<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: March 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006

Create a video game that makes US look good; win $5,000

Announcing the "Reinventing Public Diplomacy Through Games" competition, sponsored by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and - surprise! - the U.S. State Department. The competition will award $5,000 to the developers of the game that best uses the concept of "public diplomacy" to boost the reputation of the United States in countries around the world.

Good luck with that one, fellas!


John Kerry's "food and comfort" list

In response to our post titled "Dick Cheney, rock star," a reader named Russell e-mailed us John Kerry's "food and comfort" list, from his 2004 campaign. Russell claims that the list was sent to him by a friend who traveled with Kerry. Russell asks, "Can you imagine what our country would be like if this guy were President?" We're not quite sure where Russell is coming from (is he pro-Bush or pro-Kerry?), but we rather enjoy imagining what this country would be like with a broccoli-lover in charge.

Here's what else is on the list:

Breakfast –
Apple juice
Low fat strawberry or raspberry yogurt
Quaker oatmeal – plain (brown sugar or maple syrup on the side)
Sliced fruit plate
Wheat toast
Wheaties, Total or Special K with 2% milk

If someone is going to pick something up and bring it to him directly (so it doesn’t get cold):
Sausage or Bacon

Lunch / Dinner
Lighter fare:
Cobb Salads – balsamic vingraette AND ranch dressing on the side
Grilled Chicken / Grilled Tuna / Grilled Shrimp Caesar salads
Vegetable Beef / Beef Barley Soup / Chicken noodle
Note: JK hates celery.

NEVER order: Tomato based products, citrus OR sandwiches.

Meatloaf with mashed potatoes
Roasted Chicken
Filet mignon – medium
Grilled tuna, halibut or chicken with a starch and vegetables (veer away from heavy sauces)
Veggie stir fry with chicken or shrimp
Chinese food: Szechwan string beens, shrimp and broccoli

Fruit (JK likes bananas, apples, oranges, grapes)
Milano cookies
Chocolate chip cookies

Hold Rooms:
Hot water
Honey and Lemon

Bottled Water – Poland Springs, no Dasani or Evian
Apple Juice – Martinelli’s or Nantucket Nectar

Down Pillows (where possible)
Newspapers: NY Times, Washington Post, Local papers (early morning)

Vitamin waters
Protein bars (Balance bars, yogurt peanut, almond brownie)
Boost (weight maintenance drinks – they look like milkshakes) – chocolate, strawberry
Whole grain bread (from bakery, organic)
Peanut Butter (Creamy, Skippy only)
Smuckers Raspberry preserves

Why the media can't report the "good things" happening in Iraq

When CNN's Howard Kurtz interviewed CBS News reporter Lara Logan, he got an earful about why we seem to be getting only bad news from reporters in Iraq.

KURTZ: But critics would say, well, no wonder people back home think things are falling apart because we get this steady drumbeat of negativity from the correspondents there.

LOGAN: Well, who says things aren't falling apart in Iraq? I mean, what you didn't see on your screens this week was all the unidentified bodies that have been turning up, all the allegations here of militias that are really controlling the security forces.

What about all the American soldiers that died this week that you didn't see on our screens? I mean, we've reported on reconstruction stories over and over again…I mean, I really resent the fact that people say that we're not reflecting the true picture here. That's totally unfair and it's really unfounded.

...Our own editors back in New York are asking us the same things. They read the same comments. You know, are there positive stories? Can't you find them? You don't think that I haven't been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let's see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can't take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they're going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.

Oh, sorry, we can't show this reconstruction project because then that's going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked. I mean, security dominates every single thing that happens in this country….So how is it that security issues should not then dominate the media coverage coming out of here?


Thursday, March 23, 2006

The bright side to xenophobic genocide

In response to Bush's endless prattling about how great things are in Iraq, or how great they're going to be, or how great they would be if the damn media would just stop reporting the facts, Will Durst compiled a list of the good things coming out of Iraq:

• Baghdad University fraternity expulsions way down.
• Six billion a month we won’t be wasting on pork barrel politics.
• Advances in battlefield medical procedures destined to benefit all of mankind.
• Due to their renewed dedication to killing each other, the Sunnis and Shiites seem much less interested in targeting Americans these days.
• VFW membership rolls are a bull market.
• Grisly footage of dead in Iraq diverting attention from that whole Jack Abramoff thing.
• Every single car bomb explosion means another opportunity for Detroit fleet sales.
• Where tomorrow’s stars of the Cadaver Dog World get first class training today.
• Senseless secular violence has obviously intensified the hold of the truce in Northern Ireland.
• There’s a Burning Man Festival every day of the week.
• When you’re thinking organ donor heaven, we’re talking Iraq.
• Hey, it could be worse. There could be leeches.
• And the final piece of good news coming out of the Iraq…spring has sprung.


Dick Cheney, rock star

When Vice President Cheney travels, he carries a document listing his "downtime requirements." That's right, just like a rock star, Cheney actually has a tour rider. Surprise...he requires TVs in his suite to be tuned to Fox News. Here's what else the rider says:

The items listed below are required [underlined] for The Vice President's Downtime Suite. Please contact the Advance Office, 202-456-9006, with any questions.

Queen or king-size bed, in a connecting room to the parlor [not IN the parlor, mind you, and not in a disconnecting room to the parlor]
Desk with chair [a place to sign all his Halliburton kickback checks]
Private bathroom [with good locks on the door]
All lights turned on [afraid of the dark, Dick?]
Temperature set to 68 degrees [the temperature of Cheney's blood]
All televisions tuned to Fox News (please let the Advance Office know if it is satellite or cable television) [satellite interferes with his implant]
Microwave [so Cheney can make popcorn to eat while watching gay porn videos]
Coffee pot in the suite (BREW DECAF PRIOR TO ARRIVAL) [decaf helps him shoot straighter]
Container for ice, and the location of where ice maker is located [hopefully it isn't located in an undisclosed location]
Bottled water, 4-6 bottles [to wash down the Coors]
Diet Caffeine Free Sprite [to wash down the water]
Hotel restaurant menu (please also fax a copy to the Advance Office, 202-456-7607) [and have everything on the menu tested for anthrax]
Newspapers - New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, local paper, Washington Post [he really only reads the WSJ; the rest are just for show]
If the hotel would like to put a gift [preferably one that isn't ticking] in the Suite please let the Advance Office know ASAP. Please also make sure someone from the team or a Super Volunteer (on radio) is there to receive the Motorcade on Arrival. [And Make Sure Words That Don't Need To Be Capitalized Are Capitalized]
Extra lamps [to help compensate for his abysmal darkness]


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sign on last night's American Idol showed the wrong "Pickler"

Viewers of last night's American Idol saw a sign in the audience with this picture on it. Most everyone assumed the face in the picture was contestant Kellie Pickler's, but it wasn't. It was newswriter Nedra Pickler, who gained notoriety for bashing John Kerry during his presidential campaign.

Blogger Greg Saunders says that the original pickle sign was a humorous way to protest the media’s continual double standard toward liberals. As he points out, "It would be nice for this to be used to shine a light on the talking points - recycling [Nedra] Pickler and her Republican-boosting colleagues. But since Idol is on Fox, don't hold your breath waiting for Ryan Seacrest to point out the mix-up."


Reasons to sign the "Fair Elections" petition

If you live in Oregon, you may have been asked to sign a petition for the "Fair Elections" initiative. The initiative would set limits on campaign contributions so that neither corporations nor individuals could, in effect, buy a state election. This measure would enable Oregon to join 45 other states that already place limits on campaign contributions. In addition, Oregon would join the ranks of states such as Colorado and Montana in enacting effective and comprehensive campaign finance reform.

Obviously, we all need to support this initiative - whether you're a Republican, Democrat, or independent. If you need further convincing, read the following excerpt from a speech delivered recently by Bill Moyers:

"For a quarter of a century now a ferocious campaign has been conducted to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual, cultural, and religious frameworks that sustained America’s social contract. The corporate, political, and religious right converged in a movement that for a long time only they understood because they are its advocates, its architects, and its beneficiaries.

"Their economic strategy was to cut workforces and wages, scour the globe for even cheaper labor, and relieve investors of any responsibility for the cost of society.

"Their political strategy was to neutralize the independent media, create their own propaganda machine with a partisan press, and flood their coffers with rivers of money from those who stand to benefit from the transfer of public resources to elite control. Along the way they would burden the nation with structural deficits that will last until our children’s children are ready to retire, systematically stripping government of its capacity, over time, to do little more than wage war and reward privilege.

"Their religious strategy was to fuse ideology and theology into a worldview freed of the impurities of compromise, claim for America the status of God’s favored among nations (and therefore beyond political critique or challenge), and demonize their opponents as ungodly and immoral.

"At the intersection of these three strategies was money: Big Money.

"They found a deep flaw in our political system and zeroed in on it.

"Our elected officials need huge sums of money to finance their campaigns, especially to buy television. The average cost of running and winning a seat in the House of Representatives – the so-called “People’s House” – now tops one million dollars. The chairman of the Federal Election Commission said just this weekend that anyone who expects to run for the nomination for president – the nomination – in 2008 will need to have raised one hundred million dollars by the end of 2007. That money isn’t going to come from regular folks – less than one half of one percent of all Americans made a contribution of $200 or more to a federal candidate in 2004. No, the men and women who have mastered the money game have taken advantage of this fundamental weakness in our system – the high cost of campaigns – to sell democracy to the highest bidder.

"Some simple facts:

"The number of lobbyists registered to do business in Washington has more than doubled in the last five years. That’s 16,342 lobbyists in 2000 to 34,785 last year. Sixty-five lobbyists for every member of Congress.

"The total spent per month by special interests wining, dining, and seducing federal officials is now nearly $200 million. Per month.

"But it’s a small investment on the return. Just look at the most important legislation passed by Congress in the last decade.

"There was the energy bill that gave oil companies huge tax breaks at the same time that Exxon Mobil just posted $36 billion in profits in 2005, while our gasoline and home heating bills are at an all-time high.

"There was the bankruptcy “reform” bill written by credit card companies to make it harder for poor debtors to escape the burdens of divorce or medical catastrophe.

"There was the deregulation of the banking, securities, and insurance sectors, which led to rampant corporate malfeasance and greed and the destruction of the retirement plans of millions of small investors.

"There was the deregulation of the telecommunications sector which led to cable industry price-gouging and the abandonment of news coverage by the big media companies.

"There was the blocking of even the mildest attempt to prevent American corporations from dodging an estimated $50 billion in annual taxes by opening a P.O. box in an off-shore tax haven like Bermuda or the Cayman Islands.

"In every case these results were driven by the demands of Big Money in the form of campaign contributions and the cost of lobbying."

Sign the petition!


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bush: Let someone else clean up my mess

At a press conference this morning, a reporter asked Bush, "Will there come a day...when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?"

Bush's reply: "That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."


Monday, March 20, 2006

Study says whiny, insecure kids grow up to be conservatives

Whiny, insecure kids tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Confident, resilient, self-reliant kids typically become bright, non-conforming adults. So concludes a study published in the Journal of Research Into Personality.

The author of the study, UC-Berkeley professor Jack Block, tracked 95 kids from nursery school through adulthood. The nursery-school kids' personalities were rated by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. Political bias couldn't have skewed the ratings, because the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it's unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had any idea about their political leanings.

A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking not only at personality but at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, turning into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity. The confident kids turned out liberal and turned into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests.

This appears to contradict the American stereotype of wimpy liberals and strong conservatives, doesn't it?

Of course, conservatives will say that the study was biased, since its author was a Berkeley professor and all. Besides, maybe when they were kids they whined and were insecure because the world is a scary, unfair place, and their "rigidity" is really just moral certainty.

However, as science writer Kurt Kleiner says, "All of us, liberal or conservative, feel as though we've reached our political opinions by carefully weighing the evidence and exercising our best judgment. But it could be that all of that careful reasoning is just after-the-fact self-justification. What if personality forms our political outlook, with reason coming along behind, rationalizing after the fact?"


Strolling for peace in Corvallis

It wasn't exactly a march; it was more of a stroll. But then, this is Corvallis, Oregon, where so little happens that on Saturday the local paper had nothing better to do than shoot our picture and put us on the front page of the Sunday edition. Yes, we're in this photo, along with about 500 other peace-loving, Bush-hating, tree-hugging liberals. We're not telling which of these peace strollers we are, but we're there. Where were you?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Poll: Bush "out of touch," "incompetent," "idiot," "liar"

A new, independent poll by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, believe Bush is "out of touch." When asked for a one-word description of Bush, the most frequent response was "incompetent," followed by "good," "idiot" and "liar." In February 2005, the most frequent reply was "honest."

Amazing, isn't it, that some people still think Bush is "good," and that just a year ago, the most frequent one-word description was "honest"?


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Chilling statistics about global warming

Rank of 2005 as hottest year on record (tied with 1998), according to NASA: 1.

Increase in intensity and duration of hurricanes and tropical storms since the 1970s, according to a 2005 MIT study: 100%.

Estimate of damage caused by hurricanes hitting the U.S. coast in 2005 alone, according to the National Climatic Data Center: $100 billion.

Year by which Glacier National Park will have no glaciers left, according to the U.S. Geological Survey predictions: 2030.

Square miles of Arctic sea ice that have melted in the last 30 years, threatening polar bear habitats and further accelerating global warming worldwide, according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment: 400,000 (roughly the size of Texas).

Amount of plant and animal species that global warming could wipe out by 2050: 15 to 37%.

Rank of the United States as a global warming polluter compared to other large nations: 1.

Number of former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency leaders who say the U.S. is not doing enough to fight global warming: 6.

Number of bills passed by Congress to cut global warming pollution: 0.

Sources: NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2005 Study, Nature Magazine January 2004, National Climatic Data Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Anti-gay groups boycotting Ford for supporting gay rights

The American Family Association and 18 other conservative groups are boycotting Ford Motor for placing car ads in gay publications. The AFA released a statement saying, "Ford has the right to financially support homosexual groups promoting homosexual marriage, but at the same time consumers have a right not to purchase automobiles made by Ford."

Huh? Because Ford places ads in gay publications, they are financially supporting homosexual groups promoting homosexual marriage? That's like saying because the AFA buys Web space that solicits donations from anyone, including ignorant assholes, they support ignorant assholes. Well, okay, the argument could use a little refining, but you get the idea.

And since when has Ford ever forced anyone to buy their cars? Is the AFA worried that some of its members might see the Ford ads in those gay publications, have an uncontrollable urge to go out and buy a Ford, and then have gay sex in it?


Iraq had WMDs; Iran has I.E.D.'s

Of course, everyone knows now that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, but that didn't keep Bush from declaring war on Saddam. Now Bush wants us to believe that Iran has I.E.D.'s - improvised explosive devices - and that they are providing them to insurgents in Iraq, who are undermining Bush's efforts to bolster his approval ratings.

So I.E.D.'s will become part of Bush's justification for declaring war on Iran.

While he's at it, Bush should also declare war on half the 12-year-old boys in the U.S., because they create all kinds of I.E.D.'s to help them celebrate Independence Day.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Military wives are worn out

An editorial in today's NY Times says that wives of soldiers serving in Iraq are exhausted - not only from running households, caring for children, and holding down jobs, but from serving as volunteers assisting other soldiers' families.

Why do they serve as volunteers, if they're already overburdened with their own responsibilities? Because it's expected - by the Department of Defense.

The DoD knows that military recruitment and retention levels are directly linked to spouses, who are often the deciding factor in whether a soldier re-enlists. If families are cared for and content, soldiers are more likely to focus on their mission and to continue serving.

Also, these women's volunteer work saves the Army alone an estimated $11 million a year.

So these women not only have to endure the loss of their husbands' company for months or years at a time (or sometimes forever), they're also expected to serve as consultants, accountants, social workers, publicists, counselors, fundraisers, program managers, administrative assistants, advisers, class instructors, and event coordinators - for free.

Tanya Biank, author of "Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives," says that the needs of military families change with each new deployment because each assignment is different, and families may not have enough time to recover from one deployment to the next. "It's not just soldiers who are worn down by repeated deployments," she says. "Spouses and children are affected too. If we are committed to our troops, then we need to make more of a commitment to their families."

The operative word here is "if." Are we committed to the troops and their families? Or do we just think we're committed to them because we have yellow ribbons on our SUVs and pickups?


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Can you see Jesus and Mary on this piece of sheet metal?

As usual, the alleged image is vague at best, and no one really knows what Jesus or Mary actually looked like anyway, so why do people buy this crap? And we mean that literally in this case, because some idiot paid $1,575 on eBay for this $5 piece of metal.

Check out the breathless prose accompanying the photo on eBay (we especially like the apparently random Words In Initial Caps, the spelling of "closley," and the anonymous "people" who "verified" the authenticity of the image):

"Image Of Jesus on Sheet Metal, unpacked right from the crate. Had to do a double take! Totally amazed several people. You can actually see an image of him with arms in the air or a frontal and a side image of him. Felt Chills When I Held It!!!!

"This Piece has been seen on TV, Newspapers, Internet and Radio. This is no hoax, to see it is to believe it!

"This item IS the One and Only Original Piece."

[info added on March 5]: "We have just noticed that in the picture to the left of Jesus, there is an image of The Virgin Mary with her shroud on. Kneeling beside him. She is upside down in this picture. The nativity scene can be seen when the piece is upside down or looking closley at the picture. This has been verified by several people."

We think another "double take" might be in order...


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Headline of the day

From today's "The Daily Barometer" (Oregon State University's student newspaper):

"Baseball crashes Pilots upset hops"

Interpret it as you will.


Quote of the day

From today's Borowitz Report:

"Elsewhere, President Bush acknowledged today that the U.S. had not yet found Osama bin Laden, but added, 'On the positive side, we continue to arrest Cindy Sheehan.'"