Friday, October 13, 2006


Yesterday's Grapevine in the Daily Crime... Some bonehead calls up to complain about an editorial that he thought was biased against the governor. Yup.
Did I miss a memo that went out to the rest of the world, or does this guy just not understand the concept of the op/ed pages? ... Okay, on the outside chance that I'm still right, I'll impart a little understanding.
Dear Dimbulb;
Thank you for your concerns regarding the editorial in question.
As you may know, the newspaper industry many years ago bowed to the the public's demand for journalistic standards that are free of values and opinions. This change came about partially as recognition on the part of the industry to clean its own house, and partially in response to pressure from politicians who were finding it increasingly difficult to be elected while being called names in the press. Please understand that our ending that policy didn't mean that politicians and society-at-large were suddenly cleaner, only that we stopped characterizing them as dirty. Concurrently, we also stopped labeling any behavior in an unfavorable fashion. Of course, this means that modern newspapers have abrogated their role as a moral compass for the communities they serve, and so now the population is left to make it's own moral choices, for good or ill..... Except for the Op/Ed pages. As you should know, the opinions and editorial pages are self-explanatory in that they contain the thoughts of the editorial staff and the opinions of other syndicated writers and the public at large. They are opinions and as such are not constrained by the demands to be free of bias. We thank you for your observations. Please write us again when you better understand this concept.
The Editors


In a none-too-subtle hint, the Daily Crime prints a story in today's paper about bloggers being sued over what they write. .... The story is not merely an accident of happenstance, comng as it does while Charles Jannace, aka Hadley Whiplash, or whatever, is pimping himself as a write-in candidate for county executive, all the while continuing to hammer the city's elected officials for transgressions real and imagined.
Listen , I don't agree with Jannace at all. I think his right-wing political views would be laughable if so many others didn't believe as he does. I think his ideas are ill-conceived and poorly expressed and down right stupid. Nevertheless, he has a constitutional right to express his political opinions, no matter how stupid they may be.
Unfortunately, that right frequently bumps noses with another right we have in this country; the right to sue. Anyone can sue anyone else for, it seems, any reason. That means the government can and will sue citizens if they make a pain of themselves. The ACLU even has an acronym for the tactic. It's called a SLAPP suit, short for Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation, and it's particularly effective against individuals and small independant newspapers. The object of such a suit isn't necessarily to win, but to shut the offending party up by draining their wallets with the legal fees and costs associated with defending a lawsuit. It is the politics of deep pockets-- it's not about who's right and who's wrong. It's about who has the money to spend.
I don't know if the tactic has hit the blogosphere yet, but I do know that at least one local government has employed it against a newspaper and a freelance reporter.
So be careful how loudly you complain about elected officials or corporations. They have lawyers and are not afraid to use them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Former Baltimore Police commissioner Ed Norris , convicted in 2004 of public corruption and federal tax charges, wants a presidential pardon so he can go back to police work, the job he loves. Yeah, right.
Norris was caught dirty, and there's few things worse in this society than a dirty cop. If he loved his job so much, then why did he engage in criminal behavior? Did he think, as too many cops do, that his position put him above the law?
In wire reports, Norris claims his prosecution was politically motivated. Maybe it was, but so what? He was convicted of the charges, and that's what matters. The fact that he may have had political enemies only means that he should have taken more care to be a clean cop. But he didn't and those who didn't like him found out and he a very small price -- six months in the slammer and the loss of his job. Hell, corrupt cops should get 20 years in prison, minimum, and never be able to hold a position of public trust again. Cops should be held to a higher standard of honesty and should suffer greater penalties when they break that trust, because they used the power invested in their authority to commit and cover up their crimes.
But now, Ed Norris is telling us that he can be trusted. He can't. He's corrupt. Period.

Monday, October 09, 2006


With less than a month until the elections, a Newsweek poll finds the Bush administration's approval rating at a mere 33 percent, his hemorrhaging credibility is sucking strength and vitality from the state and federal foot-soldiers of the Repiglican Party so much that the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives is all but a foregone conclusion.
Although House Speaker Dennis Hastert has thus far refused to resign his seat, that may be more political posturing than promise to the party faithful, particularly in light of the president's recent sound bite supporting him. And we've seen that means-- when Bush went on the tube telling the head of FEMA what a great job he'd done in the wake of Katrina, right before he was fired. And with his present approval numbers, the president's support is akin to the kiss of death, rather like getting high praise in seamanship from the captain of theTitanic.
But with the elections so close, Hastert may be saved having to fall on his sword for the good of the party in that voters in his district could send him toddling off into obscurity. ... Personally, I hope he has to fall on his sword..... not that it will do any good. With Bill Frist retiring, Tom Delay under indictment and Hastert under fire, the Repiglican leadership is crippled and weighted down by an idiot in the Whitehouse. To steal a line from James Brown; I feel gooood!!