Welcome to the somewhat unbalanced mind of Orbson Rice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy NPR

Just to warn you, today I am going to attack NPR. For any conservatives out there, attacking NPR is the liberal version of bashing the Bible. I am sure to get some hate mail for this one. Luckily, liberal hate mail reads like a Hallmark greeting card and is usually signed by the words “with love” so I am not too worried. Last week, NPR “fired” “Soundprint” and “World of Opera” host Lisa Simeone. The reason she was dumped from the NPR lineup? Lisa Simeone had the audacity to exercise her constitutional rights and organize Occupy Washington (an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street) protests in D.C. That’s right NPR fired someone for expressing their political views in their private lives. Congratulations NPR, you have made my Assholes of the Week List.

The good news for Simeone is that World of Opera is actually produced by WDAV, a North Carolina radio station who refuses to let her go. So World of Opera will continue, though the program will not be distributed by NPR. NPR spokesperson, Dana Davis Rehm stated, "Our view is it's a potential conflict of interest for any journalist or any individual who plays a public role on behalf of NPR to take an active part in a political movement or advocacy campaign.” Which Simeone amusingly replied, “What is NPR afraid I'll do — insert a seditious comment into a synopsis of Madame Butterfly?”

Look, I have often spoken out about the lack of quality journalism in this country. Corruption is rampant, the country is deeply divided and a handful of corporations run the vast majority of the major media. When people get their news from places like Fox News, clearly they are not getting unbiased journalistic reporting. So I commend NPR on wanting their reporters to be as unbiased as possible. The problem here is that Simeone, a freelance host, was protesting on her own time. Under NPR’s rules does this mean that their employees are not allowed to vote? Not allowed to click “like” on a political figure on their Facebook page? Not allowed to exercise their constitutional rights to protest when they see problems in this country? Being an unbiased journalist has to be extremely difficult, because they will eventually form opinions on the news they cover. However, Simeone covers opera, not politics. Simeone protested in her free time and not on her show. I love NPR, but they are wrong.

Hopefully this attention will bring added publicity for Simeone and World of Opera. For NPR, I hope they soon realize the magnitude of the mistake they made. When a corporation or government takes away your ability to voice your opinion, you only a few short steps away from a dictatorship.

Orbson Feeling Tweety: NPR sent me a letter saying that I am no longer allowed to listen to their station because I attended an Occupy NPR Rally.

A Bit of TV: I may keep writing this in every blog. The Walking Dead is a freaking phenomenal show. I even got Mrs. Orbson to give it a try and now she loves it. For you Netflix freaks you can even stream it in HD! Watch it!

Stern Reprimands: The NBA needs to stop canceling games in 2-week increments. Seriously, they are like the parents in the car yelling at their kids, “I will turn this car around if you don’t stop fighting! I will, see I’m slowing down.” Look NBA and parents, unless you actually turn the car around and go home the kids will never believe you. So cancel half of the season. You can always change your mind later. Stop this, “If we don’t agree by Thursday, we’re going to cancel another week” crap.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Conservative Group Accidentally Helps the Arts

Ultra-Conservative group, Jesus Loves Corporations (JLC), made waves on Monday when they unknowingly aided the Arts. The JLC is a non-profit organization dedicated to obtaining properties deemed as “historic” or “environmentally significant” for major corporations to exploit. Rick Perry, the JLC founder, has spearheaded efforts to take over wetlands, drill for oil in nature reserves and close national parks for drilling. This past July, the JLC successfully petitioned the U.S. government to fill in the Grand Canyon with cement and build the first ever “Jesus is My Savior Theme Park and Gun Range”. However, it was the JLC’s actions in Royal Oak, Michigan that has many of its loyal followers questioning the true motivations of the organization.

The JLC arrived in Michigan last week in an effort to turn the Detroit Zoo into the nation’s first Christian-themed indoor entertainment complex. The complex would come complete with an All Christian IMAX Theater, Revelations Arcade, Last Supper Diner, and the indoor Crucifixion Carnival with its soon to be famous Bible Thumper Bumper Cars. Unfortunately for the JLC, their plan to force the Zoo’s closure hit an embarrassing snag.

On Wednesday evening, the Detroit Zoo’s administration was scheduled to appear before the City Council to ask for increased funding. The JLC arrived at the meeting, planning to offer the City Council and the Zoo $10 million dollars to deny the Zoo’s petition, immediately sell the land to the JLC and dispose of the “useless animals”. This strategy has worked numerous times in the JLC’s history and they didn’t believe they would run into any trouble. Thus they sent a new employee to finalize the deal.

When Jebediah Strokoff walked into the City Council meeting for the JLC, little did he know that the Zoo’s appearance date had been changed. Instead of the Zoo’s petition, they were considering a petition by a small non-profit art organization called Art for Kids. When Jebediah arrived, the organization’s founders, Peter and Elizabeth Goodheart, were petitioning the City Council for a grant of $5,000 to help fix up the decrepit building they were using to host classes and events. They even brought some of the children in to display their paintings and sculptures which unfortunately for Jebediah and the JLC were all created during their last Animal Appreciation lesson.

Jebediah, mistaking the Goodheart’s for representatives of the Zoo immediately stood up and requested that the City Council deny their petition. He offered the City and the Goodheart’s (who actually owned the property) $10 million dollars. Stunned, the Goodheart’s tried to explain that the property was not worth that much. “We told him it was just a 4-room office building, but he kept looking up to the sky and saying ‘Jesus wills it thus’. Jebediah, who had never been interested in “book learnin”, simply did what his bosses at the JLC requested. The Goodheart’s immediately contacted their attorney and within an hour, the sale was complete and legal. Art for Kids now had all of the money they would ever need.

The next day, the JLC realized their mistake and tried to back out of the deal, but it was too late. The unintentional good deed had been done. At a political fundraiser in Massachusetts last night, a JLC spokesperson stated, “I was deeply saddened by the news in Royal Oak, Michigan. We do not support the Arts. I repeat the JLC does not support the Arts. This was an honest mistake and one that we will correct.”

However, it may be too late to save the JLC’s image. A former member spoke with us about the falling standards of the JLC, “They had the chance to close Yellowstone and they didn’t. They have a chance to close a deal on the Everglades but are dragging their feet. This is not the organization our forefathers had in mind when they formed this country. Yesterday, they helped poor the Arts. What did they get in return? Next to nothing. You don’t help people for nothing. That’s called socialism.” Can the JLC survive this scandal? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rank Banks

With Occupy Wall Street protests gathering momentum throughout the world, I find myself finding yet another example of the growing disparity of wealth in this country. Here is a brief timeline of some of my recent personal banking events:

1. Washington Mutual (my bank) collapses.
2. JP Morgan Chase takes over.
3. After six years, I run out of blank checks.
4. I now have to pay $18.99 for simple blank checks that used to be free.
5. Decided that I am annoyed by this new fee for paper.
6. Decided to move my banking to Fidelity Investments, but keep Chase account open to deposit any checks I might receive.
7. Talk to Chase Customer Service about making this happen.

Get this: Unless I have a sizeable direct deposit, I must maintain $1500 in the checking account in order to avoid monthly fees. $1500?! It takes my Target-employed mother more than six weeks to make $1500. Most of that goes to health insurance and other bills. There is no way she would be able to get a fee-free checking account. I recently asked her why she no longer had a bank account. Her answer? It’s too expensive. Now I see that she was right. Many banks are raising their fees. Who has to bear the burden? The poor of course.

Now I’m sure there may be people who’ll say that banks are providing their customers a service and that fees help to pay for that service. Capitalism at its finest. Normally, I would agree. This time, I do not. The bank is not simply holding your money for you. They are not a storage unit that remains locked until the owner comes by with the key. No, your money is being invested. Whether through loans or the market itself, your money is being given out and then returned with interest. For most customers, their savings or checking accounts collect little or no interest. Thus, the banks keep the profits on their investments. I don’t have a problem with that. Surprised? Don’t be. If you have a lot of money in a savings or checking account it’s your fault that you’re not investing it yourself. If the banks can profit on you, they should. Your money is being loaned out to people who want to buy a car, a house or start a small business. These are good things (unless the banks are stupid about who they loan to). What’s not good is when the poorest members of society are unable to even consider getting a bank account because of the banks’ insatiable greed.

The right-wing believes that liberals are engaging in class warfare because we want the wealthy individuals and corporations to pay a fair percentage of taxes on their income. They believe it because we demand that corporations spend money to make their businesses environmentally safe. They believe it because we express anger at union-busting legislation. They believe it because we don’t like to see a handful of companies controlling entire industries. They believe it because we are finally beginning to take to the streets in protest of Wall Street’s blatantly evil greed. Well guess what conservatives; the classes have been at war for over a decade. The poor and those who support them have just never fought back before. That is until now. Wall Street has gone too far. Corporations have gotten away with too much. Elected officials of the United States of America: If you’re in their pockets, next election cycle, we’re coming for you next. Conservatives, you cry class warfare, you have not seen anything yet.

Yo’ Asshole Did What? School administrators banned the cheerleaders of Gilbert High School in Gilbert, Arizona from wearing “inappropriate” shirts to school events. Well, they must have been really bad right? What, they were supposed to help raise money and awareness for Cancer research? What, they only said “Feel for lumps. Save your bumps.”? Congratulations school administrators, you are Orbson’s Assholes of the Day. Don’t worry, I didn’t get you t-shirts to commemorate your title.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Orbson Rises Again + Juicy Squirts

Greetings and salutations Orbsonites. This weary traveler has finally made his way home and is anxious and eager to regale you with my many rants and ramblings. I have spent a great deal of time this week reviewing the news I missed and researching future Orbson Oracle entries. Next week you’ll be reading my take on everything from bank fees to skydiving sexcapades (I am SOOOO in favor of this). The Orbson Oracle is 50 entries old and is gaining more interest than I could have predicted this soon. As I prepare for the next 50 entries, I thought I would share a few random Juicy Squirts:

Occupy Wall Street: Finally, people are beginning to take to the streets in protest. What do they want? Who cares, at least they are not conservative teabaggers…. Okay, my excitement is over. Now you need to actually demand something concrete. Better yet, start spending that energy putting the right people into office. I appreciate the noise but it’s time to get behind a plan.

Obama’s Job Plan: A reputable poll shows that the vast majority of Americans like this plan. So what does the Senate do? They vote NO. Look, you can call this plan a stimulus if you would like, I don’t care. I just listen to non-partisan economists who agree that this plan is needed. This vote just proves that the people in office don’t care about the people they represent. It is time for a publicly funded election process. More on this idea soon.

iPhone 4S: Just call the thing iPhone5. Not enough new features? Then wait until you can create something better. Either way, I am getting tired of the numbered versions; I think it is time to get creative “iPhone-F.U.Android”.

Fall TV: I am loving both 2 Broke Girls and of course The Big Bang Theory. It is nice to see that over the top sex jokes are making their way onto primetime.

Work of Art Next Great Artist: This Bravo show is probably my favorite right now. This is also a great inspiration for my “Literary Art”. If you have not seen the show, check it out. This week’s theme had the artists taking “tacky” art and elevating it to “fine art”. My take? I would have taken the “tacky” painting and hung it up as is. However, I would have created (if I had any talent) an intricately carved frame that brought out some of the character of the piece. In addition, I would have carved phrases such as “All art is beautiful to someone” “You call this tacky, I call you a pompous prick.” Essentially, it would be a big “FU” to the judges who came up with the challenge. Still, the frame would have been bitchin’.

Detroit Lions 5-0: My Lions are 5-0. I am seriously concerned that something is wrong in the universe. However, since I prefer my universe to be a little off anyway, I’ll just sit back and enjoy. Go Lions!

Ghostbusters: Ghostbusters is back in the theaters. Great movie but come on, where is the new material. If Hollywood were a woman, she would need some serious lubricant because creatively, she is all dried up.