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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


DeeLuzon: "A Dream Team for the Ages"

Cute, cuddly, and electable

Thanks to DeeLuzon for this FIRST EVER POST - nice work, Dee!

if you're reading this, it's been accepted. as this is the first time i've ever posted anything more than a brief comment, please be kind!

anyway, here goes. i have a fantasy of how a bloodless revolution could be pulled off right here in the land-that-once-dreamed-of-a-more-perfect-union.

i was a post-war kid (born 1951) and learned most of what i know from new york's wor's "million dollar movies." this means that my sense of the twenty years before my birth was formed by a bunch of leftie hollywood writers (yeah, the more things change...). so, thanks to the brothers warner and sam goldwyn, i have always believed that the new deal was a really good thing which led inexorably to the civil rights movement, the great society and, among many other services originally devised for the benefit of the people and not the corporations, the food & drug administration. all good things. when i was a kid, we learned (in school, mind you. hell, in ELEMENTARY school!) about the tva bringing electricity to the rural south and desperate, depression oppressed masses finding work and dignity building great projects for the improvement of their country. by the time i was in college, bobby kennedy (who was the last politician who knew how to take our romantic awareness of the recent past, fuse it with the idealized hope of accomplishing similarly great things and then energize people to actually DO something) was dead and Nixon was in, bringing with him the young men who grew up to be the the lipless, white guys who've finally realized THEIR dreams of wiping out everything i thought was good about america in order to leap backwards in time to exactly the day before things began to get better. [on a side note - maybe, after the revolution, the reeducation program should consist of being confined to one's home with a cable selection that ranges from Turner Classic Movies to AMC to programming provided by the late, great Z channel in L.A.] What's amazing is that, despite interludes of carter (remember, the one who was destroyed for suggesting we turn down the thermostats and cut back on gas consumption?) and clinton (who hardly inspired civic idealism, but did eliminate the deficit and didn't want to feed school children catsup for lunch), the aging, lipless, white guys have managed to kill enough time working their self-interested magic that there's really no "recent past" about which to wax nostalgic, anymore.

in other (and lots fewer) words - if they're not teaching kids about evolution, i'm guessing there's not much talk of the tva, anymore. and i KNOW they're not teaching about how the titans of industry pooled their resources to create the materiel of WWII, let alone about guys like boeing and douglas working together to develop and streamline the production of planes and ... with the help of tens of thousands of people on the home front and at war, actually doing it. in a matter of months.

which moves me along to the notion of doing things, not talking about things. it ought not be just a nike slogan. they've turned us into a "service society" and all anyone does is talk about doing things or watch other people doing things on tv . it's not like there's nothing to do, either. there are all those roads to rebuild, all those schools to rebuild, all those hospitals to rebuild, all that liberty to rebuild. not to mention all those solar powered roof panels to build and install, all those efficient batteries to develop and mass produce, all those local farms and businesses to reestablish (so that safe, healthy food is available without having to ship it). and there are children to be taught. there are always children to be taught. and not just how to pass tests, but about what we are and how we've come to be what we are and how we might become even better. oh, there's plenty to do and there will be plenty of glory to go around for those who figure out a way to get it done.

so here's my fantasy... the press are beckoned for a major event at the democratic party's headquarters and the curtain goes up and standing on the stage are gore and clinton and obama and edwards and richardson and pelosi and dean and wes & richard clark(e) and bill gates and steve jobs and maybe even colin powell and whoever else is a true patriot with a really high profile. and bill clinton introduces president carter who takes the microphone to introduce them all as... the Democratic Party's candidate for... the government of the united states. seriously... split up the jobs - hillary, mightn't it be enough for your ego to be, finally, the person who creates a just and affordable single payer health insurance program? al could clearly live with being tasked with grappling with the climate crisis. edwards, once one of the top civil litigators in the country, could certainly bring a passion for what the law can do to the office of attorney-general. gates and jobs, haven't you made enough money that you can afford to collaborate on overseeing the technical revolution that will surely stand with the industrial revolution? OSX and Windows will be long forgotten in the future, should we have a future, but your names and some true measure of glory could live far longer if you were to do such a thing. everyone to sign on would instantly guarantee her/his place in history as someone comparable to the founding fathers, just for making it clear that you were going to stop wasting your and our time bickering amongst yourselves and, instead, assign yourselves jobs in a government-for-consideration by the american voters and then... DO IT.

why should i have to choose one of you to front the most enormous bureaucracy in history when there isn't a one of you who could possibly handle it all by yourself? i and the rest of the country (the world, in fact) need ALL of you working together to stand a chance of getting all the critically important jobs begun, let alone done, so please don't pretend that you don't need one another.

if it was a good idea for bill clinton to pick al gore so early (and it definitely was), why can't it be a better idea to sell an already staffed, top o' the line government of the best, the brightest, the most capable team of dedicated american public servants as a comprehensive democratic ticket? what's the worst thing that could happen? things might not work out? well, things are definitely NOT working out now and fretting about who's going to raise the most money in hollywood is not, in any way whatsoever, going to accomplish a single thing that matters to anyone but you folks and the campaign/media industry that's grown up around and utterly corrupted the entire process.

believe me, everyone but you and those who make their livings from it are utterly bored with the news being about the competition. the democrats could rewrite history - and benefit from the element of surprise associated with the revelation that the whole bunch of you are, after all, creative, dedicated patriots - simply by agreeing to join forces. imagine - a dozen "candidates" from the package, any of whom is qualified to be a decent president, criss-crossing the country selling the notion of a bloodless revolution led by those at the very top of their games who were willing to give up their own personal ambitions of winning "the big one" for the sake of our all winning back our republic. and, as to the question of which one of them fronts the team and gets to be "president," frankly, let 'em draw straws, because, if they are ALL on board, it won't matter. and then, finally, things would get done. it could be a whole new deal for a potentially great society; the greatest "do over" in history.

- posted by DeeLuzon