deadlines amuse me

exploring how the world works and why it works that way …

Archive for December 2007

Quotabull

leave a comment »

I figured: if you want to go look in my mouth, go right ahead.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, speaking to 250 people inside an Iowa municipal hall that resembled a horse barn.

It’s enough that freshman Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) has on display all his favorite animals that he has hunted down, killed and eaten — everything he kills he must eat, according to his hunting philosophy. But now, the office has taken to decorating the animals with fluffy red and white fur Santa Claus caps. ’Tis the season … to dress up your dead quarry.

a news brief in The Hill, the newspaper of Capitol Hill, Dec. 20.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

December 31, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The price of anonymous sources: Error hits LATimes’ Clemens claim

leave a comment »

The Los Angeles Times blew a story more than a year ago that reported a federal affidavit claimed seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens used steroids. How and why did that happen?

Fourteen months ago, Lance Pugmire and Tim Brown of The Times reported “Roger Clemens, 44, one of professional baseball’s most durable and successful pitchers, is among six players allegedly linked to performance-enhancing drugs by a former teammate. … The names had been blacked out in an affidavit filed in federal court.”

The next day, Kevin Ryan, then the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, said it contained “significant inaccuracies.” Now we know what the inaccuracies were.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

December 21, 2007 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Quotabull

leave a comment »

And if you stand up for me, I promise you, I will stand up and fight for you every single day that I’m president.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during an Iowa campaign stop.

We are very pleased to have the lowest repair cost within the group of tested minivans.

statement from Honda Motor Co. after its Odyssey fared best in a 6-mph bumper crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety but still needed $5,258 in repairs. The others tested: Dodge Grand Caravan, $5,495; Toyota Sienna, $5,726; Chevrolet Uplander, $5,799; and Kia Sedona, $6,525. (Yes, that’s 6 miles per hour.)
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

December 20, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The value of incompetence: Tank the firm, grab the gold

leave a comment »

What do you get if the share price of the company you run topples from $50 to $30 on your watch?

What do you get if your principal stockholder bails out, claiming you failed to act to maintain the share price?

What do you get if you lay off hundreds of employees over the years to reduce expenses but fail to improve the product sufficiently to invigorate revenues?

What you do get? You get rich. Now that Chicago businessman Sam Zell has wheeled himself into ownership of the Tribune Co., current Chairman and Chief Executive Dennis J. FitzSimons is expected to leave at the end of year — with an estimated $40 million, according to corporate disclosure documents.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

December 19, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

No ethics? Can’t count? You can work for the U.S. government

leave a comment »

News flash! Unethical behavior reported at the highest levels! Financial ineptitude runs amok! Stop the presses! Welcome to today’s diet of bad and more bad government.

Let’s begin with the main course: details of egregious ethical lapses, courtesy of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington:

• No new enforcement mechanisms for congressional ethics.
• Ted Stevens still sitting on Senate Appropriations.
• Senate Ethics Committee looking into Sen. Craig, but not Sen. Vitter.
• Millions of missing White House emails still unaccounted for.
• Rep. John Murtha’s abuse of the earmarking process remains unchecked.
• Lurita Doan remains chief of GSA despite illegal conduct.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

December 17, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Quotabull

leave a comment »

I feel like I’m going to get to the Oval Office and pick up the rug and say, ‘Oooh my goodness, look at the mess they’ve left!’

— Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Oct. 9, criticizing President Bush in a stump speech in Maquoketa, Iowa.

It’ll never happen. They all want to take care of themselves and the people who are backing them with all that money. I think they’ve forgotten about us. They should throw a tent over Washington. The whole town is a circus.

— Jim Konrad, a retired Firestone worker and lifelong Democrat, listening at a barbershop in Indianola, Iowa, to each Democratic presidential candidate at their Dec. 13 debate rattle off a list of what they would accomplish in their first year as president.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

December 14, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Journalism then; journalism now: comprehending the difference

with one comment

I became a journalist for my hometown newspaper in the spring of 1970, bearing only a degree in geology, the writing skills gained in only one worthwhile college English course, and a pronounced inability to type speedily or accurately. This was years before Watergate, before the downfall of a flawed Richard Nixon inspired a generation of innocents reared in their presumed rebellion of the ’60s to head off to the suddenly booming industry called journalism school. They all wanted to make a difference.

For the first six months, my reporting led many readers to believe my middle name was “correction.” I was a terrible reporter at first. I had more than a dozen corrections of my stories printed in that first half year. I had only three in the next 19 1/2 years (and I’m still arguing about two of them).

Neil L. Perry made himself my newsroom godfather and over time, forged me into a competent, credible journalist. He, with the help of my first sports editor, John Haywood; my news editor, David James; and my managing editor, Bob Dolan, taught me the practice, purpose and values of journalism. What they taught me then I teach to undergraduates today. Their lessons have retained value. But the corporations that own newsrooms today understand too little those lessons.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

December 11, 2007 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized