"You know, if there was [sic] no such thing as the written word, I'd be telling stories on street corners."
---------Harold Robbins

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


The Kennedy Center Honors, awarded at the beginning of December are being televised on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 by CBS at 9 PM eastern time. The list of winners for 2015 are: Carole King, George Lucas, Rita Moreno, Seiji Ozawa, and Cicely Tyson.

The stated qualification of the Kennedy Center Honors is that it is: “Awarded for Lifetime Contributions to American Culture through the Performing Arts.’  Not entertainment but arts. There are many awards for entertainment, The Academy Awards, The Grammy , The Emmy, The People’s Choice, and the list seems to go on forever.  There are very few awards for lifetime achievement in the arts, which should make the Kennedy Center Honors a special occasion.

When the awards were first announced, CBS signed up to carry the event.

CBS vice president for specials Bernie Sofronski stated: "George [Stevens] came to us with this. What turned us on is that this is the only show of its kind ....We see this as a national honoring of people who have contributed to society, not someone who happens to have a pop record hit at the moment...[emphasis added]  Our intention is not to do just another award show. 
A general poll asking people chosen at random to identify each of the winners might reveal some interesting results.  I suspect that few would identify Cicely Tyson and almost no one would be able to identify Seiji Ozawa.

For the record, Ozawa was the distinguished conductor of the Boston  Symphony Orchestra for 20 years and in 1994  had the new Tanglewood concert hall "Seiji Ozawa Hall" named in honor of his 20th season with the orchestra.  He was music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to 1969 and of the San Francisco Symphony from 1970 to 1977.  In fact, there isn’t a significant orchestra in the world he hasn’t conducted.  In addition, he has championed and introduced to the world many younger composers. The list is too long; check the Wikipedia article for the full Monty. That is Art with a capital “A.”

If he has achieved all of these things, why is he not better known?  Why are The United States’ leading artists, performing and otherwise, completely unknown?

It starts with leadership.  And what better place to look than the White House?  In fact, the President and the first family will be seated in box with the honorees.  Watch the award ceremony and something rather amazing happens. When the award is to a popular entertainer and the people performing are pop icons, President Obama cannot contain himself. He is jumping around in his seat, snapping his fingers, and mouthing the words. When it comes time for the one honoree from the real arts, he complete disappears. The camera pans across the honorees and the first family.  President Obama is seated to our far right. The camera always stops short of the President’s seat.

Always: In 2012 when the token artist was the international [Russia > England > USA] American citizen ballerina Natalia Markarova, in 2013 the African-American and international opera diva Martina Arroyo, in 2014 the world famous American ballerina Patricia McBride who spent nearly 30 years dancing with the New York City Ballet and had roles and original  ballets created for her by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins’-- where was the President of the USA? AWOL!  It couldn’t be a coincidence.  Not year after year. Actually he is just doing the “Meurkan Thang.” He is not unique in this.

Of interest in this matter, CBS television has been running promotions for the Tuesday evening program for several days in advance. They picture and name all the honorees  and picture many of the guest performers along with the evening’s host Steven Colbert. Absent from this promotion is Seiji Qzawa. Why? They know their audience. Nobody in the U.S.A. knows or cares about  a symphony conductor.

A few months ago PBS ran a program from their “American Masters” series titled “American Ballet Theater: A history.”  The narrator for the program was Jennifer Homans, author of the ground breaking and award winning book: “Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet.”  She said that ballet is sophistication, style, eloquence, and beauty – in short, everything that America hates. So there is the bitter truth.

It has not always been this way.  In the wake of World War II many young Americans discovered Europe and were amazed.  When the fighting was finished,  there were museums, opera, plays, ballet, tons and tons of books, and a attitude that didn’t take the received wisdom of the smallest village for some universal truth.  Eyes were opened. The GI Bill opened some of the best colleges and universities in the land to a generation who had never seen or thought of college.

The roots were already there. In the 1930's and 40's there radio programs: The NBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arturo Toscanni was considered by many to be the best in the world. [Imagine a television network today creating and underwriting such an organization.] The Orchestra performed on radio and gave concerts on Sunday afternoon in Carnegie Hall with admission prices comparable to a movie ticket. There were also broadcasts of the Chicago, Philadelphia, and other orchestra – national wide in prime time.

With the advent of television we soon had The Bell Telephone Hour, The Voice of Firestone, Producer's Showcase ( Ford & Magnavox as sponsors), and CBS televised the first live performances from the Metropolitan Opera.

For drama television gave us Westinghouse Studio One,  Kraft Television Theater, and Playhouse 90. The last gave us a first look at plays that were to go to Broadway and movie screens:  Paddy Chayefsky’s “Marty,” J.P. Miller’s “Days Of Wine And Roses” [ TV title: "The Lost Weekend"], “Requiem," "The Miracle Worker” and “Judgment At Nuremberg.”  All became Academy Award winning films.

The Kennedy Center itself was first proposed in the U. S. Congress in 1958 and signified championed by John F Kennedy.  At  his  inauguration, he invited Robert Frost to read a poem at the ceremony.  It served as notice that the Arts were now an official part of the country.  Once in the White House he had a formal dinner for all the American winners of the Noble prize – arts and science.  He persuaded Pablo Casals to play a recital at the White House.  Never in his life, had Casals ever played to a private audience.  He agreed because of his admiration for the new President and the tone that he was setting for the nation.

President Kennedy was chagrined that Washington D. C. stood alone as the only capital city of a major nation without a performing arts center.  All modern nations have capitals with great performing arts centers as well as great museums.  He made it a goal to change that.  His actions were heralded as a great step forward for the nation. Andre Malraux, author of Man's Fate (La Condition Humaine) and France’s Culture Minister agreed to loan the Mona Lisa for display in Washington and New York. France is not in the habit of loaning out the Mona Lisa.

What happened? Well. President Kennedy was killed, television discovered that people would watch just about anything – including the people next door or across town, if they were called Reality Stars. Actually it’s a long story. But we now have no serious arts leadership in the nation.

As someone remarked; “In the ‘70's we thought the idea of popular culture was really cool. We didn’t realize that all too soon it would be the only culture that remained.”
The immediate question: Will President Obama ‘take a powder’ again when Seiji Ozawa is honored or will he show some leadership for the arts?

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus has issued an emergency call for all Republican psychiatrists to come to Washington to aid many Republicans members of the House and Senate, who have suffered  nervous breakdowns after realizing that minority control of the U S Senate might be a thing of the past.  Mitch McConnell has been stricken with such a bad case of stuttering after hearing that Harry Reid had plans to return to the requirement that filibusters would actually require senators to take to the floor and talk around the clock as seen in the movie  “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” that he has been unable to utter an understandable sentence in more than twelve hours.

House majority leader  John Boehner fearing that the whole weight of obstructing the government would be on his shoulders was taken with such a crying jag that he was unable even to walk. An aide said that Mr. Boehner had finally cried himself to sleep but that he was fearful of what might happen if he awakens and realizes that Harry Reid is serious about a move permitting  a Senate  majority to pass legislation without allowing the minority to rewrite everything to their satisfaction.

Chairman Priebus was so desperate that he has called Newt Gingrich for assistance. He believes that Newt who once held vast power before finding himself shut out of Washington, will be able to administer some serious grief counseling to distraught Republicans.

Dr. Sigmund Sigmund, the little known descendant of the great Viennese shrink said that the Republicans were in extremely serious perils, having suffered two dire set backs in less than a month. They still have not recovered from the shatteringly unexpected lost of the Presidential contest at the beginning of November and now they have to realize that they are faced with the trauma of not being in absolute control of the government.

 Dr. SS suggested that the Republicans might be faced with overcoming the infantile omnipotency complex described by his illustrious ancestor. He explained that Freud had described the world of the new born as a place that catered to its  every need. When the baby is hungry or soiled, he simply has to cry and someone rushes to attend to his needs. When the infant finally begins to realize that he is only one of many persons with a multitude of needs, it can be a difficult period for the little tyke.

Sources said that Paul Ryan has run into the gym and has been exercising nonstop for most of the day. Several aides have tried to talk him into taking a rest, but he insists that he must train to run a three minute mile. Dr. SS said that it was one of the worst cases of denial that he had ever seen.

Chairman Priebus has cancelled all press appearances for the next couple of days for all  elected Republicans.  When asked if he would call on the services of Carl Rove,  Priebus said that Carl Rove had best attend to Carl Rove.

© Roger G McCorkle

Sunday, November 25, 2012


In an expression of their extreme disappointment at the outcome of the 2012 election, the Koch brothers vowed to do every thing possible to avoid a repeat of another Obama-style presidency. Jim Dandy, a Koch spokesman, said that plans are being laid for the creation of a research center that will undertake to clone angry old white men. The Kochs plan to seed the center with an initial $100 million grant. He added that even if it cost several hundred million more that it would be more effective that all the money that was wasted with  “Turd Blossom” Rove.

Echoing Peter Morrison, the Hardin County Texas Republican treasurer, who said that the people who voted for Obama are maggots, Mr. Dandy said that the bothers had realized that it would never be possible to educate such irredeemably shiftless moochers to the benefits of laissez faire, the devil take the hindmost, free enterprise, capitalism. If you can’t sell ‘em, or disenfranchise ‘em, the only choice is to out vote ‘em.”

The distributed Koch press release, said that the goal was not only to create millions of angry old white men to vote, but to create as many clones as possible of the right kinds of politicians.  “Imagine the nation with fifty or one hundred thousand John Boehners and Mitch McConnells. This has the potential to turn the nation back to the path of small government, no rules, and no taxes for anyone making more than a million dollars a year.”

Spokesman Jim Dandy conceded that the project probably wouldn’t be complete in time for the 2016 election. He said that it was a long term goal that would probably take at least 8-10 years to be fully underway, but that he thought that there might be enough angry old white men clones by 2020 to move several of the most important swing states into the solid red column. He hinted that many of the first clones would be located in Florida, where they could easily pass unnoticed in the general population.
©Roger G McCorkle

cross post from open salon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


 Cross post from Open Salon of  Sept 12, 2012



Dear Patriotic Job Creator™,

Greeting from Return to Yesteryear®, the organization making the world safe for those who can say: "Yes, we built it!"

I had hoped that I would never have to write you this letter, but our nation is in peril. Our beloved Mitt Romney and his brilliant choice for veep, Paul Ryan, were beaten in fund raising in August by $114 million to $111 million. Even worse, Obama did this by appealing to a rag-tag crew of retirees and students for donations of as little as $3-5. Are we going to allow this motley bunch to decide who sits in the Oval Office? I should think not!

You may be thinking that it is only three million dollars difference. But that difference could see the job-killing, tax-raising Kenyan socialist return to the White House for four more years. Just think, if Obama is reelected and allows the Bush tax cuts to expire, that could cost you a lot more than three million dollars. Now is the time to act.

The good news is that we have an anonymous benefactor who is willing to match dollar for dollar your donations of $1 million or more during the next three days. In addition you will be able to donate anonymously to one of our special charities and take a tax deduction.

If you need help in transferring funds from an off-shore account, you may contact our campaign legal advisors, Wee Hyde Ewe and Howe, at their campaign email address:


Swiss bank email is ever-so-private. Thanks to the Citizens United ruling, your funds will be discreetly transferred into one of our special numbered accounts. The hour is late and the need is pressing. I urge you to take advantage of a very special friend’s matching-funds offer right now. Delay could be expensive – very expensive. The last thing that any of us need is regret on November the 7th. If we wake up on that day and Obama and his union buddies have won it will be too late. Your moment to make a difference is now.

It goes without saying that Mitt is one loyal chap. I can assure you that he never forgets a friend – not that I am implying any quid pro quo, of course.

With your generous support, I am sure that the Wealth Creators™ of our nation will do even better in the future.

Your ever so discreet friend,



©Roger G McCorkle


Thursday, February 9, 2012


                Or, how bizarre!

In spite of the fact that UMG/Universal France blocks my viewing of all French videos on You Tube, they send to me the following promotional for Madonna's new CD at my YouTube account on Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 5:00 PM EST [ie 11:00 PM Paris or European Central Time!]

Découvrez le nouveau single de MADONNA "Give me all your luvin" ainsi que son album MDNA disponible en version exclusive en pré-commande à durée limitée à 9.99€ jusqu'au 6 Février !
Disponible en téléchargement légal : http://bit.ly/A6qWwx" -- February 3, 2012

Or in English:
[Discover the new single from MADONNA "Give me all your luvin" and her album MDNA available in exclusive pre-order time-limited to € 9.99 until February 6th!
Available for download: http://bit.ly/A6qWwx "- February 3, 2012]
As if they hadn't already committed the absurdity of sending me a questionnaire in regard to my experience with a BluRay that I had ordered in January 2011 and received 6+ weeks later -- in March of 2011. The questionnaire was sent on January 27th and offered a €5 discount on a future purchases for taking the survey. After completing the survey, I was rewarded with a discount code good on any purchase of €35 or more good until January 10!

Why they didn't just date the discount code good till the Ides of March of 63 BC I don't know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The reports of 2nd quarter profits of American corporations were nothing short of amazing. In the decades following World War II any corporation that realized an increase in profits of 3-5% was consider a sure fire winner. Investors lined up and the stock price climbed. Then by the ‘80s and Ronald Reagan, such returns were no longer acceptable and 5-10% growth became the new baseline. Now in our Brave New Globalized World profits must grow by geometric proportions to be acceptable. Three fourth of companies reporting 2nd-quarter results show unprecedented jumps in profit:

>>GE Capital profit jumps 123%
>>MasterCard profit up 33%
>>Mattel net income jumps 56 %
>>Citigroup up 24% [$3.3 billion]
>> Caterpillar up 44% [$1 Billion]
>> Dow Chemical Profit up 74%
>>Visa up 40%
>>Exxon Earning up 41%
>>Starbuck's profit up 33%
>>Chevron profit jumps 43%
>>GM profits jump 89%
>>Dell Posts Flat Sales --Profits rise 63%

The figures for Dell computer are typical. Corporations with no gain in sales and in many cases with even lower sales figures are reporting vastly increased profits. The oblivious question is: What is the source of these sudden corporate gains?

The AP wire carried a brief story in a recent late Friday release [see my previous post for more on the "Friday Follies."] that revealed the extent of the share of the pie that corporations are taking. It summarised finding of the Center for Labour Market Studies at Northeastrn University, according to the director Andrew Sum:

                         Boom in Corporate Profits, A Bust in Jobs, Wages
Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writer, On Friday July 22, 2011, 6:36 pm EDT http://finance.yahoo.com/news/A-boom-in-corporate-profits-a-apf-3135711604.html?x=0
[note: Yahoo news links tend to go dead after 1-3 days]

"I've never seen labor markets this weak in 35 years of research," says Andrew Sum....Wages and salaries accounted for just 1 percent of economic growth in the first 18 months after economists declared that the recession had ended in June 2009...Corporate profits, by contrast, accounted for an unprecedented 88 percent of economic growth during [the same time period]...
Director Sum cited several factors at work in this unprecedented disparity. The two most important being the expansion of American corporations to over seas market; and second, the surplus work force created by the army of unemployed Americans. As Sum noted: "...companies are squeezing more productivity out of staffs thinned by layoffs during the Great Recession. They don't need to hire. And they don't need to be generous with pay raises; they know their employees have nowhere else to go."

How extensive is this problem? Steve Davidoff in his "Deal Professor" column in the New York Times Dealbook on August 16,2011,section gives some amazing answers.

 [The link is to Dealbook, which is not behind the NYT paywall.]
A recent Standard & Poor’s study found that 50 percent of sales by companies in the S.&P. 500-stock index are outside the United States. [Emphais added] Interestingly, the report also found that these companies paid more in foreign taxes than to the United States government....
In 2004, Congress enacted the American Jobs Creation Act, a tax holiday for companies to repatriate cash. The dividend tax was reduced to 5.25 percent from 35 percent. In exchange for this reduction, Congress required that any cash repatriated be invested in the United States. The cash could not be used for dividends or stock repurchases.
Alas, cash is fungible...[A study:]The Unintended Consequences of the Homeland Investment Act," found that in the year following the act, repatriations increased by $230 billion from the previous year, to $299 But the repatriation did not result in increased investment. Instead, companies largely repatriated the money and used their current United States holdings to pay out dividends or engage in share repurchases. This was contrary to what Congress had intended.
For those who can’t understand the nature of the war being waged on the majority of American citizens, it is only necessary to look to the professional financial advisory services. On October 8, 2009 the market advisor Rakesh Saxena writing on the site "Quote Platform" spelled out the facts of the Globalized economy.

Noting that India with a population of over one billion persons had hundreds of millions living on the edge of starvation, he said that those numbers do not matter. All that is important is the realization that India has over 350 million people with upper middle class incomes, who are in the market for new cars and flat-screen TVs,  and that that is a group larger than many other nations.  In other words, only those with money count. Those who have fallen off the apple cart can be safely forgotten. He concludes his market analysis:
At the same time, equity prices should face no risks from negative unemployment data. The thousands of desperate, unemployed workers who lined up in downtown Detroit [in Oct 2009]for housing assistance bitterly complained about the Obama Administration’s inability to generate jobs despite the promises made during, and immediately after, the last presidential elections. But, as a Wall Street hedge fund manager asked, "Who cares?"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The Federal Government as well as most major corporations long ago discovered a wonderfully easy way to bury unpleasant news that they hope never comes to the attention of most people: the Friday evening press conference.

By three P.M. on Friday almost everyone is packing up to get out of the office and onto the pleasures of the week end. Rather than conceal the really bad news, the "Powers that Be" choose to send an underling to announce the bad news. After all, with the name reporters from both the print and electronic media gone, the briefing by the Fourth Under Secretary of The Treasury will only be attended by cub reporters and interns.  The story is then buried under all the human interest stories and puff pieces that were prepared earlier in the week to fill in for the lack of hard news. By the following week the story is old news and will be forgotten in the hurly-burly of the ongoing circus.

If someone manages to dig out the story later and attempts to bring it into the spotlight, it will be dismissed as old news and not worthy of attention. It is truly amazing how many really important stories managed to get buried in the weekend follies.