Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Virtual dry erase board

Check this out. It's a virtual dry erase board, with a few added touches. (Note: I had to open it in Internet Explorer).

It's pretty cool. I'll see if I can make something with it, then post it here. If you make something with it, then send it to me, and I'll post it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

James Cameron finds Jesus

There are two kinds of "finding Jesus". The first type is basically a way of saying that this person has become a Christian. Another way of saying that is to say that they've "found religion".

Then there's the other kind of "finding Jesus", and James Cameron, whose archaeological qualifications include directing the hit movie Titanic, claims to have "found Jesus" in this second way: He claims to have found the actual bones of Jesus Christ. And his wife Mary Magdalene. And their son Judah. Such a bold claim for someone who isn't an archaeologist, and for which scholars have said that "Jesus", "Judah", and "Mary" were common Jewish names at the time. But he directed Titanic, so we have to at least hear him out.

Jesus is "found" in this way from time to time, and often the results tell us more about the seekers and their intentions than it does the Nazarene from 2,000 years ago. By "finding" Jesus' bones, the seekers hope to undermine Christianity by proving that Jesus really didn't rise from the dead. The problem is always in their "proof". That is, how do they prove that it's actually the Jesus from Scripture? It's not like they found his driver's license in the coffin with the name, "Christ, Jesus" on it with the DOB being "12/25/0". And back then, the Romans didn't keep DNA records of the citizens of Israel.

Simple logic should tell you that there's absolutely no way for anyone who claims to have found Jesus' bones to prove it. Cameron is relying on statistical probability as his proof. But statistics aren't the same as proof. Statistical probabilities, in other words, are no substitute for hard DNA evidence. Statistically speaking, actually, it's more likely that the coffin that Cameron has found is NOT the bones of Jesus of Nazareth. It may be A Jesus of Nazareth, but not THE Jesus. Claims of finding Jesus' bones is so silly and pathetic a strategy for Christian-bashers that I'm surprised that media outlets still give it air time.

All the articles I've read so far have more comments doubting Cameron's claim than supporting it. So why keep doing it? It's the only way that these folks know how to do. But if this has been tried before and failed, what makes them think that it's going to work this time? That, I have no answer for, other than that these folks are just that desperate.

And besides, I don't need the bones of Jesus - or even something like the Shroud of Turin - to define for me what I'll believe about Jesus. I do believe that he rose from the dead, which means that his bones are not there to be found, so in my mind, searching for Jesus' bones is a fool's quest. The quote attributed to St Thomas Aquinas is a fitting way to end this particular blog entry:

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary; to one withouth faith, no explanation is possible.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lite Brite 2K7

Remember Lite Brite when you were a kid? Well, some yahoo has made an online version of it. Knock yourself out.

And after that, you can check the Lite Brite article on Wikipedia, the encyclopedia for the rest of us.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 2-24-2007

Has it already been two weeks since I last did one of these? That's too long, buckaroo!

The Oscars
In recent years, I haven't cared one whit about the Oscars. So far, that hasn't changed. And despite this headline, I doubt the ratings will increase by THAT much - if at all. They're SO long and SO boring that it's hard to watch it until the very end. And rarely is it a surprise who wins in the various categories. I'll just read the paper on Monday morning to see who won. YAWNNNN... Wake me up when it's over.

Now THERE'S a show worth watching! I hope you folks have been keeping up. Coming Monday, Mr. Bennett is facing all those super-powered folks and what he knows of what was done to them to make them that way! At the end of each episode, I'm left waiting for next week's episode! Someone at work had called it a "soap opera for nerds."

Okay, I'm a nerd. ;-)

The Teaching Company
I recently got a catalog from The Teaching Company that has pages and pages of college level courses on numerous topics. For a Master of Liberal Arts graduate like me, it's like Nerd Nirvana. Check out their website and see what kinds of topics they cover. I bet you'll find something that you'll like. As you might have guessed, I found several. If I had a ridiculous amount of money like many of the nominees in tomorrow's Oscars, I'd probably buy nearly all of the topics they have listed. I wanted to list one that I'd like to buy right now, but just looking over their list, there's too many for me to mention just one!

But one that I might get first is the one titled "Science and Religion", since that's so frequently an issue that comes up on the news. There's easily several more that I want to get as well. By the way, if anyone wants to know what to get me for my birthday in April - drop me a line and I'll send you my list from that site. ;-)

Critters and creatures in the news
This was the week for critters in the news. First was a gigantic squid worthy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. You can almost imagine that squid grabbing the Nautilus, couldn't ya? Next is something a little smaller, but you have to wonder just how slow a news day it is in New York City when a beaver makes the news. Granted, it's been 200 years since the last beaver was in town, but with all the traffic in NYC in recent days, can you blame the little tree gnawers for being a little late?

Next is something even smaller, but definitely gross-out - maybe more than the giant squid. Rats were running wild in a Taco Bell/KFC restaurant in NYC. Be sure to click on the video clip to see the images that were captured - and prepare to be creeped out! This must be NYC's week for critters to be in the news or something. Meanwhile, in nearby New Joisey, the city of Clifton is going to set a time limit on how long dogs can bark. How do you make a dog shut up anyway? All I can think of is to knock it out in some form or fashion, but that would get PETA on your behind faster than a rat at KFC.

Last bit of critter news is actually a "dumb burglar" story, but a dog's involved, so it qualifies as critter news. Apparently, a burglar in Canada tried to break into what turned out to be a facility to train police dogs, but when he tried to split, he ran into a snow bank (how many of those does Canada have anyway?), and a police dog caught up to him, slapped the cuffs on him, and read him his right. Yep, that's one smart police dog. Just don't tell him any "donut shop" jokes. He hates those.

Okay, football's over, and baseball hasn't started up. For guys, this time of the year is known as the "2 months of hell". Fortunately, there's basketball going on, which helps things - especially when the college basketball season rolls around. The "Road to the Final Four" March Madness format for college basketball is exactly what college football should adopt. In this format, any given team can go all the way. That, my friends, is the classic American sports story, and the football Bowl Championship Series is robbing us of that classic American tale. Whoever came up with the BCS system should be made to eat at a KFC restaurant in NYC.

Yeah, yeah, technically there's hockey, racing, tennis, and - erk - golf also going on, but we all know that the U.S. is built around football, baseball, and basketball. If it weren't for basketball going on right now, I'd be going nuts - or I'd be writing to my blog a whole lot more.

That's it for now, folks. Have a great week!

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Governor Goodhair" Gets Jiggy with Gardasil

In recent weeks in Texas, the GOP governor Rick Perry (AKA "Governor Goodhair" so dubbed by the recently deceased Molly Ivins) got into hot water from mostly his conservative constituent base over his sudden, surprising mandate that all 11 to 12 year old girls get the vaccine for cervical cancer as a requirement for school attendance. The thing is, this vaccine only got approved mere months ago, and it also turns out that the manufacturer - Merck - of the vaccine - named Gardasil - was running a behind-the-scenes campaign to get the usage of the vaccine mandated in various state legislatures. Since there's been such a public outcry against this mandate, Merck has withdrawn its lobbying campaign.

First, it probably shouldn't be a surprise that a pharmaceuticals company runs a behind-the-scenes campaign to get a given state to run its products. Also, I don't necessarily dismiss the idea that these young girls should get vaccinated (but don't you go around saying that I accept the idea, either!). However, to MANDATE it, and to mandate it so soon after it got approved, and to discover that the company that just happens to make said vaccine was instrumental in getting a politician to mandate it is just a bit too much for your average Texas parent to take. The operative word here regarding Gov. Perry is "sellout".

I suppose that it shouldn't be a surprise that a politician has sold out on his constituency. In fact, the bigger surprise probably is when a politician DOESN'T sell out on his or her constituency. It's just that - well, Perry was so obvious about it. Yeah, yeah, he gave the ol' "I was thinking of the children" speech, but we all know that he pulled the standard M.O. for sellout politicians (is that a redundancy?) by implementing as public policy the profitary desires of a company that slipped him a campaign donation.

He also knew that some of his usual critics (liberals, in case you hadn't already figured it out) would be on board with the idea, since they're into socialized medicine and handing over your health concerns to Big Brother and all that. But to risk alienating the base that had stuck by him all these years . . . ! As the previously mentioned Molly Ivins once said, "You gotta dance with the one that brung ya!" So Perry's move comes across as almost foolishly greedy. I say "almost" because he's not up for election for another 4 years, and we don't know yet whether this will hurt his re-election chances. Time will tell. In any case, Perry has his money, and I hope both he and his money are very happy together.

Just so you know, I didn't vote for him. Now you see why!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

That's Amore! Pt 1 of 2

I had initially hoped to post this on Valentine's Day, but I had some stuff to take care of last week, plus I ended up saying more than I thought on this topic. Thus, I'm posting the first half today, and the second half possibly later this week.


The power of love is a curious thing. It makes one man weep, and another man sing.

Sorry. For some reason, I started singing that old Huey Lewis song.

Anyway, love is indeed a curious thing. And it's also hard to pin down a definition! Love means, basically, caring for another. But there's different forms of caring. I care for my family and friends. I care more for family than for friends, obviously, but even within family, I care more for some family members than for others. Parents and siblings, in other words, should come before aunts, uncles, and cousins. Then there's the caring for another in the special way that can lead to romance, and then possibly to marriage.

Romantic love is probably the ultimate puzzle of our human existence on this mortal sphere (sounds rather deep and poetic, eh?). There's infatuation, which is basically a type of uncritical and unreasoning form of idolizing, and then there's the true and mature love. When one is infatuated, then the idolizer can't see any faults in the object of their adoration. That can get problematic (to say the least!) in that we all have faults, and some more glaring than others, but while we are "in love", we are blind to those faults - and often to our dismay later.

I've been in that state before. "Goofy in love", I mean. But it wasn't love, it was infatuation. I know this, because if it had been true love, then I would have married that woman, and I would still be with her to this day. And maybe I would have already had a child or two by now. I might also be in debt up to my eyeballs as the wife buys yet another pair of shoes from the most expensive shoe store in town while son Johnny is charging up a storm getting the latest electronic gizmo that will gather dust by the end of the month while daughter Suzie is dating some weirdo named “Skrattch” who’s wearing so much metal with his body piercings that he can’t go through airport gates without tripping all of them off at the same time.

Ahem. Sorry. Got off on a tangent there. Anyway, those infatuations proved to be just that – immature infatuations – and not true love. In other words, it wasn't meant to be; and perhaps it was for the best. It's entirely possible that "Miss Right" has already come into my life and gone.


....but I don't think so.

Why do I doubt it? Because I think I would have known by now that “Miss Right” had come and gone out of my life. In other words, right now I'd be ruing having let her go. But I have no such regrets over any woman of my past. Actually, now I can see that those I had been infatuated with in the past would have been wrong for me for one reason or another. While I do regret not having gotten to know more women in the past, there is still not anyone from the past that I now regard as “Miss Right”.

So what does that mean? That means two things: 1.) "Miss Right" is still in my future, or 2.) I was not meant to get married. Thing is, not being married for the rest of my life no longer scares me. I've come to accept the possibility. It's not something that I necessarily desire, but at the same time, I'd rather be single for the rest of my life than to be miserable from being married to the wrong person. People marry the wrong person because of different reasons. Among those reasons (and this list does not pretend to be complete) is a lack of patience, a lack of maturity, being "goofy in love", or being afraid of NOT being married. None of those reasons will ever lead to a happy marriage.

This, I know, because I have seen many, many examples of how to marry the wrong way. Ain’t that sad? I can’t count the numbers of marriages and divorces just among the people I know or have known. And the lesson from those failed marriages is that there is such a thing as marrying the wrong way. There’s many examples of marrying the wrong way, actually. Fortunately, there are some people I know that are still in their first marriage. For those folks, it looks like it’s going to stay that way, too. They’re examples of mature love, and it’s such people that gives me hope that I, too, may one day know the truest and best form of caring for another.

I shall be continuing this topic later.

Coming soon: Part 2

Monday, February 19, 2007

Foenettic blog entrée

Hi, folks. Sorry that it’s been a week since my last blog entry, but I had some adult responsibilities to deal with. I had a Valentine’s Day entry planned that was nearly done, but I didn’t have a finishing statement for it yet, and I didn’t want to post it until it had one. That entry WILL be posted, though, either tomorrow or Wednesday. However, I shall go ahead and talk about something, just because you good folks have been as patient and understanding as Jet Blue customers (that might be another blog entry later this week, by the way). But this time, there will be a little twist. I shall be writing the words phonetically to see if you can still understand it. Just consider it a little test of reading and writing comprehension. :-)

Did yu heer abowt Britnee Speers? She’z now bauld! Whoo’dathunk that eye’d evur hav moor haeir than hur, eh?

It's uh bit saad that sumwon so yung kin ulreddy bee sew skreued uhp. Shee prety mutch haz it awl: Luhks, muhney, anduh hyoogh interrist uv thuh meedeeyuh. Anjyet, rhathur thaan helpuh hur, thuh fayme seemz to hav herrt hur groueth and devellupment az an induhvidjyuell. How kan aneewun becum ai well-adjyusted induhvidjyuell with thuh kiend uv attenshun that shee offton getts? Andjyett, eye hav trubble feeling sohry for hur, becauz she haz sew much moor than most uv us will evur hav. Eye dohn't envee whut shee haz tu goh throo. Such iz thuh pryce uv fayme, I suppozz. Let'ss juzt hope that shee duzzn't goe down thuh rowd that Anna Nikkole Smith took in hur lyfe.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 2-11-07

Been a while since I did one of these, so...

Dollar coins
A new dollar coin is going to be introduced later this week. The good folks at the U.S. Mint are hoping that if you weren't crazy about Susan B. Anthony or Sacajawea, then maybe you'll like a series of dollar coins that feature all the U.S. presidents. Yes, even George Bush ("Dubya", that is). I figure that those who have a strong dislike for a past or present president will be using those dollar coins in such a way to express their dislike for that president. Well, it's their money, I suppose. The Mint has been trying to substitute the dollar bill for quite a while, but with no success. There's even been a $2 dollar bill at one time. My suggestion: Make the Washington dollar into the new $2 bill. That only makes sense, I think - but what do I know?

Harvard's new president
I had wondered why Harvard's new president was news. I figured at first that it was because it was Hah-Vahd, and that was supposed to be reason enough. But once I checked out the first paragraph, then I figured it out. Hah-Vahd was where the previous president got into hot water because of his statements about genetics and gender being one possible reason why there is a dearth of women in the maths and sciences. Of course, nowadays you just can't say stuff like that, even if it might be true. The truth is supposed to be because we are an oppressive patriarchic society that keeps women out of higher places because the old boys don't want no dames where they are at. Nope, to make it something other than that means that you're one of those oppressive patriarchic types, and you just can't be trusted.

Well, hopefully the hiring of a female president will solve all of that, and there will be no more of this nonsense about genetics and the lack of women in the maths and sciences and stuff. After all, Hah-Vahd no doubt hired this woman because she was an ace at math and science, which will bounce the genetics theory out the door. Yep, surely she was hired because of her abilities, and NOT because she happened to be a woman. Yeah, I'll just leave it at that and move on to the next topic.

The Vagina Monologues
And speaking of not treating women as body parts, coming soon to my fair city is The Vagina Monologues. Okay, I'll admit that I never read the book. Judging by what I've heard about it so far, I'm not sure I want to. It's NOT because of the topic of women discussing their vaginas (although I'll admit that I'm no more likely to read a play about women discussing their vaginas than I would a book of men discussing their penises), but because it seems so - I don't know - stupid, I guess. I can see discussing women's experiences in other parts of the world, but to discuss women's experiences in other parts of the world as it relates to their vaginas...?

All this time, men have been conditioned to not treat women as just "tits and ass" - and yet this book does basically that. Is it supposed to be okay if the objectification is done by women? Also worthy of noting is the fact that the play originally contained a monologue in which a 13 year old was given alcohol and raped by a lesbian. In the play, the girl had said that it was a "good rape".

Uh-huh. This criticism has been countered by making the 13 year old into a 16 year old; but apparently, she's still given the alcohol, and still taken advantaged of. This still falls under the definition of statutory rape, and last time I checked, that was still illegal. It's this particular monologue and the lack of outrage from feminists over the story that largely keeps me from reading TVM. Rape is supposed to be wrong - no matter how it's done or who does it, and for feminists to not be outspoken and outraged over it makes me seriously question their credibility over their alleged concerns for women and their rights and safety.

Understand that I have absolutely nothing against plays that tell of the plight of women living in a man's world. More power to you, I say. But I think that there has to be better plays than TVM. I don't see how men are supposed to see that objectification of women as being wrong if a play of women doing basically that is glorified. It's called "sending conflicting messages". Maybe it's because I'm just a man, but TVM just seems so wrong in so many ways.

Anna Nicole and the astronaut
I never thought that anything would displace from the front pages the Iraq war and the amount of death and carnage that is going on. Once again, I am wrong. Sigh. When will I learn? The sudden death of Anna Nicole Smith, plus the surprising behavior of one of our NASA astronauts has taken over the headlines. There's really nothing that I can say about Smith that hasn't already been said many times over, so all I'll say is that I'll be praying for her young daughter, who is now in the unenviable position of being at the center of an estate and custody dispute. As for Lisa Nowak, it goes to show that even a woman skilled in math and science can still fall prey to human weaknesses (I guess she didn't go to Hah-Vahd).

But what Anna Nicole and Lisa Nowak demonstrate is the often schizophrenic judgment on the part of the media of what makes the front page. Again, I didn't think anything would displace the Iraq war, but to be displaced by something like this...? In recent days, the front pages of many newspapers have come to resemble gossip columns instead of hard-hitting journalism. And the media wonders why their readership and viewership is dwindling...

Election '08
Well, it's official. 3 Democratic candidates have thrown their hat into the ring, and at least one Republican is close to doing the same. I'll say right now that of that foursome - Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Rudy Giuliani - I wouldn't vote for any of them. Nope, if you want to make for an election that will be unprecedented, then go with Joe Lieberman for the Dems and Dr. Condoleezza Rice for the GOP. That way, you have two unprecedented candidates running for office. Thing is, I still probably wouldn't vote for either of them, but at least such candidacies would be VERY interesting to keep up with.

The '08 election is also likely to be a good time for an independent to also make a run for it. Well, that's if they don't pull a'92 Perot and pull out just when a movement is building! The recent Texas governor's race showed that an independent can succeed if he or she plays their cards right. Texas actually had TWO independents, and if it hadn't been for that fact, then one of them might have had a much stronger showing. I think this shows that the good people of this nation are primed for the right person to step in. Such a person would have to have a combination of a charismatic personality, independently wealthy, a flair for timing, and a personality that comes across as sincere and genuine (as opposed to many of today's politicians, who come across as manufactured and processed as canned meat).

At this time, I know of no one whom I could suggest as well as vote for. I'll have to think about that some more. But I do believe that the time is right for an independent to step in. If Perot hadn't fumbled away his opportunity back in '92, who knows where our nation might be right now? Now's the time for a new Perot to step up. And not screw up this time!

Have a great week, folks!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dove products

As I was watching a Dove commercial earlier, I wondered if anyone ever got Dove soap and the Dove bar mixed up? I suppose you could tell if someone was either foaming at the mouth, or that they smelled of B.O. and chocolate.

Just wondering.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Promotional stunts in the news

Two promotional stunts were in the news recently. One stunt resulted in the death of Jennifer Strange, who participated in a water drinking contest titled "Hold Your Wee for a Wii". I've read various articles on this story, many of which state that since Strange signed a waiver, then the station shouldn't be faulted for the death. However, I think it's foolish to have such stunts to begin with. The attached article said that Strange drank almost two gallons of water, and that her belly was like that of a woman in early pregnancy.

She's not a camel, and that's way too much water to be drinking in one sitting. I think that this suit should go through, because any station that has such stunts should seriously think it through and speculate all the potential problems that could occur. It wouldn't have taken a lot of "Googling" to find that a couple of years ago, a college student died of the same thing. My heart is broken over the loss of the woman's life, and I think that the creators of this stunt should be made to sit in a court of law and explain their actions. Strange's children deserve that much.

The second stunt involved the placement of electronic signs that caused the city of Boston to go on alert for a possible bomb threat. Now here, I must concede that there was a bit of an over-reaction on the part of the city of Boston - but just as quickly I say that in this post 9-11 day and age, such reactions are to be expected, especially by those who plan such stunts. The emergency responders were basically just doing their job. Like the radio promoters, the producers of Adult Swim should likewise sit in a court of law and face the music.

There are good promotions, and then there are those promotions that need a little more thought before they are put into action. The two examples above should have been thought out some more. I find it very surprising that someone along the way in the planning of these stunts didn't stop and say "Should we be doing this?" I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. Mainly because we live in a lawsuit-happy age, and any of these public organizations are a screw-up away from having their places of businesses sued out of existence. You'd think that keeping the nature of our day-and-age would be second nature to such folks by now. Funny how I keep being proven wrong. I don't know what that says about us.

Monday, February 05, 2007

What I would do as an editor-in-chief

Someone posed the following question to me (who asked in response to my previous blog entry) : If I were editor-in-chief of a newspaper, what would I do?

1.) First, I'd tell all the reporters that they can no longer belong to any political parties or other political organizations so long as they are employed as reporters. In other words, I don't want any Democratic reporters or Republican reporters. I want reporters, period. All political and sociological ideologies are going to be left at the entrance. Either I or someone I assign will be periodically checking for any slants in reporting. It's very important that my newspaper gains the reputation of fair, objective, and unbiased reporting. I want the story to be the news, and not the style that it was reported to be the news.

2.) Since we can't completely isolate ourselves from the social and political influences that are out there, I will have a greatly expanded opinion section. Opinion columnists will be allowed to belong to political parties or organizations, but they will have to note in their columns or bylines that they belong to X group if they are going to be commenting on it. They will also not be allowed to be reporters any more. The newspaper's Op/Ed page of the website will also be greatly expanded, and perhaps organized by topic. It is my hope that the Op/Ed pages will provide backdrop for the stories that are reported in other sections of the newspaper. For instance, while the front page will provide the details of Bush's latest stategem in Iraq, all the reporters will be doing is listing the details. There will be NO headlines that say, "Bush's latest strategy faulty" or other implications of judgment. The Op/Ed pages will be where such headlines will appear, along with criticisms of it.

3.) Last, and probably most important, once the reporters and columnists get the hang of my style and expectations, I also want them to get it in their heads that I will back them up on what they say - even if it is potentially controversial. For instance, I want them to feel confident being aggressive against a politician who has proven to be getting bribes or otherwise entangled in such illegal or unethical ways. This means that I want to have developed enough faith and confidence in my reporters and columnists that they'll do the job that I expect them to do, and in turn, they'll have faith and confidence in me that I'll back them up against the people they're reporting on, the public that may get outraged, or the publisher that wants us to "not be so aggressive against Candidate X". In short, so long as they do their job right and along my expectations, I'll take all the heat that results from their doing their jobs. I want the reporters to not be afraid to seek and to report the unvarnished truth, no matter where it takes him or her. And part of reporting the unvarnished truth is for the reporter to be consciously aware of not putting any "slant" to their reporting, because any "slanting" will slant away from the truth. It is said in the news business that the only commodity it has is the truth. That statement will be everywhere in my newspaper.

All this will also call, of course, for publishers with balls. Wimpy publishers produce wimpy newspapers. If they can't take the heat, then they should get out of the business. In addition to ballsy publishers will be the need for lawyers who are thoroughly versed in the law as it is related to the news business. That will be part of protecting reporters and columnists. I think that with such a dedication to the truth will come the reputation for truthful reporting, and from that will come more readers. The traditional newspaper business can - and SHOULD - be saved. Our democracy depends on it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Editorial statement for February 2007: Free the Press!

This article ran in the Fort Worth Weekly almost two years ago. It's titled, "Speak up, Woman" by Tracy Everbach. In this article, Everbach laments the lack of female opinion writers in the Op/Ed pages. While it was a good article that brought many interesting points, I wrote a Letter to the Editor pointing out that Everbach listed only left-wing writers. In my response (last letter of that webpage), I noted that if Everbach wants more women opinion writers, then she needs to support the writing efforts of ALL women, and not just those who agree with her left wing views (I assumed that Everbach was left-leaning because she chose only left-wing writers as examples, plus in her two e-mails to me, she never denied being left-wing).

There's a reason why it's important to support ALL women writers, and here's an excerpt from my Letter that explains it:

Potential columnists need a motivation to write, and that often comes with replying to views that they disagree with. So if Everbach desires more female columnists, then I advise her to support all female columnists who are out there now, not just the ones who agree with her political slant. Or it could be looked upon this way: With more conservative female columnists will come liberal female columnists motivated to reply to whatever opinions the former express. In such a scenario, all points of view will benefit.

I got the idea for this month's editorial statement because of the death of columnist Molly Ivins yesterday. In many of the accolades that I read, I was surprised to see how often she was referred to as "liberal" and "liberal icon". I say surprised, because most time she is referred to as "progressive" rather than "liberal". "Progressive" is a liberal's way of saying "liberal" without actually saying "liberal". I never liked that liberal tendency to try to hide what they are. And calling one's self "progressive" never fooled anyone beside the person using the label.

So why am I harping on the term "liberal"? It's because of one of the problems with today's media: Members of the media are too overwhelmingly Democratic AND liberal. Why is this a problem? It's because the work environment that is slanted too heavily toward one political viewpoint (regardless of the viewpoint) is going to be reporting with that slant, whether they intend to or not. It's called "groupthink", and it can get so pervasive that those who are caught in it are not able to see it even when they are surrounded by it. This is why I chose this month's editorial statement of "Free the Press".

The numbers of newspaper circulation has gone down, partially because the Internet helps provide news instantaneously to a generation that is used to getting what it wants instantaneously. However, I believe that newspaper circulation wouldn't be suffering so much if it weren't for the predictability of what a newspaper will say about a given story. Most of the time, you know that the reporting is going to be anti-Bush, or favor embryonic stem cell research as opposed to other forms of stem cell research, or that it will give favorable reporting to cherished liberal icons such as Barack Obama or Al Gore.

By the way, did you know that Obama smokes? If Bush had been a smoker, you'd be hearing it every freakin' day. Why isn't Obama's smoking habits reported more? It's because the press loves Obama. This isn't how news reporting should be. We knew of Bush's past alcohol problems and other legal indiscretions a long time ago, because the press doesn't like Bush. However, the press is not in the business of playing favorites. If they're going to report on the skeletons in the closet of one candidate, they should be doing them all that way.

And there's another problem the media has: Political correctness (PC from here on). PC belongs only in one area: politics. PC does not belong in our universities, and it most certainly does not belong in the press. In fact, PC should be anathema to any credible news professional. Understand that this is NOT to say that news reporters or columnists need to go out of their way to be offensive, but that they shouldn't be afraid to say what needs to be said just because someone somewhere is going to be offended. The plain and simple truth is that there is NO WAY to avoid being totally inoffensive. And being inoffensive is not a value to cling to for a news professional. If they don't have the guts to say what needs to be said, then they don't need to be in the business.

And last is the problem of more and more media outlets being bought out by fewer and fewer major corporations. This makes the media accountable to a bottom line. It makes the media accountable to stockholders. These profit-driven goals totally diverts from what the press should be doing. The press is not in the business of making profit, they are in the business of reporting the news. To hold a given news entity to a bottom line is to undermine its credibility. It has to have the freedom to report the bad news even of the corporation that owns it; otherwise, they are nothing but a public relations department for that corporation. This means that they aren't in the news business, in other words.

So folks, that's my editorial statement for this month: Free the press. Free it from not just liberal bias, but all biases. It needs to get back to even-handed reporting. Free the press from PC. Dare to be offensive if a given fact or story needs to be heard. And free the press from corporate takeovers. Let the press have the freedom of not being beholden to a profit margin.

Despite what might be reported about the decline of newspapers, I still believe that there is a role and a place for them in our society. Without a free and independent press, our leaders won't feel so accountable for their actions. The press needs to return to its roots, and it needs to restore its core values of reporting what needs to be heard. That's how to get readers back.

To paraphrase a familiar movie quote, "If you print it, they will read."

Free the press!