Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27: Look back at Blair

The Blair years
Gordon Brown is Great Britain’s new prime minister, replacing Tony Blair, who had the job for a decade.
Blair got the top spot after a campaign in which he modeled himself after Bill Clinton. In fact, his economic policies (with the help of Brown) were modeled after the Clinton Administration’s as well, and kept Britain economically successful for much of his run. He can also claim a great deal of credit(along with Clinton) for peace in Northern Ireland.
However, Blair entered into an unholy, unwise and unpopular partnership with the Bush Administration in Iraq. Blair may have done so to be a control on Bush, but sadly and tragically, he couldn't control the Bush streamroller any more than anyone else has been able to.
Now, Blair moves on to try to figure out the Middle East mess. Good luck.....

It doesn’t pay to pay, part 1
The controversy over whether network news divisions should pay for interviews continues in the wake of NBC withdrawing from a Paris Hilton interview and denying offering $1 million to the heiress to appear on the Today Show.
Network news divisions who build their stories and reputations on the public’s trust should not, not, NOT pay for interviews. Period.
Paid interviews arenothing but very expensive press releases, with no glory but a whole lot of grief – ethical and otherwise– for the news divisions and their reputations. It's not worth the ratings if the result also includes leeching the integrity of a news operation.

It doesn’t pay to pay, part 2:
Here’s a link to Bill Dedman’s followup at about journalists contributing to political campaigns. At least one has gotten the heave-ho:

Monday, June 25, 2007

June 25: From Cheney to Chairman Mao

Decide (and Disclose), Dick…..
So, which branch does Vice President Richard Cheney belong to? The executive, or, as Senate president, the legislative? Cheney says that the latter means he is exempt from a presidential order that Executive Branch employees must report numbers of classified and declassified government documents.
U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., says if that’s true, then taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for his expenses. Some members of Congress have mulled cutting the vice president's budget. The problem with that argument is that someone will find a counterargument against Congress, which is, after all, Congress.
Cheney must have been quite a hopscotch player as a child; he’s kept up his hopscotch against public records laws ever since he became vice president….Some in Congress have suggested the courts might decide the role of the vice president. That might be interesting, since the wheels of justice turn slowly. By the time the Supreme Court, which now leans in a conservative direction, gets around to deciding the issue, there will be a new vice president, anyway.

LA Times commentary on presidential candidates and Fox News
Good commentary in the Los Angeles Times by Scott Collins about the effects of Democratic candidates not accepting invitations to debates hosted by Fox News:,0,6048034.story?coll=cl-calendar

I've already said they're making a big mistake.....

Not holding up the family legacy
SPJ Leads newsletter has a link to this article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram about KYTX in Tyler, Tx. and its new anchorwoman. Carole Simpson she’s not:
Much to my dismay, the producer of this dreck for Fox is Brian Gadinsky, also known as J. Brian Gadinsky,once the producer of high-quality journalism at WTVJ (when it was Channel 4) in Miami. In addition, his mother is the late, great public servant, former Florida St. Rep. Elaine Gordon. Mr. Gadinsky, what you’re showing now is not why your mom campaigned so long and so fervently for women’s rights.

Stackhouse troubles may stack up for Meeks
The squeaky-clean reputations of former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek and her successor and son, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, are facing a sharp test following Miami Herald reports about their support of a proposed biotech project in the Liberty City neighborhood in Miami. Dennis Stackhouse, the Boston developer who proposed the project, started spending the public money he received to keep the favor of public officials, while the project didn't get built .
Carrie Meek got$40,000, a leased SUV and a rent-free office for her foundation, The Herald reported. She said she was a paid consultant for the project. Kendrick Meek got congressional money for the project. Mother, son and Stackhouse all say Carrie Meek never lobbied Kendrick Meek for funds. But the Meeks will both face more questions.
So will a majority of the Miami-Dade County Commission, which once again did its worst in lack of oversight. Only Katy Sorenson, Joe Martinez and Carlos Gimenez asked questions. Gimenez was apparently satisfied with what he heard, voting in favor of the project. Sorenson and Martinez voted against it.

Pat Tornillo dies
Word today of the death of Pat Tornillo, former head of United Teachers of Dade. Tornillo had a tough grip on the teachers union in the county (and the state of Florida) until he undid himself by bilking the union of $650,000, which he used for vacations, an Associated Press report says.
A UTD press release quoted by AP puts it aptly: ``Pat Tornillo's death marks the end of a life once dedicated to education reform and teacher leadership in Florida, but unfortunately was compromised at the end of his career by his admission of fraud and tax evasion.''

But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao....
Obviously, actress Cameron Diaz hasn’t heard the Beatles’ song “Revolution” in a while, or the rest of that sentence: “You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow."
Diaz wore a handbag with a Maoist slogan during a tour of Peru. Now, I don’t know why anyone would choose to wear such a thing, period, but what made it worse was that Peru had great difficulties with Shining Path,whose battles with the government killed tens of thousands of people during the 1980s and 90s. She has apologized.

Happy Birthday Morikami
Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu! (At least that's the way Yahoo says it.) Happy 30th Birthday to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Boca Raton, a true South Florida treasure. May it celebrate millions of years more. Here's the Web site:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 21: Politics, Politics, Politics

*Michael D. Shear of The Washington Post writes about the non-candidates who play coy with their answers about whether they will run for office….Makes you wantto strangle them, doesn’t it? Or at least show them the last scene of the last episode of “The Sopranos.”

*Followup: The Miami Herald reports that a group of Venezuelan-Americans in Miami wrote to presidential candidate John Edwards, protesting his decision to campaign with actor Danny Glover, a supporter ofVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez. I mentioned a few days ago that something like this might happen......It could affect Edwards here in Florida, and in the Jewish community as well, given Chavez' anti-Semitic statements.

*MSNBC’s Bill Dedman reports on journalists who gave to political campaigns:

Oy. Journalists are not supposed to do so because it could compromise the need in the job to be fair and accurate. Some media companies have allowed sportswriters and arts critics to give. But there, too, is a slippery slope, because they could potentially cover news in their fields involving elected officials – like a new stadium or arts funding from the legislature.

Incidentally, here’s the section in the Society ofProfessional Journalists' Code of Ethics about this issue:

Act Independently
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public'sright to know.
Journalists should:
—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
— Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

*Great column in USA Today by Sandy Grady about Barry Bonds and his bogus home run chase. I’d add Sammy Sosaand his faux 600 homers, too:

I’d also add one more reason the steroid problem causes such damage: Kids. They look up to players, and they will use what their heroes use – or what they think their heroes use – even if it kills them (which it has in a couple of circumstances).

*I find the American Film Institute’s revised, so-called “100 best” list preposterous.
No “DancesWith Wolves,” “Roman Holiday,” “Gentleman’s Agreement,” “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner,” “Judgment at Nuremberg?” Come on.
“Toy Story” is listed, but not“Dumbo,” “Pinocchio” or “Fantasia?”
No “Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” “Mrs. Miniver” or anything Katharine Hepburn made with Spencer Tracy? No Tracy, in fact.
Only one Paul Newman film (“Butch Cassidy and theSundance Kid,” ranked too low). Only one Gregory Peck film (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” also ranked too low). And evidently, Martin Scorcese’s friends had a hand in putting this list together (“Raging Bull” at number 4? Please.)
What the heck is “West Side Story” doing on the list?Does the panel know the two leads didn’t do their own singing? And where are “Top Hat,” “An American in Paris” and “The Band Wagon?”
The movies were chosen by Hollywood insiders and critics. It’s time for AFI chief Jean PickerFirstenberg to let the selection process include those who really know something about movies – the public. Aren’t these films made for them?
I would recommend that AFI put their original lists of400 films on their Web site, and let the public make its picks from the list.
And as I wrote yesterday, someone should have a list of the best television programs, as well.

*To end on an upbeat note, here's a presidential candidate we can all get behind, or at least have a good time reading: Dave Barry.

See you next week with my own Top 100 films....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

June 20: Politics, Sunshine and Films and Television

*Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has expressed dismay with the presidential primary schedule moving up so much. In an Associated Press story, McCain suggested it would hinder the process of getting to know the candidates better. I agree. It doesn’t do much for general media coverage of the election, either, which is usually pretty bad and gets progressively worse with each cycle. I couldn’t care less about Hillary Clinton’s (check) “Soprano” finale imitation….

*But I do care about her answers to questions. The Associated Press' Ron Fournier writes about Hillary Clinton today:
I never found her husband evasive on these types of issues.....In fact, former President Bill Clinton has a tendency to go into biblical detail, chapter and verse. But she can't even manage an "I'd have to review the details" (which her husband would probably say) on Scooter Libby? Come on....

*Nice commentary by James P. Pinkerton in the Christian Science Monitor about “Three Americas:”

It's the middle class that have been getting the brunt of the hits the last six years. It hasn't been economic prosperity for them. One example is the number of veteran businesses (Stores, etc. that have been in business 40 years or more) that have been going out of business. I don't think there have ever been so many failed businesses of long standing.

*Applause to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for creating a Commission on Open Government – which includes many of Florida’s finest at making sure records stay open, including Florida First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen and Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, former president of Florida State University and an attorney who played a principal role in getting cameras into Florida’s courtrooms in the 1970s. They will examine what is being done, and what needs to be done, on access to government forums and records. Kudos to Crist for keeping the sunshine in.


*Memo to the American Film Institute, or somebody: Instead of doing a second, useless look at the "top 100 films," how about taking those 400 you have and letting the public have a crack at them? Put a poll on your Web site.
Also, how about one of the governing bodies for television having a program on the 100 greatest television programs of all time (including miniseries and films)? I think TV Land has done something to that effect, but let's have another program for those of us who don't have cable.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 19: World's Fair, Judge on Display and Journalism Advice

*The Chicago Tribune has an article today by Charles Storch called “Whatever Happened to the World’s Fair,”noting that the last time the United States hosted one was in 1984, in Knoxville, Tenn. The article says that one lost money. Meanwhile, U.S. cities keep bidding for the Olympics.
As far as the United States is concerned, the World’sFair lacks the components that would have cities lining up to bid on it: Television coverage and financial profit (the Olympics feature the first, and if things are done right, the second). With tight budgets, municipalities aren’t going to bid on something without those two components built in somehow. It’s unfortunate, because I’ve heard family members talk about attending the 1964 New York World’sFair, and it was at these fairs that the public got their first looks at television, video conferencing and other marvels of technology.

*Broward Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin, who made a mockery of the process with his behavior during the Anna Nicole Smith case, is resigning…probably to contaminate daytime television with yet another court show (or possibly primetime television with yet another pseudo-reality show)….Just another one of the disgraces recently on Broward's bench, and one reason Chief Judge Dale Ross had to step down. Here's hoping both Ross and Seidlin's replacements will be true professionals.

*Nice column about Nelson Poynter, and how his philosophy might relate to the Bancroft family, who owns the Wall Street Journal and is trying to figure out whether to sell it to Rupert Murdoch:

Monday, June 18, 2007

June 18: Hillary's choice, hurricanes and Rosie the radio host?

*A St. Petersburg Times editorial about Sen. Hillary Clinton's 2002 vote authorizing President George W. Bush to take the country to war in Iraq:

And my answer to that last paragraph would be that the junior senator from New York wanted to cover her political hide.

*Bill Proenza may depart his job as director of the National Hurricane Center faster than Bob Burpee did (Burpee was the guy who came before Max Mayfield.). Unlike Burpee, though, Proenza may not have a say in the matter. He's been warning about the aging QuikScat satellite, and is now being warned by his superiors to button his lip. I hope he doesn't get fired. When a hurricane is threatening, I'd hate to see local news anchors interviewing some guy who's kept up his Republican National Committee donations, but doesn't know a thing about meteorology.....

*Greg Sandow writes a commentary in the Wall Street Journal about the decline of classical music criticism:

I do take issue with his remark in the last sentence that "popular culture is getting smarter." Uh uh. Trashier, maybe, but not smarter.


*Finally, Bob Barker suggests Rosie O'Donnell as the new host of "The Price is Right." I have a better suggestion: Radio talk show host. Only Rosie can be for the liberals what Rush Limbaugh is for the conservatives.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 13: State income tax, more on blogging and bad reception


*Today's Miami Herald included a commentary by Ana Menendez on a state income tax, the great third rail of Florida politics. No one will touch it. And that's too bad, because it might help solve a lot of budget problems.


*This is infuriating. The Broward County Commision, which is mostly made up of Democrats, is considering terminating its contract with radio station 610 WIOD for emergency broadcasts because the station carries Rush Limbaugh's show.
Dumb decision, if a majority of commissioners make it. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. One has nothing to do with the other. This certainly should not be about politics, it should be about saving people's lives. If WIOD can clear the space for the county if a hurricane threatens or some other emergency occurs, so much the better. Rush Limbaugh isn't going to be on the air when a hurricane is over us, anyway (Heaven knows a hurricane is trouble enough.).


*More on that Louisville Courier-Journal reporter being thrown out of the pressbox by the NCAA. Here's a great column by Troy Johnson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 12: From Barack to Baca


*Starting with a Chicago Tribune article about Barack Obama's calculated path to the presidency, which was originally supposed to be on the relatively slow path - similar, I think, to the kind of experience John F. Kennedy picked up in Congress before he ran for president in 1960. But with the opposition to the war in Iraq climbing, Obama decided to accelerate the process - too fast, in my opinion. When I heard him speak during the 2004 Democratic convention, I figured he'd run for president one day, but this is much too soon. Mr. Obama, you're no Jack Kennedy - at least not yet.

*Just an observation on presidential polls, which seem to veer from one day to the other, with Hillary Clinton 10 points ahead of Obama on Tuesday and 3 points ahead on Wednesday, or Rudolph Guiliani way ahead on Thursday and tied with Fred Thompson on Friday (or today, as one poll says): I think the polls have become their own force of nature, seemingly motivated by forces that have nothing to do with the problems this country has or how to solve them. They've become like junk food - empty calories that do a lot of damage to what should be a healthy entity - the electoral process.

*The Christian Science Monitor had an article today by Mark Trumbull about the struggle by teenagers to find summer jobs:

The article came closest to the mark, I think, in mentioning that teens are competing with others in the workforce.....But I don't agree that there's been any "solid economic growth," over the last few years, at least not for the middle and lower classes. Look at the thousands of workers, both blue-collar and white-collar, who have been laid off over the last few years. Many of them get jobs with twice as many duties and a lower salary than what they left......


*Behold the ghosts of Florida Legislatures past in the promises by the Republican leaders that they'll restore the money their property tax proposal threatens to cut from the education budget.....Behold and beware. They sound just like the Democratic leaders of the late 1980s who said that Florida Lottery money would pay for education "enhancements." All it enhanced after that was the main education budget, which got cut. Florida needs property tax relief, but not like this....


*Hal Bodley of USA Today writes a good column about Gary Sheffield's statements, and why Sheffield is mostly wrong:

It's good to know that, in fact, Major League Baseball is planning various domestic baseball academies, which will help matters all around. The game also faces a serious marketing problem, not only losing athletes to the convenience and bigger bucks of basketball, but also with the image problems some of its own (Barry Bonds) face. And Bodley brings up a good point with colleges not providing enough baseball scholarships to African Americans.

*Speaking of colleges, a boo-hiss to the NCAA for throwing out Courier-Journal reporter Brian Bennett for blogging. The organization said it was protecting against unsanctioned live coverage of the game. Bennett has been covering the Louisville Cardinals' run to the College World Series. Here's a link to his blog:

By the way, in a USA Today article about this, Ronald Collins, a scholar at the First Amendment Center, points out that someone can just as easily write a blog while watching the game on ESPN. Get a clue, NCAA.....And get off Bennett's back.


*There's an effort underway for a voter recall Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who, you may recall, handed Paris Hilton her "Get Out of Jail Free" card last week. Since Baca is an elected official, that's the only way they can get rid of him for his celebrity glad-handing and general incompetence. Recalls are difficult, but this is California, where they managed to recall a governor.

*Finally, a word about series finales: I've never seen "The Sopranos," so I didn't see the now-infamous last few seconds of the last episode. But it sounds similar to the end of the soap opera "Dallas," where Bobby Ewing hears a shot go off in J.R.'s room, walks in and says, "My God," and the camera fades to black.
With "The Sopranos," I was kind of hoping that after the fade to black, Bob Hartley would wake up and tell his wife, Emily, that he'd had another strange dream (A reference to the classic end of "Newhart," which had a touch of "The Bob Newhart Show" in it).

Monday, June 11, 2007

June 11: Presidential Pop-ups and Downtown Miami

*Remember what I said last week about additional information about the presidential candidates during debates? Matthew Felling of CBS Public Eye has an interesting suggestion, which you can read at this link:

Pop-up data? I like it! And I think the voters will pay attention.


*Following Miami Herald stories last week about the comments of Macy's Florida CEO Julie Greiner about the condition of Downtown Miami, and Miami Today stories earlier this year about the prospect of Macy's leaving the downtown site I will always think of as Burdines, I think a different approach needs to be taken to repairing what ails the heart of downtown, the Flagler Street/Miami Avenue corridor, and its surrounding areas.

My mom worked at that Burdines, and we had friends who owned a nearby children's clothing store, so I spent a lot of time in that area when I was growing up. It's where Miami got started.

So bring the historians into the picture: Arva Parks, who wrote "Miami: The Magic City." Paul George, South Florida history teacher extraordinaire. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, head of The Black Archives Foundation. Let them join business leaders and government leaders and discuss what the heart of Downtown Miami should be.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

June 7: Iraq/Korea, Bob Graham, baseball and good kids

*Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is concerned about a long-term Iraq policy that would create something resembling Korea, with troops bogged down for decades. While Iraq could certainly be a decades-long quagmire, the comparison is not valid. North Korea invaded South Korea, and the Korean War was a legitimate hot point of the Cold War. Also, it was the United Nations that went into the Korean conflict, not the go-it-relatively-alone-with-a-few-countries mentality of the Bush Administration in Iraq. Here's a link to an article by Bill Powell in Time Magazine that has an even better explanation:,8599,1628185,00.html?xid=rss-world


*One person who did get it right on Iraq from the very beginning was former Florida Sen. Bob Graham. Years ago, Tom Fiedler, the former executive editor of the Miami Herald and onetime political columnist for that paper, said that when Graham served in the Florida Legislature (during the 1960s and 70s), he would sometimes make a well-reasoned, detailed proposal that wouldn't get many takers, but would prove right. This article in today's Tampa Tribune proves the validity of that:

And all of the senators who are now running for president could have and should have taken the time to read the full National Intelligence Estimate. Graham was absolutely right from the very beginning with his reservations about the war. And I don't think he's particularly bitter; he's not the type. As for his endorsement, which is prized: Does anyone wonder whether he wants to endorse a former Senate colleague from Tennessee - one who later went on to be vice president and won the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election - one who also opposed the war from the very beginning?


Back to the presidential race for a moment, and the difficulty of dividing debate time evenly among so many candidates. An article in today's Christian Science Monitor had the suggestion of dividing the candidates into a couple of debates. I have a better one: Before a debate, the host network should get the candidates' written responses to various questions on important issues and either post them on the television screen or online, or both, so audience members get a chance to hear what everyone truly thinks. Then, announce several topics in advance , and ask the candidates about those topics only, and do it in a way that everyone gets a fair forum. They have the multimedia capabilities. They should use them.


Baseball has three candidates for its (or my) Bonehead of the Week award: Candidate 1 is Gary Sheffield, current Detroit Tiger and former Florida Marlin, who was quoted in a GQ magazine interview that Major League Baseball finds it easier to control Latin players than blacks, and that's why there are more Latin players in the big leagues. Huh? I will say this: Sheffield was right when he said that baseball currently puts more resources into recruiting players from Latin America than in recruiting African Americans. Clearly, the RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) program, as successful as it is, is not enough.
Actually, a big reason for the numbers is a simple one: Profit. At the moment, baseball executives must feel they are getting far more out of the dollars they spend in Latin America (in terms of the publicity that comes back about their baseball heroes). Here, they lose blacks to basketball and football. But what if they try, in American inner cities, some of the strategies they're using in Latin America? How about at least a pilot program? The game that Jackie Robinson integrated 60 years ago is owed that much.
Bonehead candidate #2 is Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, who believes baseball unfairly targets Latin players in the steroids probe, on the basis of what he was asked. Uh, Ozzie....You're from Venezuela. You're not going to be asked if you saw players taking steroids in London. Unfair? Stereotyping? Maybe, but you're going to be asked about what they think you know.
Which leads to bonehead candidate #3: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig himself, who now wants to give Jason Giambi (See, Ozzie? ) an either/or choice: Talk to Ambassador George Mitchell, who is leading MLB's investigation into steroid and other performance enhancing drug use by players, or face punishment for your steroid use. How about giving us baseball fans an either/or choice: Eliminate all the jokers (including Selig and Major League Baseball Players Association chief Don Fehr) who had a hand in perpetuating the fraud that is the steroid era of baseball, or eliminate all the jokers....Well, you get the idea.


Finally, while everyone spends time grumping about Paris Hilton (and yes, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca should be fired), here's a link to a Boston Globe story about a young person who knows what he wants to do after graduation:

Andrew Orr understands what life's all about.

See you next week, folks....

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

June 6--On leaders, would-be leaders, anchors and pitchers?

*Remember those 1980s G8 summits, when the world leaders (Reagan, Thatcher, Kohl, Mulroney, Mitterand, etc.) got along so well? And then there's the current G8 summit, otherwise known as German Chancellor Angela Merkel wondering, "How long before I get them out of here?" There's President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanging the latest insults....There's Bush disagreeing with everyone else's proposals on global warming....There's Iraq......Actually, Merkel, whose discomfort when Bush suddenly began giving her a neck rub is still remembered, must be wondering, "How long before I get HIM out of here?" She can get in line behind most of the American people and all the presidential candidates, including Republicans....

*Speaking of presidential candidates, one of the Democrats, former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, have rallied in several cities in support of poor hotel workers. However, Edwards may have a few questions to answer about the support of a man (Glover) who has embraced Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Chavez has been showing more and more dictatorial tendencies recently, shutting down Venezuela's oldest television station, which had been critical of him. There's no such thing as six degrees of separation, much less one degree, for a presidential candidate.

*On to something completely different: Katie Couric (who I still think of as "Katherine," the name she went by when she was a correspondent at WTVJ-Channel 4 (at the time) in Miami in the 1980s). Her ratings keep shrinking, but there's a fundamental reason for that: The majority of the television news-viewing public thinks of her more as a celebrity than a journalist. Gender is somewhat relevant, but if "Access Hollywood's" Billy Bush was to start anchoring the CBS Evening News tomorrow, would he get a free ride? (I hope not, particularly since he's W's nephew, which provides various conflict-of-interest opportunities.)
If circumstances had worked out, I could have seen Diane Sawyer becoming one of the major network news anchors. She hosts a morning show, as Couric did, but unlike Couric, there's a trust factor evident when Sawyer is discussing a news story. (She's been in television journalism for more than 30 years, following her stint in the White House during the Nixon administration.)I still remember Sept. 11, 2001, and watching Sawyer and Gibson with capable, solid coverage of the horrific events of that morning - while at NBC, a then-newly blonde Couric and Matt Lauer looked very uncomfortable and like they were just back from the beach.
The fact that Couric once covered hard news doesn't matter now; it's what she's done lately. If she is to pick up viewers, CBS is going to have to give her a wide space. How does five years sound? It sounds like something CBS head Les Moonves probably won't consider. Remember, though, that Dan Rather kept CBS in first place for most of the 1980s after he replaced Walter Cronkite in the anchor chair. Peter Jennings at ABC went into first place for a few years, then Tom Brokaw at NBC.
If Couric wants to stay in that anchor chair, she should ditch the focus groups...and keep her name out of the papers, at least the gossip columns. You're a journalist, Katherine. Show the audience that, and you might have a chance.

*Finally, in the sports world, New York Yankees relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth stated in a radio interview that all the players should be with the team, apparently a criticism of Roger Clemens, the semi-invisible man. Clemens has a contract clause that allows him to leave the team when he's not pitching. The AP reports that Hall of Fame player and former manager Frank Robinson also criticized Clemens.
At this point, Clemens has retired more often than Jack Benny, only to come back (and not be as welcome). I remember his first retirement, the one we all thought was real. I was there at what I call Joe Robbie Stadium (see yesterday's post), during Game 4 of the 2003 World Series, when Clemens walked off the mound to a well-deserved standing ovation. He should have stayed gone. He has groin problems, and with each year he pitches, questions about how he's doing it get a bit louder.
As it stands, Roger, you currently have a clear path to Cooperstown. Just go.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Daily Diary-June 5

*Drucker out: Evidently the partership between legendary South Florida "impresaria" Judy Drucker and Albert Milano, the chief executive officer of the Concert Association of Florida that Drucker founded, didn't work. Drucker has left the organization; according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, it was under pressure from board members.
The Concert Association has run deficits the last couple of years. Milano, who has a long history of fundraising in the performing arts (including Miami-Dade County's Carnival Center), aims to change that. However, he's going to have to do it without the glitter Drucker brings to a concert lineup. Drucker's been friends with everybody who is anybody in classical music over the last 40 years, and has brought all of them to performance halls across South Florida. Add the Carnival Center's own financial problems (which Milano apparently had no part in), and it could be rough sledding in terms of scheduling top talent.
South Florida's already had a few cultural black

*Gleason out? Apparently not, as Live Nation takes over the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts in Miami Beach. According to a Live Nation press release, the facility will now be called "The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater." Given Gleason's importance in bringing entertainment to Miami Beach, that's good. Now, Mr. Wayne Huizenga, how about Dolphins Stadium at Joe Robbie Plaza....make up for taking the name of the original Miami Dolphins owner and stadium builder off the building?

*Waterston promoted? Could Fred Thompson's presidential campaign mean a promotion for one of his "Law & Order" colleagues? Sam Waterston, who has played Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy for 13 seasons, may see his character become the District Attorney. With NBC's budget cuts, I wonder if he gets to keep the perks Arthur Branch (Thompson's character) had. Perhaps we know the real reason Thompson's running for president....

Monday, June 4, 2007

Daily Diary--June 4

*With leaders in the Florida Legislature announcing a plan for property tax relief, it's time to call in Michael Buffer....

Just go to the bottom of the page and play Buffer's catchphrase....LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!.....because that's exactly what state lawmakers will be doing with municipalities. One of the provisions of this deal, according to a letter signed by Senate President Ken Pruitt and House Speaker Marco Rubio, is that "cities and counties will be required to cut their property taxes. The level of cuts will be based on a formula tied to their past taxing performance." That should go over well with Florida's 67 counties and hundreds of municipalities, though the Legislature would allow local governments an override on that and a cap on future property taxes with "an extraordinary vote." Extraordinary, indeed. The letter refers to a "super majority vote, referendum, or other heightened standard."

Some have suggested that cities didn't get on the ball quickly enough in lobbying legislators during the regular session. You can bet they'll be there during the special session, which starts next week. At the very least, they're going to have their say over what happens if the unexpected Tropical Storm Barry, which left some damage behind last weekend, or like the tornadoes that hit Central Florida earlier this year.

There are also plans to put a constitutional change for property tax relief on a state ballot - most likely next year's Jan. 29 presidential primary.

That adds additional drama to a rumble already going on - between Florida Democrats and the national Democratic party over whether that primary is going to count in the tabulation of delegates for the presidential nominee. My suggestion: Give it up, Howard Dean. You're not going to hold voters, delegates, candidates or anyone else hostage in the fourth most populous state in the nation - particularly after what happened in 2000.

*Boo and hiss to U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. for putting a secret hold on the Open Government Act of 2007, which would require government to speed up its response to Freedom of Information Act requests, make it easier for the public to follow up on their requests and get the information they seek. The bill has widespread support on both sides of the aisle.

The Society of Professional Journalists Web site,, says Kyl wants more negotiations with bill sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. and the Justice Department over its provisions. But my fellow SPJ-ers rightly gave the "Senator Secrecy" tag to Kyl for his deed. This is from the SPJ site:

"'If Sen. Kyl's concerns are no secret, then why would he insist on working from the shadows to place a hold on this very important legislation?' asked Christine Tatum, SPJ's National President and an assistant features editor at The Denver Post. 'The irony of secretly blocking a vote on a bill that would make government more transparent is supreme. Sen. Kyl should feel pretty silly.'
Kyl is behind another bill that concerns SPJ. Known as the Kyl Amendment, it would criminalize the leaking — and publishing — of classified information.'So, Sen. Kyl is 'Senator Secrecy' in more ways than one,' Tatum said."

Uh, Senator Kyl: You work for your constituents - the American people - not the other way around. And they have a right to know what's going on with their employees.


Hello and welcome to Sunshine Statements. I'm Sylvia Gurinsky, a journalist from the Sunshine State (hence the blog name), and this is an opinion blog name it, from politics to sports to popular culture.

I promise to be fair and accurate (Sorry, but Fox News' "fair and balanced" motto is grammatically redundant.). In exchange, please post your comments, and be polite. I will delete anything that's offensive.