of the fine arts,

 perhaps I should extend  my  contributions for several days, even a week…in any

case, it’s straight to bed for me”

Perhaps recalling her general ignorance of the fine arts, Teodora had slipped off

her stool before completing this sentence,  and was halfway down her bedroom

 hall as the  last hint of her plans drifted back to the kitchen.

 

SPstar

 

“Theatre .. Century .. American novel…

Synthesis!”

 

A long pause:

“Cookie!”

We can only  pray that our young heroine develops an intense interest in

industrial hygiene before tomorrow morning.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photos/ Paintings / Text / Claire O’Brien  © 2014

Tracking Truth: a final report to the fan club’s membership from its national president

T R U T H

Truth-250x250

I N T E R N A T I O N A L

I was a lot smarter before I was recruited by the American Chapter of Truth’s International Fan Club. Until then, I like to think I did my share of big thinking. Well, not BIG thinking, but certainly nuanced, certainly multi-dimensional, characterized by a superior plasticity capable of applied abstraction,  theoretical awe, and the synthesis of five or six simultaneous subtexts with their oppositional intersections.
What-is-truth

B I G T H I N K I N G

Things got more complicated (but not more complex) and more simplistic following my election by acclamation to the club’s presidency two years ago. Now, when it comes to Truth, I spend most of my time on the intellectual equivalent of a middle school playground.   Over and over, I tell the same simple story of an outrageous bluff pulled off by a powerful media elite for the specific purpose of permanently discrediting me. Over and over I point out the swift efficiency with which a handful of people achieved immediate and unquestioned national media compliance. Over and over I explain that this shows an already entrenched and systemic corruption far worse than the  American public imagines.
 I’m neither believed nor told why. The narrative itself bores me to the brink of shutting down my brain, while remaining inexplicably exhausting. At times I can actually feel my brain shrink as I brace myself to repeat a basic point to someone who already understands it perfectly.
Yet I’m back again every time the recess bell rings
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MY INTELLECTUAL ARENA

Some say that I’ve developed into one of those obsessed fans, the kind whose loyalty and dedication devolves into a variation of obstructive stalking that all celebrities dread.
 Although my time on the playground may have produced a certain degree of myopia in my perception, I don’t see it, myself.
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I JUST KNOW TRUTH IS AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE. WHY DOESN’T ANYONE NOTICE WHEN IT DISAPPEARS??

The fact is, I haven’t stalked Truth so much as tried to keep track of it. Frankly, I’d had no idea that it was so absent-minded, nor so anonymous and scruffy: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Truth wandered off unnoticed someday and forgot to return. I’ll admit that I do tend to hover a bit; however, I strongly deny all rumors of that electronic tracking device trending on Twitter last month.

_____________

reporter

 My critics, like most people, are completely unaware of the responsibilities of a national fan club president. Lord knows the job is a thankless task: just ask the presidents of the Ayn Rand, Vanilla Ice, and Door to Door Encyclopedia Salesmen fan clubs.
PADDICDEEKKLKNMF
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2014 National Convention of the American Chapter of Truth’s International Fan Club

 For example, at our club’s last national convention, I had to break up fist fights over jazz fusion, the gold standard, and the Chicago Cubs, then kick out the usual spies from the ACLU, and ban as frivolous the introduction of a resolution that “Truth is beauty, beauty truth, etc”.
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On top of that, I spent half the convention dealing with the Christian delegates alone: first, I barred them as a body until they submitted a group statement admitting Christianity’s historic proximity to, and familiarity with, Islāmic doctrine and culture – dating from the latter’s earliest emergence 600 years after that of Christianity’s.
I also suspended the club’s Protestant fundamentalists until they could describe the Reformation’s role in 19th century American radical abolitionism.
JB&Calvinists
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The great abolitionist and international hero John Brown. Now THERE’s a Protestant!

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jb
 By this time, all the anarchists, hip-hop artists, Palestinian children, Mississippi River tug boat crews and insane poets had left the building. As I watched them leave from an upper window, my heart filled with love, and then sank. I was left to deal, ungraciously, with a squabble between several prominent physicists and a group of Staten Island ninth graders.
The teenagers’ claim to have located the planet Krypton within a parallel universe met with vehement opposition by the scientists, who insisted that Krypton is actually located in our own galaxy.
Krypton-1
I’m just saying.
Anyway, I didn’t want Truth to lose its morale, which is why the paparazzi caught me trying to poke a housewarming gift of homemade brownies through Truth’s living room window recently. I was only trying to cheer it up.
Instead, Truth served me with another restraining order. Just my luck – only two months after the last one expired. I mean, jeesh! Who knew that climbing seven little stories would get people so worked up?
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The work of a fan club president never ends.

 

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IF ONLY PEOPLE WOULD PAY THIS MUCH ATTENTION WHEN I OPEN MY MOUTH

As I told the nice firemen, I thought all those people were pointing upward because that weapon of mass destruction disguised as a kite was floating by – you know, the one smuggled in by the seven-year-old Guatemalan twins picked up by the Border Patrol recently.
Dalston-House-1

More sensible neighbors climbed out of their windows to join me in a delicious snack of brownies

“Thank God the CIA told the New York Times not to fall for the kids’ ridiculous claim to be “looking for Mommy,” said the fire captain with feeling.”Every time I send my people into a burning building, I remember that a free press is worth defending.”

I saw that he had tears in his eyes and looked around somewhat desperately for Truth. It met my eyes through the thick window glass and shrugged hopelessly.
 Then Truth closed the curtains.
But not before taking a big bite of one of my brownies.
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My last glimpse of Truth on the balcony

             ______________________________________________________

Maat

Ma’at, Egyptian goddess of Truth

You know, frankly, I think Truth tends to over-react. The respective presidents of the Justice, Wisdom, and Beauty fan clubs all say it should appreciate a fan club president like me.
“You won’t catch us baking brownies for the old goats,” they said.
“Are you calling Justice an old goat?” I gasped.
“I am,” replied the Justice Fan Cub president, a nice man named Fred.  “In fact, that was my campaign slogan: ‘Justice is an old goat’ “.
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THE  OLD GOAT 
LucyDalglishInterview
THE OLD GOAT KEEPER:
LUCY DALGLISH, PROFESSIONAL CROOK
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PORTRAIT OF THE JOURNALISM PROFESSOR AS A CORPORATE THUG

 SENIOR ASSISTANT GOAT KEEPER AND PROFESSIONAL TOOL
SPJ PRESIDENT DAVID CUILLER,
 
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IT HAS ITS OWN GOAT HERD NOW.THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHER’S ACLU.
DO NOT MEET IT IN A DARK ALLEY 
_____________________________
 
I stared at Fred as he told me that his club had done a lot of housecleaning.
“The first thing we did was kick out all the nonprofits who work for justice. We banned Progressives who couldn’t define that political identity with more precision, the Peace Corps, and any group that published photos of villagers gathered around drinking wells it had funded” he said.”That was a good start. Then we elected a big slate of new officers: fast food workers, Honduran children, prostitutes, Zapatistas,  mental patients, West Virginia coal miners, junkies, teenage gangsters, convicts and welfare mothers. Things have really been looking up for us ever since.”
  McDonalds
A new member of the Justice Fan Club’s steering committee, representing Delaware.
Appalachia-videoSixteenByNine1050
 West Virginia’s coal miners survived by laboring to destroy both the mountains they love (see below) and their own bodies. Now used up by the coal companies just like other commodities, they are left to die of Black Lung Disease, with no income and no possibility of employment, surrounded by the corpses of mountains that provided generations with abundant game, fish, medicinal plants, and firewood.
flathead-coal_mine-6725-2
 This is the result of Mountain Top Removal Mining, which literally removes the tops of mountains, gutting the interior and making recovery impossible.
10546920-political-protest--one-red-figure-against-many-blue-figures
A former coal miner from the town of Appalachia, West Virginia, is the new national treasurer of the Justice Fan Club. He is planning a class action suit against the Empire Coal Company and has organized a fiddle manufacturing collective.
________________________________________________________________
As Fred and I wound up our conversation, I had an idea.
Hmm. Maybe –
Fred read my mind.
“You know, I think you’ve been barking up the wrong tree,” he said kindly, as he handed me a business card.”Why don’t you check these people out? Truth and Justice can kill people like you.”
 ____________________________________
depositions
Online-Deposition____________________________________
The card Fred gave me was deep blue with small gold lettering and a graphic depicting the earth revolving around the sun.
bc-injury-law-prior-consistent-statements1
___________________
“International Fans of Verifiable Facts” I read.”Access to existing legal systems is good enough for us”
Below it, bold italics proclaimed “Personal opinions not sought. Excessive and  redundant proof not provided. Discriminatory screening standards not  accommodated. Agreements re. political support constitute an obligation to honor them.”
I’m going to my first meeting next week.
Fred made me promise not to run for president.
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THE MOMENT OF TRUTH: Logo.©2007 FOX BROADCASTING
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shame-on-you
__________________________
0
___________________________
My last official act as president of the American chapter of Truth’s International Fan
Club was to send Truth on vacation to a distant, peaceful beach.
I got an email just yesterday.
“Having a nice time” Truth wrote, “I needed a rest. Sort of miss you.
Almost wish you were here.”
Same here, old pal.
 _________________________
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.

F A M I L Y S C I E N C E

F A M I L Y    S C I E N C E

Neither logic, public ridicule, colored charts, threats or bribery could persuade the Plimpton family to forego it’s regular Saturday visit with the Man in the Moon

American aristocrats abroad

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Christopher Robin went down with Alice

D o n a l d   T r u m p ~~ C h i e f   o f   P r o t o c a l

U n i t e d   S t a t e s  o f  A m e r i c a

A L E C    T.  Party,  Emergency Management  President

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                        H.R.M ~.~ Queen Elizabeth

Your Royal Majesty,

I write to ask your assistance with a number of our wealthiest elite who are so taken with our decision to establish a formal American aristocracy that they have become  quite indiscrete. More frankly,  their exuberance re. the monarchy is eclipsed only by their complete ignorance of it. Thus, we need to get them out of the country  before anyone starts to compare all those tweets.

We hate to impose, but London is the only place we could persuade them to go for two months. You  see, we told them that no new aristocrat worth his salt would even consider going anywhere else for his training. And no, Your Majesty, I have no idea of what that might be. I imagine one could make it up as one went along.  I’d suggest sending them out for things like “The Ingredients of Hadrian’s Last Lunch” – with any luck, they are sure to get lost for the day.

Oh, an email from the CIA just popped up telling your government to name its price. We’ll pay you anything to take our new royals off our hands, as unrest throughout the lower classes is the last thing we dare risk right now.  We can’t have our trillionaires setting off a revolt before we  deport our poor whites and Latinos to Ukraine,  Romania,  Crimea, and the Czech Republic, and imprison all our Blacks.  After we settle our Aisans on Techno Reservations scattered throughout the Great Plains, we shall deport every undocumented alien to Somalia. Maybe they’ll find work as pirates.

Of course, we’ll keep as many educated,  skilled trade, and service whites as we need to run our affairs, but they won’t be doing too much thinking, not with the those microchips planted in their brains. And to reasure you further – we  keep a firm grip on our southern hemisphere, and can establish a military junta anywhere below our southern border within 48 hours.

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A TRUMP TOWER FOR EVERY AMERICAN ARISTOCRAT

Do you think we could send our fellows along next month?  Please don’t bother with arranging hotel accomodations, as they insist that  convention dictates American royals stay at the royal residences. Is there room for them throughout your  palaces and country estates?

One more logistical matter – I’m afraid they’ll be insufferable without a private butler each, and have refused to bring their own staff. ( Unfortunately, Mrs. Romney  opined that non-English butlers are petit-bougoius and neuveu riche just moments before her new French tutor recalled his urgent appointment in the East River)

The Koch brothers strongly suggest that you  put up bunk beds for the butlers.

Interim President ALEC T. Parte joins me in expressing our deepest appreciation for your hospitality during this delicate transition. Air Force Two will arrive at the arranged time tonight to transport your Crown Jewels and England’s other moveable assets to an underground location, where you may rest assured they will be safe from grimy working class masses.

                                                                                                                       Toxic spill

TOXIC WASTE DUMPS HIDE OUR WEALTH PERFECTLY/O’B/2012

In less  than a month, you’ll be able to spread out once again : Ireland’s population will be relocated to the Free State of Parnell in northwestern Siberia by October 3.  We will start a civil war before sealing off the valley exits.

Thank-you for your assistance in emptying Canada for us. Maybe the French-speakers will finally quit complaining, now that they have their own Candide’s  Homeland in rural South Africa, and the rest will do nicely to populate Australia’s remote interior.

Within 18 months, all of Africa’s political, economic, and social issues will be resolved: in a good old American prison. A  24/7 construction schedule, a labor force conscripting every Indian tribe on the continent and 6,000 square miles to build on, will settle the question of the African ” place” once and for all. A third of the continent will be set aside for big game hunting, and the warm coastal regions will become spacious resorts. The remainder of Africa will be designated a World Natural Resource Pantry, supplying its numerous automated processing centers with everything that can be squeezed from the continent.

mansion

MY BACK COTTAGE

Fortunately, the Mideast’s existing infrastructure is more than sufficient to produce the oil needs of such a drastically reduced global population. The region will most likely have to be cleansed, as resistence is far too entrenched to justfy the resources to restrain it. Future regional cleansings will be presented to you by your own intelligence agencies.

Let us hope that our plans proceed with mutual efficiency and discretion. God is on our side.

Finally, we shall be honored by your presence at our first annual Celebration of Everything Us, to be held in a year at the vast Rainforest Resort, in present day Guatemala,

Your Honored  Servant  (heh heh)

High Duke Donald Trump

Order of the Royal Girdle of Western Civilization

Association of American Aristocrats

P.S.  When you have a moment, would you be good enough to have Scotland Yard look around the office for Obama’s birth certificate again? Prince McCain thinks the CIA might have mistakenly left our copy on a desk in the Russian Affairs Division during the Olympics. We’d like to change the place of birth to Syria and make him illegitimate.

Also, would you autograph my family crest?  It’s not quite ready, as I’m still deciding between a unicorn and Trump Towers.

Check out new ending for: BIG FOOD MEETS NEW RELATIVES: ( a molecular encounter?…)

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Go all the way to bottom for the new surprise ending.

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the Murphy – Cliffords  decided they might turn down Jasper’s offer of genetically modified seeds and a new experimental growth hormone after all.

“I mean, how big does a squash really have to be ?” demanded Fred rhetorically, as he threw several into a bin,

before stalking off to frost a lemon cake.

DSCF0289

“Not as big as my toy earth mover!!” replied Rob, gazing joyfully upward. “Can I drive them?”

His father briefly considered a two-day bath in the pond for the huge plastic vehicles before rejecting this plan with a thud.

“Let’s  go help Fred frost the cake,” he said.

_________________________________________________

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  The prospect of cake understandably distracted Rob. It wasn’t until the following Tuesday that  

 

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he noticed that his little orange bouncing ball was gone.

________________________________________

NOTE: This post was approved for non-classified/public access status by NPhil.36Rice.

Rations and transport privileges:  conditional for Sept. 2013.

Status update:

Information Access – Continue Banned, Level -1

Mobility – Decrease to Level 2/ Guarded.

Status of mobility decrease: Outcome on schedule – NOTE:

 Speciaized spinal treatment must be prevented.

.

Word count: 106

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Hard to believe it was only yesterday

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Another summer day in the desert.  Everyone in my town likes a front porch. Since we don’t believe in building inspectors here, everyone builds his own.  Peristent inspectors will find themselves spending twelve hours a day drilling small  holes in rock  in order to test the temperature of out hot springs.  Word has it, they’re not even warm.  We figure we’ll fill our springs with  the hot water we bring back from outer space.

Our SpacePort is almost ready to go!

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Long ago, a cow died here. Cattle ranchers shot the coyotes before they could eat their kill.   Better to die as an animal among animals than to be slaughtered as a side of beef.  Last week, wolves were spotted on the hills directly overlooking the town.

Run, little brothers,  run and run. There are rabbits in the next valley.

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 The City Council was released from the County Jail yesterday evening.  We gave it plenty of cake. The entire Council had all been voted back into office earlier that day.  Now, the town is sending them all on a fact-finding mission to Denmark. Why? Oh, we just feel it’s about time someone checked up on the Danes.

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 We ended the day with a demonstration against justice and unity. They are both too noisy, and seem to involve building inspectors and rice cakes,  as well as  too much walking around. The city council suggested “Man why don’t we save ourselves all that aggravation and just have a revolution?”

We settled on an uprising/skirmish,  picked sides and scheduled it for Wednesday.

By midnight, the city council was in jail again.

It leaves for Denmark on Saturday

Reporter’s Committee board member sues himself

sueshimself1Fed up with a prestigious non-profit’s long campaign to discredit the reporter it was mandated to defend, a well-known legal scholar and member of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press’ steering committee decided late last week to sue himself.

“It wasn’t an accident at all. I’ve insisted for decades that the law is just a bunch of ideas constructed to buttress the status quo, so why NOT the idea of suing myself?” said Unger Delgado Kennedy-Horwitz by phone on Sunday. ” Hell, by now I am the status quo, and so is the RCFP! That’s why I’ll take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If I lose, I pledge to appeal. If I win, I’m as equally bound to appeal, and I won’t rest until I’ve suceeded in imposing the kinds of sanctions on myself that I won’t ever forget.”

Kennedy-Horowitz paused. I got the distinct impression that he was scratching his head; in fact it emerged that he’d pulled out a few small tufts of hair.

“I’m pulling out my hair out over here” he told me. “Hey can you call me back in a hour? There’s another unemployed reporter at my door, asking for a handout – I think they leave a secret mark to let other reporters and embittered law school graduates know they can get a sandwhich here.”

Kennedy-Horowitz took the East Coast non-profit world by surprise when he broke all ties with the venerable First Amendment group last week.  Yesterday, he confirmed that his resignation protested the RCFP’s ongoing refusal to retract defamatory statements  its director had fabricated about a Kansas reporter several years ago. The Dodge City Globe’s Claire O’Brien had attracted general wrath when she sought to shine a national spotlight on a murder trial corrupted by racist violence and refused to reveal the identity of a confidential source.

Since I am, of course, that reporter, I received news of Kennedy-Horowitz’s actions with great interest. Two or three emails of support make me get up and dance for joy; thus I saw his lawsuit as I might a small line of tanks appearing on the horizon.

When I reached him again, Kennedy-Horowitz was in a thoughtful mood, and had little to say. “I’m eating a rice cake and I don’t even like them,” he confided, “Also, I’ve resigned my membership in the ACLU.”

He sighed heavily, apparently contemplating the complexity of his legal fate, then evidently decided to keep things simple:

“Hell, all I can be sure of at this point is one thing,” Kennedy-Horowitz said in a sanctimonous tone that, given the past several years, did not strike me as hyperbolic.   “I’m suing the shit out of myself.”

United States Supreme Court building.

Before departing to file both a motion against himself, as well as his answer to it, Kennedy-Horowitz emailed me a photo of a very small tin circle  backed by a pin. Four letters were boldly displayed on its faded surface:

R. C. F. P.

Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press.

“It’s over forty years old,” he said. “I’m mailing it to you as a reminder for you to keep. Hopefully, we will all soon remember that a free press has never been just a bandwagon packed with lawyers and academics, defined solely by a series of power differentials”

I wished Kennedy-Horowitz well,  hoping fervently that he was right. Not only was my curiosity aroused by the existential and logistical  problems presented by his very emphatic legal plan, but I really, really don’t understand the way progressive lawyers think. They will lie in a heartbeat in the defense of Truth, and bulldoze your basic rights in the name of Justice .When it comes to egalitarianism, they are secret Federalists who care with breathtaking passion about their own careers. As for the ACLU, it is a bunch of thugs that will throw you under the nearest passing bus without skipping a beat. If you must meet with it, don’t do so in a dark alley.

But I’ve never been represented by counsel, as William Hurst of Albany, NY., Mark Johnson of Topeka, Kansas, Polly Sack of GateHouse Media, Lucy Dalglish,of the RCFP, Susan Hermann of Brooklyn College, and the Kansas-Missouri ACLU all well know. Thus, Kennedy-Horowitz’s actions require me to take yet another leap (well, step) of faith.

If the scope, crude methods, disorienting ruthlessness, and broader significance of the attack on me were made genuinely available to the public, would the next reporter prevented from defending herself have an easier time of it? Yes, I think she would. At the very least, her sojourn in Siberia would stretch on for perhaps one interminable year, rather than three and a half to four – believe me, that difference is a kind of lifetime. I also think that public awareness and opinion will make  reporters increasingly unwilling to collude in censorship and attack on a lone reporter,  year after year –  just because Lucy Dalglish wants them to. I share Kennedy-Horowitz’s  hope, if not his faith that we will remember what we all know, and have always known –  and that eventually, sooner rather than later, we’ll all say no.

” No.  No!   Shame on you.”

No.

Unknown-18 19-08-25

L U C Y  D A L G L I S H:  SHE’S  WATCHING  YOU.

Lucy Dalglish is the Director of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Journalism. She lied to me while acting in her capacity as an attorney and she lied about me, calling me a liar, in a statement to the Associated Press in February of 2010. She made it her business to destroy my career in her attempts to cover her unethical and illegal actions, thus conspiring to criminally defame me.

I was truthful. Dalglish was not.

Dalglish censors news, people, and organizations, particularly the Society of Professional Journalists. She lies to the public, bullies the press, corrupts students, and decides who’s allowed to be a reporter and who isn’t.

No Justica, no Paz

REBLOGGED FROM LATINA LISTA

KANSAS REPORTER WHO EXPOSED RACISM IN DODGE CITY HAS NEW BATTLE TO FIGHT

POSTED date: May 21, 2010 | comment : 7

LatinaLista — It’s been a little over a month since Sam Bonilla, a Mexican immigrant opted not to go to trial in Dodge City, Kansas for killing a local man during a situation he claims was self-defense.

Dodge City.jpg

Bonilla’s reason for not facing a jury was reported that he didn’t feel he could get a fair trial in Dodge City because he was Latino. While there are people who disputed his claim on Latina Lista — they were mainly the family members of the deceased — it was a serious enough statement that got the attention of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and federal peacemakers from the Dept. of Justice.

Regardless of what Dodge City officials and their supporters contend about there not being discrimination in Dodge City against the local Latino population, enoughmembers from the Dodge City Latino community itself have emerged since Bonilla was put in jail to tell their stories to the contrary of city officials. Their personal experiences underscore how systemic racism has entrenched itself in the town to the point that people, who aren’t victimized by it, don’t even notice it.

From all reports, city officials are supposed to be now working with the local Latino community in addressing concerns and allegations that the police actively racially profile Latinos targeting their neighborhoods and businesses.

Time will tell if Dodge City officials were as clueless to the racial tensions that exist in their town, as they claim, or they just didn’t like anyone pulling off the blanket and exposing how they always did things.

No matter which way it’s looked at, the situation in Dodge City needed to be exposed. If it had not been for Claire O’Brien, the reporter for the Dodge City Daily Globe at the time, no one would have found out about Bonilla or Dodge City.

O’Brien’s diligence to Bonilla’s case, and her commitment to her journalistic ethics in not revealing a source during the course of reporting on Bonilla’s case, garnered her first place in the news category of the Spring 2010 Kansas Press Association awards (Not to mention, she won three additional awards) and was instrumental in finally getting the Kansas legislature to pass a Shield Law which was signed by Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson in April.

But not everybody was happy that O’Brien exposed Dodge’s racial undercurrents. In a bizarre show of unprofessionalism, the presiding judge in Sam Bonilla’s sentencing hearing, Judge Daniel Love, took over 10 minutes to publicly berate O’Brien, who was present in the courtroom, for stirring things up in town. He blamed her choice of words in her reporting to describe Bonilla’s situation. By the time the judge was done, it was clear he viewed O’Brien as a troublemaker — yet, everyone else should have seen her as doing her job, and doing it well.

However, in the hours after Bonilla’s sentencing, O’Brien found herself in a situation that no reporter should be in for doing their job. Within a span of hours, O’Brien lost her job at the Daily Globe, was uninvited to speak at a journalism conference, was ignored by the Kansas Press Association in her role for finally getting the Shield Law passed in Kansas and began a quest to redeem her journalistic reputation.

For someone who recognized that there existed two sets of standards in Dodge City and had the guts to report it, I think it’s only fair that Latina Lista readers know the second half to this story.

O’Brien’s problems began when she refused to reveal her source who had told her that one of the men who had confronted Sam Bonilla had “a base of support that is well-known for its anti-Hispanic beliefs” and the same support base had a “supply of semi-automatic weapons.”

The local County Attorney, Terry Malone, decided he needed to know O’Brien’s source and pressured her to reveal it or be found in contempt and go to jail. Though O’Brien was petrified of going to jail — which I can attest to since we were in phone contact during this time — she wasn’t about to reveal her source.

Right after the County Attorney began his bullying of O’Brien, her employers, GateHouse Media, secured a lawyer to represent her. It was at this time O’Brien told me that they were pressuring her to reveal her source or they would withhold legal counsel. She felt like she was under such pressure to reveal her source that she decided not to show up to the “Inquisition,” like a Grand Jury hearing and didn’t tell her lawyer since she wasn’t even sure she still had a lawyer. She was fined by the judge and threatened with contempt but eventually appeared. Luckily for O’Brien, her source decided to reveal himself.

Yet, the damage had been done. It wasn’t long before O’Brien found herself locked out of the Daily Globe and then terminated. Since then, O’Brien has been in a heated exchange with Lucy Daglish, executive director of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, who made statements to the press casting doubt on O’Brien’s explanations as to why she didn’t show up at the courthouse.

It’s odd enough that an organization meant to champion reporters would side so quickly with management but because it did happen that way, and from this particular organization, it wasn’t long before O’Brien found invitations to appear at journalism conferences rescinded, invitations to apply for jobs at other newspapers disappear and what’s worse, completely ignored by the Kansas Press Association for what can only be described as her historic role in getting the Shield Law passed in Kansas.

Other sources have chronicled this strange lack of support from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press better than I. Yet, the bottom line remains that O’Brien’s reputation has been sullied and it will take a public affirmation from RCFP, according to O’Brien, that she was telling the truth all along to regain her previous reputation.

Well, Dalgish did post something. But not on the homepage of the RCFP website, which is the logical location. No, for some crazy reason, or maybe not so crazy, the executive director of an organization that is supposed to support journalists posted her so-called “letter of support,” written April 22, 2010, as a comment to a story that was posted on Feb. 16, 2010.

Dalgish’s letter starts out:

To Whom it May Concern:

This memo is to clarify misperceptions regarding the circumstances surrounding Claire O’Brien’s refusal to appear before a Kansas inquisition on February 10, 2010…

For the record, I did call Lucy Dalgish, executive director of the RCFP, who told me she was “very proud” of how her organization handled O’Brien’s case. Yet, throughout our conversation she did repeat “I’m going to get flamed by the Internet.”

Dalgish’s failure to post the letter of support in a visible location is a sad commentary on the RCFP and how this organization treated this reporter who put herself on the line for exposing a story that needed to be told.

It is also a disgrace that the Kansas Press Association turned their backs on O’Brien and the role she had in getting the Shield Law passed.

Doug Anstaett, director of the Kansas Press Association, told a reporter at the time of the signing of the Kansas Shield Law that:

“With the situation that developed in Dodge City, there was a much higher interest and awareness of this issue among the legislators this year. That made it somewhat easier to bring it forward and get it moving.”

That quote obviously tells me that he attributes the Shields Law passing into law this summer as a direct result of O’Brien’s situation. Yet, when in an e-mail sent to Anstaett asking who was present at the signing of the Shield Law he wrote,

“Four representatives of the Kansas Press Association were on hand April 28 at the office of Gov. Mark Parkinson for a bill signing ceremony for the recently approved shield law for reporters.

Mike Kautsch, KPA’s media law adviser, Ken Knepper, KPA legislative director, Rich Gannon, KPA director of governmental affairs and Doug Anstaett, KPA executive director, joined representatives of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters for the event.

Also on hand were three senators critical to the bill’s success: Sen. Derek Schmidt, who authored the original bill, Sen. Anthony Hensley, who co-sponsored the bill, and Sen. Terry Bruce, whose hard work this session helped moved the bill through the Kansas Legislature.

Gov. Mark Parkinson actually signed the bill into law on April 15. The bill was approved by the Kansas House and Senate March 30.”

When I asked why there had not been an invitation extended by the KPA to O’Brien, Mr. Anstaett replied:

I respectfully decline comment on your other questions.

Since her dismissal from the Daily Globe, O’Brien has been living a hand-to-mouth existence, since every newspaper door in Kansas seems to shut in her face for some inexplicable reason. Borrowing money from her family, she was able to move to a new town recently and start a new job. Yet, O’Brien suffered a car accident on the second day. After a series of unbelievable events, O’Brien now finds herself without a job again, no money and in a strange town.

So, as she gets her life back in order, and contemplates whether or not she can economically continue in journalism, I can only hope that she doesn’t give up.

She is the kind of reporter that is needed today more than ever. Someone who isn’t afraid of reporting the truth and exposing the kinds of discrimination and racism that does indeed exist from small towns to big cities. Someone who’s not afraid to hold accountable the institutions and organizations that began their existence in support of journalists doing their jobs.

Someone for whom journalism is more than a career — it’s her life.