Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Freedoms Can Go Wrong

Thousands of US diplomatic cables were leaked, and now relations with other countries that have taken years to grow and maintain are at risk. And that is just the lesser of the possible negative effects of the leaks

Although I am a firm believer in the First Amendment rights of everyone, I do believe that the safety and well-being of Americans is more important. The leak of these classified documents to the entire world is a show of weakness to the everyone around us.

I believe that Putin's criticism of America after one document from American defense secretary Robert Gates icily described Russia's current government was every bit justified. Although Secretary Gates' opinion is important and most likely true, it is not something that Russia, or for that matter, even Americans needed to know about.

The actions of this person who is supposed to not only an American soldier, but American soldier, are not excusable. He has undermined US-international relations that are going to be extremely hard to mend.

So I believe that Putin had every right to discuss his issues with the US on "Larry King Live". Those are things that he should have never heard through a leak on the internet. His country did not deserve to be publicly humiliated, no matter if it is true or not, in the way that it was.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Clean Jim Morrison?

Florida Governor Charlie Crist is trying to give something to The Doors frontman Jim Morrison that he rarely experienced in is life as a rockstar-- a clean slate.

Crist has made a public statement of his intention to "submit Morrison’s name to a state clemency board next month."

He is trying to clear Morrison's name for the infamous incident in 1969 when Morrison allegedly exposed himself to a concert crowd in Miami during a particularly "raucus" performance. He was issued five one felony and misdemeanor charges. Morrison "was fined $500 and sentenced to six months in jail but never served the time; he was appealing the conviction when he died in Paris in 1971 at 27. "

The New York Times offers great insight into what the governor intends to do, how the people who worked with the case when it initially happened are reacting to the news and what the DA's office plans to do with if the clemency board looks into the matter.

While Crist, an Independent and former Republican, explained that he wants to clear Morrison's record because he feels "that maybe an injustice has been done here."

"Claude R. Kirk Jr., who was Florida’s governor from 1967 to 1971, seemed annoyed to be asked about the Morrison case by telephone this week. "

He felt that the right that had been done when the case came before the state and Morrison was found guilty. He also had quite an opinion of Morrison's manner of death.

"Morrison died in the condition he elected to die," Kirk said.

The district attorney of Miami-Dade County, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, said that if the case were brought to her office, she would not "waste [her] lawyers’ time in an effort to fight an attempted pardon."


Many Doors fans are elated at the news of a possible new record for Morrison. Many people are not so happy to see it happen, posthumously or not. However, in a society where an heiress can cry her way out of a drug sentence, an actor can murder his wife and get away with it, and large businesses can take millions of dollars from investors and tax payers alike and not face any liability, I personally see no reason to not give Morrison a pardon. After all, there was actually no tangible evidence in his case, and he did not get his fair appeal that was rightfully his.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gross Journalism

We are in an era of talking heads. A time when we let far right or far left wing nuts spoon feed us our news, based on our political preference. It is sickening, really. But the least you can do, when you are CLEARLY not a news network, but a thorn in the side of real news journalism, is admit what you truly are.

The New York Times reported that Keith Olbermann would be allowed to return to work. His show "Countdown" is described in the Times as being a "megaphone for Democrats and the most popular program on MSNBC."

What was Olbermann suspended for, you ask? Giving money to three Democratic candidates. Although donating money to candidates is not against MSNBC's policy, potential gifters must first clear it with the network, which Olbermann did not do.

Now, I do not think that it was bad that he have the money to the candidates. I think that he was appropriately punished. I think that he did not deserve to lose his job. My problem lies with another MSNBC network "news" host.

Rachel Maddow had the audacity to say because Olbermann was punished, it "confirmed that that Fox News was a 'political operation' while MSNBC was a 'news operation'." In my humble opinion, Maddow is off her rocker.

Fox News markets itself as being "fair and balanced", even though they are clearly supporters of the Republican/Conservative cause. By my standards, it is not a legitimate way to get 'fair and balanced' news. However, neither is MSNBC. The fact that Maddow felt the need to make a distinction makes no sense to me. Just because the network does not use its name as a fundraising tool does not mean that it is not tainted. The bias-fuled, one sided news that you see on MSNBC is not too different than what is on Fox... it just has a better presentation.

...And that's how I feel about that. It's just gross journalism, plain and simple. Entertainment.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Bears? Really?

So the story that I'm blogging about this week is an old one... but that is what makes it so great. The Bears game facing the Longhorns was discussed in a section of the New York Times weekly collegiate football picks, where the Times unanimously supported Texas for the win against Baylor.

The author flat out said that "A loss to the Bears, no matter how talented they are, would be a low point for Texas under Mack Brown."

Well, looks like ole Mack has hit rock bottom. Almost a week after the Bears took the win from the Horns, making them 7-2 this season, the team is ranked 22nd in the nation.

Although I am generally not a competitive person, the outright dismissal of Baylor football was a bit hard to deal with, and I cannot deny the joy that swelled when we finally won the game. Perhaps this win will convince other doubters that the Bears are hungry for wins and a real force to be reckoned with.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Stoners' Memoir

Michiko Kakutani penned a lovely, in-depth description of Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards' memoir, "Life". The article, located here, gives a detailed look into the once troubled rock-star's past, and offers readers explanations for many choices and accounts of the consequences of those choices.

As a Rolling Stones fan, I am very excited about this book. I believe that Richards is at the perfect age and point in his life to write such a book. It is important for there to be an accurate account of the life of clean and sober, influential rock musician. The rehabilitated Keith Richards is able to describe things that he has lived through that could possibly make an impression on younger musicians.

I think that the book will be a fun, insightful read, and I look forward to reading it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Republican Donors Invitation in the NYT...Good or Bad?

The New York Times published an article today about an extremely exclusive meeting of the Republican donors' minds. The article was accompanied by an excerpt of a copy of a letter sent to possible donors, inviting them to this meeting to be held in at a resort in Ranchos Mirage, California. The invitation is from one of the two brother/billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries, a company that has long supported libertarian ideas.

I am afraid that my emotions about this topic are very mixed.

My first question is about the Times printing the letter, that includes the place, date and time of the meeting. Is it ethical for it to be printed, assuming that the letter was not directed towards the press and is presumed to be a secret? Perhaps there is someone who does not want the some of the wealthiest men in America supporting causes that they do not believe in, and that person wants to do harm to these men. Or is it the right of the people to know who is controlling the strings of government?

My next issue is the idea that a few wealthy members of society decide how to govern a nation. Does that make sense? Now, be sure that I am not saying these are not good, respectable people. But who is to say that they are not looking out for their own bottom line, instead of the good of the nation? I believe that the presence of knowledge, wisdom and good will, not money, should determine who makes decisions. But am I wrong? Should those who have been fortunate to have fortunes have such a large say in the government? I do not want to come across as wanting to limit free speech and the right to support the beliefs you choose, but why is there so much secrecy? Would it not be for the good of the people to have transparency?

What do you think about it all? You can read the article here and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Miners' Mindset

An article in the New York times described how the Secrecy Pact is Eroding.

When the 33 Chilean miners were rescued, the collective sigh of relief from everyone keeping up with them could almost be felt anywhere. The men, who had survived being over 2,000 feet underground, had made a pact of secrecy during the 69 days that they were trapped in the mine. They were going tell the story together, and they were going to share the money from it.

However, when they made it up to the surface, it seemed that the pact was not as tight as it was supposed to be. As news outlets from around the world began offering the miners, who are poor for the most part, good compensation for their stories it became too hard to refuse for some. Some of the men have already given interviews, while others are set to give them later on.

I believe that it is very noble for the miners, who depended on each other for over two months, to try to share their profits. However, I also believe that it is going to be extremely hard from here on out to accomplish that in anyway. Even with their book, some miners will contribute more than others, and will want to be compensated for that.

It means a lot that they have not yet given any real detail as to what went on in the collapsed mine, even though they have given several interviews separately. I just find it hard to believe that they will be able to keep it up, at the rate that they are being offered large sums of many from many news outlets.

One thing is certain, though. The miners have made it through an amazing ordeal, and after this initial storm of media coverage, should be able to live well in the long run. I pray that they can continue being on friendly terms, and that their are no disputes, for their sakes.