If the city which gave us Paul Revere, the Minutemen, and Bunker Hill has now been emasculated to the point where it hides from an invasion of Lite Brites, then it’s probably time to surrender to al qaeda. After all, they’re a much more determined enemy than Hasbro.
According to this report: Bloggers were the first to recognize it as a hoax. Which gives me occasion again to think that the military under-appreciates the potential of networked military bloggers in a hostile environment.
. . . the soft bigoty of low expectations:
Senator Joe Biden says that fellow Senator Barack Obama is “articulate and bright and clean.”
As opposed, I suppose, to the illiterate, ignorant, and filthy blacks that have run for President before Obama.
I don’t know what Sen.Biden was trying to say with this statement (I think it’s obvious what he meant: He’s apparently warning us not to get caught in a long elevator ride with Misters Jackson, Sharpton, and Keyes or Ms. Moseley-Braun), but there is one thing I do know, and that’s what James Taranto said:
[T]he 44th president will not be a loquacious Delaware senator named Joe Biden.
See also AA and JG.
My reaction, instead, is to yawn at the two big media-trumped stories out today. (this one and this one)
I suspect that over time both stories will soon join others like this, this, and this in the hall of hype.
So, getting back to the title of my post, “How does the old media sell news when no one wants to buy?” They do it by making today’s news appear bigger than ever before.
The media overhypes minor stories every day, like predictions of snow 48 hours in advance (Note to Editors: “Up to 2 inches” of snow in January is NOT news.), or by plastering pictures of a hot blonde teacher all over their website if Pamela Rogers so much as passes gas that day.
However, the examples of today’s overhyped stories should give us more pause than the elevation of the minor stories noted above. That’s because today’s news items are both advocacy stories. Let Bill Gates buy his own PR for his next new software. And let climatoligists present science to us instead of giving even more celebration to celebrity know-nothings who ape exaggerated claims.
If you want your readers back, restore some proportionality to the news instead of making everything into REALLY BIG NEWS!!!!! And stop being an unfiltered mouthpiece for causes and corporations.
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner proposed last week to make election duty similar to jury duty. “. . . Occasionally working the polls would be a mandatory part of a registered voter’s life.
It’s an intriguing idea worthy of debate.
As this article points out, nationally, the average age of a poll worker is 72. As a former poll worker myself, I can corroborate that it’s an older group of citizens. While the advancing age of workers isn’t a bad thing, it does limit how much technology can advance at the polling place.
Several years ago Nashville started using a limited number of PDAs loaded with the voter database to check for current registrations. The old way of checking the database was to call an (always busy) phone number and talk with an election official at the Metro Election Offices. During a busy election when there are dozens of what are called “fail safe” voters at each precinct, the phone delay results in the precinct captain being dedicated solely to this task instead of watching over the entire polling place.
When I asked an election official about making the PDAs more accessbile to each of the 172 precincts in the county so as to eliminate the need to call downtown to check the voter database, this official told me that there were a limited number of precinct captains who were comfortable enough with technology to use them. Apparently, too many of the poll workers think PDA means “public display of affection.”
“Drafting” poll workers also helps to restore some randomness to the election process. Tennessee law gives both parties the right to have an equal number of poll officials in each precinct. Here in heavily Democratic Davidson County, there are dozens of precincts, where, if there is a Republican living there, they wouldn’t admit it out loud. I suspect that heavily Republican counties and precincts face the opposite problem across the state. And third parties aren’t guaranteed representation at all. Election selection rules–or, if you prefer, a type of voir dire process–could create a balanced tribunal of election officials at each polling place.
I’m not saying that I’m fully on board with this proposal, but it does offer the hope of making the election process more transparent and fair. What do you think?
Is this GQ article Sen. Tom Coburn’s testing of the Presidential waters?
In 1992 Americans rejected Democrats. Twelve years later they rejected Republicans. Might 2008 be the year when Americans reject politicians from both parties?
Last Thursday the Wall Street Journal editorialized in favor of President Bush’s health plan proposal. (link available to subscribers) It’s a good thing they explained the proposal better because I wasn’t sure what to think based on what I had heard of the plan to this point.
The gist of the President’s plan is that health insurance would be counted as taxable income, but that everyone would receive a standard deduction for health care expenses. The proposed level is $15,000 for families and $7,500 for singles, which seems to be enough to cover the cost since my family’s insurance is about $11k.
What I like about the plan is that it does what has to be done to get America’s health system back in balance, and that is to get consumers closer to being payers.
One of the basic facts of economics is that people are generally more careful about spending their own money than they are about spending someone else’s. If you have full health insurance, you already know this to be true, because you have never asked the doctor questions like: What does this prescription cost? Is there a generic alternative? and Is this procedure really necessary? Oh sure, you may have asked out of curiosity, but the answer the doctor gave didn’t change your decision. Who cares what it cost; as long as it was covered, paying for it was somebody else’s problem. In fact, do you even know what your employer pays for your insurance? Probably not.
A corollary to this economic fact is another one: People generally take better care of their own stuff than other people’s. Again, you know this to be true because you have never washed a rental car.
What the President is trying to do is to make your health care your concern. A great idea. But one that is likely to gain little traction since the new majority in Congress wants to make it their problem. (Aside: Why, if you distrust the government listening to your phone calls, do you want them involved in your medical records?)
Finally, the President’s plan solves one of the serious problems with the current system–it puts the self-employed and the self-insured on an equal footing with those who have employer-provided insurance. That is increasingly important in a society where working for one employer for a lifetime is almost unheard of.
This is a good proposal put forth by the President. It deserves serious discussion. The cynic in me, however, says that this health plan is dead on arrival.
Up on Drudge is a link to a state legislator who wants the state to review movie scripts before movies are made. Immediately I thought this was a bad idea for free speech reasons, but now that I’ve read the story, it’s still a bad idea–only for a different reason.
North Carolina Republican State Senator Phil Berger said that the requirement “would apply only to films seeking the state’s lucrative filmmaker incentive, which refunds as much as 15 percent of what productions spend in North Carolina from the state treasury.” In other words, Berger isn’t requiring movies made in North Carolina to be reviewed, he only wants taxpayer-financed movies to be reviewed.
Some of the free speech purists in the audience–which I consider myself to be–will probably object to government intervention in a speech issue. But would you raise the same objection to a private entity who was approached to finance a movie. Would not the financier expect to have some creative input? Is it then reasonable to expect a public financier to provide public money with no input into the finished product? Of course not.
Bill Moyers agrees. Just recently he (very ironically–because the remark came at the end of an hour-long speech encouraging more government regulation and funding of media) noted that this spring he would begin his next media project without public financing, because “it compromises you.”
When somebody else pays, you give up some control. Any bride whose parents financed her wedding knows this to be true.
In a related story, also on Drudge, Google’s founders now admit that their agreement to censor content in exchange for government permission to enter the Chinese market was a mistake.
Finally, there is a very recent Tennessee reminder of what can happen when a government grants assistance to a movie, even when it does screen for content. Thong Girl 3 was a campy film recorded last year in Gallatin’s city offices. While not pornographic, citizens objected to the public assistance since they thought it demeaned the office of the mayor.
The lesson, therefore, is that when media makes deals with governments, you’re not going to like the results. And, by the way, if it’s a movie worth making, why would its makers want government interference anyway?
Tom Cash, whom I am honored to say, is a frequent reader of this website, has a very good letter to the editor in today’s Tennessean. It dovetails nicely with what I wrote about education yesterday.
Tom argues for greater local control of schools instead of school systems.
There’s a trend that concerns me though. Too often, we have been asked for our input on system-wide policies rather than at the school level, where our voices can be better heard. Too often, curriculum and materials have been handed down, with little regard for the specific needs of our students. One size does not fit all, nor should it. Now is the time to start reversing that trend.
Tom is right. Nashville’s system serves 72,000 students in some very different neighborhoods, each with different challenges. Decentralization, allowing greater neighborhood control will, as he states, keep Nashville from “losing our schools to the system.”
Thanks to JB I just read the story of an incredible man. And he’s actually a Congressman. But he’s not a politician–and that’s probably what makes him an incredible man.
His name is Tom Coburn. If you don’t know the name, you know his fight. Remember the “Bridge to Nowhere”? Coburn is on the right side of the most important domestic battle of our time. No, it is not immigration, health care, or global warming. It is the uncontrolled spending that exists solely to keep incumbents in office.
If ever I’m elected to office, I would consider it the greatest honor to be hated by my peers as he is–if ever I have peers like him.
Take the time to read this story, and know that, even now, Mr. Smith still can go to Washington.
Reverse discrimination doesn’t exist. I know this because some dork (a name he calls himself) declares it to be a “rhetorically empty” term.
That’s a load of crap.
See, I just made a declaration of fact. Therefore, it must be true. Or at least as true as declaring without evidence that reverse discrimination can’t exist.
Help me understand how when a taxpayer-funded organization denies admittance to whites it is a good thing and not discrimation, while it is always wrong in reverse. Rather than arguing on the merits, the offended individual simply ended the conversation by declaring that the very idea of reverse discrimination is “nonsense”.
One can make the argument that black on white discrimination is not as egregious as the opposite. While I disagree, it at least is not an argument that is without historical merit. If, however, one truly believes that black on white discrimination is by definition not discrimination, then in addition to being guilty of reverse discrimination, one is also guilty of hypocrisy, inconsistency, and illogic. See, another declaration. Only this one is true.