Sunday, December 06, 2009

Afghan government corrupt? What about ours?

Surely no rational and honest person doubts corruption exists in governments around the world, especially such governments as Afghanistan. Well, I mean, since the United States "news" media and members of the United States government pretty generally proclaim it as fact, it must be true.
It's obvious why those members of the U.S. government would not want to talk about it, but why are the members of the "news" media so reluctant to point out that the U.S. government is also corrupt?
One reason there is so much corruption is illustrated by the weekly column of the TFP publisher, Tom Griscom, on 6 December.
While bragging about the splendid "news" coverage of the ongoing party primary campaigns and the upcoming primary and general elections, he makes this statement:
"In less than a year, a Republican and a Democrat will face off."
Yes, that is true, but it is only partly true: There will be others seeking those various contested governmental offices.
Since, though, the "news" media bothers to mention only the vested interests of the two old parties, the people, the voters, the citizens, the taxpayers who must foot the bills the victorious politicians run up will, as usual, be cheated of the needed knowledge and information to make proper choices.
That is, since the "news" media make mention only of the two old parties, it will always be a member of the two old parties who takes office.
And that, gentle reader, is exactly why government in the United States, and perhaps especially in Tennessee, is just as corrupt as government in almost any other place in the world, except with less murder (so far).
The corrupt and dishonest "news" media, coupled with corrupt and incompetent government schools, work together to keep us as uninformed as possible; as a result, frequently only the worst even attempt to get elected; and that means the very worst are the usual winners.

Clay Bennett must be a racist

Times editorial cartoonist Clay Bennett jumped on the demagogic bandwagon, joining the chorus crying "racist" for people who dared to disagree with the anointed one, Barack Obama.
Mr. Bennett even went so far as to call protesters Ku Kluxers in one especially nasty cartoon.
The "logic," or whatever lefties of his ilk use in lieu of, is that anyone who disagrees with the African-American president can't have any other basis for disagreement, so, QED, must be racist.
Well, on Sunday, 6 December, his cartoon attacks the almost equally black golfer, Tiger Woods, showing a golf cart with mud flaps sometimes found on over-the-road trailers depicting the exaggerated form of a female.
What else can we think of Mr. Bennett except he must be a racist, and probably a covert member of the KKK?

TFP cheats readers, and others, again

With circulation dwindling (gee, I wonder why) and, thus, income and profits, publishers of "news" papers cut every corner and finagle every way they can.
One way the TFP publishers have found is to compress the funnies and slap some advertising onto the "extra" space.
Never mind that making them smaller makes them harder to read, and never mind that certain cartoonists, such as "Doonesbury" artist Garry Trudeau, even have contracts mandating a certain size, half of the front page of the Sunday funnies of 6 December is devoted to an ad for a satellite TV service (with a bargain rate of $19.99 for "over 120 channels") and the entire back page is an ad for a heater.
Never mind, too, that, as often stated here, the funnies are not only the best feature on this or any paper, often they are the only readable part, especially in this paper.
The number of strips has been cut over the years, with budget constraints and retirements ("Fox Trot" and "For Better Or Worse," for example), but this compression is really an insult.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Amazing: Paper does something right -- twice

As mentioned previously, John Trever is one of the most brilliant editorial cartoonists in the world -- in fact, in the history of the world.
His home base is the Albuquerque Journal, otherwise not a very distinguished paper, but located in one of the greatest places to live in the United States.
In the two-dimensional "thinking" that suffocates U.S. political discussion, Mr. Trever is usually thought of as "conservative."
In truth, he is much more intelligent than that.
As a political thinker, he is advanced far above the herd, and as an artist, he wields a pen in such manner to prove he is genuinely worthy of the term "artist."
Well, lately his work has been showing up in the TFP more often, not, unfortunately, replacing the loathsome Clay Bennett, but supplementing Bennett's work, and enlivening the otherwise deadly-dull Times editorial page -- AND appearing as the chief cartoon on the Free Press page.
Wait. What? Trever cartoons on both pages?
Yes! And, joy to behold, on Friday, 4 December, his work is on both pages -- both pages the same day!
Mark your calendar, and paint the date red. When TWO Trever cartoons get published the same day, it's almost worth buying the thing.
One site to look at:
For the Albuquerque Journal:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Times: More obscenely stupid daily

As mentioned, a time or two, the Times Free Press has two editorial pages. On the right, in two senses, are the more-or-less conservative views with editorials written by Lee Anderson; on the left, the editorials are apparently written, at least mostly, by Harry Austin.
As is true of newspaper editorials in my experience, the writing is usually stultifying and not intelligent.
The left side also has the work of one Clay Bennett, a vicious, unintelligent and/or dishonest cartoonist.
Sunday, he drew a bookstore with a section labeled "Self Help" and another labeled "Self Serving," stocked solely with Sarah Palin's new book.
Of course Bennett hasn't read the book; perhaps he doesn't know how to read; perhaps it's just that his mind (using the term loosely) is made up and he refuses to be confused with any facts.
Still, it's odd to see "self serving" as his pejorative of the day, this man who signs his name in fairly large letters on each cartoon.
Wednesday, still without reading the book, he makes another dig, this time with a character saying, "I heard she had a ghost whiner."
One must wonder what motivates such ugliness: Fear?
I've never heard of Sarah Palin threatening to throw, say, cartoonists into jail or fining them or even taxing them.
Then why so much fear, and of course not just from such lightweights as the loathsome Bennett. Time, formerly known as a "news" magazine, did its best to trivialize her, and the moron Joy Behar managed to make several untruthful statements in the one paragraph I heard her speak before I clicked on the channel changer.
Would I vote for Sarah Palin? Of course not. She's a Republican. But I would really like to see some sense of decency and proportionality. Even just a little.

In a private e-mail, a Tennessee legislator referred to President Obama as "a socialist," obviously a term seldom heard, and one that must cause trembling in such places as the editorial page office of such rags as the Times Free Press.
Mr. Austin, or whichever robot wrote the Wednesday editorial, says this: "The right-wing myth that President Obama is a socialist ..."
Perhaps Mr. Austin doesn't own a dictionary. Certainly there is much evidence no such book resides anywhere near the news and editorial rooms.
But surely any United States adult should know the word "socialist" means "an advocate of government ownership of the means of production."
How is Mr. Obama not a socialist?
My guess is the socialists, such as likely Mr. Austin, just don't want to admit to ownership of the word, don't want us to realize they are indeed socialists, and sometimes national socialists.
In an otherwise mediocre -- at best -- "news" paper, it also seems the socialists inform the rest of the paper, too.

"Poll: Americans say rich should pay for reforms"
An Associated Press story indicates the complete failure of U.S. schools and the overwhelming success of the "news" media and academia in gulling the public.
Even though facts show otherwise, 72 percent who responded to this poll said they believe "insurance companies made too much profit."
Greed and envy are now apparently the chief motivating factors of not just the Democrat Party but an increasingly large percent of the public ... at least the ones the AP queried.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Blind faith or superstition?

While religion, even the majority's Christian religion, gets a battering from the so-called "news" media, members of the media themselves continue to be overcome by superstition and blind faith.
This is a headline on Page 1 of the Tuesday, 3 November, edition: "Stimulus helps save jobs in Georgia, Tennessee."
The sole source of the "facts" in the story? A government Web site,
Gosh, the lapdog press is so credulous.

Has subject addled "editors'" brains?

Cable television and Internet connection are being offered by the Electric Power Board, and most people have been looking forward to having competition to the corrupt and incompetent Comcast.
However, just recently it was discovered that EPB will be offering, among its cable choices, (gasp!) so-called "adult" TV, including the Playboy channel.
Naturally, since this is Chattanooga, ire has been raised. (Why do people forget they don't HAVE to watch television, and certainly don't HAVE to subscribe to any cable service?)
In a story Monday, 2 November, further proof is offered that perhaps "stimulus" money should be used to hire at least one capable copy editor for the TFP.
"Critics object to a government-owned utility putting out what they say is pornography. But EPB says it has a free speech mandate not to censure a diverse programming menu ..."
Obviously the word should be "censor."
"David Fowler, a former Republican state senator who now heads the Family Action Council of Tennessee, contends there is no excuse for a government identity peddling porn."
Obviously that should be "government entity."
And it is also obvious there ought to be more opposition to a government's getting into the entertainment business, but the Comcast monopoly has done such a lousy, and expensive, job of delivering cable TV that even many free enterprises have put their principles into escrow for the nonce.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Consistency, thy name ain't Lee Anderson

As noted here previously, the Times Free Press has a perhaps unique policy of two editorial pages and two editorial policies ... sort of.
The Times has a left-wing fascist approach; the Free Press has a right-wing fascist approach.
Lee Anderson, long-time editorial writer for the right-hand pages, claims to be a strong supporter of the Constitution.
He is pretty consistently against further federal taxes (though he pretty consistently supports additional local taxes) and further federal encroachment ... unless his personal moral code calls for further federal encroachment.
For example, in an editorial on Sunday, 25 October, titled, "Wrong policy on marijuana," he takes to task the Obama administration for what seems to be its very first correct stand on legal matters.
Obama's attorney general Holder has decreed the feds will no longer violate the Constitution by harassing users of medical marijuana, at least in those states that have voted to legalize that particular herb.
Mr. Anderson's last paragraph reads, "Government cannot stop all illegal drug use, but its actions ought not to send the destructive, false message that drug abuse is OK."
Nowhere have I seen that Mr. Holder, or even Pres. Obama, endorses abusing marijuana -- they are too busy abusing taxpayers and citizens and Fox News.
But Mr. Anderson, handicapped by his superstitious Southern Christian background, fails miserably in being consistent, in being logical, in being rational.
To say "We won't throw you in jail because you have a different lifestyle or moral code from ours" is not the same as saying "Yeah, man, let's go wild and smoke that pot."
Forgetting for the moment that marijuana is less harmful than either tobacco or alcohol -- and obviously Mr. Anderson (who was probably there) has forgotten that alcohol once was itself illegal -- let's just carefully read the Constitution ... and we find there is not one word that allows the feds any authority to tell people they can't use marijuana, and especially is there not a word or syllable allowing the feds to override state laws on the subject.
Perhaps a foolish consistency is to be avoided, but it would be nice to find an intelligent consistency.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Doonesbury joins fray

Garry Trudeau, originator and probably still sometime writer of the "Doonesbury" cartoon strip, has jumped in to the fray with both feet in his mouth.
His strip of Sunday, 27 September, makes the claim that Hitler was the greatest evil in history.
As Al Smith might have said, let's look at the record: Most people believe Hitler killed six million people.
Actually, six million is the generally accepted figure for the number of Jews murdered.
There were at least twice that, counting other religious or ethnic victims.
Yet Stalin and Khrushchev murdered more than that just in (what was then known as the) Ukraine. I believe it was Harrison Salisbury who said the total number of Stalin victims was about 85 million.
Mao and the Chinese Communists murdered between 50 and 100 million!
Why, why, why do the American leftists seem never to admit there is evil on the left?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Terry Stulce still not sane

One-time would-be candidate for Congress Terry Stulce has popped back out of the woodwork to write a letter to the editor, 23 September.
He would have been better served keeping a lower profile.
Once again, Mr. Stulce, of whom I used to think favorably, acts as the sock puppet to his ventriloquist masters in the Demagogic Party.
He has a letter referring to "the stench of racism," a nonsensical charge even the alleged victim of any racism has pooh-poohed. (As I have said elsewhere, President Obama is standing head and shoulders above his supporters, and not taken that very low road marched down by his boot-lickers and sycophants, especially those in the "news" media.)
Face it: The Demagogues have not a leg of logic, not a toe, to stand on and they must smear their opponents with their handiest brush. (Even Republicans are starting to look better by comparison.)
As I have said elsewhere, and will say again, Samuel Johnson's "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" is way out of date. Today, the last refuge of a scoundrel is "You are a racist."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Foul-minded cartoonist further oversteps

Nasty and unintelligent, or perhaps dishonest, cartoonist Clay Bennett has joined the caterwauling chorus of leftist lunacy proclaiming the protests are "racist."
He really overstepped any bounds of decency with a cartoon (and he does draw well) of a protest crowd gathered around a burning cross.
Bennett is either a -- and I hate this word and its too-frequent use -- liar, knowing what he draws is untrue, or he is really super-stupid and he actually believes that nonsense, despite the proof to the contrary.
Take a look at this YouTube video:
I'll bet Bennett won't even look.
Here's another site:

Response to e-mail

Reporter Emily Bregel has answered my e-mail, very cordially, too. (See "Tempest" post below.)
She does, though, persist in her belief her reporting was not partisan and she persists in her belief that her use of "debunked" was both not partisan and accurate.
I have replied to her nice note and hope she will continue our correspondence.
If she gives her permission, I will pass on what she said.
Cautionary note: Despite her courtesy, her cordiality, her attitude and her knowledge, or lack thereof, and that of other members of the "news" media, continue to hold our nation in peril.
Their firm belief that they know best, when in fact they don't know much at all, will likely be the downfall of our republic.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Argument by intimidation

Lacking any relevant evidence to the contrary, Times editors recently responded to an intelligent question with what must be considered, among other things, a foolish non sequitur.
An intelligent, but naive, letter to the editor took the Times robots to task for continuing to publish the columns of Paul Krugman: "How many letters do you need to get before you realize this guy is not an economist, but a left-wing extremist."
The crushing rejoinder from the Times editorial page editor: "Editor's note: Princeton economist Paul Krugman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics last year."
Wow, there is certainly no comeback for that.
Q.E.D. Proof positive that every thought of Mr. Krugman is gold.
Yessir, there, right in front of us, is just further evidence of why newspapers are fast going the way of the dodo.
Oh, the letter-writer's naivete is that he seems to believe the Times would cease publishing something just because it is wrong and full of garbage. Hah!
That's the raison-d'etre for the Times.

Who's "mean-spirited"?

Not too many years ago, one of the pet smear words of the left was "mean-spirited," meaning, essentially, anyone, especially Republicans, who didn't go along with the latest trendy collectivist notion, and, worse, even dared to take a public stand in opposition.
Well, today "mean-spirited" is so very apt for the media left generally and, especially, for Clay Bennett, the nasty and not very intelligent cartoonist for the Times.
On Wednesday, 3 September, his pithy observation is a simple pair of snakes slithering around, one saying to the other, "Yeah, Dick Cheney makes my skin crawl, too."
This kind of mean-spirited hate doesn't really do much for civil discourse, doesn't add a thing to any kind of public discussion.
I wonder, often, how people like Bennett can sleep at night, and I'm sure he must have a beard because how could he look at himself each morning to shave?

Monday, August 31, 2009

"Tempest at town halls"

In the Sunday, 30 August, edition, that was the headline on a typical story. I wrote the reporter whose name was on it:

31 August 2009

Ms. Emily Bregel

Dear Ms. Bregel,
You did a pretty good job in your Sunday article on the “tempest” around the so-called health care reform proposals, but you stepped away from reporting into advocacy in one paragraph in particular.

You said, or perhaps an editor made you say, “… referring to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s widely debunked assertion that the Obama administration’s reform proposal would lead to government panels deciding to withhold health care for those deemed ‘unproductive.’”

There are several things wrong in that one partial sentence.

First, Sarah Palin is not the only person to make such a claim. Writings by Pres. Obama’s own medical adviser discusses, even advocates, exactly such a panel. If you need documentation, please let me know and I’ll send it.

In those countries and even states where some government or other controls health care, individual bureaucrats or groups of them are making such decisions even as we sit here.

Of course no one involved would call it a “death panel” and would, in fact, flinch from any such appellation, or even hint of such intentions. And possibly it really is an extreme statement of what is proposed … but it is not completely wrong.

Second, the assertion has indeed been widely opposed and even denounced but not disproved. If you want to talk about ideas that have been “widely debunked,” I offer you the notion of human-caused global warming. Thousands of scientists and philosophers have “debunked” the idea, but the notion still holds sway among politicians and journalists and indeed some other scientists, especially those dependent on government grants.

The terminology itself is not honest journalism. Merriam-Webster defines it thus: “to expose the sham or falseness of.” You, or an editor, take sides with such phraseology.

I spent too many years as a journalist myself to allow such partisanship to go unchallenged.

Finally, let me share with you this story of a government-run health-care system:

Disease vector — Though swine flu has yet to do much harm in the United States, it is not only Mexico and parts south that are suffering. The virus has spread quickly among the tribal villages of far northern Manitoba, accounting for one-quarter of that province’s sick. The urgency of the situation is compounded by many of the affected communities lacking a source of running water, making impossible the hygienic procedures necessary for containing the flu.
As one might imagine, getting vaccines to such remote locations is a daunting logistical challenge, and a demonstration of how poorly suited bureaucratic structures are for tasks such as delivering emergency aid. One might think, though, that the many layers of government devoted to ensuring Canadian health care could at least coordinate an airdrop of a case of hand sanitizer. But healthcare paternalism is way too advanced up north to roll back now; the Toronto Star (June 25) reports that “Health Canada had delayed sending alcohol-based hand sanitizers to some First Nations communities for fear some residents might drink it.”
So here we have a simple and cheap method for dealing with the virus among one of the poorest groups of people in the country, kept at bay by the fear that this method will speed the demise of chronic alcoholics whose lives already have less expectancy than those infected with the flu. The utter predictability of it all is telling; yet another giveaway that healthcare boards have far less interest in the public weal than in the perpetuation of their own power. — Andrew Ferguson

You will please note that this is not an attack on you, nor really an attack on what you wrote, or at least what had your byline.
It is, though, a plea that you try to avoid partisanship in the future, or try to urge your editor to avoid it.
If you have any questions on the subject or any aspects thereof, I will be more than happy to help you find the answers.
Thanking you for your time and attention, I am
Yours sincerely and respectfully,
Michael Morrison

Monday, August 10, 2009

Paper publishes, encourages hate, dishonesty

Times cartoonist Clay Bennett is either dishonest or unintelligent ... or, to be fair, I guess he could be both.
Obviously he wouldn't have been hired for his position if he weren't a flaming leftie, but even for this excuse of a paper and even for this astonishingly stupid editorial page, Bennett is something of an extremist.
His Sunday, 9 August, cartoon, straight out of the talking points directive from the Democrat National Committee, shows the back of some speaker at a town hall meeting looking at an audience where all the signs say, for example, "Obamacare equals communism" and "Health care reform promotes euthanasia."
The caption reads, "Unfortunately, the town hall meeting was taken over by the village idiots."
One of the major problems with such leftists as Bennett is the unwillingness to grant either intelligence or knowledge or sincerity to their opponents; one of the other problems with such leftists as Bennett is their eagerness to set up straw men, who are, of course, much easier to knock down than the real opponents.
And it is much easier to knock down straw men than to deal with the issues, such as the obscene costs such government intrusion will have, or the total lack of any constitutional authority, or, most of all, the total immorality of such intrusion.
When such hatemongers as Clay Bennett are given access to such a podium, is it any wonder those who oppose further federal interference get angry?
Is such distortion by such hatemongers as Bennett going to help or just further such anger?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Not news: TFP run by incompetent morons

This is a letter to the editor, Sunday, 4 July:

Have we acquired another tyranny?

We are celebrating the independence of our country from England. How wonderful that there were such giants at that particular time. The courage, dedication, selflessness, and wisdom that it took to form our government were phenomenal.
Have we swapped one tyranny for another? It appears so. Without teaching history, how can our young know the true meaning of courage, sacrifice and independence? The government does not make jobs and create income. It doles out transfer payments from producers -- it just seems to come from the government.
To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, we cannot raise up one person by tearing down another. We are saddling our economy and our future with a debt from which we may not recover. We're penalizing our producers to benefit non-producers. We are hobbling our industry with costs and restrictions that our competitor countries are not dealing with. We're raising taxes and costs on people with the economy in recession. We have politicians trying to run bands, corporations and the government who've never even run a candy store.
Let's hope and pray the nation will come to its collective senses. I fear that it will not.
Save energy, paper and money -- get the Green Toolbar.
Don Moon

The incompetents at the TFP obviously don't even read their copy before sending it off to the presses.
And that's one more reason normal people don't read the raggedy paper.
I am trying to contact Mr. Moon to learn his reaction to the morons' adding that advertising line to his letter.
My guess is incredulity.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

13th Amendment ignored if not repealed

In few words, it says, "1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
(Note, by the way, the reference to "their" jurisdiction. The Constitution was still acknowledging that these United States compose a union of sovereign states.)
"Involuntary servitude," in other words, is thenceforth, illegal.
Yet this story appeared in the TFP Saturday, 23 May, on Page A1: "Arrests near for jury-duty dodgers."
"Two Hamilton County residents will be arrested for failing to show up for jury duty, officials confirmed Friday.
"The arrest warrants are the first to be issued since Tennessee's new, tougher jury rules went into effect at the beginning of the year."
So, someone who finds it abhorrent to put another human being into a cage will himself be put into a cage?
Or someone who has been out of town and didn't get his mail is now subject to being jailed?
Or, even more basic, a citizen, a human individual, can be forced into being on a panel that might put another human being into a cage?
And what are the reasons for that caging? Perhaps that human being ingested some substance that doesn't have official approval?
Still, let me re-stress that basic point: How can a country that claims to be free in actuality force allegedly free human beings into servitude -- by definition involuntary servitude?
Jury duty is something an awful lot of people actually fear.
Probably tens of thousands of people across the country never register to vote purely out of the fear of being called for jury duty.
Now, of course, the statists and collectivists use driver license lists as well as voter rolls, and sometimes other lists, to find victims for the conscription.
Finally, consider the ridiculous contradiction of forcing people to be jurists, based on the paradox that the jury system protects freedom.
Probably that part is true: Juries can provide a bulwark against tyranny, as witness some great trials in history when the jurors refused to accept the court's orders, even risking punishment themselves to stand for right.
(I recommend you check into the Fully Informed Jury Association.)
Juries are, and are so told in, for example, Georgia, arbiters of both the law and the facts in any individual case.
But in far too many states, juries are lied to and told they must rule according to a judge's instructions, and phooey on the immorality or irrationality of any law.
Try, though, to volunteer for jury service. Try it.
In most states, if not all, that is not allowed.
Jurors are selected only from a bunch of coerced people who mostly don't want to be there.
Someone defined a jury as twelve people who are too dumb to get out of jury duty.
Very cynical, perhaps, but it is also a truism that lawyers often want the dumbest people possible on a jury.
There must be a better system. Coercion is always wrong.
Maybe someone reading this will offer a more reasonable plan.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pot suspicious of kettle

"Morley Safer," reads the headline, "suspicious of the blogosphere."
In the TFP of Thursday, 21 May, in the section called "People in the News" which is usually reserved to stories about show biz folks, is the Associated Press story about the "CBS News veteran" saying "he trusts citizen journalism as much as he would trust citizen surgery."
Safer, 77, "said good journalism needs structure and responsibility."
Most rational and knowledgeable people agree that CBS has been responsible, responsible for some mighty dishonest and biased reporting for a mighty long time.
From my childhood, CBS was known as the "Communist Broadcasting System" for its far-left orientation.
The only thing worse than the CBS bias was the CBS sanctimony when people expressed their belief in its bias.
To this day, the "Rather-biased" Dan tries to insist he believed his obvious forgery about George W. Bush's National Guard service, and swears it's true ... despite all the evidence.
Are there ignorami, paranoiacs, wackos, liars, and propagandists among the blogosphere? Yep. Just as there are among the CBS "news" people.
Which is not to omit NBC and ABC from this charge. ABC, for example, used to carry signs to '60s demonstrations to be sure it would have plenty to take pictures of.
With the blogosphere, though, we have a lot more options and we can make comparisons of some different perspectives we never get from those networks.

13th Amendment Repealed?

"Truant's parent given jail time," reads a front-page headline Thursday, 21 May.
In a story by the unfortunately named ChloƩ Morrison (not that there's anything wrong with "ChloƩ"), we are told a juvenile court judge in Marion County sentenced "the mother of a Whitwell Elementary School second grader to 48 hours in jail for not getting her child to school."
Here is the astonishing news, leading to the headline on this post: "School leaders said they are forced to crack down on parents of truant students because federal law requires schools to have high attendance rates."
Knowing the very low quality of "school leaders" in this part of the world, I suppose it is quite possible they actually believe the hogwash quoted here.
In fact, though, there is not one word in the U.S. Constitution that allows any federal official or agency to "require schools to have high attendance rates."
However, perhaps the gimmick is the one so many of us tried to warn about, the unconstitutional law that says, Obey our orders or we will cut your funding.
"School leaders" across this once-great nation have foolishly, and perhaps criminally, been suckered by the promise of "free money," and continue to pant and beg for it even after they learn about some of the catches, including having to match or more than match that "free money" and, worst of all, unquestioned obedience to the "education czars," although it is far less about education than about schooling.
Ironically, the "No Child Left Behind" concept was accountability, but the actual result has been obedience to educrats, far less knowledge among the youthful victims, and a huge growth industry in layers of bureaucrats among school districts across the country.
Neither the 13th nor the 10th Amendments allow such federal intervention, but the cowardice of "school leaders" has over-ridden the law.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Writers should know correct English first

Before trying to be cute, reporters and editors really should know the English language, then understand the variations and dialects.
In the fyiWeekend insert, the entertainment magazine published each Friday, there is this sentence in an article about the "Legendary Loretta Lynn," which she truly is.
"When Loretta Lynn sings about whooping a rival after her man ..."
"Whooping" is what certain cranes do, or perhaps partiers, along with "hollering."
What writer Barry Courter meant was "whupping," and if the TFP had any competent editors, that is what the printed article would have said.
There is also some confusion about just when the Loretta Lynn show will be: The final sentence says, "She said fans who come to the show Saturday will hear 'whatever comes to mind and whatever people holler out. That's what happens. We just let it happen.'"
Unfortunately, the schedule, in the inset box and earlier in the copy, says the show is Sunday.
If lots of people show up Saturday, the TFP could have an exclusive scoop, with photos of an angry mob.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Deserved mention: TFP gets TV Times right

This should have been written sooner. I'm often very quick to point out the errors and stupidities of the TFP, and therefore when it gets something right, I really ought to mention it just as quickly.
Well, after futzing around for weeks, and making the situation worse each time, the people in charge of the TV Times insert finally got the program listings right.
The magazine finally has figured how to keep the number of pages down but still list all the programs scheduled.
It continues with two pages for all the daytime programming but now manages to get in all the movies, such as on TCM and AMC, and other variations, such as at USA.
It took them a while, but By George they got it.

TFP's Department of Redundancies Department

Newspapers are slowly disappearing from our lives.
I would like to think that one reason is people's disgust with the general sloppiness and poor quality. I don't think it, but would like to.
If, though, the Times Free Press were losing readers because of linguistic incompetence, then it lost another batch with a headline of Wednesday, 13 May. The story is about the mini-city of Ridgeside, which somehow came into existence though entirely enclosed inside Chattanooga.
The headline: "Surrounded on all sides."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hate surprising even for today's climate

People like Sean Hannity and Monica Crowley manage to personalize the political arguments and make them difficult ever to resolve.
But the right-wingers, even the most rabid, can't seem to equal in venom, in sheer nastiness the hate-mongering racism of certain leftists, especially one letter writer to the TFP.
In the Monday, 4 May, edition, one Rickey Spivey, Sr., makes this astonishing comment: "All right already, Columnist Thomas Sowell. Black and white folks get that you're the black journalist who doesn't agree with the black president. Uncle Tom would be proud."
This hate-filled ignoramus obviously knows nothing about Dr. Sowell, who is not a "journalist" but a scholar, author of dozens of books, and one of the most highly admired economists in the world.
Dr. Sowell, whom I have severely criticized (see, "Sowell sells out" and started life in segregated poverty, and pulled himself up by his bootstraps, making himself into a highly educated and brilliant scholar.
Rickey Spivey, Sr., whose shriveled soul is destined for a place even hotter than a Chattanooga summer, concluded his screed with this paragraph: "You mentioned witch hunt and people being 'demonized' for disagreeing with the Homeland Security paper. Didn't Bush and the boys demonize people who disagreed with the war in Iraq? Now will be a great time to have a federal police force to keep those stay-at-home terrorists and you at bay."
Childish writing, fascistic ideology, and psychotic rhetoric all in one letter -- another reason the TFP is having to cut back on pages and staff.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What? Defending the TFP?

No blog, probably no single public voice is as critical of the "news" paper as is this one right here, but, look, right is right, wrong is wrong, and blind stupidity is, yes, blind stupidity.
A letter to the editor, published Thursday, 23 April, is headlined "Slanted cartoons a daily onslaught." One might think it's a reference to the house editorial cartoonist, Clay Bennett, but no, this is what it says:
"I have been a subscriber to your paper ever since I moved to Tennessee. I, along with some other people to whom I have talked, are sick and tired of the daily political conservative slanted cartoons. Enough is enough! If this daily onslaught against our president continues, I will not be renewing my subscription. Not only that, I will be sure to address this issue with all of the Democratic offices in the state. ... When Mr. Bush was in office, you did not put such daily trash in the paper ..."
Ronald C. Merrill, of Dayton, Tenn., is listed as the author and in many ways I feel sorry for him. I mean, I'd hate to have my name in public attached to such ignorant nonsense.
Though it can't take credit for much, the TFP does deserve plaudits for one thing: Each day, and I mean seven days a week (so far), it runs two separate and different editorial pages.
Yes, on both sides, the editorials themselves are usually stultifying, boringly written, and betraying very little intellectual content.
But there ARE two pages, one "liberal" and one "conservative."
Though the Times side, the left page, carries mostly stultifying and dull (and often mean-spirited) columnists such as Ellen Goodman and E.J. Dionne, Jr., the right side will carry the brilliant Walter Williams, along with some not-so-brilliant columnists, too.
The left side has its own cartoonist, the aforesaid Bennett, and also carries the hate-filled Luckovich and others, but the point is this: Mr. Merrill is apparently blind as a bat.

Might makes right?

With readership and, thus, income dropping, "news" organizations are seeking desperately for SOMEthing to write about, ANYthing.
Except, often, news.
When Texas Governor Rick Perry used the "s-word," secession, naturally the intellects in the "news" media were all a-flutter.
In the TFP of 19 April, an article from McClatchy Newspapers, but with no other byline, was headlined "Secession talk strikes a chord."
A clever opening read, "Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to have given new life to the state's two decades-old tourism promotion -- Texas: It's like a whole other country."
Here is a paragraph from the middle of the story: "The fact is, the treaty under which Texas joined the union provides that it could be divided into five states. But it is not empowered to leave the union, a question settled by the Civil War."
So forget common sense, ignore logic, turn away from more intelligent and knowledgeable historians and Constitutional authorities and concentrate on one thing: The Yankees had more soldiers, more and better weaponry, and an industrial base from which to wage war like that of Attila and Genghis Khan, destroying farms and homes and burning private and public buildings and looting and leaving homeless women and children by the tens of thousands.
But they won, and therefore must have had God and St. George and all other Right on their side.
That, gentle reader, is what passes for "news" coverage these days.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dishonesty in advertising

A full page insert in a recent edition of the TFP shouts, with large red capitals,
SINCE 1776"
Right below is a picture of the Constitution (which was written in 1787), beginning "We the People of the United States ..."
This from a publication that on a frequent, if not regular, basis omits needed facts, distorts others, and on one of its editorial pages, and sometimes both, calls for more and bigger government -- is that hypocrisy, fraud, or merely inconsistency?

Doubly astonishing column in TFP

As noted here before, Leonard Pitts, Jr., is a left-wing racist columnist, but who must get at least partial credit for his column in the TFP Sunday, 12 April.
The headline is "Let's at least begin talking about leglizing" (sic) "drugs in U.S."
Obviously no one read the headline before sending the page to press, and there is probably a good chance no one read the column either since it almost makes sense, especially considering the source.
Naturally, being from Pitts, there is a racial element. Pitts blames the whole "War on Drugs" (also known as "The Insane War on Drugs" and as "The War on Some Drugs") as coming "into being under President Nixon, whose chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, once quoted the president as saying, 'You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to.'"
Pitts' silly and/or paranoid belief is just one among many, including the belief that William R. Hearst started the anti-marijuana war in order to make sure his forests in Canada would continue to be the prime source of wood pulp.
Another was that, when Prohibition ended, Harry Anslinger wanted to keep some kind of government job so the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was formed to help him.
Regardless of the nonsense from Pitts and the TFP, it really is way past time to do more than talk about "leglizing" drugs.
Look at the thousands of deaths just in Mexico because of the drug war -- NOT because of drugs, but because their illegality makes them so profitable. Even Pitts is able to see the comparison to the era of Prohibition and the resultant rise of organized crime in the United States. (But at least we got Las Vegas.)
My guess is very few people bother to read Pitts' columns any more, but this time he really has said something needing saying.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Correction: TFP did so write on Tea Party

I do apologize to you the reader and to the maligned Times Free Press: On 15 April, the paper did run a story on the Tea Party to be held that night, on Page B-3, and there was a related story in business, "Tax deadline a yearly ritual."
Well, the paper says it's related.

Finally, TFP sees a story

"Tax Day Tea Party draws big crowd" is the inane headline on the story of the Chattanooga gathering.
Reporter Adam Crisp's story was pretty fair, but there is this error: "The tea parties were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington and led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey."
In fact, there were probably dozens, even scores, of organizations and thousands of individuals promoting the nationwide tea parties.
Whether it's Mr. Crisp's intent, or an "editor's," making mention of only one backing group terribly misleads the readers and terribly distorts the meaning of the phenomenon.
Otherwise, the too-short article gave a nice overview, quoting local organizer Mark West and some others in attendance.
So why did the TFP not give any advance mention?
Will the rag give future coverage?
We'll keep looking.
ADDENDUM: Mr. Crisp did NOT intend any bias. The lack of good background is not his fault. The "news" media in general can be faulted, and the TFP in particular, but not Mr. Crisp.

One more reason it's called a "news" paper

Probably the biggest domestic story this month is the widespread "Tea Parties" phenomenon.
Until Tuesday, 14 April, the Times Free Press published NOT ONE WORD about it until a letter to the editor made mention of the local party, giving time, place, and date.
Millions of people throughout the country have been expressing opposition, even anger, and thousands of people locally have joined in.
Yet NOT ONE WORD has appeared in the miserable excuse for a "news" paper that is the Times Free Press.
Even some of the more leftish "news" organizations have at least made mention, and even the Fox News Channel -- which went out of its way to avoid mention of, for example, Ron Paul and his presidential candidacy and has bent over backward to avoid mentioning the Libertarian Party -- has broadcast stories leading up to the event.
But good ol' "without fear or favor" TFP has managed to miss the biggest story.

Irony and lousy editing

On Page 1 of the Metro section, 14 April, there is this sentence: "Ray Diaz, 46, was pronounced dead on arrival at Earlanger hospital after police responded to 1653 Fernwood Circle on a domestic disorder call and found Mr. Diaz laying unresponsive in the front yard."
The story doesn't say what kind of direct object "unresponsive" is, whether it's like a brick or an egg.
Right above, in a story of a fatal traffic accident, is this sentence: "Neither the driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, nor the boy were identified by police."
"Neither ... were" is, of course, more semi-literate writing and/or editing.
Here's the irony: On the back page of the Life section is a story by James Yolles of Columbia News Service; its headline is, "Obsessive about possessive's? Youve got company out there (sic)"
The story refers to, among other errors, the common mistake of making plurals by adding apostrophe s ('s). (You see it a lot in genealogy circles and on mailboxes: The Smith's, the Johnson's, the Jones's. It is, I believe, further evidence the American republic is doomed.)
Apparently SOMEone at the TFP knows the rules of punctuation, and apparently even has a sense of humor.
Too bad that someone isn't given more to do, since obviously the TFP is in desperate need of someone who knows how to edit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Does anybody read this? Not its "editors"

Though I've commented before on the waste of space taken up by "late nite laughs" in the TV Times, I want to give you one more example.
From the issue of 5-11 April, here is the entire section of quotes from "The Late Show with David Letterman (Mar 18 09)":
*Friday is the first day of spring. You know it's spring in New York City when the rats come out of hibernation.
*You know it's spring in New York City when the street vendors start putting chlorine in the hotdog water.
*They say in 150 years, when he gets out, the recession will likely be over.

The first two inanities (obviously I'm no Letterman fan) might stand alone, even though they're not very funny. The third, though, makes absolutely no sense.
With so many people out of work, surely the Chattanooga Publishing Co. could find one real editor, someone who would actually read the stuff he puts onto the pages.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Even glucosamine won't help this knee jerk

Alaska's former senator Ted Stevens was investigated and prosecuted by the federal "Justice" department, and Stevens was found guilty. That decision was announced in time for him to lose the senatorial election last November.
Well, surprise, surprise, the new "Justice" department found all kinds of misbehavior by the prosecutors, threw out the charges, and has said there will be no further action against Stevens.
The Times editorial writer of 8 April said this: "During the Bush years, the Justice Department" (sic) "was known for its cavalier ways. There is much to support that view. ... Politics, not the rule of law, prevailed at that time."
Yeah, yeah. The editorialist apparently missed the fact that Mr. Stevens was himself a Republican.
In the winter of 1976-77, I visited in Tennessee and Virginia and was inundated by snow, three and four times a week.
I got back to California just in time to see the beginning of what became a 10-year drought.
I phoned a local radio talk show to comment, "We never had weather like this until Jimmy Carter got elected."
The host, the legendary Hilly Rose, laughed.
Sad to say, Democrats and other lefties, including in the media, have made similar statements for the last eight years, but weren't intentionally joking.
Such as, we never had hurricanes like Katrina until George W. Bush was president.
Everything bad, storms, plagues, wars, boils, can be blamed on the other party, but it is only mean-spiritedness that allows any blame to befall our side.

Journalist Karl Marx would feel right at home

Devaluing the individual, submerging individuals into the mass was not exactly invented by Karl Marx. The idea goes back to at least Plato, who liked to say it was Socrates'.
Still none of those ancient people had the additional stigma of being a writer for "news" publications.
The old joke about Karl Marx was that the paper he wrote for is to blame for communism: If it had paid him less, he would have starved to death; if it had paid him more, he would have been a capitalist.
Well, though his flesh is gone, his spirit lives on, in the soul of headline writers and in the scribblings of Associated Press ... uh, journalists.
For example, tighten your upper esophageal sphincter and read this headline in the TFP of 8 April: "Do smokers cost society money?"
The problem begins with two problems: Defining society and accepting as a given that, whatever "society" is, it controls and governs and pays for the individuals, who apparently have no other function than to be a component thereof.
I believe it was a Reason -- either Foundation or Magazine -- writer who first promulgated the notion that smokers actually saved the government -- NOT, note, "society" -- money by dying early and thus not costing Medicare as much as the longer-lived non-smokers.
This AP article, by one Erica Werner, hashes over some of that thought but, of course, phrases it this way: "Smoking takes years off your life and adds dollars to the cost of health care. Yet nonsmokers cost society money, too -- by living longer."
So, according the the obvious collectivist Ms. Werner, whatever you do, smoke or don't, live long and prosper or die early, you ought to be ashamed: You are just a burden.
Funnily enough, though, I'll bet if you met Ms. Werner and tried to lump her in with all the other Obama supporters and the general run of leftist members of the race of journalists (which formerly also included Benito Mussolini), she would be horribly offended and try to defend her individualism.
Sad, though, it is that people like her can't see the rational answer: Quit operating on the collectivist approach to everything. Let a free system operate, and let individuals live their own lives freely.
For those who don't have adequate resources, there are many voluntary organizations who could do a much better job of helping -- and genuinely helping, really assisting -- the needy than any government in the whole sad history of the world has ever done or been able to do.

Lefties of the species more vicious than ...

"Mean-spirited" was one of those cliches thrown around by the media during the time of Republican ascendancy.
Surely no one, though, has ever matched the left for sheer nastiness.
In the 8 April edition, on, naturally, the Chattanooga Times side, there is a cartoon I haven't in a long time seen matched for ugliness -- or stupidity.
Don Wright, of the Palm Beach Post, writes "Loose lips ... " then writes in, around a toothy open mouth, the names Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michele Bachmann, and "Chuck Norris, etc."
First of all, I'd be awfully hesitant about attacking Chuck Norris. Even though he now qualifies for membership in AARP (born 10 March 1940) and other "senior" groups, he is still in better shape than ... well, especially any editorial cartoonist I know or know of.
Otherwise, of course, the cartoon is right on the money: The man despondent because his wife was leaving killed his family only because of something Glenn Beck said.
The fellow in despair because his employer closed down murdered his family because he had been listening to Rush Limbaugh.
Come on. Seriously. Does any rational person think any of those multiple murderers even knows who Michele Bachmann is?
Especially that poor immigrant in Binghamton?
I know various right-wingers have also used guilt by association over the years, but for sheer viciousness, it's hard to beat this kind of garbage.
The cartoonist ought to be ashamed, but the "editor" responsible for putting this on a TFP page should too.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Racism is racism is racism

Letter-to-the-editor writer James R. Mapp, no city given, is blamed for an especially egregious pile of nonsense: He urges the election of a particular city council candidate, in the words of the headline, "to avoid loss of black on council."
Many years ago, when I was still a child, but even then smarter than Mr. Mapp, I realized that voting for a candidate because of his skin color was just as bad as voting against a candidate because of his skin color.
Apparently Mr. Mapp accepts the racist notion that "all them blacks think alike."
Ironically, two black thinkers of a very different set appear with frequency on the editorial pages of the Free Press, Walter Williams (one of my particular heroes) and Thomas Sowell (for whom my admiration often palls).
One of the goals we who fought for Civil Rights sought was, as even Martin Luther King sometimes said, a color-blind America, one in which we judged people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
People like Mr. Mapp, and other racists, however well-meaning they might believe themselves, are setting back that possibility of color-blindness. They are furthering, instead, the cause of racism, and are helping to encourage racism from people of other racial and ethnic connections.
However, I offer this solution to warped-minded people who believe as does Mr. Mapp: Let's have a tri-cameral legislature; let's have a Senate based on geographical boundaries, a House based on population numbers, and a third house (and we need a name here) based on something else.
That third house (oh, what can we call it?) could be created by, say, petition, with people who belong to some group or other, including even racial identity, forming themselves into a bloc and choosing a representative.
We could have, say, blacks choosing a rep, plumbers choosing one, Rotarians choosing one, Presbyterians another, atheists still another ...
Oh the grouping are, perhaps, endless.
The advantages to a tri-cameral legislature are numerous, with the disadvantages being, to my belief, one: More tax money being spent on politicians and bureaucrats.
But, and this is one hope, a third house could slow down the legislative process so that the ultimate result would be far less spending.

Headline writers don't read stories

Robin Hood not so good? reads the headline, with this sub-head following:
Ancient Brits questioned outlaw, says history professor.
Then the story, on Page 2 of the Sunday, 15 March edition, is about one -- ONE -- notation in the margin of "an ancient history book."
Julian Luxford, identified as "an art history lecturer at Scotland's University of St. Andrews," said "a 23-word inscription in the margins of a history book, written in Latin by a medieval monk in about 1460, casts the outlaw as a persistent thief."
Regardless of what is true history, once again the TFP headline contradicts or ignores the content of the story.
Besides, it's funny to find a story in any way disparaging the legend of Robin Hood when "robbing the rich" is so much a part of the current political miasma which was very much foisted upon us by the lamestream media, as someone calls it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Here's what's wrong with the country

Even for Chattanooga and even for the TFP, letter-writer Harry Geller stands out as dumb.
Here is the beginning of a letter published Sunday, 22 March:
"I do not claim any expertise on the economy. I am entitled to my opinion, however ..."
Yep, a glowing tribute to what's coming out of the government schools, Mr. Geller also has this: "I am sick and tired of the oft-repeated phrase 'redistribution of wealth' ..."
Yes, I can understand he would object strenuously to any cold water of facts splashed in his face.
Feelings, emotions, reactions to the demagoguery -- yessir, that's what Mr. Geller and his ilk, including many a "journalist," offer to the conversation.
But, holy cow, learning anything about the subject? Hah!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Can't find a cartoonist with a brain?

Very few newspapers today have the luxury of on-staff cartoonists.
Because there are, though, plenty of cartoonists, it would seem even a small-market publication such as the Chattanooga Times Free Press, specifically the left-wing side, the Times, could find a cartoonist who knew something besides how to draw.
Maybe the company just hasn't made the effort. Certainly the previous cartoonist, Bruce Plante, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, was sorely lacking in knowledge of economics or political morality.
The current holder of the position, Clay Bennett, knows nothing about economics or how government should deal with the economy, though he is a good stylist.
For example, his cartoon of Thursday, 12 March, shows a burning building, labeled "economy," with firefighters hosing it down, and bystanders saying, "Just look at all the water they're wasting."
As one would expect with the Times, Mr. Bennett has everything backward. A better equivalent would be firefighters squirting gasoline onto a burning building, or pouring water onto someone drowning.
What is wrong with the economy is, in fact, government intervention, government coercion, government spending, government restrictions on a genuinely free market.
If Mr. Bennett is drawing from his own misunderstanding of the world, shame on him; if he is drawing according to orders from his bosses, shame on him and shame on them.
The United States economy could be improved if government, meaning politicians and bureaucrats, would get out of the way, remove the obstacles to starting and running businesses and factories, and let the free market operate, which means grow.
A reminder: Politicians are like cockroaches: It's not what they steal and carry away; it's what they fall into and mess up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Truth" advocate manages to mis-lead

TFP publisher Tom Griscom likes to pretend he is, or was, a Republican, and in one of his Sunday columns, referenced below, he tried to say it was his policy the paper always tell the truth.
Once again, though, he shows why we should hesitate to believe either him or the rest of his writers.
For some reason, there is currently a "controversy" about people, and especially members of the legislature, who are licensed to carry firearms and, more to the point, the public listing of their names.
Here is a sentence from the "truth-teller": The more pressing issue, under the direction of the National Rifle Association, a Washington-based lobbying group, is to approve a series of handgun measures.
"Lobbying group" is a phrase that means "you don't have to think about this slimy outfit; just know it's bad."
For those, though, who are slow, he later adds this sentence: But the issue that has rallied the gun supporters and brought in the well-heeled Washington lobbyists ...
It is always possible, though highly unlikely, that Mr. Griscom is just ignorant or, to be more polite, uninformed.
But the NRA is more than just a lobbying organization. It is composed of about four million members, including probably a few people who are about to cancel their subscriptions to the TFP.
As do many other pro-freedom individuals, I have problems with the NRA; I much prefer the Gun Owners of America and the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
But I much prefer the NRA to the TFP, and to any other inaccurate and/or dishonest misrepresentative person or publication.
Whether gun permits are records that ought to be made public is an interesting issue, but one TFP reader made an even more interesting counter-proposal: Make public the records of people drawing welfare or other taxpayer-funded checks.
Obviously the real basis for "controversy" is the neurotic opposition to any ownership of guns.
Here is another counter-proposal: Pass a law that everyone who opposes the individual right to own firearms must post a sign reading "No Guns in this House."

What does it mean?

Among the many problems at the TFP is the headline writing.
Often it seems the layout people haven't read the article for which they are supposed to be writing headlines -- but then more and more people in the tri-state area are not reading them.
But here is a puzzler: For what is apparently the major story (slow news day?) on Monday, 9 March, under the main head, "Saddling up for safety," is this apparently intendedly cute subhead: "Sheriff's office has 'neigh' old time with new mounted patrol."
The word is pronounced "nay," so I have no idea what is meant.
I hope someone will enlighten me.

Propaganda labeled as "news"

Probably the most frequent gripe about "news" papers is that they editorialize in what are supposed to be news pages.
Here is an example in the TFP of 8 March. Headline: "Both Parties love big government -- just different programs."
It begins: Strip away the political finger-pointing over President Obama's proposed budget and the fight boils down to a clash of values. Both major parties are really for big government -- just big in different places.
Republicans say they're outraged that Obama would "borrow and spend" his way to a new behemoth government. But they borrowed and spent their way through the '80s and the current decade. And they love big government -- when it's at the Pentagon.

Really there is not a thing a rational observer can criticize, except it is "analysis" and not "news," and should have been so labeled.
Unusually, in the piece there is even a comment from the relatively libertarian Cato Institute.
This article was by Steven Thomma of McClatchy Newspapers.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Look for this reader to stop, too

Letter-to-the-editor writer Barbara S. Arthur, of Rossville, is likely another soon to drop her subscription.
She wrote a letter titled "Article about Poe had many errors," published 23 February.
Responding to an article titled "University of the South to mark 200th Birth of 18th-Century mystery writer," published 12 February, she says, in part:
Poe was not an 18th-century mystery writer. Mystery writers in the modern sense were unknown in the 18th century and in Poe's day. In his short life, lived entirely in the 19th century, Poe invented the detective story ... Contrary to your reporter's fatuous remark, his poems and stories do not produce in the reader anything so banal as goosebumps, but, at their best, a profound sense of dread. ...
Certainly Poe did not undergo 200 births, yet this is what the headline says. Another poet, Dylan Thomas, said that after the first death, there is no other. Likewise everyone, including Poe, is born but once.
Must the reader of the newspaper point out these things, or is this the duty of the reporter and editor?

Bless her heart, she answered her own question.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

TFP accomplishes amazing feat

After receiving hundreds of complaints about the TV Times' stupidly showing only Monday daytime programming under the heading "Weekday mornings Monday - Friday" and "Weekday afternoons Monday - Friday," the brilliant editors at the TFP woke up, a little, and now their listings are even more generic.
For example, for Turner Classic Movies, which shows almost nothing but movies, with an occasional documentary about movies or movie-makers, and the occasional short, including cartoons or travelogues, this is now the listing: "Movie" followed by "Varied Programs" followed by "Movie" followed by "Varied programs."
Same for American Movie Classics, for HBO, for Showtime, for ...
Well, I never would have thought it possible, but the geniuses at Chattanooga Publishing have really accomplished something: Their TV magazine is now as lacking in useful information as the front page!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Paper's so bad, it infects community

On most of the nation's editorial pages, often the only intelligent, rational commentary is in the letters to the editor.
Alas, the Times Free Press is so bad, even the letters are generally irrational and unintelligent, if not just partisanly dishonest.
On Saturday, 14 February 2009, is this headline on a letter from one Pat Hagan, no community or address given, apparently with good reason: "Wamp denies health care for children."
Hagan (Mr.? Ms.?) says, "I just read where Republican Zach Wamp voted against the federal bill that expands health insurance for low-income children."
Naturally the letter rambles on and on, further denouncing Wamp, the member of Congress now running for governor.
Hagan and whichever knucklehead wrote the headline apparently can't discern the difference between another government program of -- as even Hagan wrote -- "insurance" and medical treatment.
Possibly neither the letter writer nor the headline writer is being intentionally dishonest; possibly both are just dumb.
I mean, never mind that most of the opposition to the program's expansion is based on the fact, or belief, that many more than "low-income children" would be suddenly eligible, there are other, including constitutional, reasons to oppose the bill.
Even Wamp, by no means an admirable member of Congress, and certainly no friend of the working and producing people, would actually "deny" medical care to children, or to anybody else.
Once in a while, though, even Wamp will say "no" to further federal tax waste.
It's too bad the editorial page employees have so little understanding ... or, perhaps, honesty.

Can't spell, sure, but can't count?

Headline: "4 stations to begin digital broadcasts Tuesday." That's the front page of the Metro & Region section of Saturday, 14 February 2009.
In the article, we see this: "Switching on Tuesday, WTCI, Channel 45, WDEF, Channel 12."
I've counted it several times to be sure and every time it comes out two.
I don't know if the "editors" can't count, or if they, like a growing number of other people in this area, just don't read the paper.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

More on the TV magazine

Lest anyone dare to think my criticism of the Times Free Press is mere nitpicking, let me point out one more example of the lack of care, the lack of thought in the TV magazine, which is named TV Times.
Each week there is some quiz titled "TV Trivia Questions."
Here is a sample: "In Terminator 3 who played the role of the killer cyborg?" Three possible answers are given ... right next to a photo of Kristanna Luken.
In the current issue (1-7 Feb. 2008), the question is "What film star was a former all-star point guard, fashion model and apeared on Ugly Betty (a) Gabrielle Union (b) Lindsay Lohan (c) Heather Tom (sic)"
No punctuation. And right next to it is a photo of Gabrielle Union.
Yep, a real brain-stretcher.
The real quiz is, How can one publication be so slovenly?

... and further ... and wider

There is an old story about the parents of a horrible child discussing buying their little hellion a bicycle. Mama asks, “Do you think it will improve his behavior?” Daddy replies, “No, but it will spread it around further.”
Perhaps that is the thinking behind Chattanooga Publishing's decision to create still another publication, this one a slick monthly called “Chatter.”
It is, of course, generally inane, with almost no worthwhile content (though of course that is really subjective).
There is a cover price on the February edition, but that apparently is just a joke, or perhaps someone is being hopeful. Chatter is found in free boxes around the area.
Alas, Chatter is just another example of the company's total lack of quality control.
Articles will have a beginning single quote mark (‘) rather than an apostrophe (’), which is the result of one or both of two problems: No one reads the stuff before it is printed, or no one cares … or possibly no one understands the difference.
Worse, in the January edition is an article about a couple who moved from Michigan to open a shotgun club in the area. Looking at the big photo of the two firing their shotguns, I thought, “Gee, they’re both left-handed.”
Well, no, they’re not. Some non-thinker, or non-carer, flopped the photo.
Pictures further into the article show they’re both right-handed.
The Table of Contents says the article begins on Page 26, but it doesn't: It begins on Page 44. Very careless, and further evidence of no quality control.
A naggy article about “calorie-laden dishes” says of fettuccini Alfredo “there’s nothing remotely healthy about it.”
Uh, no, of course not: It’s dead or no one would try to eat it.
However, just as with the rest of the mis-educated writers at Chattanooga Publishing, the writer does not know that “healthy” means “having health” and what was meant was “healthful,” which means “giving health.”
Reading the daily or weekly or monthly publications from Chattanooga Publishing is, more than fettuccini Alfredo, very dangerous to one’s health, including, perhaps especially, one's blood pressure and digestion.
(By the way, "fettuccini" is usually spelled "fettuccine," but other spellings are listed as acceptable.)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Believe it or not, TFP deteriorates further

Sunday circulation of most papers rises because readers want the TV magazine (sad to say, too often mis-called "the TV guide").
Readers get the Sunday ads, the coupons, and the color funnies (the best part of any paper) for their money, so apparently see the Sunday paper as a better deal than the actual TV Guide magazine, whose sole purpose is to outline the coming week's programming.
Compared to other such TV magazines in the area, the TFP's was rather well laid out, although its movie listings and descriptions usually omitted the very movies I wanted to know about (possibly not on purpose ... but who knows?).
As of 1 February, though, the magazine has deteriorated even further. Rather than a full day's listing, it now tries to consolidate the daytime listings, apparently under the delusion that daytime programming is the same Monday through Friday.
So the premiere issue of the new magazine has page 14 labeled "Weekday Mornings, Monday Feb. 2 - Friday Feb. 6" and there is, sure enough, the listings for Monday, including TCM and AMC movies ... but nary a word, anywhere in the rag, as to what will be playing the rest of the week.
Obviously, quality control is an unknown concept at the TFP.
Here's another example of the lack of attention by the "editors" and other people who really ought to be paying attention to what goes into the TFP pages: Each week, on the last page of the listings, right above the Saturday Late Night schedule, is a box labeled (though in my opinion mis-labeled) "late nite laughs."
For this Feb. 7 page, here is one of the supposed laughs, from a routine by Jay Leno: "Now the real pressure is on. He only has three days left to respond to Hurricane Katrina."
This is WEEKS after the coronation, and the TFP is still printing would-be jokes about President Bush.
Whoever chooses this stuff is terribly humor-challenged anyway, but surely someone could train the person to pay a little attention to a calendar.
Perhaps, though, calendars have just bypassed the TFP completely, and it will soon go the way of the dodo, which its editors rather resemble.

Times Free Press furthers cause of racism

Back in the bad old days, Lee Anderson, then editor of the Chattanooga News-Free Press, was -- sad to say -- a segregationist.
I believe he's grown up since then.
Unfortunately the "news" paper with which he is now affiliated continues to disseminate racist propaganda.
My guess is it's the same people who fill up the Times side of the editorial section who force the racist garbage of Leonard Pitts, Jr., onto the Sunday pages.
Now to give the devil his due, Pitts did, around the time of the coronation, caution Obamaniacs not to get too carried away with the worship of Abraham Lincoln, and not to draw a direct line of succession from Lincoln to Obama, citing Lincoln's oft-stated belief blacks could never be equal to whites, could not live with them, and certainly could not rule over them.
But usually Pitts is the kind of columnist who would find something "racist" in so innocuous a statement as "the sun rises in the east."
Pitts has now jumped on the bandwagon trying to silence Rush Limbaugh (see below) for his "I hope he fails" comment.
I'd be willing to bet that Pitts never hears Rush's show, and I'd double the bet he didn't hear that particular comment.
The intellectual level of Pitts' diatribe is illustrated by his frequent use of the word "clown" to describe Rush and, apparently, conservatives generally.
Pitts is, obviously, angry, and he is, apparently, not very sane.
All of which brings into question the sanity, or the honesty, of the "editors" who propagate the ... well, at least inaccuracy of such screechiness as Pitts'.
Why would this excuse of a paper, just a few weeks after publisher Griscom swore up and down he wanted "truth" (sic) in his paper, waste the precious lives of trees to print the ranting of an obsessive racist such as Leonard Pitts, Jr.?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

More untruths delivered by the "editors"

Among the many disservices "news" papers perform is the dissemination of untruths, falsehoods, and inaccuracies.
During the dark days of the Clinton presidency, one of his female victims was further victimized by a sleazy ex-boyfriend, who sold the poor woman's photo (in a nude pose) to one of the porn magazines ... which magazine, of course, defended and loved Bill Clinton.
The "news" paper in Dallas published a letter to the editor in which was the statement that the poor woman had posed for the magazine, an allegation already in the news as being false. In fact, the woman had filed suit to prevent the porn rag from printing her photo, but the court -- and remember it was the Clinton era -- ruled against her.
(That poor woman sure did have bad luck in the men with whom she was acquainted, sleazebags of the worst kind.)
The paper knew -- had to have known -- the statement was false, but printed it anyway.
The Chattanooga Times has followed docilely along in that tradition, though in a less offensive matter: It published a letter, Wednesday, 28 January, from one Walter M. Benton of Signal Mountain, titled "Right-wing dogma spreads falsehoods" (boy, talk about pot calling kettle ...), in which is this paragraph:
"When asked about President Obama, Limbaugh said, 'I hope he fails!' This statement is undoubtedly the vilest line that any radio or TV 'personality' could state! Think about it! This is our country!(sic)" (And that many exclamation points indicates a limited intelligence.)
Though Rush Limbaugh is hardly our favorite political philosopher, even he deserves to be treated fairly. By an odd coincidence I happened to hear the segment of his program in which he made that comment.
The context was, if (or since) Obama's plan is to increase big government and lessen individual freedom, "I hope he fails."
And that is a perfectly rational position.
And a perfectly American position.
In the next day's paper, on the Free Press side, letter writer Ben M. Wolk, of Fort Oglethorpe, responded, his letter being titled "Limbaugh comment taken out of context."
Mr. Wolk made two statements I want to repeat: "If President Obama ever promotes individual freedoms and marketplace solutions, I will happily support him" and "Secondhand information is seldom reliable."
The so-called "news" media have made a scarecrow and strawman out of Rush, using and mis-using him to scare their lock-step followers (who must be dying off or getting intelligent, since newspaper circulation is falling steeply) and trying to portray him as some kind of bell-wether, at least for the Republican Party or the conservative bloc.
Rush might not be, despite his book title, always, or even often, right, but he is at least as honest and reliable as the "news" media, and probably much more so than the Times Free Press.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Licking the boots that soon will be kicking 'em

Not to be outdone by the national "news" media, the Times Free Press has almost wet itself in oohing and ahing about the recently crowned "leader of the free world" (which will almost certainly be less free if his party has its way).
Here is just one example of partisan headline writing, from the front page of the Wednesday, 21 January 2008, edition: All agree, it's time for a change.
The first sentence: "The energy of President Barack Obama's inauguration rippled through Chattanooga on Tuesday as people around the city sat glued to televisions, witnessing history in the making."
Being a "news" outlet, naturally the next paragraph is racial: "Black elderly residents wept ..."
Actually, a lot of people, of various races and creeds and colors, wept, threw up, snarled, and even drank, less at the sight of Barack Obama being sworn in than at the disgusting display of slavish sycophanting (and if there ain't such a word, there oughta be) by the media.

Picture worth many thousands of words

Mallard Fillmore is a rarity: a non-left-leaning journalist.
If you're not familiar with him, here is an excellent example: