The Democratic party leadership’s persistent and bizarre campaign of self-condemnation and Republican bootlicking is one of those things that, on its face, makes very little logical sense. It makes cultural sense; we have come to expect that the cultural figures we call the Democrats will respond to electoral failure first by sniveling and finger-pointing, and then by puffing up their chests and telling their dates they know how to handle themselves in a bar fight. From the Republicans we expect just the opposite; beaten at the polls, they immediately start cozying up to snake-handlers and gun freaks and denouncing school lunches as socialism.
When the Radio-Television News Directors Association gave its First Amendment Leadership Award to Liberty Corporation president Jim Keelor earlier this month, he told attendees at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, “It’s somewhat ironic that about the time I found out about this award, I was in the process of making a decision which ignored the First Amendment.” That decision: He ordered several ABC stations not to air Saving Private Ryan, which raised indecency concerns because it features gory violence and soldiers cursing.
There is one bit of context, however, that seems particularly salient, and it involves a six-month old boy named Sun Hudson. On Thursday, Hudson died after a Texas hospital removed his feeding tube, despite his mother’s pleas. He had a fatal congenital disease, but would have been kept alive had his mother been able to pay for his medical costs, or had she found another institution willing to take him. In a related Texas case, Spiro Nikolouzos, who is unable to speak and must be fed through a tube because of a shunt in his brain — but who his wife says can recognize family members and show emotion — may soon be removed from life support because health care providers believe his case is futile.
The Hudson and Nikolous cases fall under the Texas Futile Care Law, which was signed into law by then-governor George W. Bush.
Thank God George W. Bush isn’t a hypocrite…
An idea kicking around the FEC a few years ago would require government to calculate the percentage of individuals’ electricity bills that went toward political advocacy (we aren’t joking). Another alternative would be to classify all bloggers as journalists, seeing as how the press is about the only entity exempt from McCain-Feingold. As much we enjoy our profession, we think a nation of journalists is overkill.
Why not? We’re already a nation of lawyers, why not a nation of journalists too? We can’t do any worse than the professional journalists have been doing lately…
“I’m not sure it’s commonly understood to what lengths this administration is willing to go to bypass the ‘filter,’ as Bush calls the media,” the cartoonist replied in an e-mail interview. “The president made it official Wednesday — his Justice Department, fresh from signing off on torture, apparently thinks propaganda’s OK too.”
When asked if he thought the press has underreported the Gannon episode, pundit payola, and other examples of media manipulation, Trudeau said: “It’s not that it’s been underreported so far. It’s just that the media, in both its own and the public’s interest, ought to stay with this story. If Bush is prepared to defend fake news, then the media should be equally prepared to say why it’s anti-democratic and an abuse of power.”
The Web site of radio station KCJK-FM, known as 105.1 Jack FM, features a picture of an iPod and the taunt: “Guess you won’t be needing this thing anymore, huh?”
After years of tight playlists and narrow music formats, KCJK in Kansas City, Mo., is trying to prove that it can give listeners the same thing an iPod does: an eclectic selection of music.
Previously, like most stations, 105.1 let computer scheduling programs pick the songs from a library of 300-400 titles, with the same 30-40 songs playing most of the time. Now the station is going against the grain of the past two decades in radio, more than tripling the number of song titles played on any given day. With more than 1,200 songs on the playlist, most songs get played only once every few days, rather than several times a day. Program director Mike O’Reilly and his assistants handpick the music and the order in which they are played.
But if baseball players are cheating, is everyone else, too?
After all, Americans are relying more and more on a growing array of performance enhancing drugs. Lawyers take the anti-sleep drug Provigil to finish that all-night brief, in hopes of concentrating better. Classical musicians take beta blockers, which banish jitters, before a big recital.Is the student who swallows a Ritalin before taking the SAT unethical if the pill gives her an unfair advantage over other students? If a golfer pops a beta blocker before a tournament, is he eliminating a crucial part of competition – battling nerves and a chance of choking?