Archive for June, 2007

Live Free

June 29, 2007

John McClaine lives–in London:

Sky News sources say one of the first police officers on the scene of the Haymarket car bomb may have saved dozens of lives by defusing the explosives before the bomb squad arrived.

It is believed the quick-thinking cop recognised that the car was wired to blow up, jumped in and disconnected the trigger device, thought to be a mobile phone.

The device, which contained 60 litres of petrol, a large amount of nails and several gas canisters, was found in the Mercedes early this morning.

Having lived in London during the 90’s and being familiar with Haymarket, I can’t even imagine the sheer carnage this so-far unnamed officer prevented with his quick thinking and sixteen miles (sorry, 25.75 kilometers) of guts. Die hard, indeed.

Missing The Point

June 25, 2007

Here’s Howie Kurtz today in the WaPo, gloriously missing the point regarding the recent “expose” on the political contributions of journalists:

Some of these folks remain in denial. When you become a journalist, you give up the right to back political candidates or parties with your checkbook. And in this age of federal disclosures, it always comes out.

The news outlets that don’t ban donations seem to regard them as a matter of personal preference, like joining the PTA. But they seriously underestimate the public distrust of journalists, which is only fueled by such practices. Those who work for opinion magazines or are employed as commentators have a stronger case that their views are no secret. But there is still an important distinction between rhetorically supporting a candidate and helping bankroll one.

Um, Howie, how is “public distrust of journalists” enhanced by all the newspaper and television employees who do keep their views a secret, or (more accurately) put on a phony pretense of not having any views? That’s not honesty, that’s obfuscation. I have a lot more trust in people who have enough integrity to be up-front with their views than I do in people who try to convince me that they’re perfectly objective higher beings.

Don’t be a fraud, and don’t apologize for what you think. Just be honest enough to disclose.

Much Ado About Money

June 21, 2007

This MSNBC story about political contributions from major media reporters has really been making the rounds today. On the one hand, it’s kind of funny, especially if you read all the stammering and backpedalling and lame excuses offered up by most of the reporters themselves. On the other hand, it’s dumb.

It’s dumb because as a few of the reporters interviewed note, there’s not a thing wrong with any of them making donations to political campaigns and/or organizations. As far as I’m concerned, they ought to be complimented on being civically involved enough to actually spend their own money–even though, as the article notes, the vast majority of that money went to causes and politicians that I personally find odious.

As I said back during the 2004 campaign, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reporters or editors or copy boys (are they still called copy boys? Nah, they’d have to be copy persons by now) having political opinions. I do think there’s something wrong when somebody interested enough in politics to get a job writing about it denies that they have political opinions, or worse, makes the incredibly pompous pronouncement (as a few on today’s list have) that their opinions have absolutely no impact on their work.

Right.

It’s fine for these guys and gals to have given money to campaigns. Frankly, I prefer it this way. Far better that they give and disclose than not give and keep their leanings a secret, pretending all the while to be higher beings capable of rising above all us poor benighted folk who don’t work for newspapers or TV stations.

The latter, unfortunately, appears to be formal policy for most of the MSM. That fundamental lack of transparency is a shame, and it’s also one of the main reasons why the press is held in such low regard these days. Pity they can’t figure that out for themselves.

That’s No Space Station

June 19, 2007

Okay, is it just me, or does this really look like the Shuttle is being chased by a TIE Fighter?

atlantis.jpg

Regarding Tony

June 13, 2007

All right, it’s been a few days since the Sopranos finale. I’ve seen the episode, read the arguments, agree with some points of the criticism (I’ll grant you the denoument was not as satisfying as, say, Fredo’s last fishing trip), but I haven’t changed my initial reaction:

It was brilliant.

The final scene is Tony’s life in full: everything and everyone around him is corrupt, including his family–thanks to his own actions–and every time he looks up, he could see be a bullet, or the feds… or a waiter. It reminds me of the old coaching joke about throwing the football: only three things can happen, and two of them are bad.

Does it even matter which one it was this time?

Credit Where It’s Due

June 7, 2007

After excoriating the management of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune for dumping James Lileks’ column a couple of weeks back, I would be a cad indeed if I didn’t take a moment here to applaud that very same Strib’s decision to do, er, exactly what I said they should do: point Lileks at their online section and turn him loose. As of yesterday, James is now the poobah-in-chief of the Strib-owned buzz.mn, and there is much rejoicing.

It took a little while for them to figure things out, but all’s well that ends well in this case. Congrats to James, the Strib, and their mutual readership–which now stands a much better chance of growing than it did a week ago.

Cum On Feel The Noize

June 5, 2007

Here’s one I wouldn’t have predicted: Barack Obama goes after the 80’s Hair Band vote.