Thursday, August 30, 2007

Aug. 30: Chavez, CO2 and Katrina

*Chavez’ influence rising
It looks like Fidel Castro has his successor, at least
in terms of Western Hempishere influence:

That and the problems in the Middle East are two good
reasons for the United States to start cutting its
dependence on oil – theirs or ours – and start
focusing on solar power, wind power and anything else
that can save the planet and wallets in the long run.

*And speaking of the environment….
Here’s a link to another Christian Science Monitor
article on what western states are doing to curb
greenhouse gases:

Florida is also starting to make strides. States are
way ahead of the Bush Administration (as usual) on
this issue.

*New Orleans has key to newspaper survival?
Maybe this is the formula to rebuild newspapers across
the country:

No, not to have a major disaster, but to get back to
brass tacks: Good journalism, good journalism, good
journalism. That’s the best way to get readers and viewers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Aug. 29: South Korea held hostage

*South Korea held hostage
The Taliban have released 19 South Korean church
volunteers they held hostage in Afghanistan. The
ransom: South Korean’s foreign policy. South Korea has
pledged to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by
year’s end and also end its missionary work there.
Now held hostage: The entire population of South

*Will they go back?
Yesterday's Boston Globe had a column asking whether the group of newspeople, historians, etc. will go back on any new radio show Don Imus might have. They shouldn't. Enough silent sanctioning of hatred.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Aug. 27: Gonzales and the Democrats' battle in Florida

*Gonzales resigns
The decision of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign is welcome. But it came after he did a great deal of damage to the Bush Administration and the reputation of the Justice Department. From the war against terror to the fate of thousands of federal cases around the country, not an item was left untouched, it seems. President Bush's reputation for blind loyalty to his friends failed him yet again.
He's got a year and a half to mend fences; the question is whether he will with whoever replaces Gonzales in the long run.

*Let the votes count
The battle between Florida's Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee over the Jan. 29 primary shows just how ridiculous the current system is. How did we get to this point, anyway?
Once again, former Sen. Bob Graham may have a point with his suggestion of a rotating, regional primary. Every four years, let someone else rack up the delegates (As long as Iowa and New Hampshire go first.....).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Aug. 23: Candidates, delegates, Deaver and AJR

*No-go to Morongo
USA Today reports that the Big Three Ds – Mrs.
Clinton, Obama and Edwards – will not attend a debate
at an Indian reservation in California.

I agree with Kalyn Free’s comment. As the late, great
House Speaker Tip O’Neill said, people like to be

*No-go for delegates?
This fight is still going on between the Democratic
National Committee and Florida’s Democratic Party:

Does the national party really want to risk the third
most-populous state in the nation after what happened
in 2000?

*On Michael Deaver
The St. Petersburg Times reprints a column in the
Washington Post by Lou Cannon, who covered and
continues to write about Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
This one is about Michael Deaver, Reagan’s assistant
chief of staff during his first term:

The last sentence is telling, particularly in the wake
of today’s philosophy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that
being a loyal member of the Bush Administration means
never having to say you’re sorry.

*AJR on the brink?
It is terrible news that American Journalism Review
has great financial difficulties and may go out of
business sooner or later. To me, it is the best of the
three journalism magazines I receive (besides Columbia
Journalism Review, which has gotten back on track
recently after playing with being a political magazine
instead of a journalism one, and the Society of
Professional Journalists’ Quill). AJR has had an eagle
eye on the troubles of the journalism profession for
many years.
I understand that Thomas Kunkel, the magazine’s
president, tells the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz
“we can’t be a charity case.” But what is stopping the
University of Maryland Foundation from helping the
magazine out? It’s their magazine.

*Slap on the wrist
One word about the too-light charges against Lindsay
Lohan: Preposterous.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Aug. 21: Clothes, bloggers and the Orange Bowl

*Clothes make the candidate
I really didn’t want to address the issue of
you-know-who, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s
reader representative does a good job of it, so I’ll
post the link to her column:

And I agree.

*Can bloggers report?
Interesting column about bloggers by Michael Skube in
today’s LA Times:,1,7873849.story?coll=la-news-comment

I don’t agree, however, that a blogger would not have
been capable of uncovering the scope of the scandal at
Walter Reed Army Medical Center. A blogger who is also
a journalist, who understands the ins and outs of
uncovering records and who is a good writer and
reporter, could do so. Indeed, part of blogging can be
to report.
Incidentally, here’s Jay Rosen’s reply:

*Telling it like it is, indeed
Yay, Charlie Reed:

All that, and the skyrocketing of tuition fees since
the pre-Jeb days…..I don’t quite agree that Bright
Futures was a dumb idea, but the distribution of it,
without taking family income into account, is. The
state would do well by making it proportional to need.

*No more OB
I can't say I'm terribly surprised that the University of Miami decided that the Hurricanes will soon start playing their football games in what I still call Joe Robbie Stadium, instead of the Orange Bowl. The city spent a couple of decades, going back to the tenure of the inept, corrupt former City Manager Cesar Odio, neglecting the needs of its sports teams, including the Baltimore Orioles for spring training and the Dolphins and Hurricanes at the OB. Only by the grace of former Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, the Miami Heat stayed in the city, but the relatively new Miami Arena was rendered useless.
Now the city is negotiating with the Marlins about a new baseball facility. I'm still not convinced, between the ineptness of some in the city and the intransigence of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson.
How intransigent? Not only wouldn't they bring back Jeff Conine so he could retire in the uniform he should, but now he's a Met. Yuck.

*Ashes not to ashes?
I know journalists aren’t getting much respect these
days, but this is ridiculous:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Aug. 16: Leaks and listening

*No leaks in L.A. (or the rest of California)?
Tom Newton has the perfect name for this piece of legislation, which the California Legislature should torpedo. This ain't national security:,1,3107767.story

*Are we listening?
Great column by Bruce Kluger in USA Today:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Aug. 15: Imus, Trans-Fat and I-95

*You go, Kia
Rutgers University student Kia Vaughn, a member of the
women’s basketball team insulted earlier this year by
radio host Don Imus, has sued Imus and his then-radio
host CBS for slander and defamation. This comes the
day after Imus and CBS reached a settlement that will,
unfortunately for good taste, allow him to come back
somewhere else.
Go, Kia!

*Fie on trans fats?
OK, this banning trans fats thing is getting a little

Should there be a federal ban by now? Don’t people
understand that those who eat fried foods do so
because they want to?

*Accident on I-95
Only in Florida can our public officials be
short-sighted enough (yes, other words do come to
mind) to approve something like this without taking
the time to improve public transportation:,0,6747080.story

It won’t solve anything. It will only make the
bottleneck worse on 95 and make life tougher for
working-class drivers who can’t afford to cough up the
HOV fee.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Aug. 14: China, Records and the Scooter

*Warning: Made in China
I know people who have warned about products from China for years; the series of recalls are now giving conclusive proof to the theory that letting the manufacture of this country’s products out of this country for something cheaper ain’t always cheap. The recalls are expensive for the various companies and their reputations.

*Graham did it better
USA Today has an article on Hillary Clinton following
a nurse at a Nevada hospital. Other presidential
candidates are also participating in the Service
Employees International Union “Walk a Day In My Shoes”

None of them can top Florida’s Bob Graham, though, who
came up with one of the best strategies ever when he
ran for governor in 1978: Workdays. Graham actually
did the labor he went to see. He’s taken on both white
and blue-collar jobs, though my mother jokes that
she’s still waiting for him to mow the lawn. He did
the workdays once a month through his years in the
governor’s mansion and the United States Senate, and
during his own, brief presidential race in 2004.
Anyone running now want to get their hands dirty? I mean, literally?

*Open those records, Hillary
This is in today’s LA Times:,0,1390329.story?coll=la-home-center

Rule of thumb for Hillary Clinton and all presidential
candidates: If you did it, no matter what you were
when you did it, and it affects public policy, you let
the rest of us see it. Period.

*Rest in peace, Scooter
Before there were the Florida Marlins, South Florida
radio and television carried the games of the
franchise that, sadly, still remains my community’s
favorite baseball team: The New York Yankees (I say
“sadly” because I’ve been a loyal Marlins fan since
day one.). I blush to say that I used to root for the
Yankees as a youth, but I did like their broadcasts
(both radio and TV), with Frank Messer, Bill White and
Phil Rizzuto (Much better than that obnoxious John
I join with baseball fans everywhere in mourning
Rizzuto, “The Scooter,” who died today at age 89. He
is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, deservedly so. He
also touched plenty of hearts in the broadcast booth.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Aug. 13: Rove, Roosevelt and DVDs?

*Rove’s sad legacy
Karl Rove will leave the White House by the end of the
month. His sad legacy is political nearsightedness,
sticking to the right-wing political base to take the
White House twice, but forgetting that to govern well,
it’s necessary to govern in the middle and reach out
to the opposition. That omission is the reason his
boss has those 20-something percent approval ratings.

Unfortunately, that amnesia seems to have stuck to
some of the people vying to succeed George W. Bush:

Candidate John Edwards is right: There are two
Americas – in economy, and politics. That doesn’t help
us. To quote President Abraham Lincoln: “A house
divided against itself cannot stand.” And we’re

*Bully for Teddy
Holly Ramer of the Associated Press writes about how
the presidential candidates are trying to channel
President Theodore Roosevelt:

By the way, has any one of them mentioned his love of
the environment? Roosevelt was the first genuine
environmentalist in the White House, (creating the
national park system, among other things). I’d be
surprised if they hadn’t. Is going green suddenly out?

*Greenhouse gets away
Journalist Linda Greenhouse did not want C-SPAN at a panel
discussion she was participating in about the Supreme
Court; she covers the High Court for the New York
Times. Sadly, the Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication went along, and
C-SPAN was forced to pull the plug. Here’s the full
story on Columbia Journalism Review’s Web site:

Slate had its response:

Given Greenhouse’s position, perhaps she needs a
refresher on Harry Truman’s famous quote: “If you
can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” – or at
least the conference. You’re a reporter, dearie. If
you’re talking in front of others, expect to be

As for AEJMC, what kind of example does this provide
for its members? Yay to its board for this resolution:

*Merv Griffin dies
They must be creating a whale of a talk show in
heaven: First Tom Snyder, now Merv Griffin, who made
even more of a landmark with “Wheel of Fortune” and
“Jeopardy” than with his talk show, which ran for two
decades. His last legacy, “Crosswords,” is supposed to
make its debut in syndication soon. He was also a
hotel mogul. Not bad for a one-time big-band singer.

*Cooper cologne?
I’ve never been an Anderson Cooper fan, and now I may
get even less of a reason to be one:,1,6075686.story?coll=la-news-a_section

To quote one-time New York Met Marv Thornberry in
those old Lite Beer commercials, “I knew this was a
bad idea.” Also journalistically unethical. No reporter is supposed to endorse a product. Period.

*DVD change should PO many

Will consumers be angry? Yeah, I'd say so:

To the big studios: ENOUGH!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Aug. 9: We're voting now (almost)

*The 2007 presidential election?

How ridiculous is this?

OK, anyone with the guts to change the current system,
which is preposterous, please step forward.
Actually, someone has: Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham,
who suggested rotating regional primaries in a column
in the New York Times earlier this week. Well, it
would be a start.

*Twist of Lyme
More from the “What President Bush hasn’t told us”

And he wants to know our secrets?

*More on Bonds and steroids
Great column by Christine Brennan of USA Today (and
one-time Miami Herald sportswriter):

By the way, a Canadian columnist, Bob Elliott, wrote
today that "Even if he took steroids between 1999 and
2003, Bonds never 'broke the laws of baseball,' since
there was not a rule preventing players from taking

Actually, that’s not true. Former Commissioner Fay
Vincent banned steroids in 1991, after the federal government banned them first. What is true is that there was no testing mechanism in place to catch
Bonds. But he still broke federal law if he took them
without a prescription, and that’s part of what the Feds are
investigating now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Aug. 8: Legendary anchor and true achievement

*Mourning Hal Fishman
Being a South Florida gal, I’d never heard of Hal
Fishman until the last few days; he was apparently to
Los Angeles what Ralph Renick and Ann Bishop were to
South Florida – and then some, because of his
longevity. Here’s the Los Angeles Times obit:,0,6792962.story?coll=la-home-obituaries

And here’s the KTLA Web site page:,0,7719129.story?coll=ktla-promo-layout

People have poked fun at serious anchors, but they
weren’t trying to be flashy. They were just trying to
tell viewers what’s going on, as accurately as
possible. No problem with that.

*Bum at the bat
Bravo, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel for this
twist on “Casey at the Bat,” in homage (?) to Barry

Just perfect.

*Worthy achievement
Tom Glavine, who may have the only achievement in
baseball worth truly celebrating this week, keeps
getting the well wishes:

His last quote clinches it for me. This man does get

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Aug. 7: Jobs, TV and PE

*Jobs unprotected?
Here’s something else for Congress to take a look at; whether members of the National Guard – or others serving in Iraq, for that matter – are being fired when they finally do return home:

Yet another example in this Era of Job Insecurity, in which that Social
Darwinism – survival of the supposed fittest, but most
assuredly the richest – took hold. I haven’t heard
enough yet from most politicians in either party about
how they plan to help solve this.

*Accuracy, accuracy
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an article about
running letters that are factually inaccurate:

Sorry, but I don’t agree with Cynthia Tucker.
Political polarization is no excuse. We only think
it’s more politically polarized today because we hear
so much, but there were previous times when
politicians were killed (Alexander Hamilton, Huey
Long) over differing beliefs. If we work for an entity
committed to finding the truth, that’s it. That
includes letters. Truth and accuracy are the same, at
least to me.

*I want my…digital TV
An article in USA Today discusses the looming deadline
for full conversion of televisions from analog to

At the end, there’s also a reference to those most
likely to be affected by the change: The poor, who
can’t run out and buy that new, gargantuan digital TV
set at the local store. And what about those people
who own the small Cort and other brands of televisions
you can buy for $40 at the discount store? Well, at least the
radio still works.

*Bonds reflects society (ugh to both)
Kurt Streeter of the Los Angeles Times wrote this

Agreed. It reminds me of an episode of the classic
sitcom “¿Que Pasa USA?” (classic if you have spent
your life in South Florida, where it was produced, but
also in some other parts of the U.S.) In the episode,
teenager Carmen Peña (Ana Margo now, Ana Margarita
Menendez then) is caught cheating on an exam at her
Catholic school. School administrator Sister Josepha
comes to the Peña home to talk to her parents, Pepe
(Manolo Villaverde) and Juana (Ana Margarita Martinez
Casado), about what to do. But only Juana seems to be
in the spirit of the conversation. Pepe is trying to
manipulate a business deal, Abuela (Velia Martinez)
takes towels and dishes from the Fontainebleau in
Miami Beach, etc. In other words, Carmen’s actions
correspond to those of much of her family. And that’s
what we’re seeing with Bonds.

*What’s OK for PE?
The Sun-Sentinel has an article about mandatory
physical education in Florida, and what the Palm Beach
County school district is doing to implement it:,0,4364513.story

Why does this have to be such a head-scratcher? I grew
up with phys ed classes from first grade through
ninth. There were exercises, laps, kickball, softball,
flag football, soccer, etc. They require a lot less
maintenance (and money) than hiring a dance teacher to
come in. A half-hour of good, old fashioned exercise
is what’s best to get the kids off their backsides.

*Anyone for Collins?
Good news for Bud Collins fans; ESPN has picked up the
man who is to tennis what Vin Scully is to baseball.
Collins, who was unceremoniously dumped by NBC last
month (They say he left, I say he was dumped), will call the shots
for ESPN2’s Grand Slam coverage:

I’m not a big tennis watcher, but I am a Collins fan.
And he’ll be reunited with another of my favorites:
Dick Enberg, who’s good at calling just about any

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August 2: Infrastructure, Emile Zola and more

*Time to look at infrastructure
If the steam pipe accident in New York a few weeks ago didn't bring the message over, then yesterday's disaster on a bridge in Minneapolis should have: The infrastructure in this country and its maintenance need proper review.
The death and injury totals are still being added up from the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge, which spanned the Mississippi River. Two years ago, a federal (study) rated the bridge as "structurally deficient" and possibly in need of repair. The bridge is 40 years old.
The American Society of Civil Engineers actually says fewer bridges are structurally deficient compared to 15 years ago, but they do have to be repaired, rebuilt, etc. and there's a heavy price tag (Thanks to Al Tomkins at the Poynter Institute, whose Morning Meeting column had this link):

The Christian Science Monitor has a comprehensive article on the problems with this country's infrastructure:

*Looking back at Zola
The film "The Life of Emile Zola," made in 1937 and starring Paul Muni, has an account, albeit fictionalized, of Zola's writing about the innocence, eventually proved, of French Capt. Alfred Dreyfus in committing treason. The film is available on DVD. Watch it, and compare the backside covering of the French military bigwigs to what's going on now with the Bush Administration, and the similar clamming up of its members. The truth has a way of getting out, though....

*No more aliens
On a slightly different wavelength:
The Weekly World News, the only tabloid I’ve ever read beyond the cover, will cease publication in coming weeks. In fact, the only time I ever bought a tabloid was when the WWN published its list of 12 senators who were space aliens. They included John McCain, Alan Simpson, John Glenn (Is that why he went into space twice?) and Jay Rockefeller, who was trying to spearhead health care reform in Congress at the time and said he came from a planet with universal health care.
WWN’s parent company, American Media, is folding the tabloid to focus on its moneymaking (groan) celebrity (double groan) tabloids. For the time being, its Web site will continue. Guess someone online will have to make up the space alien/politician deficiency.

*Hawaii 5-No-no
Never make a promise you won't keep.
After CBS/Paramount made a promise to release all of Season 2 of Hawaii Five-O on DVD, they released it with one episode missing and a note on the back of the DVD about some programs being edited.
The episode that's missing is called "Bored, She Hung Herself." It has never been repeated by CBS or in syndication since its initial 1970 showing because a woman tried a supposed yoga hanging technique shown in the episode and died.
It's OK to change your mind. But CBS owes consumers an explanation as to who did and why. They should also talk about what else is missing. Viewers aren't dumb.


Evander Holyfield, who's already done the retire-and-back thing, wants to box again. There's no fool like one with boxing gloves.....