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Archive for November 2007

Quotabull

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The issue of separating yourself from a harmful environment is a recurring theme in the life of black men. It has nothing to do with football, or Sean Taylor or even sports. To frame it as a sports issue is as insulting as it is naive. Most of us, perhaps even the great majority of us who grew up in big urban communities, have to make a decision at some point to hang out or get out.

Washington Post sportswriter Michael Wilbon on the death of NFL player Sean Taylor, Nov. 28.

The best part: Through the whole nutcracking process, her smile doesn’t change a bit. East or West, right or left, right or wrong for that matter, you gotta love this one. Hillary the Thighmistress has rock-solid stainless steel thighs for getting the job done; details are sculpted in resin. 9″H x 3″W. $24.95

— sales copy at What On Earth for the “Hillary Nutcracker.”
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

November 28, 2007 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Desperately wanted: Really wealthy GOP candidates

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If another reason is needed for a massive multi-billion-dollar infusion into public financing of campaigns for congressional races, let alone the presidential race, look no further than Monday’s front-pager at The New York Times.

The Times‘ Raymond Hernandez reports that the Republican Party is drafting wealthy candidates to run for federal offices because of the enormous disparity in fundraising between Democrats and Republicans.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

November 26, 2007 at 8:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Which came first? Network news or public’s short attention span?

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A principal reason for the decline by half of network evening news ratings is the public’s short attention span. That’s what former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw told CNN’s Howard Kurtz on his “Reliable News” program Sunday while discussing the low ratings endured by the CBS Evening News under anchor Katie Couric.

Said Mr. Brokaw:

Also, the CBS News division had taken some hits. They weren’t as strong as they had been earlier. So I think it was a combination of all of those things. One of the penalties that she pays or anyone pays in this business anymore is that the attention span of the country is so short on all of these matters. [emphasis added]

Mr. Brokaw, perhaps the best anchor of the post-Cronkite generation, may be both right and wrong. Whether the brevity of the stories produced the short attention span or the short attention span produced the brevity is the sort of chicken-and-egg question philosophers and lawyers love. But rarely do those involved in network news admit to their roles in creating a public less capable of sustained, serious thought. Mr. Brokaw is a thoughtful man, and he should understand this.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

November 25, 2007 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

If politicians can be bought, the public must do the buying

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If you and I — the electoral “we” — share dismay, disgust and despair over the overt and covert roles of corporate and special-interest money in politics, then it’s time buy back our government and our democracy. It’s time to outbid the corpo-kleptocracy for the largesse and lawmaking of our politicians.

Have a position on health care reform? Upset with immigration policy? Got a beef about about farm subsidies? Got an attitude about abortion, either pro or con? Think defense spending’s a problem? Irritated about paying for the Iraq War? Angry about the erosion of privacy rights? Think public education needs to be reformed? Tired of inaction about climate change?

Whatever our issues, whatever our points of view, whatever our positions, they don’t matter — because there’s an industry or a special interest that has outbid our politicians for their ears. Thus we may shout as loudly as we can, but our politicians do not hear us. We’ve been outspent and out-influenced. As long as our campaign financing debacle is not addressed by the very politicians who need corpo-kleptocratic money to be elected — and stay elected — our voices will be diminished to mere whimpers.

The 2008 presidential election will be the most expensive in history. Says FEC commissioner Michael E. Toner: “We are looking at a $100 million entry fee.” It gets worse, however, for all federal elections.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

November 24, 2007 at 6:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Poll: Students would sell their votes

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You know all those campaigns to encourage the young folks to vote? Participate in the political process? Engage in democracy? You know, the “Rock the Vote” campaigns and such? Voter registration drives?

A poll of more than 3,000 students by a New York University journalism class may prompt one to ask: Why bother?

Although 90 percent of respondents said voting is “very important,” many attached as much economic as democratic value to the vote:

• Two-thirds would trade a vote for year’s tuition.
• Half would trade their vote permanently for $1 million.
• A fifth would trade their vote for an iPod Touch.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

November 24, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Quotabull

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I had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie. Exxon’s happy. BP’s happy. I’ll sell my soul to the devil.

— Pete Kott, the former Republican speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, speaking while secretly being taped by federal agents who charge that he took a bribe to engineer the defeat of a tax bill opposed by oil companies.

These are people who were altar boys and altar servers and altar girls. These are people who tried to tell their story, and in many instances were beaten or told to shut up and told, ‘How can you say such things about a man of God?’

— Ken Roosa, a lawyer for the victims, on a settlement that requires the Jesuit Order to pay $50 million to 100 Alaska Natives who say they were abused by Jesuit priests.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

November 20, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

CNN’s Sanchez manufactures issue over McCain ‘bitch’ flap

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A supporter of Sen. John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, asked him at a Monday campaign event:

How do we beat the bitch?

By “bitch,” the supporter mean Sen. Hillary Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate. (See the video.) Please supply your own opinion about whether calling Sen. Clinton a “bitch” in public is appropriate and whether Sen. McCain responded appropriately.

At issue here is how CNN’s Rick Sanchez exploited the video, manufactured a controversy and demonstrated his inability to correctly use the word “most.”
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

November 15, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized