Thursday, November 02, 2006

Judges With Poor Judgement

Negative campaign ads get worse every year, which surprises no one, but there's a race in Georgia that is particularly interesting.

One of the fundamental principles of justice is that one should look at all of the evidence, and look at it in context. How ironic that two judges are running against each other and going with highly negative attack ads, hoping that voters will make their decisions based on the mud slung in 30-second television commercials.

Carol Hunstein's ad:

Mike Wiggins' ad:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

In Nancy We Trust

What is Nancy Grace's show about exactly? It's not America's Most Wanted. We already have that show, and that show actually results in criminals getting caught. What's the point of Nancy Grace's show? It doesn't help catch anyone as far as I know. It doesn't offer thought-provoking insight into why people do criminal things. It appears to me that this show is essentially one self-appointed moral arbiter taking up the yoke of almighty victimhood every night so as to have an excuse to delve into morbid details about murders, rapes and kidnappings without appearing unseemly.

It's interesting that she's adopted this "I'm doing this to keep children safe" cover. It's the Bill O'Reilly strategy – act like your standing up for children, and anyone who assails you must be doing it because they hate children and love criminals.

It's a winning strategy apparently, since both shows seem to be drawing lots of viewers.

Interestingly, the Georgia gubernatorial candidates are also trying to one-up each other in the tough-on-crime department in their pre-election rumblings.

From Governor Sonny Perdue's site (

“Anyone who would prey on a child is a vile and disgusting human being,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Today we are sending a message to sexual predators: You will not be able to lurk behind your computer monitor any longer. We will find you, our courts will convict you and our prisons will keep you from harming our children.”

From Mark Taylor's website:

"Mark today called for the death penalty for repeat child molesters. If enacted Georgia would become the 6th state in the nation to execute people who repeatedly prey on children. 

This is part of Mark's Child Protection Act of 2007. The act is a three-pronged approach that will make our children safer. In addition to imposing the death penalty on repeat child molesters, the Act will help parents protect their kids from internet porn and will block the sale of violent video games to minors."

That's some bold rhetoric there from Mark and Sonny. Looks like they're both perfectly willing to lose the child molester vote. That takes balls. I'm voting for both of them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How to Tell if a Candidate is Trustworthy or Not

Ask yourself these simple but vitally important questions.

1. Does the candidate's ad feature a poorly lit, candid photograph of his or her opponent making a weird face? If it does, your candidate is obviously trustworthy and their opponent is obviously a thief. Who but a thief would allow a snapshot of himself or herself to be circulated in public?

2. Does the candidate's ad show a high-contrast, black and white photograph of his or her opponent? If so, that is a sure sign your candidate is trustworthy. How else would they have the capability to retouch a photograph? Only the pure of heart can successfully manipulate photographs.

3. Does the candidate's ad show a picture of the candidate standing next to children, listening intently to old people, or putting an arm around a spouse? If so, you know you can trust that person to be an honest government official. How could you fake the kind of integrity demonstrated by posing for campaign photographs?

Sure, you could scour the internet for "Information" about a candidate, but that requires time and critical thinking skills. Take the shortcut – look at the photographs in their ads and you'll have all the information you need.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hollywood Out of Touch?

It cracks me up when people say that Hollywood is out of touch with America. No one elected Hollywood. Hollywood doesn't make policy. Washington being out of touch is a problem. But Hollywood? Tinsel town? These are filmmakers. The ones who are really passionate about the craft are the dreamers, so of course they're a little out of touch with everyone else. Why is that a problem? No one ever says "Today's poets are just out of touch the country," or "The sculptors are completely out of touch with America." And the filmmakers who are just in it for the money, well, they run all kinds of focus groups to find out what people will pay to see. So they're very in touch. It's a strange phenomenon the way some people feel like the entire film industry has some kind of obligation to take a national poll and use the results as a guide for what kind of movies to make, as if such a poll were even possible.


Dubai Ports World

Looks like this controversy has passed. But you know if there's one thing that I think we can all agree on, I think it's that Dubai Ports World needs a better name. It sounds like a discount store for ports. I can see a low budget late-night commercial now: "Ports, ports, ports. Come on down to Dubai Ports World for all your port needs! We have big ports, small ports, secure ports, vulnerable ports – if you need a port, we have one waiting for you at 30 to 50% less than our competitors. Dubai Ports Emporium may claim to have the best selection and the best prices, but they're full of it. Dubai Ports World. The King of Ports."


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bill O'Reilly, the ACLU and NAMBLA

Tonight on The O'Reilly Factor, Bill interviewed a U.S. Ambassador who is a chief advisor on the subject of human trafficking – something we can all agree is bad. The ambassador talked at length about a litany of problems from children in the Middle East being forced to be camel jockeys to child prostitution in Cuba. The ambassador also brought up a case of a particular group of seven Americans who are members of NAMBLA who were arrested in February while trying to enter Mexico. And O'Reilly chimes in with "NAMBLA - the ACLU's favorite."

Good one, Bill. I'm sure they're all child molestors, every last one of them.

Here's the thing: the ACLU defends what it believes to be a correct interpretation of our civil rights. And when it comes to freedom of speech, they defend the right to talk about anything, whether you're a right wing nut job or a left wing loon or for that matter a sexual deviant – but that's not the same as defending the right to do the thing being talked about. Over the years they've supported free speech rights for all kinds of groups, from Christian fundamentalists to Nazis to Oliver North, but that doesn't mean they support Christianity, genocide or trading arms for hostages – but the will defend the right to speak freely about all of those things.

But that doesn't make for a quite as catchy or caustic a sound bite, and I suppose that's how O'Reilly makes his living.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Red Blue Exclusive: An Imaginary Conversation With Dick Cheney

Today the New York Times reports that there is "No End to Questions in Cheney Hunting Accident." There's even a multi-media graphic showing a timeline of how the news trickled down after the accident, which has been referred to menacingly in some reports as "The shooting," which it technically is, but that seems to overshadow the fact that it really was an accident.

Don't get me wrong. Like lots of folks, I have plenty of beefs with Cheney. But is there really no end to the questions about his hunting accident?

How many questions are there to ask about this, really? In this imaginary conversation with the Vice President – a Red Blue exclusive – I asked all of the questions I could think of...

"Did you intend to shoot the old geezer?"

"Did you see him there?"

"Would you have still pulled the trigger if you had known he was there?"
"Hmm... no."

"Will you be more careful next time?"

"Did you hit any of the birds you were intending to kill?"

"What did you do with those birds?"
"Roasted them and ate them."

"Was there any birdshot in your meal?"
"A little."

"What did that taste like?"
"Sort of metallic."

"Would you reccomend that American citizens add birdshot to other foods?"
"I would not."

"Are you aware of the fact that Jay Leno will be making fun of you for several nights because of this incident?"
"I suspect he will."

"Did you tell Mr. Whittington that you're very sorry?"

"Why didn't you call a press conference immediately after the incident?"
"Well, it's kind of embarrassing."

After that I ran out of questions. But I'm sure the real press will think of more.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Fred Barnes on The Daily Show

This was one of the most refreshing interviews ever to be on televised. Fred Barnes is a staunch conservative. He writes for The Weekly Standard and recently published "Rebel-in-Chief," in which he asserts that President Bush has been largely mischaracterized by the media.

As outspoken as Stewart is about his criticisms of the White House, this discussion could have easily become yet another heated debate rife with rhetorical cheap shots. But it didn't. Stewart was a good host and Barnes was a very personable guest.

It wasn't a ground-breaking debate. But it was a very frank, genuinely good-natured discussion between two people with very different views. There were some very healthy laughs and it was a great chance for conservatives to see Stewart as something other than a liberal comic with an axe to grind and for liberals to see that people who support the President don't have horns growing out of their heads.

More TV moments like this would do everyone some good.

This episode first aired on January 23rd.