Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Haggling Over the Price

First I must make amends. I said earlier that I had not seen anything in Poynter Online (I think I referred to it as Romenesko.) about unnamed sources. A simple search proved me wrong. It would seem the Poynter folks are as upset with unnamed sources as I am. This site has links to other site on the same subject.

Tried publishing this blog with the sites embedded in the graf above and hypertexed but it didn't work. So, here is my site were I miswrote:


And here is the site on Poynters where there is much ado about blind references:


A man walks up to a woman in a bar and asked her if she will have sex with him in his room for a million dollars. She says of course. He then asked her for quicky in a dark corner of the bar for fifty dollars. She replies indignantly, “What do you think I am?”
He replies, “We’ve already determined what you are, we’re just haggling over price.”

While not trying to besmirch the oldest of free enterprises, much the same conclusion can be said for front-page news stories that use unnamed sources. I know that what they teach in journalism schools may not be the real world of hard new in what is now bloggingly referred to as “Mainstream Media,” but neither is Sunday school the real world – but it is a goal for which to strive.

I am aware that unnamed sources do serve the nation’s interest. While Deepthroat is a good example of why reporters must use unnamed sources because Watergate and Nixon’s resignation may never have happen while the dirty tricks and use of IRS records would have continued or even gotten worse, a better example is closer at hand. Judith Millers of The New York Times used unnamed sources (probably sanctioned by the administration) to contribute to the run up to war in Iraq. At the same time, Knight Ridder was using unnamed sources to disclaim and discount the reports of WMD in Iraq.

Here in one news cycle we have an argument for unnamed sources and an example of how it can be abused and a tool for hidden agendas. So where do we go from here?

Friday, November 26, 2004

Faith-Base Government – Oxymoron

God doesn’t care what type of government rules. God works through the individual, not the collective, associational, communal, or societal organization whether public or private. Jesus teaches that an oppressed individual may know God better and have a greater contentment than his persecutors.

No, faith-based government scares me. Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. I would think government would certainly be within Caesar’s domain. And if they are not representing God, what are they representing? That's what scares me. The best example of a major mistake by a faith-based governmental decision was the votes that lead to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The faithful lead by their religious leaders chose a common criminal over the Son of God. It was not those of the low culture, but the upright and faithful doing as their religious leaders insturcted. Voting as they were told.

What goes around comes around. God protect us from the righteous crowd. Yea verily I say unto thee, go forth and do likewise.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Democrats: Mission Accomplished, You Lose

The Democratic Party has been the home of the disenfranchised for over 100 years. People coming to this country have found a political home in the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party fought for the rights of minorities to have equal opportunity and access. The wave of Irish and Italian immigration that came to the U.S. in the 1800’s, forced to work in menial dead-end jobs, found a political voice in local government through the Democratic Party.

As the industrial revolution created slave like jobs for subsistence pay, this is the party that fought for the rights of the labor force to organize into unions to represent their interest with management and for workers to have a decent wage and working conditions. The sons and daughters of these immigrants and the unions they belong to became a major component of the Democratic Party.

But with equal access and opportunity and with all those things decent wages could buy, the grandchildren of these immigrants could rise to levels of importance, could realize the American dream of ownership and prosperity. They could accumulate wealth. They could become professionals such as doctors and lawyers. They could become Republicans.

The Democratic Party still stands for the disenfranchised and minority rights: Women’s inalienable rights to her body, nontraditional lifestyles, and environmental responsibility. But, the old base of industrial workers, union members, and farmers with smallholdings, have sided with the Republicans because they feel they have something to lose.

And, they have something to lose because the Democratic Party represented their interest when it was considered just a liberal idea. In the recent election, the Democrats showed how well they have done by losing. Maybe one day when women are in control of their personal domain and a gay union is considered equal to that of a man and woman, Democrats will lose again.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Democrats: Go for the Gov

The Democrats should select a governor for their candidate in 2008. When looking at the position the candidate held prior to running for office, governors have the 2nd highest success rate. Running from the position of President is the best. Here is a break down the positions candidates held before running for office since 1948 and how they fared:

.............................No. of........................Avg No.
Prior Position ........Times Wins Rep Dem Electors
President ................10......7......4......3.......341
Governor ..................8......4......2......2.......236
Vice-President ..........6......2......2......0.......236
Senator ....................5......1......0......1.......155
Commanding General 1......1......1......0.......442

While it’s true Eisenhower had retired from the army and Nixon’s second attempt was that of a private citizen, their previous public positions were what voters remembered. Running from the position of President has a 70 percent chance of winning, while running from the position of Senator has only a 20 percent chance of winning. It would seem the nations just doesn’t care for Senators. Maybe it’s too much exposure, and their record in the Senate works against them, I’ll leave that up to the pundits.

Before John Kennedy was elected President, the last senator to win was Warren G. Hardy in 1920. While Kerry got a respectable showing of 252 electors, generally senators don’t do well as is shown by their average number of electors.

One would think that the political atmosphere during the run up to the election would affect the outcome, and that is probably the most important factor in determining which candidate would win. But if political position dominated the election, the table above would show more random statistics. Running from the position of President or governor benefits both Democrats and Republicans. Running from the position of Vice-President has only benefited Republicans, and one of those successes, the election of Nixon over Humphrey in 1968, pitted two Vice-Presidents against each other.

Certainly, third party candidates can affect the out come. With our winner take all electors in most states, third party candidates only need pull a small percentage of votes in close state elections to make a difference in who is the eventual winner. President Bush, the senior one, may have beaten Clinton had it not been for Perot and Vice-President Gore certainly would have won if Nader had not been a candidate. Had that occurred, the winning statistic for the position of President would be even stronger, and that of Vice-President would have improved, both at the cost to the position of governor. However, that still would not have had any effect on the dismal showing of senators.

So, Democrats start looking at you governors for a candidate in 2008. It would boost you chances for President if he (or she) ran from the position of governor. Remember, W can’t run next year, so that takes care of the problem of running against a president. And, even if Cheney retires and lets the Republicans put their hopeful in his place, governors can hold their own against VP’s . So, go for the gov.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Curse on the Second Term

Can W beat the curse on the second term? Where will the gate fall? Since Nixon had Watergate, it seems second terms have a curse. Reagan had Iran-Contra and Clinton had Lewinsky (yea, I wrote it that way). While Iran-Contra is now pretty much forgotten, it did put a stain on Reagan’s second term.

One point that may have made the Iran-Contra scandal less than that for Nixon and Clinton may be what happed after news of the specific incident began to break. The actual scandal for both Watergate and Lewinskygate was the cover-up. Although there were some shredding documents in Iran-Contra, it was the lie and then the lie about the lie that led to bigger scandals for both Nixon and Clinton – scandals so big that impeachment and resignation were the result. This is not a curse to taken lightly.

With its tight security and paranoia about the press, the Bush administration does appear disposed to try and cover up any mistakes to a point further than prudence would say you should. A ripe situation is in place for a scandal to occur. Two possible contenders are waiting in the wings. The Valerie Plame affair: Who leaked her name to Karl Rove? And, the more controversial one: Was Ahmed Chalabi a spy for Iran, and who in the Bush administration was sharing information with him?

A Chalabigate would be bad for W and the neocons. Neocons are currently running foreign policy and are more responsible than any other group for our war in Iraq. Chalabi and the Iraqi International Congress (INC) is another major group responsible for our invasion of Iraq. It is Chalabi and INC who are responsible for those really good stories in The New York Times about WMD from scientist recently escaped from Saddam’s Iraq – too bad none of it was true. Chalabi promised the neocons that the U.S. would be welcomed as liberators when we marched into Iraq. If this blows in W second terms, it could be a really juicy one.

The clock is ticking; the scandal is waiting for the other shoe to drop; the metaphors are mixing. W got the mandate he wanted but maybe he got something else he didn’t anticipate – the curse on the second term.

Friday, November 12, 2004

As Free as it Gets

I just zapped this off to The New York Times. (I have goal of trying to get a letter published.)

Although against the invasion of Iraq, and although as bad as it is right now, and with a pessimistic outlook for the future, I know that currently the Iraqis are as free as they ever were or will be. No country in the Middle East is as free as is Iraq right now...as long as the Americans are there. Unlike previous Crusaders, these Americans bring the hope of democracy and freedom.

Whatever are individual American's or corporate America's hidden agenda for Iraq, the free markets that the Americans bring will provide the highest benefit for the most people. The end of the Cold War was proof that free markets perform better than planned economies. However, I believe Iraqis will eventually loose that freedom after the Americans are gone. The South Vietnamese know what I'm saying -- as if they get to read The New York Times.

In fact with the provisional government's declaration of some sort of "marshal law", the greatest freedom may have already passed. The future is one of either a strong man using the army and police that the Americans are creating to setup a hard-fisted rule (somewhat like Saddam's regime), or the rule of the mullahs like in Iran, and of course there is the possible civil war breaking Iraq into two or three separate entities. Whatever W and his necons advisors running foreign policy has gotten us into, this period for the Iraqis or any of the other Arabic nations will be the freest as any will gets for a long, long time.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Long Journey Through a Cold, Dark Night

I thought about titling this "It Takes a Depression" -- but I thought better of it. I was thinking maybe it has to get really bad before it gets better...before people realize were their true home is.

Marshall seems to be winning and looking for something to grab at, and others are trying to explain what happened. Having grown up in the South, I have lived with what those who backed Kerry (or the anti-Bush vote) call the power of the moral vote. This talk of faith-based government and the election on moral issues, I have heard it all before. I called them fundamentalist back then. There really are some down here who believe that Jesus spoke English and every word of the Bible is absolute. However, they seemed to have multiplied. The long dark night that prevails in the South, now it would seem, covers the nation.

has written about the problems of Democrats is that they are too elitist and environmentally extreme. While I agree with the tree-hugging part, I take exception to the elitist remark. The point of his column was that of the poor man voting for the rich man's agenda. We Democrats have lost our rank and file. Remember the founding fathers were elitist to a man -- so we are in good company.

The masses who voted W back into office don't realize the Democratic Party is their real home. The Democratic Party had a strong based in the disenfranchised immigrants who came here during the two previous centuries. Their children voted as they did. But now there children's children have come to have something, to have position, and forget the old ways. It has all passed. Their children look around and vote their belief -- which they think is W. Hey! I smell thesis.

And don't forget about the old Dixiecrats faction of the Democratic Party that moved over to the Republican Party. That old group was big here in the South. I say good riddance to them...they were giving us a bad name. They left a bad smell in the party. And on that note Mr. Kristol, let's not forget that most Blacks vote Democratic. Hey! That makes us cool.

While the white masses may vote for W, they want to listen to Black music, talk the talk, walk the walk, but they don't want to vote the vote. Here we are, Democrats, elitist, and cool. I can live with that. We got the music, the soul, the better idea. They are so 20th century.

I only wonder how bad it will have to get before they see we were right all along. They are no different than those old communist in Russia who can't recognize that what they knew has changed. I would feel sorry for them if they where not running my country. So it goes.