ebyThe silly season has officially set upon us until school starts.

Archived Story

John Eby: Welcome to The View from the dog daze of August

Published 7:31pm Sunday, August 1, 2010

This time of summer the same Congress which shrugs off climate change flees Washington for vacation because it’s too hot.

At least we’ll have the fourth season of Matthew Weiner’s remarkable “Mad Men” so we can vicariously drink and smoke like it’s the 1960s, when men were men and nominally ran the world, though Peggy, Joan and Betty might quibble, while following development of breakaway ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Jon Hamm, who portrays salesman Don Draper, reassures us all those cigarettes are not real, but a blend of herbs and spices that burn and look real, but without tar or nicotine.

During the dog daze of August, President Obama, the “Marxist” target of political junk mail seeking his impeachment, pops up on The View to speak directly to American housewives unfiltered.

He even suggests he selected this venue because it’s a show his wife watches. As if!

In the same breath, the leader of the free world indicates he knows Lindsay Lohan is behind bars, but claims ignorance of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, 22, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the Guidette who isn’t Italian, but of Chilean descent.

It was a cheap shot to say she doesn’t know who he is, either, because, she says, “I don’t go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10-percent tax on it.”

Then, with cameras rolling for season three, Snooki is arrested for disorderly conduct.

Maybe Obama should spend this summer vacation in Seaside Heights on the Jersey Shore instead of Martha’s Vineyard.

David Letterman jokes that Obama on The View proves he is willing to confront radical extremists.

Fox laments the damage done to the “dignity” and “majesty” of the office, so the other channels resurrect clips of George W. Bush on Dr. Phil.

CNN covers Chelsea Clinton’s wedding like it has access, making it more apparent it does not.

Congressman Dan Lundgren, R-Calif., is doing a live phone interview with a Sacramento radio station when police interrupt, stopping him for speeding. He gets off with a warning.

If you had $23,723, what would you buy? Winston Churchill’s choppers, of course!

My entire work life, which began in 1979, has coincided with destruction of the middle class.

Republicans still clamor for more tax cuts, even though the income of wealthy Americans in the last 30 years has skied while ordinary wage earners flatline.

The top 1 percent, incomes soared more than 280 percent, while the bottom 40 percent saw barely 20 percent.

The number of Americans surviving paycheck to paycheck, which stood at 43 percent in 2007, has grown to  49 percent in 2008 and now a disturbing 60 percent.

Voters are being fattened up to be hoodwinked again to run out in November and bring the Republicans in out of the wilderness. They’ve done a good job of fanning hysteria about the deficit that they lacked while creating it.

The middle class won’t even recognize whatever euphemism is tooled for ending entitlements. If the GOP gets its way on extending the Bush tax cuts, that gulf will grow like a certain oil spill.

And like the BP oil spill which captivated us since April and taught us more than we ever imagined about deep water drilling, we’re now on national news learning things about Michigan we never heard before.

Like the Kalamazoo spill is “just” a million gallons, but that makes it the sixth-biggest U.S. spill in the last 40-plus years.

And who knew July 27’s oil spill in the Kalamazoo River is one of “dozens of significant incidences in Michigan over the last decade?”

Or that according to a report released July 30 by the National Wildlife Federation, Michigan ranks in the top 10 for pipeline accidents over a 10-year period!

Rush Limbaugh suggests LeBron actually chose Miami because Florida has no income tax.

Billy the Kid, the bad guy I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson wants to pardon, to the dismay of Sheriff Pat Garrett’s family.

Five House Democrats called on U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., to resign in light of 13 misconduct charges.

The district attorney in Portland, Ore., decides not to prosecute former Vice President Al Gore over sexual assault allegations.

Nuke Gingrich must be serious about running for president in 2012 because he’s already embracing the Republicans’ new wedge issue, Islam, railing about sharia law. Did the Patriot Act repeal the First Amendment while we napped?

Even President George W. Bush said, “Islam is peace.”

Judging all Muslims by a few nutjob bombers is like making the Ku Klux Klan representative of Christianity.

But what a great wedge issue it is for those inclined to equate Islam with terrorism after 9/11.

“Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” Sarah Palin tweets her disapproval of a plan to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero.

You can tell she’s a journalism major. Making up her own words.

She also criticizes Obama for appearing on The View instead of on The Border with Mexico.

Remember how “The Runaway General” got a bit of media attention and led to Obama June 23 dismissing Gen. Stanley McChrystal in favor of Gen. David Petraeus in charge of the war in Afghanistan?

Despite all the attention, the larger point of Rolling Stone’s story by Michael Hastings was missed.

Maybe everybody was too busy not watching Shirley Sherrod’s speech in its entirety to wade through an entire magazine article.

Obama, yoking himself to a flawed strategy of counterinsurgency, continues to prolong a pointless and unwinnable war that had claimed 1,206 as of July 23, according to the Decatur Republican’s running tally.

Changing personnel doesn’t change policy. What have we learned from Vietnam or British and Soviet empire experiences in Afghanistan? Are we condemned to repeat them?

RS Editor and Publisher Jann Wenner, reflecting on the moment of which “Hardball” host Chris Matthews said, “You’re in the history books,” said it is a “timeless and powerful reminder that old-fashioned journalism still matters, that the work of reporters and writers has the potential to alter the course of history … it is not always a matter, as someone once said, of speaking truth to power. Sometimes it’s enough, simply, to listen to power speak.”

It’s energizing as a journalist to read the kinds of passionate letters you don’t see much anymore in corporate media:

“There is a war on journalism and Rolling Stone is on the front lines.” Or this, also from Minneapolis, “I know that you and the author have taken a lot of heat, and I feel that just as it is the media’s duty to publish articles like this in the face of the backlash of their less-courageous peers, it is the duty of the public to provide support to those who are willing to actually do their jobs as journalists.”

Added a Virginia reader: “I subscribed for two years. You offer political reporting nobody else has the backbone to print.”

John Eby is Daily News managing editor. E-mail him at john.eby@leaderpub.com.

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