Political Voting

Scared into voting

I recovered this from the Wayback Machine in 2023. Boy, I don’t agree with it now. After the loss of women’s rights, rights for members of the LGBTQ+ community, rights for people of color…people had better be scared into voting.

Michelle Malkin points out a flyer making the rounds here in Missouri that …includes a 1960s photograph of a firefighter hosing a black man that reads: “This is what they used to do to keep us from voting.”

I agree with Malkin that this not only is deliberately misleading and inflammatory, but it’s also going to backfire. As Malkin has unfortunately pointed out, most of the racist activity in the South was committed by the so-called Southern Democrats–before they jumped the party after Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights activities in the 1960’s.

According to the ACT spokesperson:

Sara Howard, ACT’s Missouri spokeswoman, on Sunday defended the handouts as part of a voter-education effort. She said Republican concerns may stem from reports of increased voter registration among minorities.

“The Republican Party knows that generally when African-Americans vote in large numbers, Republicans lose,” she said. “They will do everything in their power to try and prevent that from happening.”

I would say anyone with half a brain should be concerned with this type of tactic. Which I guess says a lot about the mental capacity of the ACT people.

However, I also disagree with a Malkin quote that says:

It’s worth noting that, by my count, all Missouri governors from 1945 to 1973 were Democrats. (Via The Political Graveyard: Segregation – and violent resistance to desegregation– was driven and perpetrated in large part by Southern Democrats.

As I just said, this was true – up until the 1960’s. Then most of the Southern Democrats jumped ship, and became the core of what is now known as the Republican Fundamentalists.

Blacks should vote for the same reason all races should vote – because voting is as much a responsibility as a right, and we all have a stake in the outcome. However, no one should be scared into voting, or voting a certain way: whether it’s stupid Democrats using old white/black fears to scare blacks into voting for Kerry; or stupid Republicans using new terrorist fears to scare all of us into voting for Bush.


Screwy weather

I was reading today in Prairie Point about the Missouri Earthquake of 1811. I had not heard of this before, so checked online and found that there was a series of earthquakes that hit the Mississippi Valley region in 1811 and 1812, and which geologists believe were the most damaging and widespread earthquakes to hit the country. They estimate from the descriptions and effects on the landscape, that the three significant ones were an 8.0 on the Richter scale or higher.

Other quakes caused more loss of life and damage to buildings, primarily because there were more people and more buildings. And other regions have more frequent quakes–earthquakes that are felt here are relatively rare. Still, interesting to know about our geological past

Another tidbit of information to store away about this state. If nothing else, this state does not have what I would call a very boring history.

What is more dangerous here are the tornadoes, and I can’t believe that we’ve been put under another tornado watch today. And the state is getting hit with storms having 2+ inch hail. This is the Spring weather all over again; frustrating, especially considering that tornadoes in October are extremely rare in the midwest. I’m watching all the lovely trees that are just now starting to get color, have their leaves ripped from them and I have a feeling by week end, our fall will have come and gone. I am disappointed, as I was really looking forward to some nice fall weather and photography. Maybe even take some of the planned, fun roadtrips, rather than ones I’ve had in the recent past.


What is good journalism

Recovered from the Wayback Machine

Taking a break from ‘what is good radio’, I wanted to point out what I consider to be good journalism.

Dave Winer is on a tear against the professional news organizations because of an appearance of Jon Stewart on Crossfire. I listened to a recording of this (managing not to hotlink directly to the MP3 file), and I enjoyed many of the quips between the participants, and found Stewart to be both funny and clever at times; but I also found him to be disingenuous and rather cheap.

(Transcript here.)

Stewart kept iterating that they, the Crossfire folk, are “…hurting America’–they in this case meaning, we presume, journalists. No, they aren’t. Americans are hurting America. We’re hurting America because no matter what we hear, no matter how factual the reporting, we’ll believe what we want to believe or what suits us to believe. Americans would rather listen to hyperbole and rhetoric than to fact. Not just Americans – the same can be said of the average citizen of most countries.

“You are hurting us.” “You are hurting us.”

Sounds like Arnold before he learned to act. Oh, wait a sec….

When Dave Winer uses the Stewart appearance as a segue into an exposition that reporters should be paying more heed to their customers, as iterated in this Bloggercon question (in which he insults most of the people who do him the courtesy of responding), I damn near choked on my coffee. If anything, reporters should be listening to their ‘customers’ less.

On any given day I can find at least one example of excellent journalism. It’s sophisticated and chi-chi clever to sneer at the professional news organizations, but if you keep your eyes, and your mind, open, you’ll find that many of these organizations do as good a job as their ‘customers’ allow. And in some cases, a better job than their ‘customers’ deserve.

Take this piece I found in the Houston Press (via a post made today in Fodor’s Travel Blog). No, its not about Iraq, or the Presidential race, or the contaminated flu shots. It’s about osso bucco.

A food critic questioned the osso bucco he was served at a local restaurant and was told, “If you don’t like it, there’s the door. Pay your bill and go. And don’t come back”, by the restaurant’s owner. He was also challenged about his knowledge of osso bucco.

This should be enough to earn a completely negative review; yet the food critic actually followed on the chef’s challenge and researched osso bucco, educating both his reading audience and himself on what to look for (what the restaurant served was not it). And even after being thrown out of the restaurant, he made a qualified recommendation of it because of the freshness of the fish served. Most importantly, he never took himself completely seriously, as you can see in the humor of his writing, particularly with the description of the busboy and his fake accent:

If you get the spiky-haired young waiter who reads the specials off the blackboard with a phony Italian accent, resist the temptation to ask where he’s from. (He was born in Galveston and reared in nearby Santa Fe.) If you play along, he’ll do this goofy Italian accent all night long for your entertainment.

Not to point fingers, but if Robb Walsh was a weblogger, he would have blasted the restaurant, daily, for three weeks; accused them of a conspiracy; nicknamed the whole thing ‘osso buccogate’; suggested that this action in Houston just demonstrates Bush’s Texan disregard for the voters; posted the restaurant’s phone number for people to call and harrass the spiky haired busboy; and then got all of his readers to Google Bomb the place with the words, “This Restaurant Sucks!”

Of course, this was only about food, but if I continued my morning reading of all the publications I check out from throughout the world, I’ll probably find decent reporting in many, and about more significant stories. As for the bias, it’s up to me to spot it where it exists–that’s cuz I is smart, and I rede good.

But if there is bias in a publication, it’s because the customers put it there. Fox got where it was by listening to its customers. What we need is less customer intervention, not more.

Hmmm. I wonder if all of this would sound better as a podcast? Should I start it with the NY Loose song, “Hide?” Is that copyright free?

From the notes I read at the other weblogs, such as Norm’s most people don’t necessarily share my viewpoint. I respect Norm, but don’t agree with him that Stewart is a hero.

When did taking a sanctimonious cheap shot become the