Saturday, February 07, 2009

General - Typos are Fun

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• $30 million for SD salaries

• $100 for distance learning

• $98 million for school nutrition

• $1.25 billion for project based rental

• $2.25 for Neighborhood Stabilization


• $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing

I love typos. Above are a couple of clips from CNN's list of items cut from the economic stimulus package. I'm assuming that the words "million" or "billion" were omitted, but wouldn't it be fun if the plan really called for a whopping one-hundred dollars to be used for a distance learning program for one of the white house interns?

Or, if the "Neighborhood Stabilization" funding really was just enough to buy a cup of coffee for the old guy who walks around the neighborhood in the evenings, carrying one of those big staffs?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Covering an Obama Victory

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Reporters do their least self-conscious work when they're startled by a story they hadn't prepared to write. Think of the astonishing coverage of the 9/11 attack, natural disasters, and the 2000 election-that-would-not-end. But giving a reporter (or a pundit) too much time to think about a historic event such as VE Day, the moon landing, the fall of Communism, or the release of Nelson Mandela is like entering him into a grandiosity competition to see who can squeeze the most poetry out of his keyboard. Suddenly, everybody with a notepad and a word processor thinks he's Norman Mailer.

Jack Shafer writes below in his latest column for

Should the polls hold true, it will be very interesting to watch the coverage of an Obama victory. I for one will be overwhelmed with joy and will probably grab at every scrap of news coverage I can find.

It will be like when the Royals won 9 games out of the gate in 2003 and the next off-season, everybody had to treat them like legitimate post season contenders. I couldn't get my eyeballs on enough positive coverage of my favorite team.

This will be just like that, only with coverage from every news organization known to man, and of an event with ramifications of slightly more important than the result of some baseball games (slightly more).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Political - Please Use Fact Check

My Dad just gave me a great quote, which I'm surely getting wrong:

"The Republicans started out using weapons of mass destruction. Now they are using weapons of mass distraction."

As the presidential race really heats up in the next month, please take a few minutes each week to go to and browse the articles they post. It's independent and it gives you the actual facts, with no spin.

Find out the truth, and vote based on that, not on what you see or here on the TV, Radio and Internet. There's just too much bullsh!t in the news these days.
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Politics - History of Pigs and Lipstick

This story from CNN is what makes me love and hate the political process at the same time.

Love: The fact that everybody is up in arms about whether or not Obama was referring to VP candidate Palin when he used the common colloquialism "you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

Hate: That people will probably think he's attacking all working mothers by saying they are pigs who put on lipstick and oink their way through the work day.

Love: That CNN gives a brief but fairly full history of politicians using the phrase. (See quoted paragraph below)

Hate: That nobody will read past the headline of this story.
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Other politicians have also used the phrase in recent years, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Rep. John Mica of Florida and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, among others.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Politics - Colbert Can't Run

Haven't written anything political for a while, but with the primaries finally drawing near, I'll probably start piping up with my blue-state, liberal muckety-muck.

I'm a big Steven Colbert fan, and have been watching his run for president with what I feel is an appropriate amount of bemusement.

I found the story below about the legalities behind Colbert's entrance into the South Carolina primary interesting. What I'm really waiting for is to see how many people actually cast a vote for the comedian, thus declaring their dissatisfaction with all of the other available candidates.
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Stephen Colbert. Click image to expand.
TV satirist Stephen Colbert told his audience on Oct. 16 that he would "seek the office of the president of the United States." Over the next few days, he signed papers to get on both the Democratic and Republican primary ballots in South Carolina, and he unveiled a campaign Web site.
The Federal Election Commission prohibits corporations from making "any contribution or expenditure in connection with a federal election." A "contribution" includes "anything of value," including airtime.
Viacom might also run afoul of the Federal Communication Commission's equal time rule. By law, radio and television stations must treat political candidates equally when it comes to selling or giving away airtime.
Each of the 16 presidential hopefuls could therefore demand as much time on Comedy Central as Colbert gets—about 20 minutes a night, four days a week. Faced with a similar situation earlier this year, NBC decided to stop airing Law & Order reruns featuring Fred Thompson.
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Friday, May 26, 2006

Neil Young's "Living With War"

Since the Royals are beyond terrible and legitimate football is still a ways off, I'll probably start paying more attention to the political arena in the coming months.

Just to reinforce my blue-state leanings, I'm posting a link to the fantastic new Neil Young album "Living With War."

By clicking HERE, you can listen to a free stream of the album.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Quick Draw Dick

After watching Dick Cheney's interview from FOX News earlier today, I was compelled by the subtle shift in his demeanor as the discussion went from the actual shooting to the subsequent release of information.

I think that shift probably represents very closely what actually happened over the weekend:

1.) The Gunshot - I have no doubt that Cheney was shaken by the incident. It's easy to make fun of him for being a grumbling robot and call out his confession to FOX News as the staged drama it was, but actually putting a scatter of bullets (no matter how small) into another human being has to make one feel just a little sick, especially if it's unexpected.

Plenty of blame can be laid on Cheney for not taking the proper safety precautions, and John Dickerson at Slate has a nice little diatribe about how the NRA can actually strengthen their message by admonishing Cheney for his role in the incident, but nonetheless I'm willing to give Dick the benefit of the doubt when he claims shock as one of the prime ingredients of his decision making process right after the bullets left his gun.

2.) The Leak - Here is where the mood shifts. In the interview on FOX, Cheney suddenly becomes a much more focused speaker, listing off a multitude of reasons he felt it was best to forgo the official press mechanism of the White House and instead use the ranch owner and a local reporter to break the story.

I imagine this same shift in focus happened to Cheney after it was clear that his pal, Harry Whittington, was going to be okay (Ed. By "okay," I'm referring to the relative nature of OK-ness, where one is considered on the plus side of things after getting shot by virtue of being alive and on their way to a hospital, whereas this would generally be an undesirable circumstance, but is certainly more relished than the option of being dead after getting shot).

Once Mr. Whittington was carted off to the hospital, Cheney was able to take his mind off the actual incident and shift back into work mode; coming up with the best plan to inform the world he'd almost murdered somebody.

An announcement through the White House would have involved a lot of showmanship from both sides of the podium and probably muddied the message in the official way most White House press briefings do. In this case, though, Cheney didn't need the message to be vague, he needed it to be perfectly clear: "The Veep Accidentally Shot Somebody, But That Person Is Okay And It's No Big Deal."

By having the ranch owner talk to a local reporter from Podunk, Cheney could basically dictate the story and then worry about the spin later.

As it turns out, it was a pretty easy spin. Let the press complain about the secrecy and then claim you were distraught. Insinuate it was the victim's fault (through the ranch owner's quotes) then be a hero for taking the blame yourself (through emotional answers to softball questions on FOX).

I see this as a fading story in another couple of days unless the guy actually dies or it turns out he was about to go public with some insider "Cheney wears women's undergarments" kind of story, and big Dick decided to take him out for real.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Well, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is back in court.

This time, he is defending his decision to require that all "doctors, nurses, counselors, and all other care providers report--as abuse--any sexual interaction between teens under 16."

Or course, as Dahlia Lithwick points out, this is merely another ill-conceiveded attempt at eradicating abortions under the guise of caring about children.

Lithwick (one of my favorites) does a pretty good job of laying out Kline's recent policies aimed at putting the pinch on abortion clinics in Kansas. Check it out when you have a minute. - Smells Like Teen Snogging, by: Dahlia Lithwick