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March 23, 2005
Additional Annoyances

My thought? Any trip a politician takes that's funded by taxpayers dollars should be open to all of us.

If Bush wants to take trips where he won't let Democrats and other non-supporters attend, he can let the Republican party fund those trips.

And the anonymous source gets a little slapping around. I understand occasionally using anonymous sources, but the one quoted in this exchange is (a) pointless in its anonymity (i.e., there's nothing said that requires anonymity); and, (b) gag-inducing.

And, speaking of pointless anonymity, I found the same rant here.

I wrote in my March 18 column about a meeting of journalists at which there was a great deal of consternation expressed about "those maddening White House briefings where a senior administration official stands in front of an auditorium full of reporters, says nothing remotely controversial, and yet insists on being cloaked in anonymity."

That portion of the column is an illustration of how the USofA press continues to allow the White House to make monkeys of the media and I, myself, continue to insist that if the media in this country was honestly interested in being an independent force, they'd band together and refuse to put up with such treatment. (Of course, in my world, the press isn't quite as obsessed with sensationalism and controversy as the real media is, and is more interested in news than flashy headlines.)

And, speaking of media failings, let us consider that whole story around government agencies producing propaganda videos that are then aired as "news." ("Propaganda" may be a bit much. It's possible for such pieces to be purely informational and they have been, in the past.)

Anyhow, the point is that I do think much of the coverage of this issue is missing the point. It's not that the government, under the Bush Administration is producing propaganda and sending it out. Much as I object to having my tax dollars wasted on such junk when things that we need to do are being starved of funding, the bottom line is that they can't make the news media air the stuff without identifying it as having been funded by the government, you know.

The real problem lies there...in the news organizations that gratefully accept these freebies to fill expensive air-time and then don't tell us where they got them. It would do the government no good to make propaganda if they couldn't get it on the air, and they wouldn't do it.

So, yeah, the government is demonstrating a notable lack of ethical standards (which, under this Administration, surprises me not at all) but they have an active co-conspirator in the media.

"Intelligence" information extracted with torture isn't especially useful. Well, duh.

It's good to criticize authority. Even if you're part of the system, and especially if it's your job. Of course, sometimes there's a price to pay.

And, speaking of paying. CEO pay? Not linked to corporate profits.

And, speaking of profits. How many of us got that CAP e-mail about Democratic lawmakers voting for the "Bankruptcy bill" after profiting heavily from campaign donations from the very credit card companies that stand to profit most from the bill itself?

Looks like Podesta is in trouble over sending it out.

Nearly every lawmaker who arrived at Thursday’s meeting with Podesta, former President Clinton’s last chief of staff, voiced concern about the Sirota broadside, calling it overtly personal and unhelpful to the two organizations’ shared goal of helping the Democratic Party grow.

I'm thinking that what those lawmakers fail to understand is that we don't want to "grow" with the likes of them in our ranks. They're either liberals or they aren't...and too much of the Democratic Party falls into the "aren't" category any more.

I'm just saying. If they want to live off corporate pork, they can become Republicans.

295,000. Is that a big number or a little one?

In terms of the budget deficit, it's tiny.

As a death toll, it was astonomical. My mind boggles, not only at that, but at the global response (some of which, as we know, is only "pledged" and won't all be delivered.)

Still. As far as people reaching out to offer Tsunami relief. Looks like we done good. So far.

(For the record, and because I spend a certain amount of time dissing the USofA pharmaceutical industry, I read a report (subscription) today saying:

As of January 12, 2005, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America reported that $90 million in cash, medicine, and services had been contributed by America's pharmeceuticval companies to the global relief effort for tsunami-hit Asia and Africa.

Contributions included medicines, vaccines, bandages, baby formula, cash money, and water-purifaction packets. So, go them.

After that, we turn our attention South, to a community searching for a sustainable lifestyle that allows them, and their neighbors, to coexist in peace:

Within minutes, seawater roiled in a fury of bubbles. A gray shadow came into view, inches beneath the surface. It stretched twice as long as the boat, too close to make sense of the shape. The boatman, hand on the tiller, looked nervous. He popped the outboard into reverse and began to back away.

Whomp! The bow of the dory swung wildly. The barnacled snout of a gray whale surfaced. The whale began to turn, belly up, and slipped under the boat. The dory was filled with the sound of rubbery flesh squeaking against the fiberglass hull.

"It's Valentina," Lopez said, explaining that the whale got her nickname when she showed up last year on Valentine's Day.

One flipper, raised about 4 feet out of the water, came along one side of the boat. Another flipper came along the opposite side. Gently cradling the dory between her flippers, Valentina lifted it slightly out of the water. Passengers grabbed for the rails.

"It's a whale hug," Lopez said. "Forty tons of love."

Swimming on her back with the dory balanced on her broad chest, Valentina took passengers for a short ride. Some squealed with delight, while others sat silently in awe.

Save the Whales.

Posted by AnneZook at 06:20 PM