Saturday, February 16, 2008

[LCSD] A Commenter at LT Makes a Good Point

From this comment at LT:

Mr. Alexander, Ms. Shimmin, Mr. Wineteer, we will be watching to see if you have learned to listen to the advice of counsel and avoid further violating the rights of employees of the District. I also want an opportunity to evaluate you and the Board and think that the community should be given that ability.

That last sentence makes a point I've not thought about much: Is there a process in place to evaluate the board members besides voting them out of office? If there isn't, there should be.

More to the point, I wonder how each board member would take to the suggestion of being evaluated by someone else.

[Lebanon] A Questionable Practice

A letter that ran in the Democrat-Herald recently:

The start of a good day

If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing “God Bless America” sung by the Cascades Elementary School children, you are missing out.

At 8 a.m. every school day, go outside to watch and see them gather around and sing. It is beautiful to hear and watch.

Thank you all for the start of a good day.

Beverly Troutman, Lebanon

Ummmm... am I the only one who thinks this could be one of those things that violates the heck out of the separation of church and state?

Questions to ask: Is this actually happening? How often? Is it mandatory? Is there one class doing it, or does the whole school? Does the school principal know? Does the District Office know? Are there children in the class who, I don't know, aren't of a faith that supports this kind of activity?

And finally, even given the most favorable answers to the above questions, is this legal?

[Media] Four Links That Should Be Posts

But alas, I've been too busy.

Slashdot: Some newspaper chains launch their own ad network. Too little, too late to compete with Google & Co.?

WSJ Blog: Newspapers' online growth isn't as impressive when placed in context.

BuzzMachine: What if we divided up the newsroom into discrete companies? I have to say, I find this idea fascinating - but what happens when one part starts losing money? Does it just die out? What effect will this idea have on the end product?

LOCAL MAN: Doug MacGill discovers 30-year-old critiques of objectivity and applies them to his work for the NYT and Bloomberg News. This should have happened industry-wide at least 20 years ago. The fact that it didn't.... well, I'm not sure what that means.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

[Valentine's Day] Twistyfaster Says It Better Than I Ever Could

From I Blame the Patriarchy:

Join me now, those of you with iron stomachs, as we contemplate the massive pussygrab that is Valentine’s Day. It’s a national mega-bootycall in a paper-lace heart-shaped candy coating. Dudes throw a bundle of plastic-wrapped gas station roses at the straight girls once a year, and the straight girls are supposed to go to pieces over this magnanimous declaration of ‘love’. According to cultural narrative, the macho male is supposedly hardwired to ‘forget’ Valentine’s Day; this is so that even the crappiest box of stale Russell-Stover chocolates will be received with tears of wide-open-beaver gratitude. Overwhelmed that he has actually remembered to observe the cheap valentinian conventions with such clumsy pink-and-red love pantomimes as are prescribed on the great day, the woman’s learned behavior is to obligingly turn out in the Frederick’s of Hollywood stripper drag that properly feted Valentinees are expected to wear, poised for the humpty-hump.

[Health Care] Oregon House Refers Pro-Health Care Item to Ballot

From the Oregonian:

Do Oregonians have a fundamental right to effective, affordable health care?

That question threw the Oregon House into a lofty and philosophical debate for more than an hour Wednesday before it voted 31-29 along strict party lines in favor of referring it to the November ballot.


The Republican response:

Republican opponents said the resolution would expand government, socialize medicine and create another entitlement program.

I call bullshit - not only are these the same tired catchphrases the R's always throw out, they're not even related to the measure at hand. Promoting health care as a fundamental right does not inexorably lead to any of the boogeymen listed. It's just a stupid, silly scare tactic: First, train people to respond (negatively, of course) to certain key words or phrases (socialized medicine, entitlement). Second, throw those phrases around whenever you don't get your way and watch people respond like Pavlov's dogs.

These same tricks are getting old. At the least, I would think Republicans would need to find new key words by now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

[Hasso Hering] Give Him A Shovel, He Digs Unbidden...

I almost can't believe I'm blogging about this, but what the heck.

Hering (and I am, sadly, not making this up):

Interviewed on the CBS program “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Hillary Clinton said she liked Barack Obama. “I campaigned for him, I met he and his children ...”

The grammatical goof is easy to excuse. But the mistake is getting to be common. Why is it that so many people, including people in public life, including people educated at Yale, use singular personal pronouns in their nominative form — I, he, she — instead of the objective, me, him and her?

CBS News obviously knows grammar, and it is not above fixing it even in a direct quotation. On its website it reported that Clinton had said, “I met him and his children ....” This even though the video and audio portion of the interview confirms that she actually said “he.”

If Hillary gets to be president, the nation’s deteriorating patterns of speech are going to be the least of her concerns. But keeping that little gaffe in mind, and the off-key note that it added to what she meant to say, she might go so far as to direct some agency to launch a publicity campaign. The campaign would be aimed at getting Americans to use personal pronouns the way they are meant to be used. (hh)

This is immature and pathetic, even by my gutter-level standards. Certainly it's below Hering's beloved standards of "civility," no matter how he spins it. There's just no justifying the existence of this editorial in context.

All the stupid shit that's come out of GWB's mouth in the last eight years, and this is what you choose to write about?

You're not a newspaper editor. You're a hack. This doesn't pass the smell test, the laugh test, or the will-it-entertain-a-toddler test. It's excrement.

I can't wait for you to retire.

...for the record, while I think there's sexism in both the effect and in Hering's head, I don't think Hering was consciously being sexist when he wrote this. He was merely being grossly partisan - and therefore unprofessional in his capacity as a newspaper editor.

Seriously? He wants to make an issue of grammar errors made by Presidential candidates? F***, Hering. You're banking on the fact that you control the dialogue in your newspaper, aren't you - meaning that anyone who takes too much offense with your editorial is going to get shut out. I think we call that the bully pulpit - and it's not a compliment.

Monday, February 11, 2008

[Hasso Hering] Free Double Whammy! Plus Bonus Snark!

It's been some time since I did this... *cracks knuckles*


Editorial #1: I don't want to wear no stinkin' seatbelt:

The right question is: Why is the state making officers do something as ridiculous as stopping motorists on the streets and highways, exposing themselves to the usual hazards of traffic stops and subjecting motorists to the heart-pounding experience of seeing the flashing lights go on behind them?

Interesting - I wonder if Hering thinks that pulling people over for speeding, running red lights or other similar infractions is any different, since ALL require doing something as "ridiculous" as stopping motorists on the road?

Better yet, are police officers supposed to simply not enforce this law? I mean I have plenty of criticisms of police practices, but Hering gets points for being completely incomprehensible.

It makes my brain hurt.

Oh yeah:

The few drivers who don’t use their belts now and then, and who ignore the warning bells, do not represent a public hazard. Whatever danger they represent is only to themselves...

Can I just call bullshit? If the claim is true, does that mean Hering just implied that people who don't wear seatbelts deserve to be hurt? I hope not.

In any case, the banality of this editorial is more than made up for in the comments section. At least now I know Hering has fans, or at least ideological allies. The totality of the comments submitted so far, unedited for your reading pleasure:

Bill wrote on Feb 11, 2008 3:15 PM:
" The nanny state has spoken: do what we say is good for you or else face the consequences. "

Willpower wrote on Feb 11, 2008 4:39 PM:
" The fascist state speaks with police. Of course Albany cops aren't bothering with DRIVING VIOLATIONS. Safety and courtesy are too hard to track down i suppose."

Barefoot wrote on Feb 11, 2008 5:48 PM:
" [quote]
The few drivers who don’t use their belts now and then, and who ignore the warning bells, do not represent a public hazard.

OH REALLY? So- you are also against helmet laws, Hasso? "

Lash Goldenrod wrote on Feb 11, 2008 6:02 PM:
" The right question: Why does the state need to coerce us by imposing seatbelt use? Everybody knows it's the smart thing to do so virtually all of us voluntarily buckle up. The government doesn't have to make this choice for us. H.L. Mencken said, "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it." Seat-belt laws are government at its most arrogant. "

178 wrote on Feb 11, 2008 7:42 PM:
" Everyone know it's the smart thing to obey the speed limit on the freeway so why bother enforcing that law?

Wow. Just wow.

OK. Moving on to editorial #2: Completely ignoring the issue you bring up in your own editorial.

First, the setup:

An editorial here last week backing the idea of a liquid natural gas terminal in Oregon set off a wave of letters, several of which appeared Saturday. How could anyone favor importing this form of energy, they all more or less exclaimed. Don’t we all know this would just extend our dependence on fossil fuel, and foreign fuel at that? Pipelines would have to be built. And the danger!

You get that? Dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

OK. Now check out the entirety of the rest of the editorial and tell me where Hering addresses the 5,000-lb gorilla in the room:

Liquid natural gas is a perfectly harmless form of energy. Tanks of LNG have existed at Newport and in the heart if Portland for years. Stored LNG is not under pressure, and if a tank should spring a leak, the liquid turns back into gas and escapes to the air.

We already live with fuel and gas pipelines. And the lower Columbia is a busy international shipping lane where a few added tankers wouldn’t even be noticed.

And as for LNG raising the price? If domestic natural gas is available and cheaper than imported LNG, utilities won’t buy it. Imports would stop.

In short, the objections to LNG may be loud, but they make no sense. (hh)

That's right. He completely omits it. And then he has the gall to claim that the objections "make no sense."

Damn, that's good. Or ballsy. Or arrogant. Or - perhaps - just really bad editorial writing.

Immediate Update: The commenters take Hering to task about the safety of LNG storage in no small way, shredding what little material was actually in the editorial. Check it out.

[Lebanon] A Quote that Needs Context

From the Daily Barometer story about the Chinese New Year:

...and Corvallis residents found ways to celebrate the occasion even if they weren't Chinese.

"I usually go out to China Buffet," said Kelley Perry, a resident of Lebanon.

Like I said, it needs context.

[Media] One Student Newspaper Takes the Plunge - And It Appears to Be Working

Found at Notes from a Teacher, something damned interesting:

A entire college student newspaper, the York Vision of the University of York, housed within a Facebook app.

Holy cow.

Link here - and I separate it out because you're required to give the app access to your Facebook information to view the paper (which is a major downside to this enterprise, for sure).

Of course, I believe you also have to be a Facebook member to view the paper, but I've not tried while logged out.

Flipping through the tabs, I see that it has a comparable amount of content to most other college dailies I've seen, though I don't know if it's a daily or not.

I do know that it's won a ton of awards, including being named the Guardian Student Newspaper of the Year for three years in a row.

I hold the Guardian in pretty high regard, so that's pretty amazing.

For those without Facebook, check out the Wikipedia page for some info on the paper.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

[Sleater-Kinney] "Entertain" on the Henry Rollins Show

I'll never forget when a friend of mine told me - after the fact - the she'd gone to the very last Sleater-Kinney show over the weekend. I never did see them in concert.

Anyway, check this out:

It kicks ass. No two ways around it.

UPDATE: This post is now a double feature. Also, Carrie Brownstein reminds me of Lucilla.

Hint: It's a drag name.

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