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Archive for January 2006

It’s all about the context …

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From the president’s presser this morning:

Our economy is growing. It is strong. This economy’s created millions of new jobs.

Item from BusinessWeek:

JAN. 26 11:09 A.M. ET General Motors Corp., which is planning big job cuts and plant closings as it fights to avoid bankruptcy, said Thursday it lost $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter and $8.6 billion in all of 2005, dragged down by losses in its North American division.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 26, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Dems’ money pitch II

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Nancy Pelosi tried to get my money last year. Now, Howard Dean wants to slip his fingers into my wallet. She didn’t get any, and the Screamer won’t either.

Last year, House minority leader Pelosi sent me the “2005 Democratic Agenda Survey” on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Earlier post.) Today, not one but two copies of Gov. Dean’s “2006 Grassroots Survey of Democratic Leaders” arrived in my mailbox. One used my first and last name; the other added my middle initial.

I suppose I should be flattered. The Screamer and his crack staff apparently believe that I (“You have been selected to represent St. Bonas, NY”) am a “Democratic Leader.” I think they’ve been buying the wrong mailing lists, because today’s poor excuse for a political party masquerading as the Democratic Party isn’t one I’d try to sell door to door.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 20, 2006 at 1:27 pm

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What does my congressman stand for?

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The National Political Awareness Test, an undertaking of Project Vote-Smart, asks one fundamental question of national candidates: “Are you willing to demonstrate a good faith effort to provide voters with your inclinations on the issues you will most likely face on the citizen’s behalf?”

My freshman District 29 (N.Y.) representative in Congress, Republican John R. “Randy” Kuhl (a member of the 2004 class), did not submit a response to the NPAT, according to Project Vote-Smart. (See the 2004 congressional NPAT.)

The 2004 NPAT sought Kuhl’s positions on abortion; budgetary, spending and tax issues; defense spending; campaign finance and government reform issues; crime, drug and education issues; employment and affirmative action issues; environment and energy issues; gun, health and immigration issues; international aid, international trade and policy issues; Social Security issues; technology and communication issues; and welfare and poverty issues. The NPAT also asked him to list, in 75 words, two or three legislative priorities.

I don’t know why Rep. Kuhl would wish to deny his constituents — the people who elected him — his understanding of and positions on these issues. After all, he or his staff has posted on his House web site statements about many of these issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 20, 2006 at 12:21 pm

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Plagiarism as a common practice?

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The recently retired vice president for news at Knight Ridder, one of the nation’s largest newspaper owners, says plagiarism is a problem at every American newspaper.

Jerry Ceppos, a journalist for 36 years, also says:

• A failure to accomplish the primary purpose of news — “to tell us how our government is being operated and to let us have some impact on changing it” — may be poor news judgment, but it shouldn’t be considered an ethical lapse.
• The public mistrust of news media arises in part because reporters and non-reporters define responsible reporting very differently.
• American journalism schools give ethics instruction short shrift.

If that doesn’t wet your critical whistle … Read the GradeTheNews interview for more.

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 17, 2006 at 12:22 pm

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Rx: mood enhancement for teaching freshmen

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A new semester begins today. I’m trying to figure out what mood I’m in as I approach teaching freshmen in their first news writing course.

They’ve changed in the 15 years I’ve taught them. They know less but still think they know a great deal. They think technology substitutes adequately for effort. I expect that a few will arrive in the inaugural class unprepared to do work – no notebook, no pen, no text, no nuthin’. (That happened in the fall in my sophomore classes, which stunned me.)

Many, if not most, will be unplugging iPods as they enter the room. Several will forget to turn off their cell phones with the predictable result (a remonstrative glare from me). They will be dressed (how can I put it?) eclectically. They will not have yet learned the value of first impressions. I expect to see more skin than I think wise, given that sub-freezing temperature rules our campus today.

They will give every impression of “being cool” about everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 16, 2006 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized