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Election 2010: Here comes the crazy

I’ve not set aside much time to write lately. I’ve just been so busy this summer, and my approaching wedding is in three weeks. (Hell, this may very well be my final blog post as a single man.)

But I thought I would share this, since it would be quick to post and is just so absolutely insane.

After a week in which a publicity-starved d-bag held the American news cycle hostage (which is so easily distracted by crazy yahoos for the sake of entertainment value and shallow “debate” based on polarizing controversy — see this post for a perfect reading of the situation) because he threatened to set a bunch of Korans ablaze, the video below shouldn’t surprise me one bit. (Read more…)

‘Balloon boy’ parents: Good riddance

I like this sentence. It sends a message that desperately needs to be sent. That message is: You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. As if you needed to be told that.

In this fame-obsessed, mentally bankrupt culture we live in today, apparently so.

As someone who is frankly tired of the constant one-upmanship of brain-dead idiots in the pursuit of the most moronic — and fleeting — personal fame possible, I say bravo to the judge. We need a deterrent from this sort of stunt garbage. (Read more…)

Don’t Text and Drive [TM]

There’s a video that’s going viral that I saw today. It’s apparently a British public service announcement that has been used in schools in the U.K. to warn against the dangers of texting while driving.

Now, let me say up front that texting while driving is obviously stupid. I’ve done it on the rare occasion (although in as safe a manner as is possible, if there’s such a thing), but you clearly shoudn’t do it. Obviously, it increases your chances of getting in a crash. (Read more…)

It’s far past time for ‘Abby’ be put out to pasture

Working as I do in the newspaper industry, I am reminded on a near-daily basis by the media at large that newspapers are dying because they are outmoded, obsolete, operating under a business model that is no longer sustainable, and plenty of other doom, gloom, and etc. I guess I should feel fortunate that I work in the online division — the very aspect of the business that’s allegedly “killing” the rest of the paper — but it still gets tiresome when all you hear about is how dinosaur-extinct the industry apparently already is. Too bad, I guess. Facts are facts. After all, I read about it on somebody’s blog. (Read more…)

I’ve seen America, and his name is Joe

If you watched the presidential debate last night, you no doubt heard the many references by John McCain and Barack Obama to “Joe the plumber,” which might as well be written Joe the Plumber with a capital P, seeing as that’s his official name as far as the media is concerned. (Read more…)

Idiocy du jour: CNN’s debate EKG

Although I’ve railed on CNN in the past, I think their election coverage and analysis team on the whole has been top-notch. Even though I want to stab Wolf Blitzer with a screwdriver every time he parrots “the best political team on television,” I happen to believe that CNN does in fact have the best and fairest analyst group, and I must also confess that even John King’s overly informative Delegate Map (seen in the primaries, and certain to be seen on Nov. 4) is pretty darn cool.

CNN's debate EKG
Check this shit out (Fig. 1). McCain and Obama square off on the issues while partisan, color-coded lines tell you how much the candidates rock/suck.

But CNN still has a tendency to get bogged down in their goofy technological gimmicks, and the most recent and flagrant example has got to be that EKG-looking thing during the recent presidential and vice-presidential debates.

This thing is just plain stupid.

If you haven’t seen it, the way it works is this: A group of participants is selected and is given a dial that works not unlike the darkness selector on a toaster. During the debate, the participants turn the knobs either toward positive or negative to reflect their feelings based on what they’re hearing. Plus for positive (I like what I’m hearing); minus for negative (I don’t like what I’m hearing). Got it? The results are tallied in real time and fed to the readout which appears on the screen during the debate, sort of like a live heart monitor for debating acumen. (Read more…)

Race to the White House: The sports event of 2008

As I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to watching sports, there’s only one season that really matters to me: NFL season. From September until the Super Bowl, I watch football like an addict. Two games on Sunday — maybe even three — and then ESPN analysis. SportsCenter. NFL Primetime. Basically, any knowledgeable analysis of football becomes raw nourishment for my need to understand in detail what has happened and will happen on Any Given Sunday. (Read more…)

We’re a nation of knee-jerk responders

On Tuesday, about 45 miles from where I live, in the small central Illinois town of Pontiac, there was what’s known as a “gun scare” in a high school. What that means is there was no actual violence, no one was hurt, and no threats were made. (Read more…)

Save/Ban the Chief!

There are some controversial issues that I find I have no strong feelings about either way, until finally I find myself picking a side in the interests of whatever will fastest end the controversy, because I want the damn thing resolved already. (Read more…)

Is media playing the role of killer’s pawn?

In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, I’ve found myself wondering: What responsibilities should the media be taking in regard to its coverage of this particular kind of tragedy? I ask this as an outside observer as well as someone who works in the media, where we have posted on our own web site some of the very materials I will discuss here.

Obviously, the media must report the news. The public wants to know what happened, how, and why. I have no problems with the kind of coverage we got on the day of the shootings. (Granted, I only saw about an hour or so of television reports, but what I saw seemed to be generally solid. Wolf Blitzer and that absurd “Situation Room” need to go, but that’s a matter of personal taste for another blog.) (Read more…)