Thursday, August 02, 2007
The victory of expensive tap water in disposable bottles delivered by trucks and labelled by Coke ("dasani") and Pepsi ("aquafina") over inexpensive tap water delivered through (emission-free) pipes is a victory of expensive advertising and scare tactics over common sense and the common good. But it may, with just a little help like this editorial in today's New York Times, be just a temporary victory.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.
[...]The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby's case is an appropriate exercise of this power.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Here's a screenshot from June 2.
Is it time to reset the results and start from scratch, or should we just live with the fact that, in this electronic age, election fraud is going to be as common on meaningless internet Presidential preference polls as it is in Florida and Ohio elections, and American Idol phone-in contests?
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
In France this week, published opinion polls are illegal [see update below]. If we lived in Avignon or Tours, we would have to spend this week reading about something other than the constant tracking polls during the final days of the presidential horse race. We would have to wait until Sunday to cast our vote for Ségolène Royal, and to see whether our countrymen had agreed with us or chosen Nicolas Sarkozy to occupy the Élysée Palace for the next five years.
Unfortunately, we can't include Ségolène in our sidebar poll. Being born in Senegal somehow disqualifies her from occupying our Oval Office. You'll have to choose between one of the seven alphabetically-arranged also-rans to your right.
Fortunately for us, there is never a shortage of meaningless horse-race polls in the U. S. of A.!
UPDATE 4 May 2007: The law changed, or I was mistaken, because the French press is full of polls like these today showing Sarko in the lead in advance of Sunday's voting.
"This political language has created a frame that is not accurate and that Bush and his gang have used to justify anything they want to do," Edwards said in a phone interview from Everett, Wash. "It's been used to justify a whole series of things that are not justifiable, ranging from the war in Iraq, to torture, to violation of the civil liberties of Americans, to illegal spying on Americans. Anyone who speaks out against these things is treated as unpatriotic. I also think it suggests that there's a fixed enemy that we can defeat with just a military campaign. I just don't think that's true."
Thursday, April 26, 2007
BILL MOYERS: Four years ago this spring the Bush administration took leave of reality and plunged our country into a war so poorly planned it soon turned into a disaster. The story of how high officials misled the country has been told. But they couldn't have done it on their own; they needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on.
Since then thousands of people have died, and many are dying to this day. Yet the story of how the media bought what the White House was selling has not been told in depth on television. As the war rages into its fifth year, we look back at those months leading up to the invasion, when our press largely surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with our government in marching to war.
This 90-minute special edition of Bill Moyers' Journal from April 25, 2007 "Buying the War", which has a full transcript online here, was a good introduction or review for anyone interested in how and why the leading lights of the mainstream press were either dupes or collaborators in the march to invade Iraq. He did not (like the New York Times) ignore the group that gave WHIGgate Update its raison d'être.
The Times, the Washington Post, and the major broadcast networks all come under fire in this show (as do the easy targets of the flag-waving cable news networks and saber-rattling pundits). The only heroes are two reporters for Knight Ridder (Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay) who saw the holes in the government's stories with basic fact checking rather than high-level cocktail party access to the lies of Scooter Libby and Karl Rove.
BILL MOYERS: As the WASHINGTON POST'S veteran reporter Walter Pincus would later report, the propaganda machine was run by the president's inner circle — officials who called themselves the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG..... You wrote that WHIG included Karl Rove, the chief of staff, Andrew Card, Mary Matalin, Condi Rice, Steven Hadley, Lewis Libby and they were in charge of
selling the war.
WALTER PINCUS: Selling the war. Yeah.
PRESIDENT BUSH (9/11/02): Good evening. A long year has passed since enemies attacked our country.
BILL MOYERS: Their chief salesman had the best props at his disposal [spoken over a clip of Bush with the Statue of Liberty behind him on the 1st anniversary of 9/11/01]
PRESIDENT BUSH (9/11/02): …and we will not allow any terrorist or tyrant to threaten civilization with weapons of mass murder.
WALTER PINCUS: They created that link.
BILL MOYERS: The marketing group?
WALTER PINCUS: The marketing group. And the link was a twofold link. One, he had weapons of mass destruction. And two, he supported terrorists. And they repeated it everyday. anybody who watches-- television these days knows you sell a product, not just by saying it once, by saying it over and over again with new spokesmen two, three times a day and it sinks into the public.
BILL MOYERS: But is there anything unusual about an administration marketing its policy?
WALTER PINCUS: It's, I think each administration has learned from the other, and with this group is just the cleverest I've ever seen-- and took it to new heights.
NORM SOLOMON: The TV, radio, print, other media outlets are as crucial to going to war as the bombs and the bullets and the planes. They're part of the arsenal, the propaganda weaponry, if you will. And that's totally understood across the board, at the Pentagon, the White House, the State Department.
COLIN POWELL (9/26/02): A proven menace like Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction
PRESIDENT BUSH (Discussion with Congressional Leaders, 9/26/02): The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons
DONALD RUMSFELD (DOD Press Briefing 9/26/02): We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members.
PRESIDENT BUSH: The regime has long standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations.
BOB SIMON: Just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. Repeat Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Just keep it going. Keep that drum beat going. And it was effective because long after it was well established that there was no link between Al Qaeda and the government of Iraq and the Saddam regime, the polls showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans believed that Al Qaeda-- that Iraq was responsible for September 11th.
The New York Times STILL has not mentioned "WHIG" or the "White House Iraq Group" in its news pages even though one of their reporters, Judith Miller, has been exposed as their chief tool (or maybe even an honorary member of the Group). When the White House Iran Group starts feeding their reporters information from "Important High Level Administration Sources" (i.e., Liars), maybe the Times editors should think about the following quotation from a Knight Ridder editor before uncritically printing government "information" about Iranian WMDs on their influential front page.
BILL MOYERS: Knight Ridder's early skepticism was a rarity inside the beltway bubble…..
JOHN WALCOTT: A decision to go to war, even against an eighth-rate power such as Iraq, is the most serious decision that a government can ever make. And it deserves the most serious kind of scrutiny that we in the media can give it. Is this really necessary? Is it necessary to send our young men and women to go kill somebody else's young men and women?
crossposted from WHIGgate Update (http://whiggate.org)
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Time: Around 2001, during the evening rush hour.
The Place: A New Jersey Transit train leaving New York's Penn Station
The Characters: Middle-Aged White Man in a Dark Suit #1 & Middle-Aged White Man in a Dark Suit #2
Man#1 is watching Man#2 type on a tiny keyboard with his thumbs.
Man #1: What's that thing?
Man #2: A "Black Berry".
Man #1: What are you doing?
Man #2: I'm talking to my boss right now!
Man #1: Why the fuck would you want to do that?
Why indeed? thought the man sitting across the aisle from them who was trying to read a book.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I have this naive belief that nobody is important enough to speed unless they're responding to an emergency. The Governor of New Jersey is not a fireman, and he was not on his way to the scene of a crime. I know that most people in his position probably do it routinely, but I think they need to explain why (though the obvious answer, I'm afraid, is "because I can").
New drivers are also told that they are responsible for making sure that their passengers are belted. Why didn't this State Trooper/Chauffeur insist that his front seat passenger wear his seatbelt?
Jon Corzine needs to answer a lot of questions about this "accident" when he heals enough to resume his duties.
UPDATE on 4/18/07: This morning's New York Times article on this news says:
Funny, but "I don't know how fast I was driving" is never an acceptable answer for a civilian to give a trooper."...the trooper driving the vehicle, Robert J. Rasinski, had told investigators that he did not know how fast he was traveling as he led Mr. Corzine’s two-car caravan, emergency lights flashing, from an Atlantic City speech to a meeting at the governor’s mansion in Princeton."
Monday, April 16, 2007
But the most important thing is simply to turn it off.
"The idea is simple: take your TV, your DVD player, your video iPod, your XBOX 360, your laptop, your PSP, and say goodbye to them all for seven days. Simple, but not at all easy. Like millions of others before you, you’ll be shocked at just how difficult – yet also how life-changing – a week spent unplugged can really be." --Adbusters.org
Thursday, April 12, 2007
This should be the last entry about that guy with the cowboy hat and the mean-spirited banter who used to be on the radio
Now that CBS has followed NBC's lead by firing the original shock jock, he will quickly be replaced by another scandal on the front pages. But his story will be remembered and taught for years by those who work in the mass media. The uttering of casually sexist and racist "jokes" on the public airwaves (or basic cable) is now as clearly taboo as accidentally flashing a female breast during the Super Bowl halftime show or dropping an f-bomb. There's no gray area here. The next Imus who says something similar on the air will have his microphone pulled during the next commercial break.
And Don Imus will remember that it's not nice to fool with the Scarlet Knights. He started the conversation that ended his career by saying, "That's some rough girls from Rutgers." He had no idea. He had no idea that the real strength of these talented young women was in their intelligence and their quiet dignity. While others (including this blogger) immediately jumped into the fray, they showed how vile Don Imus's comments were just by being themselves (and making all of us with connections to Rutgers even prouder to be Scarlet Knights than we already were!).
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
It may turn out to seem like a Pyrrhic victory when some right-wing pressure group leans on sponsors to get rid of something we like on the radio (though we only listen to NPR, which doesn't have sponsors), but for now it's just a victory. It was for the money (or fear of losing it) that major American corporations, afraid of being tarred as sponsors of racism, caused another major American corporation, NBC Universal (a subsidiary of General Electric), to pull the plug on the cameras this evening.
It would have been nice if NBC has made the decision immediately, a week ago, for less mercenary reasons, but it still feels good to know that this insult against the Scarlet Knights, women, and African Americans, has finally been appropriately addressed. The online announcement included the key lines here:
If the sponsors don't get to WFAN to pull the plug on his microphone, then the pressure has to be put on athletes to follow Cal Ripken's example and refuse to deal with Imus or his sports-talk station. I don't think it will take even that much though. CBS will not want to look more racist than NBC. It's as simple as that, or it should be.The network’s decision came after a growing list of sponsors — including American Express Co., Staples Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and General Motors Corp. — said they were pulling ads from Imus’ show for the indefinite future.
But it did not end calls for Imus to be fired from the radio portion of his program. The show originates from WFAN-AM in New York City and is syndicated nationally by Westwood One, both of which are managed by CBS Corp. For its part, CBS has not announced plans to discontinue the show.
OBAMA & HILLARY ARE TIED
Later in the MSNBC announcement was this bit about Barack Obama's statement today on Imus and the young women of Rutgers:
Before the announcement was made, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) had appeared on the MSNBC program "Hardball," where host David Gregory asked the senator and presidential candidate if he thought Imus should be fired.
"I don't think MSNBC should be carrying the kinds of hateful remarks that Imus uttered the other day," Obama said.
He went on to note that he and his wife have "two daughters who are African-American, gorgeous, tall, and I hope, at some point, are interested enough in sports that they get athletic scholarships. ... I don't want them to be getting a bunch of information that, somehow, they're less than anybody else. And I don't think MSNBC should want to promote that kind of language."
Obama went on to say that he would not be a guest on Imus' show in the future.
So, based on the statement I made in my last entry, both Obama and Clinton gained a point today in my early calculations to see who I'm voting for in the New Jersey primary next year.
We here at trueblueliberal.org haven't yet made our decision about who we're voting for in the primary of 2008, but we have to say that putting the women of our favorite university on your splash page certainly earns you a brownie point (we should also warn candidates that any appearance on Imus in the Morning that we hear about will earn a candidate a minimum of 10 demerits -- yes, we are keeping very careful score!)
Now go send your message of Respect for Rutgers.
Then give to the charity Don Imus should be supporting (and the place where the bulk of True Blue Liberal's charitable donations go): The Rutgers University Foundation
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
It's definitely time for us to start focusing on the direct victims of this attack, and not their soon-to-be-ex-shockjock attacker.
Read these New York Times transcripts of today's remarks from Heather Zurich: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/10/business/media/10cnd-rptext.html
And Essence Carson:
The difference between the poise of these well-spoken students and the slime of Mr. Imus could not be greater. They make me so proud of my alma mater on the banks of the Raritan!
Yesterday I asked: "Where are the high profile CBS and NBC personalities? Are they working behind the scenes to cleanse the racism from their organization? Do any of them have the guts to actually speak out about this stain on the network that feeds them? "
Well, here's one, as far as I know the first one, Al Roker, and he does so with logic and without pulling his punches:
The “I’m a good person who said a bad thing” apology doesn’t cut it. At least he didn’t try to weasel out of this by hiding behind alcohol or drug abuse. Still, he said it and a two-week suspension doesn’t cut it. It is, at best, a slap on the wrist. A vacation. Nothing.
The general manager of Cartoon Network resigned after a publicity stunt went wrong and caused a panic in Boston. He did the right thing. Don Imus should do the right thing and resign. Not talk about taking a two-week suspension with dignity. I don’t think Don Imus gets it.
After watching and listening to him this morning during an interview with Matt Lauer, Don Imus doesn’t get it. Maybe it’s being stuck in a studio for 35 years or being stuck in the 1980’s. Either way, it’s obvious that he needs to move on. Citing “context within a comedy show” is not an excuse.
He has to take his punishment and start over. Guess what? He’ll get re-hired and we’ll go on like nothing happened. CBS Radio and NBC News needs to remove Don Imus from the airwaves. That is what needs to happen. Otherwise, it just looks like profits and ratings rule over decency and justice.
THANK YOU AL, but where are your white colleagues? Without a broad multi-hued opposition, we'll continue to see comments like those at the bottom of your blog entry -- the typical boilerplate racist defenses of Imus and non-sequiturial and nonsensical attacks on Al Sharpton and gangster rappers (I didn't read them all, but you just know that some "wit" has already decided to call you "Reverend Al Roker").
UPDATE 11 April 07:
PLEASE READ THE FIRST COMMENT BELOW FROM ANONYMOUS FOR ANOTHER UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE ON "IMUS IN THE MORNING".
Monday, April 09, 2007
The FCC (according to reports on CBS News tonight) will take no action because no nipples or f-words were involved.
So, with neither resignation nor government action imminent, the ball is now totally in the court of CBS (owner of his radio outlet) and NBC (owner of his television simulcaster). They either need to pull the plug on his microphone, or they are officially condoning racist slurs and the ability of old men to comment on the appearance and sexual habits of very young women.
This evening MSNBC administered its first wrist slap, but a two-week hiatus in the simulcast cannot be considered a punishment
And by the way, "You People" does not just include the "You People" of whom Al Sharpton is a member. There is also the sexist component of the term "nappy-headed hos" that has millions of women understandably upset. Here is an easy to follow campaign organized by the National Organization for Women that will help you send letters to the appropriate people at CBS and NBC.
Where are the high profile CBS and NBC personalities? Are they working behind the scenes to cleanse the racism from their organization? Do any of them have the guts to actually speak out about this stain on the network that feeds them? THAT probably would lead to a firing. This is America in 2007, where you can say anything you want about people younger and darker and weaker than you, but leave your bosses alone.
Where are the high profile professional athletes? How quickly would WFAN-AM in New York drop Imus if Derek Jeter and Eli Manning and David Wright refused to interact with that sports radio station until the I-man was gone? I'm pleased to see that Cal Ripken is the first guest to cancel a scheduled Imus appearance, so maybe that wall is breaking too, but it is amazing to see, over and over again, how people get more cowardly when they have more to lose.
If the NBCBS overlords don't drop him soon the Rutgers football Scarlet-White Game on April 21 will become the "April 21 Anti-Imus Rutgers Stadium Rally."
UPDATE: Now CBS Radio has suspended Imus for two weeks "due to the events of the past week." (i.e., the protests, not the hateful comments about Rutgers women made on April 4). If he comes back onto CBS radio and MSNBC simulcasting in 2 weeks, it means that NBCBS is knowingly rehiring a racist, and the protest, at least on this site, will be twice as loud.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
There's a real danger that with the entry of Al Sharpton into the debate about Don Imus's right to use the public airwaves to call young women of Rutgers by hateful sexist and racist names, Imus's defenders will now try to turn this into the Don vs. Al Show, a show that goes back at least a decade. So I looked for instances where these men have interacted in the past. Along with the expected finds about Rev. Sharpton's voice being imitated on the show in an Amos'n'Andy show manner, I found the following coincidental juxtaposition of articles in a Media Life Magazine news page from March 28, 2005. It was worth a screen capture; just click the picture to enlarge to full screen or click here to see it in its original setting (just scroll to the bottom).
- The Imus article at the top of the screen is an answer to the Imus fans who say, "Don't attack Don. He does more for charity than anybody!" (It also says a little something about his legendary thin skin)
- The Sharpton article is an interesting answer to the other point made by those fans: "Don't attack Don for calling people 'nappy-headed ho's' unless you attack the rappers who use that language too." (not that too many of those rappers are simultaneously broadcast by CBS & NBC every morning)
Cross posted at the Rutgers football blog, BeatVisitor.com
The real question is not a question of free speech, though Imus's apologists would have you believe it is.
The real issue is why CBS (owners of WFAN-AM) and NBC (his Cable TV simulcasters) are not RACING to fire Imus to see which is more anxious to remove its corporate imprimatur from the racist and sexist "jokes" being broadcast during family listening and viewing hours.
Since neither CBS nor NBC feels the need to respond to nor acknowledge correspondence from the public, our only recourse is to directly contact the government agency charged with protecting the public airways against indecency.
They make it very easy to register your complaint at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html
Friday, April 06, 2007
Is there ANY reason that Don Imus and his two stooges haven't been fired yet for their recent racist remarks on the radio and on MSNBC??
Another inevitable empty Imus apology ("Sorry, we were all drunk and senile again") should not be enough.
This is from the April 4 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning (I've copied this transcript from the Media Matters for America site where there's also a video record of this racist outrage):
IMUS: So, I watched the basketball game last night between -- a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women's final.
ROSENBERG: Yeah, Tennessee won last night -- seventh championship for Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
IMUS: That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and --
McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there. I'm gonna tell you that now, man, that's some -- woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like -- kinda like -- I don't know.
McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes -- that movie that he had.
IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough --
McCORD: Do The Right Thing.
McGUIRK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
IMUS: I don't know if I'd have wanted to beat Rutgers or not, but they did, right?
ROSENBERG: It was a tough watch. The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.
IMUS: Well, I guess, yeah.
RUFFINO: Only tougher.
McGUIRK: The Grizzlies would be more appropriate.
PLEASE WRITE TO MSNBC HERE: email@example.com and Imus@msnbc.com
More contact information on their Contact Page. I don't have cable TV, so I'm telling them why I'm boycotting all other NBC outlets. What you want to tell them is up to you.
I posted this same transcript late last night on BeatVisitor.com, but the more I think about it, the more angry I get, and the more I want to get the message out that this is totally unacceptable in the mainstream American media. It is certainly more offensive than any imaginable televised wardrobe malfunction, but this morning WNBC (New York) has a poll on their article about this incident in which only 27% of the respondents say that what Imus said deserves punishment.
Imagine that we were talking about Rutgers football instead of women's basketball.
Imagine we run across a newspaper from 1917 in which the great Paul Robeson of Rutgers is being described as ugly and "nappy-headed"and being compared to the "cute" Princeton backfield of Mitt Buffington, Peter "Pippi" Longstocking, and P.T. Boatwright the Fourth. Of course we'd call it a sad remnant of America's shameful racist past.
BUT WHAT IS DON IMUS DOING ON NATIONAL RADIO AND TV IN THE 21ST CENTURY???
Just asking, True Blue Liberal (Rutgers College Class of 1978)
ADDED CONTACT INFORMATION, 6 April 07 @ 8:30 pm: Because MSNBC keeps on disclaiming responsibility for anything broadcast by Imus, here's the contact information for his radio station
WFAN (A CBS Company)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (use a catchy subject line)
Main Phone Number: 718-706-7690
On-Air hotline to talk with our hosts: 718-937-6666Contest Line: 800-821-6611
34-12 36th Street
Astoria, NY 11106
So he's simulateously appearing on a CBS outlet and an NBC outlet? Is this racist somewhere on ABC too?
ADDED CONTACT INFORMATION, 7 April 07 @ 9:30 am: Here's a list of the 96 radio stations on which he appears around the country (ZERO in the proud state of New Jersey!) in case you want to write to your local Imus outlet.
In the Boston Herald this morning, the response to the local station is noted:
Phil Redo, vice president and market manager for Greater Media Boston, which owns WTKK (96.9 FM), said the Boston station hadn’t received any complaints.
“I can’t defend it because it’s indefensible,” Redo said of the remarks. “I’m glad that he apologized and he should have. It was a stupid comment. It was a terrible thing to say.” [emphasis added]
Even just one email or phone call to these local stations (cc'd to local sponsors) should have some ripples. If you hear a response to any of your complaints, please let me know in the comments.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Musée des Beaux Arts
by W. H. Auden
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Brueghel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.