Monday, July 31, 2006

Too Clever

Aired 7/31/06 Too Clever

This week the House Republican leadership had what they were sure was a brilliant idea. Since polls show somewhere around 85% of the country was in favor of an increase in the federal minimum wage go ahead and give them one...but tie it to a massive cut in the inheritance tax that will be sure to make it a no-go in the Senate. In the process they wound up writing in two hundred and eighty five billion dollar high letters a declaration of who they really care about.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Aired 7/28/06 Snakes

It may take quite a chain of logic to get from Judicial Activism to a reference to Snakes on a Plane but I like a challenge.

Perhaps some of the most-spun people in history are our founding fathers. Everybody seems to have an idea about what they would say about this or that and inevitably it is the same thing that they are saying themselves.

Personally I think that they understood a lot more about some of our current issues than we often given them credit for. They knew what it was like to be ruled by a tyrant. They were. They knew what it was like to have a military police authority that could do what they want and answer to nobody. They were called Redcoats. They knew what it was like to be told what prayers you had to pray and what church you had to belong to if you didn't want to be a second-class citizen. A great many had come here just to get away from that.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Sidewalks of New York, A tale of Media Bias Part 3

Aired 2/24/06 The Sidewalks of New York, A Tale of Media Bias Part 3

Before completing this trio on media bias I felt obliged to discuss one more form of media bias, the one that answers the question 'Why is TV News the way it is?'

The Sidewalks of New York, A Tale of Media Bias Part 2

Aired 2/20/06 The Sidewalks of New York, A Tale of Media Bias Part 2

Having already takled about how 90 percent of the references to Media Bias are actualy self justifications I get into where the real bias springs from. Fankly the same dynamic that makes the frequently despized New York Times Biased is the same one that makes Fox News biased and the Wall Street Journal biased. It can also help you understand why some media sources do not seem to be biased other than for good stories.

The Sidewalks of New York, A Tale of Media Bias Part 1

Aired 2/17/06 The Sidewalks of New York, A Tale of Media Bias Part 1

One nice thing about starting this podcast is that I can go back to some of my earlier broadcast episodes that aren't outdated and give them another presentation. Like this set of three.

Compared to a lot of media commentators you won't find me constantly carping about 'media bias'. It is not that media bias doesn't exist (more on that in parts 2 and 3) but that the average ranter starts with "You won't see the biased media report on (fringe topic) it is usually to rationalize why the rest of the universe finds the story (false, unsupported, wacko or just plain not newsworthy) but they know better.

By the way, the events of the story are true.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Aired 7/24/06 Rubble

The 24 hour news machines sometimes gets way ahead of itself in term of pumping up a story. For example calling Lebanon "World War III" really is missing the historical context.

Which is really rather absurd. With 24 hours to fill instead of repeating the same stuff over and over again why not spend a few minutes of it giving viewers context and perspective. Maybe that isn't as fun as scaring the heck out of them with suggestions of Nuclear Apocalypse, but it certainly is more responsible.

A usefull Wikipedia article
And another on Israel Invades Lebanon 1 with many many parallels to the sequel.

The Veto

Aired 7/21/06 The Veto
What was and wasn't significant about Bush's veto of the Stem Cell Research Funding Bill. Also a discussion of the history of thinking about abortion, which may go back a lot longer than you thought.

If you are interested in reading more on the subject of the history of philosophy and theology regarding when a fetus becomes a human being see the following:

Quickening and the Common Law

History of Abortion Laws in the US prior to Roe.

Essentially abortion was illegal only after quickening until the mid 1800's after which state laws were changed to protect once established in the womb until the late l960's

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Queen Sacrifice

Aired 7/17/06 The Queen Sacrifice

Would it be such a terrible thing for the White House if Karl Rove resigned? In this segment I describe how it could actually wind up being the best thing that could happen on several levels to the Bush Administration, the neoconservatives, and even Rove personally.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Boys are All Right

Aired 7/7/06 The Boys are All Right

It is fun having something on a story that nobody else has. In doing an analysis/commentary series that usually counts as having a new viewpoint, but in this case it actually meant having content that nobody else had.

The story of the Chino Boy Scouts that caught the arsonist and put out the fire had the kind of cute quirkyness that quickly spreads around the net in odd news feeds and sites like I am told that it even got a comment on Letterman that night.

But the Scouts themselves were nowhere to be found. I found that sort of a pity because folks should get a chance to get their moment in the sun when they've earned it. Fortunately I had a contact with some of these boys. Also by talking with the boys I was able to get the facts a bit straighter than the other coverage.

For example the arsonist did not have to be chased far and was mostly restrained by the adults present. The boy's primary actions were taking care of the fire itself before any serious damage was done. They were a bit annoyed that the newspapers said that thirteen firefighters had put out the fire when they were clear (with the kind of certainty that comes from having been taught the rules of how to be sure that a campfire is completly out) that it was done when the fire truck arrived.

Extreme Genealogy

Aired 7/10/06 Extreme Genealogy

I mostly seek items that will get people to think about what is happening in the world. There is just so much horror in the world being raised because of racial and ethnic divisions. Then you come to realize that in reality all those racial differences are nothing, that everybody, yes everybody, comes from the same few million ancestors if you go back far enough. As typical I searched the discussion forums and there were a lot of comments in the 'that can't be right' category, many of them I suspect from closet bigots shocked at the idea of who really could be in their family tree. But suffice it to say that three University professer are probably a bit ahead of you in considering the possibilities. If you look at the real paper you will find that they have indeed thought of those objections.

The Leak that Wouldn't Stay Plugged

Aired 7/14/06 The Leak that Wouldn't Stay Plugged

It wasn't hard to think about what to talk about for today's episode. As usual the difficulty was in deciding what to edit to get down to the 90-180 second radio format. In some respects that is a good thing as I look at the number of blogs and podcasts that are a half hour of rambling because ther is no time limit. Most of them could use editing pressure.

Another reason that is a good thing is that since my goal is --unlike so many others-- to encourage people to think rather than to tell them what to think I don't have the time for that. Real brainwashing requires repeating the same simple idea over and over again with slight variations

At the end of this episode I hint at an idea that has been bouncing around at the edge of my mind. Why doesn't the president just fire Karl Rove?

I think I will make this the subject of my next episode.