A new political party in California?
It is a fairly widely accepted fact these days that most people have pretty much had it up to here with both major political parties. The country, along with the State of California, continues to edge towards the kind of financial oblivion that threatens to consume Europe, yet neither of our political parties seems to have the will or the wisdom to do anything about it. So utterly devoted are they to shoveling our tax money to their respective constituencies that they seem oblivious to the very real dangers facing all of us. Obviously both of them need to be fired.
So how do you go up against two massively financed major political parties, organizations that not only benefit from the hundreds of millions of dollars given to them by powerful financial interests, but also exclusive 24/7 news coverage on television and in all other media as well? You turn to the same thing that has brought low the newspapers, entertainment industries, and much of traditional retail. The Internet.
Here is how the NBC-LA owned blog Prop Zero (click here) lays it out:
A "record breaking" 1.62 million signatures qualified Americans Elect for next November's ballot. A state as large and media-centric as California will put the group in the national spotlight. According to its website (click here), Americans Elect "is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is not affiliated with any political party, ideology or candidate. It is funded exclusively by individual contributions - and not from corporate, labor, special interest, foreign or lobbyist sources." Its goal is "to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters - not the political system," by "using the Internet to break the gridlock in Washington, open up the political process and give every single voter - Democrat, Republican or independent - the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012." The "virtual" selection process will feature the country's first, on-line Presidential nominating convention.
The idea of using the Internet to go directly to the people and nominate untainted state and national candidates, and thereby cutting out the corrupt middlemen in Sacramento and Washington, certainly does appeal to me. Of course, if Americans Elect should then turn around and offer its nomination to someone like Donald Trump, well, then I'll have to go and look for a 4th party.
The obligatory Patch financial report
The glee I used to feel when dropping the dime on Patch's parlous finances isn't quite as automatic as it used to be. There is no denying that the Sierra Madre franchise has definitely improved as of late. The articles are better written and actually go beyond three paragraphs from time to time. Plus those currently running it don't seem to be looking over their shoulder quite as much out of fear that they might be displeasing City Hall. A debilitating condition the site's previous editor seemed to suffer from greatly. You can actually learn interesting things by reading Patch these days, something that wasn't always the case.
However, there are problems. A paper out of Connecticut (home of Tim Armstrong) called The Day has an article up now called "Planted Patches not producing AOL fruit" (click here), and the news is not so good for those living inside the hyperlocal habitat. Apparently some new investment partners don't like some of the numbers they've been seeing.
Starboard Value LP, an investment management firm that seeks to invest in undervalued and underperforming public companies and turn them around, has purchased about 4.5 percent of AOL shares, making it one of the largest shareholders. In a letter to Mr. Armstrong and the board, Starboard Managing Member Jeffrey C. Smith outlines what he sees as the problems at AOL and seeks a meeting to consider a change in course.
AOL, with shares off 36 percent this year, would be successful if not for "the company's massive operating losses in its Display business, which they state could be in excess of $500 million, as well as continued concern over further acquisitions and investments into money-losing growth initiatives like Patch," writes Mr. Smith.
"AOL acquired Patch, a news and information platform for small towns, from an investment firm that you (Mr.Armstrong) founded," states Mr. Smith, digging in the knife. "We believe that Patch may alone lose as much as $150 million in 2011 based on heavy fixed expenses of $160 million ..."
In more chipper news, it appears that the multi-headed Lady Elizabeth Wistar (LEW) has been unceremoniously booted from the Sierra Madre Patch website for planting news of non-existent events almost daily on their Events Calendar. The tip off apparently being specious announcements that consciousness raising meetings were being conducted by Our Lady at The Bottle Shop. In the screw-top wine aisle, I'm sure.
This seems to put LEW firmly into the 4F category. Fake identity, Fake events, Fake website and, of course, Fake news. Which probably explains the credibility she enjoys with Sierra Madre's small but raucous alternative reality set.
Trouble at the Rose Bowl Parade?
It looks like the Occupy folks are planning to take their occasionally disruptive campaign to this year's Rose Bowl Parade. This from the Los Angeles Times (click here):
Rose Parade security beefed up as Occupy plans protest - Facing a protest by Occupy demonstrators, Pasadena police will bolster their already robust presence at the 2012 Rose Parade.
Pasadena police and Tournament of Roses officials have been negotiating with Occupy forces for several weeks on a plan that they hope will prevent any disruptions to Monday's parade. Pasadena officials are allowing the Occupy group to march on the parade route after all the official floats have passed.
Protesters intend to march with large banners that decry wealth inequality in the United States and to unveil a few colorful "floats" of their own, including a giant people-powered octopus, said Pete Thottam, an Occupy spokesman.
The octopus - to be made out of recycled bags and stretching 40 feet from tentacle to tentacle - is designed to represent the stranglehold that Wall Street has on the political process, he said.
Just so you know, the official Tattler position on the wealth inequality question is that we are against it, and will continue to be so until we ourselves acquire some wealth. At which time we will then advocate the arrest of all Occupy persons and demand that they be charged and deported under the terrorist statues of the Homeland Security Act.
The Eagle flies again
Bill Tice has once again thrown his hat into the City Council campaign ring. In other news, the sun came up in the east this morning and, if it gets cloudy, we could see some rain.
The Tattler sets a new record
Sometime late last night this site waltzed past its old monthly record of 43,653 hits. As of this early morning typing we are just beyond the 44K mark and, with a little less than 4 days left in the month, could break the 50,000 threshold by New Year's Eve. Which is quite a lot of traffic for an independent news site that focuses mostly on the affairs and foibles of a city of less than 11,000 souls.
Which just goes to show, if you want to have a successful website, nothing succeeds like controversy. The Tattler would like to thank all of our critics for their continued and energetic support. We probably couldn't have done it without you.