“Rabbit Ears, Mexican Border, Even More Nader…”

by on March 19, 2007


There was a time before rabbit ears for me. I recall the first TV image that I ever saw on a warm afternoon in Chicago late in 1946.I was 9 years old and I was taking the long way home after school.There was a small table model RCA 10″ black and white set in a store window of Little Al’s radio and Phonograph shop .I got there just in time to see Phil Caveretta make the last out of a Chicago Cubs baseball game. Soon after I discovered the local tavern on the corner of Lawrence and Kedzie advertising they had a TV set and I would sneak in and sit on the bar’s foot rail to watch sporting events.

My father found out and banish me from the bar. The following year, my dad asked me to go with him to Little Al’s, they had a slogan” Where the Customer is always Wrong!” He bought the first TV in our neighborhood that was not in a tavern.A 10″ RCA Victor all wood console who’s speaker was bigger than the screen and had hidden control knobs behind a sliding door. He paid cash $450. plus $65. for a years warrantee and another $65. for an outdoor antenna that was to be installed on the roof of our house. We took it home on a 2 wheel hand truck and had a temporary tv antenna nailed on our wall.

The first image we got to see was the debut of a kids show called “Junior Jamboree” (later the name changed to Kukla,Fran and Ollie) on Chicago’s only TV station-WBKB. The station had limited programming and came on the air at 3:30 in the after noon and signed off at Midnight. For the next few years our house was filled with neighborhood kids and grown ups for sporting events and entertainment. On Sundays, there was a news show of newsreels of events that happen weeks before.This was years before rabbit ears were available and the roofs of many buildings throughout Chicago had outdoor antennas and several more stations went on the air. Then came a thing called coaxial cable that brought us shows directly from New York and elsewhere. By the mid 50’s came color TV and the best innovation of all followed with the remote control. I guess TV for me was like sound movies were for my parents.

I’m now 70. and realize that those where the good old days…seems like all things traveled slower,especially the news…

Jerry Pritikin / Chicago


You wrote: “Nader was a brave crusader at the beginning of his career – when he attacked General Motors for creating unsafe cars “

It sounds good. But, in fact, Nader’s early attacks on GM were pretty much unfounded and (at the least) highly exaggerated.

Consider that the Corvair, the car that was “unsafe at any speed” had essentially the same handling characteristics of its contem,porary Porsches, but no-one said those were unsafe. (That said, i consider *any* rear-engine design, at the least, questionable.)

Consider that a major piece of “evidence” in the whole Corvair thing was a film comparing the Corvair’s handling to that of the Ford Falcon – which later was revealed to be supplied by Ford, with a driver who had instructions to make the GM car look bad.

Consider that government testing eventually – after it was too late, and Nader’s hatchet job had killed one of the dew pieces of truly innovative engineering by a US automaker in the 60s – exonerated the Corvair on most, if not all, of the charges Nader had brought.

Further consider the report, issued by a Naderite organization in 1971, over Nader’s signature, which purported to “prove” that the VW Beetle was the most dangerous car on the roads – which it did by misquoting research, ignoring scientifically-conducted studies in favour of anecdotal “evidence” and “studies” conducted by people who had no idea how to actually test anything; “Road & Track” magazine refuted that paper pretty much from beginning to end, quoting chapter and verse on distortions, misrepresntations and substitution of “evidence”.

From the very beginning, Nader’s focus has been to get Ralph Nader’s name front and center and to hell with accuracy, intellectual honesty or proper procedures of investigation or proof.

Mike Weber


Thank you to Chris Kavanagh for correctly labeling Paul Hogarth’s ‘review’ of “An Unreasonable Man” a partisan attack. I have appreciated Paul’s writing in the past, and was shocked to read his vitriol against a man who has saved hundreds of thousands of lives by giving us seatbelts. As a member of what many call “Generation X”, I certainly disagree with Paul that our peers will remember Ralph Nader as the man who helped elect George W. Bush. Rather, I will always remember the Democratic Party establishment as being plagued with such astonishing hubris that they assume all non-conservatives will automatically vote for them. I, for one, would rather stay home than vote for a Democrat. The fact is that we have Hillary Clinton to thank for the Iraq War, Nancy Pelosi to thank for the Patriot Act, and Barbara Lee and Ted Kennedy to thank for the No Child Left Behind Act.

The fact is that we have former President Bill Clinton to thank for the loss of our First Amendment right of peaceable assembly. It was Clinton that began the policy of “free speech zones”, the practice of caging protesters a mile away from their desired destination. I still have a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that began when I saw the film “An Unreasonable Man”. The movie shows in detail how Nader was ordered to leave the vicinity of the 2000 presidential ‘debate’. Despite holding a valid ticket to the event, Nader was threatened with arrest if he did not vacate the area. It was a chilling scene indeed, and one that made me feel as if I was living in North Korea or China, not the United States. Of course, this horrifying incident happened while none other than Democrat Bill Clinton was President.

With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?


Erika McDonald


Mexican President Felipe Calderon recently chided Bush for trying to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. Calderon was merely echoing what most Mexicans feel about this proposed 700-mile wall or fence of shame. Instead of tackling the difficult job of long overdue comprehensive immigration reform, including a way for illegal immigrants to become legal, Bush and Congress chose to build a fence. This proposed new fence is nothing more than a public relations ploy to give Americans the illusion of greater home security. Yet, our economy benefits from the flow of cheap labor across the border. The better way to stop illegal border crossings is to assist Mexico and other Latin American countries to improve social and economic conditions so they have no need to come north to find work to support their families.

Last year, Bush signed H.R. 6061 authorizing, and partially funding the “possible” construction of 700 miles of physical fence/barriers along the border even though a CNN poll showed that most Americans “prefer the idea of more Border Patrol agents to a 700-mile (1,125-kilometer) fence.” The legislation authorized $1.2 billion dollars as partial funding for the border fence. Consider that U.S. foreign aid to Latin America is $1.7 billion per year, less than what we spend each week in Iraq. Much of that $1.7 billion is for our losing war on drugs.

There are already several separation barriers between United States and Mexico euphemistically called Operation Gatekeeper in California, Operation Hold-the-Line in Texas, and Operation Safeguard in Arizona. These barriers force illegal immigrants to cross the border through more difficult lands. Many illegally cross the Sonoran Desert and cross over the Baboquivari Mountain in Arizona. It is estimated that about 3,000 immigrants died attempting to cross the border between 1998 and 2005. The deaths have doubled since 1995. How many more will die after the new fence is built?

“Wall of Shame” was first coined to describe the Berlin Wall. Of course, we know about the infamous Israeli wall of shame presently under construction, consisting of a series of walls, trenches and barbed wire fences in the Palestinian West Bank.

It is time to jettison this proposed fence of shame. With apologies to Robert Frost: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, . . . good fences [do not] make good neighbors.”

Ralph E. Stone

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