deadlines amuse me

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Archive for June 2008

High gas prices? My congressman has a plan — blame Democrats

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My representative in Congress, the Hon. John R. “Randy” Kuhl, R-N.Y., has sent me a four-color brochure labeled “Energy Report.” It is by far the most misleading document I’ve ever received from a member of Congress.

It deceives his constituents by offering only illusions of and false hopes for much-cheaper gasoline. But he’s not alone. He promotes a Republican-pushed bill that falsely promises salvation — and soon — from $4 a gallon gasoline.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 30, 2008 at 5:01 pm

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Quotabull

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I don’t have pet peeves. I have major, psychotic hatreds.

— George Carlin, who died early this week at age 71; June 23
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 27, 2008 at 3:01 pm

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Roberts court continues to dismantle campaign finance reform

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Expect the average net worth of a member of Congress — now about $1.5 million — to take another leap upward. That’s because five members of the Supreme Court decided that wealth, as speech, cannot be regulated. In doing so, the Roberts court continued to dismantle the “fairness” logic of past congressional attempts at campaign finance reform by labeling such reforms as censorship.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to allow candidates facing self-financing, wealthy opponents to accept larger-than-normal contributions. This decision will decrease the number of financially viable congressional candidates.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 26, 2008 at 5:55 pm

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For ExxonMobil, delay saves big bucks in Valdez spill

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Nearly two decades after the Exxon Valdez ran around on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, the U.S. Supreme Court has taught Exxon (now ExxonMobil) and corporations everywhere a lesson:

Don’t pay off legal judgments. Stall, stall, stall for 19 years.

Courts have held that Exxon must pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages for spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil that soiled 1,200 miles of Alaskan coastline. In 1994 a jury found Exxon Valdez captain Joseph Hazelwood and Exxon to be reckless. Hazelwood, who had been drinking before the single-hulled tanker hit the reef, had left the bridge as the vessel faced a difficult turn. The jury awarded $287 million in compensatory damages and originally $5 billion in punitive damages (later halved by another court).

But Exxon shouldn’t have worried. The business-tilted Court whacked the already-reduced $2.5 billion by four-fifths.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

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Quotabull

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I know that I speak for all Americans. We’ll do everything necessary to try and rebuild their lives.

— Republican presidential candidate John McCain while inspecting flooding in Columbus Junction, Iowa, a town of 1,900 people; June 20; emphasis added.

The country stands with you. We’ll do all in our power to help you.

— President Bush, addressing residents of the Gulf Coast at the end of a Rose Garden press briefing on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; Aug. 31, 2005; emphasis added.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 20, 2008 at 4:04 pm

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AP 2.0: Ultimately our mirror, for better or worse

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As the season known as The Most Important Presidential Election Ever nears its apogee (or nadir, depending on your opinion of politics), news organizations ought to putting as much time, treasure, and talent as possible covering the non-horse race aspects of the campaign — important stuff beyond “who’s gonna be veep,” such as whom the candidates would appoint to what, legislative initiatives they’ll champion, Supreme Court litmus tests, energy and tax policies and the like.

The stakes in this election, pundits say, are the highest ever. (I heard that when Richard Nixon first ran for president.) So what does the Associated Press do to reliably keep us informed of the ins and outs of the really important stuff in presidential politics?

It creates a division of “Entertainment Content,” hires a director and up to 21 positions to push more celebrity news through video, audio, photo and text formats. Even celebrity writers such as Nikki Fine of Deadline Hollywood Daily find that disquieting. “At a time when major media organizations are cutting back on the most vital news coverage,” wrote Ms. Fine, “how discomforting to know that some are increasing their celebrity reporting instead.”
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 19, 2008 at 5:53 pm

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Boycotting the AP? A shortsighted idea

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Short-sighted bloggers are calling for a boycott of the Associated Press because it deigned to define for bloggers with an overly heavy hand clear standards as to how much of its content they can excerpt without infringing on the AP’s copyright.

Such boycott talk misunderstands the AP and its journalistic breadth if not depth, and amounts, frankly, to pure hissyfits ’cause some bloggers can’t have their way.

How, exactly, does one boycott the almost omnipresent AP? And what would replace it? Reuters? Hardly.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 17, 2008 at 4:42 pm

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Covering Tim Russert’s death: As journalist? Or celebrity?

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On Jan. 15, Carsten Thomassen, a 38-year-old Norwegian who worked for the Oslo daily Dagbladet, died in a suicide bombing at a hotel in Kabul.

On Feb. 27, Shihab al-Tamimi, head of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, died after being shot in Baghdad.

On March 29, Carlos Quispe Quispe, a Bolivian journalist for a government-run radio station, was severely beaten by protesters demanding the ouster of the local mayor and died.

On April 25, Jassim al-Batat, a correspondent at Al-Nakhil TV and Radio, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in a small town north of Basra.

On Friday, NBC News journalist and commentator Tim Russert died while doing voice-overs for his Sunday news program.

I — we— have obviously heard of Mr. Russert. But I had never heard of journalists Thomassen, al-Tamimi, Quispe, and al-Batat until I visited the Web site of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which tracks deaths, injuries, and disappearances of journalists worldwide.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm

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Quotabull

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You want a dark, Goth version of Tweety Bird? Have at it.

— Lisa Gregorian, executive vice president for worldwide marketing at Warner Brothers Television, in a story about “[a]n unusually large number of classic characters for children … being freshened up and reintroduced — on store shelves, on the Internet and on television screens — as their corporate owners try to cater to parents’ nostalgia and children’s YouTube-era sensibilities”; June 11.

Your eminence, you’re looking good.

— President Bush, addressing Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican; June 13.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 13, 2008 at 2:20 pm

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Quotabull

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We were just having fun making posters. There was no time to think about what we were doing. It was a furious time, but I think most great art is created in a furious moment.

— Stanley Mouse, artistic partner of Alton Kelley; the pair created hundreds of classic psychedelic rock posters and threw “the world’s first psychedelic dance-concerts at Longshoreman’s Hall in September 1965, essentially starting the San Francisco scene”; Mr. Kelley died this week at age 67; June 3.

When it comes to issues like this, [corporations] don’t want to be anywhere near them and they will cave very, very quickly — anything to stop the pain, anything to stop the press from calling.

— Eric Dezenhall, the head of the crisis public relations firm Dezenhall Resources, on Dunkin’ Donuts’ decision to remove an ad from its Web site featuring celebrity chef Rachael Ray after conservative bloggers complained her scarf resembled a keffiyeh, labeling it “jihadi chic“; May 30.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 6, 2008 at 12:30 pm

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