James O’Keefe Makes For Sunday’s Best Newspaper Story


James O’Keefe wanted headlines.  He wanted to be known.  He wanted to show what conservatives are all about.  He got what he wanted.  (Does this news qualify for his year-end Christmas letter to the distant cousins?)

From left, James O’Keefe III, Stan Dai, Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel.

Today James O’Keefe and his fellow felons-to-be are on the front page (above the fold) of the New York Times with a color photo and long story about their attempts to make a splash using media, and their version of ‘journalism’ to further conservative thinking.

They got fame with their bungled wire-tapping scheme of a U.S. Senator’s office, but also now need legal advice as they start to ‘lawyer up’.  For the rest of us we get more cheap theatre from the same larger crowd that brought us Watergate.  (Maybe FOX TV can give these guys a reality show!  They could share a life-size Ann Coulter look-a-like blow-up doll, read the Wall Street Journal in their boxers, plot how to steal Senator Byrd’s wheel-chair, and make prank phone calls to liberal radio talk show hosts…..)

James O’Keefe III, the guerrilla videographer, advised conservative students this month that they needed to start taking more risks.

“The more you put yourself out there and you take those calculated risks,” he told the Web site CampusReform.org, which works to foster conservative activism on college campuses, “you’re actually going to get opportunities.”

Just days later, Mr. O’Keefe, 25, took his own advice, but did not get quite the opportunity he expected.

He and three other men — including a 24-year-old associate, Joseph Basel, who was interviewed alongside Mr. O’Keefe by the Web site — were arrested and charged with a federal felony, accused of seeking to tamper with the office telephone system of Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana. Two of them were impersonating repairmen in the senator’s New Orleans office and were caught after being asked for identification.

Mr. O’Keefe said Friday that the four men had been trying to determine whether Ms. Landrieu was avoiding constituent complaints about the Senate health care bill after her phone system was jammed in December. (Her office said no calls had been intentionally avoided.) On reflection, he said in a statement, “I could have used a different approach to this investigation.”

But that approach was precisely the kind that he and others have been perfecting for years, a kind of gonzo journalism or a conservative version of “Candid Camera.”

Sunday Echoes: Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal Feud On Dick Cavett Show

Dick Cavett was the most cerebral talk show host that I ever had the pleasure of watching.  Apart from his vast foundation of knowledge was the perfect broadcast tone of his voice, and his ability to use language so effectively.  It was reason enough to tune in his show just to see and hear him.  But it also is  fair to say Cavett had some of the most engrossing guests that any television show booked.   Due to Cavett’s show I came to know such intriguing and talented people such as Tommy Tune, and the reason Broadway mattered.  I also came to appreciate barbed wit. There was no better example of that talent than the slicing language between Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal.  It remains a classic video clip to watch again and again.

Video: Obama Takes In Basketball Game, Talks With Broadcasters

You just do not see this everyday.

Making Time To Read More


Columnist Russell Baker once recounted while  “watching a pregame show on television during which an author was interviewed about her 300-page novel. Wasn’t it discouraging, the host asked, to write such a long book when no one has time to read anymore? This was said, Mr. Baker pointed out, to an audience settling in for three hours of baseball….”

Too Many Suds In Your Washing Machine?

As I read this newspaper article our front-loader washing machine was operating….

In the laundry room, Americans are prone to overkill. They pour too much detergent into their washing machines.

Generations of consumers have washed clothes with the idea that more soap means cleaner laundry. But the sudsy habits are creating messy problems from dingy clothing to worn machines.

Making matters worse, the latest generation of detergents are concentrated and so require users to use less product-per-washload than ever before. And more consumers are buying highefficiency washers, which need far less water than older models. It’s a combination begging for more careful measuring—something Americans stubbornly resist.

Over the next few weeks, Procter & Gamble Co. plans to introduce easier-to-read plastic measuring caps for its liquid detergent brands, including Tide, Gain, Era and Cheer. The new caps will have more-defined measurement lines inside and bigger numbers that are staggered, not stacked, says Dawn French, P&G’s head of laundry research and development for North America.

Laundry remains a time-consuming chore and one done largely by women. It was the primary household responsibility of 76% of women and 24% of men in a 2007 Whirlpool survey of 2,500 consumers; some 78% of those surveyed do approximately nine loads of laundry each week. The equivalent of 1,100 washloads are started every second of every day, P&G says.

Packaging, in most cases, hasn’t helped. The molded lines and numbers inside detergent caps are hard to read, especially in a dimly lit laundry room. And even though concentrated detergents have been on the market since at least 2007, many caps still hold more than is needed for an average load.

Double DVD Event From Grand Ole Opry Stage

Readers know that classic country music, and the Grand Ole Opry are just a part of this blog.  Strange fit perhaps at times with feisty liberal political rhetoric, and yet it still somehow all blends here at CP. 

Recently I became aware of a double-DVD package that contains nearly seven hours of televised performances from a 1978 series of specials filmed at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry but never aired or seen before. The filming was to celebrate 50 years of country music, and the roster does indeed feature a veritable who’s who of the genre — everyone from Gene Autry and Johnny Cash to Kitty Wells and Tammy Wynette.  On the other hand, sadly, there is no ‘Little’  Jimmy Dickens, Wilma Lee Cooper, Porter Wagoner or some of the other names that jump to my mind when thinking about  this music.  As I previewed the performance list I suspect the globe-shaped footlights, leisure suits, big hair and even bigger mutton chops will be there for all to see.  And that is after all what this DVD set is all about, so there is no reason to justify it in 2010.   I think it remarkable that all this footage that has never been seen before, as it sat since being recorded in a vault, is now ready for our DVD players.  The thing that blows my mind is that at seven hours in length this music will last almost as long as a work day! 

Highlights include Charlie Rich crooning “Behind Closed Doors,” Johnny Paycheck riling up the crowd with “Take This Job and Shove It”  (OK that is the one song that is too red-neck for me here at CP…I wish they would have had his touching song “Old Violin” instead) and Roger Miller tickling everybody’s funny bone on a quirky medley of hits. Meanwhile the First Lady of Country Music, Tammy Wynette, offers a poignant rendition of “You and Me.” It’s also a treat to hear some of these future country classics when they were brand new, such as the Kendalls‘ “Heaven’s Just a Sin Away” and Anne Murray‘s “You Needed Me.”

I could go on and on. As a student of country music history, there’s a lot to learn from these DVDs. Glen Campbell makes a lively host during the first segment, setting the bar high for the rest of the series. And how often can you see Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe playing on the Opry stage? If you have a soft spot for the ’70s, and sometimes wish you could still hear Ronnie Milsap or Dottie West on the radio, don’t miss these DVDs.

For those sensitive homes ( where someone lives with one who is not a Grand Ole Opry fan) I offer this helpful hint. 

Or you can skip the headphones and make a new fan…..

62 Years Later, Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashes Spread At Sea

The long goodbye.

Some of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes, kept for decades by a family friend, have been scattered off the South African coast.

The ashes were sprinkled on to the Indian Ocean in a Hindu ceremony attended by about 200 people to mark the 62nd anniversary of Gandhi’s death.

They were handed over to the family last year after the family friend died.

After Gandhi’s assassination, his body was cremated and the ashes distributed among family, friends and followers.

According to Hindu custom, ashes are scattered over a body of water shortly after cremation.

Correspondents say it is difficult to estimate how many people received a portion of Gandhi’s ashes.

“Before the immersion took place, the Hindu priest recited hymns,” an AFP news agency photographer said.

“Gandhi’s great grandson poured the ashes into the sea and afterwards people threw flowers as a sign of their final goodbyes.”

Gandhi’s 69-year-old granddaughter, Ela Gandhi, who is a respected activist in South Africa, attended the ceremony and addressed those present about the late leader’s legacy.

“I think one of the important messages of his death is the intolerance that goes on in this world, the intolerance of people for other people on the basis of religion, on the basis of race, on the basis of ethnicity, of class and of caste and so on,” she said.

“All these intolerances end up in violence, end up in wars and so on.”

Saturday Song: The Drifters “Saturday Night At The Movies”