Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The GOP's Bacon Addiction

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="As seen in Washington, D.C., the Bacon Briefcase! Perfect for bringing the pork home to your congressional district."]As seen in Washington, D.C., the Bacon Briefcase! Perfect for bringing the pork home to your congressional district.[/caption]

The Knoxville News Sentinel published the kind of story today that grates on my nerves to no end.

In a nut shell, the "fiscal conservatives" of my home state Tennessee are lining up to spend federal dollars. From the article:
"Our nation is sinking under a mountain of debt," said U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Chattanooga, who got nearly $4 million for various projects in his district. "While a very small percentage of the bill funded some worthwhile projects in Tennessee, the overall cost is way too high.

So there we have it. If I'm ever swimming, I hope Zack Wamp is not the lifeguard on duty. He says Uncle Sam is drowning, so the only appropriate thing to do? Hold his head under water.

What yanks my chain the most is the hypocrisy. Republicans conveniently forget their own rhetoric when it's time for funding requests. Yet that's all we hear from these clowns. "Spending is out of control, blah, blah, snore."

Spending is a big problem for the GOP. They love to hate it but can't help themselves, like teenagers with mommy and daddy's credit card.

These sorts of things live on though, and it's not to say it doesn't create an image problem. Spending habits will likely be talking points fodder for upcoming elections, especially when a "fiscal conservative" name is tied to the porky, bacony, greasy projects.

I hope they like this year's bacon because I suspect it will be the last year for pork under this president. Despite this year's omnibus bill, Obama has pledged to cut the fat in the future. So we might not see this much spending again until our next Republican administration.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Would You Rather?

Watch Elf, the 2003 Will Ferrell Christmas movie about a man who thinks he's an elf?

Or look for interesting kernals of political discourse from our nation's senators who are arguing over what to do with health care reform?

Believe it or not. Tonight. Christmastime nonsense wins me over.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Is The Tennessean a Threat to Journalism?

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="440" caption="It's easy to write inflammatory headlines."]Its easy to write inflammatory headlines.[/caption]

The headline "Is Islam a threat to America?" jumps off the pages of The Tennessean's Sunday edition.

In the words of president's supposed least favorite Christmas show star Charlie Brown: Good grief!

First: The famous question headline bothers me to no end, specifically when you're reporting on highly flammable subject matter.

Second: The subhead has an opportunity for some semblance of balance, but instead opts for the here's an opinion; here's the denial format. Seen here:
Nashville activists warn churchgoers of violent threats to America; Muslims call campaign unfair

Reading four or five graphs into the story, one can find a decent rebuttal that digs deeper than "no we're not."

Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.

The rest of the story goes on to offer some incredibly interesting -- sometimes shocking (local) -- points of view, but I dare say that many people won't keep reading. They'll be happy with the negative opinion they formed from just the headline.

Are Coal-Fueled Power Plants Bad For Our Lungs?

Is The Tennessean a Threat to Journalism?

Is Tiger Woods a Danger to His Children?

Can Sponge Bob Squarepants be Trusted?

All of these headlines plant an opinion in the reader's mind. Rather than opening a reader's mind to various viewpoints, these types of headlines subconsciously, sometimes consciously, force a reader to pick a side immediately by answering "yes" or "no."

Once a reader has an opinion formed, is it necessary to keep reading? Probably not.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Nondescript Apology by Tiger Woods

[caption id="attachment_121" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Tiger preparing to put his balls somewhere."]Tiger preparing to put his balls somewhere.[/caption]

"Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions," Tiger Woods says in a press release posted at his personal Web site.

Oh, Tiger. You just don't get it.

He may have mastered the art of reading a 60-foot put (with help from performance-enhancing Eagle Eye vision surgery) but he doesn't know jack about public relations or celebrity media.

You cheated once twice (that we know of), that's given. It's fact. It was printed by The Enquirer.

Next step is to come out squarely denying or 'fess up. Full disclosure. This won't go away until TMZ and funny papers run out of angles. And by the sound of the rumors flying around — you've given them plenty of angles. If addressing the situation head on is not your style, than shut your trap and fall off the planet for a few years. 'Cause if you don't think this is going to be brought up at every golf telecast for the next year, I think you're sadly mistaken.

You can't put yourself out there to become the most recognizable face in, let's say, THE WORLD, and expect absolute privacy.

What's even worse is the nondescript, sort-of apology he issued under the title, "Tiger comments on current events." And not one mention of Obama's Afghanistan war strategy! Here are the highlights with my commentary inserted in red:
I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. There "transgressions." Nice and tidy. Note the plural leaves plenty of ambiguity. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. No shit, I've seen you off the tees. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone. He's trying for a sympathy card here, but it ain't workin'. Billionaire philanderer + hot wife = No sympathy.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. Classic. Hang the messenger. Did I mention, NO ONE FEELS BAD FOR YOU? For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. She beats me, but I'll look like an ass if I say that here. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

This next paragraph is incredibly boring and redundant. Let me sum it up. Why can't I just live a private life in my incredibly exclusive gated neighborhood in my multi-million dollar mansion? But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. He's right about that. I could care less. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology. Blah, blah, snore.

He would have been better off not saying a thing.