29 March 2007

Campbell Brown Exposed, Pt. II

Several weeks ago NBC's Campbell Brown regurgitated the tiresome neocon talking point that "It's difficult to say that you're against the war and at the same time not say that you're against the troops." This prompted me to expose Campbell Brown's solid neocon connections and question her journalistic objectivity.

MediaBistro has a recent interview with Campbell Brown which makes it even clearer that she is part of the mainstream media's culture of incompetence. Here's what she says about how Iraq has changed the way the White House is covered:

In the wake of 9/11 -- I don't want to say 'free pass,' but journalists were in the same boat as so many Americans in wanting to support a wartime president.

Translation: Yeah, we kinda sucked donkey balls... but wasn't everyone sucking donkey balls?

Legitimate explanation or pathetic excuse? I'd say the latter. My recollection is that everyone went back to work after 9/11 and did their jobs in the same professional manner as before, perhaps even better. The firefighters stepped up. The police stepped up. Pat Tillman stepped up. Even Cantor Fitzgerald, decimated by the attack, picked it up and got it together.

Seems to me the only profession that DIDN'T step up was the mainstream media.

And then she adds:

There was an undercurrent of that, and that's certainly turned.

Translation: We're the mighty Fourth Estate once again, as Anna Nicole Smith can tell you.

The best part:

What is frustrating for me... is that you can't look at the war in Iraq or our options on how to deal with the war right now without politics playing a role.

You mean like when journalists parrot partisan talking points on the air?

Neo-Nazis Heckle Xavier Speaker

Their kampf...

On Sunday, March 18, a group of protesting Neo-Nazis proceeded to interrupt Deborah Lipstadt, an internationally recognized Holocaust scholar, who was speaking to a group of students and community members about “The New Global Anti-Semitism.”

The interruptions began with a single man questioning Lipstadt from the back of the conference room. According to audience members, he commented that Jews deserved to be discriminated against.

Dr. Cueva then followed the man into the hall and saw him place a phone call. Shortly afterward, a bigger group of Neo-Nazis, wearing T-shirts marked with swastikas, entered the lecture.

28 March 2007

Jean Schmidt Redecorates Her Flag Shirt

How did I miss this?

Meanwhile, today on the Hill, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Fantasyland) was seen making a spectacle of herself when the unlucky lawmaker slipped and fell in what we’re told was vomit, in a bathroom in Cannon... “She made THE biggest scene in the hallway,” says a staffer who escaped the, um, regurgitation. “It’s literally all down her back.”

Teacher Suspended Over Pro-Gay Article

Being Gay Is No Reason for Mirth in Indiana

A student opines about tolerance and the teacher gets suspended:

An Indiana high school journalism teacher has been suspended for two months after allowing an op-ed piece to run that advocates tolerance of gays.

"I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as homosexual in today's society," [the student] wrote. "I think it is so wrong to look down on those people, or to make fun of them, just because they have a different sexuality than you."

After the editorial ran, principal Edwin Yoder mandated that all writings be subject to his approval. Sorrell and the staff, on advice from the Student Press Law Center, rejected Yoder's decision.

Previously, Yoder has asked Sorrell to bring him any stories that she felt would be controversial. After he reviewed a story on teen pregnancy that went on to run in the same issue, she said, she did not think that Chase's editorial would need the same treatment.

In February, Yoder gave Sorrell a written warning for insubordination and failing to carry out her responsibilities as a teacher by exposing students to inappropriate material.

Students? What, where? I don't see any students...

Ten students asked the East Allen County Schools' board to put the issue of the agenda of the next meeting of the New Haven, Ind., district. Their request was denied...

Hmm... a school board rejecting students... it's hard to come out of that looking like the good guys. But they gave it a shot, claiming-- and I am not making this up-- that the OP-ED WAS BIASED.

(hat tip)

27 March 2007

Strange Animal Behavior in Cincinnati

Bizarre animal antics puzzle Clark St. Blog:

WKRC reports that a deer jumped through a Kroger store window for no apparent reason.

That reminded me of the cardinal outside my window. For several weeks now, a cardinal in my neighborhood has exhibited bizarre behavior. This cardinal perches on a branch about 20 cm from my kitchen window and then flies right into the window. It falls down to the ledge, looks around, and then does the whole thing over. It will repeat this action up to a dozen times. As far as I can tell, it does this several times during the day. Sometimes another cardinal or chickadee will sit on the branch and watch.

Anyone know anything about animals developing an inclination to go through windows?

24 March 2007

Blogging Update: Quasi-hiatus

Haven't had time for much posting lately... it will probably continue like this for a another month or two.

Once I have time I plan to redo the blog. I have a big idea in the back of my head, but I don't think I'll have time for it. I'll probably just end up changing the look and feel, hoping to eke out more quality than quantity. I still plan on focusing mostly on local affairs, but I'd like to add some photos and be a little more creative in the writing. We'll see what happens. It all depends on how much I can distract myself from the meaninglessness of existence to pursue meaningless activities like blogging.

Feel free to drop off any suggestions in the comments (light background or dark background, for example)

Meantime, here's a story:

My parents just returned from Australia & New Zealand. My dad's film camera doesn't work, so my uncle (dad's brother) got him a digicam as an early B-day gift so he could take it on the trip.

They enjoyed the trip and the camera worked fine. He took about 200 shots.

But when the trip was all over and they were walking through LAX, my dad's luggage trolley slipped off an outdoor sidewalk and got sideswiped by a car. Fortunately, only one corner of his shoulder bag got hit. Unfortunately, that's where the camera was.

The camera, sadly, appears to be D.O.A. He felt terrible because he just got it as a gift and now it's dead. But at least we saved the pics on the card.

13 March 2007

Evangelicals Losing Religion?

Are evangelicals losing their religion? I'm not talking about Christianity here... that's what I would call evangelicals' "virtual" religion. The religion I'm talking about is the proclivity to find authority and submit to it. That's de facto evangelicalism.

And it looks like evangelicals are losing religion...

A major U.S. association of evangelical Christians has condemned torture by the U.S. military and reaffirmed its commitment to environmental activism...

...divisions have emerged among the 60 million U.S. evangelicals as prominent figures publicly embrace causes such as global warming that are usually associated with the left of America's political divide.

The statement was made by the National Association of Evangelicals, the group formerly headed by gay heterosexual Ted Haggard. No word on whether he agrees with the organization's new direction, but leading philosophers Jerry Falwell and James Dobson don't.

12 March 2007

Are Fish Farms the Answer?

I like fish. But we have more fish eaters than fish. It has recently been estimated that the ocean stock has been reduced by 90% over the last 50 years. That is not a misprint... ninety percent.

Going out farther into the ocean is a short term solution. Is aquaculture the long term answer? The Bush administration thinks so... or to be more precise, the aquaculture corporations that can afford White House access think so:

A plan being announced Monday by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez would let companies operate fish farms three miles to 200 miles offshore, but without some of the rules on size, season and harvest methods that apply to other commercial fishermen.

Globally, the $70 billion aquaculture business accounts for almost half the seafood consumed in the world today as wild fish stocks decline.

About 70 percent of all the seafood eaten in the United States comes from overseas, contributing "a trade deficit of about $9 billion in fish," Gutierrez said. Almost half is farm-raised.

There's a good example of "corporate-think" in this initiative. Aquaculture operations which generate waste which enters U.S. waterways are regulated by the EPA and FDA as well as other federal and state agencies. But this plan specifically wants offshore farming operations to be exempt from similar regulation. "Trust us," say the corporations:

The administration wants Congress to pass legislation that would let the Commerce Department issue 20-year permits to companies that raise fish in deep ocean waters. The permits would exempt companies from regulations that apply to other commercial fishermen and are intended to restrict size, season and harvest methods.

'We believe we can do it in a way that is environmentally sound, that makes sense for our economy..." Gutierrez told The Associated Press.

I think aquaculture is an option that should be expanded, but c'mon... how seriously am I supposed to take an animal farm promising sound environmental practices?

02 March 2007

Speaker's Wife Advocates Insurance Coverage for Cancer Trials

Maybe she should be the one in politics...

The wife of Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted is among those pushing lawmakers to approve legislation that would require health insurers to pay some costs associated with clinical cancer trials.

The payments would cover services that insurers pay for when a cancer patient chooses a standard treatment.

Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Steve Stivers, a Columbus Republican, is working on a bill that would require coverage for routine blood tests or doctor visits, but not for experimental drugs or tests for research purposes, which are paid for by the trial sponsor.

Stivers said he’s encountering resistance from some health insurance companies.

“We are trying to figure out how to get it done,” Stivers said. “It seems silly to me that we allow (insurance companies) to avoid these expenses just because someone is going through a clinical trial.”

Dr. Michael Grever, chairman of internal medicine at Ohio State University Medical Center, said he often finds patients who want to participate in clinical trials but can’t because of insurance issues.

“(Insurance companies) would rather pay for you to get standard chemotherapy, even if your cancer is marching right through it,” he said.

Free Shaved Heads for Britney Spears Fans

Hair-doos for weirdoos:

In an unusual and tongue-in-cheek promotion for her business, Jennifer Rossiter, owner of the Genesis salon in downtown Cambridge, places a sign in front of the shop advertising free Britney Spears-style head shaves for young women through this weekend.

Ohio Wesleyan to Host Beethoven's 9th

Small town, big effort:

The Central Ohio Symphony, under the direction of Conductor Jaime Morales-Matos, is putting on one of its most ambitious concerts to date on Sunday.

At 3 p.m. in Ohio Wesleyan University’s Gray Chapel, the 60-member professional orchestra, along with a chorus composed of vocal students from three Ohio universities, will perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

01 March 2007

Xenia Woman Celebrates 108th Birthday

People born in 1899:

Al Capone
Duke Ellington
Vladimir Nabokov
Ernest Hemingway
Humphrey Bogart
Jose Luis Borges

...and Sarah McClelland. But unlike the others, Ms. McClelland is still around...

From the Xenia Gazette:

So what's her secret to a long and healthy life? "I always tell 'em hard work," said McClelland, who was born into a farming family and farmed with her husband. "I would always drive a team of horses and milk the cows first thing in the morning."

McClelland has also kept a young outlook by traveling and trying new things. She's visited 40 states, including Hawaii twice, and rode a mule into the Grand Canyon at 78. And she still has a taste for country cooking. She didn't hesitate for a second when asked what her favorite food was. "Oh, fried chicken!" said McClelland with a smile.

Catholic Cincinnatian Blogs from Israel

Dennis O'Connor, an editor at the Catholic Telegraph, is part of a small group of Catholic journalists visiting Israel. You can read about his journey on his blog.

A couple of excerpts:

The only hitch in the program... was trying to get reasonable fares for me from Cincinnati to JFK. "We tried several times to get the prices down, but in the end, we could not justify the costs of a direct flight from Cincinnati to JFK," she told me last week. "I'm sorry to inform you that we're going to have to route you from Cincinnati to Chicago, then on to LaGuardia. At LaGuardia you'll take a taxi to JFK." In closing, Ruth tells me she's never seen anything like the fares out of CVG. It would have been more expensive to fly me direct to JFK than the journalist out West.

Four years ago, I traveled with a group of Catholic journalists to Jordan... There was some open animosity expressed by the folks from Jordan, and I think our group took that in stride... I recall that everywhere we went, waiters or workers, everyone, really, would ask us hopefully, "are you British?" No, American, was the reply. Then we received what I remember as a tight-lipped litany of something that bordered on contempt. "You are welcome" was the greeting, then.