Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jan. 31: Congrats to teachers of the year

Congratulations to Jacquelle Sconiers, who teaches teens business and math at the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Detention Center, and Nicole Marsala, who teaches history at Coral Springs Middle School. They are the Dade and Broward teachers of the year:

A salute to them and the regional teachers of the year, who truly represent the best of the class.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jan. 30: Election dropouts and umpire background checks

*McCain up; Giuliani and Edwards out

Sen. John McCain of Arizona was a gracious winner in the Florida primary yesterday. And former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani realized his one-state strategy was a bust; he's dropped out of the race and endorsed McCain.

Meanwhile, a surprise today: Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina also waved bye-bye, after first saying he was in it until the convention. No endorsement from him for now. Perhaps he's waiting to see if Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can develop a little class towards each other in their contest for the Democratic nomination.

*Strike one

This is fallout from last year's National Basketball Association referee scandal:

Another speck of proof for how misguided Major League Baseball is. They have background checks on the one group of people in the game doing their jobs honestly. How about checking the players and owners?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jan. 29: State of the Union fallout (Bush and non-Bush)

*Obama snubs Sen. Clinton

Is this how someone who wants to be president should act?

Another reason I think Obama should have waited at least until after his first Senate term was over to run for president.

*The next endorsement.....

This endorsement business is starting to get ridiculous:

*Explaining blacks' affection for the Clintons

This column does a good job of explaining the connection African-Americans have felt to the Clintons:

As we've seen recently, though, it's not a connection they can assume. To quote the late U.S. House Speaker Tip O'Neill: "People like to be asked."

*The forgotten man

Frank James also writes about the presidential election noise overcoming what President George W. Bush has to say. Indeed, Bush seems to be turning into The Forgotten Man (Who would have thought?). However, he still has a year to act. That must be remembered.

*Response to State of the Union speech

Also forgotten - sort of - in the flurry of presidential election news is the response to Bush's speech by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. Here's a link:

Good and upbeat, I thought. Incidentally, she just endorsed Barack Obama. She's been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate.....

*Obama answers Israel questions

This from the Jerusalem Post:

*Should religion matter?

Leonard Pitts asks that question:,0,4580814.story

The answer is no, any more than race and gender should matter. However, with the deaths of almost 3,000 people on 9/11 still fresh in people's minds, as well as the war in Iraq and perpetual Middle East troubles, a Muslim won't get elected to the White House anytime soon. That's the reality. Pitts is right, though. The question is how long it will take this country to realize that.

*Mourning Margaret Truman Daniel

Margaret Truman Daniel, the daughter of President Harry Truman, has died:

Indeed, she did establish multiple careers, the most successful one probably as a mystery writer. In 1992, when various presidential candidates were trying to compare themselves to her father, she respectfully told them to knock it off. She had a bit of her father's moxie.

*Montclair University journalists fight

Go, Montclarion:

And I'm not going to say a word about the student body president's last name......Actually, yes I am. If his name reflects his attitude toward the press, he may want to avoid politics after he graduates.

*Further screwing up of baseball....

The Hall of Fame game will be eliminated after this season because of schedule complexities:

Ridiculous to end a tradition that's gone on since a year after the first Hall of Fame induction. Then again, with the players from the "Steroid Era" starting to be judged, maybe there isn't much of a reason for Hall of Fame exhibition games for the time being.

*Marlins raise ticket prices

Speaking of paying for nothing:

I've been a baseball fan since I was 10. Between the steroids and the atrocious way in which Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria runs his team and treats fans, I'm falling out of love with the game.

*Mosaic is restored

Cool story of the day:

*True partnership

Second cool story of the day, about a former UM star and his wife:

Even though he plays for the Patriots (Remember, the Dolphins are in the same division and had the original undefeated team.)......


Make way for a new TV network:,0,6148031.story

*P.D.Q. Bach is Back

My favorite of Johann Sebastian's children (and the only fake one), courtesy of composer Peter

My favorite P.D.Q. Bach composition is the "Minuet Militaire," complete with musical quotes from football team bands (at least the drums, the "hut, two, three" and the whistle).

Here's a Web site that has all the P.D.Q. details:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Jan. 28: Vote no on slots in Dade

Tomorrow, voters in Miami-Dade County will decide whether to allow slot machines at race and dog tracks. Again, they should say no.

An early study on slots in Broward reports no rise in crime for the time being. But it is an early study. And there's a question of how Broward allocated its police resources to correspond with the changes taking place. You can handle something if you're ready for it.

With the property tax reform wave and a troubled economy hitting local budgets, though, will Broward's law enforcement be able to continue dealing with the situations created by increased gambling? History says no.

The television ads by the pro-casino forces have my least favorite line: That there is already gambling. Thus, the logic goes, let's add to it. It's a lousy excuse.

After Alex Penelas stepped down from the Dade mayor's post in 2000, efforts at creating a truly vibrant, non-tourism related economy in the county went with him. The construction economy created largely in the City of Miami had its fortunes ride on the real estate boom. We know where that's gone.

More gambling will just create more crime problems and gambling addiction in this community. Dade voters should say no to the slots on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jan. 24: Wiretapping wrangle and GM's tumble

*Wrong number on wiretapping

One-half of the most disappointing Congress in recent memory may give in to the Bush administration yet again:

Shame on Harry Reid. Shame on Jay Rockefeller, too.

*Why GM is struggling

With reports that General Motors is in danger of losing its 76-year-old crown as the world's number 1 automaker (It seems to have just barely edged out Toyota), it's worth looking at why GM is struggling.

I have a partial theory: What it's done to Buick.

In 2005, GM decided to eliminate the successful LeSabre, Park Avenue and a car that's been in my family for more than 30 years - the Century. Buick had also eliminated the Regal.

Meanwhile, Buick replaced those cars with SUVs that have sold poorly, and with two cars - the LaCrosse and Lucerne - that were more expensive and did not do well in some safety reports. Buick has had a long-standing reputation for safety and durability.

When I was going car shopping last year, Buick had started to slash the prices on those two models, suggesting that they weren't selling as well as had been hoped.

I stuck with GM, but bought a Chevy Impala, which has some features similar to the later-years Century. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Impala has been such a good seller. It reminds those veteran Buick owners of what got left behind.

Meanwhile, the bloodletting continues for Ford, which is offering buyouts to 54,000 workers.

*Differences on health insurance

The Republicans are wrong on this issue:

How many people in this country are at risk because they don't have insurance? How many workers in this country are stuck at jobs they don't want because they need the health insurance? And how many of the Republican voters who took part in this poll either are or know someone in this circumstance?

*Caring about the news

Good column in The Washington Post, responding to the creator of HBO's "The Wire":

I agree with Sara Libby. The interest in the presidential campaign is a reflection of what she's talking about. And it's true that people not only care, but they want good journalism.

*The worst Bond title ever

"Quantum of Solace?" What on earth does that mean?!

This is James Bond, for heaven's sake, not Stanley Kubrick.

You don't follow titles like "From Russia With Love," "Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever," "Live and Let Die," "The Spy Who Loved Me," "A View to a Kill," "Goldeneye," etc. with "Quantum of Solace." Not to mention "For Your Eyes Only," which this story comes from (and a great song, by the way).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Jan. 23: Secret Clinton resistance - by Clinton?

*Bill doesn't want Hill in the White House?

Jeffrey Dvorkin isn't the first person I've seen this theory - that former President Clinton does not want his wife elected president - from:

*Door opening in Florida?

Discussion on WLRN radio in Miami about the upcoming Florida primary, about whether the Democratic leadership might let the Sunshine State out of the corner....or at least the candidates in to campaign for a day or two. If they want that money to flow in for the fall, (especially if Barack Obama, who hasn't exactly shown Florida voters any warmth with his recent comments, is the nominee) they'll open the gate, even if it's brief.

*Maybe it's that "killer tree" thing again....

Fewer hurricanes because of global warming?

Maybe we're in an ice age, and nobody's told us....

*Employee assistance for actors?

Yes, we know they have millions of dollars, entourages and people telling them how good they are. But do Hollywood's finest have access to genuinely good mental health care if they need it? That's the question I'm pondering after the death of actor Heath Ledger at age 28.

Of course, a good mental health professional would probably tell them to ditch the entourages and the people who tell them how good they are.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jan. 22: Thompson bows out; Clinton and Obama battle

*Case closed

Fred Thompson, who won the hype election when he got into the presidential race last year, has bowed out. Thompson had sought to be a Ronald Reagan-style candidate, but with apologies to the late Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, Thompson was no Reagan. Wonder if "Law & Order" will take him back....

*Stop it, kids

They're members of the United States Senate, she was first lady and they're both running for president. But Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are going at it Hatfield and McCoy-style. Throw in former President - repeat, former President - Bill Clinton for an all-out mess.

This has the potential to be the frostiest crowning of a Democratic presidential nominee since 1980, when Ted Kennedy gave a less-than-warm greeting to President Jimmy Carter at that year's convention. We know what happened there....that Ronald Reagan guy won in November.

Clinton (or rather, the Clintons) and Obama should take a line from another Republican: A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jan. 21: Dr. King's legacy?

Today, I refer to two columns in The Miami Herald regarding Martin Luther King's legacy. The first is by retired Lt. Gen. Josiah Bunting III:

The second, about media coverage of the diverse presidential candidates, is by Edward Wasserman:

We are not yet at the point, to quote King's famous 1963 speech, where we can judge people "not by the color of their skin [my note: or by their gender], but by the content of their character."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jan. 17: Afghanistan pullback? / Talking dogs/ Colbert's portrait

*Pulling back from Afghanistan?

Is the United States pulling back from the war it should be fighting?

Uh, weren't the Taliban the ones who were sheltering Osama bin Laden in the first place? About a month before 9/11, the Taliban began to give a frightening preview of what they intended for the west. President Bush's Iraq obsession shifted U.S. priorities away from Afghanistan, where we should have been all along. NATO's not to blame. Mr. Gates' boss is.

*And yet another reason those Countdown-to-Bush-departure calendars are so popular...

Bush ignores the environment, part 899:,0,738138.story?coll=la-home-local

We can't catch bin Laden or the Taliban, but it's comforting to know marine mammals are the real enemy.....

*No campaign in Florida (sort of), continued.....

USA Today has a piece:

The good part (or bad part, if you work for a media organization): Few ads.

*Representing the Blustering Blowhard party

Lou Dobbs for President? I can't write it without cringing, but some people are serious:

I'm surprised no one's recruited Bill O'Reilly or Keith Olbermann or any other cable yakker yet.

*Woof! Woof! Woof!

This is self-explanatory:

Maybe we can replace the cable yakkers with them. Besides, they're cuter.

*Getting out of our funk

Author Thomas Hine writes in USA Today:

I wouldn't equate taking drugs with creativity. I do think that in some ways, people were more enlightened, better informed, far less obsessed with trivialities during that decade. And the television was better. The music, too.

*Baseball's response not good enough

Criticism from the new head of the World Anti-Doping Agency:

Actually, "baffling" and "frustratating" are par for the course for baseball's leaders and its players:

How on earth are they going to fix this? It will take outside intervention - and, again, a change in leadership in both the commissioner's office and the players' union.

*Murphy's two-week marriage over

Well, that was fast:

And to further confuse matters:

It still doesn't beat the record of a certain female pop singer whose name I'm trying to avoid mentioning here, but it rhymes with "Sears."

*Picture of the day

It's good to know the Smithsonian has a sense of humor.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jan. 16: Michigan results/ No Kucinich/ Lamebrain Sean Penn

*Romney wins - and loses

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the Michigan primary, keeping the Republican presidential contest up in the air, but committed an "oops" in a photo op:

For this, he might get President Bush's endorsement.....The Bush administration has had its own wobblies with manufactured news.....

USA Today reported, incidentally, that U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona was hurt in Michigan by a lack of crossover voters, whom he had campaigned for. He didn't do himself any favors with his comments last week about Michigan's lost jobs not coming back, and he probably knew it, because he started to try to change his tune - too late. His support of the Bush administration on the war in Iraq may also have been a factor with swing voters.

*No Kucinich in debate

The Nevada Supreme Court backed MSNBC in its decision to exclude U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio from the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Las Vegas last night:

The judge who had initially ruled in Kucinich's favor, Charles Thompson, may have overreached when he said Kucinich had to be included or he'd pull the plug on the debate. The Nevada court likely thought that was a violation of MSNBC's First Amendment rights. I can't argue with that point.

But I can argue with MSNBC's rotten treatment of Kucinich or any candidate who is invited, then disinvited. That is still dirty pool.

*Nevada caucus not kosher


*Hezbollah TV really not kosher

So much for the test run:

Remember: Read that fine print....

*It's 1992 all over again

A "Draft Bloomberg" movement gets started:,8599,1703765,00.html

At least Ross Perot never publicly denied he was running in 1992 before he actually announced.

*It's 1990 all over again

Inflation is living up to its name:

Who was president then? Right. Papa Bush.

*Generational tensions among blacks

This article doesn't address the presidential race, but I would imagine some of these tensions between the generations are a factor there as well:

*Has the election affected Oprah?

She's starting a new television network, but her decision to wade into politics by supporting Barack Obama may have affected Oprah Winfrey in another way:

If you have a reputation for not being political, your fans don't like you to get political.

*Obama to Florida: Drop Dead....uh, at least until after January 29

No primary for him:

And my guess is no Florida win for him, if he's the nominee.

*Rose Mary Woods replaced by recycling

E-mails may have been erased:

What?? The White House recycles?

*Florida suspends Allstate sales

The "good hands" people forgot to count everything with regard to property insurance:

I wonder if this means Allstate won't bombard me with letters anymore....

*Can baseball fans sue?

From USA Today:

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., says: "Fixed games played by drug users that illegitimately altered the outcome of the games," McCollum said. "It's my opinion we're here in the middle of a criminal conspiracy that defrauded millions of baseball fans of billions of dollars."
•Expert says: Fans who purchased tickets could have a case if they're willing to spend the time and money to litigate. "Sure, you make a contract claim since what they promised was different from they delivered," University of Southern California law professor Gillian Hadfield said. "It may be too little money worth pursuing, and it can become tricky."

My take: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig wants to prove he's going to act on steroids? Act to remove the San Francisco Giants' leadership - beginning with team owner Peter Magowan - who systematically looked the other way while Barry Bonds was juicing up.

Incidentally, members of Congress brought up something that was not fully addressed in the Mitchell Report:

I still think Selig should be removed as well. Players' union head Don Fehr, too.

*Sparano new Dolphins' head coach

The Miami Dolphins have hired Dallas Cowboys assistant Tony Sparano as their new head coach. Let's see who flubs first and refers to him as "Tony Soprano."

*Burying the lead

Can I take issue with the format of USA Today's "Lifeline Live" blog, which has a headline about something, and then you can't find it while you search through 30 other things in the blog? Here's today's as an example. Click on the blog when you get to the Life page:

Maybe they should rename it "Needle in the Haystack."

#Late in the day, they put a headline in that actually led to the story it was about. That's progress.

*Who's the real lamebrain?

Actor Sean Penn called the San Francisco Chronicle "lamebrain" in a letter on Tuesday. Here's an AP article about the dustup:

Here's Sean Penn's letter to the San Francisco Chronicle:

The person Sean Penn calls "democratically elected," Hugo Chavez, has done his utmost to stifle the civil liberties of the people and press of Venezuela, and has expressed anti-Semitic statements and cozied up to Iran's leader.

Oh, by the way, Sean: Adolf Hitler was also democratically elected.

*Horne discusses cancer survival

Here's the best story of the day: Mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, who was interviewed by the Associated Press about beating pancreatic cancer, the same illness that killed tenor Luciano Pavarotti last year:

Back in the 1980s, Miami's local PBS station and late, great classical radio station WTMI had simulcasts of PBS' "Live From Lincoln Center" broadcasts. Among those simulcasts was a classic concert, "Marilyn Horne Sings the Great American Songbook," with songs of Aaron Copeland and Stephen Foster, as well as spirituals, patriotic songs and more. My father audio taped it (This was before my family's first VCR purchase), and it is a gem.

The following link isn't from that performance, but from the Carnegie Hall centennial in 1991.....As Ms. Horne celebrates her 74th birthday, here's "Simple Gifts":

Here's to you, Jackie.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jan. 15: Kucinich is in (for now)/ Quaids speak/ Knowing Mona Lisa

*Judge: Let Kucinich in

Yay, Judge Thompson:

And Boo, MSNBC for saying they're going forward with an appeal.

As a journalist who has worked in both television and newspapers, I know something about the selection process in both televised debates and endorsement meetings. There are criteria (usually polls) that determine who comes in and who does not. However, inviting and then disinviting a candidate is simply rude and unfair.

*Presidential chicken-and-egg

Author Robert Mann writes a good column in the Boston Globe about the current controversy involving Sens. Clinton and Obama and civil rights:

What he writes brings up a modern-day metaphor about inspirational talk: Barack Obama himself. He is inspiring - both his story and his words. And that's why he's a leading presidential contender. But to win the White House, any candidate still has to have that proven track record of accomplishment in a national-caliber public forum - whether the military (Dwight Eisenhower), state government (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan) or Congress (John F. Kennedy, 14 years in Congress before his 1960 run for the White House). That is not counting, of course, those who inherited the White House on the death of a president, like Harry Truman and LBJ. Both, incidentally, also had long-standing congressional experience.

That's why I think Obama made his run at least four years too soon. He is inspiring. Whether he can translate that inspiration into the White House this year is far more open to question. I don't think so. His political resume needs to get longer.

*Where are the girls going?

Bob Herbert has a great column in today's New York Times about yet another issue raised in the campaign:

To me, it seems like women have gone backwards in the last 30 years in terms of society's attitudes, even though there is now a female House speaker and a potential female president. There's also a much more basic issue that Herbert doesn't get into: The continued inequality in pay for male and female workers.

*Would you eat cloned food?

The Food and Drug Administration says it's safe (Mind you, this is George W. Bush's FDA...):

Some would say that various snack foods already are cloned.

*As for those ads for prescription drugs....

Reason 886 those ads should be taken off television, print and Web outlets:

I agree with presidential candidate John Edwards: Stop advertising prescription drugs. Boo to former President Bill Clinton, whose FDA greenlighted it.

*Quaids speak of hospital crisis

Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly, spoke in a Los Angeles Times interview about what their infant twins went through at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles:,1,5260656,print.story

I've had questions, given some stories in recent years (Example: Actor John Ritter's death and the question of whether his life could have been saved) about the quality of care in hospitals that are supposed to have stellar reputaions.

The Quaids also had to endure something most patients and their families don't: Paparazzi. Are the children of celebrities private figures? That's come up with all the photographer assaults on the young children of entertainment figures. The courts will eventually have to address that issue.

*Hazelwood, 20 years later

The courts will also eventually have to readdress the issue of the rights of high school journalists:

Richard Just mentions the new technologies that have expanded the landscapes for high school students - and increased their responsibilities.

*Colorado lawmaker prays and kicks photographer

That's the spirit, Rep. Bruce:

Nothing like some brutality to go with a prayer for peace.....

*Congress investigates Miguel Tejada

And deeper and deeper we get into the steroids mess, as MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and players' union head Don Fehr cower before Congress today:

*Bad ring to it?

Did Alexander Graham Bell really invent the telephone?

Whoever did, at least they weren't responsible for voice mail.

*Blue is Golden

Happy 50th birthday to the Smurfs:,1,5983601.story

They're just so darn cute.

*Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have named you....

Apparently, the true identity of the woman in Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" painting has been discovered. She really was a Lisa:

I'm just glad this doesn't mess up the classic Nat King Cole song. Speaking of which:

Today's trivia:

"Mona Lisa," (the song version) won an Academy Award for best song. Name the year and the film the song was in.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Jan. 14: The Campaign/ Salute to Explorers/ Musicians on Steroids?

*Clintons having to defend themselves on race?

This is how ridiculous presidential campaigns can get. Four years ago, war hero John Kerry had to defend his patriotism. Now, Hillary Clinton, married to the most progressive president in terms of civil rights since Lyndon Johnson, has to defend her stand on that issue.

USA Today has printed both former President and Sen. Clinton's statements:

Meanwhile, Clinton supporter Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, takes a shot at Barack Obama:

Johnson said he was referring to Obama's time as a community organizer. Yeah, sure, Bob....

One of NBC's political folks asks a very good question about this sniping:

Sen. Hiram Johnson was quoted as saying (according to “The first casualty when war comes is truth." Truth is also the first casualty of politics. Friendship is the second.

*Yes, we matter

Florida will, indeed, count for candidates in both parties:

But I still say the Democratic Party's shenanigans with the delegates are going to hurt its nominee come November.

For the Republicans, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani seems to have made South Florida, the other home of New Yorkers, his second home. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain of Arizona has seen his poll numbers climb in Florida since his win in New Hampshire. Will Giuliani be satisfied with becoming the next president of South Florida?

"The Trail" blog at the Washington Post Web site has a piece by Joel Achenbach about Giuliani's regional campaigning:

Whatever happened to trying to be president to all the people? Apparently, it went out when George W. Bush went into the White House and immediately tried to appeal to his "base." Now, even they don't like him very much.

*Separate religion from politics....

David P. Gushee writes a thought-provoking column on the too-tight connection of evangelical Christians to politics:

He's right....And his statements might be extended to people of other religions.

*But broadcast the politics

Here's a Broadcasting & Cable editorial about the coverage of the New Hampshire primary results:

I agree with the point about more news coverage. And not that "Catch a Predator" garbage. With people starting to tune in to the election, let's have more relevant coverage.

Boo, hiss, by the way, to MSNBC, which invited, then uninvited, candidate Dennis Kucinich to a Democratic debate in Las Vegas:

Ridiculous. Kucinich is a member of Congress and has a more than 30-year career in public life. What, exactly, is a "credible" candidate?

*Tributes to Sir Edmund Hillary

Maurice Isserman writes in The Christian Science Monitor of Sir Edmund Hillary, who died last week at age 88 and did much in his life beyond scaling Mount Everest:

*Hail to a new explorer

South Florida's own Barrington Irving is carrying on the thrill of exploration; he is the youngest pilot and first African-American to fly solo around the world:

Go Barrington, go.

*R.I.P. Johnny Podres

Johnny Podres, the winning pitcher in the game that gave the Brooklyn Dodgers their only World Series title, has died:

Ironic that he and Tommy Byrne, who lost that game for the Yankees, died only a few weeks apart.

*No Globes (at least the ceremony)

The entertainment world had to settle for the reading of the Golden Globe winners last night. Possibly the biggest disappointment was no red carpet walk for veteran actor Ernest Borgnine, who was nominated for a television movie this time and won a Golden Globe (and an Oscar) for his role in the 1955 film "Marty":

Now the question becomes what will happen to this year's Academy Awards, scheduled for next month.

*Step backward for IAAF

"Technical aids" for a guy who has no legs below the knee? They've got to be kidding:

Eventually, the Olympics must open their doors to athletes who overcome bigger physical handicaps.

*Musicians in steroid investigation?

I didn't know these people played baseball:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jan. 10: Predictions, Politics and Farewell Johnny Grant

*I'd like to predict one reason for the current media struggles

Why did the media blunder in New Hampshire?

And let us say, "Amen," particularly to Butch Ward's question, "Where's the journalism?"

*Kerry endorses Obama; Richardson goes bye-bye

-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the 2004 Democratic nominee for president, is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for this year's nomination:

Speaking of change, there was one in Kerry's relationship with former Sen. John Edwards, who was his running mate in 2004. That relationship got frosty after Edwards said (rightly, I think) that he would have been more aggressive in going after the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth organization that slammed Kerry during the 2004 campaign.

An Associated Press story by Glen Johnson said that Kerry also wasn't happy with Hillary Clinton criticizing him for a 2006 statement - a slip of the tongue, really, by Kerry - that people who don't go to school "get stuck in Iraq."

-Meanwhile, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson dropped out of the race. If either Clinton or Obama wins the White House, I expect to see Richardson back in a diplomatic capacity.

-Though there are delegates at stake in Florida for Republicans (They chopped half of them, but didn't do the completely dumb thing like the Democrats did and eliminate the whole ballgame.), but the Associated Press reports that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is pulling his ads here, as well as in South Carolina. He's basically conceding those two states, it appears.

And Dennis Kucinich is launching a reelection bid for Congress, bringing up one of my favorite phrases: The fat lady isn't singing yet, but she's clearing her throat.

*Fix the FEC

Great editorial in USA Today about the long-standing problems of the Federal Elections Commission and how it has affected the last two presidential elections:

How about a bipartisan, or non-partisan, committee of respected public figures to study ways to fix this?

*What will Supreme Court do?

Here's a link to a New York Times article by Linda Greenhouse about the Supreme Court hearing arguments concerning Indiana's voter identification law:

Remembering the problems the City of Miami had with voter fraud a decade ago, I can see the point of those who would support voters having as much identification as possible. But does anyone else see the contradictions of the Bush administration getting involved with this? Anyway, the Court will decide later this year.

*FBI has bad connection

This may be the ironic story of the day: The FBI wiretaps are being cut off by phone companies because the FBI hasn't paid its bills:

Obviously, they forgot to set up a wiretap for their own finance department.

*Reason for David Letterman to regrow his beard?

The Jerusalem Post reports on a new satellite network by the terrorist group Hezbollah:

Another reason for Israel to start its own satellite network. How can Israel be so good at science, technology and other good things, and be so lousy at media relations?

*Clemens case

Evidently, Congress' hearing on steroids, now postponed until Feb. 13, is becoming more and more about one man: Roger Clemens.

Here's a good Richard Hoffer piece, written before the hearing was delayed, about Clemens:

Two observations:

-Does anyone else find it strange that McNamee tells Clemens, "Tell me what to do"?

-Why would anyone need a shot of any vitamin when it can be found, in swallowed (or, in some cases, chewed) form in the local supermarket?

*Writers settling with CBS News

Well, here's some good news:

I hope the "two years" matter doesn't bode ill for resolving the conflicts between the Writers Guild and the major studios.

*Farewell, Johnny Grant

Johnny Grant, the unofficial "Mayor of Hollywood," has died at age 84. Grant promoted Hollywood through various events, most notably the dedications of stars on its Walk of Fame. In so doing, he became a star himself:

*White House blogs

The Poynter Institute Web site reports that the White House has started to blog. Here's the direct link to the blog, which has started with Press Secretary Dana Perino's notes on President Bush's Middle East trip:

As long as the subject isn't the Cuban Missile Crisis, it should go fine for her....

*I want my Retro TV

There's a network called RTN, for Retro Television Network, which runs the truly classic series of the television era:

I hope South Florida gets it.

Quote of the day:

``I'm looking forward to the game, but I'm not sure I'm looking forward to after the game.''

-Former Miami Dolphin Jim Kiick, talking to The Miami Herald about the football game planned for the Orange Bowl between former Dolphins and former University of Miami Hurricanes Jan. 26. The game will be the last football game in the OB before its demolition. Kiick played for the Dolphins during the 1970s Super Bowl years.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Jan. 9: New Hampshire 1, Media 0

Just a quick note for today of pleasure at seeing the pundits having to swallow a lot of crow at the results of yesterday's New Hampshire Democratic primary. And yes, I know I said Hillary Clinton has been struggling. But her show of humanity the last couple of days may have connected with that state's voters.

More tomorrow.....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jan. 8: Election Day in NH and Cooperstown

*Waiting for the results

Not much yet about the New Hampshire primary, except that it happened. More tomorrow.

*GOOSE! GOOSE! (But no Hawk)

Congratulations to Rich "Goose" Gossage, whose great pitching career included time for the Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres, among others. He has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, deservedly so. He'll join one of his managers, Dick Williams (1984 National League Champion Padres) at the July induction.

But Andre Dawson, the great outfielder for the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs who played his last two seasons in a Florida Marlins uniform, didn't get in this year. The sportswriters are saying he "got closer," with roughly 66 percent of the necessary 75 percent. Dawson, nicknamed "The Hawk" in his playing days, should already be there - especially when his stats and dedication are compared to the players from the Steroid Era.

Anyway, Gossage and Williams will get something lots of Hollywood stars won't: A public award at a public forum. Both men will likely write their own speeches, without having to rely on the Writers' Guild.

*.....And no Globes

The Hollywood stars will be just a little more sober this weekend....No Golden Globes because of the writers' strike:

However, lots of people will be hurt.

*Quote of the Day:

This can't be right.....

" Obama contacts Kenyan leaders about continuing violence"

Headline from

Monday, January 7, 2008

Jan. 7: Bhutto blame?/ Clinton struggles/ Hall of Fame

*Bhutto to blame?

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said in an interview with Lara Logan on CBS' "60 Minutes" that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was to blame for her own death because, essentially, she stuck her head out the window. Yes, and she was also to blame for breathing, getting dressed and brushing her teeth.

Musharraf's excuse is as ridiculous as the Pakistani government's lack of an investigation into Bhutto's assassination. The government's version and actions sounded suspiciously like some of the statements in the closing argument New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, played by Kevin Costner, gave in his closing argument during the movie "JFK." No autopsy, the evidence washed.....Maybe Oliver Stone needs to investigate this one, too.

Speaking of Bhutto, Parade Magazine ran an interview with her in the print edition, anticipating the election that has now been postponed. The print edition has no correction.

The magazine editor explains:

There is a note at the Parade Web site:

But boo to the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which did not post at least an editor's note - at least, I didn't find one yesterday. Anyone want to correct me on that?

*Bottom Line: Hill ain't Bill

The Chicago Tribune writes about former President Bill Clinton campaigning in New Hampshire:,1,1587145.story

The problem isn't that New Hampshire is changed. The problem is that the candidate running is changed. It's not Bill Clinton, and voters know that.

Hillary Clinton is intelligent, but doesn't have her husband's charisma or straightforward approach on issues of public policy. And instead of adopting the former president's "roll with the punches while counterpunching" attitude on media attacks, she got sensitive - not a good idea for someone who will consistently be attacked because of who she and her husband are. It hurt her in Iowa, and may do so again in New Hampshire.

Speaking of the Clintons, here's a Washington Post piece about Chelsea:

Part of me wants to say that if she's willing to go out and campaign, she should be willing to speak to the press. On the other hand, if she thinks she'd be burned because of the family ties, that's why she's staying silent.

Of course, I don't think her widely reported response to the 9-year-old Scholastic News reporter did her mother any favors last week.

*Not change, but unity

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida was among those gathered at a bipartisan conference in Oklahoma to tell the presidential candidates to stop their bickering. Of course, the subject of most of the glare was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who keeps saying he's not running for president, but, of course, has the perogative to change his mind.....

Graham's presence is telling....Or, not telling. Without (for now) Florida as a factor in terms of delegates for the Democratic candidates, he may have decided not to endorse anyone. He's also spoken favorably of Republican candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is a friend of his, and who worked closely with Graham in the Senate. Is Graham frustrated with the Democratic slate?

*Covering the bases

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies Web site has a great section about newspaper front pages from last week's Iowa caucuses, courtesy of the Freedom Forum's Newseum in Washington. My favorite: The New York Post. Scroll down about halfway:

Jon Friedman's Media Web column has some not-very-surprising conclusions about the television coverage of the campaigns - more focus on personalities, less on issues, too much on polls. Essentially the same problems that have been going on for decades.

My formula for election coverage is PBS and the Project Vote Smart Web site ( The latter is a non-profit and non-partisan organization that records congressional voting records and the stances of candidates for elected offices. (By the way, Project Vote Smart hasn't gotten answers from most of the leading presidential candidates, except former Sen. John Edwards, about stands on the issues. This includes McCain, one of the founding board members. Tsk, tsk.....

*Another threat to good journalism

Edward Wasserman's always-astute media column, printed Mondays in The Miami Herald, is about a threat to good Web journalism; those pesky page-view counts:

Is there any way we can get the federal government to officially declare journalism an endangered species, so we can start to build it back up to where it should be?

Speaking of which, "right-sizing" is the "insult-to-my-intelligence" term of the day, courtesy of Yakima Herald-Republic Publisher Michael Shepard:

I like Alex Dering's response at the Poynter Institute's Romenesko site:

*Strange bedfellows

You mean I actually agree with Federal Communications Commission Chair Kevin Martin about something? According to Alex Beam in today's Boston Globe, that something is paying for whatever cable channel one wants, without paying for whatever one doesn't want - what's known as "a la carte" cable television. However, I still disagree with him about lifting restrictions on media ownership. He said it wouldn't lead to media concentration; I say it's already happened, and needs to be reversed in the public interest.

*Huzzah (Sort of) for Stewart and Colbert

Well, still no writers, and still no agreement with the Writers Guild of America, but Jon Stewart will return to "The Daily Show" and Stephen Colbert to "The Colbert Report" tonight. But given the main topic - politics - who needs writers? Let's face it, the politicians' antics pretty much write themselves.

*Sports: Dawson, Gossage deserve Hall entry

Chicago Tribune writers discuss their candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame:,1,3805028,print.story

I agree wholeheartedly on Andre Dawson and Goose Gossage fully deserving entry to the Cooperstown shrine. Tim Raines dominated in stolen bases, but may not get consideration because he didn't dominate in other categories and wasn't seen as the biggest of the big-money players. His early-career addiction to cocaine may hurt him, too.

By the way, speaking of someone who may be up for consideration in a few years: Did I believe Roger Clemens, interviewed by Mike Wallace on "60 Minutes" last night, about never having used steroids or human growth hormone? About as much as I believed Pervez Musharraf blaming Benazir Bhutto for her own death.

Wallace should have asked Clemens one more question: Why come back for the last few seasons in May, instead of working through a whole spring training with a ballclub?

Incidentally, Clemens has filed a defamation suit against his former trainer, Brian McNamee. McNamee has threatened his own defamation suit against Clemens, which would be a counter-suit if it goes forward. Let's see what the courts get, not to mention Congress, if Clemens testifies next week.

The New York Times has an article by Alan Schwarz about how far athletes, including baseball players, try to go to get an edge:

Presuming that the congressional panel that will ask questions of Clemens, fellow pitcher Andy Petitte, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr reads this article, they need to ask Selig and Fehr in particular about allowing this sort of atmosphere. Remember, those two will be under oath, too.

The Palm Beach Post has an article about how various halls of fame address dark days in sports (or don't):

One item is forgotten in football: The O.J. Simpson saga. Simpson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame years before the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman. Simpson's still in the Hall, though he's a perfect candidate to be kicked out.

Quote of the day:

"But those who watched the debates saw history in the making, as it became clear, over the course of the evening, that one person, and one person only, embodies the wisdom, the judgment, the maturity and -- yes -- the simple humanity that this nation desperately needs in its next president: Charlie Gibson."

Dave Barry, in today's Miami Herald

Happy New Year and Reintroduction

Hello and Happy New Year.

My name is Sylvia Gurinsky. I'm a journalist. I'd like to reintroduce you to Sunshine Statements.

Sunshine Statements is my opinion blog on events in the news, ranging from international to things going on in South Florida. Sometimes my comments will be as short as a sentence, sometimes as long as a newspaper editorial. I promise that all will be thoroughly researched, as accurate as possible and following the standards of the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics. (Full disclosure: I'm an SPJ member.)

I encourage feedback, but comments that are offensive or factually inaccurate will be erased. So be polite.

And now...onward.