Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It's That Special Season.

Fall is the trees on fire, crisp air, cider, hunting, football, and...public radio begathons. This morning, Ira Glass, host of NPR's This American Life?, declared that the average American spends over $200 a year supporting the production of TV and radio programs, "many [programs] that you despise". So, Ira suggested, why not give some money to support NPR? But, dear Ira, what if the programming we despise includes much of the NPR programming?

But wait, there is a solution: do give to your local public radio station, but insist that your contribution go only towards local programming production. As we've discussed in Dead Drifts, NPR isn't really public radio, it's a corporation that takes public money (either by direct solicitiation or by legislative lobbying) and then decides for themselves what to fund for production. I don't remember ever getting a ballot from NPR to vote for a program, nor does the NPR website feature a "what kind of program would you like to hear?" form (correction - there is a suggestion box, buried deep in the site). I know what I want - let's rebroadcast the audio from the old Firing Line programs!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hurricane Delphi.

Delphi Corporation has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This, coupled with the return of the Ford prodigal son Visteon, is very bad news for the Michigan economy. It may signal that the business model assumed by the huge network of automobile parts suppliers, that has provided wealth and prosperity to many of the working people of this state for generations, is now inoperative. The Detroit News documents Delphi's woes and where things may go.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Eyes on the Ground.

Book TV recently featured a panel discussion featuring Michael Goldfarb, Anthony Shadid, Kayla Williams, and Steve Mumford. All have written first-hand accounts of their experience in post-Saddam Iraq. Certainly none of them would be considered cheerleaders for the White House's post-war administration of Iraq. But in response to a question by a strawhatted antiwar protestor from the audience, who fished for a denounciation of the war and a call for an immediate withdrawl by American forces, they were resolutely committed to staying the course. Their replies had a common theme - a moral obligation to the people of Iraq to stay and finish the job and to give them a chance to reap the benefits of democratic civilization. Perhaps there has been progress in journalism since the their celebrated abandonment of Vietnam.
Regarding Bennett, III.

William Bennett appeared in Bakersfield, Californina, and addressed the controversy regarding his recent remarks on abortion. The Los New York Angeles Associated Presstimes article on the appearance gave the essential account by the Mainstream Meatpackers:

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) -- Former Education Secretary William Bennett on Saturday blamed the news media for distorting his remarks about aborting black babies, saying he had intended to make ''a bad argument in order to put it down.''...

...Dozens of residents marched in protest outside the convention center where Bennett spoke, many saying they wanted to make sure he did not feel welcome in their community. Before the speech, local black leaders met with Bennett for an hour.

''He heard our outrage and our hurt, but he didn't say he was sorry,''
said Irma Carson, a Bakersfield councilwoman. ''We didn't take (his comment) out of context, because there's no context in which those comments would fit.''

Many in the largely white crowd attending Saturday's conference said it was clear to them that Bennett was using an extreme example that did not represent his views to make a point.

Doretha Jones said it was ''obvious'' that Bennett's radio remarks were ''just a discussion of a possibility that could be espoused by human beings who don't have any feelings for babies or for blacks.''

Bennett was education secretary under President Reagan and director of drug control policy under President George H.W. Bush.

A fragment of a single sentence is actually quoted as to what Bennett said at this venue. There is more as to what was said by the angry mobs outside the convention center. A quick check of the web indicated that this was the only account of the appearance that was circulating. Given the stir that his original comments created, one would think that providing an extended quotation might be more enlightening than what the AP wants to say about it. And just to make sure you haven't forgotten, Bennett is a card-carrying member of the Reagan-Bush Cabal.