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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


LowerManhattanite: "Radio Silence"

Thanks to LowerManhattanite for yet another fantastic piece!!

The year was 1980. Senior year of High School.

It was Manhattan. The height of disco, debauchery and dissolution--a happy time in NYC if you were young, free and in search of a good time. Our crew at school was a fun one. Black kids. White kids. Latin Kids. Asian Kids. All taking full advantage of the ripe, swollen fruit of a city splayed out before us when the bell sounded the school day's end.

Oh yeah, one rabid republican kid rolled with us too. Let's call him J.B.

Total Reagan worshipper--at the age of seventeen if you can imagine that. Came in skipping like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz the day after election day. I'm sure that when Ronnie ran that "ketchup is a vegetable" bullsh*t, J.B. was down at the garden supply store haranguing a clerk for ketchup seeds.

Kid was a true believer--in the scary-borderline worst way.

Whenever he got the chance, he'd throw Saint Ronnie, "The Great Prevaricat-uh...Communicator" up in our faces. Every Bob Hope-writer-scrawled Reagan quip--was Keats to him. Every Reagan victory--was the flag on Iwo-f*cking-Jima. Ronnie was Jesus, and all of us who hated him were whip-wielding Jews and Romans as far as he was concerned. But oddly, J.B. still hung with us. Apparently, he was lonely. Imagine that! And I guess we found him entertaining. He was our clique's own "troll" I suppose, and we let him hang around. Eventually he became a friend, in spite of his politics, which we regarded as some sort of weird after-effect of political abuse in the home at the hands of his equally wingnutty parents.

The years would go by, and occasionally I'd see him here or there. He worked in video, and he'd always make a point of razzing me about this GOP victory or that one when he saw me on a soundstage or supply house somewhere. The mid 90's was a political, gold-bars-being-handed-out-at-an-unlimited-touching-free-groping-and-free-beer-t*tty bar for him--and he made no bones about reveling in victory every time he saw me during those heady "Contract With America" years.

I last saw J.B. in mid '05 at a camera store. He was a haughty freeper, still.

Until Saturday. When I ran into him at J&R (an electronics store) in Manhattan.

"Heyyyyyy, J.B.", I practically leered. "How's that party of yours doi-"

"I'D RATHER NOT JOKE ABOUT IT!", he spat, cutting me off.

"Awwww, come on man...I know you've got something good for me-"


"What? We can't talk politics?"

"There's nothing to discuss."

There's nothing to discuss.

We bantered a bit about business--cameras, tech stuff--bullsh*t like that...but the recent maelstrom of smells-like-*ss trouble for his beloved party was totally off-limits. And that struck me. Normally, J.B. was a veritable talking points "See and Say". Pull his string and listen to him go. This time though, the talking points machine was busted. Dead batteries. Fouled pull cord. Gunk on the contacts. A dreidel plopped in wet cement would've given better spin. But J.B.'s reticence to engage was part of a pattern I was beginning to notice from the usually boisterous knuckleheads of the sooty-handed, dinosaur-riding right-wing variety. In my semi-regular every-48-hour spelunking through the sewer pipes (which serve as the city streets) of right blogsylvania, I saw--or rather didn't see something quite obvious.

This Cat 4 sh*tstorm the right's enduring (would that they end up like the Katrina victims afterward) has broken their entire talking points machine apparatus. Libby. Walter Reed. AttorneyGate. Iraq. GSA-Gate, The non-working "working" surge? It seems the rebuttal/spin machine is overwhelmed--thrown a rod, if you will--and can't get back on-line. Note the obsessions from the likes of wingnut central--like Insta-f*ckwit, and the yapping Malkin as they woozily flap smelling salted napkins before their faces--"Oh mah lord! A nasty an-ur-kist has pooped on the flag! Will no one share in mah star-spangled out-raaaaaaayge?"

(Cue appropriate sound effect)

Now granted, there are a few of the spittle-flecked F-listers out there calling for glass parking lots still. Pleading for the trial, imprisonment and hanging of the Democratic leadership. Even praying that this country "gets hit again" so that we will all be taught a lesson. No links. Google psychotic, nihilistic brain-dead f*cks and I'm sure you'll come up with their splutterings. But when the right's bigwigs do reluctantly "tackle"--more like pitty-pat two-hand touch for you gridiron fans--the subject that is the collective pig-f*ck, and the Gonzales bed-sh*t specifically, a few have been reduced to mewling a wounded, soon-to-be-buzzard chow, political roadkill sound. After the truck first hit 'em on the interstate, it was a banshee howl--"Investigations! Not legislation!", "They serve at the president's pleasure!" "Show trial--WITCH HUNT!" But as they lay at the roadside, life, blood and '08 chanced leaking away into the grass--the faint mewl comes.


"Shot themselves in the foot."

"Sigh! I never liked Gonzales. He should go."

What makes the last sad whimper so pitiful is its desperation. These people who wouldn't give an inch on anything--who fairly sang "That's why you keep losing elections!" and "We have the math!" in the faces of progressive activists up until 11:59 P.M. last November 6th, now sound ironically (in light of recent revelations by Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow) like people did decades ago when discussing cancer. There was a school of thought where the word "cancer" wasn't even mentioned in polite company--so freighted it was with stigma. Spoken in hushed tones, if at all. Euphemisms deployed instead.

"The Big 'C' "

Well...we have a new political "Big C" nowadays. The affliction, the stigma that dares not have its name spoken aloud in GOP circles.


You won't hear them say it aloud. That would be verboten. "Will-to-power"-ing. Negative actualization. "No one beyond this office can know about this, Doc.", they say. "Just cut it out and get me back on my feet, pronto!"

"Cut it out? Don't you get what I'm telling you? It's everywhere. Everywhere. I suggest--I suggest you start getting your affairs in ord-"

"SHUT UP! I don't wanna hear that! Just CUT IT OUTTA ME!"

What to do? Put 'em on Fentanyl lollipops and send 'em on their way. And once on the street, in their misplaced shame, and inability to deal with the obvious diagnosis, they'll say nothing of it. "The Big C"? Don't speak on it.

Radio silence.

Darn that incestuous L.A. Times Sunday Section!

Chocolate Jesus? Sacré bleu!

Al Gore went outta town and left the humidifier on allllllllllll weekend loooooooong!

Oh mean those Geneva Conventions?

"Hiccup!" Dirty pillows! "Hiccup!" Sanjaya? "Hiccup--bleeeeeaarrrgh"

Every day, a new revelation of f*ckeduptitude. Another lie. Yet another example of craven illegality bubbles up like the corn-studded turd that will not be flushed. Spray the luminol. Shine the U.V. light. Son-of-a-bitch, willya look at that! There's blood spattered everywhere.

It's a Goddamned crime scene

"You got anything to say?"

"Yeah. Get me my lawyer. Oh more thing. How 'bout that Sanjaya? 'Hiccup!'"

- posted by LowerManhattanite