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Archive for September 2007

CREW: keeping track of corrupt politicians without fear or favor

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It’s one thing to call politicians corrupt. It’s another, and more credible, thing to name the worst and back up the charges. But that’s what Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has done.

If you find corruption in government abhorrent and appalling — let alone a sinful waste of your tax dollars — then you’ll find the 22 citations of corruption in “Beyond DeLay” a frightful but compelling read.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 18, 2007 at 6:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Conservatives may regret foolish FEC complaint

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The American Conservative Union said Friday it has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming the discount given by The New York Times for Moveon.org’s “General Betray Us” ad constitutes “a corporate soft money contribution to a federal political committee.”

It’s a foolish move, concocted in haste, and could fall prey to the Law of Unintended Consequences.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 17, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ignore politicians who don’t play nice with the other children

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First, MoveOn.org, a liberal political action group, uses a full-page New York Times ad to attack the character of an American commander, calling him “Gen. Betray Us” and accusing him of “cooking the books for the White House” on the war in Iraq.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton assails the general’s report to Congress, saying it requires “a willing suspension of disbelief,” essentially calling him a liar. Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani runs a full-page ad in The Times highlighting candidate Clinton’s quote and reproducing the MoveOn.org ad. Candidate Giuliani’s ad claims Democrats orchestrated the attack on Gen. David Petraeus. His ad closes this way:

These times call for statesmanship, not politicians spewing political venom.

All of which makes me wonder: Did the current crop of presidential candidates — and modern politicians in general — fail kindergarten?
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 15, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Quotabull

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I am intently focused on this matter and will make it a priority to correct the errors and minimize them in the future.

— Kerry Weems, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, quoted in a Sept. 10 New York Times story that says, “Private insurance companies participating in Medicare have been allowed to keep tens of millions of dollars that should have gone to consumers, and the Bush administration did not properly audit the companies or try to recover money paid in error.”

What’s important is to fully vet these kinds of videos before putting them to air, which we’ve consistently done over the years.

— CNN spokesman Megan Mahoney, explaining why CNN delayed running a video of Osama bin Laden on Sept. 7 by a half hour after Fox News and MSNBC. CNN had ended its 27-year relationship with Reuters eight days earlier and had to obtain the tape from the Arabic news network Al Jazeera.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 13, 2007 at 11:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

On keeping’s one head in time of crisis

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On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I became one of only a handful of the 150-plus professors at my university who did not cancel their morning classes. I did not for two reasons.

First, students needed the familiarity of routine in which to find some measure of comfort and counsel. They needed to be seen by adults who could determine which of them really needed the help of the university’s counselors.

Second, I teach journalism, and my two morning classes were both news writing. The tragedy of that day provided, sadly, the rarest of teaching opportunities.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 11, 2007 at 1:16 pm

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Sen. Thompson’s warning about dissent: ‘Be afraid. Be very afraid.’

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You’re a manufacturer of automotive tires. You want to sell as many as possible. So you stick a baby atop a stack of tires in a TV ad, subtly suggesting to viewers that if they don’t buy your tires, the baby will get whacked. That’s the fear card.

You own an insurance company. You want to sell as many policies as possible. You do ads on TV that not so subtly tell viewers that without your company’s insurance coverage, they will be bankrupt, bereft of health — or dead. That, too, is the fear card.

Selling goods and services through the device of fear is standard fare in advertising. That’s true in politics as well. Remember that famous Michael Douglas speech in “The American President” about his opponent?

And whatever your particular problem is, friend, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: Making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it.

In at-last-he’s-a-presidential-candidate Fred Thompson’s first full television interview on Sept. 7, he pulled out the fear card, saying, in effect, “We should be afraid, and it’s the fault of dissenters.”
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 9, 2007 at 11:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

For sale: $3 billion worth of bullshit

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This is your only warning. Turn off your TV set — or your will to live — or vote — may be decimated.

The Television Bureau of Advertising forecasts that the politicians who want your vote will spend about $3 billion in 2008, a presidential election year. As noted earlier at S&R, the presidential candidates alone have collectively raised more than $265 million since the beginning of this year. The eventual nominees will need to raise more than $500 million each to have a chance to win in November.

Now, toss in the folks running for the House and Senate. Add the chumps, er, chaps, who want to be governors and attorneys general. A whole passel of politicians are looking for your money — so they can spend it on campaigning to enlighten you about them, their promises and their records. Riiiight.

Remember, this estimate is $3 billion for television advertising. By politicians. So what do you think we’ll find out in the ads they’ll shell out all that cash for?
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 8, 2007 at 8:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized