Friday, June 10, 2011


A preview of Greg Guma’s Rebel News Round Up, broadcast live on The Howie Rose Show at 11 a.m. Fridays on WOMM (105.9-FM/LP – The Radiator) in Burlington. This week: Deconstructing the Reagan myth, Comedy Central trumps Fox, manufacturing mental illness, foreclosing on Facebook, food war, the Weiner factor, and suborbital action.

Let’s begin with a private sector initiative we can all get behind…

DANES IN SPACE: A company called Copenhagen Suborbitals has a “non-profit rocket” that was successfully launched on Tuesday -- from a catamaran launch platform in the Baltic Sea. The organization plans to eventually send an amateur-built manned rocket into suborbital space. The craft includes a HEAT 1-X rocket booster and a Tycho Brahe capsule that can accomodate a crew of one. Cramped, but still. The ascent last week was a bit sideways, but the team is confident about eventually getting it straight. This may be the world’s largest amateur-built, space-worthy rocket. The objective is “to show the world that human space flight is possible without major government budgets and administration.” Now there's a reality show.

JOKES RULE, FOX FALLS: Comedy Central shows, particularly The Daily Show, are beating Fox News and the rest of cable in the ratings. May brought their best Nielsen numbers yet. Jon Stewart's Daily Show dominated its time slot, posting an impressive 19 percent increase in viewership. Meanwhile, Fox News saw an overall decline in the highly desirable 25-to-54-year old demographic. Total ratings were down 10 percent. Bill O'Reilly dropped 9 percent, Sean Hannity 6. Greta Van Susteren and Glenn Beck saw the steepest losses. She lost 12 percent of her audience, his slipped by 17.

Beck has been a loser on TV for months (longer off camera), which helps to explain why Fox is letting him go. His TV drop is echoed in ratings for radio shows hosted by both Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Both blowhards lost a third of their listeners last year. That’s according to Arbitron, the industry standard. Has Right-Wing talk finally peaked?

The Daily Show averaged 2.3 million viewers, beating every Fox show except Bill O'Reilly, who attracts an average of 2.8 million people. Stewart and Stephen Colbert beat all other cable and broadcast programs in various categories, including most affluent viewers and most active websties.

Great. But what does it mean when the most watched news shows on cable are satirical?

FORECLOSURE FRIENDS: A strange development overseas may be coming to the US: using Facebook to send legal notices, including foreclosure notifications. According to Bloomberg news, the practice has already been accepted by courts in Australia, Canada, and Great Britain. Not the kind of friending most users have in mind.

FOOD WARS: True or false? Warnings from British intelligence that al-Qaeda and other groups could contaminate the food supply are part of a continuing plot line that hides the obvious: our food already has been poisoned. Ok, it's a rhetorical question.

LOST MEMORIES: The weekly rant/essay, Unpacking the Reagan Myth (out on the web)

People sometimes say I’m soft on the Left and leaders like Bernie Sanders. I say the political establishment, as well as most mainstream and right wing media, have been more than soft on Ronald Reagan. They’ve been spreading a false history and a fake biography, perhaps one of the Big Lies since the Cold War. Has America been roofied by reaganism, and can we remember what really happened before getting fooled again...?   Read the Essay

Other Topics: Sex, Politics, and the Weiner Factor – another installment of men behaving badly in power. Plus, Is Big Pharma increasing mental Illness?

What’s Ahead: Michelle Obama is coming to Vermont at the end of June: What does she need to know? Does anyone beyond the usual suspects plan to “greet” her?

Tune in The Radiator (WOMM-FM/LP) for details.

You actually want more?

Sometimes people who hear a show or have seen something I’ve done over the years ask: Hey, where can I can get more of those great insights, or maybe Greg's various books, videos and CDs. Masochists, I hear you. In recent years I’ve published several hundred articles, in print and online. And yes, I am exhausted. But some of the best archived collections, with overlaps, are the following:

Some have a few articles, some have dozens. The style, tone and content varies – from formal prose and features to reports, commentaries and satire. So keep that in mind. Still other writing can be found through searches on Toward Freedom, Truthout and Countercurrents.

Most of my books are available via Amazon. So, don't hesitate to spend money. Writers must eat. Personally, I recommend Spirits of Desire, an entertaining novel, and The People's Republic, on the rise of Bernie Sanders. In addition to Maverick Media, I’m developing a new site, The Vermont Way, in conjunction with a book that will appear next year.

Meanwhile, keep in touch on Twitter and Facebook. Love it when that happens.