Welcome. For the record, this little web site has no sponsor. I´m totally to blame for the content. I like to think of Fodder as a silo—a place to dump my opinions, mostly black & white, sometimes mean-spirited and always judgmental. Fodder is dedicated to no single cause, except to criticize what´s wrong, which is 80 percent of everything (except what I think). From time to time, you may agree with me; but if you stay tuned long enough, you´re bound to bristle a bit. I have no posting schedule. The first item under “Recent entries” is the latest posted.

Dick Toomey

October 5, 2014

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Fox calls the program Outnumbered. The name ostensibly derives from the talk show’s format. Four “foxes” literally surround the dapper male anchor, to debate whatever subject some program director thinks will engage 8th grade mentality, meaning the majority of TV viewers. Male viewers, bored with topical conversation, can always focus on four pairs of fashionably crossed legs, stylish hems enticingly parked at mid-thigh, a prerequisite of all Fox “foxes.” But don’t be misled. These legs have credentials. Former track star Sandra Smith actually took some business classes and minored in speech at LSU before diving into the Wall Street world where her father and many of her other family fiddled with financials. Jedediah Bila, valedictorian at Wagner, studied Spanish and business, earned her Masters at Columbia and taught high school and college students in NY. Kimberly Guilfoyle graduated magna cum laude from Cal Davis, and earned her JD from USF. She interned at the DA’s office in SF and quite understandably modeled Victoria Secret lingerie for local department stores.  Harris Faulkner studied business economics and mass communications at the University of California Santa Barbara and worked as a junior accountant before becoming a freelance writer. Rotating panelist Katie Pavlich, primarily known for her journalist work at Townhall.com, authored Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal And Its Shameless Cover-Up. Not bad for a 26-year-old outdoor adventuress. And then there’s Tucker Carlson, elder son of Richard Warner Carlson, a former LA news anchor and U.S. Ambassador to the Seychelles; and adoptive mother Patricia Caroline Swanson, heiress to the Swanson food-conglomerate fortune, not to mention great-uncle Sen. J. William Fulbright. Naturally, a son of privilege, he would attend St. George’s School and major in History at Trinity. It all adds up. Education, looks, accomplishment, poise, verbal acuity. Very much the attributes of one Barack Obama, minus the accomplishment, of course. But you digress. Something’s missing. It’s the something that’s missing on most of the popular “talk shows.” With rare exception, young TV desk jockeys never served a day in the military, never owned a business, never met a payroll, never worked in law enforcement, never managed a corporate department, never labored in an industrial factory and never held a hospital bed pan. Yet these experts blithely make authoritative pronouncements on everything from blood and guts military to nuclear weapons to farm subsidies. In sports programming, you surely will see a blond with a short skirt, but at least she’s a moderator for male talking heads who are former athletes — professionals who actually played the game. Thankfully, credibility carries some weight in sport. But you have to give the Fox Network credit for finding beautiful people with sleek legs to deliver news and opinions. Like many of television’s talking heads, Megyn Marie Kelly, she of the ultra demonstrative, staccato delivery, is an attorney who parlayed smarts and glamor to displace the whiny Hannity. Another network (name begins with an “A”) has an even dimmer view of America’s shallow audience, opting to host celebrity talking heads in something called The View. Reminiscent of politics, this network has decided that viewers, like voters, will choose unqualified “celebrities” over persons of accomplishment. At the end of the day, as they say, the “expert” blabbers are no different than you and your expert blabber friends, sitting around the fire and offering opinions about the issues of the day, as if you and they had proprietary information. It’s so much talk, so much chatter, really. But some broadcast experts believe it’s entertainment. Compared to Rap, they do have a point.

August 9, 2014

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It has to be said. No one is as innocuous, as hackneyed, as stale, as hyperbolic, as farfetched, as overblown, as shallow, as unlettered and, as Andy Dufresne once said to Warden Norton, as “obtuse,” as a sports radio or television commentator. Rich Lerner, Frank Nobilo, Brandel Chamblee and Notah Begay III, apparently bowing to the demands of Golf Channel execs, jacked their jaws ad nauseum, dissecting Tiger Woods’ most recent tragic injury, probing his spine physiology, muscle spasm syndrome, performance psychology and golf swing anatomy. You’ve heard cardiothoracic surgeons discuss triple bypass with less precision and resolute certainty. Brilliantly, you observe that keeping Tiger on a kingly pedestal has bottom line consequences for these pundits, for the network, for the advertisers and for the vast entourage of special interests that shadow his every step like salivating scavengers. Certainly, America loves a soap opera. Certainly, money talks. Unfortunately, so do the talking heads. You do get it. Somebody has to fill the time, however ungrammatically. Evidently, talking heads never actually read what they say after they say it, realizing that transcripts wouldn’t pass 7th grade English standards or journalistic standards for probity. Typically, you’re unduly critical of people simply trying to do a job. Be fair. Admit that the job is important — promoting a business, the celebrities who occupy the stage and the charities they support. True, but the job has nothing to do with journalism or reporting or investigating to uncover the truth of anything. For example, you never heard one sport’s pundit on any network question the authenticity of the Woods’ injury. Like any other ordinary observer, you only know what you saw — Tiger hitting a ball from an awkward lie, nimbly jumping into a bunker, collecting himself and striding up the fairway. On multiple replays, you didn’t see a wince or a grimace. You didn’t see a lurch or a falter. And this was the exact moment he apparently felt the “twinge” or the “tweak.” Subsequently, as his performance unraveled, so did the condition of his back. As he “painfully” quit the stage, no commentator dared utter a smidgen of doubt. They couldn’t risk the disapproval and the disgrace. They couldn’t risk being shunned and drummed out of the business. Fair enough. So it’s left to amateur critics to risk denunciation — to suggest that Woods has a history of playing poorly only when injured, of never being injured when playing well, of never leaving the field of play when in contention, of never attributing a sub-par performance to his own failure. You must conclude the best golfer in the world must always be best in the eyes of the world. Only circumstances outside of his own unparalleled ability can get in the way of his vaulted stature. And the pundits rigorously feed this appraisal. if Tiger isn’t at the head of the class, he must have leg or back issues; his teacher must be meddling with his swing; he must be shouldering intense media pressure, etc. Excuses are the convenient armor of a prodigious ego. But excuses are essential to a media that believes, without Tiger, the money machine will sputter and shrink. At the end of the day, broadcasters are terrified that an absent Tiger will cripple the PGA tour, and materially affect their careers. Some even make the case — asking if the tour could possibly maintain its prominence without its superstar. Your opinion counts for little but you seem to remember that golf  continued to blossom without the likes of a Jones, Hogan, Nelson, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus and Player. Baseball, football and basketball manage to thrive without  iconic heroes of yesteryear.  But sports media pundits must live to exaggerate — to make gods of men. It’s what they do, relentlessly — because exaggeration is in their self interest. You have only one recourse — the mute button. Use it.

August 1, 2014

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

There you have it, arguably the most illustrious words ever written — well, outside of John 3:16.  With 57 words, 56 men signed a proposition that literally changed the course of human events. To suit their socialistic agendas, 21st century lawmakers and political parties attempt to dilute these 57 words. They can jabber till the cows come home. But no amount of mumbo jumbo can change the meaning — which is, in plain English – individual liberty is inviolable. Beginning with this exalted proposition, the Founders set about to protect each American by circumscribing the reach of the federal government. They did this because they knew that all governments, despite their necessity, inherently stink. You have it on good authority that Madison, Franklin, Hamilton, Morris and others used the pejorative, but only in the privacy of their chambers, choosing not to offend other delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Luckily, Jefferson was on duty in France; so he didn’t leak the “S” word. But from long distance he did the next best thing. He added his voice to insist on the creation and adoption of the Bill Of Rights — those 10 radiant Amendments that help protect citizens from a usurping Federal “dictatorship.” In fact, during spirited debates about the Constitution itself, opponents repeatedly charged that, as originally drafted, the Constitution would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. So they demanded a “bill of rights” that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions, in their formal ratification of the Constitution, also asked for such amendments; and others ratified it only with the full understanding that the amendments would be in place. You’re not the least bit surprised that a socialist president and other like-minded functionary politicians want to erode a doctrine that sanctifies individuality. Career bureaucrats like the POTUS despise individuals, especially the producers — the doers, the people who build things, who make products and provide valuable services. Bureaucrats have special disdain for exceptionalism and exceptional people — those who actually accomplish something useful — and their disdain swells to outright scorn for achievers who dare to create wealth. But you shouldn’t fault career bureaucrats. Having never held a private sector job, they simply are incapable of grasping the meaning of productive work. They build nothing, make nothing, provide nothing. Their self worth relies entirely on the power to regulate the people they envy — and no one envies accomplished people more than the POTUS. The Founders did their job. They couldn’t, wouldn’t trust government without laying down specific restraints. Above all else, they wanted to limit governmental stink. But they had no crystal ball to suspect that the stench would mushroom like a nuclear cloud. And mushroom it has, saturating the landscape, invading every business, every home and the lives of every citizen. The Constitution be damned, the Fed is the nation’s ultimate trespasser, meddling in Education, Healthcare, Welfare, Business, Energy and a host of other sectors.  State’s Rights via the 10th Amendment is dormant, seemingly paralyzed. But nowhere is governmental stink more foul than in the conduct of the Presidency — in specific, the extent of First Family excesses, to the tune of a reported $45 million. This obscene expenditure alone is staggering evidence that the Federal Government is in the grip of a malignant sickness. You look to the Balance of Powers for remedy and see nothing but impotence, proving that the contamination is omnipresent from top to bottom. The Founders were utterly justified to fear tyranny. They courageously left us an inspired, rich legacy. And like spoiled children, we squander it. Stinks.

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