Friday, June 27, 2008
At first I thought that our battle with cancer would be a very private thing. Wrong again! Very wrong.
Though some of it is private, so many people, (family, friends, and colleagues) want to know what is going on with us and want to offer their support. So I have opened a site on CaringBridge to provide news of Charlotte’s illness and treatment. That’s the news that matters to me right now, and that’s where you’ll find me.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Correction: Because of incorrect information provided by a watchdog organization, a front-page article on May 3 incorrectly reported Oregon's status on allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 by Election Day in November. Oregon lets 17-year-olds register, but they must be 18 when they cast a ballot in any election.What’s the difference between a watchdog organization and a special interest group?
Is it perhaps that (in the journalist's opinion) watchdog organizations are trying to do good? Perhaps even doing it for the children?
As of now I am declaring this lowly blog to be a watchdog organization.
BTW the May 3 article referred to is here.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Said State Rep Kevin J. Murphy:
"I'm thrilled that president Wilson has lent his support to calls for revoking President Mugabe's degree," he said. "The University of Massachusetts has always prided itself on being a forward-thinking member of the global community, and it is an honor to support Zimbabwe's people in any way we can."
All the corpses Mugabe has made since 1986 would thank you for your courageous support, Kevie-boy.
Trustee James J. Karam said that he supports stripping the degree and that universities should be cautious in awarding honorary degrees to international politicians. "Many times, today's patriot is tomorrow's terrorist," he said.
Or perhaps today’s facts are yesterday’s smears from conservative attack machines.
And as happens so often, the Globe story’s last paragraph is reserved for the mention of contrarian allegations:
But some observers say that Mugabe was guilty of human rights abuses throughout his time in power and that in 1986 he had a history of violence against his people.
Indeed! I'm truly shocked! How dare some observers say such a thing? To find out, let’s pull something out of the vast memory hole, shall we?
MUGABE VOWS TO ESTABLISH 1-PARTY RULE IN ZIMBABWE
The Boston Globe
Jul 7, 1985
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, more powerful than ever after a landslide election victory, vowed yesterday to create a one-party state in the next five years, and threatened tough action against minority whites and black opposition leaders who stood in his way.
He said that whites "who have not accepted the reality of a political order in which the Africans set the pace have to leave the country."
Mugabe told a news conference hours after election results were announced that he would not feel bound by the British-drafted constitution, which protects the rights of minority political parties in this former colony until 1990.
He accused black opposition parties of "organizing counterrevolutionary activities" and warned they would "have no one to blame but themselves when the hand of law and order exercises itself over them."
Mugabe said his winning 63 of 79 National Assembly seats contested during last week's elections, the first general elections since independence in 1980, was a mandate to "unite our people under one political umbrella."
"This is a mandate for us to unite our people." he said. "We believe in the inexorable law of unity. You must be united or else you stand divided and perish."
He said he would not be swayed from his goal of a single-party state by unfavorable reaction from the international community, which has given millions of dollars of aid to his government.
"The Western world . . . can go hang. The Western world can say what it wants," he said. "As long as we believe we are right, we will do what we have to do in the interests of our people."
Mugabe, whose major rival, Joshua Nkomo, made a sweep of 15 seats in troubled Matabeleland province, dividing the nation on tribal lines, was angered by whites who voted for conservative Ian Smith in separate elections on June 27 .
Smith won 15 of 20 seats that are reserved for whites until 1987 under the constitution drawn up at a peace conference in London in 1979. He was the last white prime minister of the country when it was called Rhodesia, a breakaway British colony.
Who could have imagined from reading this cheery report in 1985 that Mugabe would turn out to be an unworthy dictator rather than an African Messiah? Give him an honorary UMass degree! He hates Apartheid, doesn't he? That means that he’s on the right side of the most important issue. How bad could he be? Besides, he’s a member of a minority group!
Monday, May 12, 2008
A Globe front page story today headlined “The politics of commencement” notes that Catholic universities in the US are awarding far fewer honorary degrees to politicians. In classic Globe fashion, the story far underplays the important role of the US Catholic bishops, who have urged this change. Excerpts from the Globe story (emphasis mine):
The 4th paragraph:
After repeatedly getting criticized by conservative Catholics, and after years of pressure from the Vatican and some American bishops, Catholic colleges and universities are now shying away from politicians - especially those who, like Kennedy, Kerry, and Pelosi, support abortion rights - as commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients.
…and some American bishops? But reading much further down, the 14th paragraph reports:
In 2004, the presidential candidacy of Kerry, a Catholic Democrat who supports abortion rights, led to the creation of a task force of bishops examining how the church should relate to such politicians. That task force failed to settle the prickly question of who should decide whether such politicians should receive Communion, but it was clearer about commencement, declaring, "The Catholic community and the institutions which are a part of our family of faith should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles."
What are the facts? In fact the above statement (which is online in its entirety here) was ratified by a vote of the entire congregation of US Catholic bishops, not by some American bishops. Furthermore, this same statement should be known in the Globe newsroom. It was the reason that many Catholics (including Boston Cardinal O’Malley) chose not to attend a 2005 dinner ceremony where the Mayor of Boston was presented with an award by Catholic Charities, a story which the Globe put on its front page.
With superb irony, today’s Globe also carries a story about an attempt to rescind an honorary degree that UMass awarded in 1986 to a most unsavory politician, Robert Mugabe. At the time, according to the Globe story, UMass referred to Mugabe as a “champion of human rights”. Why?
The underlying reason Mugabe received honors from UMass and other schools was so that these institutions could publicly thumb their noses at the white minority South African regime, which supported the policy of Apartheid. In time, the much despised white South Africans enfranchised native Africans and thus relinquished their power democratically, showing themselves to be far more attuned with liberal democratic values than honorees such as Mugabe.
That universities would stain their record by honoring Mugabe is a better example of the “politics of commencement”, where moral posturing and political correctness can far outweigh common sense.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright called him out as a politician, a description that angered Obama as much as any other declaration by his former pastor because it exposed an unflattering truth. Obama held Wright close when it was politically advantageous and cut the controversial minister loose when it was politically advantageous...He argues that he's best suited to challenge Washington's political culture because he isn't steeped in it. Today, Clinton is scorned by Democratic insiders and McCain is more maverick than darling of the GOP.
Friday, May 09, 2008
I was struck by the stark contrast between how the airlines and the TSA manage their queues. Note the complete lack of queue at the airline check-in counter (left), and the usual long queue at the TSA checkpoint (right).
There were no innovations like touch-screen check-in kiosks on 9/11. In the 6+ years since then, most airlines have streamlined their own check-in processes so that they are faster and easier, not to mention more secure – even for we cattle who must fly in coach.
During the same 6 years the government, through the TSA, has done very little innovation. Though a high percentage of travelers are frequent (meaning weekly) flyers, the TSA security policies do not
discriminate differentiate among any classes of passengers. All are subjected to the same process, day after day. The unimaginative uniformity of the TSA’s policies continue to severely damage the airline’s business-critical customer experience, all the while the TSA goes on charging the airline’s customers a fee for its work, and thus contributing even further to the woes of the airline industry.
Many Democrats seem sure the government would do a much better job than this of managing all our health care policies. I’m sure it would be fairer in the same idiotic sense that TSA security policies are fair – meaning uniformly inconvenient and thus questionably effective.
This lunacy of TSA policy reminded me of Peggy Noonan’s remarks last week in The View From Gate 14:
America is in line at the airport. America has its shoes off, is carrying a rubberized bin, is going through a magnetometer. America is worried there is fungus on the floor after a million stockinged feet have walked on it. But America knows not to ask. America is guilty until proved innocent, and no one wants to draw undue attention. America left its ticket and passport in the jacket in the bin in the X-ray machine, and is admonished. America is embarrassed to have put one one-ounce moisturizer too many in the see-through bag. America is irritated that the TSA agent removed its mascara, opened it, put it to her nose, and smelled it. Why don't you put it up your nose and see if it explodes? America thinks.
And, as always: Why do we do this when you know I am not a terrorist, and you know I know you know I am not a terrorist? Why this costly and harassing kabuki when we both know the facts, and would agree that all this harassment is the government's way of showing "fairness," of showing that it will equally humiliate anyone in order to show its high-mindedness and sense of justice? Our politicians congratulate themselves on this as we stand in line.
All the frisking, beeping and patting down is demoralizing to our society. It breeds resentment, encourages a sense that the normal are not in control, that common sense is yesterday...
Thursday, May 08, 2008
He must be driving around 961 miles a week; that’s almost 50,000 miles a year. Wow. And it’s costing him around $11,000 to do that much driving. So basically the story from the Boston Globe is that consumers that drive over three times the yearly national average are facing a financial burden. Yep, sounds like NEWS to me.Is this what happens when professional journalists go trolling for victims to feature in their sob stories?
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Susan Milligan reports in today’s Globe:
Deep racial divisions emerged in yesterday's critical Democratic primaries, with African-American voters overwhelmingly supporting Senator Barack Obama and whites casting their votes solidly with Senator Hillary Clinton in both North Carolina and Indiana, according to exit polls.
Apparently Sunday morning isn’t the only segregated time in America. Election days are segregated, too. But though the voting in yesterday’s Democratic primaries was racially polarized, neither the Dems nor much of the press are too concerned or using words like “polarized”. Milligan finds a hopeful voice from a liberal think tank:
"I think this whole issue of elitism was sort of settled" with yesterday's contests, said Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a liberal think tank formerly known as the New Democrat Network.
Sort of settled, Simon? Sort of not. Simon sounds slightly bitter and defensive to me. Didn’t somebody recently say:
You go into these small liberal think tanks in Washington and, like a lot of struggling advocacies in the Northwest, their ideas have been ignored now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to hopes of gun control or secularism or antipathy toward questions they claim are sort of settled or pro-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
The impotent state of the Massachusetts GOP gets plenty of ink on the front page of today’s Boston Globe. But the story by Matt Viser seems contented with 1-party rule. Only in the 17th paragraph of the story does Viser write:
Critics say that having such one-party dominance on Beacon Hill results in more checks and fewer balances and limits creative tension in the political process.
More checks is apparently a used as a pun here, as in more government spending. How not funny.
I interpret Viser’s unnamed critics to mean people who vote Republican.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Hillary Clinton's campaign apparently believes that poet Maya Angelou can help her make inroads among African-Americans and the liberal intelligentsia - two groups in which rival Barack Obama dominates. Clinton's camp released an open letter from Angelou last week. Now she's featured in a 60-second TV ad the campaign announced yesterday will air in North Carolina…Heh.
In the context of the Globe’s writing, isn’t liberal intelligentsia a redundant term?
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Answering questions submitted by reporters on Monday, Wright praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century," and said it's possible that the US government created the AIDS virus and introduced it into the black community...
While these remarks actually were reported in the Globe yesterday, the reports were buried deep in background material. Today’s act of journalistic backtracking was accurately predicted yesterday by blog reader flymorgue:
Prepare yourself for the 'inverted article' tomorrow where the Globe writers are tasked with describing Obama's disavowal of an incident of which Globe readers are ignorant. It is such a classic Globe style, perfected in the Swiftboat days, of explaining a response first, and then the 'response to' in the second paragraph.
Actually it was the 7th paragraph, but that’s an improvement. Peter Canellos, the Chief of the Globe’s now 1-man Washington bureau also writes on the Wright story, also one day late:
Now, after Obama's uncategorical repudiation yesterday of the man who presided at his wedding and the baptism of his daughters, voters and other political observers will inevitably wonder what took so long - and how Obama could have misjudged someone to whom he was very close.
Globe readers (or C-Span watchers at least) were wondering about this yesterday, too.
Unlike Canellos, Globe political columnist Scott Lehigh applies a low quality smokescreen:
What's really relevant here is not what Jeremiah Wright says but what Barack Obama believes.
The issue voters are weighing does not concern Mr. Obama’s beliefs, but rather his judgment, as Canellos correctly observes.
The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal site today carries a column by Heather McDonald of City Journal that reports what still remains unmentionable in the Globe at least, that is the content of Wright’s remarks before the NAACP Sunday night in Detroit:
At the NAACP meeting, Mr. Wright proudly propounded the racist contention that blacks have inherently different "learning styles,"… Pursuing a Ph.D. by logging long hours in the dusty stacks of a library, Mr. Wright announced, is "white." Blacks, by contrast, cannot sit still in class or learn from quiet study, and they have difficulty learning from "objects" — books, for example — but instead learn from "subjects," such as rap lyrics on the radio. These differences are neurological…Whites use what Mr. Wright referred to as the "left-wing, logical and analytical" side of their brains, whereas blacks use their "right brain," which is "creative and intuitive."
It seems that many of the very people in politics and media who so often claim to be longing for “a national dialog on race” are at this very moment too squeamish to even mention these propositions of Rev. Wright, let alone say to anything even slightly critical of them. The Globe has been completely silent.
Mr. Wright's speeches have shown how quickly academic insanity becomes incorporated into practice.
Indeed. Just ask Lawrence Summers.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
You would never guess that from reading today’s Boston Globe.
On the Globe’s front page Wright get’s only a pointer item to a very understated story on page A6, and a second context story from AP with a few extended quotes. The Op Ed page is silent. Globe Washington Bureau Chief Peter Canellos writes today about Obama’s stance on affirmative action. Is the Globe so tight on cash these days that poor Peter doesn’t have access to C-Span?
But of course Wright's remarks are not a big story, correct?
Wright merely served as Obama’s pastor for 20 years. It not like they had a close relationship, the way Mitt Romney did with this groundskeeper.
This is not as relevant as the story the Globe wrote about Mitt Romney’s Latin American groundskeeper hiring illegal immigrants. Now that was big news and was all over the front page, because it was relevant to the campaign. But this story about the man who married Obama, baptized his children, and served as his pastor for 20 years is not that big. It’s not that relevant.
Wright thinks the government created HIV to harm blacks? No big deal. He uses security guards from the Nation of Islam at the National Press Club? Unmentioned. He invokes some bizarre forms of phrenology (phrenology is a safe word choice here. Let’s not be the ones to use the R-word) while speaking to the NAACP (!) in Detroit and says that black people and white people are different because they have different kinds of brains? Also unmentioned.
Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web, James Taranto asked with tongue in cheek, “Democratic front-runner Barack Obama was supposed to unite the country, overcoming racial and even partisan division. How's that working out?”
Not much news about that in the Boston Globe, James. It must be working out just fine.
Monday, April 28, 2008
When it comes time to take our oath of citizenship, the sea of raised right hands - high and low, smooth and lined, black and white - is a beautiful sight.
Together, we renounce all other allegiances, swear we will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and promise to bear true faith to its principles.
A citizenship ceremony is truly an inspiring sight. In 2004 I had the good fortune to stumble onto one while conducting a tour for foreign visitors. It was s a great way to explain our nation, without requiring words.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Ever wonder how Globe reporters get in touch with the dodgy folks who often end up as sad sack poster children for Globe stories? For example last month, the Globe ran a “tough economy” story that featured a family who had moved to Maine and were suffering from high gas prices. But both mom and dad still commuted to work from Maine all the way to Massachusetts. I asked how does the Boston Globe always find "poster children" such as this?
Here is one way. The Globe’s main web page solicits people to get in touch with reporters who are working on future stories. From reading the solicitations, it appears that the story line is in place long before the story’s sad sack poster children are chosen. Here are 5 of the first 6 solicitations found on the Globe website today:
Hard economic times and spring break
Are hard economic times forcing you to forgo Disneyworld with your kids this spring break? Please tell us about your closer-to-home spring break plans. Send emails to email@example.com.
Own an SUV?
As gas prices rise, the value of SUVs is dropping. We're looking for SUV owners who've found the trade-in value of their SUV is less than expected. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Summer camps and the economy
Has the tough economy affected your plans to send your child to camp this summer? Globe reporter Erica Noonan would like to hear your story, please email her at email@example.com.
Taking money from your 401(k)?
Have you had to make a ''hardship withdrawal'' from your 401(k) retirement savings account? Globe reporter Ross Kerber would like to hear about your experience — email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retired but still working?
Are you retired from a corporate job and now working some place else -- like at a Home Depot or Borders -- because you want or need to continue working? Contact email@example.com to tell us about it.
Do you feel you are a victim of hard times? Call us now, please!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Poynter has posted a memo from Globe Managing Editor Marty baron indicating that 23 Globe newsroom staffers have accepted the most recent buyout offer.
My own former employer was a firm that repeatedly offered employee buyouts, and each offer was less generous than the previous ones, as people needed less incentive to leave. I doubt his will be the last one at the Globe. Its lost advertising and subscribers are not going to come back again.
Hat tip: Massachusetts Liberal
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
“Leave me alone. Do you know who the f--k I am? I’ll have a news crew down here in minutes and you will lose your f---ing jobs, f-------s. I’m a bigshot in Boston and I’ll have your f---ing jobs. You think your[sic] a f---ing tough guy, you just watch and see what the f--k happens to you when I get the f--k out of here.”
According to a Massachusetts State Police report (documents linked by the Globe here and here, with a story here) these are the words of Randi Goldklank, the general manager of WHDH (Boston’s TV channel 7) when confronted by State Police before being arrested at Boston Logan Airport Monday evening.
I find the media arrogance displayed here far more appalling than the vulgarities.
One can blame alcohol for these remarks, but I don’t think alcohol comes close to excusing them. I doubt the arrogance they expose disappears entirely when Boston Channel 7’s Bigshot GM returns to sobriety. Of course (we will doubtless be assured) this case is an aberration within mainstream media and journalism. Very atypical. Most media people don’t think like this.
Yes, there is a difference. Most media people are not the boss. Some are surely of better character.
The Boston Globe featured a quite complementary profile of Goldklank last September. Snippet:
"Television has such an impact on people and the information they get," Goldklank says. "It's a public service, but it's also exciting. I wanted to be a part of that."
Refer to the rant quoted above for an elaboration of Goldklank’s concept of “public service”.
WHDH placed Goldklank on administrative leave Tuesday.
Hat tip: Universal Hub
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In Commentary John Podhoretz reflects on the recently opened $475M “Newseum” in Washington DC, calling it “The News Mausoleum”. Podhoretz connects both the failing business model, and the arrogance of mainstream media to their former status as regional monopolists. This blogger has made similar observations, but not as well stated as this:
This labor-intensive process is precisely the model that has been upended in industry after industry, driven to painful change by technological innovation and competitive threats…Feverishly anticipating the demise of their 19th-century industrial product, newspapers are once again renewing their efforts to take advantage, somehow, of the growth of the Internet. But they are uniquely ill-positioned to do so. When it comes to reporting the news, their greatest competitive asset is the size of their news-gathering and news-writing staffs. But they can afford those staffs only because of advertising revenue. And, on the web, they will generate only a fraction of the advertising revenue they have been able to generate in print as an effective monopoly. Moreover, and unlike the case with every other rival they have faced in the past, the technical cost of competing with them is astonishingly low…
The prospect is a very stark one for people who work in, write, and edit newspapers. For these people do not think of themselves as “content providers.” They think much more highly of themselves than that. They believe they play a vital role, perhaps the most vital role, in the defense of the freedoms of every citizen. After all, who else is there to keep a vigilant watch over the official custodians of society? Who else is there to protect the people from the depredations of business and government? Is not freedom of speech—the very freedom that enables journalists to ply their trade—the first of our freedoms, primus inter pares, and who will guard it if not they?
Historically speaking, this attitude is of relatively recent vintage. It may, in fact, be an artifact of the rise of the same highly profitable monopoly newspapers and shared-monopoly television networks that were so profitable and consequently grew so powerful that they gave the members of their news force reason to believe they were not just working stiffs—the general attitude of newspapermen throughout most of the preceding era—but akin to a democratic nobility.
The immodesty of this idea led many newspaper professionals of the late 20th century into a category error. They came to confuse the significance of the subjects they were covering with the act of covering them. Proximity to the news made them a species of news. They wrote about government; therefore, they were equivalent to the government in importance. They reported a war, and their act of reporting a war came to loom as large as the war itself. Today, the death of a journalist in a war zone is assigned vastly more weight than the death of a soldier.
Sorry, Alex, but I believe the level of committment expressed at the original 1969 Earth Day was equally shallow.
You know the slick green tide is coming in each year when Vanity Fair publishes its Armani-scented "green" issue, which celebrates the eco-worthiness of such regular guys as Leonard DiCaprio and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Last year, you may remember, Leo was posing on an ice floe with a cute little polar bear photoshopped in for the occasion. Leo has since moved off the glacier into an eco-friendly New York luxury apartment, boasting low-emissions paint and, of course, solar panels.
Derrick Jackson recalls his son’s teacher Patrick Cunningham, and reflects on the cultural losses that result from the ever-increasing rarity of male schoolteachers:
That is a good argument to coax more men into the profession. "The problem is, for both men and women," Cunningham said, "is that this is a job where too many people ask, 'Why would anybody do this?' It is almost like becoming a priest or nun or something like that."
A good question, Derrick.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Today in the Globe James Carroll meditates on the passing of one of his mentors, Lutheran Bishop of Sweden Krister Stendahl. Excuse Jim for overstating:
Krister Stendahl argued that Christians - at least since Martin Luther, if not since St. Augustine - had misread the testimony of that early apostle. In this misreading, St. Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus was taken as rescue from a troubled preoccupation with sin and guilt, establishing the paradigm of Christian grace, which saves, against Mosaic Law, which condemns. Stendahl showed that St. Paul's conscience, instead of anguished, was "robust." His stance before God was overwhelmingly one of confidence, not terror. God's constant love, not God's threat, was Paul's driving force.
“Be not afraid”, as John Paul II always said.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Lehigh is so peeved he concludes:
…no doubt that's why I'm not a network anchor or even a chief Washington correspondent. After all these years of covering politics, I still don't have any idea what's really important.
I’ll tell you what's important, Scott. The critical issue in 2008 is the hiring practice of Mitt Romney’s groundskeeper. At least your own Boston Globe colleagues thought so when they put that trivial non-story on the Globe’s front page.
Scott, rather than dump on ABC, clean up the Globe's act. If you want to see regular examples of the media alienating their customers through arrogant decisions to focus on non-issues and trivia, there's no need to turn on the boob tube. Read your own rag.
And speaking about squandering opportunities, here is a excerpt from a Goldman Sachs report on the New York Times Corporation issued yesterday :
NYT reported weak first quarter results that were well below expectations…The negative advertising revenue trends seen in January (down 9.8% y-o-y) and February (down 8.3%) continued, as March numbers fell 11.1%. The weakness was mainly seen in classifieds, which dropped 25.7% y-o-y in March (down 22.6% YTD). Moreover, the New England Media’s performance was particularly bad (down 25.9% y-o-y).
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I skipped the 21st Democratic presidential debate, but from reading the reviews it sounds like the program lifted the spirits of Republicans. Peter Canellos writes in the Globe:
The first half of last night's debate in the august National Constitution Center in Philadelphia was a tawdry affair, as ABC news questioners called on Obama and Clinton to address a year's worth of dirty laundry, and each combatant eagerly grabbed at the chance to besmirch their rival a little more.
And Joan Vennochi today writes of Democratic women voters frustrated with the exclusion of the Florida and Michigan delegations, who aren’t getting any help from the local pols:
Kennedy, Kerry, and Patrick are mistaken if they believe all their female supporters can be counted on to stay there.
Joan, where they gonna go?
The Democratic party apparatus holds our state government in a vice. That’s why we have such open, uplifting, and lively debate in our legislature. There is no creditable opposition. These ladies are merely discovering the downside of a one-party state. It is patronage uber alles, and alles includes the electorate.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I rankled at the description of Obama’s bitter-small-town-guns-and-God comment as elitist. It was smug; it was self-righteous; it was blinkered, bigoted, emotionally impoverished, and otherwise odious; it but it was not in any normal sense of the word “elitist.” I do not live in Pennsylvania. But I do live in a small(ish) town; I think the Second Amendment is a vital prophylactic against the untoward prerogatives of state power; and I’d sooner “cling” to religion than the hectoring, welfare-state, just-let-us-tell-you-how-to-live-your-life directives dispensed by Michelle and Barrack Obama. But what bothers me about such directives is not their elitism but their arrogance.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Forget global warming, there may be a hyphen shortage coming. I hope the linotype machines at the Boston Globe are ready for it.
Here is the first of what might be a trend. A Sunday Boston Globe article on
perverts unwelcome touchers riding the MBTA began with the name of a person with a double-hyphened triple-surname:
But wait, there’s more!
Ms. Fardon-Jones-Finney has a 12-year old daughter. In 10-15 years, her daughter may well pick up yet another surname and hyphen.
I’m lovin’ it.
Hat tip: TJIC
Every 4 years it seems that leading Democratic presidential candidates come down with a short-lived empathy for pro-life voters. That empathy goes along with similarly periodic ploys towards gun owners, advocates of controlled borders and (this year) embittered Midwestern religionists:
Boston Globe, July 5 2004:
INDEPENDENCE, Iowa -- Amid a three-day bus tour in which he highlighted his values and cast himself as an acceptable alternative for conservative voters, John F. Kerry was quoted yesterday as saying he believes life begins at conception, but continues to favor abortion rights.
Boston Globe, April 14 2008:
GRANTHAM, Pa. - Senator Hillary Clinton said last night that the potential for life begins at conception …Clinton was asked whether life begins at conception, which opponents of abortion contend makes termination of a pregnancy the ending of a life. "I believe the potential for life begins at conception," the senator from New York said. "For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved." She said she came to support abortion rights after much soul-searching, but said it should be used rarely. "I have concluded . . . that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society."
The lady now recoiling in horror at the prospect of such an intrusion of government authority is the same person who in 1993 was the architect of government intrusion to the point of control in the entire US health care system.
These are signs of an election coming.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Obama’s condescending remarks on small town Pennsylvanians get 2nd billing (and of course no links to the original story ) in today’s Boston Globe “Campaign Notebook”, which carries the headline “Bill Clinton remark renews controversy”.
One must wonder if the rule at the Globe is the more damaging the story the less visible the coverage. Recall that the Globe was completely silent about the 2004 Swift Boat Veteran charges against Kerry for 2 ½ weeks.
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
A McCain spokesman said Obama "shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking." Excuse me for not being shocked breathless by finding such condescension in Obama when it is so common in academia and the media. Fortunately, that attitude does not do well at the polls.
Obama has just shot himself in the foot. The McCain campaign may not be savvy and ruthless enough to make him pay for it, but (fortunately for Republicans) the Clintons surely are. They have 10 days to work him over with this before the Pennsylvania primary. These next 10 days could be an enjoyable spectacle for Republicans.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Out of the campaign trail limelight, Romeny still on the political hunt
Maybe the Globe should assign a full-time reporter to this Romeny guy, or at least a proofreader part-time.
From Globe campaign reporter Foon Rhee today, a story headlined “Husband's legacy poses a dilemma for Clinton” begins:
It is one of the central challenges of Hillary Clinton's campaign: How to take credit for the accomplishments of her husband's presidency and profit from his popularity while distancing herself from his past and present positions…
…many voters do not want to return to what Kettl described as "the drama of the Clinton years."
And what does such “drama” consist of? Don't ask, don't tell. Foon's apparently does not ask and the story does not tell.
Are readers all assumed to all know and agree, so there’s no reason to be specific? Or is Foon deliberately avoiding descriptive words such as “scandal”?
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The text of an AP story today begins like this:
NAHAL OZ, Israel - Militants from the Gaza Strip slipped across the border and opened fire at a fuel depot in southern Israel yesterday, killing two Israeli civilians in a brazen daylight raid that threatened to set off heavy combat after a monthlong [sic] lull.
The Israeli government held Gaza's Hamas rulers responsible for the attack and sent tanks, troops, and aircraft into the Palestinian territory. At least nine Palestinians died during the day, including two at the depot and seven in Gaza.
Many newspapers ran this AP story today. Here are some examples of headlines they used.
Gaza Gunmen Kill 2 in Southern Israel
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Palestinian militants from Gaza kill 2 Israelis in border attack
San Jose Mercury News:
Attack on Israeli fuel depot breaks calm, threatens talks
Palestinians kill 2 Israelis in attack on Gaza fuel depot
But our local broadsheet runs the story under their own unique headline.
The Boston Globe:
Border clashes kill Israelis, Palestinians
But remember there is no bias at the Globe, folks. No agenda journalism. These are professional journalists at work. Nothing to see here. Move along now.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.Or from 2 Corinthians:
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
The proposals would tighten corporate tax laws - bringing in $204 million next year - and would raise $152 million by increasing the state's cigarette tax by $1 per pack.
Are we simply passing the increased tax burden to smokers yet again?
Whatever became of that f-word (“fairness”) that so many politicians and editorial writers are so quick to use (without defining)? How is it “fair” to hand a major share of new tax burden to a lower-income demographic as a sin tax? Has any research shown that the health benefits caused by the tax are worth the high incremental costs to lower income households? Of course not. The Democratic legislature is desperate for new sources of cash and is simply tightening the screws on an unpopular whipping boy. How nice. How liberal. How progressive.
And exactly how is this better (demographically speaking) than taxing casino gambling? Not much.
So here’s a proposal. Beacon Hill thinks it’s grand to raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes by roughly 20% through new taxes. Then why not at the same time impose a new tax that raises the cost of a bottle of wine by the same percentage? That would undoubtedly reduce the uneven demographic impact. It might cost our Beacon Hill hacks something out of their own pockets, too.
Show us you care! Pick up at least some share of the new tax burden, or please stop calling yourselves liberals (or even more ironically, progressives).
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
It’s a boring day for the Globe, so let’s have a tasty leftover. On April 1 Alex Beam and Mark Feeney penned a well aimed parody of Deval Patrick’s book that appeared in the paper. Snippet:
Furthermore, I understand that, from a strictly business-as-usual, get-elected political standpoint, serving on the board of Ameriquest might not have looked good. Yet looks can be deceiving. (That’s why we need nice drapes -- just kidding.) The average voter was unlikely to grasp the particular personal appeal to someone like myself -- someone whose life has been a "quest," a distinctively "American" quest -- of a name like that company’s. For that matter, the average voter could hardly understand how much good can be accomplished from the "inside." Texaco, Coca-Cola, Ameriquest -- even as I type the names I feel the burden once again weighing down my shoulders -- they were tough, tough jobs, but someone had to do them.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Stretching to make a point, Joan Vennochi today ventures into nutroot absurdity:
Kerry - the Democratic presidential nominee still haunted by how the votes were counted in Ohio in 2004...
This is pure buncombe, unless Joan means that Kerry is haunted by the fact that he received fewer votes than Bush. To my knowledge, not once has John Kerry ever claimed that Ohio was stolen from him in 2004.
In fact if any state was stolen in the 2004 election, the most likely suspect is Wisconsin, where more than 100,000 voters registered by mail in the weeks before the election and on election day itself, and by law were placed on the rolls even though virtually none of them responded to official requests for verification. Kerry won Wisconsin by less than 12,000 votes out of 3,000,000 votes cast.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Former Hillary supporter and new Obama convert Tripp Jones:
Twenty years ago, as a staffer of Governor Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign, I observed the use of the now-famous "Willie Horton" ad to undermine a good man's character, fan the flames of racial division and distract voters from the most important issues of the time. Not this time. We have an opportunity to show that we have learned from our mistakes.
If Mr. Jones still thinks that the Willie Horton ad was designed to undermine Dukakis’ character, fan the flames of racial division and distract voters from the most important issues of the time, rather than to question Dukakis’ judgment and illustrate his unpopular liberal positions on crime, then Tripp has not learned very much from his mistakes. It is exactly this kind of thinking that could allow Democrats another 4 years to ponder their mistakes without the presidency.
Deval Patrick’s book deal gives another gift today:
Governor Deval Patrick said in his book proposal that he was able to "fill the Boston Common recently with ten thousand people," a boast intended to prove to publishers that his message of hope and optimism generates enthusiasm and will translate into sales. But Patrick left out a key fact about the Oct. 23 Boston Common rally. It was held to celebrate Patrick's endorsement of Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, who stood by Patrick's side at the event.
Which the Republicans treat appropriately:
"Is this book fiction or nonfiction?" said Barney Keller, spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican Party. "Governor Patrick couldn't get 81 legislators to vote for his casinos. Why does he think that 10,000 people would come to hear him speak? Next thing you know he'll throw out the first pitch at Fenway and claim 30,000 people came to see him do it."Together we can get Deval a 7-figure advance, even if he has to embellish things just a tiny bit.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Today’s lead Globe story begins with a dishonest choice of words under the headline “Democrats shift strategy on Iraq debate”:
Lacking the votes to end the war, Democratic leaders said yesterday they will try to make the US troop surge in Iraq "irrelevant" by shifting the war debate away from the impact of the recent US offensive and instead make the case that the price paid in lives, treasure, and military readiness was not worth it.
For the word “impact” above, substitute the word “success”. It is more accurate but apparently unpalatable to the Globe newsroom and, sadly, to Democratic party leaders.
On the local front, Deval Patrick’s $1.35M book deal will be giving gifts to his opponents for months or years to come. From today’s Globe:
The 65-page pitch letter that led to his $1.35 million…details a strategy to sell at least 150,000 copies through a "vigorous media campaign," a nationwide book-signing tour, multiple speaking engagements, and efforts to persuade big corporations to buy the book by the carton, activities that promise to pull Patrick away from Massachusetts and the State House during the last year of his term.
During his rocky early months, Patrick's blunders - the Cadillac, the drapes, the in-hopelessly-over-their-heads top staffers, the phone call to
A certain self-absorption, Scott? Speak plainly! The appropriate word is arrogance.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
I’m still smiling at this quote from yesterday’s Boston Globe:
"Among Millennial students, whether it's race, gender, or nationality, the borders are coming down," said James Baumann of the Association of College and University Housing Officers. "The lines just aren't there anymore."
Paging Mr. Frost:
IT IS ALMOST THE YEAR
To start the world of old
We had one age of gold
Not labored out of mines,
And some say there are signs
The second such has come,
The true Millennium,
The final golden glow
To end it. And if so
(And science ought to know)
We well may raise our heads
From weeding garden beds
And annotating books
To watch this end de luxe.
-- Robert Frost
Joan Vennochi broaches the subject in her Globe column today, and does well with it except that Joan seems to believe that Hillary was still deceived by Bill after the scandal broke (as Hillary said in her biography).
I doubt it. Most everybody suspected Bill was lying. What was astounding was the brazenness of his (or their) lie.
And then there’s this snippet from Joan:
Monica Lewinsky was destined to come up in 2008, and Chelsea Clinton was the obvious avenue of inquiry.
Stupid me. I would have thought the obvious avenue of inquiry would be for someone in the press to discover their cojones and ask Hillary (in the words of Senator Sam Ervin) what did she know and when did she know it?
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Just below I wrote about six mainly silly tidbits from today’s Globe, but forgot the silliest of all, the Globe cover story. Today it is of colleges reaching the “Final Frontier” in equality and becoming gender blind in their housing assignments. Some college men and women can now choose to be assigned as roommates, and we are supposed to believe that most of those who do are “just friends”.
What do you call the situation where men and women are living together for long periods without having sex? If they are in college it is called gender neutral housing. Otherwise it’s called marriage.
We learn that gender neutral housing offers escape from an oppressive gender binary. Then again, so does death.
And one wonders how if it is such a good thing for colleges to be gender blind, why is it such a bad thing for them to be race blind?
Finally, I can't help bet feel slightly sad for the young woman in the page one photo, because the Globe story reveals that her male roommate’s girlfriend has no misgivings that he is living with her. I don’t claim to understand women, but I believe many women would find that insulting.
Here are a few delightful sips from this superb Globe howler:
"It's a new world, and gender has taken on all kinds of new definitions. It's about being more inclusive, and it's about keeping pace with the times."…
"Among Millennial students, whether it's race, gender, or nationality, the borders are coming down," said James Baumann of the Association of College and University Housing Officers. "The lines just aren't there anymore."…
Students say that although administrators and parents may perceive gender-blind housing as essentially sanctioning sex, the vast majority of mixed-gender roommates are platonic. Their living situations are about mutual compatibility, not romance, they say….
The campaign contends that traditional rooming policies wrongly assume that men and women cannot live together non-sexually and "needlessly reinforce an oppressive gender binary."…
At Clark, sophomore Jason Carmignani, has shared a bedroom with a close female friend, Yael Bassal, since December in a six-person suite. The pair is not romantic, and Carmignani said his girlfriend has no misgivings about his living with a woman….
I hate to be found out so quickly.
Today’s Globe illustrates their point. Here is one day’s gleanings:
First: The first is a good read. Jeff Jacoby hears the loud complaints about the film Fitna and asks “Where’s the outrage?” over Jihadist terror? Bob Dole didn’t get an answer to that question either.
Second: A Globe Editorial on the dysfunctional family of Liquarry Jefferson:
The boy's extended family was so well known to police in 2004 that they launched a special effort to surround the younger members with social services.…This is a smart approach that recognizes that police and state human service agencies can redeem young people despite their toxic families.
Globe editors are horrified at the alleged intolerance of a religious figure or a politician who privileges certain family structures and says that alternative family structures are not preferred and not as socially beneficial. Yet the same Globe doesn’t mind calling particular families “toxic” (an accurate term in this case, IMHO). I don’t understand the Globe’s grounds for complaint.
Third: The Department of Homeland security will bypass environmental regulations to complete construction of 670 miles of the US border fence. The predictable howl:
Wildlife groups reacted with dismay. Brian Segee, a lawyer with Defenders of Wildlife, said, "It's dangerous, it's arrogant, it's going to have pronounced environmental impacts, and it won't do a thing to address the problems of undocumented immigrants or address border security problems."
Uh huh. No follow-up questions.
Fourth: AP reports:
In New Hampshire, officials have been warning residents for weeks to prepare for the flooding after a winter that dumped more snow in some areas than has been seen in a century.
Conveniently, the story avoids making any mention of global warming. Did Al Gore spend last winter in New Hampshire?
Under fire for traveling to New York for a book deal as his casino legislation was being defeated in the House, Governor Deval Patrick is now moving toward a decidedly different place: back to his base.
Deval is under fire for that? Who knew? I read the Globe, but somehow I didn’t see that story make the front page.
Sixth: They are breathing easier over at the Mass Lottery these days, and the Globe gives the Lottery a superb puff piece about their marketing prowess:
"Our mission is to raise revenue for the cities and towns," said Mark Cavanagh, the Lottery's executive director. "All of our profit goes to the cities and towns. . . . There's nobody behind the curtain. There's no casino owner taking the profits out of state. So if the players are entertained and they're playing responsibly and we have a responsible product line, we think it's our job to try to increase revenues, but do it in a responsible manner."
And later we learn one part of the Lottery’s definition of playing responsibly:
Texas has a $50 scratch ticket. (Cavanagh said the lottery has no plans to go higher than $20 because it could encourage people to gamble irresponsibly.)
The very same story reports that Mass Lottery games are specifically designed to encourage clients to play repeatedly.
The lottery sends 71 percent of its sales back to players in prizes, compared with a national average of about 57 percent, the analysis showed. Most players do not win much, but the experience of winning even a few bucks is enough to keep them playing.
So plunking $50 for one ticket is somehow not playing responsibly. But plunking down $20 3 times in a row and winning $10 is. Go figure.
Sleep well tonight, Massachusetts! Your Massachusetts State Lottery is on guard against irresponsible
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The article concerns the balance between the genders in marriage aged urban populations. Here’s a well worn cliché it uses:
One reason young women in the prime marriage years - the 25-44 age range - flock to big cities is to compete for the most eligible men. And smart women who gravitate to vibrant cities are more likely to stay single - for longer, at least - because they rightly refuse to settle for someone who can't keep up with them intellectually or otherwise.
Take that, feminists! Then follows this astounding exhibition of purest stupidity:
But women do have an advantage in the American West and Southwest. In greater Los Angeles, for example, there are 90,000 more single men than women. In Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area, single men outnumber single women by roughly 65,000.
Women have an advantage dating men in San Francisco, eh? Tell me more, Professor!
Apparently it never occurs to the professor to adjust his data for what polite society calls alternative lifestyle choices. The fact that a dating scene with a large surplus of young men is considered optimal by many of the young men who live in the Bay Area somehow seems not to have occurred to Professor Florida.
How and why did the Globe select this piece of drivel for the Sunday magazine? Did they read it first or just forward it straight to the printing plant?
P.S. This is NOT an April Fool's Day post, or article. The Globe ran the article on March 30.
From today’s Boston Globe lead Editorial:
The proposal's defeat was a foregone conclusion, but many of Patrick's hard-working allies felt abandoned by his retreat. "It's hard to imagine a more inept act," said one of Patrick's State House supporters…It is true that former governor Weld spent the last six or seven months of his tenure writing a first novel, "Mackerel by Moonlight," but Weld had already checked out mentally from the job. We expect more from Patrick, whose promise has so far not been met.
A bit of buyer’s remorse, perhaps? From the same page on October 29, 2006:
At times in this campaign we have worried that Patrick's policy proposals were not detailed enough, and that if he won without an explicit to-do list he would lack a mandate to govern. But perhaps the new approach Patrick brings to politics -- a collaborative, consensus-building leadership style that assumes the best of people -- is his mandate. If he comes into office with the voters' strong support for this kind of governing, he could change the dynamic on Beacon Hill in profound ways.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Senator Joe Lieberman:
"It's not the Bill Clinton-Al Gore party, which was strong internationalists, strong on defense, pro-trade, pro-reform in our domestic government…It's been effectively taken over by a small group on the left of the party that is protectionist, isolationist, and very, very hyperpartisan. So it pains me."
Bill and Hillary have made the required ideological adjustments and don’t feel your pain, Joe. It may pain you more come November.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Here is a loyal, honest Democrat writing on Deval Patrick’s week:
AFTER 15 MONTHS in office, Governor Deval Patrick is ready to write a new chapter in his political life. From "Together we can," it's "Me, me, me."…A trip on that day for that purpose proves one thing: politically speaking, the great communicator is deaf… At least DiMasi cared enough about the issue to exert influence up until the votes were cast…the governor could have demonstrated grace in the face of defeat, as well as gratitude to supporters, especially those legislators who did as he asked and stood up to DiMasi…He was going to change Beacon Hill's culture and priorities; and when he said that, no one thought he meant casinos for Massachusetts and a $1.35 million book deal for himself..it looks like he is doing a version of what his predecessors did: moving on.
Patrick's book, said the publisher, will draw upon the governor's "extraordinary journey from Chicago's Wabash Avenue to the Massachusetts State House." Will it end on Inauguration Day? It might have to, because the chapter after that could be very thin.
Joan Vennochi has can write as a Democrat without discarding her honesty. This is unlike her colleague Scott Lehigh, who one day phones in an absurd and dishonest Op Ed piece copied from Howard Dean’s talking points, and then three weeks later tells readers the unsurprising news that things have changed.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Of course not! Remember, the political liberalism of professional journalists does not slant their news reporting.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
On Wednesday, the reporters on the tour received a detailed schedule for the trip and shown a video about the riots, said the reporter present in the group who did not want to be identified.A reporter who did not want to be identified? The Times does not explain why. But if simply speaking to an uninvited NY Times reporter is taboo for this press tour, it must be some swell Potemkin Villages they are seeing.