The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

There too much
wasted on hate
and evil in this

We don't need it
in America.

When the idiot
Puppet head Boy
King Bush II
took a police
matter and made
it a military one,
he created such a
foul up beyond
control. And we
need to figure a
way for our
enemies to pay
for it. But, by
enemies —
I mean both
and the
Carlyle Group -
who profited
when ill-equipped
American troops
had to buy better
body armor from

That's a post
for a different
day though.

Why teabaggers
can no longer call
themselves patriots
... just evil idiots who'll
vote against their own
best interests.
We camp Youtube
where we'll see:

Tea Partiers Mock
And Scorn Apparent
Parkinson's Victim

COLUMBUS - In a scene reminiscent of non-violent civil rights confrontations from the 1960s, Ohio Tea Partiers quickly turned ugly when facing off with health care advocates in front of Ohio Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy's office Tuesday.

In shocking video taken by a Columbus Dispatch reporter Doral Chenowith yesterday, Tea Party protestors mock a seated counter-protestor with a sign indicating he has Parkinson's disease. They then proceed to hurl wadded up bills at him shouting, "I'll decide when to give you money!"

On March 17th outside of Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy's (D-OH15) district office teabaggers mocked and scorned a man who had a sign stating that he had Parkinson's. They told him "he's in the wrong end of town to ask for handouts", called him a communist and threw dollar bills at him to "pay for his health care".

Category: News & Politics

Bob, the man with Parkinson's who was targeted by the Tea Partiers, sat down with ProgressOhio for an interview. He is 60 years old and was first diagnosed with Parkinsons 15 years ago. He has two masters degrees and a Ph.D. from Cornell. He taught at the University of Michigan and worked as a nuclear engineer.

Bob was able to have a $150,000 surgery that greatly increased his quality of life, thanks to Medicare and the Cleveland Clinic. He attended the event in Columbus because he believes in giving back and thinks everyone should have access to affordable health insurance and quality health care.
Category: Nonprofits & Activism

Remember Sparky doesn't believe in Baby Jesus. As it is Blasphemy. Just Saying. And now we look at Huffington Politics ...

Michael Moore Michael Moore:
My Congressman,
Bart Stupak, Has
Neither a Uterus
Nor a Brain


I live in Michigan, in one of the 31 counties represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by none other than Mr. Bart Stupak, a Democrat. You've probably never heard of him. He's a pretty quiet guy, a former Michigan State Police trooper who boldly decided to run some 18 years ago as a Democrat in a rural part of Michigan that votes almost exclusively for Republicans (yes, I know -- what am I doing here? I'll save that story for a future letter).

His voting record is pretty conservative for a Democrat, but he's had a few shining moments. In the wake of the Columbine shootings, he voted for some gun control, a not-too-popular position to take here in northern Michigan. The NRA came after him with all they had in 2000.

But the good people of this area knew Bart's story and understood: He's been touched personally by gun violence. In a terrible tragedy, his teenage son, depressed and confused from the medication he'd been prescribed, killed himself with the family's .38 revolver. Despite the NRA's best efforts, Bart was returned to Congress by an overwhelming margin.

Yet, here we are, just days before a weak, simple-minded, but now ultimately necessary health care bill has a chance of making it through Congress -- and Bart Stupak is threatening to derail it because he wants to make sure that no woman who buys her own insurance with her own money is able to have a medically-insured abortion. We're not talkin' about federally-funded abortions -- those were stupidly outlawed long ago. Bart Stupak doesn't like that the Democrats' bill doesn't prohibit private insurance programs, set up for those whose employers don't provide it, from providing abortion coverage if they get any federal funding -- even to an individual woman paying without any government help. That's it.

A group representing most of America's 59,000 Catholic nuns has written to Congress and said that Obama's health care plan should be passed. Stupak, instead, has chosen to diss the nuns. Last night he went on TV and dug his heels in -- he said he intended to stop this health care bill and he didn't care what anyone had to say.

Now, it would be easy for some to just pass this attitude off on his Catholicism -- he believes what he believes and you have to respect him for that, even if you don't agree with him. But it's not that simple. It turns out that Stupak has been living in a subsidized room in the "C Street House," run by the infamous right-wing Christian cult "The Family." It was in this former convent that GOP Rep. Chip Pickering (according to his former wife) carried on the affair that ended his marriage. It's where South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford sought refuge as his marriage fell apart thanks to his affair. And then there's C Street roommate Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, who cheated on his wife with the wife of one of his top staffers. (The Justice Department is currently investigating whether Ensign committed a felony while paying off his aide to keep him quiet.)

C Street is where power, money, sex and religion meet. So am I led to believe that Bart Stupak lives in a brothel and belongs to a cult? He says he was just renting a room there. But that just doesn't ring true. Something stinks to the high heavens here, and Stupak sees no irony in taking his holier-than-thou position while living in a house that should be dubbed "Hypocrites' Hideaway."

If Stupak were truly pro-life then he'd vote for this bill. Right now, a mother in the U.S. has a ten times greater chance of dying in childbirth than a mother does in Ireland. If you really wanted to reduce abortions, you'd have to ask yourself this question: Why does godless France, where abortion is nearly free (it's covered by their universal health insurance), have 20% fewer abortions per capita than we do? What's even more amazing about that statistic is that you can't even get an abortion in America in 87% of our counties because there isn't one single doctor in those counties who will perform one! 87%!! The Right has scared them to death -- sometimes literally -- out of performing an otherwise legal, safe procedure. So, you can say women have "choice" in this country, but the reality is the "choice" doesn't exist in the majority of the nation. "Right to Life" has essentially won this battle. (My personal position: I don't get to have a position -- I don't have a uterus. If a Senate that was 90% female told me I couldn't have a vasectomy or made it a crime to leave the toilet seat up, I guess I might object.)

What is "life"? An egg is life, a sperm is life. Those sperm aren't running on a battery pack. They are living creatures, as is a fertilized egg. But they're not "human beings." A human being is something that can exist outside the womb of a mother. If you think a fertilized egg is a human being, then I respectfully ask you to go down to the DMV today and have them change your birthday on your driver's license to 9 months older than what you've been telling everybody.

So back to my question. Why do we have an abortion rate 20% higher than France's (and more than twice as high as Germany's), especially considering most doctors here won't perform them? The answer is any country that has universal health care, where contraception is free, where child care is free or inexpensive, where there is less poverty because people don't become bankrupt over medical bills -- those societies are simply going to have fewer unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

And there the mask gets pulled off the Bart Stupaks and the "Christians." If the statistics show that countries with government-provided universal health care and nearly-free abortions are, in fact, the countries with the fewest abortions, then why on earth wouldn't the Right be the first in line to support universal health care?

Because it isn't about "universal health care." It's about controlling women, period. It's about sticking your nose in other people's business. It's about pushing your religious beliefs on everyone else because voices in your head tell you your Jesus is The One -- even though your Jesus never said one single solitary word in any of the four gospels of the Bible about abortion or fertilized eggs being human. You've just gone and made it up about "life beginning at conception." Jesus never said that. The little voice in your head said that, the same little voice that wants your grubby paws on women's uteruses. You need help. Please get some help and leave the rest of us alone, Mr. Stupak and friends.

After all, isn't it enough that women can't get an abortion in any of the 31 Michigan counties you represent in Congress? There is not one single abortion provider here in the north of the state, according to Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan. Hey, Bart -- you've already won! Women's rights have been stamped out in your entire Congressional district! Woo hoo!

So why don't you leave the rest of the country alone, step out of the way, and let them have the minimal health coverage this bill will give them? You wouldn't really crush the sick and infirm because of your own personal agenda, would you? What would Jesus do?

In the meantime, Bart, my neighbors and I are going to make sure a real Democrat runs against you in August's primary here. One of our religious beliefs in these parts is to never impose our religious beliefs on others.

Michael Moore

Sam Stein Sam Stein:
Tea Party Protests:
'Ni**er,' 'Fa**ot'
Shouted At Members
Of Congress

First Posted: 03-20-10 04:56 PM | Updated: 03-20-10 09:00 PM

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.

Preceding the president's speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident.

But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. "Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."

"It doesn't make me nervous as all," the congressman said, when asked how the mob-like atmosphere made him feel. "In fact, as I said to one heckler, I am the hardest person in the world to intimidate, so they better go somewhere else."

Asked if he wanted an apology from the group of Republican lawmakers who had addressed the crowd and, in many ways, played on their worst fears of health care legislation, the Democratic Party, and the president, Clyburn replied:
Story continues below

"A lot of us have been saying for a long time that much of this, much of this is not about health care a all. And I think a lot of those people today demonstrated that this is not about health care... it is about trying to extend a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful."

UPDATE 6:55 PM ET: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's office released the following statement:

... For many of the members of the CBC, like John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver who worked in the civil rights movement, and for Mr. Frank who has struggled in the cause of equality, this is not the first time they have been spit on during turbulent times.

This afternoon, the Congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The Congressman would like to thank the US Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the others Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care. After all the Members were safe, a full report was taken and the matter was handled by the US Capitol Police. The man who spat on the Congressman was arrested, but the Congressman has chosen not to press charges. He has left the matter with the Capitol Police.

This is not the first time the Congressman has been called the "n" word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured in his years fighting for equal rights for all Americans. That being said, he is disappointed that in the 21st century our national discourse has devolved to the point of name calling and spitting. He looks forward to taking a historic vote on health care reform legislation tomorrow, for the residents of the Fifth District of Missouri and for all Americans. He believes deeply that tomorrow's vote is, in fact, a vote for equality and to secure health care as a right for all. Our nation has a history of struggling each time we expand rights. Today's protests are no different, but the Congressman believes this is worth fighting for.

UPDATE 7:48 PM ET: The Buffalo News reports that Rep. Louise Slaughter's district office in Pine View, New York, was vandalized on Saturday.

Sometime early this morning, someone threw a brick through the front window of her Pine Avenue office.

The damage was discovered about 12:30 a.m., city police said.

The brick put a hole in the outer-most window at the office at 1910 Pine Ave., but did not damage a second interior window, police reported. A piece of broken brick believed to have caused the damage was found at the scene.

Damage was estimated at $350.

UPDATE 8:57 PM ET: The Associated Press reports that Capitol Police arrested the man who spit on Cleaver, but the Congressman won't press charges.

See two of the signs from that day's protests below:

I'll call that above behavior racist and un-American.

Evil Mean People need to go live in a real communist country and not return.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sparky says:
Now - we'll broaden
the isolated poor
Jersey Joe's POV wider —
as we camp HuffPoCo
At a time when our political and financial landscapes are littered with villains and those unwilling to take them on, it's refreshing to find someone in the halls of power that we can unabashedly celebrate.

Enter Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware. Kaufman, Joe Biden's longtime chief of staff who was appointed to serve out his old boss's term, was originally thought to be a Senate placeholder.

But, far from biding his time, Kaufman has emerged as one of the Senate's fiercest critics of Wall Street and a champion of the need to push for a serious rebooting of our financial system.

When I met with Kaufman earlier today in his small, basement "hideaway" in the Capitol ("it took Sen. Biden 15 years to get one of these; I was lucky to get one right away"), the first thing I wanted to know was what had inspired his transformation from behind-the-scenes staffer to fire-breathing accidental leader. Was there a Road to Damascus moment?

"In the beginning," he told me, "though I was very upset about what had happened on Wall Street, it wasn't one of my key objectives. In fact, the committees I got on were Foreign Affairs and Judiciary. But then I started reading more and more about the way the SEC was failing to curb abusive practices when it came to short selling. So I started speaking out on that... and the blogosphere really got involved, reporting what I was saying. Then people started reaching out to me: 'You think this is bad about short selling, you ought to take a look at this'... or 'you ought to take a look at that!' So we started getting all this information, and then checking it out with academics, folks from the industry, we just started building this whole repository of things that were still going on as if nothing bad had ever happened."

Kaufman, who turned 71 on Monday, has a very unusual resume for a senator. He earned an engineering degree from Duke, followed by an MBA from Wharton. He then worked at DuPont before shifting his focus to government, working as Biden's chief of staff from 1976 to 1995.

The first piece of financial reform legislation he cosponsored, along with Sens. Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley, gave federal prosecutors combating financial fraud more power. President Obama signed the bill into law last May.

Since then, Kaufman has immersed himself in the often byzantine battles over financial regulation -- and watched as financial reform has been watered-down and lobbied within an inch of its life.

Frustrated, Kaufman has moved to the forefront of those willing to stand up and demand real change. While far too many of his Senate colleagues tinker around the edges of our broken financial system, creating what Kaufman has derided as "compromise measures that give only the illusion of change and a false sense of accomplishment," Kaufman is fighting to create a financial infrastructure that will protect us from having another financial meltdown.

In the last week alone, Kaufman has taken to the Senate floor to deliver two major -- and blistering -- speeches. The first was a masterful overview, offering chapter and verse on what led to the financial crisis and what, specifically, needs to be done to ensure that we "build a regulatory system that will endure for generations instead of one that will be laid bare by an even bigger crisis in perhaps just a few years or a decade's time."

Kaufman quite simply wants to put an end to "too big to fail" banks: "We need to break up these institutions before they fail, not stand by with a plan waiting to catch them when they do fail."

He believes strongly in the need for a "Glass-Steagall for the 21st century," the need to radically clean up the over-the-counter derivatives market, the need to make the shadow banking world far more transparent, and the need to better address "the fundamental conflicts of interest on Wall Street" that lead to securities fraud. Kaufman, looking very Lincoln-esque with his long, thin face and lanky build, doesn't mince words.

"Individuals at Enron, Merrill Lynch, and Arthur Andersen were called to account for their participation in fraudulent activities," said Kaufman. "But it is quite possible that no one will be held to account, either in terms of criminal or civil penalties, due to the deception and misrepresentation manifest in our most recent credit cycle."

Monday, on his 71st birthday, Kaufman took to the Senate floor to lambast the loss of the rule of law on Wall Street -- his outrage sparked by the damning report from the bankruptcy examiner for Lehman Brothers.

He reminded his colleagues that the American taxpayer has laid out over $2.5 trillion to "save the system," and asked: "What exactly did we save?" His answer: "a system of overwhelming and concentrated financial power that has become dangerous... a system in which the rule of law has broken yet again."

After saying that he was "concerned that the revelations about Lehman Brothers are just the tip of the iceberg," he explained the overarching reason reform is essential:

"At the end of the day, this is a test of whether we have one justice system in this country or two. If we don't treat a Wall Street firm that defrauded investors of millions of dollars the same way we treat someone who stole $500 from a cash register, then how can we expect our citizens to have faith in the rule of law?... Our markets can only flourish when Americans again trust that they are fair, transparent, and accountable."

The great thing about Kaufman is that he isn't afraid to use direct, pointed language, saying that "fraud and lawlessness were key ingredients" in the financial collapse. And he's willing to name names: in his attack on derivatives, he called out Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers as key cheerleaders for unregulated derivatives markets.

Contrast that with Tim Geithner who, during his interview with Rachel Maddow this week, not once, not twice, but three times ascribed the financial crisis to a "failure of government." One time it was "an outrageous failure of government." The next it was "a tragic failure of government." The third, it was "a terrible failure of government." But before it was failure of government -- i.e. of regulations -- wasn't it an outrageous, tragic, and terrible failure of Wall Street?

Spending time with Sen. Kaufman, and witnessing his passion and determination to fix the system, I asked myself: What conditions helped turn him into a fearless crusader? And how do we get more like him?

Leaving aside his personal character and wisdom, which we cannot duplicate, there is one very big condition we can: The absence of money as a factor in our leaders' decision making. Kaufman didn't need to raise any money to become a senator -- he was appointed. And he doesn't need to raise any money for his reelection campaign -- he's not running.

At 71, with a long, distinguished career in government under his belt, Kaufman is completely unencumbered by the need to curry favor and approach moneyed interests with his hat in his hand.

So let's all take a good look at Ted Kaufman. This is what it looks like when our representatives are not beholden to special interests, and are only serving the public interest. HuffPoCo Reporting:
Shahien Nasiripour:
Senator Calls For
Aggressive Financial
Reform, Deplores
Current 'Incremental' Steps
Vice President Joe Biden's replacement in the Senate

In a Thursday morning speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) blasted the "incrementalism" approach to fixing the nation's broken financial system, laid bare by a financial crisis that wiped out trillions of dollars in wealth and sent the economy into a tailspin not seen since the Great Depression.

Rather than nibbling around the edges, Kaufman wants to impose strict limits on financial firms' activities; significantly cut them down in size; and wants Congress to act more forcefully because federal banking and securities regulators failed to protect the public from an increasingly dangerous financial industry.

The fact is, he intoned, "the government's response to the financial meltdown has only made the industry bigger, more concentrated and more complex."

Because of that, "[f]inancial regulatory reform is perhaps the most important legislation that the Congress will address for many years to come," said Kaufman, Vice President Joe Biden's replacement in the Senate. Otherwise, "if we don't get it right, the consequences of another financial meltdown could truly be devastating."

Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and contributing editor to the Huffington Post, said it's "the speech for which we have been waiting."

Excerpts below...

Story continues below

Kaufman on the need for fundamental reform:

I start by asking a simple question: Given that deregulation caused the crisis, why don't we go back to the statutory and regulatory frameworks of the past that were proven successes in ensuring financial stability?...

Mind you, this is a financial crisis that necessitated a $2.5 trillion bailout. And that amount includes neither the many trillions of dollars more that were committed as guarantees for toxic debt nor the de facto bailout that banks received through the Federal Reserve's easing of monetary policy...

Given the high costs of our policy and regulatory failures, as well as the reckless behavior on Wall Street, why should those of us who propose going back to the proven statutory and regulatory ideas of the past bear the burden of proof? The burden of proof should be upon those who would only tinker at the edges of our current system of financial regulation...

Congress needs to draw hard lines that provide fundamental systemic reforms, the very kind of protections we had under Glass-Steagall. We need to rebuild the wall between the government-guaranteed part of the financial system and those financial entities that remain free to take on greater risk...

The notion that the most recent crisis was a "once in a century" event is a fiction. Former Treasury Secretary Paulson, National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers, and JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon all concede that financial crises occur every five years or so.

Kaufman on the growth of megabanks:

Most of the largest banks are products of serial mergers. For example, J.P. Morgan Chase is a product of J.P. Morgan, Chase Bank, Chemical Bank, Manufacturers Hanover, Banc One, Bear Stearns, and Washington Mutual. Meanwhile, Bank of America is an amalgam of that predecessor bank, Nation's Bank, Barnett Banks, Continental Illinois, MBNA, Fleet Bank, and finally Merrill Lynch.

Kaufman on the failure of regulators:

Regulatory neglect, however, permitted a good model to mutate and grow into a sad farce...

In fact, one of the primary purposes behind the securitization market was to arbitrage bank capital standards. Banks that could show regulators that they could offload risks through asset securitizations or through guarantees on their assets in the form of derivatives called credit default swaps (CDS) received more favorable regulatory capital treatment, allowing them to build their balance sheets to more and more stratospheric levels.

While this was a recipe for disaster, it reflected in part the extent to which the and complexity of this new era of quantitative finance exceeded the regulators' own comprehension...

In the brief history I outlined earlier, the regulators sat idly by as our financial institutions bulked up on short-term debt to finance large inventories of collateralized debt obligations backed by subprime loans and leveraged loans that financed speculative buyouts in the corporate sector.

They could have sounded the alarm bells and restricted this behavior, but they did not. They could have raised capital requirements, but instead farmed out this function to credit rating agencies and the banks themselves. They could have imposed consumer-related protections sooner and to a greater degree, but they did not. The sad reality is that regulators had substantial powers, but chose to abdicate their responsibilities.

Kaufman on Too Big To Fail and the government's response during the crisis:

This provided them with permanent borrowing privileges at the Federal Reserve's discount window - without having to dispose of risky assets. In a sense, it was an official confirmation that they were covered by the government safety net because they were literally "too big to fail"...

We haven't seen such concentration of financial power since the days of Morgan, Rockefeller and Carnegie...

By expanding the safety net -- as we did in response to the last crisis -- to cover ever larger and more complex institutions heavily engaged in speculative activities, I fear that we may be sowing the seeds for an even bigger crisis in only a few years or a decade...

Because of their implicit guarantee, "too big to fail" banks enjoy a major funding advantage - and leverage caps by themselves do not address that. Our biggest banks and financial institutions have to become significantly smaller if we are to make any progress at all.

Kaufman on current financial reform proposals:

Unfortunately, the current reform proposals focus more on reorganizing and consolidating our regulatory infrastructure, which does nothing to address the most basic issue in the banking industry: that we still have gigantic banks capable of causing the very financial shocks that they themselves cannot withstand...

While no doubt necessary, [resolution authority] is no panacea. No matter how well Congress crafts a resolution mechanism, there can never be an orderly wind-down, particularly during periods of serious stress, of a $2-trillion institution like Citigroup that had hundreds of billions of off-balance-sheet assets, relies heavily on wholesale funding, and has more than a toehold in over 100 countries.

There is no cross-border resolution authority now, nor will there be for the foreseeable future...

Yet experts in the private sector and governments agree - national interests make any viable international agreement on how financial failures are resolved difficult to achieve. A resolution authority based on U.S. law will do precisely nothing to address this issue...

While I support having a systemic risk council and a consolidated bank regulator, these are necessary but not sufficient reforms - the President's Working Group on Financial Markets has actually played a role in the past similar to that of the proposed council, but to no discernible effect. I do not see how these proposals alone will address the key issue of "too big to fail."

Kaufman on separating Main Street banking from Wall Street trading:

Massive institutions that combine traditional commercial banking and investment banking are rife with conflicts and are too large and complex to be effectively managed...

To those who say "repealing Glass-Steagall did not cause the crisis, that it began at Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG," I say that the large commercial banks were engaged in exactly the same behavior as Bear Stearns, Lehman and AIG - and would have collapsed had the federal government not stepped in and taken extraordinary measures...

By statutorily splitting apart massive financial institutions that house both banking and securities operations, we will both cut these firms down to more reasonable and manageable s and rightfully limit the safety net only to traditional banks. President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Richard Fisher recently stated: "I think the disagreeable but sound thing to do regarding institutions that are ['too big to fail'] is to dismantle them over time into institutions that can be prudently managed and regulated across borders. And this should be done before the next financial crisis, because it surely cannot be done in the middle of a crisis."

A growing number of people are calling for this change. They include former FDIC Chairman Bill Isaac, former Citigroup Chairman John Reed, famed investor George Soros, Nobel-Prize-winning-economist Joseph Stiglitz, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Thomas Hoenig, and Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, among others. A chastened Alan Greenspan also adds to that chorus, noting: "If they're too big to fail, they're too big. In 1911 we broke up Standard Oil -- so what happened? The individual parts became more valuable than the whole. Maybe that's what we need to do."

WATCH Kaufman discuss derivatives:

Watch Kaufman discussing Greenspan and Too Big To Fail:

If the video fails - go to the source. Mea Culpa.

Related News On Huffington Post:
Alan Greenspan At Brookings: Regulators 'Did Little' To Stop The Rise Of Too Big To Fail Firms
Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, will be presenting [1] a 48-page paper [2] to the Brookings Institution tomorrow. For years considered "The...
Lehman Brothers Scandal: Blogs Beat The Mainstream Press On The Key Details
Look, I know that Lehman collapsed a year and a half ago, but this is a major story -- one that finally gets awfully close...
AIG Bonuses: Insurer To Withhold $21 Million In 'Retention Payments'
March 12 (Bloomberg) -- American International Group Inc.'s effort to reach its commitment of $45 million in bonus concessions are focusing on former employees who...
Alan Blinder, Former Fed Vice Chairman: It's 'Amazing' That Financial Reform Hasn't Happened Yet
"An astounding fact to me is that we are sitting here in March 2010 and we've done nothing in the way of financial reform up...
Huffington Post bloggers:

Ryan GrimHuffPoCo: Ryan Grim: 'Doc Fix' Memo FAKE? Health Care Memo Spread By Media, GOP Called 'Hoax'

Democrats are charging that the GOP made up a fake messaging memo that purports to be from Democrats as a way to undermine the party's message at the last minute. The memo was circulated to reporters -- including this one -- by a spokesman to House Minority Leader John Boehner. Politico reported on the memo and posted a story which the Drudge Report featured prominently.

"The memo is a fake," said Kristie Greco, a spokesperson for Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.). "It's an under-handed and unethical attempt to distract from the health care debate. If opponents of health insurance reform had a credible policy alternative they wouldn't have to resort to nefarious games."

Several anonymous Democratic aides similarly told Talking Points Memo's Christina Bellantoni that the memo was a trick:

"We have checked with every Democratic office, no one has ever seen it. It did not come out of a Democratic office," the aide said, adding that media outlets printing the memo have not checked with leadership offices if the memo is authentic. A second Democratic leadership aide confirmed the memo was not sent by the Democrats. A third Democratic aide also said the memo is fake, citing the "draft" stamp and saying no one uses such things.

"If this were a Democratic communications person who wrote this, they should be fired, because this looks like Republican talking points," the third Democratic aide told TPMDC.

Politico has since pulled the memo, leaving Drudge to link instead to a page that reads "UPDATE: Democrats challenge authenticity of 'doc fix' memo."

The right-wing blog Big Government, however, still has it up as evidence that Democrats intend to mislead the American people about the cost of the bill.

"The facts remain the same. If Democratic leadership is going to do the doc fix bill, then they're low-balling the cost of the bill by $330 billion. If they're not, why is the AMA endorsing it?" said Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel.

Story continues below

UPDATE 3/19 5:20pm: Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) just read from the memo on the House floor. And Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) responded by ripping him and demanding his source.

"What they're doing is producing fake memos," he said.

"That memo that he read from has no source. He will not return to the microphone to tell us what it was because he took something that was created by the opponents of health care -- and there are a whole lot of them, mostly paid for by the health insurance industry -- and came to the rostrum with a fake document," said Weiner.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) interrupted. "Parliamentary inquiry," she yelled.

"I don't yield for that," said Weiner, continuing. "There is no reluctance to talk about the real CBO score: $1.2 trillion in savings for the American people. That's the fact. That's nothing we're hiding from."

"Will the gentleman yield?"

"I will yield only if the person will tell us the source of the document."

A chaotic back-and-forth broke out until Weiner regained the floor.

"Ladies and gentlemen, what you saw just now is a microcosm for this debate: A real piece of legislation that for a year we've been working on and a fake document that they won't even give a source for," he said.

Excerpts from the memo:

-- Do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative....

-- anti-reform extremists are making a last-ditch effort to derail reform. Do not give them ground by debating details... Again, instead focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered. In the critical remaining hours of the debate we must drive the narrative of "health reform is deficit reduction." ...

-- most health staff are already aware that our legislation does not contain a "doc fix"... The inclusion of a full SGR repeal [doc fix] would undermine reform's budget neutrality. So, again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only n the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered."

Here is the full memo:


This week, Senator Lindsey Graham made comments about Speaker Pelosi's efforts to galvanize support for health care reform, stating that she has Democratic Members "liquored up on sake" to make a "suicide run" to pass reform. Later he added, "I don't know whether it's sake or moonshine but no sober person would do this."


For the Senator to add "moonshiners" to an already unsavory sake and suicide statement, does a disservice to the underlying issue. Citing that "no sober person would do [healthcare reform]", because Americans "do not need to lose their choice in health care", I question who has, in fact - to use the Senator's words - "lost their political mind". This "lose of choice" is exactly what this bill prevents by putting the healthcare industry in its place and by returning control to the American people. If the Senator has problems with us capping premiums or covering preexisting conditions, then I suggest he come clean on his addiction to the habits of the healthcare industry.

As a Japanese American who was interned along with my family during World War II, I am personally disheartened that Senator Graham chose to use racially tinged rhetoric to express his opposition to health care reform. There is a way to engage in healthy debate without ostracizing the 16.2 million AAPIs in this country, who are an important part of this democracy and health care reform. Many face barriers to quality health care, such as the high cost of health care, racial and ethnic health disparities, cultural isolation, and language barriers, to name a few.

We must pass health care legislation now, and we must show respect for our fellow Americans as we do so. This bill is an important starting point for efforts to improve quality of health care, increase access to health care for more Americans, lower costs for working families, and protect small businesses. I am also proud that it includes provisions that begin to address the racial and ethnic disparities that so many vulnerable communities face.

This is no drunken "kamikaze" mission, but a thoughtful and essential one that will serve all working families in this country, and return control from the health insurance companies to the American people.

I join Speaker Pelosi and call upon my colleagues in the U.S. Congress to send this critical health care legislation to President Obama's desk this week.

Rep Mike Honda is Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
Jon Stewart's Spends
Half His Show
Skewering Glenn Beck
Jon Stewart Glenn Beck Parody
Jon Stewart does a parody of Glenn Beck.
on Stewart gets a lot of material from Glenn Beck, but the Daily Show host went all-in on Thursday night with a whopping 15-minute parody of the Fox News host.

Words don't really do it justice, unless they're on a chalkboard, so just enjoy the video ...



Sparky says over and out!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sparky: Deaths that diminish us ...

Alex Chilton
Live in France, 2004.
Background information
Birth name William Alexander Chilton
Born December 28, 1950
Memphis, Tennessee(1950-12-28)
Died March 17, 2010 (aged 59)
Genres Rock 'n' roll, power pop, proto-punk, hard rock, blue-eyed soul, indie rock
Occupations Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Record producer
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1966–2010[1]
Associated acts Box Tops , Big Star, Tav Falco's Panther Burns
Alex Chilton (December 28, 1950 – March 17, 2010) was an American songwriter, guitarist, singer and producer best known for his work with the pop-music bands the Box Tops and Big Star. Chilton's early commercial sales success in the 1960s as a teen vocalist for the Box Tops was not repeated in later years with Big Star and in his indie music solo career on small labels, but he did draw a loyal following in the indie and alternative music fields.

Early life and career

Chilton grew up in a musical family; his father, Sidney Chilton, was a jazz musician. A local band recruited the teenager in 1966 as their lead singer after learning of the popularity of his vocal performance at a talent show at Memphis' Central High School; this band was The Devilles, later renamed Box Tops. At a conservative school in a largely conservative city, Alex and his band made a huge impression on the students who attended the talent show. He was different, and his style attractive. The new group recorded with Chips Moman and producer/songwriter Dan PennAmerican Sound Studio and Muscle Shoals' FAME Studios. at

As lead singer for the Box Tops, Chilton enjoyed at the age of 16 a number-one international hit, "The Letter." The Box Tops went on to have several other major chart hits, including "Cry Like a Baby" (1968) and "Soul Deep" (1969). The group's songs were written by Penn, Moman, Spooner Oldham and other top area songwriters, with Chilton occasionally contributing a song. By late 1969, only Chilton and guitarist Gary Talley remained from the original group, and newer additions replaced the members who had departed. The group decided to disband and pursue independent careers in February 1970.

Chilton then began performing as a solo artist, maintaining a working relationship with Penn for demos. During this period he began learning guitar by studying the styles of guitarists like Stax Records great Steve Cropper, recording his own material in 1970 at Ardent Studios with local musicians like producer Terry Manning and drummer Richard Rosebrough, and producing a few local blues-rock acts. His 1970 recordings and productions from that time frame were released years later in the 1980s and 1990s on albums like Lost Decade (New Rose Records) and 1970 (Ardent Records).

1970s career

After a period in New York City, during which Chilton worked on his guitar technique and singing style (some of which was believed to have been influenced by a chance meeting with Roger McGuinn at a friend's apartment in New York, when Chilton was impressed with McGuinn's singing and playing), Chilton returned to Memphis in 1971 and joined the power-pop group Big Star, with Chris Bell, recording at engineer John Fry's Ardent Studios. Chilton and Bell co-wrote "In The Street" for Big Star's first album #1 Record, a track later known as the theme song of That '70s Show.

The group's recordings met little commercial success but established Chilton's reputation as a rock singer and songwriter; later alternative music bands like R.E.M.Radio City, including the recording of "Mod Lang." Rosebrough would occasionally work with Chilton on later recordings, including Big Star's Third album and Chilton's 1975 solo record Bach's Bottom. would praise the group as a major influence. During this period he also occasionally recorded with Rosebrough as a group they called The Dolby Fuckers; some of their studio experimentation was included on Big Star's album

Moving back to New York in 1977, Chilton performed as "Alex Chilton and the Cossacks" with a lineup that included Chris Stamey (later of The dB's) and Richard LloydTelevision at venues like CBGB, releasing an influential solo single, "Bangkok" (b/w a cover of the Seeds' "Can't Seem to Make You Mine"), in 1978. This period learning from the New York CBGB scene marked the beginning of a key change for Chilton's personal musical interests away from multi-layered pop studio recording standards toward a looser, animated punk performance style often recorded in one take and featuring fewer overdubs. There he made the acquaintance of punk band the Cramps. He brought them to Memphis, where he produced the songs that would appear on their Gravest Hits EP and their Songs the Lord Taught Us LP. of

In 1979, Chilton released, in a limited edition of 500 copies, an album called Like Flies on Sherbert, produced by Chilton with Jim Dickinson at Phillips Recording and Ardent Studios, which featured his own interpretations of songs by artists as disparate as the Carter Family, Jimmy C. Newman, Ernest Tubb, and KC and the Sunshine Band, along with several originals. While criticized by some as a druggy mess, this album is considered by many to be a lo-fi masterpiece. Sherbert, which included backing work by Memphis musicians including Rosebrough, Memphis drummer Ross Johnson, and Lisa Aldridge, has since been reissued several times.

Beginning in 1979 Chilton also co-founded, played guitar with, and produced some albums for Tav Falco's Panther Burns, which began as an offbeat rock-and-roll group deconstructing blues, country, and rockabilly music.

1980s onwards

Chilton moved to New Orleans in the early 1980s, while also touring regularly with Panther Burns and occasionally as a solo artist, as documented in his poorly received 1982 solo release Live in London.

After a six month span of working outside music at tree-trimming and dishwashing jobs in New Orleans, he resumed playing with Panther Burns in 1983. His new association with New Orleans jazz musicians (including bassist René Coman) marked a period in which he began playing guitar in a less raucous style and moved toward a cooler, more restrained approach, as heard in Panther Burns' 1984 Sugar Ditch Revisited album, produced by Jim Dickinson.

Immediately upon completing the recording in mid-1984, Chilton returned his focus to his own solo career. He stopped playing regular gigs with Panther Burns and took with him the group's bassist, Coman. Chilton then formed a trio with Coman and Memphis jazz drummer Doug Garrison. The trio immediately began touring intensely and recording at Ardent Studios, releasing in 1985 an EP, Feudalist Tarts, that featured his versions of songs by Carla Thomas, Slim Harpo, and Willie Tee, and releasing in 1986 No Sex. The latter EP contained three originals, including the extended mood piece, "Wild Kingdom," a song highlighting Coman's jazz-oriented, improvisational bass interplay with Chilton.

During this period, in his recordings Chilton began frequently to use a horn section consisting of Memphis veteran jazz performers Fred Ford, Jim Spake, and Nokie Taylor to imbue the soul-oriented pieces among his repertoire with a postmodern, minimalist jazz feel that distinguished his interpretative approach from that of a simple soul revivalist style. Chilton forged a new direction for his solo work, eschewing effects and blending soul, jazz, country, rockabilly and pop. Coman left Chilton's solo trio at the end of 1986 to pursue other projects, forming (with Garrison) The Iguanas, three years later, with other New Orleans musicians; both would record occasionally with Chilton after departing.

Chilton was featured in the song "Alex Chilton" by American rock band The Replacements on their 1987 album Pleased to Meet Me, on which Chilton was a guest musician.

Touring and recording as a solo artist from the late-1980s through the 1990s with bassist Ron Easley and eventually drummer Richard Dworkin, Chilton gained a reputation for his eclectic taste in cover versions, guitar work, and laconic stage presence.

Chilton included on 1987's High Priest a cover of "Raunchy," his instrumental salute to Sun Records guitarist Sid Manker, a friend of his father from whom he'd once taken a guitar lesson; this song was also a standard in his early Panther Burns repertoire. Along with four upbeat originals, High Priest also included other covers like "Nobody's Fool," a song originally written and recorded in 1973 by his old mentor Dan Penn. His EP Black List contained a cover of Ronny & the Daytonas' "Little GTO," along with an original song, "Guantanamerika." He also produced albums by several artists beginning in the 1980s, including the Detroit group The Gories, occasionally producing Panther Burns albums well into the 1990s.

In the 1990s, Chilton recorded an acoustic solo record of jazz standards in New Orleans' Chez Flames studio with producer Keith Keller, entitled "Cliches", and continued with a live CD released in 2004, Live in Anvers.

Since the mid-1990s, he added to his schedule concerts and recordings with the reunited Box Tops and a version of Big Star that included two members of The Posies, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. A new Big Star album, entitled In Space, with songs penned by this lineup, was released September 27, 2005, on Rykodisc.

Chilton was present at his home in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and evacuated on September 4, 2005.

Chilton continued to perform live yearly, with sporadic solo, Box Tops and Big Star shows in theatres and at festivals around the world.

Chilton was taken to the hospital in New Orleans on March 17, 2010, complaining of health problems, and died the same day of a suspected heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Laura, son, Timothy, and sister, Cynthia.[1][2]



  • One Day in New York - (Trio, 1978, reissued 1991 on Art Union Records)
  • Like Flies on Sherbert - (Peabody, 1979; Aura, 1980 UK)
  • Bach's Bottom - (Line, 1981, remixed & reissued 1993 on Razor & Tie)
  • Live in London - (Aura, 1982 UK)
  • High Priest - (New Rose/Big Time, 1987; reissued 1994 on Razor & Tie)
  • Clichés - (Ardent, 1994)
  • A Man Called Destruction - (Ardent, 1995)
  • Cubist Blues, with Ben Vaughn and Alan Vega - (Discovery, 1997, reissued by Last Call in 2006 with an extra disc recorded live)
  • Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy - (Last Call, 1999)
  • Set (Bar/None, 2000) (U.S. release of Loose Shoes LP)
  • Live in Anvers - (Last Call, 2004)

Singles and EPs

  • Singer Not the Song (EP) - (Ork, 1977)
  • "Bangkok" / "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" - (Fun, 1978)
  • "Hey Little Child" / "No More the Moon Shines on Lorena" - (Aura 1980 UK)
  • Feudalist Tarts (EP) - (New Rose/Big Time, 1985; reissued 1994 on Razor & Tie)
  • No Sex (EP) - (New Rose/Big Time, 1986; reissued 1994 on Razor & Tie)
  • Black List (EP) - (New Rose, 1989; reissued 1994 on Razor & Tie)


  • Lost Decade - (Fan Club, 1985)
  • Document - (Aura, 1985)
  • Stuff - (New Rose, 1987)
  • Best of Alex Chilton - (New Rose, 1991)
  • 19 Years: A Collection of Alex Chilton - (Rhino, 1991)
  • 1970 - (Ardent, 1996)
  • Top 30 - (Last Call, 1997)


External links

Fess Parker

Fess Parker
Parker in 1985
Born Fess Elisha Parker, Jr.
August 16, 1924
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.(1924-08-16)
Died March 18, 2010 (aged 85)
Santa Ynez, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1950–1974
Spouse(s) Marcella Belle Rinehart (m. 1960–2010) «start: (1960)–end+1: (2011)»"Marriage: Marcella Belle Rinehart to Fess Parker" Location: (linkback:

Fess Elisha Parker, Jr. (August 16, 1924 – March 18, 2010)[1] was an American film and television actor best known for his 1950s portrayals of Davy Crockett for Walt Disney and his late 1960s portrayals of Daniel Boone. [2] He was also known as a wine maker and resort owner-operator.

Early years

Parker was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up on a small farm outside San Angelo.[3] He served in the U.S. Marine Corps at the end of World War II. He joined to become a pilot, but was turned down for being too tall at 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) to fill such a position.

After being discharged, he was stabbed in the chin by a drunken driver during a post-collision argument. Parker required many months of rehabilitation, and was unable to participate in sports to the extent he desired.

Parker graduated from the University of Texas on the G.I. Bill in 1950 with a history degree. Still having a year left on his G.I. Bill he then moved to California, where he studied drama at the University of Southern California seeking a master's degree in theater history. However minor acting jobs soon obstructed that objective.[1][4]


Parker began his show-business career in the play Mister Roberts in 1951, although he is credited with the voice of Leslie, the chauffeur, in the 1950 film Harvey.

Parker became a contract player with Warner Brothers appearing in small roles in several films such as Springfield Rifle (1952), Island in the Sky, The Bounty Hunter and Battle Cry. In 1954, he appeared as Grat Dalton in the Jim Davis western anthology Stories of the Century in the episode The Dalton Brothers.

There is an interesting story from Parker himself. When Walt Disney Company was looking for an actor to play Davy Crockett, they originally considered James Arness for the title role. Parker had recently graduated to a contract weekly actor, but listened to his agent, so he appeared instead in a B movie called Them!, that required only one day's work. He had a small scene in the movie, that of a pilot put into an insane asylum after claiming his plane had been downed by giant flying insects. Arness appeared in a larger role in the same film.

It was during a screening of this film that Walt Disney looked past Arness and discovered Parker. Disney was impressed by Parker's portrayal of a man who was unswerving in his belief in what he saw despite the forces of authority against him. Parker was asked to drop by the Disney Studio. When he did, he brought his guitar, met Walt, sang a song, and then said his goodbye. A couple of weeks later he was told that he had been selected over Arness and several other actors considered for the role, including Buddy Ebsen who eventually played Crockett's friend, George Russell.

Disney's portrayal of Crockett in three episodes depicted his exploits as frontiersman, congressman, and tragic hero of the Alamo, in what has been called the first television miniseries though the term had not yet been coined. Davy Crockett was a tremendous hit with children, and led to a merchandising frenzy for coonskin caps and all things Crockett.

For his work with Disney, Parker was honored in December 2004 with his own tribute window on a facade in the Adventureland section of Disneyland.[5]

Parker became a contract star for Disney appearing in many films such as The Great Locomotive Chase, Old Yeller, and Westward Ho, The Wagons! but complained they were all pretty much the same role. Disney refused to loan out Parker for roles outside of that persona, such as The Searchers and Bus Stop.[6]

Parker made guest appearances on many television programs; and composed and sang music. He performed the occasional role of Tom Conrad, editor of the Diablo Courier in the syndicated western series, Annie Oakley (1954-1957), starring Gail Davis, Brad Johnson, and Jimmy Hawkins.[7] In 1962, he starred in the title role of the TV series Mr Smith Goes to Washington and from 1964 to 1970 he starred in the NBC series Daniel Boone, portraying another historic figure of America's frontier days. Turning down the title role of McCloud, Parker retired from the film industry in the 1970s, after a short-lived 1974 sitcom, The Fess Parker Show.

In 2003, Parker received the Texas Cultural Trust's Texas Medal of Arts, established only the year before.[8]

Fess Parker Winery

The Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos, California.

After his acting career, Parker devoted much of his time to operating his Fess Parker Family Winery and Vineyards[9] in Los Olivos, California. The winery is owned and operated by Parker's family, and has produced several different types of award-winning wines.

The Parker operation includes over 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) of vineyards, and a tasting room and visitor center along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. In addition to wine, the winery is known for selling coon skin caps and bottle toppers, inspired by Parker's Crockett and Boone characters, and for appearing in the movie Sideways.

Personal life

Parker married Marcella Belle Rinehart on January 18, 1960. They had two children — Fess Elisha III and Ashley Allen Rinehart — along with 11 grandchildren and a great-grandson.[10]


Parker died at age 85, of natural causes according to a spokesperson, [1] at his home in Santa Ynez, California, near the Fess Parker Winery on March 18, 2010.[1]


The handprints of Fess Parker in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.


See also


  1. ^ a b c Dan Whitcomb (March 18, 2010) “ "Davy Crockett" Star Fess Parker Dies at 85” ‘’ABC News’’ Accessed March 18, 2010
  2. ^ Obituary London Guardian, March 19, 2010.
  3. ^ “Disney Legends Award: Fess Parker-1991”
  4. ^ Dennis McLellan (March 18, 2010) “Fess Parker, who played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone on TV, dies at 85” Los Angeles Times, Accessed March 18, 2010
  5. ^ Heather Hust Rivera (December 18th, 2009) "Did You Miss It? Davy Crockett’s Window in Frontierland" Disney Accessed March 18, 2010
  6. ^ Fess Parker Interview Playset Magazine #34
  7. ^ "Annie Oakley". Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  8. ^ Associated Press (7 February 2003). "Talented Texans to be Honored". The Houston Chronicle: pp. 2. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  9. ^ Official Fess Parker Website
  10. ^ Official Website Biography Page Accessed March 18, 2010

External links

Merlin Olsen

Merlin Olsen
Position(s) Jersey #(s)
Born September 15, 1940
Died March 11, 2010 (aged 69)
Career information
Year(s) 19621976
NFL Draft 1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
AFL Draft 1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
College Utah State
Professional teams
Career stats
Games 208
Sacks 94
Interceptions 1
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Merlin Jay Olsen (September 15, 1940 – March 11, 2010)[1] was a former American football player in the National Football League and an actor. He played his entire 15-year career with the Los Angeles Rams and was elected to the Pro Bowl in 14 of those seasons, a current record shared with Bruce Matthews. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. As an actor he portrayed the farmer Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie. After leaving that series, he starred in his own NBC drama, Father Murphy, playing the title role of a traveling priest.


Olsen attended Utah State University where he became a member of the Sigma Chiletterman in football as a defensive tackle. In football, as a senior, he was a consensus All-American selection (making the vast majority of All-America teams) and was the winner of the Outland Trophy. After Olsen's junior year of 1960 he was also named All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and Newspaper Enterprise Association. He was also All-Conference in both 1960 and 1961. Olsen and Utah State were in the 1960 Sun Bowl, losing to New Mexico State, 20–13. Led by Olsen, the Aggie defense held the New Mexico State Aggies to just 44 rushing yards on 32 carries.[2] fraternity, and was a three-year

The Aggie defense Olsen anchored as a senior gave up an average of 50.8 rushing yards (which led the nation), 88.6 passing yards, and 139.4 total yards which all still stand as school records for defense. The 1961 Aggie defense gave up an average 7.8 points a game, which is second in team history behind Olsen's 1960 team, which allowed 6.5 points per game.[3] Additionally, the Aggie defense held four opponents to less than 100 total yards. One, the University of Idaho, was held to a school-record 23 total yards, with the Aggies winning 69–0.

The Aggies, not known as a national power football program, finished 10th in both the AP and UPI post-season polls, the only time that has occurred in school history. The Aggies had a combined 18–3–1 record during Olsen's junior and senior seasons under coach John Ralston and were conference champions those two seasons as well.[4]

Awards and honors

Olsen played in the East-West Shrine Game in 1961 and in 2003 was voted to the game's Hall of Fame.[5] He also played in the Hula Bowl after his senior season and was voted MVP of the game.[6]

Olsen is a member of the State of Utah’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Utah State University Sports Hall of Fame and USU’s All-Century Football Team. In 2000, he was selected by Sports Illustrated as one of the State of Utah’s Top 50 Athletes of the Century. He was voted to the All-Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1969, he was voted to the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Time All-America team with collegiate greats such as Bronco Nagurski, Red Grange, Jim Thorpe, and O. J. Simpson, among others.[7]

In 2008, Olsen was named to the 75th Anniversary All-Sun Bowl Team to commemorate the Sun Bowl Association's Diamond Anniversary.[8]

Utah State University announced the intention to name its football field after Olsen during a ceremony in Logan during halftime of the USU-St. Mary’s basketball game on December 5, 2009.[9] HOF Sculptor Blair Buswell is creating a bronze sculpture that will sit at the entrance to Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium.

Olsen also was a three-time academic All-American at Utah State and graduated summa cum laude in 1962 with a degree in finance.[3]


Coming out of college, Olsen had offers from both Los Angeles of the NFL and the Denver Broncos of the rival American Football League. He chose the security of the NFL and signed with the Rams. Olsen's first contract was for around $50,000 for two years, plus a signing bonus. It was 1962, and the average football player salary at the time was around $12,000 a year. He was the first USU Aggie to be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft.[3]

Olsen played professionally (from 1962 to 1976) for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. A leading defensive star of his era, he missed only two games in his 15-season NFL career. He was named the NFL's Rookie of the Year in 1962 and was First-team All-Pro in 1964, and 1966 through 1970. He was voted Second-team All-Pro in 1965, 1973 and 1974.[10]

Olsen almost ended up on offense, but was later moved to the defensive line after a few experiments in practice. Soon he became part of one of the best front fours in NFL history. Deacon Jones, Rosey Grier, and Lamar Lundy joined Olsen on the defensive line in 1963 that was nicknamed "The Fearsome Foursome".[10] He was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Week for week 12 in 1965. Olsen scored his first touchdown in that game.

Throughout the 1960s, this quartet terrorized opposing offenses. Olsen's play helped the Rams to the playoffs in 1967 and 1969. He was voted the club's Outstanding Defensive Lineman from 1967–70 by the Los Angeles Rams Alumni. In week 14, 1967, Olsen and the rest of the Fearsome Foursome were named the AP NFL Defensive Players of the Week for their performance against the Baltimore Colts. In the 1970s, Olsen continued his dominant play at defensive tackle and his eleven sacks in 1972[10] were second on the team. After week 8 in 1972, Olsen was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Week for the third time in his career.

The Rams won the NFC West crown in 1973 through 1976 thanks in part to the play of Olsen. They ranked first in the NFL in run defense in 1973 and 1974 and finished second in sacking opposing passers both years. In 1973 Olsen was voted the NFLPABert Bell Award as the NFL MVP as voted by the Maxwell Club. Olsen accepted the award "on behalf of all who toil in the NFL trenches". NFC Defensive Lineman of the Year and the next season, 1974, he was the recipient of

Three of the Olsen brothers, Merlin, Phil, and Orrin, played in the NFL, with Merlin and Phil Olsen playing together for the Rams from 1971–1974. A nephew, Hans, son of his brother, Clark, also played professional football. In 1975 and 1976, the Rams defense finished second in the NFL against the run while ranking in the top five in sacking opposing quarterbacks and compiling a 22-5-1 record over those two seasons.

Olsen's last game was the NFC Championship game in 1976 at Bloomington, Minnesota. The Vikings took advantage on a freak play early in the game. A blocked field goal returned 90 yards for a touchdown shocked the Rams in the first quarter. The defense was later victimized by a couple of big plays by the Vikings. The Rams came up short, losing 24–13, bringing the storied career of the Rams finest defensive tackle to an end.

Olsen made the Pro Bowl a record 14 times throughout his career, only missing it in his final year. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1999, he was ranked number 25 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.[11]


Olsen enjoyed continued success after the NFL as a broadcaster, actor and businessman.[12]


Olsen served as a television color commentator, teaming with Dick Enberg on NBC's coverage of the AFC throughout the 1980s. He and Enberg also teamed for the Rose Bowl Game broadcast beginning with the 1980 Rose Bowl through the 1988 Rose Bowl. In 1989, Olsen was replaced by Bill Walsh as NBC's lead NFL color commentator. For the 1989 season, Olsen worked with Charlie Jones on NBC's broadcasts. In 1990 and 1991, he moved to CBS Sports doing NFL games with Dick Stockton.


Olsen developed a successful career as an actor. When Little House on the Prairie actor Victor French left to star in his own comedy Carter Country in 1977, Olsen was tapped to play Michael Landon's new sidekick Jonathan Garvey for several years. One memorable quote from Merlin during the series, "I don't know nothin' bout football!" was when Charles and Jonathan were to coach a boys football team. A couple of years later, Landon cast Olsen as the eponymous Father Murphy, which lasted for two seasons.

Olsen's last acting work was in the short-lived 1988 TV series Aaron's Way, in which he played the lead role. Olsen has often co-hosted the Children's Miracle Networktelethons, a humanitarian organization founded in 1983 by Marie Osmond and John Schneider.


Olsen was also the commercial spokesman for FTD Florists for many years. A part-time resident of the Coachella Valley, Olsen was the longtime radio and television spokesman for Palm Desert-based El Paseo Bank.[13]

Olsen also appeared in many Sigma Chi fraternity promotional campaigns; Merlin, along with his brother Phil, was a Life Loyal Sig, Significant Sig (given to members for distinguishing acts outside the fraternity) and a member of the Order of Constantine (given for service to the Fraternity). Olsen donated one of his cleats, which were bronzed, to be used during the annual football rivalry between two Las Vegas high schools, Eldorado High School and Chaparral High School, which both opened in 1973. Each year, Olsen presented the "trophy" in the ceremony at the rivalry game.


He was named the Walter Camp Man of the Year in 1982 and Athlete of the Century for the state of Utah. During halftime of a basketball game between Utah State, Olsen's alma mater, and Saint Mary's on December 5, 2009, it was announced that the turf inside Romney Stadium, home stadium for Utah State's football program, would be named Merlin Olsen Field in Olsen's honor. Because of Olsen's illness, Utah State decided not to wait until the 2010 football season to hold the ceremony; he was able to attend the game, but did not speak.[14] A sculpture of Olsen will also be unveiled in a plaza south of the stadium during an official dedication ceremony in Fall 2010.[15]California Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2010, along with Bill Walton, Dwight Stones, and Jim Otto, among others.[16] Olsen was voted to the

Personal life

Born to Lynn Jay and Merle Barrus Olsen in Logan, Utah, the second of nine siblings and the first-born son, Merlin Olsen had three brothers and five sisters: Colleen, Clark, Lorraine, Gwen, Phil, Winona, Ramona, and Orrin.

He married Susan Wakley on March 30, 1962, and they had three children: Kelly, Jill, and Nathan, and four grandchildren. Olsen was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009[17] and underwent three courses of chemotherapy. In December 2009 he filed a lawsuit against NBC Studios, NBC Universal, and 20th Century Fox for allegedly exposing him to the asbestos which he claimed had caused his cancer.[18] Olsen died on March 11, 2010 at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California,[19] aged 69.[14][20]

See also


  1. ^ Smith, Michael David (11 March 2010). "Reports: Merlin Olsen dies at 69". Pro Football Talk. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Merlin Olsen College". LOWONGANKERJA2010X.COM. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Utah State University Media Guide
  4. ^ "Utah State Championships". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  5. ^ The East West Shrine Game | Hall of Fame
  6. ^ Hula Bowl | History
  7. ^ NEA All-Time All-America Team – Beckly Post-Herald, August 24, 1969
  8. ^ Utah State's Merlin Olsen Named To 75th Anniversary All-Sun Bowl Team
  9. ^ "Utah State University Will Honor Merlin Olsen on Saturday, Dec. 5 At Aggie Basketball Game – UTAH STATE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 2009-11-16. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  10. ^ a b c 2008 St. Louis Rams Media Guide
  11. ^ The Sporting News website. List:, Olsen's Entry:
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Desert Sun interview with Olsen discussing his involvement with El Paseo Bank
  14. ^ a b Associated Press (2010-03-11). "Olsen, Hall of Famer and member of 'Fearsome Foursome' dies". Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  15. ^ Harrison, Shawn (December 6, 2009). "Field named after Olsen". The Herald Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2009.
  16. ^ California Sports Hall of Fame
  17. ^ Utah State football names field after Merlin Olsen
  18. ^ "Merlin Olsen suing NBC". TV Squad. 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  19. ^ Thursby, Keith (2010-03-12). "Merlin Olsen dies at 69; Hall of Fame football star later became actor". Los Angeles Times.,0,4391015.story. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  20. ^ Notice of Merle Olsen's death

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Rams Most Valuable Player Award
Succeeded by
Preceded by Rams Most Valuable Player Award
Succeeded by
Preceded by Outland Trophy Winners
Succeeded by

Merlin also had a Porsche / Audi dealership on Ventura Boulevard at the Encino/Sherman Oaks border when I was in grade school. He was super nice.